“I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, who is one, who has no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is his servant and apostle”.
This declaration is the foundation and essence of Islam. It is the expression of this belief which differentiates a believer from a non-believer or an atheist. By bearing witness to the truth of these two sentences a person enters the fold of Islam.
The first part of the declaration is faith in the unity of Allah and constant theme of the Holy Quran. It is repeatedly mentioned as the basic principle of Islam and of all revealed religions.
This declaration attest not only to the Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah, but it also signifies the Oneness of Lordship, the sovereignty and the Authority in the universe and in this world. As there is no other creator and Sustainer of the universe, there can likewise be no Ruler, Law-giver and Supreme Authority for mankind. Allah is the Lord of all creation; He creates what he pleases, giving each of his creatures the nature, role and function which he desires for it; in this he is accountable to no one and all things are under his absolute control.
The primary emphasis of the Quran is upon the doctrine of Tauheed. There are numerous verses in the Quran which highlight the concept of Tauheed which is the cardinal principle of Islam. In the very opening chapter of the Holy Quran, Surah Fatiha, It is said:
“Thee do we worship and thine aid we seek” (1:5)
Similarly, in chapter 4, verse 36, it is said:
“Serve Allah, and join not any partners with him.” (4:36)
The most concise expression of this principle is to be found is Surah Ikhlas.
“Say: He is Allah,
The One and Only,
Allah the Eternal, Absolute,
He begetteth not,
Nor is He begotten;
And there is none
Like unto Him.” (1 12:1-4)
True unity of Allah means that Allah is:
Unique in Person
This signifies that Allah is only one and there is no plurality of gods. The Quran says:
Allah has said:
“Take not (for worship) two gods: for He is just one God.” (16:15)
Unique in Attributes
This signifies that no other being can be equal to Allah in attributes. For Example, man may attain a degree of perfection in the attribute of kindness, but only Allah possesses the perfection of the attribute of kindness.
Unique in Action
No one can do the works which Allah has done or may do.
All the messengers of Allah have conveyed the message of his unity:
“……. He said: O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but him….” (7:59,73,85)
The role of Prophet os Islam was to bring about the acceptance of this principle of religion by entire mankind. The Quran says:
“No a messenger did we send before thee without this inspiration sent by us to him: that there is no god but I: therefore, worship and serve me.” (21:25)
The second part of the declaration ” Muhammad is his slave and apostle” shows its inseparable relation to the first. The Holy Prophet PBUH name is the name most closely associated with that of Allah. This sentence is also a constant theme of the Holy Quran. After acknowledging Allah as our Master and Sovereign, it is necessary to know what are his commandments, what will please him and what will incur his displeasure. For this purpose, Allah appointed Hazrat Muhammad PBUH as his messenger and sent the Quran through him.
He is the model for every Muslim without whom we would have no idea of how to conform to the truth laid down by the first part of the declaration. To believe in him as a Messenger of Allah means to accept his authority as the representative of the Supreme Ruler and to follow his example.
He is the link between creator and creatures, therefore, to deny the second part of the declaration that Prophet Muhammad PBUH is Allah’s messengers is a proclamation of belief in the complete and final guidance that he brought for all humanity. It is also a statement of intention to follow that guidance faithfully.
This declaration prepares human beings to reflect upon Hazrat Muhammad PBUH teachings and encourages them to follow his path. The Holy Prophet PBUH summed up all the previous revelations, therefore, to follow him is to follow the teachings of all the Prophets. He is a symbol of the Message of Allah, of that Religion which was preached by all the prophets.
The Religion he was given to preach was Islam in the form of a complete system covering all aspects of materials and spiritual life of mankind. He led his life according to the commandments of Allah, and showed the Muslims, the way to lead their lives, So, when we recite the second part of the declaration i.e Muhammad PBUH is his slave and his apostle, we undertake to follow the law and system by him.
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