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The 5 pillars of Islam

The Shahada ( Arabic الشهادة, DMG aš-šahāda  , testimony, testimony '), also Taschahhud ( Arabic تشهد, DMG tašahhud ) is the creed of Islam , which forms the first of the five pillars of Islam .

The meaning of the Shahāda, which as such does not appear in the Koran, is only emphasized in a Ḥadīṯ traced back to the Prophet Mohammed : “When the servant [of God] says: 'There is no God but God', then the exalted God says: ' My angels, my servant know that he has no master but me. You are my witnesses that I have forgiven him. '"


The wording of the Shahada is also known as Kalima .

  • Lā ilāha illā ʾllāh (u) لا إله إلا الله: “There is no God but God” ( Paret's translation ) is the first part of the creed and appears in this form in the Koran in two places: in sura 37 : 35 and in sura 47 : 19. The importance of this first part of the creed as a confirmation of the Tawheed in Islam is confirmed by the traditional literature and the legends of the Islamic prophets from the 8th century. Because already Noah (Arabic. Nūḥ) is said to have given his sons two commands and two prohibitions: The commands were to confess: a) “There is no (God) but God”, b) “Praise be to God” - how it is also at the beginning of the Fātiha . The prohibitions were: a) idolatry ( shirk ), b) arrogance (kibr). In research it is also assumed that the origin of this first part of the confessional formula can possibly be traced back to Samaritan models.

The second part of the creed is the confirmation of Muhammad as God's messenger:

  • Muḥammadun rasūlu ʾllāh (i) -محمد رسول الله- "Mohammed is the Messenger of God". In this form Mohammed is mentioned in sura 48 , verse 29; The following are also comparable in terms of content: Sura 3 , verse 144; Sura 33 , verse 40 and Sura 63 , verse 1.

Thus, in Islamic law and theology, one speaks of the two creeds: ash-shahadatanالشهادتان / aš-šahādatān , or from the expression of monotheism kalimat at-tauhid  /كلمة التوحيد / kalimatu 't-tauḥīd .

The Shiites usually add a third sentence:

  • ʿAlīy walīyu ʾllāh (i) -علي ولي الله- Ali "is the friend of God"

The form of the Shahāda presented above is, however, the result of ritual-legal compromises among the scholars of the legal schools , because according to traditions in traditional literature Mohammed is said to have taught:

“The greetings are for God, as are the blessings and the good things. Peace be upon you, Prophet, and God's mercy and blessings. Peace be with us and with the pious worshipers. I testify ... etc. "

- al-Buchārī : K. al-Adhān (10), chap. 148

The Islamic schools of law fall back on different versions of tradition in the wording of the alleged prophet's saying. However, in terms of ritual law, they all agree that the above form of greeting is not a compulsory part of the prayer ritual.

Prayer ritual

During the call to prayer ( Adhān ), after the four times Takbīr, both parts of the Shahāda are introduced with aschhadu an or anna أشهد أن "I testify that ...", spoken twice each time.

The Shahāda in the Adhan reads: Aschhadu an lā ilāha illā ʾllāh (twice). Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasūlu ʾllāh (twice). Hayya'ala s salad (twice). Hayya'ala al-falah (twice). “I testify that there is no god but the (only) god (twice). I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God (twice). Hurry to prayer (twice). Hurry to bliss (twice). "

Sacred building

The Shahāda appears in a sacred building for the first time in the outer inscription on the Dome of the Rock from the year 691/692 in its combination with the Basmala as follows:

لا اله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له محمد رسول الله / lā ilāha illā ʿllāhu waḥdahu lā šarīka la-hu Muḥammadun rasūlu ʿllāh (i)  / 'There is no god but God alone, he has no partner (in rule), Mohammed is the Messenger of God'. Once with the addition of the abbreviated eulogy after: “The Messenger of God”: ṣallā ʿllāhu ʾalaihi: “(May) God bless him” The part of the sentence “he has no partner (in rule)” is Koranic; in sura 6, verse 163 it says: “He has no partner (in the rulership). This (to confess) was ordered to me. "

Profane area

In secular life the Shahāda appears on Umayyad coins as early as around 705–714 and a little later. On the front (or on the edge) it says: lā ilāha illā ʾllāh…; on the reverse: Muḥammad rasūlu ʾllāhi; on the edge is the date of issue.

A variant of the Shahāda is documented in a protocol on papyrus from the year 705 in the following wording, as on the Dome of the Rock: lā ilāha illā ʾllāhu waḥdahu lā šarīka la-hu Muḥammadun rasūlu ʾllāhi - based on sura 6, verse 163: lā šarīka la-hu: "He has no partner (in rulership)".

