Yet is the key to Jannah really that simple? Can a single phrase weigh so heavily on one’s scale as to tip it over, giving one clearance to enter paradise? What does the knowledge of ‘la ilaha illa-llah’ entail? Does believing in one’s heart in the truth of statement suffice, or must we also verbalize this statement as well? What about the layperson who stumbles across and (perhaps by accident) reads or verbalizes the statement–does that person by default get a free pass into Paradise? You may know the answers to these questions, perhaps you’ve come across the answers in a book, a Sunday School class, an online lecture, or a Friday khutbah. None will question that fact that the Kalima or Shahada is the Foundation of our Creed, and consequently a pivotal concept that we all MUST understand. We can’t afford to be ignorant in this matter, especially when the cost of such knowledge can be entrance (or denial of entrance) into Paradise.
Wahb ibn Munabbih of the Taabi’een was once asked, “Isn’t the statement of ‘la ilaha illa-llah’ the key to Paradise?” Ibn Munabbih responded, “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.” Yet it is clear there is only one acceptable declaration of faith. The Shahada is common knowledge among Muslims of all genders, ages, races and backgrounds (just as it is common knowledge that the big yellow thing in the sky is called the sun)–we say it without giving the statement much thought! If there is only one correct testimony of faith, where is all the talk about keys and ridges coming from?
Imam Al-Hassan Al-Basri once asked a man, “What have you prepared for death?” The man replied, “The testimony that there is none worthy of worship except Allah.” Al-Hassan told him, “That [statement] has some conditions to it…” Scholars of all times have agreed that while the testimony of faith is the key to Paradise, this saying must meet certain conditions. Without fulfilling these conditions, your entrance into Paradise is in jeopardy. There are dozens of keys lying around–which key are you holding in your hand? Are you confident you have fulfilled (or have the necessary knowledge to fulfill) all the conditions of this testimony? Insha’Allah internationsally reknown Light of Guidance: Fundamentals of Faith 101 seminar will show you the key with the correct ridges!