the One True God - alone has control over life and death, that He alone sends the rain and bestows sustenance, that He alone can save people when in distress and in trouble, that He alone controls and owns whatever is upon the Earth and in the Universe and may direct it in whichever way He wills. And hence, for true satisfaction and peace or ease of mind, He alone should be made the object of people`s yearning and desire, and He alone, turned to for the things that people seek and need. From this perspective the worship of other things besides Allaah, can be seen to be futile and useless and this is why the worshipping of saints, prophets, angels, idols and other created, material things is considered the worst evil a human can commit.
Allaah mentions many times that when people are in distress they know deep inside that there is one thing alone that can save them or remove the harm from them, and that is Allaah. Even an atheist, when his life is in danger and there is no other way out will have a hope in his heart that something can save him. This `something` he has a hope in is actually Allaah, since the hearts have an instinctive belief in and acknowledgement of a Supreme Creator and this is one of the proofs that Allaah exists. Allaah explains this reality many times in the Qur`aan:
It is He who enables you to travel through the land and sea, till when you are in the ships and they (the ships) sail with them (the people) while there is a favourable wind, they are glad due to it. Then comes a stormy wind and the waves come to them from all sides and they think that they will be engulfed by them - then - they call upon Allaah, making their faith purely for Him alone, saying:
"If you deliver us from this, we shall truly be amongst the grateful." But when he delivers them, behold they rebel (disobey Allaah) in the earth wrongfully. [Yoonus 10:22-23]
So in times of dire hardship and need people return to the only thing they know can help and deliver them and that is the One True God - Allaah.
This, then is the meaning of: "None has the right to be worshipped except Allaah (alone)", the first part of a Muslim`s declaration of his faith - that no created thing is deserving of, or has the right to subservience and worship. Rather, Allaah alone, by virtue of His being the Originator, Owner and Controller of the Universe has this sole right.
The second part of a Muslim`s declaration is: "Muhammad is His Messenger". Muslim`s believe that from time to time Allaah sent Prophets to convey His Message - in order to inform human-kind about the purpose of their existence and how to fulfil that purpose. Thus, he sent Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus and also Muhammad (peace be upon them all), as well as all the other Prophets sent throughout history. Allaah said:
And We have raised in every community a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allaah alone, and avoid false gods." [Nahl 16:36]
Muslim`s believe that the Message of all the Prophets is one and the same, namely, the call to the worship of the One True God alone, and avoiding the worship of other things besides Him, as has been explained above.
The role of the Prophet`s is to exemplify to human-kind how they are supposed to fulfil their duty to their Lord and Creator, Allaah - the One True God and how they are to worship Him alone - without associating or setting up partners with Him.
Thus every Prophet had with him a code, an example or a `model of behaviour`. Muslim`s believe that the example of Prophet Muhammad who is the last of the Prophet`s sent by Allaah to human-kind is the practical and physical way to perform one`s worship of Allaah - and therefore, the way to live a meaningful and purposeful life upon this earth.
This code, termed the Sunnah (meaning: a way), is comprehensive. It includes such things as how to eat, how to dress, how to do business, how to pray, how to maintain a family, how to be an upright, decent and moral person, how to behave with other humans, how to behave with nature, how to govern a country or state. It includes every facet of life. And thus we can understand the saying of Allaah:
He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves, reciting to them His Verses, purifying them (from the filth of disbelief and polytheism), and teaching them the Book (this Qur`aan,) and the Wisdom (meaning the Sunnah: legal ways, orders, acts of worship, etc. of Prophet Muhammad). And verily, they had been before in manifest error. [Jumu`ah 62:2]
There is in the Messenger of Allaah, a beautiful pattern of conduct for whoever hopes in (Meeting with) Allaah and the Last Day and remembers Allaah much. [Ahzaab 33:21]
To a Muslim therefore, the religion of Islaam is a complete and perfect way of life and hence the saying of Allaah in the Qur`aan:
This day have I perfected for you, your religion, completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you, Islaam as your religion. [Maa`idah 5:3]
This is what ties more than a billion Muslims - world-wide - together. This declaration of faith: "Laa ilaaha illAllaaha Muhammadur-Rasoolullaah (There is nothing that has the right to be worshipped except Allaah alone, and Muhammad is His Messenger)", which consists of just a few words but has a comprehensive meaning, touching upon every single aspect of a human`s life.
1 The word Allaah is comprised of two words: Al - which is the definite article and Ilaah - which means something that is worshipped. Thus, Allaah (a combination of these two words) means: The true object of worship. Allaah is the same `God` that Jews and Christians believe in and it is wrong to assume that Allaah is the Muslim `God`. In fact, the Hebrew word for `God` is `Eloh` which is similar to `Ilaah` in Arabic.