Islamic calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting and calligraphy, based upon the alphabet in the lands sharing a common Islamic cultural heritage. It includes Arabic Calligraphy and Persian calligraphy, it is known in Arabic as meaning Islamic line, design, or construction. The development of Islamic calligraphy is tied to the Qur'an. However, Islamic calligraphy is not limited to religious subjects, objects, or spaces. Like all Islamic art, it encompasses a diverse array of works created in a wide variety of contexts; the prevalence of calligraphy in Islamic art is not directly related to its non-figural tradition. It is noteworthy, for instance, that the Prophet Muhammad is related to have said: "The first thing God created was the pen."Islamic calligraphy developed from two major styles: Kufic and Naskh. There are several variations of each, as well as regionally specific styles. Islamic calligraphy has been incorporated into modern art beginning with the post-colonial period in the Middle East, as well as the more recent style of calligraffiti.
The traditional instrument of the Islamic calligrapher is the qalam, a pen made of dried reed or bamboo. The ink is in color and chosen so that its intensity can vary creating dynamism and movement in the letter forms; some styles are written using a metallic-tip pen. Islamic calligraphy can be applied to a wide range of decorative mediums other than paper, such as tiles, vessels and stone. Before the advent of paper and parchment were used for writing. During the 9th century, an influx of paper from China revolutionized calligraphy. While monasteries in Europe treasured a few dozen volumes, libraries in the Muslim world contained hundreds and thousands of books. For centuries, the art of writing has fulfilled a central iconographic function in Islamic art. Although the academic tradition of Islamic calligraphy began in Baghdad, the center of the Islamic empire during much of its early history, it spread as far as India and Spain. Coins were another support for calligraphy. Beginning in 692, the Islamic caliphate reformed the coinage of the Near East by replacing Byzantine Christian imagery with Islamic phrases inscribed in Arabic.
This was true for dinars, or gold coins of high value. The coins were inscribed with quotes from the Qur'an. By the tenth century, the Persians, who had converted to Islam, began weaving inscriptions onto elaborately patterned silks. So precious were textiles featuring Arabic text that Crusaders brought them to Europe as prized possessions. A notable example is the Suaire de Saint-Josse, used to wrap the bones of St. Josse in the Abbey of St. Josse-sur-Mer, near Caen in northwestern France; as Islamic calligraphy is venerated, most works follow examples set by well-established calligraphers, with the exception of secular or contemporary works. In the Islamic tradition, calligraphers underwent extensive training in three stages, including the study of their teacher's models, in order to be granted certification. Kufic is the oldest form of the Arabic script; the style emphasizes rigid and angular strokes, which appears as a modified form of the old Nabataean script. The Archaic Kufi consisted of about 17 letters without diacritic accents.
Diacritical markings were added during the 7th century to help readers with pronunciation of the Qur'an and other important documents, increasing the number of Arabic letters to 28. Although some scholars dispute this, Kufic script was developed around the end of the 7th century in Kufa, from which it takes its name; the style developed into several varieties, including floral, plaited or interlaced and square kufic. Due to its straight and orderly style of lettering, Kufic was used in ornamental stone carving as well as on coins, it was the main script used to copy Qur'ans from the 8th to 10th century and went out of general use in the 12th century when the flowing naskh style become more practical. However, it continued to be used as a decorative element to contrast superseding styles. There was no set rules of using the Kufic script. Due to the lack of standardization of early Kufic, the script differs between regions, ranging from square and rigid forms to flowery and decorative ones. Common varieties include a technique known as banna'i.
Contemporary calligraphy using this style is popular in modern decorations. Decorative Kufic inscriptions are imitated into pseudo-kufics in Middle age and Renaissance Europe. Pseudo-kufics is common in Renaissance depictions of people from the Holy Land; the exact reason for the incorporation of pseudo-Kufic is unclear. It seems that Westerners mistakenly associated 13th-14th century Middle Eastern scripts with systems of writing used during the time of Jesus, thus found it natural to represent early Christians in association with them; the use of cursive scripts coexisted with Kufic, cursive was used for informal purposes. With the rise of Islam, a new script was needed to fit the pace of conversions, a well-defined cursive called naskh first appeared in the 10th century. Naskh translates to "copying," as it became the standard for transcribing manuscripts; the script is the most ubiquitous among other styles, used in Qur'ans, official decrees, private correspondence. It became the basis of modern Arabic print.
