Islamic marriage advice and family advice

I said “Ashadu”, am I still Muslim?

The Islamic Shahadah, or testimony of faith, carved in wood on the wall of a masjid

The Islamic Shahadah, or testimony of faith, carved in wood on the wall of a masjid

Question:

Asalamu Alaykum.

A few months back, I took Islamic lectures and the young girl giving us this lecture told us that if you say Ashadu, you can convert yourself to not being a Muslim.

Well the thing is, I said Ashadu while listening to her lecture and when she was done talking that's when she said, "saying Ashadu can take you out of Islam". I was too afraid and ashamed to talk to her about it. But that's not the only thing, I said Ashadu a couple of times.. and then I lost track of how much times I said it. So I went home frightened.

Now for about a couple of months I still worry if i am a Muslim or not. I don't know how to prove it. Please help me, I am in need. I do not want to go to hell for a mistake!

- Sahra

Wael's Answer:

Dear Sister Sahra, As-salam alaykum,

Rest assured, you are still Muslim. There is nothing to fear or feel ashamed about.

I am really quite puzzled about this lecture you attended. I never heard of such a thing and it's very strange. Where did you hear this lecture? Was this young woman educated in the Islamic religion? Were these people Sunni Muslims, or were they followers of some other sect?

The word "ashhadu", or sometimes written "ash-hadu" is a part of the Islamic Shahadah, or testimony of faith. The word simply means, "I testify," or "I bear witness." It's a completely innocent word and there is nothing wrong with saying it.

The Shahadah in full is,

"Ash-hadu an laa ilaha il-Allah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasul-ullah."

Meaning, "I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."

Furthermore, the question of niyyah or intention is crucial in Islam, as the Prophet Muhammad said in the famous hadith, narrated by Omar bin Al-Khattab, who said : I heard the messenger of Allah salla Allah u alihi wa sallam say:

"Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended..." related by Bukhari and Muslim

Saying a word without understanding can never harm you or take you out of your deen, because the niyyah to do wrong is not there.

Of course words can take you out of Islam, but they have to be unambiguous words that you understand and speak with intention. So if you were to say, for example, any of the following things with understanding and intention in your heart, believing them to be true, then you would not be considered Muslim any more:

  • I don't believe that the Quran is relevant in the modern world.
  • I believe in the Quran only, not the Prophet Muhammad.
  • I don't believe that salat (prayer) and sawm (fasting) are necessary or required.
  • I was born Muslim, but I'm an agnostic. Maybe Allah exists, maybe not.
  • I believe in Allah, but I believe in the Hindu gods as well.
  • I believe in the Prophet Muhamamad, but I also believe in another Prophet who came after him.

These are various types of statements of disbelief that you might encounter in your lifetime if you speak to people or if you are active on discussion forums. These people understand their words and speak them deliberately, believing in them. There is a huge difference between making a statement like this, and just uttering a word whose meaning you do not understand.

My last bit of advice to you is to educate yourself as a Muslim, not necessarily by going to lectures but by reading some of the basic books about Islam. For example the hadith about intentions is the first hadith given in the book "40 Hadith," which is a simple and fundamental book that every Muslim should read and understand.

Read the Quran, read some introductory books like Islam in Focus, read the biography of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), read some good books of hadith like Riyadh As-Saliheen (Gardens of the Righteous), read about the lives of the Sahabah, etc. Lectures are fine too, but the source must be reliable and they should be on basic subjects that will help you learn the principles of religion.

And Allah knows best.

If any readers have some additional advice for this questioner, I invite you to post your comments below.

(O Allah), Guide us to the straight path; The path of those whom you have favored; Not those with whom you are angry; Nor those who go astray.

Best regards,

- Wael Abdelgawad
IslamicAnswers.com Marriage Advice
Zawaj.com Muslim Matrimonial Service

Advertisements

Tagged as: , , ,

12 Responses »

  1. Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

    Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah

    I am adding some links so you can inshAllah benefit from books and articles online.

    Here is a link to a book Br. Wael mentioned "Islam in Focus". It is online in .pdf form so you can read the whole thing:

    http://www.sultan.org/books/islam-in-focus.pdf

    This is another book, "Towards Understanding Islam", that was one of the first books I read when I was learning about Islam. It is also fully available online:

    http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/M_tui/

    This is a copy of Riyadh as Saliheen in English online:

    http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/hadeeth/riyad/default.htm

    And, finally, a website that has Imaam Nawawi's forty hadith, with commentary:

    http://fortyhadith.iiu.edu.my/

    May Allah bless you with beneficial knowledge. There are some good Islamic lectures in Paltalk but as he said, you do have to be careful to research the person giving the lecture to make sure he or she teaches according to the Qur'an and Sunnah.

    Fi Aman Allah,

    Noorah

  2. Thank you sister Noorah, that's very helpful. Are there any other resources that you would particularly recommend for learning the basics of Islam? Maybe we should write an article about that.

