The dual shahada evolved in line with an increasing idolization of Muhammad

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

The dual shahada evolved in line with an increasing idolization of Muhammad

 
Here is a list of Dated texts and coins mentioning Prophet Muhammad from the earlier Islamic decades:

http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/earlysaw.html

Abbasid coins  http://islamiccoins.ancients.info/

Below we will observe how a chronological review of these texts and numismatic materials exposes the gradual distortion of the original shahada of Unity into the present day shahadatan of Duality.

Note: Although there was constant remembrance of God’s name throughout the earliest ‘Dated’ Muslim texts, Muhammad’s name didn’t appear there until 66 AH/ 686 CE. In other words, Muhammad’s name appeared in a ‘Dated’ Muslim record for the first time NOT earlier than 54 years after his death, during the lifetime of the third and fourth generations of Muslims and at the beginning of the reign of 5th Umayyad Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik (65-86 AH/ 685–705 CE).

 

DATED MUSLIM COINS MENTIONING MUHAMMAD FROM THE EARLIER ISLAMIC DECADES

Starting from 66 AH, when Muhammad’s name first appeared on a dated Muslim text

Drachm Of ʿAbd al-Malik Ibn ʿAbd Allāh, Zubayrid Governor Of Bīshāpūr, 66 AH / 685-686 CE

Obverse margin: bism Allāh / Muḥammad rasūl / Allāh. “In the name of God, Muhammad is God’s messenger”. This is the earliest occurance of the name “Muhammad” in a dated Muslim text.

Eighteen Arab-Sassanian coins of the Zubayrid governor of Basra ʿUmar ibn ʿUbayd Allāh ibn Maʿmar, Fars, 67-70 AH / 687-89 CE

All have the legend lillāh al-ḥamd. “Unto God be praise”.

An Arab-Sassanian coin of the Kharijite rebel Qatarī ibn al-Fujāʾa, Bīshāpūr, 69 AH / 688-89 CE

A coin of Qatarī ibn al-Fujāʾa from 75 AH / 694-695 CE is shown here. It bears the typically Kharijite slogan lā ḥukm illā lillāh. “Judgement belongs to God alone”. Prefixed with bism Allāh. In the name of God. And written in Persian: “Servant of God, Ktri, commander of the faithful”.

Anonymous Arab-Sassanian Coin From Kirmān, 70 AH / 689 CE

Obverse field: Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust without the name of governor. Instead it is occupied by Middle Persian legend MHMT PGTAMI Y DAT. “Muhammad is the messenger of God“. Obverse margin: bism Allāh walī / al-Amr. “In the name of God, the Master / of affairs”.

An Arab-Sassanian coin of the Umayyad governer of Basra Khālid ibn ʿAbd Allāh, Bīshāpūr, 71 AH / 690-91 CE

The legend reads bism Allāh Muḥammad rasūl Allāh. “In the name of God, Muhammad is God’s messenger”.

Anonymous Arab-Sassanian Coinage Of Syrian Origin Under ʿAbd al-Malik, 72 AH / 691 CE

Obverse field: Written in Arabic to downwards to the right of the bust: Muḥammad rasūl Allāh. “Muhammad is God’s messenger”. Obverse margin: bism Allāh. “In the name of God“.

Note: Initially Muhammad’s name started appearing around 66 AH/ 686 CE, either to replace a governor’s name on the coin or as part of an isolated statement mentioning his messengership – like bism Allāh Muḥammad rasūl Allāh or simply Muḥammad rasūl Allāh – WITHOUT being conjoined with the declaration of God’s oneness.

The Arab-Byzantine “Three Standing Imperial Figures” Dīnār From The Time Of Umayyad Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik, 72-74 AH / 692-694 CE

Obverse field: This is the Umayyad imitation of the Byzantine prototype – both of them consist of three standing imperial figures on the obverse side.