Standardization of the style was pio
Allah is the Arabic word for God in Abrahamic religions. In the English language, the word refers to God in Islam; the word is thought to be derived by contraction from al-ilāh, which means "the god", is related to El and Elah, the Hebrew and Aramaic words for God. The word Allah has been used by Arabic people of different religions since pre-Islamic times. More it has been used as a term for God by Muslims and Arab Christians, it is often, albeit not used in this way by Bábists, Bahá'ís, Mandaeans and Maltese Christians, Mizrahi Jews. Similar usage by Christians and Sikhs in West Malaysia has led to political and legal controversies; the etymology of the word Allāh has been discussed extensively by classical Arab philologists. Grammarians of the Basra school regarded it as either formed "spontaneously" or as the definite form of lāh. Others held that it was borrowed from Syriac or Hebrew, but most considered it to be derived from a contraction of the Arabic definite article al- "the" and ilāh "deity, god" to al-lāh meaning "the deity", or "the God".
The majority of modern scholars subscribe to the latter theory, view the loanword hypothesis with skepticism. Cognates of the name "Allāh" exist in other Semitic languages, including Aramaic; the corresponding Aramaic form is Elah. It is written as ܐܠܗܐ in Biblical Aramaic and ܐܲܠܵܗܵܐ in Syriac as used by the Assyrian Church, both meaning "God". Biblical Hebrew uses the plural form Elohim, but more it uses the singular form Eloah. Regional variants of the word Allah occur in Christian pre-Islamic inscriptions. Different theories have been proposed regarding the role of Allah in pre-Islamic polytheistic cults; some authors have suggested that polytheistic Arabs used the name as a reference to a creator god or a supreme deity of their pantheon. The term may have been vague in the Meccan religion. According to one hypothesis, which goes back to Julius Wellhausen, Allah was a designation that consecrated the superiority of Hubal over the other gods. However, there is evidence that Allah and Hubal were two distinct deities.
According to that hypothesis, the Kaaba was first consecrated to a supreme deity named Allah and hosted the pantheon of Quraysh after their conquest of Mecca, about a century before the time of Muhammad. Some inscriptions seem to indicate the use of Allah as a name of a polytheist deity centuries earlier, but we know nothing precise about this use; some scholars have suggested that Allah may have represented a remote creator god, eclipsed by more particularized local deities. There is disagreement on. No iconic representation of Allah is known to have existed. Allah is the only god in Mecca. Muhammad's father's name was ʿAbd-Allāh meaning "the slave of Allāh"; the Aramaic word for "God" in the language of Assyrian Christians is Alaha. Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word "Allah" to mean "God"; the Christian Arabs of today have no other word for "God" than "Allah". Arab Christians, for example, use the terms Allāh al-ab for God the Father, Allāh al-ibn for God the Son, Allāh al-rūḥ al-quds for God the Holy Spirit.
Arab Christians have used two forms of invocations that were affixed to the beginning of their written works. They adopted the Muslim bismillāh, created their own Trinitized bismillāh as early as the 8th century; the Muslim bismillāh reads: "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful." The Trinitized bismillāh reads: "In the name of Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God." The Syriac and Greek invocations do not have the words "One God" at the end. This addition was made to emphasize the monotheistic aspect of Trinitarian belief and to make it more palatable to Muslims. According to Marshall Hodgson, it seems that in the pre-Islamic times, some Arab Christians made pilgrimage to the Kaaba, a pagan temple at that time, honoring Allah there as God the Creator; some archaeological excavation quests have led to the discovery of ancient pre-Islamic inscriptions and tombs made by Arab Christians in the ruins of a church at Umm el-Jimal in Northern Jordan, which contained references to Allah as the proper name of God, some of the graves contained names such as "Abd Allah" which means "the servant/slave of Allah".
