Friday, 5 March 2010

Examining the Islamic Testimony of Faith in light of Qur’anic Exegesis

According to traditional Sunni Islam in order for a person to become Muslim s/he must confess the following:

Ashhadu an la ilaha illa 'llah; ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasulu 'llah
"I [bear] witness/testify that there is no god but Allah, I [bear] witness/testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah."

This is known as the shahadah (testimony/testification/witness) and kalmia (word/confession/statement).

The readers may not be aware of the number of problems that this testimony raises and how it violates the express teachings of the Qur’an. In light of this we have decided to document all the major difficulties that this creed presents for any sincere Muslim who truly believes that the Qur’an is the speech of Allah which he dictated to Muhammad.

First, according to the Muslim scripture the true confession of faith is to testify that there is no God but Allah. The Qur’an attests that this is the witness of Allah himself, his angels, prophets, messengers and men of understanding:

Allah (Himself) is Witness that there is no God save Him. And the angels and the men of learning (too are witness). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no God save Him the Almighty, the Wise. S. 3:18

Lo! I, even I, am Allah, There is no God save Me. So serve Me and establish worship for My remembrance. S.20:14

He sendeth down the angels with the Spirit of His command unto whom He will of His bondmen, (saying): Warn mankind that there is no God save Me, so keep your duty unto Me. S. 16:2

And We sent no messenger before thee but We inspired him, (saying): There is no God save Me (Allah), so worship Me. S. 21:25

Say (O Muhammad): What thing is of most weight in testimony? Say: Allah is Witness between me and you. And this Qur'an hath been inspired in me, that Imay warn there with you and whomsoever it may reach. Do ye in sooth bear witness that there are gods beside Allah? Say: I bear no such witness. Say: He isonly One God. Lo! I am innocent of that which ye associate (with Him). S. 6:19

Say (unto them, O Muhammad): I am only a warner, and there is no God save Allah, the One, the Absolute, S.38:65; cf. 3:62; 5:73; 6:102, 106; 7:85; 23:116; 37:35; 47:19; 59:22-23; 64:13

There is not a single verse which says that the testimony of faith is to confess or bear witness that Allah is god and that Muhammad is his messenger. Nor is there any exampleof a messenger exhorting people to testify that Allah is the only god and thathe is his messenger.

Second, it associates a creature with Allah in salvation. The Qur’an says that the only religion before Allahis Islam and that a person must therefore become a Muslim if s/he wants to be saved:

Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except, out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, then surely, Allah is Swift in calling to account. S. 3:19 Hilali-Khan

And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers. S. 3:85 Hilali-Khan

And strive for Allah with the endeavour which is His right. He hath chosen you and hath not laid upon you in religion any hardship; the faith of your father Abraham (is yours). He hath named you Muslims of old time and in this (Scripture), that the messenger may be a witness against you, and that ye may be witnesses against mankind. So establish worship, pay the poor-due, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protecting friend. A blessed Patron and a blessed Helper! S. 22:78

However, as we mentioned earlier Sunni Islam teaches that a person cannot be a Muslim unless s/he testifies that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger. Thus, a person cannot be saved without confessing Muhammad which means that salvation comes from believing in Allah and a finite creature!

This is a blatant act of shirk, or of associating partners with Allah. To help the readers see more clearly how the Islamic confession is a clear example of shirk notice all of the definitions which the following lexical source gives for this specific word:

Shiin-Ra-Kaf to be a companion, be sharer/partner. shirkun- share, participation, polytheism, idolatry, making associate/partner with Allah. shariik (pl. shurakaa) - associate, partner, sharer. Nouns of the second declension when followed by the affixed pronouns take the three inflexions thusshurakaa, shurakaa'i, shurakaa'a. shaarak (vb. 3) - to share with. ashraka (vb.4) - to make a sharer or associate, give companions (e.g. to God), be apolytheist or idolater. ashraktumuuni - you associated me as partner. mushrik -one who gives associate to God, polytheist. mushtarikun (vb. 8) - one who partakes or shares. (Project Root List)

This is what Muslims have done in their shahadah ,namely they have turned Muhammad into an associate/companion/sharer/partnerwith Allah.

