How does one become a Muslim? Is it required, when one is embracing Islam, to utter specifically the shahadah statement i.e. the testification of faith: Ashhadu alla-’ilaha illallah wa ashhadu anna Muhammada-r-Rasulullah? (أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله و أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله)
It is not a condition for one who wants to embrace Islam to utter this particular shahada statement or testification of faith. It is enough for one to utter a statement that gives its meaning. For example, one may say:
- La ilaha illallah Muhammadur-Rasulullah, (there is no God other than Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of Allah) (لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله)
- La rabba illallah Muhammadun Nabiyyullah (No Lord other than Allah; Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah). (لا رب إلا الله محمد نبي الله)
Uttering one of these statements is sufficient for one to embrace Islam. However, the term “ash-hadu” is better than other terms, because its linguistic meaning includes the knowledge, belief, and declaration. By using the term ‘ash-hadu’, one confirms the meaning in a way that is not attained using other words.