Allaah the Exalted also said: “He sends down the angels with the revelation of His commands to whosoever of His slaves that He wills, saying: Warn mankind that none has the right to be worshiped except Me. So fear Me [by keeping away from sin and disobedience].” [Soorah an-Nahl 16:2].

Ibn ‘Uyaynah, (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “Allaah has not bestowed any favour upon His slaves greater than the favour of them realising laa ilaaha ilallaah. Indeed laa ilaaha illallaah is to the people of Paradise, what cool water is to the people of this world(1).”

Whoever utters it will have his wealth and his blood safeguarded, but whoever refuses to do so, then his property and his blood are not safeguarded. It has been reported in [one of] the Saheeh collections that the sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “Whoever says: laa ilaaha illallaah and rejects whatever else is worshiped besides Allaah, then his property and blood become sacred and his reckoning is with Allaah(2).”

It is the first thing sought from the unbelievers when they are invited to embrace Islaam, since as the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam was sending Mu’aadh to Yemen, he said to him: “You are going to a people from the people of the Book. So let the first thing to which you call them be the worship of Allaah(3).”

So with this you have come to know about the place of laa ilaaha illallaah in the Religion, its importance in the life of a Muslim and that it is the very first obligation upon the people, since it is the foundation upon which all actions are based(4).

 

_ _ _ _ _

 

(1) Related by Ibn Rajab in Kalimatul-Ikhlaas (p.53)

(2) Reported by Muslim (no.37)

(3) Reported by al-Bukhaaree (no.1458) and Muslim (no.31). In the narration of Muslim (no.2 9) there occurs the wording: “So call them to testify to laa ilaaha illallaah ...“. Imaam Ibn al-Mundhir, (rahimahullaah) said in al-Awsat (p.73 5): “There is a consensus from all those whose views have been preserved from the people of knowledge, that when an unbeliever who has reached the age of puberty and is sound of mind, testifies to laa ilaaha illallaah; and to the fact that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger; and that everything Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wasallam came with is the truth and frees himself from every religion which contradicts the Religion of Islaam - then he is a Muslim.”.

(4) As for the view that the first obligation upon each person is to know Allaah through rational proofs and contemplation - a view which has regrettably gained currency amongst a party of the present-day callers to Islaam - then this is indeed an error!

Imaam Ibn Abil-’Izz, rahimahullaah, spoke about this in Sharhul Aqeeclatit -Tahaawiyyah (1/23): “What is correct is that the first obligation upon the one who is morally responsible (mukallaf) is to testify to laa ilaaha illallaah. It is not to rationally contemplate, nor intend to contemplate, nor to doubt - which are the views of the leaders of blameworthy and innovated speech (al-kalaamulmadhmoom). Rather, the scholars of the Pious Predecessors (Salaf) were all in agreement that the first obligation a person is ordered with are the two testifications of faith (shahaadatain).”

Imaam an-Nawawee, rahimahullaah, stated the likes of the above in Sharh Saheeh Muslim (1/187) saying: “In this is an evident proof for the view of the verifying scholars, as well as the majority of the Salaf and the later scholars (khalaf), that when a person binds himself to the Religion of Islaam - with a decisive belief, having no doubt about it - then this suffices him. He is a Believer from the people of tawheed. It is not obligatory for him to learn the proofs of the rationalists (almutakallimoon) or to know Allaah the Exalted by them. This is contrary to those who obligate this and make it a condition for him to be from the people of the Qiblah [i.e. Muslims], claiming that the ruling of someone being a Muslim could not be applied except by this. This view, which is the saying of many of the Mu’tazilah and some of our colleagues from the people of kalaam, is a clear error, since what is required is a firm and decisive trust which has already been attained; and since the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam declared trust in what he came with to be sufficient and he did not make knowing such [rational] proofs a condition.”

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said in Dar’ut-Ta’aarudil-Aql wan-Naql (8/21): “A group held that knowing Allaah through rational contemplation was obligatory, there being no way to reach this except through it; so they obligated rational contemplation upon everyone. This view was spread in the ummah by the Mu’tazilah and their ilk.”

Ibn Hajr al-’Asqalaanee, rahimahullaah, also rebutted this erroneous view in Fathul-Baaree (13/437) saying: “His words are supported by what Aboo Daawood reports from Ibn ‘Abbaas: “That a man said to Allah’s Messenger sallallahu alaihi wasallam: Did Allaah send you so that we should testify that none has the right to be worshiped except Allaah and that we should forsake [the deities] al-Laat and al-’Uzzaa? He replied: “Yes.” So the man became a Muslim.” The basis of this can be found in the report of the two Saheehs in the story of Dammaam ibn Tha’labah. In the hadeeth of ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasa, which is reported by Muslim, ‘Amr said: “I came to the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam and said: What are you? He replied: A Prophet of Allaah. I said: Did Allaah send you? He replied: Yes. I said: With what? He replied: To single out Allaah alone with worship and not to associate anything else in worship with Him. [‘Amr then embraced Islaam].” ... Also there are the letters that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam sent to Hercules, Chosroes and other kings, calling them to tawheed. These and other continuously recurring (mutawaatir) reports (which are mutawaatir in meaning) prove that when the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam called the unbelievers to have faith in Allaah and to affirm what he came with, he did not increase upon this [i.e. he did not require them to contemplate or to know rational proofs]. So whoever responded to the message, it was accepted from him, regardless of whether he contemplated or not.”

Point to Note: Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Maani’ said in Sharhul ‘Aqeedatis- Safaareeniyyah (p.61): “Some scholars have said: Rational contemplation (nadhr) is obligatory in some situations but not in others, and upon some individuals but not upon others. It is obligatory upon one whose natural instinct to submit to Allaah (fitrah) has been so corrupted that he is in need of rational contemplation. As for one who can acquire cognisence of Allaah without contemplation, nor has his fitrah been corrupted, then it is not obligatory upon him.”

The likes of this was also stated by Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo’ Fataawaa (16/328). For a detailed treatment of this topic consult: Dar’ut-Ta’aarudil- ‘Aql wan-Naql (8/351-359) and Fathul-Baaree (13/432-439).

 

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