As Ramadan is fast approaching, with it is my conversion to Islam. In my public declaration of faith, I will be declaring my belief in the five pillars of Islam, the first one of which is the Shahadah: the declaration that “God is the only God and that Mohammed is His prophet” (in Arabic: La ilaha ilalah, Mohammad-ur Rasule lilah).
This declaration, while I do believe in it, has always bothered me. To me, it ressembles the Catholic’s apostle’s creed “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only son, our Lord” Why must prophets be mentioned in what I believe is the most important declaration of all: that we believe in God? Many Muslims believe that Christians worship Jesus and many Christians believe that Muslims worship Mohammed, and when we look at some’s behaviour: they do! They try and emmulate these men throughout their life, while forgetting important teachings that God sent for us. Forgiveness, Love, Charity; those divine characteristics which better our world are much more important than chastity, following specific fashion or berating others about not following “the right” religion! What happened to that?!
For my non-Muslim friends, believe it or not, Jesus is mentioned in the Qu’ran more times than Mohammed. My belief in the words passed from God to ArchAngel Gabriel, to us via Prophet Mohammed is great, but so is my belief in the actions of Jesus. The Qu’ran speaks of love, mercy, kindness, etc. Jesus preached the same. So why focus so much on the earthly traits of either of these men – yes, they were men – rather than on the Holy Message of God!
So for my Shahada, my declaration of faith, I will say the entire declaration, but inside me, in my heart, I will be reciting the first part louder and and more genuinely because His message is the message I follow. None other.