The Messenger of Allaah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"A person from my Ummah will be summoned in the presence of all creatures on the Day of Judgement. Ninety-nine records (of his deeds) would be unfolded, each extending as far as the range of the vision can stretch, then he would be asked:
'Do you deny any of these deeds?' He will reply: 'No, My Lord.' He will be asked: 'Do you have any excuse or any good deed?' The man who will be scared will say: 'No' It will be said to him: 'Yes you have some good deeds. No iniquity will befall you.'
A card will then be shown to him, on it will be written: 'Laa ilaaha ilia Allaah. Muhammad Rasulullaah.'
He will say: 'O Allaah! What cards and records are these. ' It will be said to him: 'No injustice shall befall you.' The (ninety-nine) records will then be placed in one pan of the scale and the card on the other. The card will then outweigh the records." [At-Tirmidhi and AI-Haakim]
In another hadeeth reported by Abu Sa' eed al-Khudri (RA), the Messenger of Allaah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Musa (alayhi salam) said: "O Lord! Teach me something that I can remember You with and I can supplicate You with. He (Allaah) said:
"Say 'Laa ilaaha illa Allaah',O Musaa:'
He (Musa) said: All of your servants say this. He (Allaah) said:
"lf the seven heavens and those who dwell in them other than Me and the seven earths are put into one pan (of the scale) and 'Laa ilaaha illa Allaah' is put into the other; 'Laa ilaaha iIIaAllah' would be heavier." [Ibn Hibbaan and Haakim]
It is light on the tongue, lots of people chorus it in rhymes and many others weave it into lullabies to lure babies to sleep. It is the first statement that admits a person into the fold of Islaam. We hear it from the minarets of mosques all over the world at least five times everyday, It is the cornerstone of the call (da'wah) of all the Prophets. It is the first thing to which the Muslims are commanded to invite others. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to Muadh ibn Jabal (RA) when he sent him to Yemen to call the people to Islaam:
"You are going to encounter with a people of the Book, so let the first thing you call them to is the proclamation of 'laa ilaaha ilia Allah' (there is nodeity worthy of worship but Allah) ... " (Bukhari)
It is the last thing every Muslims should wish to say before he departs this world and the first about which he will be questioned in the grave..Allaah Himself attests to the importance of this statement in the Qur'aan:
"...and know that Laa ilaaha iIIallaah (that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah) " (Q47[Muhammad]: 19)
Other Merits of La ilaha iIIallaah
Allaah's Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) informed us of the great merits that this simple statement have. Among them are the following:
The Best Way to Remember Allaah: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“The best remembrance of Allaah is to say: la ilaaha iIIallaah." (Tirmidhi)
The Most Beloved thing to Allaah: Mu' adh ibn Jabal (RA) said that the last time he spoke with the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) he asked him: 'What action is most beloved to Allaah?" And the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied:
"That you die with your tongue still moist with the mention (dhikr) of Allaah." (Tabarani).
The Best of Deed: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Shall I tell you something that is the best of all deeds, constitutes the best act of piety in the eyes of your Lord, will elevate your status in the hereafter, and carries more virtue than the spending of gold and silver or taking part in jihad and slaying and being slain in the path of Allah? It is the dhikr or remembrance and mention of Allaah." (Tirmidhi)
Protection from the Punishment of the Grave: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"A human being cannot do anything that is more effective in saving him from the punishment of the grave than the dhikr or remembrance of Allaah. (Ahmad)
The Means of Salvation: After the passing of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) from this world AbuBakr (RA) said to the Companions: "I asked Allaah's Messenger what basic thing was necessary for salvation and he replied that whoever accepts the Word which I brought and which I offered to my uncle Abu Talib and which he rejected: this Word constitutes salvation for him." (Ahmad) And these words were la ilaaha ilia Allaah.
Qualification for Intercession: Abu Hurayrah inquired from the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam): "O Messenger of Allaah, who will be the most fortunate of people to receive your intercession on the Day of Resurrection?" The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied: "O Abu Hurayra, I knew, because of your love of what I say, that no one other than you would ask me of this hadeeth. The most fortunate of people to receive my intercession on the Day of Resurrection are those who said: la ilaaha ilia Allaah purely and sincerely from the heart. "(Bukhari)
A Protection from Hell: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"If anyone comes on the Day of Resurrection who has said la ilaaha illa Allaah sincerely with the intention to win Allaah's pleasure. Allaah will make Hellfire forbidden for him."(Bukhari)
Even if he enters it because of his numerous sins, yet he will find reprieve and he will be brought out. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"There will come out of the Fire whoever said: There is no god but Allaah and there is in his heart a bead's worth of goodness; then there will come out of the Fire whoever said: There is no god but Allah and there is in his heart a grain's worth of goodness; then there will come out of the Fire whoever said: There is no god but Allah and there is in his heart an atom's worth of goodness." (Bukhari, Muslim)
The Key to Paradise: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Everything has its key and the key to Paradise is the witnessing that there is no god but Allaah." (Tabarani)
All of the above points highlight the importance of this 'kalimah'. Definitely there could be no greater and more important a statement than 'Laa ilaaha illallaah' (there is no deity worthy of worship but Allaah). It is the statement of declaration of belief in the Tawheed (oneness) of Allaah which is the dividing line between Imaan and kufr.
Certainly, "the keys to Paradise are the witnessing that there is no god but Allaah." (Ahmad)
as mentioned by the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam). However, is it just the mere pronouncement of the statement that automatically entitles one to the key to Paradise or are there some more realities to this kalimah that we need to know?
The Realities of La ilaaha illa Allaah
Many Muslims simply rely upon this statement and believe that as long as they have made this statement, nothing will harm them. They think they will be granted Paradise because of the mere utterance of the Shahadah.
There is no question that the mere saying of, "I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger," is not sufficient for salvation. In fact, the hypocrites used to make this statement quite often yet A1laah describes them as liars and says that they shall abide in the lowest abyss of the Hell-fire.
The famous follower Wahb ibn Munabbih (RAH) was once asked, “Isn't the statement of la ilaaha illa Allaah the key to Paradise?" He answered, ''Yes, but every key has ridges. If you come with the key that has the right ridges, the door will open for you. Yet if you do not have the right ridges the door will not open for you." That is, the statement must meet certain conditions. These conditions are what will differentiate the person who will benefit from making this statement from the one who will not benefit from it no matter how many times a day he may have made that statement.
The Pillars of La ilaaha illa Allaah
The first part of the shahaadah i.e. La ilaaha ilia Allaah, comprises of two concepts: denial and affirmation.
First: The testimony of faith denies the attribute of divinity for everyone and everything other than Allaah the Exalted! All those other than Allaah, such as the angels, the Prophets, and the rest of mankind, let alone the idols and the political regimes in the world, are not god nor do they deserve to be worshipped. Thus denial in this respect is not denial of the existence of the alleged gods, rather the denial of divinity which is attributed to them.
Second: The testimony of faith affirms and restricts worship to Allaah alone. That is, the slave must believe that Allaah is the only true God, and dedicate accordingly no act of worship to other than Him.
Allaah, the Exalted, is the only One to Whom the divine attributes belong and He alone is worthy of being worshipped and to whose greatness all creation must submit. It is for this reason that the testimony of faith constitutes denial of divinity to all other than Allaah and confirming it to Allaah Alone.