Meaning of la ilaha illa Allah

The true meaning of la ilaha illa Allah is detailed. It means linguistically that there is no god besides Allah. The true meaning of this statement is that no one has the right to be worshiped except Allah.

So the meaning of la ilaha illa Allah is that no one deserves to be worshiped except Allah. That is an essential part of Islam. It involves rejection of false gods and submission to Allah.

The pronunciation of la ilaha illa Allah is part of the Shahada. La ilaha illa Allah is the first part of the complete pronunciation of the Shahada.

Thus, in order to validly pronounce the statement, one must, among other things, reject all false gods. That concept is called Kufr bi Taghut. Then one should worship Allah alone, and that is done by making Him One in His Names/Attributes, Dominion and worship. You can learn more about that in the topic of Tawheed.

What la ilaha illa Allah does not mean

Many attribute the wrong meaning to la ilaha illa Allah. The linguistic meaning is, there is no god besides Allah.

The detailed meaning of the saying is that nothing/nobody has the right to be worshiped besides Allah.

Quraysh believed in Allah, but worshiped others besides Him. Quraysh claimed it would bring them closer to Allah by worshiping statues, but of course that was not accepted from them. Islam stands for Monotheism. Tawheed is central, where if this is missing one cannot be a Muslim.

La ilaha illa Allah is the most important message

In the Quran we come to know that Allah has sent several messengers. Through time, many of the people were in idolatry (shirk). The messengers were then sent to their own people to proclaim to worship Allah alone and to reject idols.

And verily, We have sent to every nation a messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah and reject the Taghut (false gods).
(16:36 Quran)

The first time mankind was in Shirk was in the time of the messenger Nuh. Then Nuh came as a messenger to invite them to Tawheed (Unity of Allah).

After the time of Nuh, peoples continued to disobey Allah by worshiping others besides Him. Allah sent more messengers, each to his own people, speaking with their language.

And We do not send a Messenger except in the language of his people, so that he may make clear (the Message) to them.
(14:4 Quran)

So the messengers all came la ilaha illa Allah. They tried to invite their people to worship Allah alone. At the same time, that was an invitation to the return of their Fitrah (natural disposition): the natural disposition that understands and knows that only Allah has the right to be worshiped.

The conditions of la ilaha illa Allah

There are some conditions to the validity of the statement: La ilaha illa Allah. The main condition is that one should not worship anyone other than Allah. Another condition is that nothing and no one can be labeled a god besides Allah.

La ilaha illa Allah is a statement that has a detailed meaning. Thus all false gods are to be rejected. You can learn more about this in the topic of Kufr bi Taghut.

One should only believe in Allah. He is the Only God, and He alone has the right to be worshiped.

These are the main conditions for the validity of pronouncing La ilaha illa Allah. There are also other conditions that come with it.

Other conditions of la ilaha illa Allah:
  • Knowledge and awareness of its meaning
  • It is not enough just to pronounce the statement. One has to know what he is saying in order to make it valid.

  • Acceptance and submission to the pronunciation
  • Another condition is that you accept and submit to the statement and its meaning. This is a full acceptance to the statement.

  • Purity in the acceptance of the pronunciation
  • The impure pronouncing of la ilaha illa Allah is invalid. This means that you can only pronounce la ilaha illa Allah for the sake of the truth, and not because of what another wants or to achieve your own interests.

  • Complete conviction in the pronunciation
  • One cannot have any doubts in the meaning of la ilaha illa Allah. That would invalidate the condition. So you should have complete conviction that the meaning of la ilaha illa Allah is truth.

Interesting facts about la ilaha illa Allah

There are some interesting facts about la ilaha illa Allah. For example, it is a statement that Muslims make every day. Regardless of the individual pronunciation of the Shahada, Muslims pronounce it in prayers and some supplications.

Some national flags include the words 'la ilaha illa Allah'. For example, think of the flags of Saudi Arabia, Somaliland and Afghanistan.

The statement of 'laa ilaha illa Allah' is also written on the flag that was used when the Muslims went to war. This is a black and white flag showing the full Shahada.

Abu Athari writes about basic principles within Islam. He uses his critical and well-researched way to spread knowledge of the first three Muslim generations.

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