The name Allah can be found countless times in the reports and the lists of names of Christian martyrs in South Arabia, as reported by antique Syriac documents of the names of those martyrs from the era of the Himyarite and Aksumite kingdomsA Christian leader named Abd Allah ibn Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad was martyred in Najran in 523, as he had worn a ring that said "Allah is my lord". In an inscription of Christian martyrion dated back to 512, references to Allah can be found in both Arabic and Aramaic, which called him "Allah" and "Alaha", the inscription starts with the statement "By the Help of Allah". In pre-Islamic Gospels, the name used for God was "Allah", as evidenced by some discovered Arabic versions of the New Testament written by Arab Christians during the pre-Islamic era in Northern
Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God, that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs; the primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, the teachings and normative example of Muhammad. Muslims believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith, revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Abraham and Jesus. Muslims consider the Quran in its original Arabic to be the final revelation of God. Like other Abrahamic religions, Islam teaches a final judgment with the righteous rewarded paradise and unrighteous punished in hell. Religious concepts and practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, following Islamic law, which touches on every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment.
The cities of Mecca and Jerusalem are home to the three holiest sites in Islam. Aside from the theological narrative, Islam is believed to have originated in the early 7th century CE in Mecca, by the 8th century the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate extended from Iberia in the west to the Indus River in the east; the Islamic Golden Age refers to the period traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century, during the Abbasid Caliphate, when much of the Muslim world was experiencing a scientific and cultural flourishing. The expansion of the Muslim world involved various caliphates, such as the Ottoman Empire and conversion to Islam by missionary activities. Most Muslims are of one of two denominations. About 13 % of Muslims live in the largest Muslim-majority country. Sizeable Muslim communities are found in the Americas, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Europe, Mainland Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Russia. Islam is the fastest-growing major religion in the world. Islam is a verbal noun originating from the triliteral root S-L-M which forms a large class of words relating to concepts of wholeness, submission and peace.
In a religious context it means "voluntary submission to God". Islām is the verbal noun of Form IV of the root, means "submission" or "surrender". Muslim, the word for an adherent of Islam, is the active participle of the same verb form, means "submitter" or "one who surrenders"; the word sometimes has distinct connotations in its various occurrences in the Quran. In some verses, there is stress on the quality of Islam as an internal spiritual state: "Whomsoever God desires to guide, He opens his heart to Islam." Other verses connect Islam and religion together: "Today, I have perfected your religion for you. Still others describe Islam as an action of returning to God—more than just a verbal affirmation of faith. In the Hadith of Gabriel, islām is presented as one part of a triad that includes imān, ihsān. Islam was called Muhammadanism in Anglophone societies; this term has fallen out of use and is sometimes said to be offensive because it suggests that a human being rather than God is central to Muslims' religion, parallel to Buddha in Buddhism.
Some authors, continue to use the term Muhammadanism as a technical term for the religious system as opposed to the theological concept of Islam that exists within that system. Faith in the Islamic creed is represented as the six articles of faith, notably spelled out in the Hadith of Gabriel. Islam is seen as having the simplest doctrines of the major religions, its most fundamental concept is a rigorous monotheism, called tawḥīd. God is described in chapter 112 of the Quran as: "He is God, the One and Only. Muslims repudiate polytheism and idolatry, called Shirk, reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension and thus. God is described and referred to by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahmān, meaning "The Compassionate" and Al-Rahīm, meaning "The Merciful". Muslims believe that the creation of everything in the universe was brought into being by God's sheer command, "Be, it is" and that the purpose of existence is to worship or to know God.
He is viewed as a personal god who responds whenever a person in distress calls him. There are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God who states, "I am nearer to him than jugular vein." God consciousness is referred to as Taqwa. Allāh is the term with no plural or gender used by Muslims and Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews to reference God, while ʾilāh is the term used for a deity or a god in general. Other non-Arab Muslims might use different names as much as Allah, for instance "Tanrı" in Turkish, "Khodā" in Persian or "Ḵẖudā" in Urdu. Belief in angels is fundamental
Schools of Islamic theology
See Islamic schools and branches for different schools of thought. Schools of Islamic theology are various Islamic schools and branches in different schools of thought regarding aqidah. According to Muhammad Abu Zahra, Jahmis, Murji'ah, Muʿtazila, Ash'ari, Athari are the ancient schools of aqidah; the main split between Sunni and Shia Islam was more political than theological, but over time theological differences have developed. Still, differences in aqidah occur as divisions orthogonal to the main divisions in Islam along political or fiqh lines, such that a Muʿtazili might, for example, belong to Ja'fari, Zaidi or Hanafi school of jurisprudence. Aqidah is an Islamic term meaning "creed" or "belief". Any religious belief system, or creed, can be considered an example of aqidah; however this term has taken a significant technical usage in Muslim history and theology, denoting those matters over which Muslims hold conviction. The term is translated as "theology"; such traditions are divisions orthogonal to sectarian divisions of Islam, a Mu'tazili may for example, belong to Jafari, Zaidi or Hanafi school of jurisprudence.
