How Strictly Should One Adhere to the Words of the Testification of Faith (Tashahhud)?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


Does changing words in the ‘greeting prayer’ or ‘taḥiyyāt’ invalidate one’s prayer?

Especially during the final sitting position in the prayer because, if I’m not mistaken, that’s mandatory. What is the ruling for example, if I change “‘abduhu wa rasuluh (His servant and Messenger)” to “Rasulullah (the Messenger of God)?” Meaning I leave the “‘abduhu” part completely and say “Rasulullah” only. Or alternatively say “‘abduhu wa rasulullah” instead of “‘abduhu wa-rasuluh.” Doing either one of them, as well as saying “ashhadu an la ilaha illah Allah” or saying “ashhadu all la ilaha illah Allah.”

Are all these permissible and still valid? 


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him.

The Minimal Testification of Faith

The minimal Testification of Faith (Tashahhud) is to say: “Greetings to Allah. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and upon Allah’s righteous slaves. I testify there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” [Misri, ʿUmda Al-Salik]

“Al-taḥiyyāt lillāhi salāmun ʿalayka ayyuhā al-nabiyy wa raḥmatuLlāhi wa barakātuh, salāmun ʿalaynā wa ʿalā ʿibādiLlāh al-ṣāliḥīn. Ashhadu an lā ilāha illa Allāh wa anna Muḥammad RasūluLlāh.”

التحيات لله سلام عليك أيها النبي ورحمة الله وبركاته، سلام علينا وعلى عباد الله الصالحين. أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله، وأشهد أن محمدا رسول الله.

It is permissible, however, to recite the following variations, all of which have similar meanings:

1.      ‘abduhu wa rasuluh

2.      Muhammadan rasuluh [Hammadi, Fath Al-Wahhab Al-Malik]

Variations in the Testification of Faith

Concerning the second question, it appears to be a mispronunciation issue. One who does not know the correct words should strive to learn them. Until the proper recitation is acquired, one who can’t recite the correct words may recite what they can of it or translate it. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

I pray that this benefits, that Allah guides us to every success in this life, and the ultimate success in the Hereafter, Amin.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.