Miracle of Double Testimony: What Muslims Must Do To Qualify as Muslims?

 

Miracle of Double Testimony:
What Muslims Must Do To Qualify as Muslims?

Dr. Pasha

(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)

 

Shahaadats or the Double Testimony

Here is a simple truth that Muslims - and everyone else - must know: To be considered Muslims, Muslims must bear testimony to two basic facts:

  1. The first is the fact that God Almighty is one, and that he has no partners, equals, relatives or associates of any kind.

  2. The second is the fact that Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) is God's messenger to all of humanity and to all the worlds.

Categorically, unconditionally and unequivocally asserting the truth of these two fundamental facts is what qualifies a person to be considered a Muslim. The technical expression Islam uses for this assertion is Shahaadat.

Shahaadat!

That is the word that occurs in that famous Hadith in which Angel Gabriel comes to the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in human form, and, in public view, explains to him what it means to be a Muslim.

So, the way to become a Muslim is not through a mysterious act of baptism, or anointment, or proclamation, or certification by a holy person of some kind, or by the accident of birth in a Muslim family, but by a deliberate act of a double testimony on the part of the individual concerned, be it a man or a woman.

Thus, a person becomes a Muslim by a clear and considered assertion of two simple facts about this world, about reality, about life as well as about one's own place and role in life and in relation to that reality.

Wow!

Subhanallah! Allahu Akbar!

Hallelujah!

What do you call this if not a miracle?

In one clear assertion of the heart, mind and the tongue, this miraculous double testimony sweeps aside all the intermediaries and all the pretenders to a private connection with God Almighty and connects the individual human being directly and immediately with God Almighty himself.

And by doing this, it instantaneously makes all human beings equal to one another; frees them from all forms of fetters and tyranny over their bodies and minds; ushers in a new moral, social, spiritual and political order of perfect human equality and opportunity in the world; and lays the foundation of complete emancipation and empowerment for all human beings everywhere.

But What on Earth Is "Shahaadah"?

One way to render that Arabic expression of the Hadith - "Shahaadah" - in English is to say it means to provide testimony. Another is to render evidence.

Other ways of translating it may include the following: to assert; to proclaim; to announce; to make plain; to make a case or an argument.

Now the all important question is this: Just how does one do all that stuff? How does one bear testimony; provide evidence; announce and proclaim to the whole world; and make a convincing case that God is one and Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) is God's messenger?

Does one do that by words and speech; by thoughts and ideas; by feelings and emotions; by reason and logic; by actions and deeds; by policies and programs - just how and using what means and methods does one do that?

And then again, those actions, those thoughts and proclamations, and those arguments and assertions, could they just be random and sporadic activities on the part of individuals or do they have to be systematic, collective and organized?

And do they also have to be institutional, cultural, political, economic and societal?

And does this testimony have to be open and public or behind closed doors?

So, how does this testimony business really work?

How Many Muslims Are Doing that Right Now?

And then there is the other question: How many Muslims have you actually seen or heard bearing this witness or providing this testimony or making this case?

How many Muslims have you encountered in the actual process of giving this evidence or making this double declaration or proclamation that God is one and Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) is his messenger?

And just how, and using what means and methods, are entire Muslim societies and cultures - qua societies and cultures - and the institutional structures of those societies and cultures, are engaged in the process of making this twin testimony and this double declaration of Divine Unity and the Divine Messengership of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, to the whole wide world?

At the level of communication, speech and words, how many newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, Internet sites and arrangements have Muslims put in place that perform the task of this twin testimony?

What is the quality of those organizations and arrangements? And what is the extent of their infrastructure and support base?

As nations and societies, and as a collective global Ummah together, how many institutions have Muslims established to train the human resources that are needed for this mammoth undertaking? And what is the level and nature of training that is provided?

How many specialists have Muslims trained in this field? And what is the quality of the head and heart of those individuals?

How do the social, political, economic and cultural establishments and institutions of these societies and cultures measure up on this account?

Anyone can see that Muslims have a problem on all these fronts. Their claim to be Muslims is not backed up by evidence on the ground except in small, narrow, limited and mostly individual and personal ways.

Where is the surprise if the twin message of Divine Unity and Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam's Divine Messengership has failed to penetrate the world's consciousness or illumine its trajectory or fire up its imagination?

Let me point out what really lies behind the broad Muslim failure to fulfill their role and destiny in this world.

