The Shahadah and Abu Hurairah
The prophet Abraham who, although not a Jew or a Christian, was such an excellent example that God commanded His Prophet Muhamad to follow him. And the Prophet Mohamed responded by saying:
" I have submitted my whole self to God and so have those who follow me..." 3:20
Why then have millions of people been entrapped into following the teachings of Abu Hurairah a mysterious person from the shadows of Hadith literature? Could it be that they have rejected the teaching of the Qur'an while believing they have not done so? God says:
3:23-24 ”Have you considered those who were given a share of the Scripture? When they are asked to accept judgment from God’s Scripture, some of them turn their backs and walk away, all because they declare, 24 ‘The Fire will only touch us for a limited number of days.’ The lies they have invented have led them astray in their own religion.
To profess their faith in Islam the Sunnis make this declaration: "I bear witness that there is no god except God and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God. This testimony is called the Shahadah and according to Sunni belief it must be recited by every Muslim as an attestation of their allegiance to Islam. Consequently any person who does not 'bear witness' is not accepted as a Muslim by them.
However this testimony is not sanctioned by the true teachings of the Prophet Muhamad, which are found in the Qur'an, the veritable word of God.
Many people may feel astounded at this statement especially as the Shahadah is considered to be the foundation of Sunni faith. This is why it is important to take a careful and critical look before reaching any impulsive conclusions.
For the Sunni, the purpose of the Shahadah is many folds. For example without reciting the Shahadah, the Sunnis consider their prayers to be nullified. Also before a newcomer is accepted into the Sunni sect, a public declaration by reciting the Shahadah in front of witnesses must be made. In some countries converts are given a "certificate" after reciting the Shahadah to confirm they have been "admitted" into the Islamic fold. However, it is not known if such "certificates" are also a complimentary pass into heaven!
To associate anything or anyone with God is known as 'shirk', the highest degree of blasphemy, which God does not forgive. This is made clear :
4:48 “ God does not forgive the joining of partners with Him: anything less than that He forgives to whoever He will, but anyone who joins partners with God has concocted a tremendous sin.”
The Qur'an also stipulates that Muslims must profess faith in the One God and not call on anyone else. The Shahadah, therefore, cannot be the correct way to affirm faith as the name of the prophet Muhamad, besides God, is included in this attestation and also used in the prayers.
People blindly following their religion are the root of wrong beliefs. This acceptance of the Shahadah is no different. If only people read and understand the Qur'an then they would realize that God revealed the following verse to the Messenger which is just as applicable to us today as it was to him:
17:36 “Do not follow blindly what you do not know to be true: ears, eyes, and heart, you will be questioned about all these. God wants us to substantiate our beliefs and we should follow His advice.”
The Shahadah testimony that is recited by the Sunnis originates from Abu Hurairah and is recorded in the 'hadith' - the oral traditions attributed to the prophet Muhamad. The hadith given below is from "Mishkat-ul-Masabih", translation by Fazlul Karim, Volume 1, Chapter 1, no.27. As there are a many versions of this hadith, the collections of Tirmidzi should also be read.
The hadith regarding the Shahadah says: One day Abu Hurairah went to the people and told them that the Messenger had authorised him to go and tell them to recite the Shahadah "ash hadu anlaa ilaha illallhu wa ash hadu anna muhamadar-rasulullah". Another version reads " muhamadan abduhu wa rasuluhu". The first person Abu Hurairah came across to give the Shahadah was Omar. When Omar heard it he promptly punched Abu Hurairah in the chest and knocked him to the ground. Then Omar put his foot on Abu Hurairah's neck and asked him how dare he utter such a blasphemy.
Abu Hurairah (who is recorded in the hadith as having received quite few beatings from Omar during his lifetime) then cried out and named the Messenger as his authority. When again challenged by Omar, Abu Hurairah pulled out a pair of leather slippers and showed them to Omar. The slippers, he said, were given to him by the Prophet, as proof for what he was saying. Recognising the prophet's slippers, Omar simmered down. Everyone then happily started reciting the shahadah. End of the hadith.
This most incredible story is the background to the Shahadah of Abu Hurairah, which has been adopted by millions of Sunnis.
In the Qur'an God says: 5:54 "….God will soon replace you with people He loves and who love Him, people who are humble towards the believers, hard on the disbelievers,….". Hence the 'hadith' books are full of stories of how great friends the companions of the prophet (known as 'Sahaba') were and the love and kindness they showed towards each other.