One of the earliest systematic theological school to develop, in the mid 8th-century, was Mu'tazila. It emphasized reason and rational thought, positing that the injunctions of God are accessible to rational thought and inquiry and that the Qur'an, albeit the word of God, was created rather than uncreated, which would develop into one of the most contentious questions in Islamic theology. In the 10th century, the Ash'ari school developed as a response to Mu'tazila, leading to the latter's decline. Ash'ari still taught the use of reason in understanding the Qur'an, but denied the possibility to deduce moral truths by reasoning; this was opposed by the school of Maturidi, which taught that certain moral truths may be found by the use of reason without the aid of revelation. Another point of contention was the relative position of iman vs. taqwa. Such schools of theology are summarized under Ilm al-Kalam, or "science of discourse", as opposed to mystical schools who deny that any theological truth may be discovered by means of discourse or reason.
Sunni Muslims are the largest denomination of Islam and are known as Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamā‘h or as Ahl as-Sunnah. The word Sunni comes from the word sunnah, which means the teachings and actions or examples of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Therefore, the term "Sunni" refers to those who follow or maintain the sunnah of the prophet Muhammad; the Sunnis believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor to lead the Muslim ummah before his death, after an initial period of confusion, a group of his most prominent companions gathered and elected Abu Bakr Siddique, Muhammad's close friend and a father-in-law, as the first caliph of Islam. Sunni Muslims regard the first four caliphs as "al-Khulafā’ur-Rāshidūn" or "The Rightly Guided Caliphs." After the Rashidun, the position turned into a hereditary right and the caliph's role was limited to being a political symbol of Muslim strength and unity. Atharism is a movement of Islamic scholars who reject rationalistic Islamic theology in favor of strict textualism in interpreting the Quran.
The name is derived from the Arabic word athar meaning "remnant" and referring to a "narrative". Their disciples Atharis. For followers of the Athari movement, the "clear" meaning of the Qur'an, the prophetic traditions, has sole authority in matters of belief, to engage in rational disputation if one arrives at the truth, is forbidden. Atharis engage in an amodal reading of the Qur'an, as opposed to one engaged in Ta'wil, they do not attempt to conceptualize the meanings of the Qur'an rationally, believe that the "real" meaning should be consigned to God alone. In essence, the meaning has been accepted without asking "how" or "Bi-la kaifa". On the other hand, the famous Hanbali scholar Ibn al-Jawzi states, in Kitab Akhbar as-Sifat, that Ahmad ibn Hanbal would have been opposed to anthropomorphic interpretations of Qur'anic texts such as those of al-Qadi Abu Ya'la, Ibn Hamid and Ibn az-Zaghuni. Based on Abu'l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi's criticism of Athari-Hanbalis, Muhammad Abu Zahra, a Professor of Islamic law at Cairo University deduced that Salafi aqidah is located somewhere between ta'tili and anthropopathy in Islam.
Absolute Ẓāhirīsm and total rejection of ta'wil are amongst the fundamental characteristics of this "new" Islamic school of theology. ʿIlm al-Kalām foreshortened to kalam and sometimes called "Islamic scholastic theology", is an rational undertaking born out of the need to establish and defend the tenets of Islamic faith against doubters and detractors.'Ilm al-Kalam incorporates Aristotelian reasoning and logic into Islamic theology. A scholar of kalam is referred to as a mutakallim as distinguished from philosophers and scientists. There are many possible interpretations as to why this discipline was called "kalam"; the Mu'tazila were challenged by Abu al-Hasan Al-Ash'ari, who famously de
Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical Arabic; as the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools and universities, is used to varying degrees in workplaces and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, the official language of 26 states, the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, construed as a multitude of dialects of this language; these dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children; the relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe in science and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence in vocabulary, is seen in European languages Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to related activities; the Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish. Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history; some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Spanish, Kashmiri, Bosnian, Bengali, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Assamese, Sindhi and Hausa, some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by as many as 422 million speakers in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography. Arabic is a Central Semitic language related to the Northwest Semitic languages, the Ancient South Arabian languages, various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic; the Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation into a past tense; the conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms. The development of an internal passive. There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz; these features are evidence of common descent from Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: negative particles m *mā.
