The Important Pillar of Islam – Kalimah Tayyibah
There is none worthy of worship but Allah, the One True God; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
On uttering these words called Kalimah Tayyibah a person undergoes a remarkable transformation. The Kalimah Tayyibah is, in fact, a declaration of one’s belief that Islam is the true religion. The two basic and distinctive features of Islam, which distinguish it from all other creeds of the world are:
- a) Its uncompromising stand on the belief that there is only One True God and
- b) The belief in the prophethood of Mohammed (pbuh).
The Kalimah, being a declaration of one’s adherence to Islam entails both these basic elements of Islamic faith. i.e. Tawheed (oneness of God) and Risalah (prophethood) – which have been mentioned together in it. The reason for joining these two beliefs, is due to the significance of these two beliefs, in making the Muslims a separate nation from all the other creeds of the world. Moreover, if closely examined, the declaration of the combination of these two beliefs is, in its essence, the declaration of the complete contents of Islam. These simple words constitutes the fundamental basis of religion and the root of Islamic faith, the greater the devotion to thiskalimah, the more firmly the faith be rooted.
“During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug – while praying to the same God – with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.
“We were truly all the same (brothers) – because their belief in one God had removed the white from their minds, the white from their behavior, and the white from their attitude. I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man – and cease to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their ‘differences’ in color.”
The power of the Kalimah Tayyibah is so strong that it supersedes blood and family relationship. It joins one stranger with another though there are separated by the Pacific Ocean. It also cuts asunder one relative from another though they were born as twins with mere minutes apart.
Why then this big difference? How can a simple kalimah expressed from the mouth produce such radical change? How can a small thing uttered create a difference of heaven and earth between two individuals from the sight of Allah? The answer lies with a simple example. Suppose we are shivering in the cold weather and we start chanting quilt, heater, quilt heater several times would the cold effect stop? Or suppose we are thirsty and we just shouted water, water, water a few times does the thirst subside? No. We can only lessened the cold effect by preparing ourselves with the quilt and wrapping ourselves under it to keep us warm and cozy. We can only quench our thirst by drinking water.
This is exactly the position of this kalimah. A mere verbal expression will not bring the big change from Kafir into a Muslim. The kalimah is the key to Islam, it depends on us as Muslims to act upon it and turn the key or not. The essence of these words needs to permeate in our mind and as we recite them while understanding the meaning, we should fully realize the big commitment and great responsibility we are making before Allah. The implication of this affirmation that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, the One True God and prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is His Final Messenger must control our entire life with no idea opposed to the kalimah should enter our mind. Once the effect of the meaning of the words penetrates our heart, it will produce a powerful impact so as to effect a change in our thoughts, moral boundaries and daily actions.
When a Muslim testify that no one is worthy of worship but Allah, it necessarily means that he should worship none in the whole universe but the Almighty and should not bring any partner to Him in worship. The Muslims should believe that Allah is their sole guardian and Helper in distress. The Muslims should trust Allah’s guidance and should faithfully obey His commandments. Moreover, as Muslims we should not imitate and obey customs or practices that are contrary to this creed. In all the affairs, Muslims should follow the teaching of the Holy Quran and should hope for Allah’s Mercy and at the same time fear His Wrath!
The second part of the kalimah is the Message of Prophethood (Risalah). In order to follow Allah’s commandment, we can’t do so unless we keep Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as our life’s instructor and guide to the right path. That is we will worship Allah as he (pbuh) told us and the obedience of the Prophet (pbuh) is really the obedience to Allah. Whatever the Prophet told us through the authentic chains of Hadith of the unseen things like angels, Hell, Paradise, the incidents in the grave and the Day of Resurrection are true and we must believe in them though we could not understand them. We must also believe that the way of life as he (pbuh) told us and has behaved himself (pbuh) accordingly is the way that is appreciated by Allah. Anyone who acts contrary to it does not tread the Right Path and subsequently not loved by Allah.
After affirming the kalimah, we can’t behave as the non-Muslims do especially if their celebration is an acknowledgement that there are other deities to be worshipped. The kalimah will bind us and we will need to follow its dictate and shun what it forbids. Through this affirmation, the Muslim will then truly submit to the will of Allah and obey His law. Only through this process and journey the big difference between a Muslim and non-Muslim is clear. After admitting that Allah is our Master, our life is not ours but the property of Allah. Our hands are not ours, nor do our eyes, ears and every limb of our body belong to us. The earth we plough, the animals we service, wealth and children– none of these are ours. We can’t claim like the champions of the LGBT do, “the body is mine so I will treat them the way I see fit” but at the same time utter the words of submission to Allah. To assert we own our body after uttering Kalimah Tayyibah is totally absurd and in reality goes against the meaning of the kalimah. Each and every thing on this earth is owned by Allah and has been given to us as a trust. As a trustee of His goods, we must make use of these goods strictly in accordance to His instruction.
The beauty of this is that though all these belong to Allah, He takes it back and says:
“Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise” [Surah At-Taubah: 111].
Allah is Great! What a beautiful bounty this is.
“Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word (Kalimah Tayyibah) like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability. Allah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in worldly life and in the Hereafter. And Allah sends astray the wrongdoers. And Allah does what He wills.” [Surah Ibrahim: 24-27].
Allah knows best.