Forgetting Allah Leads to Forgetting Self

The Muslim problem at bottom is one of forgetting self - forgetting their own true identity and nature. It is one of failing to come to grips with who they really are and what precisely the purpose of their life and the nature of their mission on earth are.

This is a colossal national tragedy so far as the Muslims are concerned. It is also a tragedy for the entire world, because by failing to realize how critical their role is for the well-being of this world, the Muslims have failed to play a positive role in helping the world to become a better place for all of Allah's creation: Muslim and non-Muslim, human and non-human.

Behind that tragedy lies the fact that in spite of all their boisterous professions to the contrary, Muslims by and large forgot Allah. As a result, they forgot themselves.

For, that is one of the governing principles of this universe, one of Allah's eternal and immutable laws if you will: Those who forget Allah tend to forget themselves.

Allah makes such people forget themselves.

Here is the Qur'an on the subject: Nasullaha fa-ansaahum anfusahum.

Paraphrase: They forgot Allah and Allah made them forget themselves.

My, my, my! How the Muslims manage to forget, misunderstand or misrepresent even some of the most elementary and obvious facts of their faith, culture and way of life that they call Islam!

Or rather, God Almighty himself calls Islam.

Let us see if we can get a sharper focus on some of these most rudimentary aspects of this comprehensive and quintessential life-process that God Almighty calls the "Deen of Islam."

"Innaddeena 'indallahil Islam," is how the Qur'an puts it.

Paraphrase: Islam is the operating system (OS) that God put in place to run this world. It is also the system that God made available to human beings to manage their life on earth in the most effective and productive manner.

As a result, it was God Almighty himself who conferred the title "Muslims" on those who would embrace this system and press it into service to run and manage their life on earth.

Hear the Qur'an say it: "Huwa sammaakumul Muslimeen!"

Paraphrase: It was he who named you Muslims.

Muslim Search for Identity

But why?

Why do Muslims keep forgetting these important lessons about the very core of their identity and culture? And why do they seem to be wandering the vistas of life and history forever looking for answers to questions that must be imprinted in their souls like the print of Sajdah-marks shines brightly from the foreheads of many of them.

That is what happens to people who allow ignorance, narrow-mindedness, selfishness and incompetence to ascend to their leadership. And that is what happens when lust for power, position, name, fame, recognition and personal gain and advantage infuse and drive the thoughts, motivations and actions of that leadership.

The name in the Qur'an for all these things grouped together is Hawaa. Even that the Muslims manage to misunderstand or forget. They call it "base desires." And they mean by it such terrible things as lust for sex and such other things.

Whereas Hawaa is a catch-all term that stands for a wide range of deviances in the human psyche and character that passes for normal by most moral and social scales, and yet which is at the root of all sorts of problems and ailments that afflict individuals and societies, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

Muslims Know Their Shahaadats

Yet, in a strange way, no one among Muslims questions or doubts the fact that for anyone to be a Muslim, the two Shahaadatain or the set of twin testimonies or evidence must be in place - the two declarations or proclamations of faith as they are sometimes referred to.

One Shahaadat is about God Almighty: Laa Ilaaha Illallah - the declaration or announcement or proclamation that there is no God but God.

The other is about God's last messenger to his creation: Muhammad Rasulullah. Or a variation thereof such as Anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu - the declaration or proclamation or announcement that Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is a slave and messenger of Allah.

Muslims at some abstract level fully understand that those are the two basic facts you are asserting or proclaiming or conveying or announcing or testifying to when you say you are a Muslim. They know the twin-testament of their faith.

They also know that is what makes you a Muslim.

In other words, that is what it means to be a Muslim. That means, if you have hesitation about these twin facts or would balk at declaring or announcing them to the rest of the world - unless of course you fear for your life or something like that - then you are not a Muslim.

This, however, was the easy part of the Shahaadatain.

The difficult part is figuring out the implications and modalities of the expression Shahaadat itself. By modalities I mean the exact behaviors, operations and means and mechanisms using which these twin-Shahaadats are delivered in actual practice.

Everything about You Must Provide the Shahaadat

If you are looking for a quick answer from me, here it is: Shahaadah means the way you live all your life in this world, individually as well as collectively, personally as well as socially and institutionally.

