ISLAM PILLAR 1:
Meaning of Shahada part 1: God (Allah)
“There is no God but Allah“; a statement that is very simple and easy to understand but, unfortunately, it is very hard to follow for a lot of people. There have been thousands of discussions and debates throughout the centuries on the concept of God and what is the RIGHT RELIGION. Islam is the only religion that I know of that has provided a very clear answer to this question. Some religions have multiple gods, some have a god with wives/children and some believe in idols as God or that they will lead to finding God. In Islamic basics we fully understand that Allah (God) is the only creator, planner and provider of everything. He does not have any partners nor does he need support or help from any of His creation. God is only ONE and he is in control of everything from the smallest insect walking on the ground to the biggest stars and planets out in the universe.
The reason why I am mentioning this brief introduction is because you as a non-Muslim or a new Muslim will run into many types of groups/sects/ideologies when you are researching about Islam and you will find them contradicting to the real concept of Islam. I want you to become aware of this and avoid all of the misinformation you find that may lead you astray. If a certain group tells you God has partners, children, wives or angels/demons/humans that influence His decision, then know that this group has nothing to do with Islam.
When there is a Shahada of “There is no God but Allah” by a group of people, it is very understandable that every person will be at a different level of belief and obviously it will take more time for a certain person than another to achieve their spiritual goals. But you should work your way towards firmly believing that Allah is your creator, and after death you will return to Him and you will be held accountable for your actions in this life. The purpose of our creation is to worship Allah and to praise Him so we must always remind ourselves of the real goal of our creation and not get distracted by the pleasures of this life.
Reliance on God (Allah)
Worshipping God does not only mean praying to Him or having a good character, but also performing all aspects of life in the right way that pleases Allah. As a believer, you should strive to fully rely (tawakul) on Allah in everything you do from the moment you get up in the morning until you go to sleep at night, and thank Allah for the good and bad in your life. I have been in so many situations in my life and I can surely say reliance on Allah will lead to the best outcomes and will show you the true meaning of happiness. A brief example for you to understand tawakul: when you are going to a job interview, you must believe that Allah is the one who provides to you and not that manager/company who is interviewing you. So all you have to do is prepare for your interview with your full capabilities and don’t stress about how your performance will be or how you will pay for the bills if you don’t get the job. Do not think that the other 20 candidates who are interviewed have a better chance than you because they have connections within the company or they have higher education/experience than you. Allah is in control of the hearts and who knows, maybe Allah will make the manager like you more than the others. Or maybe Allah will boost your communication skills on that day and make you outperform others. You must also accept any outcome that Allah chooses for you and fully believe that Allah knows what’s best for you. Maybe he did not give you the job because he has a better position waiting for you in another company! Or maybe this job is not the right fit for you. In other words, if you don’t get the outcome you are expecting or get into some type of crisis, you should know that Allah have chosen that for you to protect you from something that is even worse. Always remember that accepting Allah’s choices and destiny for you is the 5th pillar of eman (being a believer) and I know we are at different levels of belief at the beginning but the faster you grasp this concept, the happier you will be in your life.
Meaning of Shahada part 2: Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)
“Mohammed is His messenger” is the second part of the Shahada which simply means that Allah chose Mohammed as his messenger (peace be upon him). Now as a non-Muslim or a new Muslim, you may wonder: What about Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc.? They were all messengers of Allah as well, so why Mohammed? In Islam we do not differentiate between all prophets and we believe they are all EQUAL. What makes Mohammed (PBUH) different from other messengers is that he is officially the LAST messenger/prophet of Allah. Also, he had come to all of humanity but other prophets such as Moses was sent to a certain tribe or group (Pharoah and children of Israel). That is why the Prophet and his companions tried to spread the message of Islam beyond the Arabian region and made sure that the message of Allah reached all corners of the earth. If it wasn’t for their efforts, you and I would not know about Islam, so may Allah bless them and grant them high levels of paradise. And finally, the completions of Allah’s revelations has come down to the messenger Mohammed (PBUH) which is the Quran. The more you learn about the Quran, the more you will realize that it is a miracle and that it’s the book of Allah and not manmade.
How to convert to Islam by saying the Shahada
To become a Muslim, you must believe that “There is NO God but ALLAH, and Mohammed is His messenger and the last prophet to humanity“. This should also be uttered in Arabic by saying: “Ash Hadu Ana La Ellaha Ela Allah wa Ash Hadu Ana Mohammed Rasool Allah“. I hope that you found this information beneficial and I ask Allah to lead you in making the right decisions and show you the right path.