What are the conditions for the acceptance of the Shahada statement?

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What are the conditions for the acceptance of the Shahada statement and what is the minimum knowledge of the Shahada statement a person needs to know when ready to utter it?

The Shahadah statement is saying in Arabic: “Laa ilaaha ill-Allah Muhammadun Rasool-Allah” (There is no god except Allah, and Prophet Muhammad is the Servant and Messenger of Allah).

There are a number of conditions attached to the Shahadah statement that reflect a true and genuine understanding of such a statement.

The conditions attached to the statement are as follows:

1. Knowledge
This means knowing the meaning of the Shahaadah, both the negation (There is no god) and the affirmation (except Allaah), knowledge as opposed to ignorance of this.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So know (O Muhammad) that Laa ilaaha ill -Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah)…” [Muhammad 47:19]

2. Certainty
The person who says the Shahadah is absolutely certain about the meaning of these words because faith does not count unless it is based on certain knowledge, not on knowledge based on speculation, let alone doubt.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful” [al-Hujuraat 49:15]

3. Acceptance
This means that one accepts with one’s heart and with one’s words.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Save the chosen true believers and slaves of Allah…” [al-Saaffaat 37:40-43]

4. Submission
This means submitting to what is implied by the Shahadah statement, as opposed to ignoring or neglecting it.

“And whosoever submits his face (himself) to Allah, while he is a Muhsin (good-doer, i.e. performs good deeds totally for Allah’s sake without any show-off or to gain praise or fame and does them in accordance with the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger Muhammad), then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold [Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah)]. And to Allaah return all matters for decision” [Luqmaan 31:22]

5. Truthfulness
This means saying it from the heart, where the heart agrees with the words being uttered, as opposed to lying or faking uttering the statement for worldly gain.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Alif Laam Meem, Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test)… [al-‘Ankaboot 29:1-3]

6. Sincerity
This means purity of action with a sound intention, free from any contamination of shirk(associating anything else with Allah).

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only”
[al-Zumar 39:3]

7. Love
This means love for this statement and for what it implies, and its people, those who act upon it and adhere to its conditions; and hatred of whatever goes against it. The sign that a person loves his Lord is that he gives priority to what Allah loves even if it goes against his own desires.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else).” [al-Baqarah 2:165]

8. Rejection
Rejection of all things that are worshipped instead of Allah.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever says Laa ilaaha ill-Allah and rejects everything that is worshipped instead of Allah, his property and his blood will be sacred [i.e., it is forbidden to seize his property or shed his blood] and his reckoning will be with Allah.” (Narrated by Muslim).


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