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{{pp-protected|small=yes}}{{short description|Islamic creed declaring belief in monotheism and Muhammad's prophethood}}{{about|the Islamic creed|other uses}}{{distinguish|Shahid}}{{Use dmy dates|date=January 2019}}{{italic title}}{{Islam|practices}}{{Aqidah|Five Pillars}}The Shahada ( {{transl|ar|DIN|aš-šahādah}} {{IPA-ar|ʔæʃ.ʃæˈhæː.dæ(h)||as-shahadah.ogg}}, "the testimony"){{refn|group=note| aš-šahādatān ( {{IPA-ar|aʃ.ʃahaːdaˈtaːn|}}, "the two testimonials"); also Kalimat aš-šahādah [ {{IPA-ar|ˈkalɪmat-|}}, "the testimonial word"}} is an Islamic creed, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, declaring belief in the oneness of God (tawhid) and the acceptance of Muhammad as God's prophet. The declaration, in its shortest form, reads (right to left in Arabic):BOOK, Malise Ruthven, Historical Atlas of Islam,weblink January 2004, Harvard University Press, 978-0-674-01385-8, 14, 12 August 2015,weblink 25 September 2015, live, BOOK, Richard C. Martín, Encyclopedia of Islam & the Muslim World,weblink Granite Hill Publishers, 978-0-02-865603-8, 723, BOOK, Frederick Mathewson Denny, An Introduction to Islam,weblink 2006, Pearson Prentice Hall, 978-0-13-183563-4, 409, 11 September 2017,weblink 5 August 2018, live, JOURNAL, Mohammad, Noor, The Doctrine of Jihad: An Introduction, Journal of Law and Religion, 3, 2, 381–397, 1985, 1051182, 10.2307/1051182,

There is no god but God. {{transl|ar|DIN|lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāh}}
{{IPA-ar|læː ʔɪˈlæː.hæ ˈʔɪl.læ‿ɫˈɫɑːh|IPA}}
}} {{transl|ar|DIN|muḥammadun rasūlu llāh}}
{{IPA-ar|mʊˈħæm.mæ.dʊn ræˈsuː.lʊ‿ɫˈɫɑːh|IPA}}
Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Audio (prefaced by the phrase (wa) ašhadu ʾan(na) —"(and) I testify, that") {{small|{{Audio|Shahadah.ogg|audio}}}}

Terminology and significance

In the English translation—"There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God."—the first, lower-case occurrence of "god" is a translation of the Arabic word ilah, while the capitalized second and third occurrences of "God" are translations of the Arabic word Allah.The noun Å¡ahādah (}}), from the verbal root Å¡ahida ({{IPA-ar|ˈʃæ.hɪ.dæ|}} }}) meaning "to observe, witness, testify", translates as "testimony" in both the everyday and the legal senses.BOOK, Wehr, Hans, J. Milton Cowan, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic,weblink 1976, 488–489, 26 November 2015,weblink 21 December 2015, live, {{refn|group=note|The related noun Å¡ahÄ«d ({{IPA-ar|ʃaˈhiːd|}}}}), which is used in the Quran mainly in the sense "witness", has paralleled in its development the Greek martys () in that it may mean both "witness" and "martyr".David Cook, Martyrdom (Shahada) Oxford Bibliographies {{Webarchive|url= |date=1 November 2015}}. {{isbn|9780195390155}}.The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Volume IX, Klijkebrille, 1997, p. 201. Similarly, Å¡ahāda may also mean "martyrdom" although in modern Arabic the more commonly used word for "martyrdom" is another derivative of the same root, w:Istishhad|istiÅ¡hād]] (}}).BOOK, John Wortabet, Harvey Porter, English-Arabic and Arabic-English Dictionary,weblink 1 September 2003, Asian Educational Services, 238, 26 November 2015,weblink 29 April 2016, live, }} The Islamic creed is also called, in the dual form, Å¡ahādatān (}}, literally "two testimonials"). The expression al-Å¡ahÄ«d (}}, the Witness) is used in Quran as one of the "titles of God".{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=8}}In Sunni Islam, the Shahada has two parts: lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāh (None has the right to be worshipped except God), and muḥammadun rasÅ«lu llāh (Muhammad is the messenger of God),{{sfn|Lindsay|2005|p=140–141}} which are sometimes referred to as the first Shahada and the second Shahada.{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=9}} The first statement of the Shahada is also known as the tahlÄ«l.BOOK, Michael Anthony Sells, Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations,weblink 1999, White Cloud Press, 151, In Shia Islam, the Shahada also has a third part, a phrase concerning Ali, the first Shia Imam and the fourth Rashid caliph of Sunni Islam: }} ({{transl|ar|DIN|wa Ê¿aliyyun waliyyu llāh}} {{IPA-ar|wæ ʕæˈlɪj.jÊŠn wæˈlɪj.jʊ‿ɫˈɫɑːh|}}), which translates to "Ali is the wali of God".The Later Mughals by William Irvine p. 130In the Quran, the first statement of the Shahadah takes the form lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāh twice (37:35, 47:19), and ʾallāhu lā ʾilāha ʾillā hÅ« (God, None has the right to be worshipped but He) much more often. Nasr et al (2015). The Study Quran. HarperOne. p. 110. (Footnote 255) It appears in the shorter form lā ʾilāha ʾillā hÅ« (None has the right to be worshipped except He) in many places.Nasr et al (2015). The Study Quran. HarperOne. p. 1356. (Footnote 22) It appears in these forms about 30 times in the Quran, and never attached with the other parts of the Shahada in Sunni or Shia Islam or "in conjunction with another name".Edip Yuksel, et al (2007). Quran: A Reformist Translation. Brainbrow Press. Footnote 3:18.Islam's monotheistic nature is reflected in the first sentence of the Shahada, which declares belief in the oneness of God and that he is the only entity truly worthy of worship.{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=9}} The second sentence of the Shahada indicates the means by which God has offered guidance to human beings.{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=10}} The verse reminds Muslims that they accept not only the prophecy of Muhammad but also the long line of prophets who preceded him.{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=10}} While the first part is seen as a cosmic truth, the second is specific to Islam, as it is understood that members of the older Abrahamic religions do not view Muhammad as one of their prophets.{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=10}}The Shahada is a statement of both ritual and worship. In a well-known hadith, Muhammad defines Islam as witnessing that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is God's messenger, giving of alms (zakat), performing the ritual prayer, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and making a pilgrimage to the Kaaba: the Five Pillars of Islam are inherent in this declaration of faith.{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=9}}{{sfn|Lindsay|2005|p=149}}


