Extended shahada is not a requirement for salvation

(Reason 14 of22 serious reasons shahada should contain no name except God’s’)

Extended shahada is not a requirement for salvation

 
Important is deed, NOT creed

We observed earlier that the awareness of God’s Oneness, formulated in the Quran as shahada, is the sole basis of Islam and so is the only ideological requirement to be or become a Muslim. Hence anyone from any religious or whatsoever background, whoever bears in mind this awareness and acts accordingly, is a Muslim and therefore qualifies for salvation1.

Contrary to this Quranic definition of Muslim, sectarian Islam contends that a person cannot be a Muslim and so cannot be saved unless s/he accepts and testifies to Muhammad’s messengership. Clearly, this concept is similar2 to the Jewish claim of chosen people and the Christian belief of salvation exclusively through Jesus, based on the doctrines of original sin and vicarious atonement3, which have no support in the Quran.

Is the sectarian testimony, which is thus extended with human name/s with God’s, really essential for human salvation? The Quran answers in the negative:

Surely those who acknowledge, and those who are Jews, and Christians, and who are from other religions, whoever acknowledges God and the Last Day and does right, surely their reward is with their Sustainer, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. 2:62

Let us put the question differently. Could a confession about a human demigod, along with God, be a shortcut key to salvation and paradise? Or, is it the other way round – i.e., as an act of potential association with God4, may it itself become a serious obstacle to salvation (3:64-65, 6:14, 39:36; cf. 3:52-53)? Here we have an answer:

Say: I am but a human like you, being inspired that your god is One god. So whoever hopes to meet his Sustainer, let him do righteous work and associate NONE (not even me) in the worship of his Sustainer! 18:110

Now, while rejecting the Jewish and Christian claims of their superiority as religious groups, the Quran instantly dismisses also the assertion of Muhammad-worshippers that people who do not accept or testify to his messengership are not Muslims, and hence are destined to doom5 (2:111-112, 2:130-141). Rather it affirms that there are many good people among other religious/non-religious groups who do qualify for salvation6 (3:75, 3:113-114, 5:65-66, 5:82-83, 7:159) – because all what is essential for salvation is sincerity of mind and good work, not mere lip service to any belief system (29:2-3, 35:10, 59:22; cf. 2:214, 2:158, 3:141, 9:16, 33:10).

Thus, while All good deeds spring from the Awareness of Oneness, the Quran assures absolute divine justice for everyone, purely based on one’s DEED, rather than one’s CREED7 (2:286, 3:25, 6:160, 36:54, 46:19). Though all humans are intrinsically equal by birth, they are ranked according to their works (46:19), since the best among them in the sight of God is the best in conduct (49:13). So at the end of the day what is really important is the action rather than mere belief (18:7). God will not put any of one’s sincere deeds to waste, irrespective of one’s belief, even if the true belief has not entered into the heart8 (49:13-14).

Thus, anyone from any religious or non-religious background – Hindu, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Confucian, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Agnostic and so on – whoever does good work, while upholding the permanent values, can equally attain divine grace and salvation9 (2:135-136, 3:57, 5:69, 16:97, 20:112).

Judgment belongs to God alone and allows no intermediary

The Quran insists that, since the Judgment belongs to God alone (6:57, 6:159, 12:40, 40:12), His final judgment will allow no intercessor or intermediary besides Him (no Jesus, Muhammad and so on; 2:48, 2:254, 6:51, 6:94, 6:164; 7:53, 19:95, 39:43-45, 53:25-27, 66:10) as it will be based on absolute justice tampered with divine mercy and compassion10 (18:88, 21:92-94, 28:77, 41:30, 46:13, 95:6).

In other words, irrespective of faith or creed, even the smallest details of all the actions of every human will be brought to divine justice where nothing will be wasted or ignored: anyone who grows the self will succeed; whoever buries it will fail11 (4:40, 6:164, 13:33, 45:22, 53:36-42, 91:7-10, 99:7-8).

When the shahada is extended with ‘others’ besides God’s, with the veiled anticipation of mediation through a human savior, it violates the important Quranic position that categorically rejects all doctrines of intercession and recommends no intermediary between human and God for the purpose of salvation (2:48, 2:123, 2:254, 6:70, 6:94, 7:53, 39:44, 74:48, 66:10).

What’s more, the divine wisdom even apprehends the danger that associating a testimony about Muhammad with the testimony about God’s Oneness, may actually idolize him as a divine associate, thus involving shirk, the only unforgivable sin, which may in turn divert people away from the path of salvation12 (3:64; 6:19,106,150; 18:102,110; cf. 4:48, 4:116, 39:65, 6:88).

Then, by strongly condemning any discrimination between messengers, the Quran essentially forbids any added shahada that singles one particular messenger out from all others. Time and again it demands equal treatment of all messengers and describes it as an important foundation of faith (2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 4:152, 21:92, 23:51-53, 33:40) that by itself would guide towards salvation. Please note that this promise for salvation excludes those who exalt Muhammad above other messengers:

And those who acknowledge God and His messengers and make no distinction between any of them, We will grant them their rewards. 4:152

It is such an irony that the salvation of billions should depend on the shahada about a demigod, who himself is not allowed to intercede for anyone (9:80, 39:3, 39:19, 63:6; cf. 25:30-31, 2:48, 5:109) and who himself is given no guarantee for his own salvation (46:9; cf. 7:188, 10:49, 11:31, 72:25).

Finally, one important NOTE: No human has the authority to judge another human about her destiny. Only God, as the ultimate witness over everything, knows who among us better qualifies than whom in respect of salvation:

Surely those who acknowledge and those who were Jews and the Sabians and the Christians and the Zoroastrians and those who set up associates, certainly God will decide between them on the Day of Resurrection: for God is witness over all things. 22:17; cf. 13:33

 

Summary

Extended shahada is not a requirement for salvation

The awareness of God’s Oneness, or shahada, is the sole basis of Islam and so is the only ideological requirement to be or become a Muslim. Sectarian Islam, however, contends that a person cannot be a Muslim and so cannot be saved unless s/he accepts and testifies to Muhammad’s messengership. Not supported by the Quran, this concept is similar to the Jewish claim of chosen people and the Christian belief of salvation exclusively through Jesus.

Is the sectarian testimony, which is thus extended with human name/s with God’s, really essential for human salvation? According to the Quran, it is the other way round – i.e., as an act of potential association with God, it may itself become a serious obstacle to salvation (2:62, 18:110, 3:64-65, 6:14, 39:36; cf. 3:52-53).

Now, while rejecting the claims of various religious groups about their monopoly on salvation (2:111-112, 2:130-141), the Quran affirms that there are many good people from all backgrounds who do qualify for salvation (3:75, 3:113-114, 5:65-66, 5:82-83, 7:159) – because all what is essential for salvation is sincerity of mind and good work, not mere lip service to any belief system (29:2-3, 35:10, 59:22; cf. 2:214, 2:158, 3:141, 9:16, 33:10).

While All good deeds spring from the Awareness of Oneness, the Quran assures absolute divine justice for everyone, purely based on one’s DEED, rather than one’s CREED (2:286, 3:25, 6:160, 36:54, 46:19; cf. 18:7, 46:19, 49:13-14). Thus anyone from any religious or non-religious background whoever does good work, while upholding the permanent values, can equally attain divine grace and salvation (2:135-136, 3:57, 5:69, 16:97, 20:112).

The Quran insists that, since the Judgment belongs to God alone (6:57, 6:159, 12:40, 40:12), His final judgment will allow no intercessor or intermediary besides Him (2:48, 2:254, 6:51, 6:94, 6:164; 7:53, 19:95, 39:43-45, 53:25-27, 66:10) as it will be based on absolute justice tampered with divine mercy and compassion (18:88, 21:92-94, 28:77, 41:30, 46:13, 95:6). Irrespective of faith or creed, even the smallest details of all the actions of every human will be brought to divine justice where nothing will be wasted or ignored (4:40, 6:164, 13:33, 45:22, 53:36-42, 91:7-10, 99:7-8).

When the shahada is extended with ‘others’ besides God’s, with the veiled anticipation of mediation through a human savior, it violates the important Quranic position that categorically rejects all doctrines of intercession and recommends no intermediary for the purpose of salvation (2:48, 2:123, 2:254, 6:70, 6:94, 7:53, 39:44, 74:48, 66:10).

What’s more, the divine wisdom even apprehends the danger that associating Muhammad’s name with God’s, may actually idolize him as a divine associate, thus involving shirk, which may in turn divert people away from the path of salvation (3:64; 6:19,106,150; 18:102,110; cf. 4:48, 4:116, 39:65, 6:88).

Then, the Quran strongly demands equal treatment of all messengers, an important foundation of faith, which by itself guides towards salvation (4:152; cf. 2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 21:92, 23:51-53, 33:40).

It is such an irony that the salvation of billions should depend on the shahada about a demigod, who himself is not allowed to intercede for anyone (9:80, 39:3, 39:19, 63:6; cf. 25:30-31, 2:48, 5:109) and who himself is given no guarantee for his own salvation (46:9; cf. 7:188, 10:49, 11:31, 72:25).

Finally, only God, as the ultimate witness over everything, knows who among us better qualifies than whom in respect of salvation (13:33, 22:17).

