compiled by Shaad Ahmed (derived from work by Jamaal Zarabozo)
As Muslims we know the first part of the shahada (declaration of faith) is a condition of our going to Paradise, and we should also know what the conditions of the first part of the shahada are.
There are many people who might utter the statement, but they do not carry out the conditions. The first part of the shahada is something that is not only uttered, but something that should be acted upon as well.
We know that La-Illaha Ill-Allah means that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and there is a great significance to that. One can not cover all aspects of the first part of the shahada but InshaAllah this will try to cover some of the fundamentals of it.
Wahb ibn Munabbih was asked if La-Illaha Ill-Allah was the key to Paradise. He answered, "Yes, but every key has ridges. If you come with the key that has the right ridges, the door will open for you. Yet if you do not have the right ridges, the door will not open for you."
The first condition is KNOWLEDGE (Ilm):
One must know what the first part of the shahada entails. For example it is affirming Allah is the only one worthy of worship and it is denying anything which is worshipped besides Allah. Allah says (what means):
"So know there is none worthy of worship save Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin." (Surah Muhammad 47: 19)
We need to understand Tawheed (Allahs Oneness), and know that Allah is our Creator and Sustainer, Allah The Most High above His creations has the best Names and Attributes, and we have been created to worship Allah alone.
This knowledge comes from the Quran and Sunnah. When we do something we need to know why we are doing it. So when anybody tells us something that we should do concerning Islam, we should get the proofs from the Quran and Sunnah so we know why we are doing that particular action.
The second condition is CERTAINTY (Yaqeen):
We as Muslims do not have any doubt about the truthfulness of Islam and all that it entails. Allah tells us (what means):
"This is the Book (Quran) where there is no doubt, a guidance for those who fear Allah." (Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 2)
"The believers are those who only believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere." (Surah Al-Hujurat 49: 15)
We obtain certainty by increasing our knowledge. The more we learn about Islam, the more we are aware of the truth of Islam. When we read in the Quran about embryology, clouds, the sea, mountains, etc. we know the Quran is from Allah. When we know about the lifestyle of Muhammad (peace be upon him), and all the sacrifices he made for Islam, we know he was a true prophet.
The third condition is ACCEPTANCE (Qabool):
As Muslims we accept everything that Allah commands us to do from the Quran and Sunnah without putting his/her own interpretation in. Allah says (what means):
"Do you believe in part of the Book and reject part of it? And what is the reward of those who do so save disgrace in the life of the world, and on the day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom." (Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 85)
We can not say, "Well I agree with not eating pork, but I dont believe interest is bad." or "I dont agree that women have to cover their bodies." We accept ALL of Allahs commands, because disbelieving in a part of Islam is equal to disbelieving in all of it.
The fourth condition is SUBMISSION (INQIYAD):
Islam itself means submission to Allah, and Muslim means one who submits to Allah, so if we claim Islam as our religion and ourselves as Muslims, we have to submit to Allah.
One thing that we see being neglected today is our Salat (prayer). How can we call ourselves Muslims if we intentionally miss some or all of our prayers?
Allah says (what means):
"But by no means, by your Lord, they will not truly believe until they make you (Muhammad), judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of which you decide and submit with full submission." (Surah Al-Nisa 4: 65)
We put Islam ahead of our worldly life. We often hear people say, "Well I have the intention to wear the full hijab, but I am just not ready for it." We can take a great example from how the Sahabiyat (female companions) acted. In Sahih Bukhari, Safiyah bint Shaibah narrated: 'Aisha used to say when the verse is Surah Al-Noor (24:31) about hijab was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered themselves with those cut pieces of cloth.'
The fifth condition is TRUTHFULNESS (As-Sidq):
We are not to be hypocritical in our actions. We should not on one hand say we are accepting the first part of the shahada and on the other hand knowingly doing actions opposed to it as some groups do (Jafari Shia). Allah says (what means):
"And of mankind are some who say, We believe in Allah and the Last Day, when they believe not. They think to deceive Allah and those who believe, and they deceive none save themselves, but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increases their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie." (Surah Al Baqarah 2: 8-10)
The sixth condition is SINCERITY (Ikhlas):
Muslims do not any act of worship for anyone except for Allah. When we pray, give zakat, perform Hajj, or do any act of worship we direct only towards Allah, and not to please other people.
Many times when we know somebody is watching us pray we will do our best to make sure we are praying correctly, but when we are by ourselves we speed through the entire prayer. Allah is above the heavens and on His Throne, but He Knows, Sees, and Hears everything we are doing, so we should do things for His Sake and not to show off to our friends and family.
Most are aware of the hadith about the men who taught the Quran to others, who gave charity, and who waged Jihad but they did to show off to other people. Their recompense will be having their faces dragged to the hell fire.
The seventh condition is LOVE (Muhaba):
Anas(R) reported that Rasulullah(S) said, "Whoever possesses three qualities will taste the sweetness of Iman. 1) That Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than anything else. 2) To love a person only for Allahs sake, and 3) To hate to revert to disbelief, after Allah had saved him from it, as he would hate to be thrown into the fire." (Bukhari and Muslim)
Muslims do not dislike any part of the religion and we love the implications of carry out Allahs commands through the Quran and Sunnah. For we know the implication is Paradise.
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