La ilaha illa Allah

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What is the meaning of La ilaha illa Allah? Will everyone who says La ilaha illa Allah enter Jannah?

La ilaha illa Allah” (there is no deity but Allah) is the second best statement next to the Ayat of the Qur’an. It is most loved by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. It is the word of sincere faith and the first thing to which all the messengers and prophets of Allah invited people. It was the first word to which Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) invited his people.

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Say, ‘There is no deity but Allah that you may prosper.’ ”

It is also called the words of Tawheed. It means that there is no true deity worthy of worship except Allah, as Allah says,

{That is because Allaah is the Truth (the only True God of all that exists, Who has no partners or rivals with Him), and what they (the polytheists) invoke besides Him, it is Batil (falsehood).}
[Surah Luqmaan 31:30]

This statement consists of an affirmation and a negation. La ilaha (There is no deity) is the negation, while illa Allah (except Allah) is the affirmation. ‘There is no deity’ denies all objects of worship and all false deities, whereas ‘except Allah’ affirms that there is nothing truly worthy of worship except Allah alone.

The verbal statement of Shahadah is the fundamental part of Deen (religion). Every person, whether from among jinn or mankind, must make a verbal statement of Shahadah and at the same time believe firmly in its meaning. They must also offer sincere worship to Allah alone.

It would be sufficient for a person to understand the meaning of Shahadah and act according to it, but it is better and very much recommend that he/she also learns the conditions of Shahadah.

The scholars have unanimously given eight necessary conditions for the fulfillment of the statement of Shahadah.

1. Knowledge 3. Sincerity 5. Love 7. Acceptance
2. Certainty 4. Truthfulness 6. Submission 8. Disbelieve in false gods

Knowledge means that one must know that the meaning of the phrase “La ilaha illa Allah”. It means that no one is truly worthy of worship other than Allah

Certainty means to be absolutely certain that Allah alone deserves to be worshipped, and not to have even the slightest doubt that there is no other thing that deserves to be worshipped except Allah.

Sincerity means that one must be sincere when offering acts of worship, such as Salah (Prayer), Sawm (Fasting), and Sadaqah (voluntary charity). These acts must be carried out for the sake of Allah alone.

Truthfulness means that one must also be truthful in their love of Allah and His worship; as opposed to the false love and worship of the hypocrites.

Love means to love Allah. One who does not love Allah is a Kafir who hates Tawheed and true faith.  That is because they hate that which Allah has sent down (this Qur‘an and Shari’ah, etc.); so He has made their deeds fruitless. One must also truly love Allah and His Messenger, and hold their love for them prior to their love of anything else.

Submission means one must submit oneself to the requirements of the shahada, like offering sincere worship to Allah alone, denying all other objects of worship, and showing willing obedience to the Commands of Allah and avoiding what He has prohibited.

Acceptance is to unconditionally accept all the implications of the Shahadah. They have no right to refuse any of these implications. They must accept the implications of this statement, like offering worship to Allah, declaring His Oneness, and showing sincerity to Him.

And lastly, one must also disbelieve in and deny anything that is worshipped besides Allah. One must believe that Allah alone is truly worthy of worship and that anything worshiped beside Him is null and void. To believe that Allah alone hears the prayers of His slave and provides for him livelihood, children, etc.

 

Will everyone who says ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ enter Jannah?

As we have seen above, there are certain conditions of Shahadah. Even if one has not learnt them in detail, he/she MUST abide by them in practice. A person who then truly believes in Oneness of Allah and frees himself from ALL forms of Shirk, and believes and obeys Allah and His Messenger in everything that has been commanded, then such a person is rightfully called a Muslim and will enter Jannah. These conditions makes it necessary that after uttering the Shahada verbally, one must start to offer Salah (prayers), pay Zakah, observe Sawm (fasting) and perform Hajj (pilgrimage), et.

Uttering the Shahada and entering Islam, clears a person from from ALL past sins. If however a person enters Islam and still denies offering Salah (prayers), then such a person is regarded as a Kaafir (disbeliever). There are many hadeeth in this regard.

Jabir bin Abdullah says: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) saying, “The difference between a (Muslim) man, and shirk and kufr, is the abandoning of salaah”.
[Sahih Muslim: Kitab ul Iman: Book 001, Number 0147]

As for denying sawm (fasting), denying to pay Zakah, committing Zina, taking Ribaa, etc. then all these are serious sins, but these do not amount to Kufr (disbelief) immediately. Such sins amount to kufr in 2 cases:

  1. If the person says that such sins are allowed. For example a person claims it is legal to commit zina and he claims he won’t be punished for it, then this is Kufr.
  2. The proofs of severity of these sins are made clear to him and he has understood it, but he still persists in committing those sins, then this may amount to Kufr.

Apart from the above two conditions, the sins do not amount to Kufr, and the person will be considered to be a disobedient Muslim. Such people will be put into Jahannam for their sins, except if Allah forgives them out of His Mercy. Even if they are sent to Jahannam, the punishment for disobedient Muslims will be temporary and they will not abide in Jahannam for eternity. They may get punished in Jahannam for a long time, but once their punishment is over and they are purified of their sins, Allah will eventually admit them into Jannah because of their adherence to Tawheed. This is the unanimous opinion of scholars and it has many evidences of this from the Qur’an and Hadees.

 

Summary

Therefore we learn that apart from proclaiming La ilaha illa Allah verbally, it is also necessary to abide by Tawheed and have knowledge, belief and insight of its meaning.

Since La ilaha illa Allah means there is no deity truly worthy of worship except Allah, one who proclaims that there is no deity but Allah and yet worships Awliya’ (pious people), it would be as if they had not pronounced Shahadah at all. One who proclaims that there is no deity except Allah and yet invokes the dead or seeks the help of people who have died, then their Shahadah will be invalid.

The shahada only avails those who utter it understanding its meaning of Tawheed and complying to its conditions.

 

(Article compiled from Nur’ala Al-Darb Fatwas >Volume 1 > Chapter on Aqidah > Chapter on Tawhid-related topics > Conditions and meaning of “La ilaha illa Allah”)