On the Importance of Sincerity in Shahaadah

Ahadith from a forthcoming book “Miftaahul Ma`ani” by Syed Iqbal Zaheer

Hadith No. 4:

`Itban b. Malik, an Ansari, who was a Companion of the Prophet, of those who had participated in the Badr battle, came to the Prophet and said, “Messenger of Allah, my eyesight is failing and I lead my folks in Prayers. But when it rains, the valley which is between me and my folks gets flooded and I am not able to go to their mosque to pray with them. I wish then, Messenger of Allah, if you could come to me and pray in my house so that I could treat it as a prayer-place.”1 The Messenger of Allah said, “I shall do it, Allah willing.”

The next day as the sun rose high, he, along with Abu Bakr2 arrived and sought my permission to enter my house. I allowed him in. However, as he entered, he did not sit down, rather asked, “Where do you wish me to pray in your house?” I pointed to a place. He stood up there and said “Allahu Akbar,” entering into the prayer. We too lined up behind him. He did two cycles of prayer ending with the terminal formula.

Thereafter, we held him up for some pudding3 that we had prepared for him. Now, the folks of the houses around (got the news and) began to pour into my house – quite a few of them. One of them asked, “Where is Malik b. al Dukhayshin?”4 Someone said, “He is a hypocrite. He doesn’t love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet interrupted, “Do not say that.5 Have you not seen him saying, ‘There is no deity but Allah’ – aiming at nothing but to please Allah?” The man said, “Allah and His Messenger know best. As for us, we only see him trying to please the hypocrites, and seeking their goodwill.” The Prophet said, “Allah has forbidden the Fire unto whosoever said, ‘There is no deity save Allah,’ seeking His pleasure.”6


1.This gives legality to seeking benediction by the remnants of the Prophet. And Waqidi has reported that people were still praying in the house of `Itban until his time. There is no harm then if people observe this kind of thing, but, regretfully, people take it too far. For instance, Hasan al-Basri witnessed people trying to outdo each other to give a hand to the bier of a pious man being taken to the burial ground. He remarked, “They ought to rather outdo each other in imitating him in good deeds.” (Ibn Rajab Hanbali)

2. Other reports suggest that `Umar ibn al-Khattab was also in the company. (Sharh al-Qastalani)

3. Khazirah, a kind of pudding, was made of flour and fat. (Tatriz by Faysal b. `Abd al`Aziz)

4. Malik b. Dukhayshin had participated in Badr, Uhud and many other battles (Ibn Rajab Hanballi). And Waqidi mentions in his Maghazi that of the two who were sent to burn down the Masjid Diraar, Malik b. Dukhayshin was one, the other being Ma`n b. `Adiyy. Had he been a hypocrite, the Prophet would not have chosen him for the task. (Zarqani, Sharh Muwatta’)

5. Thus, the Prophet disapproved that anyone should be treated as a hypocrite based upon his outward behavior, since one could be wrong in his judgment. He himself treated them as Muslims despite the fact that he knew the true nature of them all. (Ibn Rajab Hanbali)

6. The following points can be made note of:

a. When a man is invited by someone, he can take others with him, if the host has no objection.

b. If a spot in a house is used for prayers, it does not become a Masjid proper, even if it is called a Masjid. (`Uthaymeen) – unless the owner of the house declares it a Masjid. (Au.)


Hadith No. 5:

(The ending part of a long report says), “Then intercession will be allowed, so that the intercessors will begin to intercede until whoever had said, ‘There is no deity save Allah,’ and had a barley worth of weight [of Eeman] in his heart will leave out the Fire.

Hadith No. 6:

Abu Bakr b. abi Musa reported that the Prophet said, “Be of good cheer and convey glad tiding to the people that whoever said, in complete sincerity, that ‘There is no deity save Allah,’ will enter Paradise.”

So they went out and started spreading the good news among the people. They encountered `Umar. They gave him the news too. But he turned them back. The Prophet asked them, “Who turned you back?” They said, “`Umar.” He asked, “`Umar, what made you turn them back?” `Umar replied, “From fear, O Messenger of Allah, that the people will begin to rely on this.” (Musnad Ahmad, declared Sahih by Al-Arna’ut)

Hadith No. 7:

`Uthman (ra) reports the Prophet (saws) as having said: “He who died in a state in which he acknowledged that there is no deity save Allah, entered Paradise.” (Muslim, Kitab al-Iman)


Qadi `Iyad’s explanation should be useful here:

There are several ahadith of this nature. For instance, one says: “He whose last words are, ‘There is no deity save Allah,’ entered Paradise.” Another says: “He who met Allah in a state in which he did not associate others with Allah, entered Paradise.” There have been various explanations to these statements since they appear to contradict those that add other conditions for salvation. Hasan al-Basri’s opinion is that he who uttered this testimony, (i.e., “He who said there is no deity save Allah”), and then met with the demands of this testimony – it is such a person who would enter Paradise. Imam Bukhari’s opinion is that this is for him who, after he had repented from his sins, said these words in sincerity, and then died on them. Another opinion, adds Nawawi, is that the narrators might have abridged what they had heard from the Prophet.

The method adopted by the great majority of scholars in explanation of ahadith of this kind removes all doubts and confusion. And what they say is that the Prophet (saws) made various statements at various times, suiting various situations and various audiences. Sometimes he made it short, at others he added a condition, and on other occasions, he added more. All traditions of this sort, therefore, ought to be placed together and then a comprehensive and all-inclusive meaning sought.

The opinion of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah, of the Salaf, the jurists, and others is that the sinners will be entirely at the mercy of Allah. If a man had firm belief in the two basic articles of faith, but came up with sins, he might either be forgiven altogether by Allah (swt) or might be sent to Hell and enter Paradise only after purgation of the sins.

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