‘Shahada hadiths’ are contradictory and confused

(Reason 19 of ‘22 serious reasons shahada should contain no name except God’s’)

 sectarian-shahada-is-based-on-baseless-hadiths


Extensions of shahada with idols

The testimony to God’s oneness, which is the core principle of Islam, is stated throughout the Quran most clearly, consistently and constantly, and NEVER in conjunction with another name. Thus the first pillar of true Islam is no more than this simple Quranic shahada:

La Ilaha Illa Allah

On the other hand, the so-called ‘full shahada’ – which contains Muhammad’s name next to God’s – is the first pillar of Sunni Islam, where it serves multiple purposes, including accepting the Hadith attributed to Muhammad as a divine authority besides the Quran. Also known as the ‘kalima’ (statement of creed), it declares belief in God’s oneness together with acceptance of Muhammad’s divine messengership. As a fixed formula of testimony it is to be recited as ‘Ashhadu an la Ilaha Illa Allah, ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah’ (‘I witness that there is no god but God, Muhammad is God’s messenger’). This declaration in its shorter form reads:

La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadur rasulullah

In the Quran, however, neither the two statements ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ and ‘Muhammadur rasulullah’ form one single statement nor do they anywhere appear in one sentence. While none of them presents as a complete statement, they are parts of statements appearing in very different settings. Also, while the exact phrase ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ appears in the Quran twice (37:35, 47:19), the exact phrase ‘Muhammadur rasulullah’ appears only once (48:29), and that is also only immediately after a clear PROHIBITION for humans to add it to the shahada: God is ENOUGH AS WITNESS:/ Muhammadur rasulullah. 48:28-29.

Thus Sunni shahada derives from an unQuranic connection of two unconnected, separate Quranic phrases that appear in unrelated contexts.

In Shia Islam, as a way of separation from Sunni Islam, the statement of creed is extended with the non-compulsory addition of a phrase concerning Ali at the end: ‘Ali un Wali Ullah’ (Ali is God’s friend). Thus there is a trend among many Shias that one actually needs to declare three shahadas together in order to become a complete Muslim, i.e. one must declare that one believes in God, in the divine messengership of Muhammad, and in the appointment of Ali as his successor and a guide (as ‘Ashhadu anna la ilaha illa Allah/ Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rassulullah/ Ashhadu anna Alian Wali Ullah’). This Shia declaration in its shorter form reads:

La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadur rasulullah Ali un Wali Ullah

Moreover, from a Shia point of view, kalima cannot be one fixed Sunni kalima only, because the Quran speaks about many kalimas when it says that ‘all kalima tayiba’ ascend unto God (Whoever desires glory,- to God belongs all glory. Unto Him ascend all pure words (‘all kalima tayyiba’); and all good works does He exalt. 35:10). Also, the Shias highlight the undisputable fact that there is not even a single hadith whereby one can actually derive any fixed formula of creed. They thus insist that kalima means any true statement – challenging the concept of fixed shahada of the Sunnis. Therefore, they often accept various forms of shahada including those that contain names of other celebrated figures like 12 Imams and even their recent leaders like Khomeni and Khaminei. Below are examples of various kalimas all accepted by the Shias as valid:

La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadur rasulullah

La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadur rasulullah Ali un Wali Ullah

La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadur rasulullah Ali’un Wali’ullah Wa’wasi-ur-rassol-ullah Wa’Khalifatahu Bila’fasl

La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadur rasulullah Ali un Wali Ullah Khomeni Hujjatulillaah

La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadur rasulullah Ali un Wali Ullah Khaminei Hujjatulillaah

Hadiths, as contradictory and confused, cannot offer any clear formula of creed

The Sunnis insist that the true followers of Islam do not limit themselves to the Quran alone, but also follow the prophetic traditions as recorded in their official sources like the so-called Sunni sahih hadiths. It is in these hadiths, they claim, that the fixed ‘full shahada’, as it is recited today, is made an absolute requirement in ‘deen’ and in order to be a Muslim.

But, is this claim based on sound logic?

The answer is NO.

Here we come across the major problem that Sunni scholars fail to mention that even hadiths do not offer any clear or ‘fixed’ addition to the simple, Quranic shahada. In fact, Hadith literature recommends several editions of extended shahada, but none of them can be proved as concrete or final.

For instance, the following hadiths emphasize that the shahada La Ilaha Illa Allah alone is sufficient for a person to attain salvation:

Whoever witnesses There is no god but Allah enters Paradise.

Everything has its key, and the key to Paradise is the witnessing There is no god but Allah.

Whoever says There is no god but Allah enters Paradise even if he commits adultery and even if he steals.

The most fortunate of people to receive my intercession on the Day of Resurrection are those who said There is no god but Allah purely and sincerely from the heart.

Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib relates: When the death of Abu Talib approached, Allah’s Apostle came to him and said: “Say: There is no god but Allah, a word with which I will be able to negotiate or argue for you in Allah’s presence.”