 

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Note 1

We have used the word ‘salvation’ for the sake of convenience. Otherwise, the goal of a spiritual journey, as described in the Quran, is success (91:9-10), NOT salvation, which is more a biblical concept.

Note 2

The traditional Islamic understanding that a person cannot be saved unless s/he testifies to Muhammad’s messengership is similar to the Jewish claim of chosen people and the Christian belief of salvation exclusively through Jesus (Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3), based on the doctrines of original sin and vicarious atonement, which have no support in the Quran (2:37, 6:164, 17:15, 35:18, 39:7, 39:53, 53:38-39; cf. Deut 24:16, Ezekiel 18:20).

Note 3

Islam is not about any particular messenger. It differs from traditional Christianity in a few important issues: the Quran dismisses all dogmas of original sin and vicarious atonement (2:37, 6:164, 17:15, 35:18, 39:7, 39:53, 53:38-39; cf. Deut 24:16, Ezekiel 18:20) and recognizes no intermediary or intercessor between human and God (2:48, 2:254, 2:257, 6:51, 6:94, 6:164; 7:53, 19:95, 39:43-45, 50:16, 66:10). While rejecting fatalistic determinism of human destiny (36:67-68), it puts full responsibility on every individual (4:32, 5:104-105, 6:94, 6:164, 19:95, 53:38-39) to use her own intellect and reasoning to personally know and act (10:100, 17:36, 5:104-105, 90:4-13). And, also because God is closer to a person than her ‘jugular vein’ and ‘nearer to her than all her nearest’ (50:16, 56:85), she requires no agency, no middleman and no third party to witness her sins or faith or to help her to commune with God. Instead, she should contact her Sustainer directly in accordance with her own understanding (2:186, 11:61). The Quran thus authorizes no messenger or anyone else to share in divine affairs (25:3), while asserting that even the Prophet himself doesn’t serve as an extra guide apart from the Quran (10:35-36) and doesn’t serve as any spiritual link that would make his devotee any closer to God (3:79-80, 3:144, 6:19, 6:50, 6:164, 16:51, 17:57, 18:110, 19:81-82, 38:65, 39:3, 40:12, 46:9, 46:28, 72:21-23, 79:42-44). Rather it condemns reverencing the prophet/s as shirk or idolatry (39:3, 39:36, 17:57, 9:31, 7:194, 3:64, 6:164).

Note 4

The Quran NEVER and NOWHERE sanctions association or elevation of ‘others’ with God; God is sufficient for a submitting peace-seeker:

Say: O People of the Book! Come to a statement common between us and you: That we worship 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 (Muslims)./ O People of the Book! Why do you argue about Abraham, when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after him? Do you not reason? 3:64-65

Say: Shall I take as an ally anyone but God, the Originator of the Heavens and the Earth, when it is He who feeds and is not Himself fed? Say: I am commanded to be foremost among those who submit and that: Do not be of those who associate. 6:14

Is God not sufficient for His servant? They frighten you with others beside Him. Whomever God sends astray, then for him there will be no guide. 39:36

Note 5

While rejecting the Jewish and Christian claims of their superiority as religious groups, the Quran instantly dismisses also the assertion of Muhammad-worshippers that people who do not accept or testify to his messengership are not Muslims, and hence are destined to doom:

And they say: None enters paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian. These are their own wishes. Say: Produce an evidence for what you are claiming, if you are truthful./ Nay, whoever submits himself to God and is a doer of good, he shall get his reward with his Sustainer; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. 2:111-112

And who would abandon the creed of Abraham except one who fools himself? We have selected him in this world, and in the Hereafter he is of the righteous./ When his Sustainer said to him: Submit, he said: I submit to the Sustainer of the worlds./ And Abraham enjoined his children and so did Jacob: O my children, God has selected the system for you, so do not die except as ones who have submitted./ Or, were you then witnesses when death approached Jacob and he told his sons: What shall you worship 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. …/ They said: Be Jews or Christians so that you may be guided! Say: No, rather the creed of Abraham the upright, who turned away from all that is false; for he was not of those who set up associates./ Say: We acknowledge God, and that which is revealed unto us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and that which was given to all the other prophets from their Sustainer. We make no difference between one and another of them: And unto Him alone we are submitters./ So if they acknowledge in the way you acknowledge, then they are guided …/ Such is God’s colouring. And who is better than God in colouring? And Him alone we worship./ Say: Do you debate with us regarding God? He is our Sustainer and your Sustainer, and we have our work and you have your work, and to Him we are devoted. 2:130-133, 135-139

Or do you say that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Patriarchs were all Jewish or Christians (or e.g. Muhammadans)? Say: Do you know more than God does? Who is more wicked than one who conceals the testimony (shahada) with him from God? But God is not unmindful of what you do./ That was a community that passed away; to them is what they earned and to you is what you have earned; you will not be asked about what they did. 2:140-141

To better understand the expression ‘God’s colouring’, it is useful to remember that the word colours in the Quran signifies the concepts of pluralism and multidimensionality of the Truth.

Note 6

The Quran affirms that there are many good people among all religious/non-religious groups who do qualify for salvation:

And from among the people of the Book are those whom if you entrust him with a treasure, he will return it to you, and there are those whom if you entrust with one gold coin he will not return it to you unless you keep after him. 3:75 

They are not all alike: among the people of the Book there are upright people who recite divine messages during parts of the night and they prostrate./ They acknowledge God and the Last day, promote recognized norms and deter from evil, and they hasten in goodness; these are of the reformed ones. 3:113-114

If the people of the Book only would have acknowledged and been aware, We would have cancelled for them their sins and admitted them into gardens of bliss./ If they had upheld the Torah, the Gospel, and all what was sent down to them from their Sustainer, they would have been rewarded from above them and below their feet. Among them there are moderate people, but many of them commit evil. 5:65-66

And you will find the closest in affection to those who acknowledge are those who said, “We are Nazarenes” that is because amongst them are Priests and Monks, and they are not arrogant./ And if they hear what was sent down to the messenger you see their eyes flooding with tears, for what they have known as the truth, they say: “Our Sustainer, we acknowledge, so record us with the witnesses.” 5:82-83

And among the folk of Moses there are people who guide in the way of the truth and act justly in its light. 7:159

Note 7

While All good deeds spring from the Awareness of Oneness, the Quran assures absolute divine justice for everyone, purely based on one’s DEED, rather than one’s CREED:

God does not burden any self beyond its capacity. In its favour is what it earns, and against it is what it earns. 2:286

Every self shall receive what it has earned, and no injustice will be done to anyone. 3:25

Whoever brings a good deed will receive a tenfold reward. And whoever brings an ill deed will be requited for only one. And no injustice will be done to anyone. 6:160

This Day no person will be wronged in the least, nor will you be requited for other than what you were doing. 36:54

To each will be degrees according to what they did; He will recompense them and they will face no injustice. 46:19

Note 8

Though all humans are intrinsically equal by birth, they are ranked according to their works (46:19), since the best among them in the sight of God is the best in conduct (49:13). So at the end of the day what is really important is the action rather than belief (18:7). God will not put any of one’s sincere deeds to waste, irrespective of one’s belief, even if the true belief has not entered into the heart (49:13-14):

To each will be degrees according to what they did; He will recompense them and they will face no injustice. 46:19

Surely We have made what is on Earth an adornment for it so that We test them as to who is better in deeds. 18:7

O mankind! Behold, We have created you as/of male and female, and made you into nations and groups, that you may know each other. Surely, the most honorable among you in the sight of God is the most righteous (or most aware). Surely, God is All-knowing, All-aware./ The Arabs (Bedouins) said: “We acknowledge.” Say: “You have not acknowledged; but you should rather say: ‘We have submitted’, for acknowledgement has not yet entered into your hearts. Yet if you obey God and His messenger (message), He will not put any of your works to waste: for God is Forgiving, Merciful.” 49:13-14

Note 9

Anyone from any religious or non-religious background – Hindu, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Confucian, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Agnostic and so on – whoever does good work, while upholding the permanent values, can equally attain divine grace and salvation:

They said: Be Jews or Christians so that you may be guided! Say: No, rather the creed of Abraham the upright, who turned away from all that is false; for he was not of those who set up associates./ Say: We acknowledge God, and that which is revealed unto us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and that which was given to all the other prophets from their Sustainer. 2:135-136

As for those (Christians and others) who acknowledge and do good works He will grant their reward in full. 3:57

Surely those who acknowledge, and those who are Jews, and who are from other religions, and Christians, whoever acknowledges God and the Last Day and does right, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. 5:69

To whoever, male or female, does good deeds while acknowledging, We shall give a good life and reward them according to the best of their actions. 16:97

And whoever does any good works, while he is an acknowledger, then he should not fear injustice nor being given less than his due. 20:112

Note 10

The Quran insists that, since the Judgment belongs to God alone (6:57, 6:159, 12:40, 40:12), His final judgment will allow no intercessor or intermediary besides Him (no Jesus, Muhammad and so on; 2:48, 2:254, 6:51, 6:94, 6:164; 7:53, 19:95, 39:43-45, 53:25-27, 66:10) as it will be based on absolute justice tampered with divine mercy and compassion:

Now certainly you have returned to Us, alone, as We created you at first, leaving behind all that We bestowed on you. Nor do We see with you your mediators whom you asserted to be your associates. 6:94

