The six kalimas, possibly taken from the Arabic كلمة kalima, i.e. “word,” is only a South Asian innovation with no basis found in the Islamic Shariah. All Islamic teachings are derived from either of the two primary sources of the Quran and Sunnah/Hadith.
All the six kalimas came into existence to facilitate the easy memorization and learning of Aqeedah (beliefs). There is no shariah evidence to state that there is a need for kids to memorize them. There is no record whatsoever of when they came into existence
The first so-called kalima, is in essence, known as the kalimaat-e-Tawheed. It is the first pillar of Islam and the testimony of faith by which someone enters into Islam’s fold.
The second so-called kalima contains the words that combine with the ‘Athahiyatu lillahee’ in salat, to complete what is known as the ‘Tashahud.’ It is recited upon lifting the index finger while bearing witness in Allah’s Oneness and the Prophet’s (PBUH) prophethood.
The third so-called kalima is a part of what is known as the Tasbeeh-e-Fatima. This is recited in the form of dhikr (remembrance) after every obligatory prayer. It is also among the ‘before sleeping’ adhkaar.
The fourth so-called kalima, is recited when we enter a market place and has been listed as such, in the most reliable and authentic book of duas known as Fortress of the Muslim.
The fifth and sixth so-called kalimas, are not easy to locate but have been identified by Darulifta Deoband as having their origins in hadith.
The first and second are compulsory for all adults and pubescent kids to know. This is because the first is a testimony of faith, and the second is an integral part of Salah. Doing tasbeeh of the third is also very praise-worthy, as already discussed. The fourth should be habitually recited upon entering a market or mall, etc.
The fifth and sixth, if they truly exist in hadith, can at best be recited to understand their meanings and to correct one’s beliefs. There is evidence from the hadith to have this approach towards all six so-called kalimas. And if we add anything else to religion that neither Allah SWT nor His Messenger (PBUH) prescribed, we will indeed be sinful.
Religiously asking kids or adults to memorize these shahadas and forms of dhikr is something we don’t have any God-given authority for. It is also, in reality, a way of implying that our beautiful religion was deficient, and something needed to be added to it to complete it.
Whereas, Allah revealed the verse of Surah al-Maidah on Mount Arafat: “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” (Quran 5:03). The means to Allah’s pleasure is by following His beautiful guidance on His terms. And not based on our whims and desires.
Below, the shahadahs, duas, and dhikr have been recorded with the relevant hadith to support them and state their real purpose
Arabic: Laaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Muhammadur-Rasoolu-llaah
English: There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah
The Prophet (PBUH) asked: “Do you know what faith in Allah is?” They replied: “Allah and His Apostle know best.” He said: “It includes the testimony that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle…” (Sunan Abi Dawud 4677)
Arabic: Ash-hadu Al-laaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Wahdahoo Laa Shareeka Lahoo Wa-Ash-hadu Anna Muhammadan ‘Abduhoo Wa Rasooluhu.
English: I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, the One alone, without a partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger
This supplication has been authentically narrated as being a part of the daily prayer. (Jami’ at-Tirmidhi 289)
Arabic: Subhaana-llaahi Walhamdu Lillaahi Walaaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Wallaahu Akbar. Walaa Hawla Walaa Quwwata Illaa Billaahi-l ‘Aliyyil ‘Azeem.
English: Glory be to Allah, and all praise be to Allah, there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and Allah is the Greatest. There is no might or power except from Allah, the Exalted, and the Great One.
A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and asked him to teach him something besides the Quran. He said: “Say: SubhanAllah, wal-hamdulilah, wa la illaha ill-Allah, wa Allahu Akbar, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa Billahil-aliy al-azim.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i 924)
Arabic: Laaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Wahdahoo Laa Shareeka-lahoo Lahu-l Mulku Walahu-l Hamdu Yuhyee Wayumeetu Wahuwa Hayyu-l Laa Yamootu Abadan Abada. Dhu-l Jalaali Wal Ikraam. Biyadihil Khair. Wahuwa Alaa Kulli Shai-’in Qadeer.
English: There is none worthy of worship except Allah. He is alone and has no partner. To Him belongs the Kingdom and for Him is all praise. He gives life and causes death. In His hand is all good and He has power over everything.
This has been narrated as an invocation for entering a market. (Jami at-Tirmidhi 5/291)
Arabic: Astaghfiru-llaaha Rabbi Min Kulli Dhambin Adhnabtuhoo ‘Amadan Aw Khata-an Sirran Aw ‘Alaaniyata-wn Wa-atoobu Ilaihi Min-adh Dhambi-l Ladhee A’lamu Wamina-dh Dhambi-l Ladhi Laaa A’lamu Innaka Anta ‘Allaamu-l Ghuyoobi Wasattaaru-l ‘Uyoobi Wa Ghaffaaru-dh Dhunubi Walaa Hawla Walaa Quwwata Illaa Billaahi-l ‘Aliyyil ‘Azeem.
English: I seek forgiveness from Allah, who is my Creator and Cherisher, from every sin I committed knowingly or unknowingly, secretly or openly. I also seek His forgiveness for all sins which I am aware of or am not aware of. Certainly, You (O Allah!), are the Knower of the hidden and the Concealer of mistakes and the Forgiver of sins. And there is no power and no strength except from Allah, the Most High, and the Most Great.
According to DarulIfta Deoband, this supplication can be located in Bukhari 2:933,
Arabic: Allaa-humma Inneee A’udhu-bika Min An Ushrika Bika Shay-awn Wa-ana A’lamu Bihee Wa- astaghfiruka Limaa Laaa A’lamu Bihee Tubtu ‘Anhu Wata-barraatu Mina-l Kufri Wash-shirki Wal-kidhbi Wal-gheebati Wal-bid’ati Wan-nameemati Wal-fawahishi Wal-buhtaani Wal-m’aasi Kulli-haa Wa-Aslamtu Wa-aqoolu Laaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Muhammadu-r Rasoolu-llah.
English: O Allah! I seek refuge in You from that I should ascribe any partner with You knowingly. I seek Your forgiveness for the sin of which I have no knowledge, I repent from it. And becoming disgusted of disbelief and idolatry, lying and backbiting, innovation and slander, lewdness and abomination and all other acts of disobedience, I submit to Your will. I believe, and I declare that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
According to DarulIfta Deoband, this supplication can be located in Musnad Imam Ahmad 5:451.
Instead of teaching our children what Islam does not specify at all, we should teach them what it does. Teach them to pray, fast, speak the truth, be respectful, read the daily adhkaar, etc. for starters. The Prophet (PBUH) told us that: “Every innovation is going astray, and every going astray will be in the Fire.” (Muslim 867)