Narrated by Muslim from Abu Hurayra: The Prophet — Allah bless and greet him — said to Abu Hurayra: “Go with these two sandals of mine and whoever you meet behind this wall that witnesses that there is no god except Allah with certitude in his heart, give him glad tidings that he will enter Paradise.” The latter then met `Umar, who prevented him from announcing this to the people … (Book of iman ch. 10).

Allah does not punish of his servants, except the rebel against Allah who refuses to say ‘There is no god but Allah’. (Ibn Majah)

I have been ordered to fight the people till they say there is no god but Allah, and whoever said there is no god but Allah, Allah will save his property and his life from me. (Sahih al-Bukhari 6924)

On the other hand, there are hadiths that maintain that La Ilaha Illa Allah alone is not enough and that the shahada must be extended as the so-called ‘full shahada’, i.e. La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadur rasulullah, so that a person can save his soul from hell-fire and also can ‘save his life and property from the wrath of Muhammad’ (!!!):

Whoever witnesses that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger, Allah forbids the Fire from touching him.

No one witnesses that there is no god but Allah and that I am Allah’s Messenger truthfully from his heart except Allah has made him unlawful for the Fire.

Abu Dhar went to the Mosque, where some people from Quraish were present, and said, ‘O folk of Quraish! I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and I (also) testify that Muhammad is Allah’s Slave and His Apostle.’ (Hearing that) the Quraishi men said, ‘Get at this Sabi (i.e. Muslim)!’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 725)

The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer, and pay Zakat and if they do it, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah. (Sahih Muslim 33)

Narrated by Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I am commanded to fight with men till they testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle, face our qiblah (direction of prayer), eat what we slaughter, and pray like us. When they do that, their life and property are unlawful for us except what is due to them. They will have the same rights as the Muslims have, and have the same responsibilities as the Muslims have. (Sunan of Abu-DawoodHadith 2635)

Narrated Abu Ma’bad: (the slave of Ibn Abbas) Allah’s Apostle said to Muadh when he sent him to Yemen, “You will go to the people of the Scripture. So, when you reach there, invite them to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Apostle. And if they obey you in that, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them five prayers in each day and night. And if they obey you in that tell them that Allah has made it obligatory on them to pay the Zakat which will be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor among them. If they obey you in that, then avoid taking the best of their possessions, and be afraid of the curse of an oppressed person because there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 24, 573)

One day Abu Hurairah went to the people and told them that the Messenger had authorized him to go and tell them to recite the shahada “ashhadu anlaa ilaha illallhu wa ashhadu anna muhammadar-rasulullah” (another version reads “muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu”). When Omar (later the second caliph) heard it, he promptly punched Abu Hurairah in the chest and knocked him to the ground. Then Omar put his foot on Abu Hurairah’s neck and asked him how dare he uttered such blasphemy. Abu Hurairah cried out and named the messenger as his authority. … (Mishkat-ul-Masabih, translated by Moulana Fazlul Karim, Vol. 1, Chapter 1, no 27).

Please look at the last of these hadiths where Omar challenges Abu Hurairah for fabricating the ‘extended shahada’. It is weird that this is the same Omar who allegedly narrated the famous Jibril hadith (Sahih Muslim), where Omar himself ‘hears’ directly from the angel Gabriel appearing in human form and mentioning the ‘extended shahada’ (with Muhammad’s name) as the prime essential of Islam. How seriously contradictory are all these hadith hearsays!

Unfortunately however, things become more confusing and further complicated when we read some other sound narrations, again from ‘very authentic’ collections like sahih Bukhari and sahih Muslim, which do not restrict the shahada to God’s unity and Muhammad’s messengership only. For example, there are hadiths that actually expand the creed to include a testimony regarding the exalted status of Jesus and belief in the afterlife, e.g.:

Narrated ‘Ubada: The Prophet said, “If anyone TESTIFIES that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His Slave and His Apostle, and that Jesus is Allah’s Slave and His Apostle and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit from Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hell is true, Allah will admit him into Paradise with the deeds which he had done even if those deeds were few.” (Junada, the sub-narrator said, “‘Ubada added, ‘Such a person can enter Paradise through any of its eight gates he likes.”) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 644)

Narrated on the authority of Ubadah b. Samit that the messenger of Allah observed: He who said: “There is no god but Allah, He is One and there is no associate with Him, that Muhammad is his servant and His messenger, that Christ is servant and the son of His slave-girl and he is His word which He communicated to Mary and is His Spirit, that paradise is a fact and hell is a fact,” Allah would make him (he who affirms these truths) enter Paradise through any one of its eight doors which he would like. (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 0043)

In other words, the true and complete shahada must include bearing witness about a very special relationship between Jesus and God as well as bearing witness about the veracity of paradise and hell. If Sunni scholars took the above hadiths as seriously as they took some other hadiths, then their ‘full shahada’ would look something like this:

I bear witness that there is no god but Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is his slave and messenger. I bear witness that Jesus is His servant, apostle, word, spirit, and son of His slave-girl. And I bear witness that Paradise and Hell are true.

