11.1 Declaration of Faith/Belief
The Muslim declaration of faith is: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”. Yet this seems to defy the central concept of “Tawhid” or the “Oneness of Allah” as stressed in the Qur’an. Nowhere in the Qur’an are these two concepts linked together. That is, nowhere is the phrase: “There is no God but Him (Allah)” linked with the phrase “and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. A fact about which all but the most unusually informed Muslim is totally ignorant. Let’s look at Qur’anic examples:
(3:18) Allah bears witness that there is no God but Him (la-ilaha-illa-hu) — and so do the angels, and men possessed of knowledge — upholding justice; there is no God but Him (la-ilaha-illa-hu), the Almighty, the Wise.
Further examples can be found in the following verses: 2:163,255; 3:2,6; 4:87; 6:102, 106; 7:158; 9:31,129; 11:14; 13:30; 16:2; 20:8,14,98; 21:25,87; 23:116; 27:26; 28:70, 88; 35:3; 39:6; 40:3; 62,65; 44:8; 47:19; 64:13; 73:9.
The second way this ‘formula’ contravenes the Qur’an can be seen by the fact that Allah states as many as five times that we must not make any distinction between any of His prophets. In doing so we become disbelievers and face severe penalties. The relevant verses are: 2:136, 285; 3:84; 4:150, 152; of which I quote the following:
(4:150-152) Those who deny Allah and His messengers, and wish to separate Allah from His messengers, saying: ‘We believe in some and reject others, and wish to choose a way in between’; Such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We have prepared a shameful doom. But those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between them, unto them Allah will give their wages; Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
In fact, the Shahadah for the Muslims (i.e. the declaration of faith/belief) is given by the Qur’an itself in the following verse:
(2:136) Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Sustainer. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.
Other verses confirm this declaration (e.g. verses 2:285, 3:84 and 2:177).
Note: Except for the Qur’an, the revelations given to all other prophets do not exist in their original forms due to loss and human interference. This, however, is not a problem for us since the messages given to the other prophets are all contained in what the Qur’an teaches, the Book, which has remained intact in its original form. The Qur’an states very clearly that nothing was said to the Prophet (Muhammad) that was not said to other messengers before him.
(41:43) Nothing is said unto thee (Muhammad) save that which was said unto messengers before thee[…].
It is also not enough simply to make a verbal declaration of belief. We will invariably be tested as to whether we are steadfast in our belief or not. The following verses illustrate this:
(29:2) Do men imagine that they will be left (at ease) because they say, we believe, and will not be tested with affliction?
(3:142) Or deemed ye that ye would enter Paradise while yet Allah knoweth not those of you who really strive, nor knoweth those (of you) who are steadfast?
(2:155-157) And surely We will try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the steadfast. Who say, when a misfortune striketh them: Lo! we are Allah’s and lo! unto Him we are returning. Such are they on whom are blessings from their Sustainer, and mercy. Such are the rightly guided.
The prophets themselves were subjected to very rigorous tests before they were confirmed in their prophethood. Abraham (see section 7.5) was subjected to tests before he was made the leader of mankind. Similarly, Muhammad underwent severe tests as the following verse suggests.
(2:214) Or think ye that ye will enter Paradise while yet there hath not come unto you the like of (that which came to) those who passed away before you? Affliction and adversity befell them, they were shaken as with earthquake, till the messenger (of Allah) and those who believed with him said: When cometh Allah’s help? Now surely Allah’s help is nigh.
In fact the only way that we can be true to our belief in Allah’s Majesty and Oneness is by making sure of our understanding of His Words in the Qur’an, so that we can follow these as our guidance in everyday life, to the best of our ability.