14 April 2023
La Ilaha Illallah: There is no god but Allah
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [“There is no god but Allah”] is the creed that forms the foundation of the Oneness of God [Tawhid]. The Holy Prophetsa stated, “Allah the Almighty has forbidden the fire for the one who proclaims لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] in order to attain His pleasure.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Salat, Hadith 425)
Hence, when one proclaims لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah], in order to attain Allah the Almighty’s pleasure and with the desire to gain His attention, submitting to Him, and focussing all of their attention on Him, then they become the recipients of Allah the Almighty’s blessings. And as the Holy Prophetsa stated, Allah will forbid the Fire for them. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Al-Riqaq, Hadith 6423)
In another instance, the Holy Prophetsa has again mentioned that Allah the Almighty will forbid hellfire for them. This is the very teaching that was taught and upheld by every single prophet.
On one occasion the Holy Prophetsa stated, “The most noble word which I and the prophets before me have spoken is, لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ وَحْدَہ لَا شَرِيْکَ لَہ [there is no god but Allah, He is Alone and has no partner].” (Mauta Imam Malik, Kitab-ul-Salat, Hadith no. 501, Maktabatul Bushra, Karachi)
Thus, this was the teaching of all the prophets. However, it is unfortunate that the very people to whom the prophets brought these teachings are the ones who, having forgotten it, whether intentionally or otherwise, have made it a means of associating partners with God. They have forgotten the true essence of their teachings. We are fortunate that Allah the Almighty has made us a part of the Ummah of the Holy Prophetsa and granted us the perfect teaching that completely eradicated shirk [associating partners with God], and by teaching the true lesson of the unity of God, the Holy Prophetsa has provided us with the means to adorn our lives in this world and in the Hereafter.
Therefore, thsoe who now act upon the true teachings of the Holy Prophetsa and proclaim the Oneness of God Almighty in a sincere manner, are the ones who shall be the recipients of Allah the Almighty’s grace and partake of the intercession of the Holy Prophetsa. Regarding this, it is mentioned in a narration that the Holy Prophetsa stated, “The most fortunate among my people with regards to my intercession is the one who testifies with a sincere heart or a sincere soul that لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah].” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Ilm, Hadith 99)
Thus, the one who truly partakes of the intercession of the Holy Prophetsa is the one who makes the proclamation of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah], in a manner whereby it is not influenced by the material world.
The Holy Prophetsa is the final and perfect Prophet, to whom Allah the Almighty gave the right to intercede. Faith in him must also be in accordance with the commandments of Allah the Almighty, and the Holy Prophetsa has himself described this station in the following manner, “Whoever proclaims with a sincere heart لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] and مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [and Muhammadsa is His Messenger], Allah the Almighty will forbid the fire for them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Ilm, Hadith 128)
In one narration, the wording is لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] and in another narration, the words مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [‘Muhammadsa is His Messenger] have also been mentioned. Therefore, it is impossible to testify to and profess the Oneness of Allah the Almighty without also accepting the Holy Prophetsa as the final and perfect Prophet. It was he who announced the complete eradication of shirk among his people. Allah the Almighty and His Messengersa have announced their aversion to anyone who expresses even an iota of shirk. Yet despite this, such people have appeared among the Muslims who commit such hidden shirk, which Allah the Almighty and the Holy Prophetsa have strongly forbidden.
We Ahmadis are fortunate that Allah the Almighty has enabled us to accept the Imam of this age and the ardent devotee of the Holy Prophetsa, who expounded upon the Islamic injunctions and made us aware of their deep wisdom. Where he informed us in great detail with regards to لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] he also taught us about the noble rank of the Holy Prophetsa.
In relation to this, I shall now present some excerpts of the Promised Messiahas which beautifully shed light upon this subject and draw our attention towards how we must assess our conditions whilst understanding this subject in great detail.
The Promised Messiahas states:
“Allah the Almighty has Himself explainedاَلۡيَوۡمَ اَکۡمَلۡتُ ‘this day have I perfected [your religion]’ [5:4]. Three signs of this must be sufficiently fulfilled. (The Promised Messiahas was describing the signs, the first of which is) اَصۡلُہَا ثَابِتٌ ‘Whose root is firm.’ [14:25]. The second is, وَّفَرۡعُہَا فِي السَّمَآءِ ‘Whose branches [reach] into the heaven.’[14:25] The third is, تُؤۡتِيۡۤ اُکُلَہَا کُلَّ حِيۡنٍۭ ‘It brings forth its fruit at all times.’ [14:26] Hence, it is the religion of Islam alone that fulfils this standard.”
