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Shahada to Shahadatan – Join islam



The Shahada ( ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ), the testimony of faith, is simply:

أشْهَدُ أنْ لا الهَ الاّ الله
ašhadu ʾan lā ʾilāha ʾillā -llāh
“I bear witness there is no god beside God.” 

This is the Shahada of God, the angels, and the knowledgable, and is specified in the following verse of the Quran:

[3:18] GOD bears witness that there is no god except He, and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge. Truthfully and equitably, He is the absolute god; there is no god but He, the Almighty, Most Wise.

شَهِدَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُ وَأُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْعِلْمِ قَآئِمًۢا بِٱلْقِسْطِ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ

This has been the testimony of faith for all of history and the testimony all humans were required to profess even before our arrival here on Earth.

[7:172] Recall that your Lord summoned all the descendants of Adam, and had them bear witness for themselves: “Am I not your Lord?” They all said, “Yes. We bear witness.” Thus, you cannot say on the Day of Resurrection, “We were not aware of this.”

 وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنۢ بَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا۟ بَلَىٰ شَهِدْنَآ أَن تَقُولُوا۟ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَـٰذَا غَـٰفِلِينَ

This testimony occurs some thirty times in the Quran under various forms and is also mentioned in Sura 47, Muhammad, verse 19 of the Quran.

[47:19] You shall know that: “There is no other god beside GOD,” and ask forgiveness of your sins and the sins of all believing men and women. GOD is fully aware of your decisions and your ultimate destiny.

 فَٱعْلَمْ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ وَٱسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنۢبِكَ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتِ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مُتَقَلَّبَكُمْ وَمَثْوَىٰكُمْ

But if you ask the average Muslim today what their Shahada ( ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ) is, they will provide what is known as the dual Shahada known as the Shadhatan ( شَهَادَتَان ). in this dual testimony, in addition to bearing witness that there is no other god beside God, they will also include that they bear witness that Muhammad is a messenger of God.

أشْهَدُ أنَّ مُحَمَّداً رَسُولُ اللّه
ašhadu ʾanna muḥammadan rasūlu -llāh
“I bear witness Muhammad is the messenger of God.”

Ironically, this statement only occurs once in the Quran in Sura 63, The Hypocrites, Al-Munaafeqoon ( الـمنافقون ). This statement is made by the hypocrites, and God calls the hypocrites “liars” for making this statement.

[63:1] When the hypocrites come to you they say, “We bear witness that you are the messenger of GOD.” GOD knows that you are His messenger, and GOD bears witness that the hypocrites are liars.

 إِذَا جَآءَكَ ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقُونَ قَالُوا۟ نَشْهَدُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُهُۥ وَٱللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّ ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقِينَ لَكَـٰذِبُونَ

So how did the Muslim masses abandon the Shadah of God, the angels, and the knowledgeable specified in the Quran and adopt the Shadahtan of the hypocrites? We can determine this by looking at historical inscriptions to figure out exactly when the Shadahtan became predominant.

Coinage

When the Muslim empire conquered the Byzantine and Sassanian, a common practice was to piggyback off these previous empires’ infrastructure. One way this took effect was by utilizing their coinage. This method persisted for over five decades until the Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Malik implemented reforms.

By looking at the evolution of coinage and engravements at different points in history, we can see at what point the Caliphate adopted the traces of the Shadahatan.

The first images are coins from 31 AH / 652 CE, some of the earliest dated Islamic coins believed to have been struck for about 15 years. These tokens were standard Sassianian coinage with the marking jayyid (“Valid” or “Good”).

During this period, we also see some Arab-Sassianian coins marked with Bismillah ( بسم ٱلله ), “In the name of God.” The specific coin below is dated 31 AH / 652 CE.

The following Arab-Sassianian coin is from 40 AH / 661-662 CE and is marked with “lillah” ( لله ) “to God.” We find many coins with this marking around 34-50 AH.

During the reign of Muʿāwiya, the first Umayyad Caliph, in the year 43 AH / 663-664 CE, we find the following Arab-Sassianian coin also with the marking of Bismillah ( بسم ٱلله ), “In the name of God.”

Arab-Sassanian coin issued by Mu‘āwiya ibn Abī Sufyān, frozen in 43 AH.

