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This article is about the Islamic creed. For other uses, see Shahada (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Shahid.

The Shahada (Arabic: الشهادةaš-šahādah About this sound audio  "the testimony"; also aš-šahādatān (الشَهادَتانْ, "the two testimonials")) is an Islamic creed declaring belief in the oneness of God and the acceptance of Muhammad as God's prophet. The declaration, in its shortest form, reads:

لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, Muhammadun rasūlu-llāh
"There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God."

Terminology[edit]

The noun shahādah (شَهادة) translates to "testimony", in legal contexts, shahādah is a testimony to the occurrence of events, such as debt, adultery, or divorce.[1] from the verbal root šahida (شَهِدَ) meaning "to observe, witness, testify"; The Islamic creed is also called, in the dual form, šahādatān (شَهادَتانْ, literally "two testimonials"). The person giving the testimony is called a shāhid ( شاهِد. The first statement of the shahada, lā ilāha illā-llāhu, is also known as the tahlīla.

In a another meaning, šahādah or more commonly istišhād (إسْتِشْهادْ), means "martyrdom". The noun šahīd (شَهيد) may means "martyr".[2] This usage parallels Christian terminology (marturos being the Greek term for "witness") and predates Islam, derived from usage among early Arab Christians, who used the term šahīd in the sense of "martyr" in Late Antiquity.

Origin[edit]

Photo of a variation of the shahādah at Bab al-Futuh/Bab al-Nasr Fatimid Cairo with the phrase ʿalī walī allāh.
A mancus gold dinar of king Offa of Mercia, copied from the dinars of the Abbasid Caliphate (774); probably unintentionally, it still includes the Arabic text "Muhammad is the Apostle of God".
Qiblah of Imam Mustansir in the Mosque of Ibn Tulun of Cairo showing the Shi'i Kalima.

The tahlila (the phrase lā ilāha illā-llāh) is Quranic. But its combination with the additional "Muhammad is the messenger of God" is of uncertain origin. It seems to have been in use by the beginning of the 8th century, based on the occurrence in the fragment of a bilingual papyrus dated to the reign of al-Walid I (86–96 AH, 705–715 CE). In this document, the Greek is given first, as

Ούκ Έστιν [θεός εἰ μὴ ὁ θεὸς μόνος], Μααμε[τ ἀπόστολος θεοῦ]
Ouk estin theos ei mē ho theos monos; Maamet apostolos theou.

Followed by the Arabic equivalent.[3]

The 9th-century Sahih al-Bukhari attributes a longer variant of the statement to Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, who upon hearing the muezzin is said to have uttered:[4]

Ašhadu an lā ilāha illā-llāh waḥdahu lā šarīka lahu, wa ašhadu anna muḥammadan ʿabduhu wa rasūluhu.
"I testify that (there is) no god except God; One is He, no partner has He, and I testify that Muhammad is His servant and messenger."

This longer version is also known as the kalimat ash-shahādah ("word of testimony") and counted as the second of the Six Kalimas in modern Pakistani tradition.

This longer variant, i.e. inserting the claim that God is "alone, without partner", is also found in Arabic writing on the Anglo-Saxon gold dinar coined by Offa, copied from a non-extant Abbasid dinar dated AH 157 (AD 773/4), indicating that by that time this longer phrase had risen to the status of a kind of standard "creed". The coin faces read:

obverse: lā ilāh illā-llāh waḥdah lā šarīk lahu
reverse: muḥammad rasūl llāh; interspersed with the inscription OFFA REX.[5]

In Twelver Shia Islam, the shahada is expanded with the addition of a phrase concerning Ali:

وعليٌ وليُّ الله
wa ʿalīyyun walīyyu-llāh
"and Ali is the wali ("friend", "viceregent") of God".

And early variation of this phrase is found inscribed at Bab al-Futuh built by the Fatimid minister Al-Afdal Shahanshah (d. 975). The inscription reads:

( لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له محمد رسول الله علي ولي الله
bismi -llāhi -r-rahmāni -r-rahīm lā ʾilāha ʾilā -llāh waḥdahu lā sharīk lahu muḥammad rasūlu -llāh ʿalī walī allāh
"In the name of God the Merciful the Compassionate, there is no god but God the One, no partner has he, Muhammad is the Messenger of God, Ali is the walī of God").


Recitation[edit]

audio recording of the shahada
prefaced by the phrase ašhadu ʾan "I testify, that"

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Recitation of the shahādah is the most common statement of faith for Muslims. In Sunni Islam, it is counted as the first of the Five Pillars of Islam, while the Twelver and Ismaili Shi'a connect it to their respective lists of pillars of the faith.[clarification needed][6] Non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam do so by a public recitation of this creed.[7]

The shahada has been used as a shibboleth in Islamic terror attacks to separate Muslim from non-Muslim civilians (in order to kill the latter but not the former), e.g. in the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya.[8] Since the shahada is common to Shi'a and Sunni Islam, this approach does not work for the anti-Shia massacres perpetrated by the ISIS militia in Syria and Iraq; these jihadists use ethnic or cultural indicators, besides relying on subtle differences in bodily position during prayer between Islamic sects.[9]

Use on flags[edit]

Further information: Islamic flags and Jihadist flag
Flag of the Idrisid Emirate of Asir (1906)

The shahada is frequently found on modern Islamic flags. The Wahhabi religious movement used the shahada on their flags from the 18th century.[10] In 1902 Abdulaziz Abdulrahman Al-Saud, leader of the Al Saud and the future founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, added a sword to this flag.[10] From this derives the modern flag of Saudi Arabia, introduced in 1973. The Flag of Somaliland (introduced in 1991, current design 1996) bases its design on the Saudi flag.

