2. Imām Muhammad bin Sālih al-Uthaymīn – الإمام محمد بن صالح العثيمين
3. Shaykh Muhammad Sa’īd Raslān – الشيخ محمد سعيد رسلان
The Meaning of Lā ilāha illal-Lāh Muhammad rasūlul-Lāh
Shaykh Muhammad bin Sālih al-‘Uthaymīn:
“The statement of Tawhīd, Lā ilāha illal-Lāh: firstly we should know its meaning. It means that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh. There is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh. This is its meaning. So everything that is worshipped besides Allāh from angels, prophets, righteous servants, trees, stones, sun and moon, then it is Bātil (falsehood). Because of His Statement, the Most High:
ذٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلْحَقُّ وَأَنَّ مَا يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ هُوَ ٱلْبَاطِلُ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلْعَلِىُّ ٱلْكَبِيرُ
“That is because Allāh He is the Truth (the only True God of all that exists, Who has no partners or rivals with Him), and what they (the polytheists) invoke besides Him, it is Bātil (falsehood) And verily, Allāh He is the Most High, the Most Great.” [22:62]
This is the meaning of this great statement. And it is based on two pillars: Nafy (negation) and ithbāt (affirmation); the negation of Ulūhiyyah from everything besides Allāh, and its affirmation for Allāh. And by this, Tawhīd is actualized. Meaning: by combining negation and affirmation, Tawhīd is actualized. What indicates this is that a mere negation, which is not combined with affirmation, is a negation which negates any existence (of a deity that has the right to be worshipped). And that a mere affirmation, which is not combined with negation, is an affirmation which does not deny partnership. So Tawhīd is not actualized except with affirmation and negation. Negation of the ruling from everything besides the one whom it is affirmed for, and its affirmation for the one whom it is affirmed for. And these two pillars are the foundation.
As for its conditions, then it (i.e. the testimony of Lā ilāha illal-Lāh must be pronounced based upon Yaqeen (certainty) which has no Shakk (doubt) with it and ‘Ilm (knowledge) which has no Jahl (ignorance) with it. And it (also) must have conditions which make it continuous, like acting upon its requirements according to that which the Sharī’ah necessitates. As for just pronouncing it with the tongue without belief and certainty, then this doesn’t benefit! So we testify that Lā ilāha illal-Lāh (there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh) and that Muhammad rasūlul-Lāh (Muhammad ﷺ is the Messenger of Allāh). Na’am.”
Shaykh Muhammad Sa’īd Raslān:
“The Tawhīd (Oneness) of the Ma’būd (the One Who is worshipped) is obligatory! The Tawhīd of the Ma’būd is a must! And the person must make his worship sincere for Allāh, the All-Mighty, the Owner of all Praise. Nothing should be worshipped except Allāh! And all of the acts of worship – the apparent and hidden thereof – should be made sincere for Allāh! So anyone who directs any type of worship to other than Allāh, then he has committed Shirk (polytheism, i.e. he has associated partners with Allāh)! Because nothing has the right to be worshipped in truth except Allāh! And this is the meaning of Lā ilāha illal-Lāh: – Lā ma’būd bi haqq illal-Lāh (there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh).
But if you say: “there is no god (i.e. object that is worshipped) present except Allāh,” and “there is no god in existence except Allāh,” then the existing objects that are worshipped in the dunyā are many! The people worship the [unclear] in some countries! And others worship trees! And others worship stones! The people worship other things besides Allāh, except those upon whom Allāh had mercy upon! So then this explanation of this good statement is not correct. Rather its true meaning and its correct intent, with which Allāh sent the Messengers, is: Lā ma’būd bi haqq illal-Lāh (there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh). Just as you should single out Allāh, the Lord of all that exists, in worship, it is obligatory upon you to single out the Messenger of Allāh – ﷺ – in obedience! And every obedience is subject to the obedience of Allāh, the Lord of all that exists, alone, even the obedience of the Messenger. For we only obey the Messenger of Allāh out of obedience for Allāh! And everyone whom Allāh and the Messenger of Allāh commanded that he should be obeyed, then his obedience is not independent and unrestricted, rather it is subject to the obedience of Allāh, the Lord of all that exists!
مَّنْ يُطِعِ ٱلرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ ٱللَّهَ
“He who obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allāh.”[4:80]
So in the end, all obedience returns to the obedience of Allāh, the Lord of all that exists, alone. We obey the Messenger of Allāh out of obedience for Allāh, the Lord of all that exists! And Allāh has indeed established obedience for him:
وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱلرَّسُولَ
“Obey Allāh and obey the Messenger…” [5:92]
And He did not establish independent and unrestricted obedience for other than Him, nor for other than His Prophet – ﷺ. We obey the rulers as long as they obey Allāh. And we obey the parents out of obedience for Allāh and out of obedience for the Messenger of Allāh. In the end, every obedience is subject to the obedience of Allāh, the Lord of all that exists, and the obedience of His Trustworthy Prophet ﷺ.”