In any case, whilst further explaining اَصۡلُہَا ثَابِتٌ i.e. ‘Whose root is firm,’ which is the first sign, the Promised Messiahas states:
“[…] The principle of faith, which has to do with the first sign—by which is meant the kalimah لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ (i.e., if one wishes to prove اَصۡلُہَا ثَابِتٌ [Whose root is firm], the first sign is لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah].)
It has been mentioned at such length in the Holy Quran that if I were to write all the arguments given in its support, it would not finish even after writing many chapters, (many books can be written on it) but I shall write a little herein below, by way of example.
Allah the Almighty says in the second part of the Holy Quran, in its second chapter, Surah al-Baqarah [2:165]:
اِنَّ فِيۡ خَلۡقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ وَاخۡتِلَافِ الَّيۡلِ وَالنَّہَارِ وَالۡفُلۡکِ الَّتِيۡ تَجۡرِيۡ فِي الۡبَحۡرِ بِمَا يَنۡفَعُ النَّاسَ وَمَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰہُ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مِنۡ مَّآءٍ فَاَحۡيَا بِہِ الۡاَرۡضَ بَعۡدَ مَوۡتِہَا وَبَثَّ فِيۡہَا مِنۡ کُلِّ دَآبَّةٍ ۪ وَّتَصۡرِيۡفِ الرِّيٰحِ وَالسَّحَابِ الۡمُسَخَّرِ بَيۡنَ السَّمَآءِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ لَاٰيٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ يَّعۡقِلُوۡنَ
That is to say, verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of night and day, and in the ships which sail in the sea with that which profits men, and in the water which Allah sends down from the sky and quickens therewith the earth after its death and scatters in the earth all kinds of beasts, and in the change of the winds, and the clouds pressed into service between the heaven and the earth – all of these are Signs for the existence of God Almighty and His Unity and the existence of His revelation, and for His being the Regulator of all by virtue of His Will.
Now, look how Allah, the Lord of Glory, has argued within this verse in favour of this principle of faith of His, from His law of nature – (he has proven the truthfulness of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ and given proof from the law of nature) in other words, from His creations which can be found in the heaven and earth – by looking at which, in clear accord with the intent of this noble verse, it becomes very clearly evident that, without a doubt, there is an Eternal Creator of this world Who is Perfect, and One, without any partner, and the Regulator of all that exists by virtue of His will, and the One Who sends His Messengers into the world.
The reason for this is that all of these creations of God Almighty, and this system of the universe which we see before our eyes, clearly tells us that this world did not come into being all by itself, but that it has an Originator and a Maker Who should necessarily have these attributes – that He should be Gracious, and Merciful, and All-Powerful, and One without any partner, and Eternal and Everlasting, and the Regulator by virtue of His will, and also the Possessor of all perfect attributes and the One Who also sends down His revelation.” (The Holy War [Jang-e-Muqaddas], pp. 62-63)
Thus, the declaration لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] not only instils the thought of One God in one’s heart, but also cements the thought that our Lord is One, Who has existed from all eternity and is Everlasting; He is the creator of everything and that the entire order of the universe runs because of His will; we must turn to Him in prostration for all our needs. When a person instils this level of faith within them, this is what is known as perfect faith, which is free from the taint of idolatry. This is the level of faith regarding which the Holy Prophetsa has said that if one believes in the declaration of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] with full sincerity, then the fire of Hell will be forbidden for such an individual.
The Promised Messiahas further says:
“Moreover, as far as seeking assistance is concerned, it ought to be remembered that in reality, it is Allah the Exalted alone Who deserves to be implored for help. (It is only Allah the Almighty Who has the right to be sought for help or to grant help. Allah the Almighty is the only Perfect Being from Whom help should be sought. Nobody else has this right nor has the power.) This is what the Holy Quran emphasises. As such, God Almighty states:
اِيَّاکَ نَعۡبُدُ وَاِيَّاکَ نَسۡتَعِيۡنُ
[Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help.’] Firstly, God Almighty states His attributes; “Rabb” (Lord), “Rahman” (Gracious), “Rahim” (Merciful) and “Maliki Yaum ad-Din” (Master of the Day of Judgement).
