The Arabs of Mecca, particularly, were certain of what it really meant to declare Allah as their one and only Ilaah.
Unlike the other words associated with the Divine such as Rabb or Malik, the word Ilaah is beyond mere worshipping and carrying out of the basic rituals as one understood it.
Underlying the word Ilaah is your total devotion, absolute loyalty and deference, and pure submission of your heart.
Even in the context of today’s leaders, declaring the Shahada still means that you must put Allah and His Wills above everything else.
‘Everything’ includes your loyalty to your self-interests, your political party, your partisan supporters and blindsided voters, and the tycoons handing you the cash under the table.
That is why the sheer structure of the Shahada is such that it preempts and eliminates everything else (no Ilaah, ever) with only one exception (but Allah).
With all the corruption and bad governance issues today, can you imagine what real difference a leader with such integrity can make when he or she gives his or her absolute loyalty to none other than Allah?
The T&C of bearing witness
Why does a Shahada have to start with bearing witness (Ashhadu)?
Various verses in the Quran use the derivatives of the word Shahada. If you study and connect the dots between them, you will arrive at the inevitable conclusion: that your Shahada will cost you a lot on the Day of Judgment.
How is that possible?
The natural responsibility of a witness is to solemnly swear or affirm that he or she will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Now, the truths affirmed here are that ‘there is no Ilaah but Allah’ and that ‘Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the messenger of Allah.’
You, the leaders, are the witnesses of these truths.
What then will you, as a leader, answer to Allah when you are found to have hidden both of these truths from your subjects, causing them to acknowledge other entities as their Ilaah?
And so much more
These terms are only two of the T&C of the Shahada as described by the Muslim Scholars.
As a leader, a simple declaration of the Shahada isn’t sufficient. You also have to understand it properly and bear its implications and ramifications responsibly.
Otherwise, your Shahada will be judged against you before Allah. Now, do you still think you can skip all the T&C of the Shahada and simply click on the ‘I Agree’ button?