And as for he who acknowledges and does good, then he will have the reward of goodness, and we will speak to him simply of our plan. 18:88

And each of them will come to Him on the Resurrection Day, alone. 19:95

This is your nation, one nation, since I am the Sustainer of you all: so worship Me alone./ But they divided themselves by disputing the matter, (forgetting that) unto Us they all will be returned./ So whosoever does good work and he is an acknowledger, then his efforts will not be rejected: for We are recording it for him. 21:92-94

And seek the future abode by means of what God has granted you, and forget not your own share in this world, and do good to others as God has done good to you. And spread not corruption on Earth, for God loves not the corruptors. 28:77

Surely, those who say, “Our Sustainer is God,” then remain steadfast, upon them descend the Forces: “Fear not and grieve not, but rejoice in the glad tidings of the Paradise that you are promised.” 41:30

Surely, all those who say: “Our Sustainer is God,” then remain steadfast, there is no fear for them, nor will they grieve. 46:13

Except those who have acknowledged and do good works: and theirs shall be a reward unending! 95:6

Note 11

The Quran insists that, irrespective of faith or creed, even the smallest details of all the actions of every human will be brought to divine justice where nothing will be wasted or ignored: anyone who grows the self will succeed; whoever buries it will fail:

Verily, God does not wrong by as much as an atom’s weight. 4:40

Say: Shall I seek for Lord other than God when He is the Sustainer of everything? No self earns but from its own works, and none will bear the burden of another. 6:164

Is He not the one who stands over every self, seeing all its actions (will He need any intermediary)? Yet they set up associates with God. Say: “Name them.” 13:33

And God has created the Heavens and the Earth with the truth, and so that every self may be recompensed for what it earned, and they will not be wronged. 45:22

That no bearer of a burden can bear another’s burden:/ That man can have nothing but what he strives for. 53:38-39

Indeed, he succeeds who grows it (the self),/ And indeed, he fails who buries it. 91:9-10

Then anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, shall behold it./ And anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall behold it. 99:7-8

Note 12

The divine wisdom even apprehends the danger that associating a testimony about Muhammad with the testimony about God’s Oneness, may actually idolize him as a divine associate, thus involving shirk, the only unforgivable sin, which may in turn divert people away from the path of salvation:

Say: What is greatest as witness? Say: God: a witness between me and between you, and this Quran has been revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches. Do you then bear witness that along with God there are other gods? Say: I do not bear witness! Say: He is only One god, and I am innocent of what you associate (e.g., the idol you make of me by associating me with God in shahada)! …/ Follow what has been revealed unto you from your Sustainer:La Ilaha Illa hu (there is no god but He); and turn away from those who set up associates. …/ Say: “Bring your witnesses who bear witness that (through His associate/s, 6:19) God has forbidden this (cf. 16:35).” If they bear witness, then do not bear witness with them, nor follow the desires of those who have given the lie to Our messages, and those who do not acknowledge the End; and they make equals with their Sustainer! 6:19, 106, 150

Did those who reject think that they could take My servants as allies besides Me? We have prepared Hell for the rejecters as a dwelling…/ Say: I am but a human like you, being inspired that your god is One god. So whoever hopes to meet his Sustainer, let him do righteous work and associate none (not even me) in the worship of his Sustainer! 18:102, 110

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Extended shahada is not a requirement to be or become a Muslim

(Reason 13 of22 serious reasons shahada should contain no name except God’s’)

extended shahada is not a requirement

 
Traditional Muslims believe that both parts of the dual shahada – La Ilaha Illa Allah and Muhammadur rasulullah – are so vitally interconnected and hence so much mutually interdependent that one must declare this ‘full’ testimony, even verbally and publicly1, in order to be or become a Muslim.

But if this extended shahada was meant to be one’s key to Islam, why cannot we find it anywhere in the Quran? Why does the original, Quranic shahada (La Ilaha Illa Allah) never contain any such extension, or any name except God’s – not in a single occasion out of its 38 plus appearances in the Quran?

Please observe how the Quran defines shahada, while parallelly defining the terms Islam (submission) and Muslim (submitter):

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. 3:18

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. And whoever rejects God’s messages, then God is swift in reckoning. 3:19

If they debate with you, then say: I have submitted myself to God, as well as those who follow me. And say to those who have received the Scripture and the Gentiles: Have you submitted? If they have submitted then they are guided, and if they turn away, then you are only to deliver, and God is watcher over the servants. 3:20

Say: O People of the Book! Come to a statement common between us and you: That we worship 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 (Muslims). 3:64

O People of the Book! Why do you argue about Abraham, when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after him? Do you not reason? 3:65 …

Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but was a truth-seeker, a submitter; and was not of those who set up associates. 3:67 …

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 worshippers by spreading the knowledge of the Book, and by your deep study thereof.” 3:79

Nor would he instruct you that you take angels and prophets for lords. Would he bid you to reject after you have become submitters? 3:80 …

Do they seek a system other than God’s, while to Him submits whoever is in the Heavens and the Earth, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him they are returned? 3:83

Say: We acknowledge God and what was sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Patriarchs, and what was given to Moses, Jesus and all the prophets from their Sustainer: We make no distinction between them, and unto Him alone we are submitters. 3:84

Thus the shahada, the core of Islam, is simply an enlightened state of mind of consciously witnessing the oneness of the Divine. A Muslim is one who seeks peace through submission to the Truth of Oneness. And Islam is peace-seeking through this submission to the Truth, i.e., submission to God’s will or messages manifested through His natural laws. Only a continuous journeying along the path of Islam – through acquiring knowledge (to find the Truth) and doing justice (to submit to the Truth) – can free our mind from all idols and fallacies and lead us towards the desired Peace (salam).

These concepts are further expounded by the Quranic assertion that – while everything in the Universe is muslim (submitter), i.e., submits, willingly or unwillingly, to the divine laws that govern the Universe (3:83; cf. 13:15, 16:48-49, 19:93, 41:11; cf. 10:90) – humans have been made responsible, due to their God-given ability to choose, for their conscious acceptance or rejection of God’s messages in nature (3:19, 3:4-7, 3:21, 3:83; cf. 6:39, 22:18).

Now the Quranic shahada, as witnessing of God’s absolute oneness, cannot have in it, by definition, any name except God’s (3:18, 3:81, 7:71, 12:40, 19:65, 39:45, 40:12, 72:18). As the sole key to Islam, therefore, its message and purpose is clearly very different from that of the sectarian credos, which, with names of sanctified humans, are formulae to enter sectarian versions of Islam.

Please note how the long passage above2 desperately calls to various religious groups to unite around a common ground, the unadulterated monotheism of Abraham, the spiritual father of all monotheists (3:64-65). And note how, in line with depiction of the true shahada (3:18-19), it obliquely condemns adding any prophet’s name to it, as it insistently disapproves exaltation of prophets and humans to lords (3:64, 3:79-80; cf. 2:135-136, 6:164).

In serious violation of this Quranic call to serve none but one God alone – without sanctifying any prophet as lord or divine associate – traditional Muslims idolized Muhammad to the extent parallel to that of Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha and Lord Jesus as they elevated him to the status Our Lord Muhammad (‘Sayyiduna Muhammad’).

It is important to understand that the Quran contains clear instructions on how to become a Muslim3. For example, when Muhammad was about to become the leading Muslim of his time, he was inspired to submit to one God alone without associating anything in his submission (6:14; cf. 6:71, 40:65-66). And this is how Abraham himself became a Muslim (2:131). And this is precisely how the Queen of Sheba became a Muslim (27:44). And this is also how the children of Israel became Muslims (2:133; cf. 12:38-40). And this is exactly the same way the disciples of Jesus became Muslims (3:52; cf. 5:111). And even Pharaoh, when he was certain to drown, admitted that he was submitting to one God alone (10:90).

Evidently, the shahada, a state of awareness, was never meant to be a credo or religious formula as later misconstrued by the followers of the sectarian add-ons. Since this awareness of Oneness 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, 40:65-66), anyone from any religious/non-religious background, whoever bears it in mind and acts accordingly, is a Muslim and qualifies for salvation, with or without accepting Muhammad or converting to a sectarian version of Islam (3:20; cf. 2:111-112, 41:30, 46:13). That is why the Quran designates all messengers from all times and places and all their true followers as Muslims (10:72; 2:128; 10:84; 27:31; 5:111; 72:14). In other words, the title ‘Muslim’ is not exclusive for followers of Muhammad. The same title ‘Muslim’ has been used in the Quran to describe many other people and groups, who lived in pre-Muhammadan times, e.g., Noah (10:72), Abraham (3:67), Jacob’s children (2:133), Joseph (12:101), Moses’s people (10:84), Pharaoh’s magicians (7:126), Lot’s house (51:36), Jesus’s disciples (3:52) and so on. On the other hand, even a sectarian Muslim or a Muslim by birth may not qualify for Islam if s/he elevates anyone as idol or lord, by associating them with God (note: “that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords other than God, 3:64”).