Reverse field: Staff ending in globe in steps. Reverse margin: bism Allāh lā-ilaha il-Allāh waḥdahu Muḥammad rasūl Allāh. “In the name of God. There is no god but God alone. Muhammad is God’s messenger”. This full shahada is perhaps the earliest surviving physical record of it. The initial stage was the elimination of crosses present in the Byzantine prototype coins, but keeping everything else intact. In the subsequent stage, crosses as well as Byzantine formula were removed and instead Arabic formula, i.e., the shahada, was introduced. Please note that representation of human images was not prohibited in an earlier period.

Transitional Arab-Sassanian Coin Of Governor ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn ʿAbd Allāh Ibn Āmir, 72 AH / 691-92 CE

Reverse field: The legend in Middle Persian reads (written in five lines) – YZDT’ -I BR’ ‘LH ’HRN YZDT’ L‘YT’ MḤMT’ PTGMBI Y YZDT’ . “One God, but He, another god does not exist. Muhammad is God’s messenger”.

Note: First as a concept, then as a military slogan and finally as a well-devised politico-theological formula, the extended shahada – where mention of Muhammad’s messengership was conjoined with declaration of God’s oneness – appeared for the first time in 72 AH/692 CE, and it appeared only in the margin of a coin. So it was not any earlier than at least 60 years after Muhammad’s death that the extended shahada appeared in a ‘Dated’ Muslim text!

Aniconic Silver Coins (“Reformed Coinage”), Minted By The Umayyad Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik, From 77 AH / 696 CE

Obverse field: lā-ilaha il-Allāh waḥdahu la sharīkalah. “There is no god but God alone, He has no associate”. Obverse margin: bism Allāh ḍuriba hadhā al-dirham bi-r-rāmhurmuz fī sanat tisʿ wa sabʿīn. “In the name of God, this dirham was struck in Rāmhurmuz in the year 79″.

Reverse field: Allāhu aḥad Allāhu al-ṣamad lam yalid wa-lam yulad wa-lam yakun lahu kufūwan aḥad. “God the one, God the eternal, He did not beget and was not begotten. And there is none like unto Him”. Reverse margin: Muḥammad rasūl Allāh arsalahu bi-l-huda wa dīn al-ḥaqq liyudhhiru ʿala al-dini kullahi wa-law karih-al-mushrikūn. “Muhammad is God’s messenger whom He sent with guidance and the religion of truth that He might make it prevail over all religions even if the associators are averse”.

Arab-Sassanian Coin Of Al-Ḥajjāj Bin Yūsuf, 77 AH / 696-697 CE

Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust with the name “al-Ḥajjāj bin Yūsuf” written in Arabic on the right hand side of the bust. Obverse margin: bism Allāh / lā-ilaha il- / Allāh waḥdahu Muḥammad / rasūl Allāh. “In the name of God. There is no god but God alone. Muhammad is God’s messenger”.

This is a very unique coin. The shahadah is arranged in striking fashion radially in the obverse margin. As far as we are aware, no other coin from 1st century of hijra which shows this feature. The Arab-Sassanian and Arab-Byzantine coins which show either full or partial shahadah, show its arrangement running along the obverse margin.

Arab-Sassanian Fals From Veh-az-Āmid-Kavād (Arrajān), 83 AH / 702-703 CE

Obverse margin: Muḥammadun rasūlu’llāhi wa’lladhīna yatlūna maʿahu ashiddāʾu ʿalā’l-kuffāri ruḥamāʾu baynahum. Muhammad is God’s messenger, those who recite with him are severe with the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves.

Note: The extended shahada gradually evolved over a period of time encompassing several generations, in line with an ever-increasing glorification and deification of Muhammad. This was promoted by a particular religious-political sentiment during the Umayyad period of Arab expansion, when Muslims were insisting on making their messenger greater than all other messengers, partly as a reaction and a propaganda effort against their Christian-Byzantine challengers. This is clearly evidenced by Islamic inscriptions on The Dome of the Rock (72 AH / 692 CE) as well as inscriptions (including uncontextualized or distorted Quranic messages) on the coins of that period.

