Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Reflections on La ilaha lila Allah


"That is Allah, your Lord! There is no god but He, the creator of all things: Then worship you Him : and He has power to dispose of all affairs." (Qur'an 6:102)

Although all practising Muslims repeat the shahadah many times every day, only few understand its profound meaning, and appreciate its implications. For example, how many Muslims understand why the shahadah uses the negative form - La Ilaha ha Ila Allah (There is no Ilah except Allah), instead of the affirmative form - Allah is one; and why did the Qur'anic revelations stress this concept for the thirteen years which the Prophet (saas) spent in Mecca before migrating to Medina? To help us in understanding the answer to these questions, and in better appreciating the implications of La Ilaha Illa Allah, the Qur'an provides us with the following two facts:

The Muslim scholar Abul A'la Maududi explains La ilaha illa Allah by using four basic terms from the Qur'an: Ilah, Rabb, Ibadah, and deen (see the table below). The four words, and their derivatives, are repeated many times in the Qur'an; the word Ilah (147 times), Rabb (975 times), Ibadah (275 times), and deen (94 times). Note that the word deen is an all encompassing concept dealing with life as an integrated whole. It is not restricted to the so called "religious" observances, practices, and rituals.

In the light of these four basic terms, La ilaha illa Allah means:

Allah is our Rabb and our Ilah; there is no Rabb and no Ilah except He. To Him alone we make Ibadah; and only His deen we adopt and sincerely follow.
In the light of this definition, it is clear that the whole dispute between the unbelievers and the Prophets centered around the uncompromising demand of the prophets that the unbelievers should recognize the very being whom they acknowledged as their creator, as their Rabb and Ilah (as defined in the table) , and should assign this position to none else.

There are many important consequences for appreciating the full meaning and implications of La ilaha illa Allah, including the following three:

We pray to Almighty Allah to help us in appreciating the meaning and implications of La ilaha lIla Allah, and in translating its meaning in our daily lives. Ameen.

Four terms Needed to Understand La Ilaha Illa Allah


Ilah Rabb Ibadah Deen
  • Deity, God
  • One to be worshipped 
  • One who has power to satisfy your needs and answer your prayer
  • One who is in control of your affairs
  • One who can comfort you; provide protection and support for you
  • Lord, Master and owner
  • Sustainer, provider and guardian
  • Sovereign, ruler and administrator
  • Worship and devotion
  • Submission and obedience
  • Subjection and servitude
  • Ideology
  • Government and constitution
  • Complete system (way of life)