Some people argue that, by adding Muhammad’s name with God, one recites a ‘qualified shahada’ that allegedly connects God with His true nature as opposed to deities with anti-Islamic attributes. Well, the Quran does refer to ‘specified’ testimonies by calling God ‘the god of Moses and Aaron’ (7:120-122), ‘the god of the Children of Israel’ (10:90), ‘the god of Solomon’ (27:44) and ‘the god of Jacob, Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac’ (2:133). However, all these references appear only to specify God as the God without associate – in contrast to the supreme god among numerous gods of a polytheists’ pantheon. However, in none of these testimonies is there an authorisation of any messengership along with the name of God. Rather the Quran itself clarifies this confusion elsewhere4, as it challenges the much held notion that such a testimony as recited today is a requirement in order to be or become a Muslim (2:133; cf. 12:38-40).

Finally, in contrast to popular belief, one doesn’t need to utter any declaration whatsoever, verbally or publicly, to enter or remain in the fold of Islam. The following reference to shahada insists that, to the Divine who knows our mind, it doesn’t really matter whether our witnessing is secret or open: He is God; there is no god but He; the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed (shahada); He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. 59:22. Since intentions are just as essential as actions (2:158), what is important is sincerity of mind and good work, not any lip service5 (35:10, 29:2-3, 59:22).

 

Summary

Extended shahada is not a requirement to be or become a Muslim

Traditional Muslims believe that both parts of the dual shahada – La Ilaha Illa Allah and Muhammadur rasulullah – are so vitally interconnected that one must declare this ‘full’ testimony, even verbally and publicly, in order to be or become a Muslim. This belief, however, seriously contradicts the central messages of the Quran.

The Quran in chapter 3 (e.g., 3:18-20, 64-67, 79-84) defines shahada, while parallelly defining the terms Islam (submission) and Muslim (submitter). Thus the shahada, the core of Islam, is simply an enlightened state of mind of consciously witnessing the oneness of the Divine. A Muslim is one who seeks peace through submission to the Truth of Oneness. And Islam is peace-seeking through this submission to the Truth, i.e., submission to God’s will or messages manifested through His natural laws. While everything in the Universe is muslim (submitter), i.e., submits, willingly or unwillingly, to the divine laws that govern the Universe (3:83; cf. 13:15, 16:48-49, 19:93, 41:11; cf. 10:90) – humans have been made responsible, due to their God-given ability to choose, for their conscious acceptance or rejection of God’s messages in nature (3:83, 3:19; cf. 22:18).

The same ch 3 desperately calls to various religious groups to unite around a common ground, the unadulterated monotheism of Abraham, the spiritual father of all monotheists (3:64-65). Furthermore, in line with depiction of the true shahada (3:18-19), it obliquely condemns adding any prophet’s name to it, as it insistently disapproves exaltation of prophets and humans to lords (3:64, 3:79-80; cf. 2:135-136, 6:164).

Now the Quranic shahada, as witnessing of God’s absolute oneness, cannot have in it, by definition, any name except God’s (3:18, 3:81, 7:71, 12:40, 19:65, 39:45, 40:12, 72:18). As the sole key to Islam, therefore, its message and purpose is clearly very different from that of the sectarian credos, which, with names of sanctified humans, are formulae to enter sectarian versions of Islam.

Notably, the Quran contains clear instructions on how to become a Muslim. For example, when Muhammad was about to become the leading Muslim of his time, he was inspired to submit to one God alone without associating anything in his submission (6:14; cf. 6:71, 40:65-66). And this is precisely how Abraham himself became a Muslim (2:131). And this is how the Queen of Sheba (27:44), the children of Israel (2:133; cf. 12:38-40) and the disciples of Jesus became Muslims (3:52; cf. 5:111).

Because the shahada, the witnessing of the Oneness, is the only ideological requirement for being or becoming a Muslim, anyone from any religious/non-religious background, whoever bears it in mind and acts accordingly, is a Muslim and qualifies for salvation, with or without accepting Muhammad or converting to a sectarian version of Islam (3:20; cf. 2:111-112, 41:30, 46:13). That is why the Quran designates all messengers from all times and places and all their true followers as Muslims (10:72; 2:128; 10:84; 27:31; 5:111; 72:14). On the other hand, even a sectarian Muslim or a Muslim by birth may not qualify for Islam if s/he elevates anyone as idol or lord, by associating them with God (3:64).

Some people argue that, by adding Muhammad’s name with God, one recites a ‘qualified shahada’ that allegedly connects God with His true nature as opposed to deities with anti-Islamic attributes. However, though the Quran contains references to ‘specified’ testimonies (7:120-122, 10:90, 27:44, 2:133) – which are only to specify God as the God without associate – in none of these testimonies is there an authorisation of any messengership along with the name of God. Rather the Quran itself clarifies this confusion elsewhere, as it challenges the much held notion that such a testimony as recited today is a requirement in order to be or become a Muslim (2:133; cf. 12:38-40).

Finally, in contrast to popular belief, one doesn’t need to utter any declaration whatsoever, verbally or publicly, to enter or remain in the fold of Islam. To the Divine who knows our mind, it doesn’t really matter whether our witnessing is secret or open (59:22). Since intentions are just as essential as actions (2:158), what is important is sincerity of mind and good work, not any lip service (35:10, 29:2-3, 59:22).

 

***********************************

Note 1

In sectarian understanding, the extended shahada must be recited by every Muslim as an attestation of their allegiance to Islam and by every new convert so as to be considered as a Muslim by the Islamic community. For example, when a non-Muslim intends to convert to Sunni Islam s/he needs to publicly declare the so-called ‘full shahada’ in front of witnesses. In some countries converts are awarded with a certificate after the shahada ceremony to confirm they have been admitted into the ‘fold of Islam’. In fact, by reciting an added, extra-Quranic shahada, a person has to tell others that s/he officially belongs to a particular club of sectarian Islam.

Note 2

We get a summary of the long passage above (3:18-20, 64-67, 79-84) in the following verses: He is the Living; there is no god but He. So call on Him while devoting the system for Him alone. Praise be to God, the Sustainer of the worlds./ Say: I have been forbidden from worshipping those whom you are calling upon besides God, since the proofs have come to me from my Sustainer. And I have been commanded to submit to the Sustainer of the worlds. 40:65-66

Note 3

When Muhammad was about to become the leading Muslim of his time, he was inspired to submit to one God alone, and not to associate anything in his submission: Say: I am commanded to be foremost among those who submit; and that: Do not be of those who associate. 6:14 (cf. Say: The guidance is God’s guidance, and we have been ordered to submit to the Sustainer of the worlds. 6:71). And this is how Abraham himself became a Muslim: When his Sustainer said to him: Submit, he said: I submit to the Sustainer of the worlds. 2:131. And this is how the Queen of Sheba became a Muslim: She said: My Sustainer, I have wronged myself; and, with Solomon, I submit to God, the Sustainer of the worlds. 27:44. And this is how the children of Israel became Muslims (2:133; cf. 12:38-40; see note 4). And this is exactly the same way the disciples of Jesus became Muslims: The disciples said: We are God’s supporters, we acknowledge God and we bear witness that we have submitted. 3:52 (cf. They said: We acknowledge, and bear witness that we have submitted. 5:111). Though they all acknowledged God and the messages of Jesus, they didn’t have to declare “la ilaha illa Allah, Isa rasul Allah” in order to become Muslims. All what they needed was to submit to one God alone. And even Pharaoh, when he was certain to drown, admitted that he was submitting to one God alone: But when he was certain to drown, he said: I acknowledge that there is no god except the One in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of the submitters. 10:90

Note 4

The Quran challenges the much held notion that such a dual shahada as recited today is a requirement in order to be or become a Muslim: Or, were you then witnesses when death approached Jacob and he told his sons: What shall you worship 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 (note: Jacob’s sons did not include any messenger’s name in shahada, 12:38-40). We cannot bear witness – because we were not witnesses – to the messengership of Muhammad, as we were also not witnesses to the messengership of Jacob or Abraham or Ishmael or Isaac or Moses or Jesus or any other prophet. What we must serve and submit to, however, is not any of the messengers but the same God whom they all served.

Note 5

Since intentions are just as essential as actions (2:158), what is important is sincerity of mind and good work, not any lip service: Whoever desires glory,- to God belongs all glory. Unto Him ascend all pure words (‘kalima tayyiba’); and all good works does He exalt. 35:10; Do people think that they will be left alone on saying, “We acknowledge”, and not be tried?/ While We tried those before them, so God knows those who are truthful and knows the liars. 29:2-3

Islam is not about any particular messenger

(Reason 15 of22 serious reasons shahada should contain no name except God’s’)

Islam is not about any particular messenger

 
Islam is not about any particular messenger

Islam is peace-seeking through submission to the Truth, i.e., submission to God’s will or messages manifested through His natural laws (2:131-133; 2:163-165; 3:2-7, 18-27, 52-53, 62-65, 79-83; 4:65, 125; 5:111; 6:14, 71-81; 7:172; 10:100-101; 33:7, 22, 44, 56; 40:65-66).

So, for Islam, or peace-seeking, we need to find the Truth by understanding the natural laws by acquiring knowledge and then to submit to it by acting accordingly by doing justice. Only a continuous journeying along the path of knowledge and justice – which the Quran calls the straight path or Islam – can free our mind from all idols and fallacies and lead us towards the desired Peace (salam).

