The first and the most important pillar of the deen is the shahadah or the ‘Kalimah at-Tayyibah’ :
La ilaha illALlahu Muhammadur RasulALlah
‘There is no god except ALlàh, and Muhammad is the Prophet of ALlàh’
It is well worth a reminder for believers to know the following about the ‘Kalimah at-Tayyibah’ :
1. This holy formula is (not was) the kalimah of all the Ambiya from sayyiduna Adam (alaihis salam) to sayyiduna ‘Isa (alaihis salam).
2. This kalimah is written on the gates of jannah and on the Arsh of ALlàh subhanahu wa ta’ala.
a) There are two sentences in this kalimah, the first one (tawhid) is in a negative form and the second one (risalah) is in an affirmative form. When a mumin believes in the two (tawhid and risalah), the light (nur) of Islam descends in his/her qalb (heart).
b) ALlàh combined both those two sentences into one, He did this to show the prestige, importance and honour He has confirmed upon His beloved Prophet, our master, Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
c) One who believes in the Oneness of ALlàh yet does not believe in the prophethood of Muhammad salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will forever remain a kafir and cannot demand half the reward from ALlàh, i.e. that of tawhid alone.
4. There are 24 letters and 7 words in this Arabic kalimah (it’s lost in the English translation), a mumin must remember and obey ALlàh and His Prophet salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, 24 hours of the day, 7 days of the week. This kind of perfect obedience is seen best amongst His Awliya, who are the elite of the Sufis.
5. This kalimah is the ruh (soul) of the dunya (world), when it is changed or forgotten, the dunya will be destroyed.
To be free from the punishment of jahannam does not depend on tawhid alone, but depends on Iman, which includes tawhid and risalah as ALlàh Himself testifies in the noble Qur’an (4:136) :
“O you who believe! Believe in ALlàh and His Prophet, and the Book, which He has sent down to His Prophet, and the Books, which He sent down in former times, whoever disbelieves in ALlàh, His angels, His Books, His Prophets and the Last Day, has wandered far, far astray”.
And tawfiq is from ALlàh alone.
Wasallallhu ‘ala sayidina wa maulana muhammadin wa ‘ala alihi wa sahbihi wa awliyâi wa ahlus sunnatihi wa ummatihi ajma’in, bi rahmatika ya arhamar rahimin, amin.
Adopted from ‘The Book of Iman’ by Maulana Muhammad Azizur Rahman with slight revision.