Not surprisingly, as Karen Armstrong observed, in the first centuries of Islam there even were certain Sufi Muslims whose shahada didn’t mention Muhammad, but Jesus!:

The ulema were beginning to distinguish Islam sharply from other religions, seeing it as the one, true faith, but Sufis by and large remained true to the Koranic vision of the unity of all rightly guided religion. Jesus, for example, was revered by many Sufis as the prophet of the interior life. Some even amended the Shahada, the profession of faith, to say: “There is no god but al-Lah and Jesus is His Messenger,” which was technically correct but intentionally provocative. (Armstrong, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam)

No doubt, the traditional ‘full shahada’ completely disregards the importance of the above-mentioned testimony about the exalted status of Jesus. While ignoring Jesus, it also violates the spirit of some other hadiths that insist that Muhammad is less in rank than Moses (!) and not even better than Jonah, e.g.:

Narrated Abu Hurairah: A Muslim and a Jew quarreled. The Muslim taking an oath, said, “By Him Who has preferred Muhammad over all people…!” The Jew said, “By Him Who has preferred Moses, over all people.” The Muslim raised his hand and slapped the Jew who came to the Prophet to tell him what had happened between him and the Muslim. The Prophet said, “Don’t give me superiority over Moses, for the people will become unconscious (on the Day of Resurrection) and I will be the first to gain consciousness to see Moses standing and holding a side of Allah’s Throne. I will not know if he has been among those people who have become unconscious; and that he has gained consciousness before me, or he has been amongst those whom Allah has exempted.” Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 620.

Do not make any distinction among the messengers; I am not even better than Jonah. Bukhari, 65/4, 5; Hanbal, 1/205, 242, 440

Thus when one comes across various formulations of shahada depicted in all the contradictory Sunni sources, one wonders which of them is the real testimony of creed that a person needs to profess in order get access to or remain in Sunni Islam.

A question

The Quran highlights its own consistency, calling itself ‘the best hadith’ (God has been sending down the best HADITH, a Book fully consistent in its oft-repeating. 39:23), while condemning the contradictory nature of fabricated hadiths concocted by many fallible humans (This is not a fabricated HADITH, but a confirmation of what is before it. 12:111).

The question is: Should we accept the true shahada of one God only – which is stated throughout the Quran most clearly, consistently and constantly, and NEVER in conjunction with another name – OR should we accept the extended shahada/s offered by various contradictory, fabricated hadiths that set up idols and intermediaries besides God?

Summary

‘Shahada hadiths’ are contradictory and confused.

The first pillar of true Islam is no more than the simple Quranic shahada La Ilaha Illa Allah (‘There is no god but God’). As the core principle of Islam, this testimony to God’s oneness is stated throughout the Quran most clearly, consistently and constantly, and NEVER in conjunction with another name.

On the other hand, the so-called ‘full shahada’, La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadur rasulullah, which contains Muhammad’s name next to God’s, is the first pillar of Sunni Islam. Not found in the Quran, it has its sole basis only in ‘baseless hadiths’ (as the Quran calls them, 31:6) and derives from an unQuranic connection of two unconnected, separate Quranic phrases that appear in unrelated contexts. While the exact phrase ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ appears in the Quran twice (37:35, 47:19), the exact phrase ‘Muhammadur rasulullah’ appears only once (48:29), and that is also only immediately after a clear PROHIBITION for humans to add it to the shahada: God is ENOUGH AS WITNESS:/ Muhammadur rasulullah. 48:28-29.

In Shia Islam, as a way of separation from Sunni Islam, the statement of creed is extended with the non-compulsory addition of a phrase concerning Ali at the end: ‘Ali un Wali Ullah’ (Ali is God’s friend). Also, the Shias insist that kalima means any true statement and thereby challenge the concept of fixed shahada of the Sunnis. Thus they often accept various forms of shahada including those that contain names of other celebrated figures like ‘twelve Imams’ as well as their recent leaders like Khomeni and Khaminei.

The Sunnis insist that it is in the hadiths that the fixed ‘full shahada’, as it is recited today, is made an absolute requirement in ‘deen’ and in order to become a Muslim. They, however, seem to ignore the undisputable fact that one cannot actually derive any clear or ‘fixed’ formula of creed from hadiths due to the very confusing nature of their conflicting messages.

In fact, Hadith literature recommends several versions of extended shahada, including even those that do not restrict the shahada to God’s unity and Muhammad’s messengership only and even highlight the importance of testimonies regarding the exalted status of Jesus and belief in the afterlife. But none of these versions can be proved as concrete or final. Thus, when one comes across various formulations of shahada depicted in all the contradictory Sunni sources, one wonders which of them is the real testimony of creed that a person needs to profess in order get access to or remain in Sunni Islam.

The question is: Should we accept the true shahada of one God only – which is stated throughout the Quran most clearly, consistently and constantly, and NEVER in conjunction with another name – OR should we accept the extended shahada/s offered by various contradictory, fabricated hadiths that set up idols and intermediaries besides God?