In fact, there are Muslim scholars who candidly admit that the shahadah deliberately conjoins Muhammad’s name with Allah’s for the express purpose of making him a partner with the Islamic deity! According to the late renowned Muslim jurist and scholar named Qadi Iyad Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi, Muslims are discouraged from using the Arabic conjunction wa (“and”) when speaking of Allah and anyone or anything else since this ends up associating partners withthe Islamic god. However, Muslims are to make an exception in the case of the Islamic creed of faith, the very confession which elevates Muhammad to divine status and parity with Allah!

Qatada said, “Allah exalted his fame in this world and the Next. There is no speaker, witness nor anyone doing the prayer who fails to say, ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’”

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri related that the Prophet said, “Jibril came to me and said, ‘My Lord and your Lord says, “Do you know how I have exalted your fame?”’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘When I am mentioned you are mentioned with Me.’”

Ibn ‘Ata quoted a hadith qudsi saying, “I completed belief with your being mentioned with Me.” And another one which says, “I have made your mention part of My mention so whoever mentions Me, mentions you.”

Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq, “No one mentions you as the Messenger but that he mentions Me as the Lord.”

The fact that mention of the Prophet is directly connected to mention ofAllah also shows that obedience to the Prophet is connected to obedience to Allah and his name to Allah's name. Allah says, “Obey Allah and His Messenger” (2:32) and “Believe in Allah and His Messenger.” (4:136) Allah joins them together using the conjunction wa WHICH IS THE CONJUNCTION OF PARTNERSHIP. IT IS NOT PERMITTED TO USE THIS CONJUNCTION IN CONNECTION WITH ALLAH IN THE CASE OF ANYONE EXCEPT THE PROPHET.

Hudhayfa said that the Prophet said, “None of you should say, ‘What Allah wills and (wa) so-and-sowills.’ Rather say, ‘What Allah wills.’ Then stop and say, ‘So-and-so wills.’”

Al-Khattabi said, “The Prophet has guided you to correct behaviour in putting the will of Allah before the will of others. He chose ‘then’ (thumma) which implies sequence and deference as opposed to ‘and’ (wa) WHICH IMPLIES PARTNERSHIP.”

Something similar is mentioned in another hadith. Someone was speaking in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, “Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has been rightly guided, and whoever rebels against them both (joining them together by using the dual form) …” The Prophet said to him,“What a bad speaker you are! Get up! [Or he said: Get out!]”

Abu Sulayman said, “He disliked the two names being joined together in that way BECAUSE IT IMPLIES EQUALITY.” … (Qadi Iyad Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi, Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K., third reprint 1991, paperback], Part One. Allah’s great estimation of the worth of His Prophet expressed both in word and action, Chapter One: Allah’s praise of himand his great esteem for him, Section 1. Concerning praise of him and his numerous excellent qualities, pp. 7-8)


“… He coupled his name with His own name, and his pleasure with His pleasure. He made him one of the two pillars of tawhid.” (Ibid., Chapter One: Allah’s praise of his Prophet, Section 9. Concerning the marks of honour given to the Prophet in Sura al-Fath, p. 27)

What is even more shocking is that not only did Allah join Muhammad’s name together with his by the use of the conjunction wa he also placed his name on the very door of the heavenly garden itself!

Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Written on the door of the Garden is: I am Allah. There is no god but Me. Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. I will not punish anyone who says that.” (Ibid., Chapter Three: On the sound and well-known traditions related about the immense value placed on him by his Lord, his exalted position and his nobility in this world and the next, Section 1. What has come concerning his place with his Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, his being chosen, his high renown, his being preferred, his mastery over the children of Adam, the prerogative of the ranks he was given in this world and the blessing of his excellent name, p. 90)

Herein lies the problem since according to the Qur’an shirk is the one sin which Allah will never forgive:

Lo! Allah forgiveth not that a partner should be ascribed unto Him (yushraka bihi). He forgiveth (all) save that to whom He will. Whoso ascribeth partners to Allah (yushrik bi-Allahi), he hath indeed invented a tremendous sin. S. 4:48 – cf. 4:116

The Islamic scripture goes so far as to say that Allah is too exalted to have an associate:

Allah is He Who created you and then sustained you, then causeth you to die, then giveth life to you again. Is there any of your (so-called) partners (shuraka-ikum) (of Allah) that doethaught of that Praised and Exaltedbe He above what they associate (with Him) (yushrikoona)! S. 30:40

And also warns against associating any partner withAllah which the Islamic deity himself has not authorized.