Aniconic Gold Coins (“Reformed Coinage”), From The ‘Mine Of The Commander Of The Faithful’, 89 AH / 708 CE

Obverse field: lā-ilaha illa-Allāh waḥdahu la sharīkalah. “There is no god but God alone, He has no associate”. maʿdin amīr al-muʾminīn. “Mine of the Commander of the Faithful’. Obverse margin: Muḥammad rasūl Allāh arsalahu bi-l-huda wa dīn al-ḥaqq liyudhhiru ʿala al-dini kullahi. “Muhammad is the messenger of God whom He sent with guidance and the religion of truth that He might make it prevail over all religions”.

Reverse field: Allāhu aḥad Allāhu al-ṣamad lam yalid wa-lam yulad. “God the one, God the eternal, He did not beget and was not begotten”. Reverse margin: bism Allāh ḍuriba hadhā al-dīnār fī sanat tisaʿ wa thamānūn. “In the name of God, this dīnār was struck in the year 89″.

This unique historic coin is of the highest rarity and the earliest known dīnār to bear the legend ‘Mine of the Commander of the Faithful’. The reverse margin bears the same legend as what is seen on the aniconic silver and gold coins issued by Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Malik.

An Umayyad post reform Silver coin, from 93 AH / 712 CE

Obverse centre: Laa ilaaha illallaah wahdahuu laa shareeka lahu. There is no diety except | (the one) God alone | He has no partner to Him. Obverse margin: In the name of God. This Dirham was struck in Wasit in the year three and ninety.

Reverse centre: Allahu ahadun Allahu alssamadu Lam yalid walam yooladu Walam yakun lahu kufuwan ahadun. God is One God | The eternal and indivisible, who has not begotten, and | has not been begotten and never is there | His equal. Reverse margin: Muhammad is God’s messenger. He sent him with guidance and the true religion to reveal it to all religions even if the polytheists abhor it.

The Umayyad post reform Silver Dirhams had mostly consistent field inscriptions on the Obverse and the Reverse as well as the reverse margin.

An Umayyad Silver coin, from 120 AH / 738 CE, during the reign of Hisham

Obverse centre: “There is no God except |God Alone |He has no partner to Him”; Obverse margin: “In the name of God, this dirhem was minted in Wasit in the year 120”

Reverse centre: “God is One God |The everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, and | has not been begotten and never is there | His equal” (Sura 112). This is the Umaidyid symbol; Reverse margin: “Muhammad is God’s messenger whom He sent with guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it prevail over all other religions, even though the associators may dislike it.” (“Second Symbol”).

Note: “Muhammad is God’s messenger … the associators may dislike it” is a common text and an imperialistic mantra of the Umayyads, seen inscribed on the Arab coins since the reign of ʿAbd al-Malik. We have specially studied it to understand how politics played a major role in the distortion of shahada: Distortion of shahada through the political slogan of the Umayyads

An Abbasid Silver coin, from 133 AH / 751 CE, during the reign of Saffah

Obverse centre: “There is no God except |God Alone |He has no partner to Him” (Kalima); Obverse margin: “In the name of God, this dirhem was minted in El-Kufat in the year 133″

Reverse centre: “Muhammad is God’s messenger”; Reverse margin: “Muhammad is God’s messenger. He sent him with guidance and the true religion to prevail over all other religions even if the polytheists abhor it.” (“Second Symbol”). Sura 112 (sura ikhlas) removed from the coin and Muhammad’s name moved to the centre in its place, as a counterpart of God’s name.

An Abbasid Gold coin, from 147 AH / 764 CE, during the reign of al-Mansur. See: Abbasid coins

Obverse centre: “There is no God except |God Alone |He has no partner to Him” (Kalima); Obverse margin: “Muhammad is God’s messenger. He sent him with guidance and the true religion to prevail over all other religions even if the polytheists abhor it.” (“Second Symbol”).