Recitation of the Shahādah is the most common statement of faith for Muslims. In Sunni Islam, it is counted as the first of the Five Pillars of Islam,{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=8}} while the Shi'i Twelvers and Isma'ilis also have the Shahada as among their pillars of faith.WEB,weblink Seeking the Straight Path: Reflections of a New Muslim, 9 July 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 16 July 2007, live, It is whispered by the father into the ear of a newborn child,{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=8}} and it is whispered into the ear of a dying person.BOOK, Azim Nanji, The Penguin Dictionary of Islam,weblink 2008, Penguin UK, 101, 27 November 2015,weblink 23 April 2016, live, The five canonical daily prayers each include a recitation of the Shahada.{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=10}} Recitation of the Shahada in front of witnesses is also the first and only formal step in conversion to Islam.{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=8}} This occasion often attracts more than the two required witnesses and sometimes includes a celebration to welcome the convert into their new faith.{{sfn|Cornell|2007|p=9}} In accordance with the central importance played by the notion of intention (, niyyah) in Islamic doctrine, the recitation of the Shahada must reflect understanding of its import and heartfelt sincerity.BOOK, Andrew Rippin, Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices,weblink 2005, Psychology Press, 104–105, 27 November 2015,weblink 22 April 2016, live, BOOK, Ignác Goldziher, Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law,weblink 1981, Princeton University Press, 18–19, 27 November 2015,weblink 22 April 2016, live, Intention is what differentiates acts of devotion from mundane acts and a simple reading of the Shahada from invoking it as a ritual activity.


Though the two statements of the Shahada are both present in the Quran (for example, 37:35 and 48:29), they are not found there side by side as in the Shahada formula.{{sfn|Lindsay|2005|p=140–141}} Versions of both phrases began to appear in coins and monumental architecture in the late seventh century, which suggests that it had not been officially established as a ritual statement of faith until then.{{sfn|Lindsay|2005|p=140–141}} An inscription in the Dome of the Rock (est. 692) in Jerusalem reads: "There is no god but God alone; He has no partner with him; Muhammad is the messenger of God".{{sfn|Lindsay|2005|p=140–141}} Another variant appears in coins minted after the reign of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the fifth Umayyad caliph: "Muhammad is the servant of God and His messenger".{{sfn|Lindsay|2005|p=140–141}} Although it is not clear when the Shahada first came into common use among Muslims, it is clear that the sentiments it expresses were part of the Quran and Islamic doctrine from the earliest period.{{sfn|Lindsay|2005|p=140–141}}

In Sufism

The Shahada has been traditionally recited in the Sufi ceremony of dhikr (, "(:wikt:ذكر#Noun|remembrance)"), a ritual that resembles mantras found in many other religious traditions.BOOK, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Ian Richard Netton, 19 December 2013, 143,weblink 27 November 2015,weblink 22 April 2016, live, During the ceremony, the Shahada may be repeated thousands of times, sometimes in the shortened form of the first phrase where the word Allah is replaced by huwa (He). The chanting of the Shahada sometimes provides a rhythmic background for singing.BOOK, Among the Jasmine Trees: Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria, Jonathan Holt Shannon, Wesleyan University Press, 2006, 110–111,weblink 27 November 2015,weblink 22 April 2016, live,

