Reflections on La ilaha lila Allah

Posted on February 4, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/tawheed/lailahaillaAllah.html

That is Allah, your Lord! There is no god but He, the creator of all things: Then worship you Him : and He has power to dispose of all affairs.” (Qur’an 6:102)
Although all practising Muslims repeat the shahadah many times every day, only few understand its profound meaning, and appreciate its implications. For example, how many Muslims understand why the shahadah uses the negative form – La Ilaha ha Ila Allah (There is no Ilah except Allah), instead of the affirmative form – Allah is one; and why did the Qur’anic revelations stress this concept for the thirteen years which the Prophet (saas) spent in Mecca before migrating to Medina? To help us in understanding the answer to these questions, and in better appreciating the implications of La Ilaha Illa Allah, the Qur’an provides us with the following two facts:

All the prophets and messengers of Allah were principally teaching the same thing: La Ilaha lila Allah:
O my people! worship Allah! you have no other god but Him (Qur ‘an 7:59)
This is precisely what Noah said; Hud declared (Qur’an 7:65); and Salih affirmed (Qur’an 7:73). Shuaib gave the same message (Qur’an 7:85). The same doctrine was repeated and confirmed by Prophets Moussa, Issa, and Mohammad (saas)
“Say; Truly I am a warner: no god is there but Allah, the One, Supreme, and Irresistible.” (Qur’an 38:65)
“Say: Verily, I am commanded to serve Allah, and follow with sincere devotion his deen.” (Qur ‘an 39:11)
Many of the unbelievers who opposed the prophets did not deny the existence of Allah, nor that He was the sole creator of heavens and earth; and of human beings.
If you were to question them, “Who created the heavens and earth?” they would be sure to reply, “they were created by (Him), the exalted in power, full of knowledge “. (Qur ‘an 43:9)
“If you ask them, who created them, they will certainly say, Allah: how then are they deluded away from the truth)?” (Qur ‘an 43:87)

The Muslim scholar Abul A’la Maududi explains La ilaha illa Allah by using four basic terms from the Qur’an: Ilah, Rabb, Ibadah, and deen (see the table below). The four words, and their derivatives, are repeated many times in the Qur’an; the word Ilah (147 times), Rabb (975 times), Ibadah (275 times), and deen (94 times). Note that the word deen is an all encompassing concept dealing with life as an integrated whole. It is not restricted to the so called “religious” observances, practices, and rituals.

In the light of these four basic terms, La ilaha illa Allah means:

Allah is our Rabb and our Ilah; there is no Rabb and no Ilah except He. To Him alone we make Ibadah; and only His deen we adopt and sincerely follow.

In the light of this definition, it is clear that the whole dispute between the unbelievers and the Prophets centered around the uncompromising demand of the prophets that the unbelievers should recognize the very being whom they acknowledged as their creator, as their Rabb and Ilah (as defined in the table) , and should assign this position to none else.

There are many important consequences for appreciating the full meaning and implications of La ilaha illa Allah, including the following three:

Absolute freedom of the human conscience from servitude to, or subjection by, anyone or anything; and realization that one’s life, livelihood, and sustenance are all in the hands of Allah and Allah alone.
The natural urge for making ibadah to an ilah will be directed towards the true Ilah (Allah), rather than towards one or more false ilahs (false gods), whether they be humans, or material things.
Following the true deen of Allah gives a sense of direction, and a meaning to one’s life in the present world, and leads to success in the Hereafter.

We pray to Almighty Allah to help us in appreciating the meaning and implications of La ilaha lIla Allah, and in translating its meaning in our daily lives. Ameen.

Four terms Needed to Understand La Ilaha Illa Allah1.Ilah Rabb Ibadah Deen
Deity, God
One to be worshipped
One who has power to satisfy your needs and answer your prayer
One who is in control of your affairs
One who can comfort you; provide protection and support for you
2.Lord, Master and owner
Sustainer, provider and guardian
Sovereign, ruler and administrator
3.Ibadah
Worship and devotion
Submission and obedience
Subjection and servitude
4. Deen
Ideology
Government and constitution
Complete system (way of life)

Allah is the Rabb and the Ilah. There is no Rabb and no Ilah except He. To Him Alone we make Ibadah. Only His Deen we adopt and sincerely follow.

From Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 469:
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
When the Prophet sent Muadh to Yemen, he said to him, “You are going to a nation from the people of the Scripture, so let the first thing to which you will invite them, be the Tawheed of Allah. If they learn that, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them, five prayers to be offered in one day and one night. And if they pray, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them Zakat of their properties and it is to be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor. And if they agree to that, then take from them Zakat but avoid the best property of the people.”

“[Faith] in One God is the most important and fundamental principle. It is the bedrock of Islam and the mainspring of its power. All other beliefs, commands and laws of Islam stand firm on this foundation. All of them receive strength from this source. Take it away, and there is nothing left of Islam.”
– Abul A’la Mawdudi, Towards Understanding Islam, Islamic Foundation, 1980 “The Islamic interpretation of monotheism is more literal and uncompromising than that of any other religion. Allah is confessed as being one, eternal, unbegotten, unequalled, and beyond partnership of any kind.”
– The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, 1992
“Verily, Allah does not forgive the ascribing of divinity to anything beside Him, although He forgives any other sin to whomever He wills: for he who ascribes divinity to anything beside God has indeed contrived an awesome sin.”
– [Qur’an 4:48]

   
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