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Is Shahadah The Same As Kalimah?

If one were to search the net they would find various pages dedicated to demonstrating how to say and write “I love you” in as many languages as those making the list can compile.

One might also find less meaningful phrases such as “cheers.” For any Muslim there is indeed no phrase more dear to them than the shahadah and the kalimah. So I decided to compile such a list for surely it would be far more useful and beloved for us than any other phrase. For those wondering, the shahadah and kalimah are not the exact same thing rather they are 2 similar phrases.

Basically, the shahada is in English” I testify that there is no god but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger.” Where as kalimah is “There is no god but Allah ,Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”. That means shahada is when one expresses his belief in kalimah.

The word shahadah itself means ‘testimony’ and the word kalimah means ‘phrase’ or ‘that which is spoken’: Granting this specific phrase the honor  of being the most beloved and central phrase to a Muslim so much so that it only needs to be called ’the phrase’ almost as if it were saying it were’ the phrase of phrases’.

It is commonly said in error that the shahadah appears on the ‘flag of Arabia’ I hear this commonly amongst non Muslim vexillogists (those who study flags) and possibly from this influence also Muslims repeating this. When the kalimah is displayed it is commonly mistakenly referred to as the shahadah.

As the above explanation would show, the kalimah is what appears on the Saudi flag not the shahadah, the 2 although similar are indeed different things.    For the time being I have supplied only the kalimah where available. However, some of the additions are the longer shahadas. With this article I believe we are able to know exactly the difference between the two words.

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4 comments

  1. This is absolutely true; many of us confuse the usage of these two terms. Indeed Islamic terminologies must be taken very carefully. The Kalimah is commonly confused with the shahādah, which is a declaration of belief in the Kalimah.

    The Kalimah is essentially a statement, and the Shahadah is a testimony confirming the Kalimah and its meaning.

    Just to remind brothers and sisters, in addition to what brother Awwal has said above; kalimah is is essentially a statement, and the Shahadah is a testimony confirming the Kalimah and its meaning.

    Shahaadah is always the main feature of Islamic creed which is supported by kalimah. The following are the five different kalimahs

    1. The Declaration of Faith in Islāmic Monotheism

    Lā ilāha Illallāh Muhammad u’r Rasūlullāh

    2. The Muslim Testimony of Faith in Islāmic Monotheism

    Ash-hadu an lā ilāha Illallāh

    Wahdahū lā sharīka lahū wa ash-hadu anna Muhammad-an ‘Abduhū wa Rasūluhū

    The Declaration of the Glory of Allāh

    SubhānAllāh wa’l Hamdu Lillāh

    The Declaration of the Oneness of Allāh

    Lā ilāha Illallāh Wahdahū lā sharīka lahū Lahu’l Mulku wa Lahu’l Hamdu

    Yuhyī wa Yumītu Biyadihi’l khayru wa Huwa ‘alā kulli shay-in Qadīr

    The Declaration of the Refutation of disbelief and polytheism

    Allāhumma innī a’ūdhu bika min an ushrika bika shay-an wa ana a’lamu bihī

    wa astaghfiruka limā lā a’lamu bihī tubtu ‘anhu wa tabarra’tu minal kufri wa’sh shirki wa’l ma’āsī kullihā

    wa aslamtu wa āmantu wa aqūlu Lā ilāha Illallāh Muhammad u’r Rasūlullāh

  2. This is another phenomenal Article. We really need to understand these two. It is now time to wake up and know more about our sweet Religion! May Allah Bless you brother!