Then He taught us the following:
اِيَّاکَ نَعۡبُدُ وَاِيَّاکَ نَسۡتَعِيۡنُ
In other words, we worship Thee alone and it is from You that we seek assistance, (i.e., in order to worship Allah, we seek His help. Without Allah’s help, we cannot perform worship). From this, we learn that the right to be implored for help is the sole prerogative of Allah the Exalted. No human being; no animal, whether beast or bird; no creation whatsoever, whether in heaven or on earth, has this right. However, in a partial sense, as reflections of God, this right is given to saintly people and the holy men of God. (We attain help through their prayers.) We must not invent things of our own accord, rather we ought to remain within the boundaries of Allah’s commandments and the Messengersa of Allah – this is the right path (as-sirat al-mustaqim).
This point can also be understood from the following:
لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ
[There is none worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammadsa is the Messenger of Allah.] The first part of this makes it clear that man ought to hold Allah the Exalted alone as his beloved, worthy of worship and his objective.
The second part of the Muslim creed expresses the deeper reality of the prophethood of Muhammadsa.” (Malfuzat , Vol. 2, pp. 53-54)
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“Ever since the birth of man, and until he disappears from the world, the divine law has been that God supports His Tauhid or Oneness. The object of all the prophets sent by Him was to eradicate the worship of man and of other creatures and to establish the worship of God in the world. Their duty was to make لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] shine in the earth as it shines in heaven. The greatest of them, therefore, is he who highlighted this formula with such brilliance; who first exposed the impotence of false gods and proved their insignificance on grounds of reason and strength, and then, when he had proved everything, he left as a symbol of his decisive victory the testament لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger].
“He did not pronounce لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] as an unproved assertion. No, he first proved it, and exposed the errors of false belief and then inviting the attention of the people declared, ‘Look, there is no God besides Him Who has demolished all your might and shattered your pride.’ Thus, to serve as a reminder of an established truth, he taught the blessed kalimah: لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger].” (Jesus in India, pp. 74-75)
During the conquest of Mecca, thousands of idolaters understood the supremacy of the declaration لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah]. When the Holy Prophetsa asked Abu Sufyan, “Has the truthfulness of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah not yet dawned on you?” He replied, “I have now fully understood that if there was any god beside Allah, then he would have come to our aid. We have placed 360 idols around the Ka’bah that we worship, at least some of them ought to have assisted us.” (Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah Li ibn Hsiham, p. 739, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2001), (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Al-Mazalim, Hadith 2478)
Replying to an opponent, the Promised Messiahas said:
“Your saying is absolutely true that it is the teaching of the Holy Prophetsa that sins are removed by the affirmation that: لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger].
This is absolutely correct and the truth. (We indeed assert their claim that sins are removed.)
It is a reality that he who believes in God as One without associate and that Muhammad, the Chosen Onesa was sent by the same All-Powerful Unique One, will undoubtedly attain salvation, if he dies whilst affirming this declaration. There is no salvation under heaven through the suicide of anyone (there is no salvation in the death of anyone, and there will be no salvation even if someone dies for your sake. Indeed, they will attain salvation through the declaration of the Islamic kalimah) and no one can be more insane than one who thinks (that they cannot attain salvation from the kalimah). But to believe in God as One without associate, (i.e., one ought to ponder over this, it is not the case of simply verbally professing it). But to believe in God as One without associate and so Compassionate that by His great mercy, in order to rescue the world from misguidance, He sent His Messenger whose name is Muhammadsa, the Chosen One and it is this very doctrine by adhering to which the darkness of the soul is removed and the ego is replaced by the belief in the unity of God. In the end, the mighty upsurge of unity spreads over the whole heart and a heavenly life begins in this very world. (We ought to understand what is the reality behind the words لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger]. Subsequently, one’s paradise begins in this very life). As you observe that by the advent of light, darkness disappears, in the same way, when the bright reflection of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] falls upon a heart, the dark passions of the ego disappear. The essence of sin is that there is a tumult in the passions of the ego by yielding to which a person is called a sinner, and the meanings of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] which are derived from its various meanings in the Arabic lexicon are:
لا مطلوب لي ولا محبوب لي ولا معبود لي ولا مطاع لي الّا اللّٰہ
That is, ‘there is no one to be desired, or to be loved, or to be worshipped, or to be obeyed except Allah.’” [Nur-ul-Quran No. 2, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 9, pp. 418-419)
When this condition is developed within a person, then indeed, this life becomes a paradise and the means of their forgiveness begin to manifest in this lifetime.