Fourteen centuries down the road today the sunni missionaries always greet each other with hugs and kisses, supposedly to emulate the brotherly Sahaba. But in this particular 'hadith', we have one Sahaba knocking another down to the ground for bringing along something as important as the Shahadah!
In another account of this same episode, Omar is reported as challenging the Messenger if he did indeed send Abu Hurairah with his slippers to recite the Shahadah. When the Messenger said yes, Omar disagreed with him and said the Shahadah will make people "lazy"! Whatever the logic of this hadith can be left for the hadith advocates to explain. Yet again the narrator of this fabrication is Abu Hurairah.
About the believers and the companions of the prophet, and Omar was one of them, the Qur'an says:
24:51 " When the true believers are summoned to God and His Messenger in order for him to judge between them, they say, ‘We hear and we obey.’ These are the ones who will prosper".
Abu Hurairah's ridiculous fable not only contradicts the above verse but also contradicts Sura 6:51 where God tells the Messenger (and by implication the companions and whomever the Qur'an reaches): "Use the Qur'an to warn those who fear being gathered before their Lord– they will have no one but Him to protect them and no one to intercede– so that they may beware.”
Instead Abu Hurairah said that the Prophet handed over his pair of slippers to him and told him to preach with the slippers in hand as proof of authenticity. By his confession Abu Hurairah was beaten by Omar, who argued with the Prophet and said that the Shahadah was unwise. Does the basis of a Muslim's faith rest on such an absurd tale? Surely this cannot be part of Islam, which is based on reason and logic?
No one seems to know the correct identity of this Abu Hurairah even today scholars cannot agree on his real name. Despite there being a hadith (also attributed to Abu Hurairah) that we should not call people by nicknames, Abu Hurairah is itself a nickname which means "the Father of Cats". So the originator of the Sunni Shahadah was an unknown man who was attacked unceremoniously by another companion of the Messenger! It is now apparent that there is significant evidence to show that the Shahadah testimony of the Sunni people has a very dubious background based on ludicrous hadith falsely attributed to the prophet Muhamad whom they claim to love!
How then does Abu Hurairah's Shahadah contradict the Prophet's true teachings? The Qur'an was revealed by God to the prophet Muhamad who then passed on this message, first to the companions and then to the rest of the people. Besides being God's own revelation, the Qur’an represents what was actually said by the prophet Muhamad. Anyone who rejects this simple fact cannot at all claim to be a Muslim.
So what did God commanded the Messenger to tell us? 72:18 “The mosques belong to God, do not call on anyone else besides God. ”
However, in the Shahadah of Abu Hurairah, the Sunnis call on the Messenger as well as God. The Sunni scholars will argue that the mention of the Messenger's name is only out of respect. But then in the same breath, they will insist that the prayers to God Almighty is nullified if the prophet Muhamad's name is not mentioned in the Shahadah during the prayers. This is tantamount to idolatry as associating another person with God is committing 'shirk' the unforgivable offence.
The human has a major weakness. He finds it difficult to believe in an unseen God. The human looks for something tangible, hence the Christians first elevated Jesus to a Son of God and then to the status of God Himself. The Hindus worship humans like Rama and Krishna who they say are gods. The Sunnis have similarly idolized the Prophet Muhamad and have given him a divine status by adding his name to the Shahadah testament and appropriately the Sunnis can be called "Mohamedan".
To remind them of this folly will only raise their anger. Perhaps they do not know that it is the Prophet Muhamad himself who taught the following:
39:45 “And when God Alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter are filled with aversion; and when others are mentioned beside Him, they rejoice! "
Note how angry the Mohamedan become when you mention God alone. Their anger subsides only when you agree to add "Muhamad" as the second half of Abu Hurairah's Shahadah which reads “ And I bear witness that Muhamad is the messenger of God. ”
God revearled to the Messenger that this is actually the Shahadah of the hypocrites : 9:10 “ And from the Nomads around you are hypocrites, as well as from the city people, they persist in hypocricy. You do not know them, but We know them. We will punish them twice, then they will be returned to a great punishment.”
Here God is telling the Messenger that hypocrites surround him and that he does not know who they are. Only God knows the hypocrites.
God also says that the hypocrites can be recognized by way they engage in vain talk:
47:30 “ We could even point them out to you if We wished, and then you could identify them by their looks, but you will know them anyway by the tone of their speech. God knows everything you do.”