The Shahada is an Islamic creed, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, declaring belief in the oneness of God and the acceptance of Muhammad as God's prophet. The declaration, in its shortest form, reads: لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ ٱلله lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāh muḥammadun rasūlu llāh IPA: There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God. Audio audio In the English translation—"There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God."—the first, lower-case occurrence of "god" is a translation of the Arabic word ilah, while the capitalized second and third occurrences of "God" are translations of the Arabic word Allah. The noun šahāda, from the verbal root šahida meaning "to observe, testify", translates as "testimony" in both the everyday and the legal senses; the Islamic creed is called, in the dual form, šahādatān. The expression al-šahāda is used in Quran as one of the "titles of God". In Sunni Islam, the Shahada has two parts: la ilaha illa'llah, Muhammadun rasul Allah, which are sometimes referred to as the first Shahada and the second Shahada.
The first statement of the Shahada is known as the tahlīl. In Shia Islam, the Shahada has a third part, a phrase concerning Ali, the first Shia Imam and the fourth Rashid caliph of Sunni Islam: وعليٌ وليُّ الله, which translates to "Ali is the wali of God". In the Quran, the first statement of the Shahadah takes the form la ilaha illa'llah twice, allahu la ilaha illa hu much more often, it appears in the shorter form la ilaha illa Hu in many places. It appears in these forms about 30 times in the Quran, never attached with the other parts of the Shahadah in Sunni or Shia Islam or "in conjunction with another name". Islam's monotheistic nature is reflected in the first sentence of the Shahada, which declares belief in the oneness of God and that he is the only entity worthy of worship; the second sentence of the Shahada indicates the means by which God has offered guidance to human beings. The verse reminds Muslims that they accept not only the prophecy of Muhammad but the long line of prophets who preceded him.
While the first part is seen as a cosmic truth, the second is specific to Islam, as it is understood that members of the older Abrahamic religions do not view Muhammad as one of their prophets. The Shahada is a statement of both worship. In a well-known hadith, Muhammad defines Islam as witnessing that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is God's messenger, giving of alms, performing the ritual prayer, fasting during the month of Ramadan, making a pilgrimage to the Kaaba: the Five Pillars of Islam are inherent in this declaration of faith. Recitation of the Shahādah is the most common statement of faith for Muslims. In Sunni Islam, it is counted as the first of the Five Pillars of Islam, while the Shi'i Twelvers and Isma'ilis have the Shahada as among their pillars of faith, it is whispered by the father into the ear of a newborn child, it is whispered into the ear of a dying person. The five canonical daily prayers each include a recitation of the Shahada. Recitation of the Shahada in front of witnesses is the first and only formal step in conversion to Islam.
This occasion attracts more than the two required witnesses and sometimes includes a celebration to welcome the convert into their new faith. In accordance with the central importance played by the notion of intention in Islamic doctrine, the recitation of the Shahada must reflect understanding of its import and heartfelt sincerity. Intention is what differentiates acts of devotion from mundane acts and a simple reading of the Shahada from invoking it as a ritual activity. Though the two statements of the Shahada are both present in the Quran, they are not found there side by side as in the Shahada formula. Versions of both phrases began to appear in coins and monumental architecture in the late seventh century, which suggests that it had not been established as a ritual statement of faith until then. An inscription in the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem reads: "There is no god but God alone. Another variant appears in coins minted after the reign of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the fifth Umayyad caliph: "Muhammad is the servant of God and His messenger".
Although it is not clear when the Shahada first came into common use among Muslims, it is clear that the sentiments it expresses were part of the Quran and Islamic doctrine from the earliest period. The Shahada has been traditionally recited in the Sufi ceremony of dhikr, a ritual that resembles mantras found in many other religious traditions. During the ceremony, the Shahada may be repeated thousands of times, sometimes in the shortened form of the first phrase where the word Allah is replaced by huwa; the chanting of the Shahada sometimes provides a rhythmic background for singing. The Shahada appears as an architectural element in Islamic buildings around the world, such as those in Jerusalem and Istanbul. Late-medieval and Renaissance European art displays a fascination with Middle Eastern motifs in general and the Arabic script in particular, as indicated by its use, without concern f