Between 1997 and 2001, the Taliban used a white flag with the shahada inscribed in black as the flag of their Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The various jihadist flags used by Islamic insurgents since the the 2000s have often followed this example. The shahada written on a green background has been used by supporters of Hamas since about 2000. The 2004 draft constitution of Afghanistan proposed a flag featuring the shahada in white script centered on a red background.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The New Encyclopedia of Islam, Cyril hi tom Alta Mira Press, 2001, p. 416.
  2. ^ The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Volume IX, Klijkebrille, 1997, p. 201.
  3. ^ A. Grohmann, Arabic Papyri In The Egyptian Library, Volume I, 1934, Egyptian Library Press: Cairo, No. 2, pp. 10-11. "A Bilingual Papyrus Of A Protocol - Egyptian National Library Inv. No. 61, 86-96 AH / 705-715 CE". Islamic-awareness.org. 2005-12-20. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  4. ^ [page needed] islamweb.net: المستدرك على الصحيحين[clarification needed]
  5. ^ Dīnār Minted By King Offa Full inscription:
    • obverse field: lā-ilaha illā-llāh waḥdahu la sharīkalahu
    • obverse margin: Muḥammadun rasūlu llāh arsalahu bi-l-huda wa dīn al-ḥaqq liyudhhiru ʿala al-dini kullahi wa-law karih-al-mushrikūn ("Muhhammad is the messenger of God whom He sent with guidance and the religion of truth that He might make it prevail over all religions even if the associators are averse""
    • reverse field: Muḥammad rasūlu llāh
    • reverse margin: bismi llāhi ḍuriba hadhā al-dīnār fī sanat mi' khamsa wa sabaʿun "in the name of God, this dinar was struck in the year 157"
  6. ^ "Seeking the Straight Path: Reflections of a New Muslim". Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  7. ^ Farah (1994), p. 135
  8. ^ "Explosions inside mall as stand-off nears end". The New Zealand Herald. Agence France-Presse. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013.  To Associated Press, the al-Shabab called it "a meticulous vetting process ... to separate the Muslims from the Kuffar". Associated Press (26 September 2013). "Al-Shabab: foreigners in Kenya mall were 'legitimate target;' let Muslims leave after vetting". Washington Post.[dead link]
  9. ^ " In a chilling video that appeared to have been made more than a year ago in the Anbar Province of Iraq, ISIS fighters stopped three truck drivers in the desert and asked them whether they were Sunnis or Shias. All three claimed to be Sunni. Then the questions got harder. They were asked how they performed each of the prayers: morning, midday and evening. The truck drivers disagreed on their methods, and all were shot." Alissa J Rubin, 4 questions ISIS rebels use to tell Sunni from Shia, NYT News Service, 26 June 2014.
  10. ^ a b Firefly Guide to Flags of the World. 2003. p. 165. ISBN 978-1552978139. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  11. ^ The classical calligraphy is replaced by more artless and emphatically archaic Kufic script and the second part of the shahada is given in the form of the (supposedly) historical seal of Muhammad to express the fundamentalist aim of returning to the foundational principles of the caliphate.

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahada — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

194 news items

 
Oman Daily Observer
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:22:30 -0700

To my brothers and sisters in every faith. When Muslims recite the Shahada — or declaration of faith — the first phrase alone could raise some eyebrows. In fact, the first sentence starts: “La ilaha”. If we were to stop here, we would have just ...

Israel Hayom

Israel Hayom
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:03:45 -0700

... Abbas' adviser on religious and Islamic affairs and until recently the Palestinian Authority's religious affairs minister, who said: "After the prophecies and righteousness, there is no status more noble in the eyes of Allah than that of shahada ...

Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:37:02 -0700

"We are well-known journalists," says Mustafa Shahada, the executive director of Watania, standing in the street amid the debris, glass, and papers from his office in the street below the building. The twisted shell of one of the missiles lay nearby ...
 
Bayerischer Rundfunk
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 02:22:30 -0700

Hin zum Islam Shahada im Wohnzimmer. Um Muslim zu werden, braucht es nur zwei männliche Zeugen und die Glaubensformel. Wie viele das jedes Jahr machen, dazu gibt es keine verlässlichen Zahlen. Theo.Logik ergründet deshalb, warum Menschen ...

Daily Beast

Daily Beast
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:45:00 -0700

Converting Christians reported to mosques in Mosul, where they performed a profession of faith, the shahada, and received a document from members of ISIS confirming their conversion to protect them from reprisals in the future. Some Christian families ...

Center for Research on Globalization

Center for Research on Globalization
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:41:15 -0700

95. Wasim Abd al-Rizk Hassan al-Ghanam, 23, was killed in the same bombing. 96. Mahmoud Abd al-Rizk Hassan al-Ghanam, 26, was killed in the same bombing. 97. Kifah Shahada Deeb al-Ghanam, 20, was killed in the same bombing. 98. Ra'ed Hani Abu ...

Sudan Vision

Sudan Vision
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:42:07 -0700

Declaration of Faith or 'Shahada,' which is the confession of one's belief in God and in his Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). La Il'Allah Illahhal wa Mohammad Rasullu la — There is no God but God and Mohammad (PBUH) is his Prophet/Messenger. This is the ...

National Geographic

National Geographic
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:44:52 -0700

Some of the tunnels Yussef and Samir worked in were properly maintained—well built, ventilated—but many more were not. Tunnel collapses are frequent, as are explosions, air strikes, and fires. "We call it tariq al shahada ao tariq al mawt," Samir ...
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