In the year 47 AH / 667-668 CE, we find the following Arab-Sassianian coin with the marking bismillāh al-malik ( بسم ٱلله ٱلملك ) “In the name of God, the Master.”

Here is another coin from 48 AH / 668-669 CE with the following engravement, bismillāh rabbī ( بسم ٱلله رب ) “In the name of God, my Lord.” These were believed to have been issued by Ziyād ibn Abī Sufyān, governor of al-Baṣra before he was granted the governorship of al-Kufa. Coins bearing bismilāh rabbī came from various mints in Iran from year 35 (assume Yazdgird era, so 46 AH / 666 CE) onwards, sometimes with additional words in Arabic and Persian.

The next coin is from 57 AH / 676-677 CE with the markings bismilāh rabb al-ḥukm 
( بسم ٱلله رب ٱلحكم ) “In the name of God, the Lord of judgment.”

The following coin is from 61 AH / 681 CE. Unlike the others, there is no mint signature on this coin. Instead, the reverse field reads “Year one of Yazīd” the son of Mu‘āwiya. This is the first state-marked coinage that contained another name other than God.

The below Arab-Sassanian coin from 64 AH / 683 CE, we find the marking, Ṭalha lillāh (“By God, Unto God”).

In 65 AH / 684-685 CE, we find Arab-Sassanian coins with the markings Bism Allāh, Allāhu Akbar (“In the name of God, God is Greatest”). This appears to be the earliest known Islamic coin to bear the famous slogan Allāhu Akbar.

Until this point, all the coins mentioned God, and none of the engravement on the Arab-Sassanian coinage mentioned Muhammad. While other Arab-Sassanian coins were found in circulation with similar markings, we see a significant shift in markings under the reign of the fifth Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik (r. 685-705). Under his rule, we see Muhammad being mentioned and also the first Islamic state designed coins with pictures of the Caliphs.

The first time we see Muhammad mentioned beside God on the coin is 66 AH / 685-686 CE. This is the earliest occurrence of “Muḥammad” in a state-sanctioned Muslim text, aside from the Quran. On this coin, we see that it has the following inscription bismillāh / Muḥammad rasūl / Allāh (“In the name of God, Muḥammad is the Messenger of God”), but also the self-glorification of the on the bust with the name of Caliph at the time, ʿAbd al-Malik ibn ʿAbd Allāh (in Middle Persian).

Then in 66 AH / 685 CE, we see the first official Arab-designed coinage. One side consists of two standing figures, facing, wearing long robes and Arab headdresses adorned with six-pointed stars. Their right hand is on their swords. Between them, on three steps, a pointed staff with a globe. No inscription is present.

On the reverse side is a large ‘M,’ six-pointed star above, ‘A’ below with the margin statingbism Allāh ʿAbd Allāh ʿAbd al-Malik Amīr al-Muʾminīn (“In the name of God. The slave of God ʿAbd al-Malik, Commander of the Faithful“).

Notice that they removed the name of Muhammad and included the name of Abd al-Malik. Additionally, the two figures are believed to represent the caliph ʿAbd al-Malik and his brother ʿAbd al-Azīz, who were jointly proclaimed successors to their father Marwan (r. 684-685 CE). It is probably an accession issue of ʿAbd al-Malik, who assumed supreme power, with his brother recognized as successor, in April 685 CE.

In 70 AH / 689 CE, we see the second earliest known record where the name “Muḥammad” is mentioned in a dated Muslim text in another Arab-Sassianian coin. Furthermore, this is the earliest mention of the name “Muḥammad” in Middle Persian (Pahlavi).

Then in 72 AH / 691-692 CE, we find another Arab-Sassanian coin which states in Middle Persian, “Increase in glory,” and on the right, “ʿAbdul ʿAzīz ī ʿAbdullāh ī Āmirān” which was the name of the governor, and on the margin, it states Bismillah Allah / al-‘Aziz “In the name of God / The Great.”

The reverse side states in Middle Persian:

  1. DWḤPT’T (“Seventy-two”)
  2. YZDT’ -I BR’ ‘LH (“One God, but He”)
  3. ’HRN YZDT’ L‘YT’ (“another god does not exist”)
  4. MḤMT’ PTGMBI Y YZDT’ (“Muḥammad is the messenger of God“)
  5. SK (“Sijistan”)

This unique Middle Persian reverse legend is a rendition of the Shadahtan (dual Shahadah), which states, “There is no god but Allah alone, and Muḥammad is the Messenger of God.”