We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve because they ascribe unto Allah partners (ashrakoobi-Allahi), for which no warrant hath been revealed. Their habitation is the Fire, and hapless the abode of the wrong-doers. S.3:151

Seeing that there is not a single verse in the entire Qur’an which says that a person must recite the shahadah in order to enter into the fold of Islam Muslims are therefore guilty of idolatry and for going above and beyond the express orders of their god. In so doing, all their hard work and effort shall be in vain since they shall be among the losers according to their religious text:

And verily it hath been revealed unto thee as unto those before thee (saying): If thou ascribe a partner (ashrakta) to Allah thy work will fail andthou indeed wilt be among the losers. S.39:65

Third, it makes a distinction between the prophets and messengers and therefore goes against the express directives of the Qur’an:

Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto usand 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 Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. S. 2:136

The messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers - We make no distinction between any of His messengers- and they say: Wehear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying. S. 2:285

Say (O Muhammad): 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 was vouchsafed unto Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. S. 3:84

In order to see just how discriminating this testimony is to the other prophets and messengers of Allah it should be kept in mind that a person embracing Islam isn’t required to confess that Jesusis Allah’s Slave, Messenger, and Word which he bestowed on Mary, as well as being a Spirit from him, even though theso-called sound ahadith emphatically teach that this is a necessary component of one’s confession!

Narrated 'Ubada: The Prophet said, "If anyone TESTIFIES that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His Slave and His Apostle, and that Jesus is Allah's Slave and His Apostle and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit from Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hell is true, Allah will admit him into Paradise with the deeds which he had done even if those deeds were few." (Junada, the sub-narrator said, " 'Ubada added,' Such a person can enter Paradise through anyof its eight gates he likes.") (Sahihal-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 644)

Besides, when is the last time a Muslim confessed in his/her daily prayers that Moses or someother Qur’anic figure was the messenger of Allah?

Fourth, it requires Muslims to callon or mention someone other than Allah in their daily prayers. Not only are Muslims required to make this confession of faith in their ritual prayers they must also mention and greet Muhammad in their daily acts of worship:

Narrated Shaqiq bin Salama: 'Abdullah said, "Whenever we prayed behind the Prophet we used to recite (in sitting) 'Peace be on Gabriel, Michael, peace be on so and so. Once Allah's Apostle looked back at us and said, 'Allah Himself is As-Salam (Peace), and if anyone of you prays then he should say, At-Tahiyatu lil-lahi wassalawatu wat-taiyibatu. As-Salamu 'ALAIKA aiyuha-n-Nabiyu wa rahmatu-l-lahi wabarakatuhu. As-Salam alaina wa ala ibadil-lah is-salihin. (All the compliments, prayers and good things are due to Allah: peace be on YOU, O Prophet and Allah's mercy and blessings be on you. Peace be on us and on the true pious slaves of Allah). (If you say that, it will be for all the slaves in the heaven and the earth). Ash-hadu anla-ilaha illa-l-lahu wa ash-haduanna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa Rasuluhu. (I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and I also testify that Muhammad is His slave and His Apostle)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 12, Number 794)

Ibn 'Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah used to teach us tashahhud just as he used to teach us a Sura of the Qur'an, and he would say: All services rendered by words, acts of worship, and all good things are due to Allah. Peace be upon YOU, O Prophet,and Allah's mercy and blessings. Peace be upon us and upon Allah's upright servants. I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. In the narration of Ibn Rumb (the words are): "As he would teach us the Qur'an." (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 0798)

However, the Qur’an warns against calling on anyone besides Allah, especially one who is dead, since Muslims are required to invoke the one who never dies but is ever-living:

And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah. S. 72:18 Hilali-Khan

He is the Living One; there is no god but He. So call upon Him, making your religion His sincerely. Praise belongs to God, the Lord of all Being. S.40:65

And put your trust (O Muhammad) in the Ever Living One Who dies not, and glorify His Praises, and Sufficient is He as the All-Knower of the sins of His slaves; S. 25:58 Hilali-Khan

