In all service we should remember only the ever-living One who never dies

(Reason 5 of ‘22 serious reasons shahada should contain no name except God’s’)

In all worship we should remember only the ever-living One who never dies

 
Now we will try to examine some of the further problems related to the sectarian shahada – which places a dead messenger next to the ever-living God – from yet another Quranic perspective:

That, in all service, we are required to commemorate, invoke and completely devote to only the ever-living One who never dies.

Invoking a dead human as an ever-living icon

Most of the traditional Muslims do not actually acknowledge God who is ‘Ahad’ and ‘Samad’ (‘the infinitely One, Alone, Indivisible’ and ‘the Absolutely Independent’; 112:1-2).

But they only believe in a domesticated, humanized god who is coupled with and thus dependent on an associate, a messenger.

This narrow, sectarian god is constantly sustained in mind by the extended shahada, where a dead human is recurrently named and remembered along with the ever-living God as God’s human counterpart:

This is because when God Alone was mentioned, you rejected, but when associates were included besides Him, you acknowledged. But the judgment belongs to God, the Exalted, the Great! 40:12

Or have they taken intercessors besides God? Say: What if they do not possess any power, nor understanding?

Say: To God belong all intercessions. To Him belongs the sovereignty of the Heavens and the Earth, then to Him you are returned.

When God Alone is mentioned, the minds of those who do not acknowledge the End are filled with aversion; and when others are mentioned beside Him, they rejoice! 39:43-45

Thus traditional Muslims ‘complete’ an ‘otherwise incomplete god’ with an anthropocentric complement, an associate, and thereby subconsciously idolize a creature that possesses neither any share in God’s creation nor any partnership, however smallest, in His divinity.

This unnoticed idolatry is fostered by oral traditions of Hadith that pretends to be another divine source and so a clarifier of the Quran!:

Say: Have you considered the associates whom you call upon besides God? Show me what they have created on Earth. Or do they possess any partnership in the Heavens? Or have We given them a Book so that they are taking clarification from it? Nay, but what the transgressors promise one another is nothing but delusion. 35:40

Moreover, the added testimony ‘Muhammadur rasulullah’, which means ‘Muhammad IS God’s messenger’ (not ‘Muhammad WAS God’s messenger’), implies a PRESENT tense, thereby assuming a mortal messenger as an ever-living one (cf. Thou shalt die and they shall die. 39:30; cf. Muhammad is only a messenger, like many messengers that have passed before him. If he dies or is slain, will you turn back on your heels? 3:144).

Therefore – apart from the legal issue that bearing witness to something without having it witnessed actually means bearing false witness – the extended part of the testimony is also ungrammatical in syntax and incorrect in narration.

It invisibly instigates the cult of personality by psychologically embalming a mortal.

The unnoticed idolatry

Thus, the ‘full shahada’ entails confessing and invoking a dead human as an ever-living icon, like the Meccan pagans who used to call on dead ancestors.

This is against the Quranic assertion that those who are dead cannot hear or benefit the living, neither in this life nor in the hereafter:

Nor equal are the living and the dead; God causes whomever He wills to hear. And you cannot make those who are in the graves hear. 35:22

Yet they serve besides God what does not benefit them nor harm them. 25:55

Such is God, your Sustainer: unto Him belongs all dominion – whereas those whom you call on besides Him, they do not possess a seed’s shell.

If you call on them, they cannot hear you. Even if they could hear you, they would not respond to you. On the day of resurrection, they (idolized messengers e.g. Muhammad; cf. 2:166, 10:28-36, 11:18-21, 16:89, 19:81-82, 25:30-31, 28:62, 28:74-75, 35:13-14, 39:23-32, 41:47-48, 46:5-6) will disown you. None can inform you like the One who is all-aware. 35:13-14

And those they call on besides God, they can create nothing, while they are themselves created!

They are dead, not living, and they even know not when they will be raised.

