From a cultural Muslim standpoint, a copy of the declaration beautifully written in Arabic calligraphy and elaborately framed is a must to decorate the walls of the living room. Muslim children are traditionally taught to recite the declaration, popularly known as the kalimah, as soon as they are able to speak. Furthermore, it is repeated in every one of the five formal prayers that Muslims are required to pray daily. However, it has no effect on the lives of cultural Muslims, because most have fallen prey to the delusion that being born in a Muslim family and having a ‘Muslim’ name guarantees them paradise, regardless of what they do in this life. This is a false belief, because Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) expressly told his companion, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, to inform the people that only the true believers would enter paradise.
The Character which the Shahaadataan builds is:
a) An Open Personality
Believers are not secretive. They avoid secret organizations because their effect in society is mostly evil. Allah discouraged secret gatherings saying:
“There is no good in most of their secret meetings except those who gather to encourage charity, righteousness or conciliation between people. I will give a great reward to whom-so-ever does that, seeking Allah’s pleasure.”
Although most secret organizations, like the Freemasons, Rosicrucians, etc., openly do charitable acts in order to win the confidence of the population, they primarily work in the interest of their members, even at the expense of the rights of others. For example, if a freemason is involved in a court case and he gives the secret mason hand-signal to the judge, who also happens to be a freemason, the judge will try his utmost to rule in favor of his fellow freemason.
In order to further discourage secretiveness and its pitfalls, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was reported by Ibn ‘Umar as saying, “When three are present, two should not speak privately to the exclusion of the third.”
b) An Honest Personality
The believers are honest in their dealings with people. They do not present a smiling face to others while despising them behind their backs. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “The worst of people in Allah’s sight, on the Day of Resurrection, will be the two-faced person, who comes to one group of people with one face and to another group with a different.”
c) A Missionary Personality
If a person who accepts Islam truly believes that it is the only way of salvation for human beings, he or she would not hesitate to inform others about it. A Muslim could not possibly live and work along with non-Muslim neighbors and co-workers without informing them about Islam. In the Qur’an, Allah commands the believers to convey the message of Islam saying, “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good speech.”
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) clarified that this responsibility is not restricted to specialists, scholars or missionaries. It is the duty of anyone who has some knowledge. He was reported by his companion, ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr, to have said, “Convey whatever you have learned from me, even if it is only a single verse from the Qur’an.”
To hide such vital knowledge is considered a major sin in Islam. Allah cursed those who hide religious knowledge in the following verse, “Verily those who conceal the clear proofs and guidance which I have revealed, after I made it clear for the people in the scripture, those are cursed by Allah and cursed by all who would curse.”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said, “Whoever hides knowledge will be branded with a branding iron from the hellfire.”
 Sahih Muslim, vol.1, p.65, no.209.
 Soorah an-Nisaa (4):114]
 Sahih Al Bukhari, vol.8, p.203, no.303.
 Sahih Al Bukhari, vol.8, p.53, no.84 and Sahih Muslim, vol.4, p.1342, no.6135 and p.1374, no.6300.
 Soorah an-Nahl, (16):125.
 Sahih Al Bukhari, vol.4, p.442, no.667.
 Soorah al-Baqarah, (2):159.
 Collected by Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, an-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah and authenticated in Saheeh Jaami’ as-Sagheer, no.6284, 6517.
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