The Shahada is the declaration of faith that a person uses to indicate the foundation of their belief, and if you ask the average Muslim what is their Shahada they will most likely provide you the following statement.

أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ

ašhadu an lā ʾilāha ʾilla -llāhu, wa-ʾašhadu ʾanna muḥammadan rasūlu -llāh

The literal translation to this statement is:

I bear witness that there is no god except God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is a messenger of God.

But for many Muslims they are unaware that this is a false shahada. That this shahada is not only factually wrong, it goes counter to the verses of the Quran.

Reason #1 – Shahada of God

In order to understand why this statement is false, it helps to understand first what is the correct Shahada. The correct Shahada is best articulated in Sura 3 verse 18.

[3:18] GOD bears witness that there is no god except He, and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge. Truthfully and equitably, He is the absolute god; there is no god but He, the Almighty, Most Wise.

(١٨) شَهِدَ اللَّهُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ وَأُولُو الْعِلْمِ قَائِمًا بِالْقِسْطِ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

According to the Quran this is the Shahada of God, the angels, and the knowledgable. This is the same Shahada per all of God’s scriptures including the Bible and the Quran and has been around for all of eternity.

Bible Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

This Shahada occurs in some form or another over 30 times in the Quran. (2:163, 3:2, 3:6, 3:18, 3:62, 4:87, 5:73, 6:102, 6:106, 7:158, 9:31, 10:90, 11:14, 13:30, 20:8, 20:14, 21:25, 21:87, 27:26, 37:35, 38:65, 40:3, 40:62, 40:65, 44:8, 47:19, 59:23, 64:13, 73:9).

In every single occurrence in the Quran you will only see God’s name mentioned in the proper Shahada.

[47:19] You shall know that: “There is no other god beside GOD,” and ask forgiveness of your sins and the sins of all believing men and women. GOD is fully aware of your decisions and your ultimate destiny.

(١٩) فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنْبِكَ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مُتَقَلَّبَكُمْ وَمَثْوَاكُمْ

The only place that you will read individuals bearing witness to Muhammad being a messenger of God, is in the Sura 63: The Hypocrites (Al-Munaafeqoon).

[63:1] When the hypocrites come to you they say, “We bear witness that you are the messenger of GOD.” GOD knows that you are His messenger, and GOD bears witness that the hypocrites are liars.

(١) إِذا جاءَكَ المُنافِقونَ قالوا نَشهَدُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسولُ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ يَعلَمُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسولُهُ وَاللَّهُ يَشهَدُ إِنَّ المُنافِقينَ لَكاذِبونَ

So now we have the Shahada of God, the angels, and the knowledgable on one side and the Shahada of the hypocrites and liars on the other side. Which would you choose?

Reason #2 – Do Not Make Distinctions

One of the commandments in the Quran is that we are not to make any distinction among God’s messengers.

[2:285] The messenger has believed in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and so did the believers. They believe in GOD, His angels, His scripture, and His messengers: “We make no distinction among any of His messengers.” They say, “We hear, and we obey. Forgive us, our Lord. To You is the ultimate destiny.”

 آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ رَبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْ رُسُلِهِ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ

This commandment occurs four times in the Quran (2:136, 2:285, 3:84, and 4:152).

[2:136] Say, “We believe in GOD, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus, and all the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters.”

 قُولُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

[3:84] Say, “We believe in GOD, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs, and in what was given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters.”

 قُلْ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

[4:152] As for those who believe in GOD and His messengers, and make no distinction among them, He will grant them their recompense. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

 وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلَمْ يُفَرِّقُوا بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ أُولَٰئِكَ سَوْفَ يُؤْتِيهِمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا

Some people argue that making a distinction just means that we have to believe all of God’s messengers and we can’t say we believe in some and reject some. This understanding is based on 4:150, but if we see this is just one example of making a distinction.

[4:150] Those who disbelieve in GOD and His messengers, and seek to make distinction among GOD and His messengers, and say, “We believe in some and reject some,” and wish to follow a path in between; [4:151] these are the real disbelievers. We have prepared for the disbelievers a shameful retribution. [4:152] As for those who believe in GOD and His messengers, and make no distinction among them, He will grant them their recompense. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يُفَرِّقُوا بَيْنَ اللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ نُؤْمِنُ بِبَعْضٍ وَنَكْفُرُ بِبَعْضٍ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يَتَّخِذُوا بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا

 أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ حَقًّا وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا

 وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلَمْ يُفَرِّقُوا بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ أُولَٰئِكَ سَوْفَ يُؤْتِيهِمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا

This does not indicate that this is the only way to make a distinction. For instance if your teacher tells you three times not to cheat on your exam, and then the fourth time tells you not to look at your neighbors paper, does that mean that the other ways of cheating automatically become acceptable? God clearly tells us not to make distinction between His messengers and according to 2:285 should be I hear and obey.

Another argument that people make is that they show that God preferred some messengers over others when it states:

[17:55] Your Lord is the best knower of everyone in the heavens and the earth. In accordance with this knowledge, we preferred some prophets over others. For example, we gave David the Psalms.

(٥٥) وَرَبُّكَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَقَدْ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَ النَّبِيِّينَ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا

This is because God is free to do whatever He wants including making distinctions among His messengers, but He is specifically telling us not to do that. Again to go back to the teacher example, a teacher can tell their students no cell phones in class, but could have their cell phone in class if they so choose. God can choose to prefer whoever He wants over others, but He is repeatedly telling us not to do such things.

