Monday, September 17, 2007


This morning I was searching the internet for the correct way to type out the shahaddah, or declaration of Islamic faith. This is the Romanized version of Arabic and it is phonetic. Like all phonetically spelled words, there are many, many ways to spell them:

lā ilāha illā-llāh
muḥammadan rasūlu-llāh

La ilaha il-Allah

la ilaha illal-Lahu
Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu

La ilaha ill'Allah
Muhammad rasul Allah


La ilaha ill'Allah
Muhammad rasul Allah


La ilaha illallah

See what I mean?

The first half of the shahaddah, makes the most sense to me, when I see:

La ilaha illa Allah

That's how it sounds. There aren't a lot of extra letters to confuse. It's maybe easier for me to figure out than the second half.

I did a search of Muhammadur rasulullah which has 10,700 sites listed on google.

It's competitor Muhammdar rasulullah has only 9,130 sites.

So it isn't by a huge margin that Muhammadur rasulullah wins. You could really use either and be understood, but for me, I'll us the "ur" verses the "ar".

Muhammadur rasulullah

There is another common way of writing it, which is Muhammadan rasulullah. If you do a check, you'll see that it garners 13,000 sites. It is actually is the clear winner, but I do not think it really represents how the Arabic is spoken. My Arabic speaking friends agree that the "N" is silent. I will not be using this spelling just because it is the most popular.

While jumping around the internet looking for this information, I found a number of interesting links:

Top 10 Bad Habits During Ramadan

Dictionary of Islam

Converting to Islam

How to Become a Muslim

Ramadan and the Meaning of Fasting

Please continue to make the most of every day in Ramadan. I'm telling that to myself. What do you want to tell yourself?


Anonymous said...

The link (The Myth of Converting) is from a highly deviant group that rejects hadith entirely. Not representative of mainstream Islam, for sure. Just a heads-up for you or readers.

John & Anthea Mullis said...

Asalamalaykom Yosra

La ilaha illa Allah!

What do I want to tell myself?

Well, like most men, I need to tell myself that:

I'm not God - He is: so therefore

I don't need to be in charge,

I don't need to be in control,

I don't need to have all the answers,

I don't need to be busy,

I don't need to solve every one's problems or be Mr Got it all together.

I just need to love him.

I need to tell myself that it's OK just to be me, as vulnerable as I am, as long as I love Allah, totally.

You are right, this is a time of introspection (and that's OK too) and I am discovering so much about my life in God as well as learning all about the importance of fresh dates, Amar El-Deen,and a few words of Arabic :-)

Hope every one else is enjoying this Ramadan journey as much as I am. Thanks again Yosra for personalising it for us.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Anonymous,

I did decide to remove that link as I got another reader contacting me as well.

For me, I liked what I read in the beginning of their writings. I liked that were harsh on those who convert and feel like that moment is all. It isn't. There really is a constant state of improvement once you are a declared Muslim. No resting on laurels here!

I didn't read everything they ever wrote, so I will take the advice of you and my friendly expert.

Thank you for contributing :)

Asalamalaykom J&A,

It's good to here that you are still fasting, John. The fast really is more than being hungry and you are demonstrating that. Alhumdulillah.

If you ever wish to make your declaration of faith as one who submits to Allah/God, then feel free to do it here!

You almost did it with the first line you wrote!

Get the second half together and you're in business as a full-fledged Muslim :)

But, as you said, "I don't need to be in control".

I can't control whether or not you take the shahadah. I can only control what I say to you about it.

I get to eat a couple of dates in an hour, inshahallah. The amaradeen is soaking, but not quite ready.

It's leftovers again :) but alhumdulillah we might eat it up tonight. Then, inshahallah, we might go for the masjid's iftar tomorrow.

Have you been to a masjid for iftar, John? I would recommend it highly (more so for the men than the women, as the squirrelly kids are running around too much with us).

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: If you are interested in iftar dinner at the masjid, please go at sunset and partake. You don't have to be Muslim. Consider yourself officially invited.