The Muslim scripture makes it clear that Muhammad, like all other men and the rest of the messengers, must die:

Muhammad is naught but a Messenger; Messengers have passed away before him. Why, if he should die or is slain, will you turn about on your heels? If any man should turn about on his heels, he will not harm God in any way; and God will recompense the thankful. S. 3:144 Arberry

Verily, you (O Muhammad) will die and verily, they (too) will die. S. 39:30 Hilali-Khan

According to the ahadith Abu Bakr recited these very same verses on the day Muhammad died:

3467. It is related from 'A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, that the Messenger of Allah died while Abu Bakr was at as-Sunh. (Isma'il says that it means at al-'Aliyya). 'Umar stood up saying, 'By Allah, the Messenger of Allah has not died!'" She said, ''Umar said [later], 'By Allah, nothing occurred to me but that." [He said], 'Allah will raise him and he will cut off the hands and feet of some men!' Abu Bakr came and uncovered the Messenger of Allah and kissed him. He said, 'May my mother and my father be sacrificed! You were good both alive and dead! By the One who has my soul in His hand, Allah will not ever make you taste two deaths.' Then he went out and said, 'O oath-taker, take it easy!' When Abu Bakr spoke, 'Umar sat down. Abu Bakr praised Allah and glorified Him and then said, 'Whoever worshipped Muhammad, Muhammad is dead. Whoever worshipped Allah, Allah is alive and does not die.' He said, 'You will die and they too will die.' (39:30) He said, 'Muhammad is only a Messenger and he has been preceded by other Messengers. If he was to die or be killed, would you turn on your heels? Those who turn on their heels do not harm Allah in any way. Allah will recompense the thankful.' (3:144) The people sobbed and wept." (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection ofal-Bukhari, Chapter 66. Book of the Virtues of the Companions, V: The words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "If I were to have taken a close friend...")


1185. It is related from Ibn 'Abbas, "Abu Bakr went out and found 'Umar speaking to the people. He said, 'Sit down,' but 'Umar refused to. He said, 'Sit down,' but he refused again. Then Abu Bakr said the shahada and the people veered towards him and away from 'Umar. He said, 'As for what follows: Any among you who worship Muhammad should know that Muhammad has died. Any who worship Allah should know that Allah is alive and cannever die. Allah says, "Muhammad is only a Messenger ...(to)... Allah will recompense the thankful." (3:144)' By Allah, Itwas as if no one had known that Allah had revealed this until Abu Bakr recited it. People learned it from him and there was no one who was not heard reciting it." (Bewley, Chapter 28. The Book of Funerals, III: Visiting the dead after they have died when they have been wrapped in their shrouds)

Besides, the Qur’an is clear that those who are dead in their graves cannot hear or benefit the living:

Nor are (alike) the living (believers) and the dead (disbelievers). Verily, Allah makes whom He will hear, but you cannot make hear those who are in graves. S. 35:22 Hilali-Khan

As Muhammad’s child bride Aisha explained:

Narrated Hisham's father: It was mentioned before 'Aisha that Ibn 'Umar attributed the following statement to the Prophet “The dead person is punished in the grave because of the crying and lamentation Of his family.” On that,'Aisha said, “But Allah's Apostle said, 'The dead person is punished for his crimes and sins while his family cry over him then.” She added, “And this is similar to the statement of Allah's Apostle when he stood by the (edge of the) well which contained the corpses of the pagans killed at Badr, 'They hear what I say.' She added, “But he said now they know very well what I used to tell them was the truth.” 'Aisha then recited: ‘You cannot make the dead hear.’ (30.52) and ‘You cannot make those whoare in their Graves, hear you.’ (35.22) that is, when they had taken their places in the (Hell) Fire. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 316)

Thus, the shahadah requires Muslims to confess and call on a dead man who cannot hear or benefit anyone!

Fifth, the shahada also entails confessing a dead man as the messenger of Allah. Notice that inthe testimony of faith Muslims do not say that Muhammad WAS Allah’s messenger (Muhammadan kana rasulu'llah), but that he IS the messenger of Allah. Although the Arabic phrase, Muhammadan rasulu 'llah, does not have a verb there is an implied “IS” in the construction, which explains why Muslims translate it as “Muhammad IS themessenger of Allah”. Yet how can a dead man still be Allah’s messenger when he is in his grave and can neither harm nor benefit anyone?