This is the first state-sanctioned use of the Shadahtan in Islamic history.

Dome of the Rock

During the reign of Abd al-Malik, there was an ongoing bitter dispute between the Umayyad Dynasty and Ibn al-Zubayr, who opposed the Umayyad caliphate and gained support as Caliph from the people in Mecca and Medina. Abd al-Malik, not wanting to lose the support of his constituency if they were to go to Hajj in Mecca, wanted to create another local for his people to make pilgrimage to. So in. an ambitious effort, he constructed the Dome of The Rock in Jerusalem and had Hadith fabricated to claim that the prophet sanctioned pilgrimage to Jerusalem at the supposed location of what was understood as the Masjid al-Aqsa, where the Dome of the Rock was built.[1][2][3]

At the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, while we do not find the exact dual Shahada as it is stated today, we do find the following inscriptions dated 78 AH that are different rendtions of the Sahadahtan.

Top View showing the floor plan for the Dome of the Rock

Inscriptions on the inner octagonal arcade

  1. S In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. There is no god but God. He is One. He has
  2. no partner. Unto Him belongs all sovereignty, and unto Him belongs all praise. He quickeneth and He giveth death; and He has
  3. Power over all things. Muḥammad is the servant of God and His Messenger.
  4. SE Lo! God and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet.
  5. O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. The blessing of God be on him and peace be
  6. on him, and may God have mercy. O People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion
  7. E nor utter aught concerning God save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of
  8. Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit
  9. from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and say not ‘Three’ – Cease! (it is)
  10. NE better for you! – God is only One God. Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is
  11. in the heavens, and all that is in the earth. And God is
  12. sufficient as Defender. The Messiah will never scorn to be a
  13. N servant unto God, nor will the favored angels. Whoso scorneth
  14. His service and is proud, all such will He assemble unto Him.
  15. Oh God, bless Your Messenger and Your servant Jesus
  16. NW son of Mary. Peace be on him the day he was born, and the day he dies,
  17. and the day he shall be raised alive! Such was Jesus, son of Mary, (this is) a statement of
  18. the truth concerning which they doubt. It befitteth not (the Majesty of) God that He should take unto Himself a son. Glory be to Him!
  19. W When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.
  20. Lo! God is my Lord and your Lord. So serve Him. That is the right path. God (Himself) is witness that there is no God
  21. save Him. And the angels and the men of learning (too are witness). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no God except Him,
  22. SW the Almighty, the Wise. Lo! religion with God (is) Islam. Those who (formerly) received the Book
  23. differed only after knowledge came unto them, through transgression among themselves. Whoso
  24. disbelieveth the revelations of God (will find that) Lo! God is swift at reckoning!

Inscriptions on the outer octagonal arcade

  1. S In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no
  2. parnter. Say: He is God, the One! God, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there
  3. is none comparable unto Him. Muḥammad is the Messenger of God, the blessing of God be on him.
  4. SW In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. There is no god but God.
  5. He is One. He has no partner. Muḥammad is the Messenger of God.
  6. Lo! God and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet.
  7. W O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a
  8. worthy salutation. In the name of God, Most Gracious
  9. Most Merciful. There is no god but God. He is One. Praise be to
  10. NW God, Who hath not taken unto Himself a son, and Who hath
  11. no partner in the Sovereignty, nor hath He any protecting friend
  12. through dependence. And magnify Him with all magnificence. Muḥammad is the Messenger of
  13. N God, the blessing of God be on him, and the angels and His prophets, and peace be
  14. on him, and may God have mercy. In the name of God, Most Gracious
  15. Most Merciful. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no partner.
  16. NE Unto Him belongeth sovereignty and unto Him belongeth praise. He quickeneth. And He giveth death; and He has
  17. Power over all things. Muḥammad is the Messenger of God, the blessing of God be
  18. on him. May He accept his intercession on the Day of Judgment on behalf of his people.
  19. E In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One.
  20. He has no parnter. Muḥammad is tme Messenger of God, the blessing of God be
  21. on him. The dome was built by servant of God ʿAbd
  22. SE [Allah the Imam al-Ma’mun, Commander] of the Faithful, in the year two and seventy. May God accept from him and be content
  23. with him. Amen, Lord of the worlds, praise be to God.

