One God: Shahadah

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Islamic View on One God
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The shahādah, or the Islamic creed, is the declaration of belief in the unity of God (Allah in Arabic) and the prophethood of Muhammad. Its recitation is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam. When sincerely stated aloud, one is considered to have officially declared oneself a convert to Islam.

  • Arabic text:
    • لا إله إلا الله ومحمد رسول الله
  • Romanization:
    • Lā 'ilāha 'illā llāha wa Muhammadun rasūlu llāhi.
  • English translations:
    • There is no god except God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
    • There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is His prophet.

Honest recitation of the shahādah once, in Arabic, in front of two Muslim witnesses, is all that is required for a person to become a Muslim according to most traditional schools.

It is considered correct to refer to previous figures, such as Jesus (in Arabic, Isa) as Messengers (rasul), and some groups (notably certain Sufi mystics) will amend the declaration to mention prior prophets whose names are found in the Qur'an.

Some of the relatively small minority, labelled the "Quran Alone Muslims" consider the second part of the Shahadah incorrect and say it should not include Muhammad's name.

Some Indonesian Muslims pray "Allah il Allah" when appealing for God's help. This is an altered form of the first part of the Shahada.

History

One of the earliest surviving translations of the Shahadah into a foreign language is in Greek, from the reign of al-Walid I (86-96 AH, 705-715 AD): Ouk estin theos ei mē ho theos monos; Maamet apostolos theou.[1] "There is no god if not the single god; Muhammad is god's apostle", i.e. Allah is being translated as "the single god".

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