Christians are familiar with the concept of the creed, and other religions too have succinct summaries of their message, permitting easy memorization and ensuring that all believers are ‘on the same page’, at least with regard to the essential. Here, Islam is more concise than most, and in comparison to the Nicene Creed, it is quite simple. In its entirety, is composed of two statements:
La ilaha illa’ Llah, Muhammadun rasul Allah.
“There is no god but God, and Muhammad is His Prophet.”
This is the ‘profession of faith’ for the Muslim, and must be carefully recited at least once in a lifetime. The first half is of course a proclamation of monotheism, the central tenet of Islam, and could also be translated, perhaps with more precision, as: ‘There is no deity but Allah’, emphasizing the point that ‘God’ in this context is not a general noun but a proper and true name. The second half is an acknowledgement of the authority through whom the doctrine has been received, which is the person of the Prophet Muhammad, and therefore a confirmation of the authenticity of the Koran.
While presented as the confession of a convert, the Shahadah is in reality repeated constantly throughout a Muslim’s life, and so it is not only a doctrinal creed but a devotional support.