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.
4 thoughts on “Five pillars examined: 1 – Shahada”
I think that oen cannot ignore that Mohammed was elevated to a higher status than simply a pure mortal, he WAS a messenger. The qu'ran writes similarly of other prophets, for example 2:253 (M. Picktall translation) “Of those messengers, some of whom We have caused to excel others, and of whom there are some unto whom Allah spake, while some of them He exalted (above others) in degree; and We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty) and We supported him with the holy Spirit. And if Allah had so wiled it, those who followed after them would not have fought one with another after the clear proofs had come unto them. But they differed, some of them believing and some disbelieving. And if Allah had so willed it, they would not have fought one with another; but Allah doeth what He will.
What is your interpretation of Sura 33:6 which suggests that the prophet and and his family are closer to us then we are to ourselves. Has a little bit of a Christian Jesus and the Virgin Mary vibe in it to me.
I agree. As I said, I believe in Mohammed as a prophet, but the important part for me is the message of the Qu'ran that he passed along to us. I don't like deifying Mohammed anymore than I liked deifying Jesus… just sayin'
I think that part was added to the declaration to say that it really is God's message that was given to Mohamed. If you were only saying the fist part, you could as well be Jewish or Christian. The last part is what makes you a follower of Islam.
But I agree with you that Mohamed does seem to have been deified by a lot of people! I understand that he was chosen by God because of his honesty and righteousness, and that he was a great man, but I think that if I ever convert to Islam, I'll be a Quranist!
At least, this is what I think.