The faith system of Islam is simple: shahada or witnessing to God’s absolute oneness (3:18, 3:81, 7:71, 12:40, 19:65, 39:45, 40:12, 72:18) and, for further cognizance, accepting the five truths that reflect humanity’s relationship with the Divine (the five articles of iman1: God, final judgment, controllers, all scriptures and the equality of all messengers of all times and places; 4:136, 2:177, 2:285).

The shahada, the core of Islam, is simply an enlightened state of mind of consciously witnessing the oneness of the Divine (3:18-19). It implies witnessing the Oneness of The Reality, and therefore the oneness of nature, and therefore the oneness of life, and therefore the oneness of humanity, and so forth. By definition, this can have no name in it except God’s. Clearly, the shahada, a state of awareness, was never meant to be a credo or religious formula as later misconstrued by the followers of the sectarian add-ons.

Because this awareness of Oneness is the sole basis of Islam, bearing it in mind is the only ideological requirement to be or become a Muslim – one who seeks peace through submission to the Truth of Oneness (2:111-112, 2:130-131, 3:18-20, 6:71, 18:110, 27:44, 40:66). So anyone from any religious/non-religious background – Hindu, Pantheist, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Confucian, Taoist, Shinto, Jain, Buddhist, Christian, Muhammadan, Sufi, Sikh, Bahai, Mormon, Agnostic, and so on – whoever bears in mind this awareness and acts accordingly, is a Muslim and qualifies for salvation (2:111-112, 41:30, 46:13). That is why the Quran designates all messengers from all times and places2 and all their true followers as Muslims (10:72; 2:128; 10:84; 27:31; 5:111; 72:14).

All the core messages of Islam are derivatives of and revolving around this one single message of oneness, incorporated in shahada, which demands knowledge and balance (6:115; cf. 3:18, 4:135, 5:8).

Hence, in line with its faith system that requires seeking knowledge, most of Islam is doing good work, the mainstay of which is birr, i.e., kindness and justice. Often translated as righteousness, as in the example below, the word actually includes all good works and has a rich plethora of meanings throughout the Quran, like goodness, kindness, compassion, mercy, justice, care, virtue, dutifulness, piety, righteousness etc (2:224, 2:189, 3:92, 3:193, 3:198, 5:2, 19:14, 19:32, 58:9, 60:8, 76:5, 80:16, 82:13, 83:18):

Righteousness is not to turn your faces towards the East or the West; but righteous is he who acknowledges God and the Last Day and the Controllers and the Book (scriptures of all religions, 2:285) and the prophets (of all times and places, 4:136); and spends out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the traveller and the seekers and sets necks free; and establishes social order; and contributes towards betterment; and they fulfil the contracts that are made; and are firm and patient in pain and adversity and in time of stress. It is they who are truthful, and it is they, they who are conscious. 2:177

Thus, true spirituality or piousness consists in higher human values and rational morality of compassion and justice (2:60, 3:104, 4:36, 4:135, 5:8, 16:90, 49:13) rather than in formal rituals or superficial aspects of traditional religions (2:142, 2:148, 2:177, 5:101-103).

Since God belongs to everyone and everywhere, it doesn’t really matter as such whether we turn our face towards Kaba or Jerusalem, or Varanasi or Brindavan, or whether we dwell in East or West or share a culture oriental or western (2:115, 2:177). The reason the Qiblah was changed was quite simple:  it was only to enlighten us that the Qiblah itself means nothing as it doesn’t matter which way we turn our faces (2:142). This change was no more than a pragmatic response to the socio-political issues of the time; it was NOT to tell that the new direction was sacred or better than the old one (2:143). Likewise, accepting a non-Israelite messenger didn’t mean accepting the new messenger as greater than any of his predecessors. It only meant that what is truly important is the message itself rather than who bears it. Time and again, the Quran calls us to break the traditional boundaries and see beyond the horizon (2:170, 4:97, 5:104-105, 7:70, 21:52-58,   26:70-77,   37:69-71, 43:22-24).

This is how Karen Armstrong describes the essence of Islam: “What is the Qur’an but a call to action? When the Qur’an talks of faith it doesn’t mean that we have to accept a whole lot of ideas, but it follows it up always with its performing the works of mercy, or the salihat, wherein the Qur’an asks people to do good and look after the poor and the vulnerable, to free slaves, and care for orphans and widows.”

This essence of Islam – submission to the Truth of one God alone, by turning-away from all that is false, and then mercy and justice to all of His creation – constitutes the deen or ‘one moral law’ for all people, inspired to all messengers (98:5). The Quran calls it the straight path, which is defined as the straight path of all messengers (1:6, 6:39, 6:87, 6:126, 6:153, 6:161, 22:54, 42:52, 43:43, 46:30) that consists of the same basic moral commandments found in the previous scriptures, including the Torah and the Gospel (6:150-153, 6:154-156, 17:22-39).

That is why the Quran insistently calls to regard all messengers as equal and to respect all inspired texts/ messages/ scriptures of all religions, while acknowledging unity of all revelations, accepting them as integral constituents of ‘one Book of God’ (‘al-kitab’, e.g., 2:113, 2:136, 3:19, 3:100, 3:119, 6:91-92, 6:154-157, 10:37, 21:7, 23:68, 39:18; cf. 18:27, 10:94).

Thus Islam is not the path of any particular messenger.

Muhammad is NOT central to Islamic faith system

Now, Muhammadur rasulullah (‘Muhammad is God’s messenger,’ 48:29) in the Quran is a phrase or statement of fact, which is a part of one of the ‘articles of iman’ – i.e., the truth about the equality of all messengers – but not a part of the shahada or bearing witness. Though an acknowledger (mumin) is asked to acknowledge and respect Muhammad as a messenger and the deliverer of the final testament (47:2, 33:40,10:47-48), s/he is also asked to similarly acknowledge and respect all messengers without making any distinction (2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 4:152, 21:92, 23:51-53, 33:40). As the Quran thus never designates Muhammad in superlative terms and never puts him in comparison or competition with others, it never describes him as the best messenger or the best human on Earth (2:136, 2:285, 3:144, 38:65, 46:9, 47:19).

The Quran further asserts that Muhammad, a mere mortal, doesn’t serve as any spiritual link with God (3:79-80, 3:144, 6:19, 6:50, 6:164, 16:51, 17:57, 18:110, 19:81-82, 38:65, 39:3, 40:12, 46:9, 46:28, 72:21-23, 79:42-44) and doesn’t serve as an additional guide apart from the Quran (10:35-36). While rejecting all intercessors and intermediaries between human and God (2:48, 2:254, 2:257, 6:51, 6:94, 6:164; 7:53, 19:95, 25:3, 39:43-45, 50:16, 66:10), the Quran puts full responsibility on every individual to use their own mind to personally know and act (10:100, 17:36, 5:104-105, 90:4-13) and to directly commune with their Sustainer without seeking a middleman (6:94, 6:161-164,  50:16, 2:257).

Please note that, rather than describing Islam as ‘the way of Muhammad’, the Quran constantly describes it as ‘the way of Abraham’ (‘Millat Ibraheem’; 2:120, 2:130, 2:135, 3:95, 4:125, 6:161, 12:37, 12:38, 16:123, 22:78). So Muhammad, as a devoted adherent of Abrahamic system that he was inspired to diligently follow, was neither an introducer of Islam, nor he has brought anything fundamentally new in the system (4:125, 6:159-164, 22:78; cf. 16:123, 46:5-6, 9, 28). All that was revealed to him was previously revealed to his predecessors (Nothing is being said to you but what has been said to the messengers before you. 41:43; cf. 10:94, 23:66-68). His impact on Islam was not as a pioneer, since, as the Quran insists, he did not contribute to Islam by innovating or changing any of the principles or essentials as all those were already known through the earlier messengers (Say: I am no innovator among the messengers, nor know I what will be done with me or with you. 46:9; cf. 3:144, 38:65, 47:19).

Muhammad’s duty, according to the Quran, was nothing except as a messenger conveying to the humanity the divine message, the final testament (42:48, 5:99; cf. 5:92, 5:99, 13:40, 16:35, 16:82, 24:54, 29:18, 38:65, 42:48, 64:12; note the double negative used in ‘nothing … except’ for emphasis). Thus his actual contribution to Islam was the delivery of the Quran, through which the same eternal deen that had been inspired to all the previous messengers was authenticated and re-established (3:3, 3:81, 10:37, 35:31, 46:12), while the existing religion of the Arabs was perfected3 as their prevalent practices were brought back into the folds of Islam through simplification and purification (5:3, 7:157).

However, this doesn’t constitute any ground for associating Muhammad’s name with God’s name in shahada, because, like other messengers, he was also only kindly chosen by God for this duty of delivery (16:2-3, 16:35), a mercy which God could have withdrawn from him anytime if so willed (17:86).

Islam is NOT centred on the glorification of a human

Finally, it is important to remember that Islam, unlike traditional Christianity or Muhammadanism, is a not a faith system whose core formula is centred on the deification and glorification of a human. This explains why The Quran doesn’t authorize any added name in shahada.

