The shortest form of the Shahada would be translated: The first part of the Shahada predates Islam.
A monotheistic Arabian group called the Sabians recited “La ilaha illallah” (“There is no god but Allah”) as their confession of faith.
Hence, Muhammad simply added “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” to a creed that was already familiar in Arabia.
Indeed, Muhammad and his followers were sometimes confused with the Sabians because of the Shahada.
Both are connected and may be traced to the same root in Revelation: yet they are distinct, somewhat after the fashion of the literal and mystical sense in Scripture generally. The parables of the New Testament refuse to be handled like Aesop's fables; they were intended from the first to shadow forth the "mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven ", and their double purpose may be read in Matthew -18, where it is attributed to Christ Himself.
Modern critics (Jülicher and Loisy) who deny this, affirm that the Evangelists have deflected the parables from their original meaning in the interest of edification, suiting them to the circumstances of the primitive Church.
As the eighth-century Islamic scholar Abd al-Rahman Ibn Zayd wrote: The polytheists used to say of the prophet and his companions, “These are the Sabians,” comparing them to them, because the Sabians who live Jaziartal-Mawsil (i.e., Iraq) would say “La ilaha ila Allah.” Sahih al-Bukhari 6924—Allah’s Messenger said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: La ilaha illallah (There is no god but Allah), and whoever said La ilaha illahllah, Allah will save his property and his life from me.” Sahih Muslim 33—The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer, and pay Zakat and if they do it, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.
If, however, system be not made the vehicle of teaching, what shall a prophet employ as its equivalent? It is primitive, interesting, and easily remembered ; and its various applications give it a continual freshness.In classic Latin, the Greek word is translated collatio (Cicero, "De invent.", i-xxx), imago (Seneca, "Ep. Likeness and abstraction enter into the idea of language, but may be contrasted as body and spirit, standing as they do in a relation at once of help and opposition.Wisdom for the practice of life has among all nations taken a figurative shape, passing from myth or fable into the contracted sayings we term proverbs and arriving in the Greek schools of philosophy at ethical systems.The story came into use long before the system, and will survive when systems are forgotten.Its affinity, as a form of Divine speech with the "Sacrament" ( mysterion ) as a form of Divine action, may profitably be kept in mind.