Shahada is the Muslim Declaration of faith and the first of the ‘Five Pillars’ of Islam. Shahada is to testify to two things: (a) Nothing deserves worship except God (Allah) and (b) Muhammad is the Messenger of God (Allah).
A Muslim is simply one who bears witness and testifies that “nothing deserves worship except Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.” One becomes a Muslim by making this simple declaration. It must be recited by every Muslim at least once in a lifetime with a full understanding of its meaning and with an assent of the heart. Muslims say this when they wake up in the morning, and before they go to sleep at night. It is repeated five times in the call to prayer in every mosque. A person who utters the shahada as their last words in this life has been promised Paradise.
#1. Nothing deserves worship except God (Allah).
The first part of this testimony states that God has the exclusive right to be worshipped inwardly and outwardly, by one’s heart and limbs. In Islamic doctrine, not only can noone be worshipped apart from Allah, absolutely no one else can be worshipped along with Allah. He has no partners or associates in worship. Worship in its comprehensive sense and all its aspects, is for Him alone. Allah’s right to be worshipped is the essential meaning of Islam’s testimony of faith: Lā ‘ilāha ‘illā Allāh. A person becomes Muslim by testifying to the divine right to worship. It is the crux of Islamic belief in God, even all of Islam. It is considered the central message of all prophets and messengers sent by Allah.
But by a mere verbal declaration alone, one does not become a complete Muslim To become a complete Muslim one has to fully carry out in practice the instruction given by Prophet Muhammad (saw) as ordained by Allah.This brings us to the second part of the testimony.
#2. Muhammad is the Messenger of God (Allah).
Muhammad was born in Mecca in Arabia in the year 570 CE. His ancestry goes back to Ishmael, a son of Prophet Ibrahim. The second part of the declaration of faith asserts that he is not only a prophet but also a messenger of Allah, a higher role also played by Mousa (Moses) and Isha (Jesus) before him. Like all prophets before him, he was a human being, but chosen by God to convey His message to all humanity rather than one tribe or nation from among the many that exist. For Muslims, Muhammad (saw) brought the last and final revelation. In accepting Muhammad (saw) as the “last of the prophets,” they believe that his prophecy confirms and completes all of the revealed messages, beginning with that of Adam. In addition, Muhammad (saw) serves as the preeminent role model through his life example. The believer’s effort to follow Muhammad’s example reflects the emphasis of Islam on practice and action. Every Muslim believes that Muhammad (saw) is the last messenger of Allah and he is the seal of all prophet.