The first pillar of Islam is a statement of faith called the Shahada. The statement of faith is simple and is used as the beginning criteria for becoming a Muslim. While not found in the Quran it is in the Hadith traditions.


“There is no God, but the God and Muhammad is His messenger.”


It covers the basic tenants of Islam, God is one and Muhammad is the prophet chosen to be the messenger.

 

Muhammad is considered the seal of the prophets.

While Muslims recognize the validity of the prophets of the Old Testament and also see Jesus as a prophet, they believe that Muhammad was sent last as a seal to the age of the prophets. They see his word as the final word from God. They believe that the sacred texts of the Jews and Christians have been altered by infiltrators through the ages and thus Muhammad was sent with the true text. His status is core to the faith. Most Muslims believe that he should be emulated in even the smallest of everyday life. He is considered so sacred that his image is not even to be drawn. Thus their outrage with political cartoons that show him in compromising positions has led to killings and protests of huge proportion. Any conversation with a Muslim should take into consideration the status of Muhammad in their lives, to speak disrespectfully of him will shut doors of communication.

The Saudi Arabian flag quotes the shahada.

Shahada means to testify, or to bear witness. It is a kind of an oath. This oath is sacred to Muslims, and to use it lightly would be extremely offensive. The Shahada has also been used as a way to “trick” some into “converting” into Islam. This use is rare, as most Muslims do not find it to be valid unless said with sincerity.

The Shia Muslims also may add to the end of the Shahada that Ali is a friend of God, thus keeping their perceived place as next in line.