Being able to say the Declaration of Faith that is, َ“There is no deity but Allah” (Kalimah-i-Tauhid) at one’s last breath is a great good fortune of fate. The verbal declaration should have made a conquest of our heart so that we may be able to say it at our last gasp. It etches in our heart only by living in accordance with its requirements.
If the servant is ignorant of Allah’s commands, there would be a great distance between him and the declaration of faith and if the servant does not overcome his ignorance, the distance becomes wider, and then the mere verbal pronouncement of the declaration of faith will have no effect on him. This is a great disappointment. Therefore, every moment of our lives should be organized in accordance with the requirements of the Declaration of Faith for our eternal happiness.
The following event that took place in times of the Prophet (pbuh) is an exemplary one in this regard:
There was a young and pious man named Alqama among the companions of the Prophet (pbuh). He never showed unhappiness when given some task. This feature of his was also praised by the Prophet (pbuh). Yet, when he was about to die, he was not able to pronounce the Declaration of Faith. The Prophet (pbuh) was then informed about his condition. As the Prophet (pbuh) liked him he immediately went to see him and asked what had happened. The young man answered:
“ – O Messenger of Allah! I feel that I have something like a lock on my heart.”
The Prophet (pbuh) asked the people around whether it was a hindrance for him to pronounce the Declaration of Faith. And when they inquired about it, they came to know that he had mistreated his mother and she was angry with him. The Prophet (pbuh) summoned the mother as he liked the young man due to his good service and asked her:
“If someone makes a big fire, and intends to throw her son into the fire, would you approve what she was about to do?”
The distressed mother replied:
“ – No, O Messenger of Allah! I would not approve!”
The Prophet said:
“ – If so, you should forgive his failures towards you; absolve him of your motherhood rights!” (Tanbih al-Gafilin, 123-124).
The suffering mother forgave her son upon witnessing the special compassion and mercy that the Prophet (pbuh) demonstrated for her son. She gave up her rights on him. The young man then was able to pronounce the Declaration of Faith without feeling guilty, and yielded up his soul.
There are many occasions resembling this one in which we unconsciously do a disservice to our religion and the after-life. The Qur’an and the Traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) are hidden in the declaration of faith. Let our Lord save us from heedlessness! And let us be able to pronounce the declaration of faith. As the Prophet (pbuh) has said:
“Whoever is able to pronounce “There is no deity, but Allah” as his last testament in this world he enters paradise.” (I. Canan, Kutb al-Sitta Muhtasar, II, 204).