So back to the Shahada. If God tells us to not make distinctions and people insist on mentioning Muhammad’s name in their Shahada at the expense of all other prophets and messengers then they are making a distinction. Some argue they say that this is because Muhammad is the final messenger, so by saying his name he is encompassing all messengers. This argument is completely laughable, because again a distinction is being made. Ask any one who insists on saying Muhammad’s name when was the last time they said “I bear witness there is no god beside God, and I bear witness that Jesus, or Jonah, or David is the messenger of God.”

This is part of the reason that when the hypocrites say “they bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God” that they are hypocrites. But why does God also call them liars?

Reason #3 – Bearing False Witness

In order to claim to bear witness to something we have to have seen it with our own eyes. In Sura 28 verse 44, God tells the prophet the following statement…

[28:44] You were not present on the slope of the western mount, when we issued the command to Moses; you were not a witness.

(٤٤) وَمَا كُنْتَ بِجَانِبِ الْغَرْبِيِّ إِذْ قَضَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَى الْأَمْرَ وَمَا كُنْتَ مِنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ

If God in no uncertain terms is telling Muhammad that he was not a witness to Moses getting the commands on the western mount, we have to ask were any of us there when Muhammad received the revelation from God through the angel Gabriel?

[21:61] They said, “Bring him before the eyes of all the people, that they may bear witness.”

(٦١) قَالُوا فَأْتُوا بِهِ عَلَىٰ أَعْيُنِ النَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْهَدُونَ

Some people argue that this is not correct because they claim that we did not bear witness to God, yet that is part of the Shahada, but is this correct?

[7:172] Recall that your Lord summoned all the descendants of Adam, and had them bear witness for themselves: “Am I not your Lord?” They all said, “Yes. We bear witness.” Thus, you cannot say on the Day of Resurrection, “We were not aware of this.”

 وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ شَهِدْنَا أَنْ تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَٰذَا غَافِلِينَ

Prior to our arrival in this world we forget but we were in Paradise with God. And before coming here God had us all bear witness to Him. So because of this we can say we bear witness that there is no god beside God. And we can’t say that we were not aware of this.

Reason 4 – Utter The Correct Utterances

Is Muhammad alive or dead? This seems like a strange question, but the Quran clarifies this incase there is any doubt.

[39:30] You (Muhammad) will surely die, just like they will die.

(٣٠) إِنَّكَ مَيِّتٌ وَإِنَّهُمْ مَيِّتُونَ

So can a dead person be a messenger? The Shahada of the masses says “Muhammad is a messenger of God.” But this is factually incorrect because a dead person cannot be a messenger. Therefore to say today that “Muhammad is a messenger of God” is incorrect, the correct statement would be Muhammad was a messenger of God.

Reason 5 – Milat Ibrahim

Consistently God tells Muhammad to follow the religion of Abraham (milat Ibrahim).

[16:123] Then we inspired you (Muhammad) to follow the religion of Abraham, the monotheist; he never was an idol worshiper.

(١٢٣) ثُمَّ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ أَنِ اتَّبِعْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

One would think that the foundation of the religion since it is based on the Shahada should be the same for Abraham as it was for Muhammad. So does it make sense that Muhammad changed the Shahada to include his name? Because it would be physically impossible for Abraham to have said Muhammad’s name therefore this is implying that Muhammad commanded people to include his name next to God’s.

Reason #6 – Satisfied with God Alone

[4:36] You shall worship GOD alone—do not associate anything with Him. You shall regard the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, the related neighbor, the unrelated neighbor, the close associate, the traveling alien, and your servants. GOD does not like the arrogant show-offs.

 وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالْجَنْبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَنْ كَانَ مُخْتَالًا فَخُورًا

[39:3] Absolutely, the religion shall be devoted to GOD alone. Those who set up idols beside Him say, “We idolize them only to bring us closer to GOD; for they are in a better position!” GOD will judge them regarding their disputes. GOD does not guide such liars, disbelievers.

 أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ مَا نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونَا إِلَى اللَّهِ زُلْفَىٰ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَهُمْ فِي مَا هُمْ فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ كَاذِبٌ كَفَّارٌ

[39:45] When GOD ALONE is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion. But when others are mentioned beside Him, they become satisfied.

 وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ اشْمَأَزَّتْ قُلُوبُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ

[39:36] Is GOD not sufficient for His servant? They frighten you with the idols they set up beside Him. Whomever GOD sends astray, nothing can guide him.

(٣٦) أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِكَافٍ عَبْدَهُ وَيُخَوِّفُونَكَ بِالَّذِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ

[25:30] The messenger said, “My Lord, my people have deserted this Quran.

(٣٠) وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَارَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا

[37:35] When they were told, “Lã Elãha Ella Allãh [There is no other god beside GOD],” they turned arrogant.

(٣٥) إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا إِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ

[3:64] Say, “O followers of the scripture, let us come to a logical agreement between us and you: that we shall not worship except GOD; that we never set up any idols besides Him, nor set up any human beings as lords beside GOD.” If they turn away, say, “Bear witness that we are submitters.”

(٦٤) قُلْ يَاأَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'We decided to go with Option #2 Option #1 Shahadah of God S#X#X*X#X#X#X#X#X Muhammad [3:18] GOD bears witness that there is no god except He, and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge. Truthfully and equitably, He is the absolute god; there is no god but He, the Almighty, Most Wise. Option #2 Shahadah of hypocrites [63:1] When the ypocrites come to you they say, "We bear witness that you are the messenger of GOD." GOD knows that you are His messenger, and GOD bears witness that the hypocrites are liars.'

One thought on “The False Shahada

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