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Shahada

Just as we have fundamental beliefs in Al-Islam, we also have fundamental practices


which we must observe. By increasing our knowledge of these fundamentals we
increase our understanding of Al-Islam. These fundamental practices are the pillars
upon which a uslim!s entire Islamic life, which is based on the "oly #ur!an and the
$unnah of %rophet uhammad is structured.
If we do not have the courage to acknowledge the worship of Allah The &reator, and if
we do not have the courage to live a life which shows others our worship of "im, then
we are not strong enough to accept the first %illar of our religion. 'hen people declare
themselves uslims, they make their faith known by openly bearing witness that, (There
is no deity e)cept Allah, and uhammad is "is $ervant and essenger.*
A person who claims to be a uslim, but who hides his faith is not a believer. 'hen we
openly bear witness that nothing is worthy of worship e)cept Allah, and that uhammad
is "is essenger, we are telling the world that Allah is +ne, and that uhammad is not
a divinity, but a essenger of Allah. A uslim must embrace Al-Islam in a public
declaration. "owever, if he fears that making his declaration publicly may bring him
harm, he may make it secretly, until such time as circumstances permit him to make it
publicly. ,ven when the declaration is made secretly one must fulfill all his obligations
and avoid what is forbidden. If he cannot fulfill obligations where he is, he must leave the
areas of harm. The "oly #ur!an says, (y $ervants who believe- Truly spacious is y
,arth. Therefore serve e .and e alone/-* .#ur0an 12345, The $pider/ Thus Allah tells
us that "is ,arth is large enough for us to travel to a place in it where we will not meet
with opposition in observing our faith.
'hen people understand the message of Al-Islam and feel an obligation to declare
themselves uslims before Allah and before the Islamic community, their hearts are
taking a courageous stand. Allah rewards their courage by blotting out all the sins in their
past. ,ven if one is in confinement for a criminal act, all his previous sins are forgiven,
regardless of what they may have been, when he makes his declaration to accept Al-
Islam.
The "oly #ur!an says of the unbelievers, (If they stop it .associating things with Allah/,
they will be forgiven all that has gone before.* .#ur0an 6376, The $poils of 'ar/ %rophet
uhammad said, (Al-Islam wipes out all previous .misdeeds/.* This tells us that when
&hristians, Jews or members of any other faith embrace Al-Islam, Allah annuls all their
wrong actions, and they are as if they were reborn. 8o one has to submerge them in
water. 8o one has to sprinkle them down. They are submerged into their hearts by the
spirit of Allah which makes them say, (I!m not going to fight anymore. Allah, I want to be
with 9ou. I want to be on the side of the righteous. Today, I!m going to get rid of this
shyness of mine. I!m going to tell the Imam, :I want to come up and declare my faith.*:
'hen people walk up to declare their faith they sometimes look as if they are carrying a
million pounds on their shoulders. $ometimes they come forward as if they have been
locked up for a million years. $ometimes they come up as if they ;ust broke out of ;ail.
But most of them come up with courage. I!ve seen some break down in tears, sobbing
while they were saying, (I bear witness that there is no god e)cept Allah, and I bear
witness that uhammad is "is essenger.* In addition to making the declaration of
faith, those who are from &hristian backgrounds should say, in
their hearts, (Jesus is not Allah, but one of "is %rophets and <ighteous $ervants. I
worship Allah only, and I re;ect all that I used to associate with "im.* It is recorded that
during the lifetime of %rophet uhammad those who came to declare themselves to be
uslims, especially women, pledged not to give themselves to past wickedness and
corruption. This was emphasi=ed for women because life begins under the mothers and
their state is thus of the utmost concern. There is an old saying, ('here there are no
decent women, there can be no decent men .future generations/.*
<epentance in AI-Islam means giving up sin, and it re>uires a wholehearted change in
thought and deeds. 'e should strive to rid our minds and hearts of remembrance of the
pleasure of sin. The effect of sin on our hearts ?souls@ is like that of poisoned honey on
our physical bodies. 'e must seek knowledge to understand the causes, effects and
punishments of sins, so we can better avoid them. +ur repentance is acceptable to Allah
if we are sincere.
'hen we understand that the destructive power of sin is poison, we can reach
repentance. 'hen the condition of repentance prevails in our minds and hearts, we
desire to re;ect sins in the future, and to make amends for those of our past. 'hen we
are repentant, we consciously try to avoid situations which e)pose us to sin or
temptation for the balance of our lives.
A man who makes the Aeclaration of Baith, but who brings about no change in his life
has not accepted Al-lslarn in his heart. "e must put his faith into practice in order for it to
revolutioni=e his life. Allah is erciful and &ompassionate. "e is always ready to pardon
and to admit to "is Crace those who are prepared to correct their attitudes and their
behavior.
'hen a person accepts Al-Islam and then leads a virtuous, pious life in accordance with
its teachings, all his previous misdeeds are erased because he has proven his sincerity
by putting forth earnest efforts toward his moral uplifting. "owever, if he persists in the
path of evil after accepting AI-Islam, he shows that his attachment to evil is stronger than
his commitment to his faith. "e is therefore entitled to no remission.
A follower of %rophet uhammad once asked, (Ao you think there is anything for me .of
the reward with the Dord/ for the good deeds I did in the state of ignoranceE* %rophet
uhammad replied, (9ou accepted AI-Islam with all the previous acts of virtue that you
practiced .in the state of ignorance/. (This tells us that Allah gives us credit for the good
deeds we perform before accepting Al-Islam.

o Imam Warith Deen Mohammed Prayer and Al-Islam