Summary

Islam is not about any particular messenger

Islam is peace-seeking through submission to the Truth, i.e., submission to God’s will or messages manifested through His natural laws (2:131-133; 2:163-165; 3:2-7, 18-27, 52-53, 62-65, 79-83; 4:65, 125; 5:111; 6:14, 71-81; 7:172; 10:100-101; 33:7, 22, 44, 56; 40:65-66). Only a continuous journeying along the path of Islam – through acquiring knowledge (to find the Truth) and doing justice (to submit to the Truth) – can free our mind from all idols and fallacies and lead us towards the desired Peace (salam).

The faith system of Islam is simple: shahada or witnessing to God’s absolute oneness (3:18, 3:81, 7:71, 12:40, 19:65, 39:45, 40:12, 72:18) and, for further cognizance, accepting the five truths that reflect humanity’s relationship with the Divine (the five articles of iman: God, final judgment, controllers, all scriptures and the equality of all messengers of all times and places; 4:136, 2:177, 2:285).

The shahada, the core of Islam, is simply an enlightened state of mind of consciously witnessing the Oneness of the Divine with its related implications (3:18-19). Because this awareness of Oneness is the sole basis of Islam, anyone from any religious/non-religious background, whoever bears it in mind and acts accordingly, is a Muslim and qualifies for salvation (2:111-112, 41:30, 46:13). That is why the Quran designates all messengers from all times and places and all their true followers as Muslims (10:72; 2:128; 10:84; 27:31; 5:111; 72:14).

In line with its faith system that demands seeking knowledge (3:18), most of Islam is doing good work, the mainstay of which is birr, i.e., kindness and justice (2:177; cf. 2:224, 3:92, 5:2, 19:14, 58:9, 76:5, 83:18). Thus, true spirituality or piousness consists in higher human values and rational morality of compassion and justice (2:60, 3:104, 4:36, 4:135, 5:8, 16:90, 49:13) rather than in formal rituals or superficial aspects of traditional religions (2:142, 2:148, 2:177, 5:101-103). This essence of Islam – submission to the Truth of one God alone, by turning-away from all that is false, and then mercy and justice to all of His creation – constitutes the deen or ‘one moral law’ for all people, inspired to all messengers (98:5). Hence the Quran insistently calls to regard all messengers as equal and to acknowledge unity of all religions, accepting all revelations as integral constituents of ‘one Book of God’ (‘al-kitab’).

Thus, Islam is not the path of any particular messenger, including Muhammad. Though an acknowledger (mumin) is asked to acknowledge and respect Muhammad as a messenger and the deliverer of the final testament (47:2, 33:40,10:47-48), s/he is also asked to similarly acknowledge and respect all messengers without making any distinction (2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 4:152, 21:92, 23:51-53, 33:40). The Quran also asserts that Muhammad, a mere mortal, doesn’t serve as any spiritual link with God and doesn’t serve as an additional guide apart from the Quran (6:50, 6:164, 10:35-36). While rejecting all intercessors and intermediaries between human and God (2:48), the Quran puts full responsibility on every individual to use their own mind to personally know and act (10:100, 17:36, 5:104-105, 90:4-13) and to directly commune with their Sustainer without seeking a middleman (6:94, 6:161-164,  50:16, 2:257).

Muhammad, as a devoted adherent of Abrahamic system, Millat Ibraheem (2:130, 2:135, 3:95), was neither an introducer of Islam nor he has brought anything fundamentally new in the system (4:125, 6:159-164, 22:78; cf. 16:123, 46:5-6, 9, 28). His duty, according to the Quran, was nothing except delivering the divine message, the final testament (42:48, 5:99), through which the same eternal deen of all the previous messengers was authenticated and re-established (3:3, 3:81, 10:37, 35:31, 46:12), while the existing religion of the Arabs was brought back into the folds of Islam through simplification and purification (5:3, 7:157).

However, this doesn’t constitute any ground for associating Muhammad’s name with God’s name in shahada. It is important to remember that Islam, unlike traditional Christianity or Muhammadanism, is a not a faith system whose core formula is centred on the highlighting or glorification of a human. This explains why The Quran doesn’t authorize any added name in shahada.

 

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Note 1

The Quran makes a clear distinction (3:52-53, 5:111-113) between shahada (3:18) and the articles of iman (4:136, 2:177, 2:285). Through shahada, or witnessing God’s oneness, one becomes Muslim, while by acknowledging the articles of iman, or the five truths reflecting humanity’s relationship with God, one becomes mumin. The full status of mumin is higher than the basic status of Muslim: a Muslim needs to strive in order to attain the status of mumin (49:14-17). The basics of iman are acknowledgement of God and akhirat (End, Whole, Ultimate, ‘holistic’; 2:62, 3:113-114, 5:69), which, accompanied with good work, are declared sufficient for human salvation (2:8, 2:62, 2:111-112, 2:126, 3:113-115, 5:69, 95:6, 20:112). In addition, a mumin also accepts human’s perceived links with God and her constant striving to connect with Him via revelation: i.e., controllers, all scriptures and the equality of all messengers of all times and places.

Note 2

Messengers, i.e., sages and visionaries as the finest representatives of human minds, have been reflecting throughout the ages the light of ‘one universal truth’ (‘heavenly rain’), which is shattered by their specific space-times into a spectrum of diverse colours in the form of a splendid variety of philosophical and socio-cultural concepts and spiritual experiences, thus endlessly widening the range of human’s perceptions of the truth.

Note 3

Please note that it was not Islam but the existing religion of the Arabs that was perfected and completed after the advent of Prophet Muhammad (5:3). As the same eternal system that was recurrently delivered by all messengers, Islam was always perfect and complete, and needed no further improvement with any particular messenger.

Extended shahada creates false religions by inventing secondary authorities

(Reason 17 of22 serious reasons shahada should contain no name except God’s’)

Extended shahada creates false religions by inventing secondary authorities

 
Apart from La ilaha illa Allah (‘There is no god but God’), no other shahada is approved by the Quran (3:18-19, 4:166).

And absolutely no authority is given nowhere to whatsoever association of other name/s with God’s (Do you know any who can be named along with Him? 19:65; 3:18-19, 3:151, 7:71, 12:40, 19:65, 28:88, 39:45, 40:12).

To our observation, the Quran doesn’t include in shahada any name other than God’s due to the following most obvious reason:

Bearing witness about a selected creature, in association with bearing witness about the Creator, exalts the creature – somehow and to some extent – to the rank of the Creator and, therefore, presents as a case of association or shirk (19:65), the only unforgivable sin in Islam (4:48; cf. 4:116, 39:65, 6:88).

Then the extended shahada, where one bears witness about Muhammad in association with bearing witness about God, evolved as a violation to this monotheistic concept.

Because no such formula is approved by the Quran, it must be an innovation and a later development.

It must have been formulated by Muhammadans after the Prophet’s death and during the first decades of the Islamic era in a specific environment – under the pressure of various socio-economic, political and psycho-theological factors – in order to serve, on the first place, specific purposes of various interest groups of that time.

Now, while proclaiming the precise formula ‘There is no god but God, Muhammad is God’s messenger’ – which binds and couples the testimony of God’s oneness with the testimony of Muhammad’s messengership in an interwoven formula1 – many Muslims of earlier generations somehow perceived God and Muhammad as two reciprocal mates of a divine pair.

Thus, by binding, coupling, interweaving and mingling Muhammad with God, they subconsciously fabricated in their fantasy an idolatrous concept of a very intimate, special, dual relationship between their fictional, mocked God and their imaginary, legendary Muhammad.

With time they eventually converted their cult leader into an idol2, an associate and a terrestrial counterpart with God (warning! And God has said, “Do not take-up two gods, two. There is only One god, so it is Me, only Me, that you shall revere.” 16:51).

Then, also in daily practice, by bearing witness about Muhammad in association with bearing witness about God, one turns Muhammad the human into an associate with God and, therefore, a secondary authority in divinity and divine legislation (6:19, 6:106, 6:150, 16:35).

This supposed co-authorship of Muhammad with God gives manmade books of hadith hearsays a green light and a divine status besides the Quran3, while seriously violating a most important instruction of the Quran: Do not uphold any other hadith but the Quran only (So, in which HADITH after God and His messages will they believe? 45:6; 7:185, 77:50; cf. The Quran prohibited hadiths).

Then this makes one to blindly accept Hadith (words and deeds attributed to Muhammad) as divine and to follow it as a secondary source of Islam (warning! Or do you have another book which you study?/ In it, you find all that you may wish to find? 68:37-38; warning! Or have We given them a Book wherefrom they are taking clarification? Nay, but what the transgressors promise one another is nothing but delusion. 35:40; cf. 6:112, 2:169).

From then on, any manmade teaching or any idea or opinion of a particular interest group can be made ‘divine’ by falsely attributing it to Muhammad through one or more fabricated hadith hearsays.

This creates false religions and thereby diverts people from the right path of Islam.

And this is exactly what happened with Islam4 during the Umayyad and the earlier parts of the Abbasid period.

Since then, this supposed co-authorship of Muhammad with God in divinity and divine legislation, thus illegitimately exercised through countless hadiths, has been seriously interfering in the divine authority of the Quran (17:42-43) and hence creating great confusion among the people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

And this has eventually contributed to the downfall of the ‘Islamic civilization’ of the past as well as to the dangerous breeding of so many serious ills and failures of the Muslim societies of the past and the present5 (7:182, 185; cf. 68:44).