Shaykh Muhammad Nāsir ud-Dīn Al-Albānī:
Many people don’t know the reality of these two testimonies. And it is not possible for a disbeliever’s Islām to be accepted, except by testifying that Lā ilāha illal-Lāh (there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh) and that Muhammad rasūlul-Lāh (Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh). We all know this reality: Islām is that you testify that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh. But many Muslims do not know what these two testimonies necessitate. The first one is Lā ilāha illal-Lāh and the other is Muhammad rasūlul-Lāh. I want to make my speech this night revolve around the second testimony: “and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh”. With a brief clarification of the first testimony, which is a must. His (i.e. the Prophet’s) statement:
أمرت أن أقاتل الناس حتى يشهدوا أن لا إله إلا الله
“I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify Lā ilāha illal-Lāh.”
This firstly means that there exists no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh – Blessed and Exalted be He. It means that the Muslim makes his worship sincere for Allāh, the Mighty and Majestic, so he does not associate any partners with Allāh in the worship of Allāh. This requires an extensive study, and we spoke about it more than once. But I wanted to say some brief words about this good statement: that it means that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh. It does not mean, as some may think, that “Lā ilāha” means “Lā rabba” (no Lord). This is a deficient explanation. “al-Ilāh” means: “al-Ma’būd” (the one who is worshipped). As for “Rabb” (Lord), then this could refer to the Creator – Glorified and Exalted be He – Who is the Lord of the House, the Lord of all that exists, the Lord of the Mighty Throne, and the likes. And this could also refer to the rabb (owner) of wealth, the owner of a house, and the likes. So the meaning of this good statement Lā ilāha illal-Lāh is not only: “Lā rabba illal-Lāh” (there is no Lord except Allāh). No! Rather the meaning is: Lā ma’būd bi haqq fil-wujūd illal-Lāh (there exists no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh).
This is why this statement of Tawhīd does not benefit a person at all in what is hoped for the one who says it on the day he meets Allāh – the Mighty and Majestic – from salvation of forever abiding in the Hellfire, except if he understood the meaning of “Ilāh” in this testimony, in this good statement. “al-Ilāh” means: “al-Ma’būd al-Haqq” (the one who is worthy of worship in truth). So he does not worship others besides Allāh – Blessed and Exalted be He. This is the meaning of the statement of Tawhīd. This is because the polytheists – according to the text in the Noble Qur’ān – testified that the Creator of the Heavens and the Earths is Allāh. He, the Mighty and Majestic, said:
وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَّنْ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَاوَاتِ وَٱلأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ ٱللَّهُ
“And if you (O Muhammad) ask them: “Who has created the heavens and the earth,” they will certainly say: “Allāh”.” [31:25]
So it is not enough for the Muslim to say: “Allāh is the Creator and the Provider.” Even though this is a must (for the Muslim to believe)! But he should also add to his belief that there is no Lord except Allāh, no Creator except Allāh and no Provider except Allāh, [he should add to this] that there exists no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh – Blessed and Exalted be He. And by this he has fulfilled the right of this good statement.
I said previously that I will keep my speech about this good statement brief, because I have dealt with it more than once. I want to devote a small part of this sitting to the second testimony, which is: “and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh”.
I said that they are two statements. We do not worship except Allāh: this is the meaning of Lā ilāha illal-Lāh. And the second statement [means]: we do not worship Allāh except by that which Allāh legislated. So when we worship Allāh by that which Allāh legislated, only then we have applied and truly believed when we say: Lā ilāha illal-Lāh, Muhammad rasūlul-Lāh.” But if we expand the scope of ‘ibādah (worship), and we worship Allāh – the Mighty and Majestic – by that which our Lord did not legislate in the Qur’ān or the Sunnah, then we have not truly believed in the second testimony “and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh”. Why? Because our belief that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh means two things.
The first thing: that he is sent as a Messenger from the Lord of all that exists to all of the people as a bringer of glad tidings and as a warner. As a Messenger: meaning with a message, which is the message of Islām.
The other thing: that he has conveyed the message and fulfilled the trust, and he has not left for anyone anything (of deficiency) to complete for him – sallal-Laahu ‘alayhi wa sallam -. And that is why our Lord – Blessed and Exalted be He – has confirmed that he – ﷺ – has fulfilled the right of being Messenger. And we testify to this and we say: “and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh”.”