That means every aspect of a Muslim's personal, social, economic, cultural and political life must testify, bear witness, provide testimony, proclaim and convey to the rest of the world that God is the only God and Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is his last and final messenger to his entire creation.

Every cell in your body, every breath you take and every single one of your actions on earth must provide evidence and testimony to those two facts and to your deep and abiding faith in and commitment to them.

Your individual actions must bear such witness and give such Shahaadat. Your relations with your wife, husband, children, parents and other relatives must provide such evidence. So must your treatment of your neighbors and your dealing with your colleagues at work and your business partners.

At a more collective level, so must your courts and parliament; your cabinet and your various government agencies; your military, business and financial and industrial institutions.

So also must your sports organizations and activities; your cultural institutions and entertainment events; and your professional life at all levels as well as your leisure pursuits.

In other words, the first requirement of Shahaadat is that every aspect, part and dimension of your life, both individual and collective, must bear that witness and provide that evidence.

Shahaadah, thus, is the declaration and proclamation, in private as well as in public, of your entire body, mind and soul, and of every single aspect and dimension of your life and society and culture, of the truth of what you are asserting, stating or bearing witness to and providing testimony and evidence about.

Shahaadat Must Use the Nicest Means

Islam is the divine name for doing everything the best possible way such that it will guarantee you and everyone else the best possible life in this world as well as in the next world.

Therefore, the second requirement of Shahaadat is that the testimony and evidence you provide - the declaration and proclamation you make - must include every lawful, legitimate and peaceful means at your disposal.

Making sure all the time that those are the nicest and most wonderful means you can think of. Because, that is what Islam is all about. Islam is about living life in the nicest and most wonderful way possible both for you and for everyone else in this world.

It must include the best and finest forms of speech, communication and expression, just as it must include the best and finest forms of action, behavior and conduct.

How Humans Communicate

Human beings communicate in all sorts of different ways. Sometimes they do so by saying something, whereas on other occasions they do it by remaining silent and not saying anything.

At times they scream from the rooftops. At other times, they speak in the quietest of whispers. Sometimes they are gentle and soft and coo like a dove. At other times, they screech and bark in the harshest of voices and tones and roar like a lion.

Sometimes their communication is through words, and sometimes it is through gestures and body language. Sometimes they communicate personally one on one or in small and large groups, whereas some other times they communicate using all sorts of media and technologies to all kinds of large audiences.

In the same way, humans also communicate through the clothes they wear; the houses they build; the businesses they run; and through a wide range of other things they do or do not do.

Thus, human behavior is also a most powerful form of communication. Thus, war is powerful communication, just as activities for peace are also important forms of human expression and communication.

The Shahaadah you say you bear, therefore, must be in all these forms and at all these levels. It must include personal and media communication, and it must include all other forms of human expression and action.

Adhaan and Iqaamah: Daily Drill of Shahaadatain

Thus, the two most important requirements of Shahaadah are that your testimony must occur in every aspect and level of your individual as well as collective life and that it must include all forms of communication, expression and action within the bounds of legality, morality and decency.

This is the lesson that the Muslims are taught 10 times a day: five times during Adhaan and five times during Iqaamah.

Adhaan is generally loud and from a high place such as a minaret. Consider it calling out or Shahadah from the rooftop. In many places these days the Adhaan is called using a loudspeaker or an amplifying device of some kind.

Iqaamat is softer and quieter, delivered inside the portals of the Masjid in a more personal and intimate way.

One is public, as public as it can be, while the other is a bit more private.

What a beautiful reminder of the Shahaadah Muslims must bear! No less than ten times a day.

Muslims Do Proclaim Tauheed and Risaalat from and Inside the Mosques

And the first of the two things about which you must bear witness and testimony and the truth of which you must announce, proclaim and convey to the entire world is Tauheed, the essence of which is: There is no God but God.

And the second is Risaalat: Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is God's messenger to the entire world.

When you consider the institutions of Adhaan and Iqaamah in Muslim societies and communities, there is reason for Muslims to take heart. There is reason for them to feel good. Muslims do proclaim to the world the truth of Tauheed and Risaalat at least ten times a day.

This is true at the level of individuals, communities and, in many cases, also of societies.

And Muslims do so at least in relation to Salaah or worship and at least using the form of public and private communication that Adhaan and Iqaamah provide.

But they do so mostly within and from the confines of the mosque or Masjid.