Thus it appears that all the corruption in Islam somehow started with the manmade extension of the Quranic shahada.

 

Summary

Extended shahada creates false religions by inventing secondary authorities

The traditionally  perceived ‘divinity’ of Muhammad – an un-Quranic and anti-Quranic concept – remains constantly ‘established’ in mind as it is continuously ‘certified’ by bearing witness about Muhammad in association with bearing witness about God.

Formulized as ‘full shahada’, this ongoing psychological exercise turns Muhammad the human into an associate with God and so into a human god and so a second author in divinity and divine legislation.

This supposed co-authorship of Muhammad with God gives manmade books of hadith hearsays a green light and a divine status besides the Quran, while seriously violating a most important Quranic instruction: Do not uphold any other hadith but the Quran only. Then this makes one to blindly follow Hadith and its outgrowths as a secondary source of Islam. From then on, any teaching or any idea or opinion of a particular interest group can be made ‘divine’ by deviously attributing it to Muhammad through one or more fabricated hadith hearsays.

This creates false religions and thereby diverts people from the right path of Islam. And this is how generations of Muhammadans remain misguided by the vicious cycle of various pseudo-islams and their unending consequences.

 

***********************************

Note 1

This extra-Quranic formula, with its interweaving nature, clearly resembles the Christian confession of faith where the Father and the Son co-exist within one deity as One (John 17:3). It could be also perceived by some as an emblem representing the unity of existence (wahdat al-wujud), where the Creator and the creation intermingle into One.

Note 2

Since the ulterior motives behind the extended shahada violate the notion of God’s indivisible sovereignty and thereby prompt people to worship the messenger as a semi-divinity and a divine co-legislator along with God, it may as easily instigate the intolerant devotees to commit acts of extremism and most heinous crimes in the name of their human Lord (warning! Say: Shall I seek for Lord other than God when He is the Sustainer of everything? 6:164; cf. 2:135-136, 3:64-65, 3:80, 18:101-110).

Note 3

Because Muhammad, as depicted in the Quran, is not allowed to share in divinity or in divine judgement (6:114, 10:35-36, 12:40, 18:26, 28:88, 30:30, 30:43, 98:5), he was not authorised to deliver any of his own teachings in God’s name or to claim any of his personal sayings to be inspired by God (69:43-46, 17:73-75). Thus, as he is not a co-author in divinity and divine legislation, he was not supposed to issue, amend or cancel any religious law on his own (30:35, 12:39-40, 66:1). He brought no ‘other book’ and no other message apart from the Quran (10:15, 68:35-44). Obviously, no hadith book can be accepted as a co-authority with the Quran to clarify the Quran (35:40; cf. 6:112, 2:169).

Note 4

Looking into the historical context of the early Islamic centuries we can try to grasp what was there in the minds of those Muhammad-worshippers during the Umayyad and the earlier parts of the Abbasid period, who invented the extended shahada as they found it so vital to associate Muhammad’s name with God’s.

Note 5

The Quran appears to predict the socio-politico-economic and spiritual decline of the Muhammadans who, instead of following ‘God’s hadith’ (4:87, i.e. the Quran; cf. 77:50, 18:6, 53:59, 56:81, 39:23, 52:34, 6:68, 4:140, 12:111), have been mainly following various manmade hadiths that mock the actual messages of the Quran (4:140, 6:68, 7:182-185,15:95, 31:6, 68:44).

The Quran links the added shahada to rejection

(Reason 9 of ‘22 serious reasons shahada should contain no name except God’s’)

The Quran links the added shahada to rejection

 
Associating ‘others’ with God is a rejection of His Oneness

The Quran describes associating ‘others’ with God as rejection (kufr), i.e., a deviation from the acknowledgement (iman) of God’s absolute oneness:

This is because when God Alone was mentioned, you rejected, but when associates were included besides Him, you acknowledged. 40:12; cf. 39:45; 12:106

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

The divine wisdom seems to have apprehended that the polytheistic inclination in the majority to reject God alone and to look for associates, along with the imitating of some of the earlier religious groups, would contribute to this deviation from acknowledgement to rejection among Muhammadans, thus extending the shahada with addition/s:

The majority of them will not acknowledge God without setting up associates. 12:106

O you who acknowledge, if you obey some of those who received the Book they will turn you after your acknowledgement into rejecters! 3:100; cf. Those who rejected among the people of the Book and/i.e., the associaters … 98:1; cf. 5:48-51

Not surprisingly, as we will observe below, the Quran describes bearing witness about Muhammad as rejection, i.e., an antithesis of the acknowledgement of God’s absolute oneness.

The added shahada relates to rejection

Please note that the only instance in the Quran where Muhammad is included in ‘shahada’ is, ironically, a speech uttered by the hypocrites (63:1). This is apparently that ‘twisted speech’ (47:30), or that specific ‘mark’, whereby hypocrites can be recognized and differentiated from the true acknowledgers (29:11).

Now, while the Quran thus relates the testimony ‘Muhammadur rasulullah’ to hypocrisy, it also links it to REJECTION. Let us read the verse 63:1 in its context:

When the hypocrites come to you they say, “We bear witness that you are indeed God’s messenger.” And God knows that you are indeed His messenger, and God bears witness that the hypocrites are indeed fabricators/liars.

They have made their proclamation as a cover, thus they repel from the way of God. Miserable indeed is what they do.

That is because they acknowledged (by bearing witness that there is no god but God, 3:18), then rejected (by bearing witness that along with God there are associates, 6:19, ?by bearing witness that Muhammad is God’s messenger, 63:1, thus bearing witness over their own rejection, 9:17). Hence, their hearts are sealed, so they do not understand.

And when you see them, you are impressed by their look; and when they speak, you listen to their speech. … They are the enemies, so beware of them. 63:1-4

So, the hypocrites who proclaim the added shahada are actually those who ‘acknowledged, then rejected’. And, as disclosed below, they are the same hypocrites who ‘set up associates … while they bear witness over their own rejection’, ?because they bear witness that Muhammad is God’s messenger:

It was not for those who set up associates to maintain God’s temples while they bear witness over their own rejection (i.e., they bear witness that along with God there are other gods, 6:19, ?by bearing witness that Muhammad is God’s messenger, 63:1). For these, their works have fallen (cf. 2:38, 3:151, 39:65, 6:88), and in the fire they abide. …

And those (hypocrites) who establish a temple of worship to create mischief and cause rejection, to cause division among those who acknowledge, and as an outpost for those who fought God and His messenger before. They will swear that they only wanted to do good, but God bears witness that they are fabricators/liars. 9:17, 107

These verses above remind us of the current Muhammadans who maintain sectarian mosques founded on extended shahada while bearing witness about associates! It is interesting to read them together with a few other related texts, e.g.:

Then who is more evil than they who attribute their own fabrications to God or give the lie to His messages? … They will say, “Where are those whom you used to call on besides God?” they will say, “They have abandoned us!” and they bore witness against themselves that they were rejecters. 7:37

We shall throw dread into the hearts of those who rejected, because of what they have associated besides God, for which He has never sent down any authority; and their destiny is the fire; what a miserable abode for the transgressors! 3:151 (cf. 2:38)

Note the veiled association between bearing witness about Muhammad and REJECTION:

God is enough as witnessMuhammad is God’s messenger; and those who are with him are stern towards the rejecters and kind among themselves. 48:28-29

Bearing witness about Muhammad relates to fabricated teachings

Then let us look into 63:1-4 through some of its further correlations. Here we note that the hypocrites – who proclaim the added shahada despite the repeated divine decree that God is enough as witness that Muhammad was God’s messenger – fabricate false teachings (cf. fabrications in 7:37 and hadith in 6:68) and create division among people:

Those who acknowledge fight in the cause of God, while those who reject fight in the cause of evil; so fight the supporters of the DEVIL, for the planning of the DEVIL is weak. …

And We have sent thee as a messenger to the people but God is ENOUGH as witness (so, no one else needs to bear witness about you).

Whoever obeys the messenger has obeyed God; and whoever turns away, We have not sent you as a guardian over them.

And they say, “obedience,” but when they go away from you a faction of them spends the night in devising (teachings) other than what you tell them; and God records what they devise. So turn away from them and put your trust in God. God is enough for your trust.

Do they not study the Quran? And if it were from any other than God they would have certainly found therein many contradictions. 4:76, 79-82

The ones who break their pledge to God after making the covenant (bearing witness about God’s oneness, cf. 7:172), and cut asunder (the unity of humankind) what God has bidden to be joined, and spread corruption on Earth; these will be the losers. 2:27

The passage below confirms, once again, the oft-repeated Quranic position that God is enough as witness that Muhammad was God’s messenger and expounds how bearing witness about Muhammad relates to fabricated teachings (note the word ‘hadith’):

Say: What is greatest as witness? Say: God: a witness between me and between you, and this Quran has been revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches. Do you then bear witness that along with God there are other gods? Say: I do not bear witness! Say: He is only One god, and I am innocent of what you associate (e.g., the idol you make of me by associating me with God in shahada; cf. 41:6, 18:110)! … (note in the next verses: invents lies messages 6:21; associates associates 6:22; associates 6:23; lied fabricated 6:24; not acknowledgereject 6:25)

And when you see those who engage in mocking Our messages, then turn away from them until they move on to a different HADITH; and if the DEVIL lets you forget, then, after recollection, do not stay with those unjust people.

