in category Other Beliefs

Is it enough to dictate the profession of faith to the dying person, or should they be invited to repent?

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In a Nutshell: The profession of faith (Shahada) is the fundamental declaration of the Muslim faith, proclaiming that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger. It is a crucial element of faith in Islam, and it is recommended that the profession of faith be recited to a dying person to help remind them of their faith in Allah.

Firstly, according to the Sunnah, the dying person is told: there is no god but Allah so that this may be his last word on earth. In this regard, Muslim (916) reported from Abu Said al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah (blessings be upon him) said:

"dictate to your dying: there is no god but Allah." Ibn Hibban (3004) reported from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and salutations be upon him) said, "dictate to your dying: there is no god but Allah for he who makes this his last word will enter paradise one day, even if he had to suffer before." Deemed authentic by Shu'ayb in Ibn Hibban's Revision.

This operation does not exempt the dying person from repenting for his sins. For if he does not repent, his fate will depend on the will (of Allah). And he may go to hell even though he said, "There is no god but Allah" just before his death as stated in the previous hadith. This is why the sick person, especially the dying one, is invited to repent if he is still conscious and able to benefit from it.

Again, it is important not to overwhelm or suffocate him, as this would cause well-known damage. Nor should one wait until the very last moments of life, especially the last breath, to inspire fear of meeting the Master of the Universe. On the contrary, one must inspire hope, relieve him or her or make him or her desire to meet the Master of the World and make him or her love to join the most Merciful of the compassionate.

When the jurisconsults refer to visiting the sick, they recommend that they be reminded of repentance, and when it comes to a dying person, they merely say there is no god but Allah because there is no time to go beyond that or because he has already been asked to repent at the time of a visit.

The author of Akhsar al-mukhtasaraat, p. 132 writes:

"The Sunnah recommends that one should prepare for death, remember it often, go to the bedside of Muslim patients who are not given to innovations in religion, remind the patient to repent and make a will. If he is about to die, he should wet his throat by watering him and refreshing his lips, and dictate to him: there is no god but Allah once or more but not more than three times, unless he speaks, in which case, one can start again slowly."

The author of kashf al-mukhaddiraat (1/218), a commentary on the previous work says:

"It is recommended that the visitor of a sick person remind him of repentance, which is a duty for everyone and which covers all sins, because the sick person needs it more than anyone else. It is also recommended that the visitor should insist on making a will and making reparation, even if the illness from which he is suffering is not very serious.There is no harm in the visitor placing his hand on the sick person.

The Sunnah recommends that the visitor should not stay for a long time on the spot, as this may annoy him and prevent him from moving. When he dies, the most benevolent of his people, the most knowledgeable about his treatment, the most pious, refreshes his throat with water or a drink, and wets his lips with cotton wool to ease his suffering and make it easier for him to say there is no god but Allah, for this formula is dictated once or more, but not more than three times, unless he speaks, in which case it can be repeated slowly so that it is his last word.
One must be gentle, as gentleness is recommended in all things, especially here."

If there is enough time and the wrongdoer is still willing, he is reminded to repent. This is more necessary in the case of a person involved in shirk, religious innovation or a major sin. If time does not permit, as the patient is dying, the pronouncement of the profession of faith should be dictated to him.


It is important to dictate the profession of faith to the dying person while inviting them to repent of their sins. These are two essential elements of faith in Islam and can help the dying person find inner peace before leaving this world.

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