    • Assalam O Alaikum sister Muskan,
      You are indeed right that you have every right to marry the man of your choice given that he is pious, has good character and is financially capable of supporting a family. Just as parents have rights over children, children also have rights over parents and this is one of those where parents are supposed to guide the children not to emotionally black mail them into marrying someone of their own choice for name saving in society. Allah (swt) gave you the right to choose your partner and if you dislike the person your parents are choosing for you than it's not sin or disobedience to parents or Allah (swt).
      Also, I read somewhere that a father can read his daughter's Nikkah, it is not necessary to have an imam however, you need to confirm about this one with an imam, scholar in your area. It's all cultural and forced marriages have no place in Islam. You are not someone's passport into a country a human being with feelings and emotions who deserves the best.

      Also, at your age your first and last priority should be education. While there is nothing wrong with getting married at 18 but way too often girls end up making wrong choice and then have to live miserably either married/divorced. Not to mention the bitter feelings they harbor for all men. If you do find out that you are married than I suggest you should at least get to know your husband; just assuming that you don't like him when you haven't met him is also wrong; who knows he may be genuine and someone who will be good for your world and Akhirah.

      If you need detailed answer, please log-in using the link of the front page to your right and write your question as a separate post and iA it will be catered on it's turn.

      May Allah (swt) help you through this and bring out what is best for you in both worlds.

      Muhammad1982,
      Editor, IslamicAnswers.com

      • I tried telling my parents that they are not only ruining one life, but two lives here.

        (Remainder of comment has been deleted. Please log in and write your question as a separate post, thank you. - IslamicAnswers.com Editor)

  3. Very helpful. JazakAllah.
    But does this apply to everything .. for example if you utter something with intention that could be shirk or kufr but you didn't do it with intention and you don't believe in it at all.. is there sin for it?

    • Muslimah, you need to clarify what you mean by "intention". Was it a case of using the wrong word or making a mistake in your speech, where the words expressed something that you did not mean at all? In that case then there is no sin, as there was no intention or deliberate meaning.

      But if you say words of disbelief, consciously understanding them, knowing what you are saying, then it is a sin, even if you are joking. As the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, ""Whoever says that he is on a Deen other than Islam then he is as he says..." (Al-Bukhari)

  4. Aoa, i couldnt help replying to your question...you think islam and faith is based ony on what you say? and has nothing at all to do with what u feel? islam places great importance on neeyatt..i.e, intention and all that u do depends upon the intention and on intentions is a person judged...not on appearances.

    what that lady said DOES NOT make any sense to reason or logic, and islam is a very reason supported religion. please stop being afraid and remember islam, and above all Allah sees whats hidden in the hearts of people..if u have a pious heart, God sees that. Period.

    take care...and plz understand islam but with your reasoning intact.

  5. Does saying and believing "Laa ilaaha illal Lahoo Mohammadur Rasool Ullah" is enough to claim to be a muslim, or one has to get register somewhere.

    I have to explain this to my Non-Muslim Friend who is interested to be a muslim.

    • Declaration of the shahadah is enough to make one Muslim. However, some countries do register the religion of citizens on passports and such, and might require registration of some kind. I don't know about local laws.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

    • Declaration of the Shahaadah does make a person enter the folds of Islam and this is not dependant on any certificate or registration.

      But one should make sure that the Shahaadah meets the required conditions which are the following:

      1. 'Ilm (Knowledge): Meaning of LailahaIllAllah (Fa'lam annahu LailahaIllAllah - So know (O Muhammad ) that La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah)

      2. Yaqeen (Certainty) : 'Ilm is of no use without Yaqeen

      3. Ikhlaas (Purely for Allah): There is Yaqeen, but it should be to Please Allah and not to show to anyone else

      4. Muhabbah (Love): With the Kalimah and with Muwahhideen (Those who Worship One Allah)

      5. Sidq (Truthfulness): Truthfulness from the heart (Without truth, no witness)

      6. Al Qabool (Acceptance): Accept by the tongue and heart (that Allah is Alone and all else is His creation)

      7. Al Inqiyaad: Bowing the head and acceptting the Kalimah and doing Amal (Practice, which is as important as the testimony)

      8. Al Kufr bit Taghoot: Denial of all else that is worshipped beside Allah

      All the eight conditions are related. Absence of one of them makes the Kalimah Shahadah incomplete.

      Muhammadur Rasoolullah has all the above conditions, especially:

      1. Iqraar (Declaration)

      2. Yaqeen (certainty) by heart: 'Amal (Practice) on the Saheeh Ahadeeth - the Sunnah by bowing one's head

      3. Tasdeeq (Approval) by 'Amal

      May Allah Make our Shahaadah surely for Him

      Aameen

      Muhammad Waseem
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

      • Muhammad Waseem, this is true, but these are truths that are felt in the heart, and that can be learned intellectually in time. A new convert does not have to have all of these points in his mind, or understand them so clearly. We do not want to complicate things for someone who only wants to acknowledge the Oneness of Allah.

        Wael
        IslamicAnswers.com Editor

Leave a Response