La ilaha illa Allah is the only shahada found in the Quran

(Reason 2 of ‘22 serious reasons shahada should contain no name except God’s’)

'La ilaha illallah' is the only

 
The Quranic shahada

While awareness of God’s oneness is the sole basis of Islam (3:18-19), bearing this awareness in mind is the only ideological requirement to be or become a Muslim (2:177, 2:111-112, 2:130-131, 3:18-20, 6:71, 18:110, 27:44, 40:66).

This conscious witnessing about the unity of the Divine is depicted in the following verses in the form of a declaration: The shahada or testimony that there is no god but God (‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’):

God bears witness (SHAHADA) that there is no god but He (La Ilaha Illa Allah), and so do the Forces and those of knowledge, upright with equity: there is no god but He, the Almighty, the Wise.

The system with God is submission (ISLAM), and those who received the Book differed, after the knowledge had come unto them, only out of rivalry among themselves. 3:18-19

Here ‘knowledge, upright with equity’ refers to the knowledge about the absolute unity in all diversity (cf. If there were in the Heavens and the Earth other gods besides God, then verily they would both dissolve in chaos. 21:22; cf. 23:71).

Central to all rational thinking, this awareness of the Absolute Unity is also the basis of all justice and all rightful actions (‘upright with equity’; cf. 3:18, 4:135, 5:8, 21:56, 31:13).

This knowledge about the unity in diversity is essential for attaining the logical certainty in faith (6:75) and can be acquired by deep observation of the Universe as was done by Abraham (6:75-79), the spiritual father of all monotheists (4:125, 22:78).

Although ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ is proclaimed above as the only true shahada of ‘God, the Forces and those of knowledge’, evil trends of idolatry have distorted this testimony to divine unity by adding to it human idols – thus associating God with ‘others’ (39:45)! …

And this distortion of shahada by various religious groups occurred ‘only out of rivalry among themselves’.

Shahada verse (3:18) in its context

Please observe below how this reference to the original, Quranic shahada ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ in 3:18 is complemented and further clarified by 3:81 – i.e. another verse of the same chapter, sura Imran – and its surrounding context:

Say: O People of the Book! Come to a statement common between us and you: That we serve none but God; that we associate none with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords other than God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are submitters (to one God; cf. 3:19).

… O People of the Book, why do you reject God’s messages while you yourselves bear witness (to God’s oneness; cf. 3:18)?…

From amongst them is a group that twists their tongues with the Book so that you may count it from the Book, while it is not from the Book, and they say it is from God while it is not from God, and they knowingly say lies about God.

It is not for a human that God has given him the Book, the wisdom and the prophethood, then he would say to the people: ‘Worship me beside God’; instead of saying ‘Be Lord servers by spreading the knowledge of the Book, and by your deep study thereof.’

Nor would he instruct you that you take angels and prophets for lords. Would he bid you to reject after you have become submitters (to one God; cf. 3:19)?

And God took a covenant from the prophets: For what I have given you of the Scripture and wisdom, then a messenger will come to you confirming what is with you (the truth of God’s oneness). You will acknowledge him and support him. He said: Do you agree and accept My bond on this condition?, they said: We agree. He said: Then bear witness, and I am with you bearing witness (that there is no god but God; cf. 3:18). 3:64, 70, 78-81 (cf. 3:52-53, 3:83, 5:111, 7:172, 33:7; 2:101)

It is important to note how this context – by insistently asking to submit to one God alone without associate, and without erecting prophets or humans as Lords besides Him – condemns any sectarian addition to shahada.

Obviously, although initially addressed to the immediate followers of the Prophet and followers of earlier revelations, these universal timeless messages of sura Imran apply to the current Muslims as well.

We are not allowed to add to shahada any of those names of ‘others’ (39:45) – names of Muhammad, Ali or whosoever – a practice that subconsciously sanctifies humans as Lords and co-authorities with God.

Shahada verse in the bigger context

Considering that the shahada verse (3:18) appears in chapter 3 of the Quran (sura Imran) – which is supposed to provide a meaningful context for it – we went through the chapter to get further insights regarding the Quranic shahada.

On careful reading we noticed how this bigger context of the shahada verse – chapter 3 of the Quran (sura Imran) itself – goes on confirming the message of God’s oneness, while further condemning the sectarian additions to shahada:

Sura Imran describes the awareness of God’s oneness as the sole key to Islam

While emphasizing the necessity of the holistic reading of the Scripture and the Book of nature in order to understand the almighty all-knowing God’s absolute oneness and uniqueness (3:6-7, 3:187; cf. 3:2, 3:6, 3:18, 3:26-27, 3:62), it describes this awareness of divine unity as the sole key to Islam (3:18-20).

It calls all religious groups to get united around One God and to avoid taking humans as Lords

It calls people from various religious backgrounds to avoid taking humans as Lords (warning! ‘that we associate none with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords other than God. 3:64’; cf. 3:80; cf. 2:135-136, 6:164) and to get united around the common ground of monotheism preached by Abraham, who was not a Jewish, Christian or Muhammadan but was simply a monotheist and submitter (3:64-81, 95).

