Shahāda Shahāda

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  • Shahāda

  • or shahadatayn

  • (“two shahadas”, i.e. two parts of the Shahada)


  • First Shahāda:

  • Lā ilāha illa Allāh There is no god but God

  • NB ilah = god with small g, anything we might worship

  • Allah = only ever used for the One God Who created the universe

  • Jews, Christians and others affirm this (though many Muslims would question wither they do so fully or correctly)

  • Second shahāda:

  • Muhammad Rasūl Allāh Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

Messengers and Prophets of God

  • Messengers and Prophets of God

  • God has sent many messengers and prophets before Muhammad

  • Parial list:

  • Adam

  • Nuh (Noah)

  • Hud (Arabian prophet)

  • Salih (Arabian prophet)

  • Ibrahim (Abraham)

  • Lut (Lot)

  • Ishaq (Isaac)

  • Isma‘il (Ishmael)

  • Yusuf (Joseph)

  • Musa (Moses) Scripture: Tawra

  • Harun (Aaron)

  • Daud (David) Scripture: Zubur (Psalms)

  • Ilyas (Elias, Elijah)

  • Suleiman (Solomon)

  • Yunus (Jonah)

  • Yahya (John the Baptist)

  • ‘Isa (Jesus). Scripture: Injil (Gospel)

  • All messengers and prophets preached the same message: worship and obey Allah alone

  • They were sent to particular nations or communities

  • The details of the laws and rules they proclaimed varied somewhat with circumstances

  • Some received scriptures

  • Their messages were changed by their later followers:

  • e.g., Jesus considered divine by (later) Christians.

  • Muhammad is the last messenger/prophet sent by God

  • - called “the seal of the Prophets” in the Qur’an

  • - his message is the most complete

  • - it corrects errors introduced into earlier traditions

  • - it is meant for all places and times

Muhammad’s career: basic outline

  • Muhammad’s career: basic outline

  • Birth – c 570

  • First revelation – c 610

  • Meccan period of his mission 610-622. Preaches, non-violent.

  • Hijra to Medina – 622 First year of Islamic calendar

  • Medinan period of his mission, 622-632. Establishes a polity. Warfare necessary

  • Death – 632

Qur’ān and Sunna

  • Qur’ān and Sunna

  • The basic sources for the message of God to Muhammad and thus for our knowledge of God’s will.

  • Qur’an = the actual words of God, revealed gradually to Muhammad over the twenty-three years of his career, recorded and preserved by God from any modification.

  • Sunna of the Prophet = the authoritative example of the Prophet, his words and deeds recorded and later collected as we have them now. Not direct revelation but protected by God from error.


  • Sharī‘a 

  • The Divine Law or the Will of God for humans all situations of life

  • 1. Its source is God

  • 2. It applies, in principle, to all areas of life.

  • 3. It can be known by human beings

Fiqh (understanding)

  • Fiqh (understanding)

  • 1. The human knowledge/interpretation of the (details) of the Shari‘a

  • 2. Also translated “jurisprudence”

  • 3. Based on the Qur’an and the Sunna

  • 4. And on scholars’ interpretations of these (authoritative but not protected from error)

  • Fiqh refers to both this process of interpretation and the body of law resulting from it.

The Main beliefs of Islam

  • The Main beliefs of Islam

  • Allah

  • His angels

  • His scriptures

  • His messengers

  • The Last Day (final judgment)

  • His determination of good and ill

The Pillars of Islam

  • The Pillars of Islam

  • (The most important commands)

  • Shahada

  • Salah (salat) - prayer five times a day, often written)

  • Ramadan, fasting during the month of Ramadan.

  • Zakah (zakat) - alms or tax for the poor and certain other groups)

  • Hajj - pilgrimage to Mecca durng the month of Dhu al-Hijja.

Sunni and Shi‘i

  • Sunni and Shi‘i

  • (The main “sectarian” or “denominational” difference among Muslims)

  • Rooted historically in the question of who should lead the Muslim community (umma) after Muhammad’s death.

  • 1. Sunnis believe that Muhammad designated no successor (khalifa) and that the successor was and should have been chosen by representatives of the umma.

  • 2. Shi‘is (collectively called the Shi‘a) believe that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad’s closest male relative, was designated by Muhammad should have been his successor but was unjustly denied this role (at least at first).

  • 3. Sunnis constitute about 85 to 90 percent of the whole Muslim umma today and the Shi‘a about 10 to 15 percent.

  • 4. In terms of importance, the Sunni-Shi‘i division in Islam may be compared to the Protestant-Catholic-Eastern Orthodox division among Christians. The details are not comparable, however. One may not compare the Sunni-Shi‘a division to the difference between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews (these may be compared to modern divisions to be discussed in the last part of the book).

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