--"illa'Llah (except Allah)".

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Nov 20, 2007
Know that this noble phrase has two halves. Firstly, there is a negation--"La ilaha (there is no deity)", and secondly there is an affirmation- -"illa'Llah (except Allah)". When the negation is announced followed by the affirmation, this signifies that a Muslim has acknowledged and established Tawhid in his heart by means of this noble phrase, which is incompatible with, and negates, the greater polytheism, the presence of which invalidates the foundations of Faith.

Faith is strengthened by repeating it with the heart and the tongue. It is also incompatible and negates the lesser polytheism; namely ostentation in worship, the desire to gain eminence and power over other people, and all other actions in which one pays attention to the regard of others, and desires their praise and respect, and hopes for status in their eyes. The lesser polytheism does not invalidate the foundations of faith, upon which one's salvation depends, but simply renders it defective.

La ilaha illa'Llah destroys both the greater and lesser polytheism in whoever utters it with sincere faith and acts accordingly. The fact that La ilaha comes first means the heart is voided of these concealed things and these impurities. The subsequent affirmation of illa 'Llah adorns and fills up the heart with lights of Tawhid and faith. It is therefore not surprising that holding fast to and repeating dhikr brings about the purification of the heart, its cleansing from blemishes, and its illumination. Good deeds are reckoned in accordance with the number of repetitions of dhikr. If a person bears in mind that La ilaha ill' Llah is also a verse of the Quran and makes the intention to recite the Quran, together with doing the dhikr, he gains the reward for Quranic recitation also. [Prophetic Invocations]
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