Arabic manuscript (January 907)

A similar variant is in a manuscript fragment - dated Rabīʿ II. 294 / January 907 in the last line of the reproduction - which in line 6, at the end of the 2nd book on Zakāt , supplements the Shahāda with the eulogy: lā ilāha illā ʾllāh Muḥammadun rasūlu ʾllāhi ṣallā ʾllāhu alaihi wa-sallam.

The first part of the creed appears in a letter from the governor of Egypt Qurra ibn Sharīk († October – November 714), dated July 710 as follows: ahmadu ʿllāha alladhī lā ilāha illā huwa  /أحمد الله الذي لا إله إلا هو / aḥmadu ʿllāha ʿllaḏī lā ilāha illā huwa  / 'I praise God, besides whom there is no (other) god'.

A rock inscription from the central Negev , which was formulated on papyrus as in the above protocol and - this time with the addition: wa-ʿabduhu, "his servant ," shows that the Shahāda in the secular area did not take on a final form until the last decades of the 8th century “- is dated to the year 780–781.

In another rock inscription in this region, besides the name of Muhammad, ʿĪsā ibn Maryam , Jesus, son of Mary, is mentioned in the declaration of the creed . Subsequently, the idea of ​​pronounced monotheism according to sura 112 , verse 3 is expressed: “It testifies that God (is) one and only, God is the ruler, he does not (!) And has not been begotten. He wrote it in the year 197 ”(i.e. 812–813).

Epigraphic finds south of Medina from the late 8th century show that the above variant of the Shahada was also used in the 3rd Pers. Sing. Had formulated; it is then preceded by the name of the author. At the end, the eulogy is added after the name of the prophet:

عتيق بن يعقوب بن صديق بن موسى بن عبد الله بن الزبير يشهد ألا إله إلا الله وحده لا شههدا لع لع لع لع مهم / ʾAtīq b. Yaʾqūb b. Ṣudaiq b. Mūsā b. ʾAbd Allaah b. az-Zubair yašhadu allā ilāha illā ʿllāh waḥdahu lā šarīka la-hu wa-anna Muḥammadan rasūlu ʿllāh ṣallā ʿllāhu ʾalaihi wa-sallam : ʿAtīq ibn Yaʿqūb ... etc. - the author is known that ... etc. Disciple of Mālik ibn Anas in Medina.

The creed is the lettering on the flag of Saudi Arabia, the state whose territory includes the home of the Prophet Mohammed.


A number of Sufis (Islamic mystics), as a result of their multidimensional, dogmatically independent basic attitude, shorten the first part of the complete Shahāda to a formula that is repeated in the Dhikr ceremonies:

  • "There is no god (s) except HIM" ( lā ilāha illā Hū لا اله الا هو).

Another different Shahada formula is:

  • “There is Allah ” or “There is nothing, but only the One (the uniqueness; Arabic tawheed )”.

Most Sufis, however, are of the opinion that the second part of the Shahada is very important because Shaitan ( Arabic for Satan ) himself also accepts the first part of the Shahada. After all, he himself knows very well that there is only one God; However, he rejects Mohammed as a prophet .

Western art

Masaccio: Triptych of San Giovenale

On the way from Florence to Arezzo in a small church in San Giovenale a Cascia, the Italian monument conservator Luciano Berti identified a hitherto unknown work, a triptych by the founder of the early Renaissance painting Masaccio (1401–1428). A few years later, the German orientalist Rudolf Sellheim was made aware of the published picture of the Madonna with the halo, which may possibly have oriental (Arabic) lettering. The phenomenon of using Arabic characters, even in an alienated form and distorted beyond recognition, has been known in medieval art since the 11th century - in book , glass , panel and wall painting . R. Sellheim stated that Masaccio had integrated the Islamic creed into the halo of the Madonna - albeit in a mirror image.

The work is dated April 23, 1422. It is believed that Masaccio's work was originally placed in the Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine . However, it is unclear how Masaccio came into possession of the Shahada’s motifs. You and the ligature of Allah in its combination of the letters Alif - Lām - LAM Hā' are in the ornamentation has been used more than once that time.