Your god is One god. Those who do not acknowledge the End, their hearts are denying, and they are arrogant. 16:20-22

As part of this trend, for instance, a great majority of Muhammadans appear to overtly commit the gravest sin of idolatry (4:48; cf. 4:116, 39:65, 6:88) even during their daily prayers: though they declare their submission to God alone while standing in their prayers by saying ‘You alone we serve, You alone we ask for help. 1:5’, they immediately dismiss that declaration twice while sitting down, by addressing to the prophet – as if he was ever-living – and that, to make the situation worse, in the SECOND person (‘Peace be on YOU o prophet!’; ‘as-salamu alayKA ayyuhan nabiyyu’), as if he was another omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient god besides God.

As a further continuation of this attitude, many Muhammadans including the Goofi Sufis and the Brailwis ascribe to Muhammad the exclusive divine attribute ‘Ever Living’ (‘al Hayy’), while claiming that he, alive in his grave, is fully aware of the affairs of his Ummah:

When he said to his father and people: What are these images to which you are devoted?

They said: We found our forefathers worshipping them. 21:52-53

What about the shahada of the Prophet himself?

Here one may ask: What was the shahada of the Prophet himself? Did he ever recite the traditional sectarian Islamic formula? Or, did he recite the ‘full shahada’ as ‘There is no god but GOD, I am God’s messenger’ and then ordered his followers to add his name therein?

Then again, one may naturally ask: Could the Prophet – a person as modest as him – order or allow his followers adding his own name to God’s name in their shahada, azan and daily prayers?

In other words, could he approve such an innovation, one that unduly exalts him to a position assumed by no other prophet? And, is it possible that the great messenger of monotheism himself would include his personal name (or its pronoun) along with God’s name in his own recital of shahada and so e.g. in his own daily prayers, despite this clear warning?: And whoever of them says, Indeed I am one worthy of veneration besides Him, We will recompense him with Hell. Thus We recompense the transgressors. 21:29 

It appears pretty certain that the ‘full shahada’ – which was developed later as a technical formula to serve various functions e.g. to absorb new converts into a growing Muslim population – was not yet known during the time of the Prophet.

Although the Quran nowhere asks people to add Muhammad’s name in shahada, many earlier Muhammad-worshippers supported the addition since they thought it would somehow please God and would thereby bring them closer to Him!!: But those who set up masters other than God say: ‘We only serve them so that they may bring us closer to God’. 39:3.

However, the passage below specifically condemns those who thus serve dead messengers/s (note here also the precise mention of Muhammad) in association with God in order to achieve divine proximity and favour:

And who is more astray than one who calls on others besides God that do not respond to him even till the day of resurrection? They are totally unaware of the calls to them!

And at the time when the people are gathered, they (idolized messengers e.g. Muhammad; cf. 2:166, 10:28-36, 11:18-21, 16:89, 19:81-82, 25:30-31, 28:62, 28:74-75, 35:13-14, 39:23-32, 41:47-48, 46:5-6) will be enemies for them, and they will reject their worship.

… Say: I am no innovator among the messengers, nor know I what will be done with me or with you. I do but follow what is inspired to me, and I am but a plain warner. …

Why then did the idols they set up to bring them closer to God fail to help them? They rather abandoned them. Such was their lie and what they fabricated. 46:5-6, 9, 28

A violation of a key instruction of the Quran

Thus the ‘full shahada’ requires its adherents to remember, mention, greet or call on a dead human along with Living God in all religious matters including various worship rituals.

This sort of practice is in clear contradiction with the spirit of the Quran that warns not only against calling on anyone besides God but also against calling on a dead person including a dead messenger, since one is required to invoke only ‘the Living One who dies not’:

Hence, place your trust (not in the dead messenger/s, whom you call upon, but) in the Living One who dies not, and glorify His Praises: for enough is He as the knower of the sins of His servants. …

And those who do not call on any other god with God …

And those who do not bear false witness (e.g. shahada about dead messengers) and if they pass by vain talk they pass by with dignity. 25:58, 68, 72

Some people try to justify the extension of shahada by insisting that Muhammad, unlike previous messengers, is a living prophet as his teaching remains valid until the end of the world.

