Question: Does it suffice to say Kalima-i Shahadah (Testimony) in order to become a Muslim?
It does not suffice to say Kalima-i Shahadah. After deserting their false religion, a person has to believe in the six pillars expressed in the Amantu. The first pillar of the Amantu is the belief in Allah. However, it does not suffice to believe in Allah. How do they believe in Allah? Do they believe in a Being who has created everything? Or do they believe in an idol that is not aware of anything? Therefore, they have to know the attributes of Allahu ta’ala, which are divided into two categories as attributes of zatiyyah and attributes of subutiyyah. Just as we have to believe in Allahu ta’ala together with His attributes, so we have to believe in angels and prophets together with their attributes. For example, we have to know that angels have no gender, and we must also know the attributes of prophets; they are not liars, and they do not commit any sin. We have to believe the other pillars of faith as they have been prescribed. If any of these mentioned points is lacking, this faith is not valid. We must also meet the following conditions written in the book Islam Ahlaqi, too:
There are four conditions to be fulfilled when saying the Kalima-i Shahadah:
1. Presence of the heart as the tongue is saying it: Saying it in negligence without the presence of the heart, that is, being unaware of what you are saying is not valid.
2. Knowledge of its meaning: The heart is present, but one does not know what is being said. It is not valid, either. It is a condition that one must know the fact that one believes in Allah, besides whom there is no other god, and Muhammad ‘alaihissalam, His messenger.
3. Saying it with a sincere heart: The heart is present, and one knows what one is saying. However, one is not sincere. One says it because one has been ordered to say or for a joke or for worldly concerns. That is, one says it without having belief in it, which is not valid. One must say it as one really believes in it.
4. Saying it with reverence: If one meets the other three conditions but says it mockingly and without reverence, it is not valid, either.
If one meets the four conditions but if one does not perform hubb-i fillah and bughd-i fillah, one’s faith is not valid, either. That is, one must love someone for Allah’s sake, and one must dislike someone for Allah’s sake. This is the basis and condition of iman (faith). The hadith-i sharif “He who likes for Allah and he who dislikes for Allah is a person with true faith” explains this fact. (Abu Dawud)
There are about one hundred and thirty benefits in saying the Kalima-i-Shahadah. However, existence of four things will eliminate all its benefits. The four things are shirk, shak, tashbih, and ta’til.
Shirk means to attribute a partner to Allahu ta’ala. Shak means maks (to halt, to pause, uncertainty) in the religion. Tashbih means to liken Allahu ta’ala to an imaginary creature. Ta’til means to (believe and) say that Allah does not interfere with creatures and that everything comes to being on its own when the time comes.
Shirk: It means to attribute a partner to Allahu ta’ala. For example, worshiping an idol, a cow, or a crucifix is shirk. During the festivals of disbelievers when they do acts as a form of worship, it is shirk to do these acts as an act of worship. It is also shirk to seek help from a priest to recover from a disease. It is shirk as well to believe that there is a creator besides Allahu ta’ala.
Shak: It means doubt. It is to hesitate over the existence and nonexistence of something. If a person hesitates over whether Allahu ta’ala exists or not, cannot answer, and suspects, it means that person is in shak. When a person is in shak, Kalima-i Shahadah is useless for them.
Tashbih: It means to liken Allahu ta’ala to something He has created. The sect that likens Him to a creature is called Mushabbiha or Mujassima. Its followers are kafir (disbelievers). This was first propagated by Ibn Saba, a Jew. It is a heretical sect that accepts Allahu ta’ala as a material being, attributes human body organs to Him, misinterprets the mutashabihat in the Qur’an al-karim and so falsely ascribes hands, face, and other organs to Allah. The sects called Mushabbiha consider Allahu ta’ala as matter or substance that walks or sits. However, the Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(There is nothing like Him. He does not resemble anything.) [Ash-Shura 11]
As the followers of Mushabbiha sect are disbelievers, their utterance of Kalima-i Shahadah is of no value.
Ta’til: It is a philosophical view holding that Allah does not interfere in the universe and that everything happens by itself when the appointed time comes. According to these philosophers, Allahu ta’ala is like a robot (Never!), and He does not send commandments and prohibitions. It is another way of disbelieving Him. In fact, Allahu ta’ala does not leave humans and the universe unattended. The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(Do you think that We have created you in vain?) [Al-Mu’minun 115]
When a child reaches puberty
Question: If the child of a Muslim, on reaching puberty, does not know the pillars of iman and Islam and does not say that it believes in them, does it mean that it has abandoned Islam?
The children are ruled to be following their parents when they are young. However, on reaching puberty, they are not ruled to be Muslims on the basis of the faith of their Muslim parents. For this reasons, parents must teach their children, when they have reached puberty, the pillars of iman and Islam and ensure that they have faith. Or else their children become apostates (murtad). Related to this subject, the following is written in Ibn Abidin:
If the girl is little, she follows her parents’ faith; she is a Muslim. When she reaches puberty, she is not ruled to be following her parents’ faith any longer. If she reaches puberty in awareness of Islam, she becomes an apostate. Unless she learns and believes the six pillars of faith and believes that it is necessary to live up to Islam, she will not continue to be a Muslim even if she utters the Kalima at-Tawhid, that is, says “La ilaha illallah, Muhammadun Rasulullah.” She has to believe the six pillars expressed in the Amantu and has to say “I accept the commandments and prohibitions of Allahu ta’ala.”
This explanation of Ibn Abidin shows that a disbeliever becomes Muslim as soon as they say Kalima at-Tawhid and believe its meaning briefly. But, like any other Muslim, when they have the chance they have to memorize the following words and learn their meaning precisely:
“Amantu bi’llahi wa mala’ikatihi wa kutubihi wa rusulihi wal-yawm-il-akhiri wa bil-qadari khairihi wa sharrihi minallahi ta’ala walba’thu ba’d-al-mawt haqqun ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ’abduhu wa rasuluhu.”
They have to learn Islamic knowledge thoroughly as much as they need, too.
Likewise, if the child of a Muslim does not learn these six pillars and not say that they believe in them, they become an apostate when they reach puberty. After becoming a Muslim, it is fard for them to learn Islamic knowledge immediately, that is, fards, harams, wudu’, ghusl, performing salat, covering awrah, by asking someone. It is also fard for the one asked to teach them or to tell them a true Islamic book about these matters. If they cannot find anyone to ask or any book to refer to, it is fard to seek. If they do not seek, they become a disbeliever. Not knowing Islamic knowledge is an excuse until they find it. One who does not perform fards in their prescribed times or who commit harams will suffer torment in Hell.