The World Awaits the Muslim Testimony outside the Mosque

In the meantime, the world awaits the Muslim testimony, which has been a long time in coming.

What is sad and disheartening is that the testimony of most Muslims stops at the doors of the Masjid and does not carry over to other places involving their lives, just as it is limited to their Namaaz or Salaat and does not cover all other aspects and parts of their lives.

What is most disheartening is that most Muslims not only limit their proclamation and testimony to the formal Shahaadatain of Adhaan and Iqaamah, but many of them do not even understand the broader implications of their own twin-testament of Ashhadu allaa ilaaha illallah and Ashhadu anna muhammadar rasulullah.

But Islam comes with its own remedy to these situations. Rather than allowing hopelessness to reign, Islam asks those who know and who understand to teach and remind those who do not know and do not understand.

What an amazing arrangement of system service and system maintenance! What a miracle of built-in safeguards and mechanisms for the protection, progress and perpetual regeneration of the system of Islam through the centuries and in all kinds of places around the world!

Talk about feedback, homeostasis and equilibrium.

The Qur'an says: Fa-dhakkir innamaa anta mudhakkir.

Paraphrase: So, remind them, that is your job: to tell people.

Allahu Akbar! What a miracle!

What an amazing system of thought, belief and behavior this Deen of Islam is! How can it be a human creation? How can it be considered merely a hapless hotchpotch of historical accidents or opinions of interested individuals laboring under the crippling limitations of space, time and their own unique cultural context and specificities?

More on the Implications of Shahaadatain

So, what do we understand when we say the following: "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is the messenger of God"?

Is it clear to us that what we are actually saying when we say "Ash-hadu" is all of the following: "I provide truthful testimony; it is my carefully considered judgment, belief and conviction; this is my most sober and serious testament; I give full, complete and honest evidence; I solemnly declare and proclaim; I categorically state and announce that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is the messenger of God?"

Are we entirely clear in our mind that that is what we are saying? Are we fully aware that we are making all these sober, serious and solemn statements, assertions, proclamations and declarations?

I suspect all too many of us are not.

And then how many of us think about the implications and consequences, for ourselves as well as for others, of the statements, assertions, declarations and proclamations we are making?

I am afraid not too many of us do.

Muslims:
Bearers of the Banner of Truth

Muslims are the bearers of truth and good news to the world - to all of humanity, regardless of race or religion. The world may not know this, and the Muslims themselves may not realize this, but they are.

Muslims are the people who are duty-bound to bring to the world the twin-truths of Laa Ilaaha Illallah and Muhammad Rasulullah - Tauheed and Risaalat, respectively.

And these two truths - "There is no God but Allah!" and "Muhammad is the messenger of God!" - are the nucleus of human existence on earth. They constitute the essence of human life in this world - and in the next world.

They are the twin keys that can lay open the secrets of the universe to the world of human experience. For, they are the ultimate truths about the universe and creation. About reality, that is.

That means this world of ours has a maker and master. And that master is God. Almighty! Glory, glory, glory to him!

Hallelujah!

Subhaanal Malikil Quddoos!

Paraphrase: Glory to the King, the Holy!

God and His Messenger:
A Connection between Heaven and Earth

In a sense, this is an abstract statement. By that I mean it pertains to the part of reality that is hidden from our senses. It belongs to the domain that the Qur'an refers to as Ghaib - the Unseen and the Unknown.

That means in the ultimate analysis the belief in the truth of this statement will have to come from inside you. Does or does not God exist, the final choice is going to be yours. It is you, all by yourself, who will have to make up your mind - on your own - one way or the other.

Nothing you see or experience in the world is going to give you one hundred percent certainty either way. Nothing will give you testable, verifiable, incontrovertible, irrefutable proof, beyond a shadow of doubt, as scientists would say, about the existence or non-existence of God.

At some point in your life and in the course of your search, you will have to close your eyes and say: Yes, I believe! He is out there and I know it. Nothing will make me believe otherwise.

That final and categorical assertion will have to come from deep down in your own soul.

It also means Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is the connection between God in heaven and human beings on earth. May God Almighty bless him and all the other prophets and messengers of God such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Solomon, David and Joseph. That is what it means to say: Muhammad Rasulullah!

Muhammad the Messenger of God:
Combining Abstract with Concrete

This second declaration has elements of both the abstract and concrete in it. It is the connection between heaven and earth.