Reverse centre: “Muhammad is God’s messenger”; Reverse margin: “In the name of God, this dinar was struck in the year 147

Note: The coins from the later decades of the 1st Islamic century that contain reference to Muhammad – which either mentions his name or declares his messengership – show this reference running as a sidenote only along the MARGIN, and not in the CENTRE, which was reserved to state God’s uniqueness and greatness (SHAHADA and SURA 112). It was only in a much later period, during the reign of Abbasid dynasty (started 132 AH/ 750 CE), when sura 112 (sura ikhlas) was removed from the coin and Muhammad’s name was moved to the centre in its place, as a counterpart of God’s name!!!

Arab coins ending up in Sweden during the trade between Arabs and Vikings

These are Arab coins of the Viking Age (8th-11th Century), which the Scandinavians apparently used as trading silver. None contains Muhammad’s name next to God.

Conclusion

Dated Muslim texts and numismatic materials from the earlier Islamic decades reveal how the dual shahada went through a devolution: first as a concept, then as a military slogan and finally as a well-devised politico-theological formula. And how Muhammad’s name was slowly permeated next to God’s name over the decades in line with an ever-increasing idolization of the messenger. And also, how this occurred partly as a Muslim response to their non-Muslim challengers during the period of Arab expansion.

Summary

The dual shahada evolved in line with an increasing idolization of Muhammad  

A chronological study of the Dated Muslim texts and coins from the earlier Islamic decades reveals the gradual transformation of the original shahada of Unity into the present day shahadatan of Duality. Here are some of the findings from our observation:

Although there has been constant remembrance of God’s name throughout the earliest ‘Dated’ Muslim texts, Muhammad’s name didn’t appear there until 66 AH/ 686 CE. In other words, Muhammad’s name appeared in a ‘Dated’ Muslim record for the first time NOT earlier than 54 years after his death, during the lifetime of the third and fourth generations of Muslims and at the beginning of the reign of 5th Umayyad Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik (65-86 AH/ 685–705 CE).

Initially Muhammad’s name started appearing around 66 AH/ 686 CE, either to replace a governor’s name on the coin or as part of an isolated statement mentioning his messengership – like bism Allāh Muḥammad rasūl Allāh or simply Muḥammad rasūl Allāh – WITHOUT being conjoined with the declaration of God’s oneness.

First as a concept, then as a military slogan and finally as a well-devised politico-theological formula, the extended shahada – where mention of Muhammad’s messengership was conjoined with declaration of God’s oneness – appeared for the first time in 72 AH/692 CE, and it appeared only in the margin of a coin. So it was not any earlier than at least 60 years after Muhammad’s death that the extended shahada appeared in a ‘Dated’ Muslim text!

The extended shahada gradually evolved over a period of time encompassing several generations, in line with an ever-increasing glorification and idolization of Muhammad. This was promoted by a particular religious-political sentiment during the Umayyad period of Arab expansion, when Muslims were insisting on making their messenger greater than all other messengers, partly as a reaction and a propaganda effort against their Christian-Byzantine challengers. This is clearly evidenced by Islamic inscriptions on The Dome of the Rock (72 AH / 692 CE) as well as inscriptions (including uncontextualized or distorted Quranic messages) on the coins of that period.

The coins from the later decades of the 1st Islamic century that contain reference to Muhammad – which either mentions his name or declares his messengership – show this reference running as a sidenote only along the MARGIN, and not in the CENTRE, which was reserved to state God’s uniqueness and greatness (SHAHADA and SURA 112). It was only in a much later period, during the reign of Abbasid dynasty (started 132 AH/ 750 CE), when sura 112 (sura ikhlas) was removed from the coin and Muhammad’s name was moved to the centre in its place, as a counterpart of God’s name!!!

 

Further reading:

Earliest ‘dated Muslim texts’ constantly remember God but never Muhammad

Distortion of shahada through the political slogan of the Umayyads