A lady wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, asking about the number of kalimat, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat believes in according to the Islamic sharia and acknowledges them as being substantiated by either the Holy Quran or the Hadith. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 21 March 2022, provided the following response to her query:
“The Islamic creed is only one and it is expressed through what is known as “al-kalimah at-tayyibah” or “kalimah ash-shahadah”. In al-kalimah at-tayyibah, the concept of Allah’s Tawhid [Oneness] and the messengership of the Holy Prophetsa are testified to in simple terms. On the other hand, the kalimah ash-shahadah involves testifying to Allah’s Tawhid and the messengership of the Holy Prophetsa through a declaration of faith, which is known as shahadah or witnessing.
“This kalimah, i.e. testifying to the Tawhid of Allah and the messengership of the Holy Prophetsa, also forms the foremost and fundamental pillar of Islam. In a hadith, the Holy Prophetsa stated:
بُنِيَ الْإِسْلَامُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللّٰهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللّٰهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ وَالْحَجِّ وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ
“‘Islam is based on [the following] five [pillars]:
“‘Giving testimony that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad[sa] is His Messenger;
“‘Paying the Zakat;
“‘Performing the Hajj, and,
“‘Fasting in the month of Ramadan.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-iman)
“This kalimah was the one that the Holy Prophetsa instructed every new convert to Islam to profess. As an example, when Hazrat Mu‘azra bin Jabal was sent to Yemen by the Holy Prophetsa, he imparted this advice to him:
إِنَّكَ سَتَأْتِي قَوْمًا أَهْلَ كِتَابٍ فَإِذَا جِئْتَهُمْ فَادْعُهُمْ إِلَى أَنْ يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللّٰهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللّٰهِ
“‘You are going to a people, from among the People of the Book. When you reach them, invite them to testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad[sa] is His Messenger.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab az-zakat)
“Following the footsteps of his master and guide-Sayyiduna Muhammadsa al-Mustafa-the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, who was his most ardent devotee, would also require initiates to recite the same kalimah ash-shahadah before accepting their pledge of allegiance. Hence, while recounting the story of his bai‘at, Hazrat Maulana Ghulam Rasool Rajekira wrote, ‘While accepting my bai‘at, the Promised Messiahas asked me to recite the kalimah ash-shahadah.’ (Hayat-e-Qudsi, p. 494) In adherence to this sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa and the Promised Messiahas, the Khulafa-e-Ahmadiyyat also require the recitation of the same kalimah ash-shahadah during the bai‘at ceremony.
“Thus, every member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat wholeheartedly believes in this kalimah by the grace of Allah the Exalted. We hold it to be the foremost among the [five] fundamental pillars of Islam.
“As far as the concept of the six kalimas with their distinct names and arrangement, that are commonly found among [South Asian] Muslims, is concerned, it is not substantiated anywhere by the Holy Quran or the ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa. Rather, these kalimas were formulated much later after the blessed era of the rightly-guided caliphate by combining various kinds of zikr and supplications mentioned in the ahadith and by giving them distinct names. Therefore, this particular arrangement of these kalimas, as well as the significance and obligation attached to them (which is prevalent among the Muslims populace), does not hold any status according to the sharia.” [For more on this topic, see Friday Sermon, 14 April 2023; Al Hakam, Issue 269, 12 May 2023, pp. 17-20]