Further elaborating on the Islamic creed of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah], the Promised Messiahas says:
“In reality, Allah the Almighty has set forth many commandments. Some of them are such that not everyone can partake in them, for example; Hajj [pilgrimage] is incumbent upon the one who has the means for it. (Hajj is not obligatory upon every single person.) Then, that there be safety along the way, is also a prerequisite for Hajj. Similarly, a person has to ensure that their family has the necessary provisions during their absence. (One has to ensure that their family members who remain behind have provisions for food and drink etc. It should not be not the case that one goes for Hajj and leaves them to starve.) If one can meet all these requirements, then they can perform Hajj. The same is the case for Zakat [alms]. Only those people are to pay Zakat who meet the minimum threshold for Zakat. (Only those people are to pay, who become eligible to pay.) Similarly, at times there are certain changes within the prayers, for example, if a person is travelling or is unwell, then they are shortened or combined. However, there is one aspect [of Islam] in which there is no change and that is the Islamic declaration of faith: لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger]. This is the true essence and everything else completes it. Tauhid [declaration of the Oneness of God] cannot be complete without worship. (If one does not perform worship, then their deceleration of Tauhid remains incomplete and one cannot fulfil the rights of the creed لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger].) This means that the one who declares لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger] will only be truthful in their proclamation when they demonstrate through their actions that there is no one to be desired, to be loved, or to be worshipped except Allah.”
Thus, this is a condition for faith; it is not enough to simply make a verbal proclamation. If one recites لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah], then one has to demonstrate this through their deeds by adhering to the commandments of Allah the Almighty; by worshipping Him and by fulfilling the rights of Allah and His creation. These are the commandments of Allah the Almighty. For the sake of our Beloved and the One Whom we seek to attain, it is necessary to adhere to His commandments, only then will one truly be acting upon and affirming their faith in لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah].
The Promised Messiahas states:
“When a person instils this condition in them and their faith and deeds demonstrate this declaration, then they are not false in their proclamation in the sight of God Almighty. (When one achieves this, then this is an excellent thing and one cannot be considered false.) All of the worldly material burns away, as it were, and they become completely immersed and devoted to their faith. (By proclaiming: لاَ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah], all other material desires burn away and only Allah the Almighty remains as one’s desire, objective and beloved. This is the state of belief. It is in such a state that) when one utters: لاَ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] and مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہُ [Muhammadsa is His Messenger] – which is the second part of [the Muslim creed] – then serves as a practical model because through examples a matter can be easily understood. The prophets, may peace be upon them, appear in order to establish their examples and the Holy Prophetsa was an embodiment of all the excellences of their noble examples because the qualities of all the prophets were found in him.” (Malfuzat , Vol. 3, pp. 82-83)
The Holy Prophetsa understood the true meaning of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [There is god but Allah]. The Holy Prophetsa presented the commandments of Allah the Almighty and practically fulfilled them and expounded upon them in detail. He is the perfect model who presented and practised لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ in its most perfect form.
Then, whilst advising us, the Promised Messiahas states:
“A superficial oath of allegiance to a spiritual guide brings no benefit and it is difficult to derive any gain from such an oath of allegiance. A person shall truly reap benefit only when they abandon their ego and attach themselves to this person with abiding love and sincerity. (One has to attach themselves with complete love and sincerity to the person they have made an oath of allegiance to and it is only then that their oath of allegiance shall be of benefit.) Since the hypocrites did not possess a true relationship with the Holy Prophetsa, and his progeny, ultimately, they remained bereft of faith (they only did the Bai’at superficially); they were left devoid of pure love and sincerity. And so, the mere proclamation لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [There is none worthy of worship except Allah] was of no avail to them. Thus, it is very important to forge these bonds. If a follower does not strengthen these ties and fails to make an effort in this cause, any expression of grief or regret would be unwarranted. One should nurture a relationship of love and sincerity with one’s spiritual guide and insofar as possible, adjust the hue of one’s disposition to that of one’s master, both in terms of action and belief. The inner self of man promises him a long life, (one thinks they will live long and that they are still young,) but this is deception. There is no telling how long a person will live. One should hasten to adopt piety and worship, and introspect on one’s condition from morning to evening (as to what extent they are adhering to لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah]).” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 4-5, [English Translation])
Then, whilst drawing our attention to understanding the meaning of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] and to do justice to it, the Promised Messiahas states:
“My purpose is not to suggest that Muslims ought to become indolent (i.e., to recite the kalimah and then become lazy). Islam does not make anyone slothful. You ought to engage in business and employment as well, but I do not approve that you should have no time at all for God. (Although they recite لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] however, they are immersed in worldly endeavours and are failing to do true justice to it.) When it is time to engage in business, engage in business; but even then, keep the fear and awe of Allah Almighty in view so that even your businesses become a form of worship. When it is time for the Prayer, do not miss your Prayer. In every situation, whatever it may be, give precedence to religion. (It is imperative to give precedence to one’s faith. Also, we proclaim this in our pledge that we shall give precedence to our faith over the world.) Let not the world itself become your objective; instead, religion ought to be the actual objective that you seek. When this becomes your way, even your worldly engagements will be deemed religious. Look at the companions—even in the most trying times, they did not forsake God. At a time of war, when the sword is drawn, one is faced with such danger that even the mere thought of it makes one anxious. This is a time of passion and anger, but even in this state, the companions never turned away from God; they did not miss their Prayers. In fact, they remained engaged in supplication. The unfortunate thing now is that Muslims exert efforts in every other way; they deliver eloquent speeches, (they speak about the kalimah) they hold conventions in order to further the progress of the Muslims, but they are so negligent of God that they do not turn to Him even by mistake. When this is the state of the Muslims, how can they hope that their efforts will bear fruit, when all of them are so materialistic? (They take on the name of Muslims, yet their efforts are all for the sake of attaining worldly material and simply using the religion of Allah.) Remember! Until the words لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] saturate our heart and soul, and until every particle of our being is not illuminated and ruled by Islam, progress can never be attained.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 3, pp. 51-52)
If we wish to succeed, then we must understand the essence of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah]. Rather than worldly provisions, we will have to make Allah the Almighty our ultimate objective.
Then, with regards to the reality of the sacred creed [kalimah tayyibah], its meanings and how we should understand and implement it, the Promised Messiahas states:
“I have expressed on various occasions that you should not rejoice upon the mere fact that we are Muslims and declare the Islamic creed. Those who recite the Quran are well aware of the fact that Allah the Almighty is never pleased with mere words, nor does any virtue come about within a person as a result of simple words, until one’s practical state is reformed (verbal claims carry no weight, actions are the true essence). Nothing can be achieved until the state of a person’s practical actions is reformed. There was a time when nothing remained among the Jewish people except verbal claims and these claims were all they had left to rely on. They made great verbal claims, yet their hearts were polluted with evil thoughts and toxicity. This was the very reason that Allah the Almighty sent various calamities upon this nation and caused them great difficulties, abasing them to the extent that they became akin to swines and apes.”
The Promised Messiahas continues:
“This is a point to ponder upon. Did they not believe in the Torah? Of course, they did, and they also believed in the prophets, however, Allah the Almighty was not pleased by their mere words or that they express their faith, whereas their hearts were not aligned with their claims.” They made claims with their words, but their hearts were not aligned with what they said.
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“Be sure to remember that if a person verbally claims to believe that God is One and has no partner and believes in the prophethood of the Holy Prophetsa and believes in other tenets of faith, but these proclamations are limited to mere words and the heart is not aligned, then they remain nothing more than words. Verbal utterances cannot suffice until the voice rises from the heart. One will only attain salvation when their heart believes, which entails practically expressing these matters. Until then, nothing can be achieved.” What does it mean to practically embody these things? It is to act according to the commandments of Allah the Almighty, which have been clearly stipulated in the Holy Quran.
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“I say truthfully that one’s real purpose can only be achieved when they abandon all else and turn wholly towards God Almighty and truly give precedence to faith over the world.” A mere oath will not suffice, rather, one will have to practically give precedence to the faith over worldly matters.
The Promised Messiahas continues:
“Remember, people can deceive other humans, and people can be fooled by seeing that an individual offers the five daily prayers or does virtuous deeds (people will see someone offering prayers or coming to the mosque and offering voluntary prayers and will say that they are regular in offering the five daily prayers and regularly attend the mosque. If they undertake other virtues and make their financial contributions, others would deem that person to be virtuous. People can be deceived) but God Almighty cannot be deceived. That is why a person’s actions should be especially sincere (even the practical actions one undertakes should be with the utmost sincerity). Sincerity connotes doing something solely for the sake of Allah the Almighty. These are the types of actions that develop capability and excellence.”
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“Now it should be remembered that we must understand the meanings of the creed which we recite every day. This creed means that a person verbally attests and authenticates with their heart that the Object of their worship, their Beloved, and their Objective is none other than God Almighty.” This has also been mentioned before.
The Promised Messiahas states, “The word اِلٰہَ refers to the beloved, the ultimate purpose and the object of one’s worship.”