Inscriptions

Below are two inscriptions discovered by Maysa bint ʿAlī Ibrāhīm al-Ghabbān who published them in her Ph.D. thesis. She dates these two inscriptions towards the end of the 1st century AH, most likely in 71 AH / 690-691 CE

The translations of the inscriptions are given below:

Inscription A

  1. This is what is testified over by Yazīd
  2. bin ʿUmayr al-Anṣārī thereafter al-Khaṭmī that
  3. Verily there is no god except God alone,
  4. Him without any partner, and that Muḥammad
  5. is slave of God and His messenger. Lord,
  6. forgive him.

Inscription B

  1. God bless
  2. Muḥammad messenger
  3. of God and written by
  4. Yazīd bin ʿUmayr
  5. al-Anṣārī

On the issue of the name Yazīd bin ʿUmayr al-Anṣārī, it is believed that Yazīd bin ʿUmayr’s father was a contemporary of Prophet Muḥammad and Yazīd’s son was known as a reliable transmitter of prophetic traditions in the 2nd century AH. These inscriptions again provide a variation of the Sahadatan.

Inscription #2 – Full Shahdahtan

The earliest inscription to date of the full Shadahtan comes to us in the following inscription dated 78 AH / 697-698 CE.

This inscription is one of more than 60 early Islamic inscriptions that were found in the region of Ḥuma al-Numoor, northwest of Ṭāʾif, Saudi Arabia. This inscription also marks the historical reconstruction and remodeling of al-Masjid al-Ḥarām in Makkah.

Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān started the reconstruction of al-Masjid al-Ḥarām in the year 75 AH after it sustained damage by the catapults of al-Ḥajjāj b. Yūsuf during his siege and brutal slaying of ʿAbdullāh b. al-Zubayr (d. 73 AH / 692 CE). This inscription most likely commemorates the completion of the reconstruction and remodeling of al-Masjid al-Ḥarām and is located off the modern highway linking Makkah and Ṭāʾif, about 75 km from the former. As for the mention of renovations to al-Masjid al-Ḥarām in the historical sources, both al-Fākihī and al-Azraqī, historians from the 9th century CE, record this event. The historical records indicate that it started around 75 AH and reached completion around 80 AH.

Here is the copy of the text and corresponding transcription in modern script:

The translation of the inscription is:

  1. Al-Rayyān b. ʿAbdullāh testifies that there is no god but God
  2. and he testifies that Muḥammad is the Messenger of God.
  3. then reiterates to those to come to testify to
  4. that, God have mercy on al-Rayyān.
  5. May He forgive him and cause him to be guided to the path of Paradise
  6. and I ask him for marytrdom in his path. A-
  7. -men. This was written in
  8. the year the Masjid al-Ḥarām was built
  9. in the seventy-eighth year.

Conclusion

What we can conclude from these findings is that the Shadah of the prophet, as stated in the Quran, was simply:

أشْهَدُ أنْ لا الهَ الاّ الله
ašhadu ʾan lā ʾilāha ʾillā -llāh
“I bear witness there is no god beside God.”

Additionally, we can see that it was not until the reign of the fifth Umayyad caliph, Abd al-Malik (r. 685-705), that the dual Sahdadah, the Shahdatan, first came to circulation by the caliphate.

أشْهَدُ أنَّ مُحَمَّداً رَسُولُ اللّه
ašhadu ʾanna muḥammadan rasūlu -llāh
“I bear witness Muhammad is the messenger of God.”

Furthermore, the first inscription of this full Shahadatan, as it stands today, was not found until the year 78 AH / 697 CE as part of the commemoration of the rebuilding of the Kaaba, which Abd al-Malik’s troops destroyed after their siege on Mecca.

This shows that the people today who choose to uphold the Shadahatan, as opposed to the Shadah, are following an innovation that came almost 65 years after the prophet’s death as opposed to the prophet’s own example.

See the following articles for more information on how the Shadahtan goes against the Quran.



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