In architecture and art

The Shahada appears as an architectural element in Islamic buildings around the world, such as those in Jerusalem, Cairo, and Istanbul.{{sfn|Lindsay|2005|p=140–141}}BOOK, Islamic Architecture in Cairo: An Introduction, Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Brill, 1989, 54,weblink 27 November 2015,weblink 22 April 2016, live, BOOK, An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture, Oleg Grabar (ed.), Brill, 1985, 110,weblink 27 November 2015,weblink 22 April 2016, live, Late-medieval and Renaissance European art displays a fascination with Middle Eastern motifs in general and the Arabic script in particular, as indicated by its use, without concern for its content, in painting, architecture and book illustrations.BOOK, The Renaissance and the Ottoman World, Eva Baer, Ashgate Publishing, 2013, 41–43,weblink 27 November 2015,weblink 22 April 2016, live, BOOK, Ayyubid Metalwork With Christian Images, Anna Contadini, Dr. Claire Norton, Brill, 1989, 47,weblink In his San Giovenale Triptych, the Italian Renaissance artist Masaccio copied the full Shahada, written backwards, on the halo of the Madonna.BOOK, Mediterranean Crossroads: Migration Literature in Italy, Graziella Parati, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1999, 13,weblink

Use on flags

{{further information|Islamic flags|Black Standard#Jihadist black flag}}The Shahada is found on some Islamic flags.Wahhabism used the Shahada on their flags since the 18th century.BOOK, harv, Firefly Books, Firefly Guide to Flags of the World,weblink 2003, Firefly Books, 978-1-55297-813-9, 19 March 2018,weblink 18 June 2018, live, In 1902, ibn Saud, leader of the House of Saud and the future founder of Saudi Arabia, added a sword to this flag. The modern Flag of Saudi Arabia was introduced in 1973.WEB, Saudi Arabia Flag and Description,weblink World Atlas, 22 June 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 22 June 2015, live, The Flag of Somaliland has a horizontal strip of green, white and red with the Shahada inscribed in white on the green strip.BOOK, James B. Minahan, Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World A-Z, Greenwood Publishing Group, 9780313076961, 806, Between 1997 and 2001, the Taliban used a white flag with the Shahada inscribed in black as the flag of their Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The various jihadist black flag used by Islamic insurgents since the 2000s have often followed this example. The Shahada written on a green background has been used by supporters of Hamas since about 2000. The 2004 draft constitution of Afghanistan proposed a flag featuring the Shahada in white script centered on a red background. In 2006, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant designed its flag using the Shahada phrase written in white on black background. The font used is supposedly similar to the font used as seal on the original letters written on Muhammad's behalf.NEWS,weblink How ISIS Got Its Flag, William, McCants, The Atlantic, 22 September 2015, 23 November 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 23 November 2015, live,

National flags with Shahada

Flag of Afghanistan.svg|Islamic Republic of AfghanistanFlag of Saudi Arabia.svg|Saudi ArabiaFlag of Taliban.svg|Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (unrecognized state)Flag of Somaliland.svg|Somaliland (unrecognized state)


File:Offa king of Mercia 757 793 gold dinar copy of dinar of the Abassid Caliphate 774.jpg|A mancus gold dinar of king Offa of Mercia, copied from the dinars of the Abbasid Caliphate (774); probably unintentionally, it still includes the Arabic text "Muhammad is the Apostle of God".File:Kalema-tut-shahadat.jpg|The Qibla of the Fatimid caliph al-Mustansir Billah in the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, Cairo showing the Shi'i shahada with the phrase ʿalī walī allāh at the end.File:MIK_-_Schriftfliese.jpg|The first phrase of the Shahada in kufic calligraphy (1309), Kashan, Iran.File:Sahadah-Topkapi-Palace.jpg|The Testimony of Faith inscribed as calligraphy on top of the Babussalam gate of the Topkapı Palace, Istanbul, Turkey.File:The_Mausoleum_of_Attar.jpg|The Shi'i Shahada on the mausoleum of Attar of Nishapur, Iran. The first phrase is in white, the rest in blue.File:Arabic_Calligraphy_at_Wazir_Khan_Mosque2.jpg|Tile panel in the Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore, Pakistan. The Shahada is on the top half of the panel.File:Glaubenbekenntnis.jpg|Shahadas written in the style of a Mamluk tughra on the bottom right and in mirror image on bottom left.File:Shahada.svg|The Shahada written in square Kufic script, shown as buildings topped with domes and minarets, with its mirror image on the left.File:Kalema at Bab al Nasr, Fatimid Cairo.jpg|Shia Shahādah at Bab al-Futuh/Bab al-Nasr Fatimid Cairo with the phrase ʿalī walī allāh.

See also







  • BOOK, Vincent J., Cornell, Voices of Islam, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007,weblink 1400, 0275987337, harv,
  • BOOK, James E., Lindsay, Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World, Greenwood Publishing Group, 9780313322709,weblink 2005, harv,
  • BOOK, Arthur J. Magida, Opening the Doors of Wonder: Reflections on Religious Rites of Passage, University of California Press, 9780520941717,weblink

External links

{{Commons category|Shahada}} , {{Islam topics |collapsed}}

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