Follow what has been revealed unto you from your Sustainer: ‘There is no god but He’; and turn away from those who set up associates.

And thus We have appointed to every prophet an enemy – DEVILS from humans and invisibles, inspiring one another with decorative speech, as delusion. Had thy Sustainer willed, they would not have done it. So disregard them and all they fabricate. …

Say: “Bring your witnesses who bear witness that (through His associate/s, 6:19) God has forbidden this (cf. 16:35).” If they bear witness, then do not bear witness with them, nor follow the desires of those who have given the lie to Our messages, and those who do not acknowledge the End; and they make equals with their Sustainer! 6:19, 68, 106, 112, 150 (the context goes on describing the sectarians as polytheists, 6:159-164)

The added shahada shaped today’s distorted, Arabized Islam

Finally, keeping in mind 63:1-4, which relates the testimony about Muhammad to rejection and hypocrisy, please read the following:

The Arabs are harder in rejection and hypocrisy, and more liable to ignore the limits of what God has sent down upon His messenger – but God is Knower, Wise. 9:97

The above verse, if rendered figuratively (cf. 18:54), seems very prophetic as it somehow sheds light on our current world situation. Though revealed in a different historical context, it appears to be criticizing the rejection and hypocrisy of even some of the today’s Arab bigots. Instead of upholding the simple, universal messages of Oneness, as summarized in the original shahada of Islam – these stubborn sectarians are trying to dominate the Muslim world by maintaining a rigid, distorted, Arabized version of Islam, which is a byproduct of the un-Quranic, extended shahada that associates ‘others’ with God (39:45).

Summary

The Quran links the added shahada to rejection

The Quran describes associating ‘others’ with God as rejection (kufr), i.e., a deviation from the acknowledgement (iman) of God’s absolute oneness (40:12; cf. 39:45; 12:106). The divine wisdom seems to have apprehended that the polytheistic inclination in the majority to reject God alone and to look for associates, along with the imitating of some of the earlier religious groups, would contribute to this deviation from acknowledgement to rejection among Muhammadans, thus extending the shahada with addition/s (12:106, 3:100; cf. 5:48-51, 6:19).

So, while the Quran relates the testimony ‘Muhammadur rasulullah’ to hypocrisy, it also links it to REJECTION. And this explains why the hypocrites who proclaim this added shahada (63:1) are actually those who ‘acknowledged, then rejected’ (63:3). They acknowledged by bearing witness that there is no god but God (3:18). And they rejected by bearing witness that along with God there are associates (6:19), ?by bearing witness that Muhammad is God’s messenger (63:1), thus bearing witness over their own rejection (9:17; cf. 7:37, 3:151, 2:38). Please note that, as disclosed elsewhere, they are the same hypocrites who ‘set up associates … while they bear witness over their own rejection’ (9:17, 107). Also note, for instance in 48:28-29, the veiled association between bearing witness about Muhammad and REJECTION.

When we look into 63:1-4 through some of its further correlations, we observe that the hypocrites – who proclaim the added shahada despite the repeated divine decree that God is enough as witness that Muhammad was God’s messenger – fabricate false teachings and create division among people (4:79-82; 2:27; 6:19, 68, 106, 112, 150, 159-164; 9:17, 107). These verses remind us of the current Muhammadans who maintain sectarian mosques founded on extended shahada while bearing witness about associates (cf. 9:17, 107).

Furthermore, the Quran seems to prophetically condemn the ‘rejection and hypocrisy’ of some of the today’s Arab sectarians (9:97) as they are trying to dominate the Muslim world by maintaining a rigid, distorted, Arabized version of Islam, which is a byproduct of the un-Quranic, extended shahada that associates ‘others’ with God (39:45; cf. 41:6, 18:110).

The Quran presaged the extended shahada as deviation

(Reason 16 of22 serious reasons shahada should contain no name except God’s’)

The Quran presaged the extended shahada as deviation

 
Since the Quranic testimony about God’s oneness, La ilaha illa Allah, is the focal point of Islam, this must have been arguably the only shahada during the time of the prophet of Islam and his ‘rightly guided successors’ (3:18-19; cf. 47:19, 37:35-36, 6:106, 21:25, 16:2, 22:40, 41:30).

This is evidenced by a chronological review of the Dated Muslim texts and numismatic materials from the earlier Islamic decades that expose how this original shahada of Unity was gradually transmuted into the present day shahadatan of Duality in line with an increasing idolization of Muhammad, a process that was influenced by various factors, including politics and rivalry (3:19) during the period of Arab expansion.

Remarkably, associating Muhammad with God in shahada, an act of setting associate, which was thus a later invention in Islamic history and a DEVIATION from original Islam, was something that the Quran recurrently presaged and warned against.

For instance, the following verses express clear concerns that Muhammadans would distort the core Islamic message, the message of divine Oneness, by associating their messenger with God:

Say: I am but a human like you, being inspired that your god is One god. So whoever hopes to meet his Sustainer, let him do righteous work and never associate anyone (not even me) in the worship of his Sustainer! 18:110

Say: I am no more than a human being like you. It is inspired to me that your god is One god, therefore you shall be upright towards Him and seek His forgiveness. And woe to those who associate (others, even me, with God). 41:6 (cf. 38:65)

Follow what has been revealed unto you from your Sustainer, there is no god but He; and turn away from those who set up associates. 6:106

Now compare the above verses with the one below. While proclaiming that God’s testimony itself is the greatest witnessing to authenticate the message of the messenger, which, therefore, requires no additional witnessing in this regard, it confirms the oft-repeated Quranic position that God is enough as witness that Muhammad was God’s messenger and that it is undue and inappropriate for humans to bear witness about the messenger/s (4:79, 4:166, 6:19, 10:28-29, 13:43, 17:94-96, 29:52, 41:47-48, 41:53, 46:8, 48:28-29, 63:1). It is interesting to note how the verse specifically prognosticates the possible idolization of Muhammad by his devotees and future Muhammadans, for which he cannot be held responsible:

Say: What is greatest as witness? Say: God: a witness between me and between you, and this Quran has been revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches. Do you then bear witness that along with God there are other gods? Say: I do not bear witness! Say: He is only One god, and I am innocent of what you associate (e.g., the idol you make of me by associating me with God in shahada)! 6:19

Please observe how the question “Do you then bear witness that along with God there are other gods?” appears to envisage that deification of Muhammad, against his will, would be consolidated by his worshippers with a formula that “bears witness about Muhammad along with God”. And that, as the context 6:19-150 indicates, this extended shahada would evolve with the proliferation of Hadith (note the word ‘hadith’ in 6:68), an evil fabrication that mocks the real messages of the Quran (6:19, 68, 106, 112-116, 150).

Not surprisingly, the Quran describes bearing witness about Muhammad’s messengership as rejection (kufr), i.e., a DEVIATION from the acknowledgement (iman) of God’s absolute oneness. Here is a detailed study on this issue: The Quran links the added shahada to rejection.

The divine wisdom seems to have apprehended that, while the imitating of some of the earlier religious groups by Muhammadans could contribute to this DEVIATION from acknowledgement to rejection (3:100; cf. 5:48-51), it is mainly the polytheistic inclination in the majority to reject God alone and to look for associates that would eventually lead to the extension of shahada with their own addition/s (40:12, 39:45; cf. 12:106).

Summary

The Quran presaged the extended shahada as deviation

Since the Quranic testimony about God’s oneness, La ilaha illa Allah, is the focal point of Islam, this must have been arguably the only shahada during the time of the prophet of Islam and his ‘rightly guided successors’ (3:18-19; cf. 47:19, 37:35-36, 6:106, 21:25, 16:2, 22:40, 41:30). This is evidenced by the Dated Muslim materials from the earlier Islamic decades that reveal how this original shahada of Unity was gradually transmuted into the present day shahadatan of Duality in line with an increasing idolization of Muhammad, a process that was influenced by various factors, including politics and rivalry (3:19) during the period of Arab expansion.

Remarkably, associating Muhammad with God in shahada, an act of setting associate, which was thus a later invention in Islamic history and a DEVIATION from original Islam, was something that the Quran recurrently presaged and warned against (18:110, 41:6, 6:19, 6:106; cf. 38:65). For example, 6:19 appears to envisage that idolization of Muhammad, against his will, would be consolidated by his worshippers with a formula that “bears witness about Muhammad along with God”. And that, as its context 6:19-150 indicates, this extended shahada would evolve with the proliferation of Hadith (note ‘hadith’ in 6:68), an evil fabrication that mocks the real messages of the Quran (6:19, 68, 106, 112-116, 150).

Not surprisingly, the Quran describes bearing witness about Muhammad’s messengership as rejection (kufr), i.e., a DEVIATION from the acknowledgement (iman) of God’s absolute oneness. For a detailed study on this issue, see The Quran links the added shahada to rejection. The divine wisdom seems to have apprehended that the polytheistic inclination in the majority to reject God alone and to look for associates (40:12, 39:45; cf. 12:106), along with the imitating of some of the earlier religious groups (3:100; cf. 5:48-51), would contribute to this DEVIATION.

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 numismatic materials from the earlier Islamic decades exposes the gradual transmutation 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