It calls people to accept all messengers without differentiation

It calls people not to discrimnate or differentiate between messengers (3:83-86) and not to complicate the simple religion of Abraham by taking humans as authorities besides God (3:64, 3:80) – an attitude that fabricates in God’s name numerous false rules and misconceptions (3:93-95) and represents the root cause of all religious conflicts and sectarian violence (3:103-107).

It acknowledges spiritual pluralism and reassures salvation for decent people from any religious background

While acknowledging spiritual pluralism (3:19, 3:64-65, 3:103, 3:113-115, 3:199), it reassures salvation for anyone from any religious background, provided s/he acknowledges God and the Last Day and does good work (3:23-25, 3:79, 3:113-115, 3:133-135, 3:195, 3:199).

It calls to glorify none but one God alone

While emphasizing the humanness of Muhammad and while asserting that he was not superior to other prophets (3:144, 3:159, 3:161, 3:193; cf. 2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 4:152, 21:92, 23:51-53), it calls to glorify none but one God alone (3:41; 3:191).

Shahada verse in the holistic context

“Who can be named along with Him? 19:65”

So the original, Quranic shahada is simply ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ (‘There is no god but God’). No more, no less.

This, as an expression of our awareness about God’s absolute oneness, by definition cannot have any name in it except God’s (3:18, 3:81, 7:71, 12:40, 19:65, 39:45, 40:12, 72:18).

That is why this central formula of Islam, which is stated throughout the Quran most clearly, consistently and constantly, NEVER appears in conjunction with another name.

Then the extended shahada – which includes names of sanctified humans – evolved as a violation to this monotheistic spirit.

The Quran states that the Prophet was ridiculed for bringing the whole truth (‘Al-Haqq’, ‘The Truth’) in the form of La Ilaha Illa Allah’, which accepts all messengers as equal and thereby confirms the common truth they all brought:

For when it was said to them, ‘La ilaha illa Allah, they revealed arrogance.

And said: What! Shall we give up our gods for the sake of a poet possessed?

Nay, but he has brought the Truth and has confirmed the messengers. 37:35-37

So the whole truth (‘Al-Haqq’, ‘The Truth’) is simply ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’. No more, no less. But since this original, Quranic shahada contains no associate with God, it infuriated Meccan polytheists who worshipped Lat, Manat, Uza and so on.

It is in the same way that the Quranic shahada continues to enrage even today’s idol-worshippers, unless it is associated with name/s of one or more of their idols (39:45)!

Summary

La ilaha illa Allah is the only shahada found in the Quran

While awareness of God’s oneness is the sole basis of Islam (3:18-19), bearing this awareness in mind is the only ideological requirement to be or become a Muslim (2:177, 2:111-112, 2:130-131, 3:18-20, 6:71, 18:110, 27:44, 40:66).

This conscious witnessing about the unity of the Divine is depicted in 3:18 in the form of a declaration: The shahada or testimony that there is no god but God (‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’).

Then this reference to the original, Quranic shahada ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ in 3:18 is complemented and further clarified by 3:81 – i.e. another verse of the same chapter, sura Imran – and its surrounding context (3:64-81), which, by insistently asking not to erect prophets or humans as Lords besides God, condemns any sectarian addition to shahada.

Considering that the shahada verse (3:18) appears in chapter 3 of the Quran (sura Imran) – which is supposed to provide a meaningful context for it – we went through the chapter to gain some further insight regarding this. In our study we observed how this bigger context of the shahada verse goes on confirming the message of God’s oneness, while further condemning the sectarian additions to shahada. Thus, it describes the awareness of God’s oneness as the sole key to Islam (3:18-20); calls all religious groups to get united around the common ground of One God (3:64-81, 95); calls them to avoid taking humans as Lords (3:64, 3:80); calls people to accept all messengers without differentiation (3:83-86); calls not to complicate the simple religion of Abraham by taking humans as authorities besides God (3:64, 3:80, 3:93-95, 3:103-107); acknowledges spiritual pluralism (3:19, 3:64-65, 3:103, 3:113-115, 3:199); reassures salvation for decent people from any religious background (3:23-25, 3:79, 3:113-115, 3:133-135, 3:195, 3:199); emphasizes the humanness and fallibility of Muhammad (3:144, 3:159, 3:161, 3:193; cf. 2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 4:152, 21:92, 23:51-53); and calls to glorify none but one God alone (3:41; 3:191).

Although this original, Quranic shahada ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ is proclaimed in the Quran as ‘the true shahada of God, the Forces and those of knowledge’ (3:18) – and although, by definition, it cannot have any name in it except God’s (3:18, 3:81, 7:71, 12:40, 19:65, 39:45, 40:12, 72:18) – sectarian Muslims added to it names of sanctified humans.

The Quran states that the Prophet was ridiculed for bringing the whole truth (‘Al-Haqq’, ‘The Truth’) in the form of La Ilaha Illa Allah’, which accepts all messengers as equal and thereby confirms the common truth they all brought (37:35-37). But since this original, Quranic shahada contains no associate with God, it infuriated Meccan polytheists who worshipped Lat, Manat, Uza and so on.

It is in the same way that the Quranic shahada continues to enrage even today’s idol-worshipers, unless it is associated with name/s of one or more of their idols (39:45)!