He should be the most Beloved, He should be the ultimate purpose, the attainment of which should be a person’s goal instead of attaining material things. Only He should be worshipped, without any hidden forms of associating partners with Him.
The Promised Messiahas further states, “The word اِلٰہَ refers to the beloved, the ultimate purpose and the object of one’s worship. This creed is a summary of all the teachings in the Holy Quran as taught to Muslims. Since it is not easy to remember such a great and vast book (it is not easy to remember all that is in the Holy Quran), this creed was taught so that one may always bear in mind the essence of the Islamic teachings. What is the essence? It is لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ – there is no god except Allah. There is no object of worship except Allah. He is the ultimate goal, the ultimate purpose and the most beloved. Until this reality is not instilled within a person, they cannot attain salvation. That is why the Holy Prophetsa said:
من قال لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ دخل الجنّة
“Meaning, ‘whoever sincerely accepts that there is no god except Allah will enter Paradise.’”
Whilst explaining the fact that other people can be deceived, the Promised Messiahas states, “If people think that merely repeating words like a parrot can grant a person entry into Paradise, then if this is all that was required then all actions would be useless and futile. (If all one needs to do in order to enter paradise is proclaim that there is no god except Allah, then all practical actions would become extinct.) What was the need for all the commandments found in the vast Quran? In that case, God forbid, the Shariah is rendered useless. But this is not the case. Rather, the reality is that intrinsic meanings should enter a person’s heart. When this happens, then that person truly enters Paradise.”
When one understands the reality of the meanings of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] then they enter Paradise, not only after passing away, but they experience it in this very life as well.
In another instance, during a gathering, the Promised Messiahas was mentioning something similar, which is quoted in detail by another newspaper. The Promised Messiahas said, “God Almighty does not associate with mere words, He associates with the hearts. This means that those who adopt the meaning of the creed in their hearts and the majesty of God Almighty entirely takes root in their hearts, then they enter Paradise. When a person truly attests to the creed, then none other than God remains beloved to them. (If a person truly recites the creed, then they can love no one except Allah the Almighty.) They worship none other than Allah; (there is no one else whom they would worship even in a hidden manner). Nothing else remains for them to covet other than God; (there remains nothing else for them to search for except the pleasure of Allah the Almighty). The ranks of abdal [saints], qutub [guiding stars] and ghauth [saints] are all to wholeheartedly believe in the creed لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god but Allah] and to act upon its meanings.”
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“It is true, and one quickly realises that if a person has no other beloved or purpose aside from Allah the Almighty then no pain or discomfort can cause them grief. (If a person realises that their pain is also for the sake of Allah the Almighty, then they can cause him no grief.) They do not worry on account of these difficulties. They know that Allah the Almighty is swift to help His friends, and at times, in fact, most times, He bestows ease of heart.” The Promised Messiahas continues that this is the rank granted to the abdal and the qutub. If the purpose is attaining God rather than worldly things, then one has nothing to worry about. The Companions understood this. It is not that this is bestowed only upon the qutub or the abdal or on specific ranks of people, rather the majority of the Companions achieved this rank. They understood this matter, which is why Allah the Almighty made the Companions an example for us.
Furthermore, the Promised Messiahas states:
“Do not consider it enough to renounce idol worship.” Even after stating that this is a grand station for a typical person, the Promised Messiahas explained that it is not enough to simply renounce idol worship and to claim to worship Allah the Almighty alone. The Promised Messiahas states:
“Keep in mind that refraining from idol worship is a trivial affair. Hindus who have no knowledge of verities are now forgoing idol worship. (They are ignorant of the reality of God and His Oneness, yet they are ceasing to worship idols.) Associating partners with God is not limited to just humans and idols. (This is not limited to refraining from the worship of material objects such as humans and idols, but also includes other incorporeal entities.) It is, as Allah the Almighty has stated in the Holy Quran, that selfish desires and inclinations are also the objects of worship.” The desires and inclinations of the self also become the objects of our worship when they are set up beside Allah the Almighty, ultimately bearing us away fromلَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ – [there is no god except Allah].
The Promised Messiahas states: “Whoever submits to his selfish desires and obeys his impulses to the degree of dying for them is an idolater and polytheist. The ‘لَآ’ [none] not only negates other entities, rather, but it also negates all and every object of worship.”
When we proclaim لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god except Allah] it not only negates material objects of worship but anything that can be set up beside Allah the Almighty. One who sets up anything equal to Allah the Almighty testifies that he does not believe in Allah.
