The Meaning  of "ASH SHAHADATAN"

By Dr. Saalih as-Saalih
ASH-SHADATAN is the declaration that represents the belief in the oneness of Allaah (Tawheed).
It is composed of negation and confirmation phrases. The phrase "There is no true god…" negates all
false deities, while the phrase "but Allaah", confirms that Allaah is the only True God worthy of being worshipped.

Allaah is All-just and All-wise. He creates us and wants us to know him and worship him alone. The submission
of man to his creator, Allaah, is the essence of Tawhid. When someone submits to Allaah, he must negate and
disassociate from any worship to anyone (or anything) other than Allaah. This is the purity of worship and it is all
 embedded in the declaration of Ash-Shahadatan. This declaration is the key to Al Jannah (Paradise). The
 conditions that fulfil the declaration of Ash-Shahadatan are like the "teeth" that allow the key to function.
These conditions are:

#1 KNOWLEDGE: about whom we are worshipping and about the nature, concepts, and methodology
of worship is critical for understanding Islam. Knowledge in Islam calls for complete disassociation from false
 deities and for the purification of intentions:
"So know that La ilaha illal’lah (none has the right to be worshiped except Allaah) and ask forgiveness for
your sins…" (Qur’an 47:19)
The prophet (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am) said:
"He who died knowing (full well) that there is no true God worthy of being worshipped except Allaah,
entered Al Jannah. (Sahih Muslim)

#2 SATISFACTION: The declaration must be made without any suspicion regarding its meaning. Allaah
(Subhanahu Wata’Ala) says:
"Only those are the believers who have believed in Allaah and his messenger and never since doubted."
(Qur’an 49:15)
The Prophet (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am)
"I bear witness that La illah illal’lah, (There is no God but Allaah) and I am his Messenger. The slave of
 Allaah who would meet him (Subhanahu Wata’Ala) without harbouring any doubts about this
 (Ash-Shahadatan) would enter Al Junnah." (Sahih Muslim)

#3 PURITY: The intention behind the performance of any kind of Islamically prescribed Worship must be
 purely devoted to Allaah:
Say (O Muhammad): "Verily I am commanded to worship Allaah (Alone) {by obeying Him and doing religious
 deeds sincerely for Allaah’s sake, not show off, and not to set up rivals with Allaah in worship}." (Qur’an 39:1)

#4 HONESTY: Paves the way for meaningful understandings of Tawheed and strengthens the drive towards
 achieving knowledge about Allaah. The hypocrite utters Ash Shahadatan, but conceals rejection in his heart:
"They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts." (Qur’an 48:11)
The prophet (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am) said:
"There is none who testifies sincerely (from his heart) that there is no God worthy of being worshipped except
Allaah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, except that Allaah will save him from the hell-fire."
 (Sahih Muslim and Bukhari)

#5 ACCEPTANCE: Adherence to the meaning of Ash-Shadatan safeguards the believer from false and
arrogance which Allaah forbade:
"Truly, when it was said to them: La illaha illal’lah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah),
they puffed themselves up with pride (i.e. denied)." (Qur’an 37:35)

#6 SUBMISSION: Is fulfilled by obedience to Allaah and his Messenger (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am)
"Whoever submits his face (himself) to Allaah (follows Islam), while he is doing good (obeys Allaah and
his messenger in all aspects) has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold." (Qur’an 31:22)

#7 LOVE OF AllAAH AND HIS MESSENGER: The declaration of Ash-Shahadatan requires that the person
loves Allaah and his Messenger (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am) more than anything else,
and loves what Allaah and his messenger love, and
hates or dislikes what Allaah and his Messenger hate or dislike (what negatively affects the person’s
attachment to Islam)

"And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allaah as rivals (And’daad) (to Allaah).
 They love them as they love Allaah. But those who believe love Allaah more (than all else)." (Qur’an 2:165)

The prophet (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am) said:
"Whoever possesses (the following) of three qualities will relish the sweetness (delight) of Eemaan (Faith):
The one to whom Allaah and his messenger (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am) becomes dearer than anything
 else: that he loves a person for Allaah Alone (i.e. purely seeking Allaah and his pleasure); that he hates to
revert to Kufr (disbelief) after Allaah has rescued him from it as he hates to be thrown in hell." (Sahih Muslim & Bukhari)
The love of Allaah and his messenger must translate to a real following of the commands of Allaah and
that of the Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am). This negates the following of any
 innovator who introduces concepts/ways that are not in accordance with Islamic teachings: like the
 mystics of Sufism and their so-called Tareeqahs (ways) which has nothing to do with Islam. Their thoughts
originated from Hindu concepts.

This is the second part of the declaration of Ash-Shahadatan. This means that:
A Whatever Allaah had told us about Muhammad (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am) must be true:
"O prophet Muhammad (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am) Verily, We have sent you as a witness, and a
 bearer of glad tidings and a Warner, And as one who invites to Allaah (i.e., to worship none but Allaah) by
 his leave, and as a lamp spread light." (Qur’an 33:45-46)
B We must worship Allaah as taught by Muhammad (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am): This clear order from Allaah:
"And whatsoever the Messenger, Muhammad (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am) gives you, take it, and
whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it) and Fear Allaah. Verily Allaah is severe in punishment." (Qur’an 59:7)
The rulings, orders, disciplines, advice, recommendations, approvals, actions, and orders as they are
 related to Islam, are know as the Sunnah of the Prophet (Salla Allaahu Aleihi Wassal’am). The
authentically related Sunnah is inspired by Allaah (Subhanahu Wata’Ala)
"Nor does he (Muhammad) speak of (his own) desire. It is only an Inspiration that is inspired."
 (Qur’an 53:3-4)