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March 13th, 2010

Significance of the ‘Kalima’

Submitted by Ikram.


Repeatedly on this site attention is drawn to the Kalima-Shahada which is:

Ashhadu an la ilaha ill-Allah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammad-ur rasul-ullah

“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”

This declaration is the fundamental oath of a Muslim. It identifies the source of belief (Allah) and the messenger (Muhammad)

By declaring Allah as one’s God, one is barred from either thinking or acting like a god himself unto others neither taking others as god unto oneself. This declaration fundamentally humbles and unburdens mankind from shackles of arrogance, myths and fears of life, thus unleashing human potentials. Yet, it is the very objective of Islam to revive godly attributes in one-self.

By declaring Muhammad as the messenger, the oath assigns a human status to Muhammad and prevents the Muslims from attributing super human qualities to him. Unlike other religions whose followers, out of love for their respective messengers, coupled with their ancestral and inherent idolatrous traditions, over a period of time started attributing godliness to their messengers. In contrast, this oath preserves the fundamental immaculate monotheistic nature of Islam.

In light of the Kalima, it does not behoove the holders of majority point of view to act as God towards a minority opinion; else they are contravening the basic oath of Islam. Having the audacity to declare another adherent of this oath a Kafir is extreme form of arrogance.

Quran draws attention to the moral laws of retribution for such behaviors where it speaks on behalf of the minority:

5:59. Say, “O People of the Scripture! Do you not blame us because we believe in God, and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed before? And because most of you are drifting away from the Right Direction?”

Quran then in the same breath admonishes the majority:

5:60. Say, “Shall I point out to you something much worse for retribution with Allah? Worse is the case of those whom Allah has rejected, and His Law of Requital hits them. And whom Allah’s Law relegated from the honorable stature of humanity and they started behaving like apes and swine (2:65). And they fell into becoming the slaves of TAGHOOT (tyrants and the priesthood of any religion (4:51)). Such are in worse plight, and farther astray than the mockers.”

Quran then continues on to identify such transgressors by their attributes:

5:61 When they come to you O believers, they say, “We believe”. In fact they come in disbelief and depart in disbelief. God knows best what they conceal.

5:62 You will see many of them race towards actions that drag down the human potential, create division in the society and they earn wealth through illicit means. Indeed condemnable is what they do.

5:63 Why do not the rabbis and the priests forbid them from their down-grading assertions and illicit earnings? Indeed condemnable is what they manufacture. (A great many religious leaders, rabbis, priests, monks, Mullahs, yogis, and mystics devour the wealth of people deceptively, and hinder them from the Way of God 9:34)

5:64 (The Divine System wants people to contribute to the society) The Jews say, “God’s hand is tied down.” It is their hands that are tied down. Their uttering deprives them of God’s Grace. His hands are wide open and He showers His Bounties according to His Laws. (O Prophet) Since the Revelation given to you by your Lord brings about a benevolent revolution in the society, people with selfish interests hate it. Many of them plunge deeper into transgression and disbelief. Consequently, Our Law has sent down into their hearts and ranks animosity and hatred until the Day of Resurrection. God has put down the flames of war that they repeatedly ignited. They try to create corruption and disorder in the land and God does not love the corruptors.

At the time of revelation of these verses, the transgressors were people belonging to older interpretations of the scriptures. Now that we have Quran for more than fourteen hundred years, these verses squarely include the arrogant Mullahs and their followers as well. With this in mind, please re-read the verses above.

[The Qur’an As It Explains Itself – Shabbir Ahmed]

2 Responses to “Significance of the ‘Kalima’”

  1. March 13th, 2010 at 8:40 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din once told someone that if he wished to live a happy life he should neither try to be God nor the messenger of God.

    The man was puzzled and asked, How could I ever try to be God? Hazrat Maulana replied: When something happens against your will and you are displeased by it, you are trying to be God because He is the only one against Whose will nothing can happen.

    The man asked: And how could I ever try to the messenger of God? Hazrat Maulana replied: When someone opposes you, and you feel frustrated that God does not destroy him for opposing you, then you are trying to be a man sent by God because it is only in their case that all their opponents are destroyed.


  2. Honesty is a human virtue. Verses of Holy Quran posted by Ikram highlight the underlying theme of dishonesty in people referenced in them. Dishonesty has different forms such as dishonesty in thoughts, religious decrees, judgments, financial dealings, and social dealings etc. In my opinion it is impossible to implement spirit of Kalima-Shahada in one’s life if that person lacks the fundamental human virtue i.e. honesty.

    A person needs to be a decent human before s/he can attain a status of a Muslim.


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