John & Anthea Mullis said...

Asalamalaykom Yosra

Wow - that's a biggie. Actually Yosra I have no trouble with saying and meaning the words,
La ilaha illa Allah! Muhammadur rasulullah. There, I said it!!! Alhumdulillah!!!!!!!!

But I feel that I can say that with sincerity (and respect) as a Christian so have I missed something? And to live in both camps would seem a bit like polygamy to me.

Also I'm not sure about the whole cultural thing and how I'd feel having to use Arabic to pray either, and the changes that all this would demand of me and of my family? And do I want to ?

It's one thing talking the talk . . . . . .

However, what ever I did I would want to do with full integrity and because I knew that the timing was right for me and for everyone else. Does that sound a bit wishy washy or like backing out? I do hope not.

I have called the masjid's here in wellington and will go to iftar and Isha tomorrow and see where we go from there eventually, inshallah.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom J&A,


Have you missed something? Only you and God know what you truly mean to say inside. All of us are only witnesses from the outside.

As for praying in Arabic...only the formulized five prayers need be in Arabic. The rest (the du'a)can be in English, Swahili, Vietnamese, whatever you wish. Even when you bow your head in prostration, you can think in your language of comfort. I open my heart to God in English every single prayer and throughout my day.

Having one unifying language is necessary for a community. Arabic is very deep and rich and serves God best to communicate with us about such deep matters. When I pray in the masjid next to a Somali woman on one side and a Bosnian woman on the other, the Arabic unites us as sisters. You, no doubt will feel this with the brothers as well.

As for your friends and family...come on! LAME-O! Dont look to them as scapegoats! John, this life is yours to run with as it always has been. The ones who truly love you have always wanted the best for you. If you needed medical help to live everyday, that would change their interaction with you. Right? Would they deny your needs? OK, well that's body and this is spirit. You have spiritual needs every day too.

Do you want to?

No. Probably not.

I didn't want to. I had to.

I don't want to have gray hair but I do. I can cover them up with dye and pretend it's not true. I can fool everyone, including myself. Sooner or later, though, the roots appear.

What are YOU at your roots? Only you and God know.

Attend the masjid. No need to call ahead. See what Islam holds for you and be open to accepting what makes sense, even if it seems crazy.

But, as a last thought: waiting until the time is right is never a good option. There is never a right time. There is only the time right now.

Safa said...

To said..."But I feel that I can say that with sincerity (and respect) as a Christian so have I missed something?"

I don't think you missed anything.....this is an important step for everyone....I believe it's called "respecting another person's religion". And I love it!!! I'm happy that you can say those words.....they are precious and sacred to they are to all muslims.....the foundation of our religion. Have you ever heard about the 5 pillars of Islam? It's the fundamentals of Islam. And really.....all of them rest on those very words that you've said.

1st pillar: Shahadah...(the declaration)
2nd pillar: the 5 obligational prayers
3rd pillar: Fasting the month of Ramadan
4th pillar: Charity
5th pillar: Hajj to Mecca if you are able...

Are you with me?? Now look at the mercy of Allah.....every one of these pillars are mandatory on all muslims....with some exceptions....

The 2nd pillar of prayer. There are some circumstances when a woman may not pray, or someone who is very sick......

The 3rd pillar....somtimes we may be excused from fasting....again with women and sickness....and yes...sometimes for travellers....

The 4th pillar....well, if you don't make much money to give charity...then you are also excused from that....

the 5th pillar.....Hajj to Mecca.....but only if you can afford it.....

So really....what is Islam? It's the declaration La ilaha illa Allah wa Muhammadur Rasul Allah.

And as long as you can get your lips to say that....the rest is easy.....

"However, what ever I did I would want to do with full integrity and because I knew that the timing was right for me and for everyone else. Does that sound a bit wishy washy or like backing out? I do hope not."

It's not wishy seems to me that you are just looking off the bridge while you stand in the middle.....eventually, ur feet will start walking and you'll make it across......