The Promised Messiahas continues:
“Thus, we must understand that all objects of worship are negated by the proclamation of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god except Allah], whether those objects are internal or external; material or immaterial; the idols we have concealed in our hearts or physical ones. For instance, one who relies solely on their means and abilities has created an idol for himself. Such idol worship infects its host like pulmonary tuberculosis and destroys them from the inside. Material and overt idols are easy to identify and equally easy to renounce. I have observed that hundreds of thousands of people have renounced them and continue to do so. Have many Muslims not emerged from this country that was once brimming with Hindus? (Those who had become Muslims were once idol-worshippers.) Have they not abandoned idol worship? Many factions continue to emerge from the Hindu people (as mentioned before), who do not worship idols. However, the concept of idolatry does not end there. Indeed, one may have abandoned idol worship that is overt, but there are thousands of idols that people cling to. Even those who are considered philosophers and logicians cannot expel these idols.” Such philosophers and intellectuals passionately parade their philosophies and arguments, yet idols also reside in their hearts; their pride in knowledge has become their idol; their opinions have become their idols, and they cannot eliminate them.
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“The truth is, such an infestation cannot be eliminated from within without the grace of Allah the Almighty, for this infestation runs deep and causes immense harm and damage to the host. Those who, under the influence of their inner passions, abandon the rights of Allah the Almighty and His limits – and in doing so neglect the rights of His creation – cannot be considered knowledgeable. You will find thousands who are considered scholars and intellectuals, and theologians and saints, yet despite this, they too suffer from the same infestation.”
If one does not fulfil the rights of humankind, then they have also forgotten the meaning of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god except Allah]. True courage demands that one abandon such idols. Those impressive personalities whom you consider to be pious also have idols concealed within them. True courage requires one to abandon such idols, and to duly fulfil the rights of Allah and humankind. Only then can one come to understand the real meaning of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god except Allah]. This is true courage, and one who can identify these is truly intelligent and wise.
The Promised Messiahas continues:
“These idols are the root cause of mutual enmity, which subsequently results in conflict and bloodshed. A single man usurps the right of his brother, giving way to thousands upon thousands of evils. Such occurrences take place every day and at every moment. Material means are relied upon so excessively that in comparison, God Almighty is regarded as an ineffectual limb.”
The Promised Messiahas continues:
“There are very few who have understood the true meaning of the Oneness of God. If the people are questioned in this regard, they contest immediately, cite the fact that they are Muslims and proclaim the kalimah. However, it is unfortunate that they believe it to be enough to simply utter the kalimah. I say with certainty that if one uncovers the truth behind the kalimah tayyibah and practically adheres to it, he can achieve great progress and witness the extraordinary and astonishing powers of God Almighty. Consider this matter carefully; I am not in this position as an ordinary admonisher, nor am I a storyteller. Rather, I have taken a stand to bear testimony and convey the message given to me by Allah the Almighty. I am not concerned with whether this message is heard or accepted; you will be held accountable regarding it. I must fulfil my obligation. I am aware that although many people have entered my community and have attested to the Oneness of God, I must say with regret that they do not truly believe in it. I cannot be certain that he who usurps the right of his brother, is unfaithful or engages in other evils actually believes in the Oneness of God, because this is such a blessing that upon attaining it, one undergoes an extraordinary transformation. (He who believes in the Oneness of God must undergo a transformation.) God Almighty loves such people, and the idols of malice, rancour, envy and affectation cannot persist within them. This transformation can only take place – at which time one becomes a true adherent of the Oneness of God – when one removes the inner idols of arrogance, conceit, affectation, malice, enmity, envy, miserliness, hypocrisy, unfaithfulness and so on. Until such idols persist within oneself, how can they be considered truthful in their proclamation of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god except Allah].”
