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The Declaration of at-Tawhīd and its Meaning

Al-Habīb Ahmad Mash-hūr bin Tāhā al-Haddād

Rady Allāhu Anhu

There is no god except Allāh. Though short, that declaration is profound in its meaning, overwhelming in its effect, noble in its status, radiant of light and unique in merit. All of four words, but upon them an entire religion (namely the Divine Covenant) has been founded, a qibla instituted; and for its sake came sacred Books which Allāh revealed to each of the ennobled Messengers. Because of it there will be deliverance from the fires of Hell to the eternal happiness in the Gardens of Paradise, says Allāh, the Exalted:

Know therefore, that
There is no god
But Allāh (Muhammad 19)

Verily I am Allāh
There is no god but I
Worship and serve Me (Tāhā 14)

Allāh!  There is no god
But He - the Living,
The Self-Subsisting, Eternal (Baqara 255)

Allāh, there is no god
But He!  To Him belong
The most Beautiful Names (Tāhā 8)

Not an apostle did We
Send before you without
This inspiration sent by us
To him: that there is
Not god but I; therefore
Worship and serve Me (Anbiyā 25)

Only a sound belief in those few words, and certainty about their meaning and submission to them will give birth to a full-blooded faith - Īmān whereas Islām is founded on a sincere verbal expression of those words and conducting oneself in all truthfulness according to their requirements.  Furthermore, hearts radiate genuine Ihsān when sound belief in "There is no god but Allāh" is allied to surrender to God and a yielding to His law.

Besides being called the Word of at-Tawhīd, it is also called the Testimony, the Word of Ikhlās, the Word of Truth, the Word of the Covenant, the Word of Faith, the Command of Taqwā (or loving-awe), the Abiding Word, the Supreme Word of Allāh, the Word of Intercession, the Price of Paradise (and the Key to Paradise).

It is the word that consecrates one into Islām, that is along with the testimony of Muhammad's Apostleship. It is also the last word on which one departs from this world into Paradise and eternal happiness as the Hadīth says. He whose last words are: 'There is no god save Allāh alone', will enter Paradise. It is therefore the first and last obligation. Who utters it with dedicated certainty and dies committed to it shall attain Paradise as the Hadīth says. Who shuns it in wilful rejection or associationism, goes to Hell and an evil place:

But those who are
Too arrogant to serve Me
Will surely find themselves
In Hell - in humiliation (Mu'min (Ghāfir) 60)

But those who are
Disdainful and arrogant
He will punish
With a grievous penalty
Nor will they find
Besides Allāh, any
To protect or help them (Nisā 173)

Joins other gods with Allāh
Allāh will forbid him
The Garden, and the Fire
Will be his abode (Māida 72)

Lā ilāha illa 'Llāh

Means there is no god deserving of worship and service save Allāh. And Allāh is the Name of the Most Sublime Essence, whose Being is Necessary, and is invested with all attributes of Perfection and Majesty. He transcends all epithets of originated beings. He has no partner neither peer and has no likeness, and transcends all attributes and states inappropriate to His Majesty and Glory. For He is Allāh, the Immanent, the Transcendent, the Self-Sufficing in Infinite Plentitude. He begetteth not nor is He begotten and there is none like unto Him. There is no god but He, Exalted be His Name.  He has no partner in His Essence, nor in his Attributes nor in His Actions.  In His hands is Dominion, to Him is all Praise, and He, over all things, has Power.

Source: Sayyiduna’l Imām al-Habīb Ahmad Mash-hūr bin Tāhā al-Haddād, Rady Allāhu Anhu, Miftāh u’l Jannah (The Key To Paradise), translated by Shaykh Mohamed Mlāmāli Ādam, in consultation with Sayyid Omar Abdallāh, Iqrā’ Publications, Memon Jamat Nairobi, 1409/1989, Chapter One, p. 2-4.

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