Meaning and wording of the Shahada
Also called "profession of faith", or "testimony of faith", the Shahadah is the testimony that there is no God except Allah and that Allah is the One and Only and Muhammad is the last prophet sent to mankind.
The formula for the Shahadah is “Ashhadou anna la ilaha illa Allah, wa ashhadou anna muhammad Rasulu-llâh" which means: "I testify that there is no God but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is his messenger". This sentence is whispered in the ear of every new muslim born and at the top side of the deathbed. It illustrates the monotheism, an important principle in Islam.
Sincerity, a fundamental principle of the Shahada
The Shahada must not be imposed under any form of coercion. New converts to Islam must pronounce the Shahada before to actually enter the religion and permanently. The Shahadah has to be said first in the language of the person then in Arabic.
To be accepted, Shahadah must first be correctly understood and then really and sincerely pronounced. It is necessary to believe in these words and submit completely with oneself to their meaning. The Shahadah is to be loved and its significance is to be held in the highest regard in the heart and soul of every believer. Polytheism or disbelief in any form of disbelief, immediately cancels the Shahadah.
However, the pronunciation of the Shahada is not sufficient to become a believer and a Muslim. Compliance with the other four pillars of Islam is a canonical obligation prescribed by the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh).
Written by: Ali Youssef