Hence God promises to expose the hypocrites. One such method is recorded in the Qur’an: 63:1 “ When the hypocrites come to you they Say: “We bear witness that you are the messenger of God.” And God knows that you are His messenger, and God bears witness that the hypocrites are liars.”
The important thing to note in this verse is that the emphasized words form the second part of Abu Hurairah's Shahadah, which is now recited by all Mohamedan. This as we see from the verse 63.1 is actually the Shahadah of the hypocrites! What the hypocrites say is vain talk because God indeed knows that Muhamad is His Messenger. God does not need any one to affirm back to Him what He already knows about His own Messenger.
The Qur'an says: 4:79 ".. …We have sent you as a messenger to the people and God is enough as a witness. " and this is exactly what the Messenger told his companions. There is no need to bear witness on him because God has already done so and that is enough.
4:166 "God bears witness concerning what He has revealed to you. He has revealed it with His knowledge. And the angels bear witness as well, but God is enough as a witness. ” Again this is what the Messenger told the companions. God is enough as a witness.
The first part of Abu Hurairah's Shahadah is "I bear witness that there is no god except God". The Qur'an says:
3:18 “ God bears witness that there is no god except He, and so do the angels and those endowed with knowledge, in truth and justice. There is no god except He, the mighty, the wise.”
The True Declaration
What then is the real attestation, which Muslims can recite to affirm their faith? Perhaps when the companions asked the Messenger this question, he would have replied: "The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the hearer, the knower". Sura 6:114
Therefore the answer is definitely in the Qur'an and to show the correct attestation of faith, the Prophet Abraham is an excellent example.4:125 "Whose religion is better than one who SUBMITS himself to God, works righteousness and follows the faith Of Abraham the monotheist? God has chosen Abraham as a beloved friend". Sura,.
Remember that this verse was revealed to the Messenger and this is what the Messenger then imparted to his companions and all the people through the Qur'an. Therefore we too must follow the faith Of Abraham.
2:130 “ Thus who would then forsake the faith of Abraham, except those who fool themselves? We have chosen him in this life, and in the hereafter he will be with the righteous.”
Only fools will forsake the faith Of Abraham. Therefore unless people want to be considered as fools, it would be better to do what Abraham did. And what did Abraham do?
Now it is clear that Muslims cannot attest their faith by witnessing a Messenger or God, especially as they cannot be seen. Witnessing on Muhamad's messenger ship is just the idolization of one prophet. Giving distinction to one messenger above another is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an as mentioned in verses 2:285 and 4:150-152.
This is the truth about how Abraham submitted himself to God, as it was revealed to the Messenger through the Qur’an. And the Messenger is commanded to follow Abraham: "And they say, "Be Jews or Christians, then you will be rightly guided. "Say; "No, We follow the faith of Abraham, the upright, and he was not of the idolaters". Sura 2:135 "Say, 'We believe in God and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham..." Sura, 2:136.
And the message that was revealed to Abraham is disclosed once more to us in the Qur'an and preserved carefully for posterity. As for those who reject these truths, God says: 2:140 "….Or do you say that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes were Jews or Christians? Say "Do you know best or does God? And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony he has received from God. God is not unaware of what you do."
So why do people hide this testimony? Abraham declared "Aslamtu li rabbil aalameen" (I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds) and he enjoined this upon his sons and upon Jacob.
The Prophet Muhamad and the companions have been given the same testimony. So why do they hide this testimony and replace it with a Shahadah of the hypocrites?
There is no doubt that the prophet Muhamad followed the faith of Abraham. "And we inspired you (Muhamad) to FOLLOW THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM, he who was naturally upright, he was never an idolater" Sura 16:123.
The Messenger and his companions simply submitted to the Lord of the worlds. If Abu Hurairah, or any other person, comes and asks a Muslim to join him in bearing witness over God and His Messenger, the answer must be to say "No!" We are commanded to submit to the Lord of the worlds.
Therefore it is now apparent that the mysterious Abu Hurairah has indeed made many people wrong their souls. Each time you try to bear witness on the Messenger and God, not only do you wrong your souls but also you make fools of yourselves because you forsake the faith of Abraham (Sura 2:130).
To affirm their faith Muslims should use the examples given in the Qur'an. What they should say is "I SUBMIT MYSELF TO THE LORD OF THE WORLDS". Others who have affirmed their faith in this way are the Prophets Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Solomon and of course the Prophet Muhamad (Sura 40:66). Also the Queen of Sheba and the companions of the Prophet did the same. If you adopt their way, you will be in good company.