However, this argument is flawed as it ignores a basic Quranic instruction as stated here: When death approached Jacob and he told his sons: What shall you serve after me?, they said: Your god, and the god of your fathers Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac; One God and to Him we are submitters. 2:133

In connection with the above, please also note that Jacob’s sons did not include any messenger’s name in shahada, as further confirmed by Jacob’s son, Joseph:

And I follow the creed of my forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is not conceivable that we should set up any associate with God at all.

O my prison mates, are several masters better, or the One God, the Supreme?

What you worship besides Him are but names which you have nominated – you and your forefathers – for which no authority God sent down. 12:38-40

A contradiction with the spirit of the Quran

The Quran keeps on referring to the ‘ever-changing’ nature of the material Universe, in contrast with the ‘changeless and eternal’ reality of the Divine (28:88, 55:26-27; ‘the Uncreate’, as Buddha defines it: “It is the eternal which never originates and never passes away./ There is the end of sorrow”36).

This important issue is dealt with, philosophically, in an allegory of Abraham. While deeply observing the world – this transitory world, where ‘being’ exists only through ‘becoming’ and where everything is ephemeral and nothing lasts – Abraham’s holistic questioning for the Ultimate cannot accept anything temporal or mortal as holy or divine (6:75-79; ‘I love not setting ones 6:76’) and, therefore, eventually settles in and submits to the ‘changeless and eternal’, the ever-living One God alone (6:78).

Once we attain this awareness, we cannot associate anything temporal or anyone mortal with the divinity of the ever-living God:

And do not call besides God any god; there is no god but He. Everything is perishing except His Self. To Him belongs the judgment, and to Him you are being returned. 28:88

God it is who made for you the Earth a dwelling place and the sky an overhanging shelter, and fashioned you, then made your shapes excellent, and has provided you with Sustenance of goodly things; such is God your Lord. So Glory to God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!

He is the Living, there is no god but He: therefore call upon Him alone, giving Him sincere devotion. Praise be to God, the Sustainer of the Worlds! 40:64-65

Summary

In all service we should remember only the ever-living One who never dies

Most of the traditional Muslims do not actually acknowledge God who is Ahad and Samad (‘the infinitely One, Alone, Indivisible’ and ‘the Absolutely Independent’; 112:1-2). But they only believe in a domesticated, humanized god who is coupled with and thus dependent on an associate, a messenger.

This narrow, sectarian god is constantly sustained in mind by the extended shahada, where a dead human is recurrently named and remembered along with the ever-living God as God’s human counterpart.

This seriously contradicts the important Quranic perspective that, in all service, we are required to commemorate, invoke and completely devote to only ‘THE LIVING ONE who never dies’, 25:58 (cf. 6:75-79, 16:20-21, 25:58, 28:88, 35:13-14, 35:22, 39:3, 40:64-65, 46:5-28). The latter is in line with the Abrahamic awareness (6:75-79) that doesn’t accept association of anything temporal or anyone mortal with the divinity of the ever-living God. Notably, the Quran condemns even those who serve dead messengers/s in association with God in order to achieve divine proximity and favour (46:5-9, 28; cf. 39:3).

Disregarding the above, the extended shahada demands its adherents to remember, mention, greet or call on a dead human along with Living God in all religious matters including various worship rituals.

Some people try to justify this by insisting that Muhammad, unlike previous messengers, is a living prophet as his teaching remains valid until the end of the world. This argument is flawed as it violates the important awareness of Jacob’s sons, that they should serve only the ever-living One God who belongs to all messengers (2:133 cf. 12:38-40).

Finally, one may ask: What was the shahada of the Prophet himself? Is it possible that the great messenger of monotheism – and a person as modest as him – would exalt himself to a divine status by including his own name along with God’s, despite the clear warning against it (21:29)?