The Shahadah is the Islamic creed which states:
“There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is a messenger of Allah”
Many non-Muslims don’t understand why there is a need to mention the name of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the creed. Some even go to the extent of labeling it as an “association”. Which is clearly a big misconception. Being a Muslim I think I should clarify this for them.
Firstly, it’s important to understand the meanings of a bunch of terms before we begin. So here goes
Creed: A formal statement of religious belief; a confession of faith.
Messenger: The one to whom a law is revealed and he is commanded to convey it. (theology)
Association: Worshiping a god besides the One True God.
Shahadah: Derived from the Arabic word which means “to declare” so, literally it means the declaration of faith.
Secondly, it is also important to understand what the Shahadah denotes.
There are two parts to it; first:
There is no God but Allah
This actually denies the existence of any other true God besides Allah. How? We all know that there are many gods (objects, people, places, mythological figures) being worshiped by people worldwide. Every religion has a different god; but all of them can not be true, right? Only One is. Therefore, according to Islamic teachings all the other objects of worship are false gods. The Shahadah confirms this, that the true God is only One God, Allah. It would be more appropriate to translate it as “There is nothing worthy of worship besides Allah.”
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the final messenger of Allah ‘Azza wa Jal sent on earth to guide mankind. His commands must be obeyed because they were based on revelation and were not a product of his own personal whims and fancies. The Qur’an states:
“Your companion [Muhammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred, Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed”
So, obedience to the Prophet is obedience to Allah, as stated in the Qur’an,
“He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah ; but those who turn away – We have not sent you over them as a guardian.”
But this obedience is qualified as the Prophet (peace be upon him) was quoted as saying in a hadith:
“There is no obedience if it involves disobedience toward Allah. ” (Sahih)
So basically we believe that there is no God but Allah and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger. While declaring our faith as Muslims we need to mention our belief in the last prophet because our faith is entirely based on the revelation sent to him, and not as an association in divinity (God forbid).
In order to properly worship Allah we have to follow the Prophet (peace be upon him) because he was sent as an example to guide us. How can it be an association if the first part of the shahadah forbids and denies it?
“There is no God but Allah”
The term “association” implies worshiping someone or something alongside God. There is not a single Muslim who “worships” the prophet. I think that alone should suffice as evidence.
Got questions? Just ask. 🙂