In conclusion it is clear that by embracing the shahadah Muslims have become like the pagans of Meccain several ways. For instance, like the idolators Muslims do not like to mention Allah alone, but must associate a partner with him in their confession and worship:

Or choose they intercessors other than Allah Say: What! Even though they have power over nothing and have no intelligence Say: Unto Allah belongeth all intercession. His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. And afterward unto Him ye will be brought back. And when Allah alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who believe notin the Hereafter are repelled, and when those (whom they worship) beside Him are mentioned, behold! they are glad. S.39:43-45

(It is said unto them): This is (your plight) because, when Allah onlywas invoked, ye disbelieved, but when some partner was ascribed to Him (yushrak bihi) ye were believing. But the command belongeth only to Allah, the Sublime, the Majestic. S. 40:12

Like the pagans, Muslims confess and invoke a person who neither created anything in the earth nor had a share in the heavens of Allah:

Say: "Have ye seen (these) 'Partners' of yours whom ye call upon besides God (shurakaakumu allatheena tadaoona min dooni Allahi) Show Me what it is they have created in the(wide) earth. Or have they a share in the heavens? Or have We given them a Book from which they (can derive) clear (evidence) - Nay, the wrong-doers promiseeach other nothing but delusions. S. 35:40 Y. Ali

And like the disbelievers of Mecca Muslims are confessing and calling on one who cannot hear because he is dead, and even if he could listen is completely impotent to do anything for them:

He merges Night into Day, and he merges Day into Night, and he has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law): each one runs its course for a term appointed. Such is God your Lord: to Him belongs all Dominion. And those whom ye invoke besides Him have not the least power. If ye invoke them, they will not listen to your call, and if they were to listen, they cannot answer your (prayer). On the Day of Judgment they will reject your "Partnership". And none, (O man!) can tell thee (the Truth) like the One Who is acquainted with all things. S. 35:13-14 Y. Ali

Contrast this with what the Islamic literature says concerning Muhammad:

Or do they say, 'He has forged it' Say: 'If I have forged it, you have no power to help me against Allah. He knows very well what you are pressing upon; He suffices as a witness between me and you; He is the All-forgiving, the All-compassionate.' Say: 'I am not an innovation among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.' S.46:8-9 Meccan

The so-called authentic narrations make it clear that Muhammad was speaking in respect to his eternal fate:

Narrated 'Um al-'Ala: An Ansari woman who gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet that the Ansar drew lots concerning the dwelling of theEmigrants. 'Uthman bin Maz'un was decided to dwell with them (i.e. Um al-'Ala's family), 'Uthman fell ill and I nursed him till he died, and we covered him with his clothes. Then the Prophet came to us and I (addressing the dead body) said,"O Abu As-Sa'ib, may Allah's Mercy be on you! I bear witness that Allah has honored you." On that the Prophet said, "How do you know that Allah has honored him?" I replied, "I do not know. May my father and my mother be sacrificed for you, O Allah's Apostle! But who else is worthy of it (if not 'Uthman)?" He said, "As to him, by Allah, death has overtaken him, and I hope the best for him. By Allah, though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me," By Allah, I will never assert the piety of anyone after him. That made me sad, and when I slept I saw in a dream a flowing stream for 'Uthman bin Maz'un. I went to Allah's Apostle and told him of it. He remarked, "That symbolizes his (good) deeds." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5,Book 58, Number 266)

And: Narrated Abu Huraira: When Allah revealed the Verse: "Warn your nearest kinsmen," Allah's Apostle got up and said, "O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e. save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Bani Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah's Apostle! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Fatima bint Muhammad! Ask me anything from my wealth, but I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment." (Sahih al-Bukhari,Volume 4, Book 51, Number 16)

With the foregoing in perspective it is hard to avoid the charge that traditional Islam is really the religion of submitting to Allah and Muhammad and that the vast majority of Muslims are actually Muhammadans, or those who worship Muhammad, whether they care to admitit or not.

So much for Islam being a very strict, monotheistic religion!

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