To the extent it refers to God and to Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam's divine messengership and prophethood, it belongs to the realm of Ghaib that lies beyond the purview of our senses.

But when the focus shifts to the earthly facts and realities of Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, as a historic individual who occupied certain known space-time coordinates in this world, this statement falls squarely within the realm of the visible and the verifiable.

It becomes the property of human experience.

That means no reasonable person can deny that Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, existed in this world 1400 years ago as surely and certainly as you and I exist today. It also means that no one can seriously doubt or question the validity of the fact that he did all the wonderful things that historical records indicate he did.

As a result, this particular aspect of this statement belongs to the world, not of Ghaib, but of what the Qur'an calls Shahaadah - that is, the visible and manifest world; a world that you can see with the naked eye as it were; a world that is open to investigation and verification using our senses.

It means a world whose presence or absence and the details of whose nature and character in this world can be attested and testified to by our own senses, logic, analysis, data and facts.

Some Implications of Tauheed

The assertion that there is no God but God has some serious implications. Among them are the following:

  1. This world has a maker and it did not come into being all by itself. And the maker of the world is who you refer to as God Almighty. Also, God is where the buck of this reasoning stops. He is the point at which the story of creation comes to an end. Therefore, the question "Who created God?" does not make sense because God is the point where all creation ends.

  2. God is the repository of all beautiful names and attributes.

  3. God is one in whom all wonderful qualities converge - an infinite number of them, each infinite in its own right. As a result, God can neither be fully comprehended nor adequately described. He is exactly what he says he is. Not an iota more, not a whit less.

    As the Qur'an says: Wa lahul asmaa-ul husnaa. Paraphrase: To him belong all beautiful, pure and perfect names and attributes in their most perfect sense.

  4. There is nothing and no one like him. Or in the words of the Qur'an: Laiysa kamithlihee shaiy.

  5. Therefore, it does not matter by what name you call him, so long as that name is beautiful; so long as it reflects purity and perfection to an infinite degree; and so long as you are clear in your mind that it is him you are referring to, and not to this or that petty creature or concoction or apparition of your own desire, imagination or creativity.

  6. After this it is only logical and sensible to assume - to believe, that is - that such a God in whom all perfection, purity and beauty inhere, and who creates everything and who is not created by anything or anyone, can only be one. There cannot be two such Gods, or a whole multiplicity of such Gods, each more perfect, more complete, more beautiful, more loving, more wonderful than the other.

    That is a contradiction in terms. For, God is the one beyond whom your thinking tires, atrophies and dies. That is why the Qur'an says: "Qul Huwallahu Ahad." Paraphrase: "Say, he, God, is one."

    For, he cannot be two or three or more. Elsewhere the Qur'an says: Laa shareeka lahu. Paraphrase: He has no associates or partners.

    How can he, given all we have said thus far? It would make no sense.

  7. God Almighty, by virtue of his being the only designer, maker, keeper and provider of this world, is also its sole owner, master and proprietor. No one else can lay claim to true ownership of any part or aspect of this world.

Some Implications of Risaalat

As we said earlier "Muhammad Rasulullah!" is the connection between heaven and earth. It is the link that connects God to his creation. And it has a wide range of implications, among which are the following:

  1. Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is God's messenger to God's creation.

  2. He is the source from which the world must derive its ultimate and real knowledge of the world.

  3. He is the one the world must take as its guide, example and role model in all aspects of its life, both individual and collective.

  4. The world must accept his leadership and authority in all matters of importance to it, from the most mundane to the most spiritual.

  5. Those who accept him as God's messenger to the world and therefore as their leader, guide and example, must dedicate their lives to doing what he did during the course of his own life and mission on earth.

    For example, they must devote themselves to:

    1. Serve God's creation on earth in every way they can;

    2. Help their parents, relatives, neighbors and others in every way possible;

    3. Feed the hungry, comfort the sick and assist the needy

    4. Go to the aid of the downtrodden and the oppressed;

    5. Work tirelessly to educate the community and uplift the society as a whole;

    6. Help society to combat crime and corruption at all levels;

    7. Invite humanity to God and to his messenger;

    8. Spread the message of love, peace, justice and equality around the world; and

    9. Do everything in their power to take the Qur'an to every home and heart that needs it.

END

© 2008 Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional 
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at] 
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.