Thus, during this Ramadan, every one of us should strive to purify ourselves of these idols so that we are able to understand the true meaning of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god except Allah] and believe in it. The Promised Messiahas further states:
“Because this requires one to relinquish their dependence [on other things], it is an established fact that there is no benefit to simply uttering that ‘God is One and has no partner.’ In one respect, a person recites the kalimah, yet when faced with a matter that is a conflict of interest, they submit to their anger and rage. I say repeatedly that one should always be mindful that as long as these hidden objects of worship exist, one cannot hope to attain the rank of a true believer in the Oneness of God, in the same way, that one cannot safeguard against the plague as long as rats infest the earth; as long as this infestation of rats (i.e., the infestation of sins) persists, one’s faith is not safe. Pay close heed to my words and act upon them. Thus, in summary, the kalimah means to recognise Allah the Almighty as the only One worthy of worship, the Beloved and the Ultimate Purpose. This rank can only be attained when one purifies themselves of all inner vices and removes the idols that reside within their hearts.” (Malfuzat  Vol. 9, pp. 101-108, including footnote on p. 104)
May Allah the Almighty enable us, through our special efforts and prayers, to remove all our inner vices in the remaining days of Ramadan. May we safeguard against all forms of hidden shirk [associating partners with God] and remove all the idols from within us. May Allah the Almighty become our sole object of worship, our Ultimate Purpose and Beloved. May we come to understand the truth ofلَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ [there is no god except Allah], and upon proclaiming مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [Muhammadsa is His Messenger], may we find before us the beautiful and practical example established for us by the Holy Prophetsa. All this cannot be achieved without the grace of Allah the Almighty. To gain the grace of Allah the Almighty, we must struggle and strive, both through our actions and spirituality.
In the last ten days of Ramadan, people often speak about Lailatul Qadr [The Night of Decree]. However, one is only able to truly experience Lailatul Qadr when they are ready to transform their every word and deed in accordance with the commandments of Allah the Almighty; always act upon this and then make this a permanent change in their lives. This is indeed the true sign of having attained Lailatul Qadr. To claim that one saw a light, witnessed or experienced a particular thing or rain appeared or experienced a certain fragrance, and so forth, are all temporary signs. The true sign of having experienced Lailatul Qadr [The Night of Decree] is when a transformation takes place within one’s heart. Some jamaats have made special programmes for prayers in light of what I said: If we sincerely pray for three days, we can draw the special blessings of Allah the Almighty. If these three days have been dedicated to prayers, only to return to one’s old ways and to forget the true objective of the kalimah, then one ought to remember that Allah the Almighty is aware of the conditions of our hearts and our intentions. Nothing remains hidden from Him and therefore this will be of no benefit.
If you wish to spend these days devoted to prayer with the intention of attaining the pleasure of Allah the Almighty, then you must do so by pledging to make these days a permanent habit of your lives. As a result, God Almighty will manifest His special support and succour to remove the hardships being afflicted upon us by the opponents, God-willing. And, in accordance with His divine promise, Allah the Almighty shall become our Guardian and we shall become wholly devoted to Him. In any case, I also mentioned that if every member of the Jama’at, without any exception, brings about this change in them, then it can bring about a revolutionary change. Therefore, one should also remember that if such a change is not instilled within themselves, then those who have formed these programmes should not think after three days that, God-forbid, their prayers were not heard or no revolutionary change occurred. In fact, Allah the Almighty has vouchsafed His promise to the Promised Messiahas that He shall grant him and his Jama’at victories either very soon or after some time. Indeed, if we bring about a revolutionary change within ourselves; worship Allah the Almighty alone and make Him our sole objective and our beloved whilst understanding the true spirit of لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ; if we give precedence to our love for God Almighty and to attaining Him over our love for the world, then we can bring about this revolutionary change sooner. Allah the Almighty is not dependent on anything and has certain conditions in His promises [that need to be fulfilled]. Thus, we will need to pledge to instil a permanent change within ourselves.
The Holy Prophetsa has stated that the last ten days of Ramadan are for seeking protection from Hellfire. Also, just as it has been mentioned that the Holy Prophetsa stated that the one who recites the kalimah truly from the heart, that is: لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger] such a person shall be protected from the Hellfire. Therefore, all of these aspects draw our attention to the fact that a person needs to make a practical effort on a permanent basis. The Promised Messiahas has also mentioned this and I have explained in detail that along with reciting the kalimah, that is: لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger] one also needs to practically adhere to this as well. Therefore, in order to derive maximum benefit from these last ten days of Ramadan and in order to truly attain the Lailatul Qadr [the Night of Decree], we will need to ensure that the kalimah: لَآاِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ [there is no god but Allah and Muhammadsa is His Messenger] should echo forth from within the depths of our hearts and minds. We will need to adhere to this in our every action, just as the Promised Messiahas has mentioned. May Allah the Almighty enable us to lead our lives in accordance with this. Pray for the world in general these days that may Allah the Almighty grant it peace and steadfastness. May Allah the Almighty bestow His mercy and blessings upon mankind.
(Official Urdu transcript published in the Daily Al Fazl International, 5 May 2023, pp. 2-7. Translated by The Review of Religions.)