Web links

Commons : Shahada  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ibn ʿAsākir : Taʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq. (Edited by ʿUmar b. Ġarāma al-ʿUmarī. Beirut 1995), Volume 7, p. 61; Muḥammad b. ʿIyāḍ b. Mūsā: at-Taʿrīf bil-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ . (Edited by Muḥammad ben Šarīfa. Rabat 1982), p. 15.
  2. “So know that there is no God but God!” Translation: Zirker ; "Be aware now that there is no God but God ..." Translation Paret .
    William Montgomery Watt : Bell's Introduction to the Qurʾān . Pp. 149-150.
  3. ^ Uri Rubin, Prophets and Caliphs: The Biblical Foundations of the Umayyad Authority. In: Herbert Berg (Ed.): Method and Theory in the Study of Islamic Origins. Brill, Leiden 2003. p. 78.
  4. ^ R. Macuch (1978)
  5. ^ The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition. Brill, suffering. Vol. 9, p. 201.
  6. Adam Gacek: The Arabic manuscript tradition. A Glossary of Terms & Bibliography. Handbook of Oriental Studies. Brill, Leiden 2001. p. 80.
  7. ^ E. Thomas Dowd, Stevan Lars Nielsen: The psychologies in religion: working with the religious client . Springer Pub. Co, New York, 2006, p. 237.
    Rudolf Fischer: Islam: Faith and social system through the ages: an introduction . Ed. Piscator, Oberdorf, 1992, p. 49.
  8. ^ The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition. Brill, suffering. Vol. 10, p. 340. al-mausūʿa al-fiqhiya , (4th edition). Kuwait 2004, vol. 12, p. 35.
  9. al-mausūʿa al-fiqhiya , (4th edition). Kuwait 2004, Vol. 12, pp. 36-37.
  10. See the entire inscription in Raya Shani: The Iconography of the Dome of the Rock. In: Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 23 (1999), p. 158ff. esp. the illustration between pp. 186–187; Yahuda D. Nevo: Towards a prehistory of Islam In: Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. 17 (1994), p. 110.
  11. ^ Gernot Rotter : The Umayyad fulūs of Mosul. In: The American Numismatic Society. Museum Notes 19 (1974), pp. 165-199; P. 199: the illustration of thirteen coins
  12. ^ Robert G. Hoyland : The Content and Context of Early Arabic Inscriptions . In: Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (JSAI), 21 (1997), p. 83. Note 38.
  13. ^ The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition. Brill, suffering. Vol. 5, p. 500.
  14. In the Heidelberg papyrus collection. See: Raif Georges Khoury: Chrestomathie de papyrologie Arabe. Brill, Leiden 1993. p. 155 (No. 91). For further examples see also: ibid . P. 161 (No. 92); P. 165 (No. 95) of 747; P. 169 (No. 98).
  15. ^ Yahuda D. Nevo: Towards a prehistory of Islam In: Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. 17: 133 (1994); ders. Sde Boker and the Central Negev 7th-8th Century AD. Paper presented to the 3rd International Colloquium: From Jahiliyya to Islam. Jerusalem 1985. pp. 20-21 (special edition).
  16. ^ Yahuda D. Nevo: Sde Boker and the Central Negev 7th-8th Century AD. Paper presented to the 3rd International Colloquium: From Jahiliyya to Islam. Jerusalem 1985. p. 49; No. KT 0641 (special print).
  17. Saʿd ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ar-Rāšid: Kitābāt islāmiyya ġair manšūra min Ruwāwa, al-Madīna al-munawwara. (Unpublished Islamic inscriptions from Ruwawa, near Medina). Riyad 1993. pp. 91-93. Document No. 48.
  18. Masaccio 1422 . In: Commentari Rivista di critica e storia dell 'arte , 12 (1961), pp. 84-107.
  19. Kurt Erdmann: Arabic characters as ornaments in the western art of the Middle Ages . In: Treatises of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. Humanities and social science class. Born 1953. No. 9. pp. 467-513.
  20. ^ Rudolf Sellheim: The Madonna with the Shahada. In: Erwin Gräf (Hrsg.): Festschrift Werner Caskel for his seventieth birthday March 5th, 1966. Dedicated by friends and students. Brill, Leiden 1968, p. 307 ff.
  21. ^ Rudolf Sellheim: The Madonna with the Shahada. In: Erwin Gräf (Hrsg.): Festschrift Werner Caskel for his seventieth birthday March 5th, 1966. Dedicated by friends and students. Brill, Leiden 1968, pp. 313-314.
  22. ^ Rudolf Sellheim: The Madonna with the Shahada. In: Erwin Gräf (Hrsg.): Festschrift Werner Caskel for his seventieth birthday March 5th, 1966. Dedicated by friends and students. Brill, Leiden 1968, pp. 309-311.