A side point worth mentioning here is that sometimes we
look at a word in terms of what it means in the language and sometimes what it
means when it used in relation to the Sharee’ah or the religion of Islaam.
For example the word ‘hadeeth’ in the arabic language simply means
‘conversation, news, speech’. But islamically it means ‘a
saying of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) . Why is knowing this important? It is important to
understand this because we can differentiate between when a word is being used
in terms of the Sharee’ah or when it is just being used as a word in the
language, i.e. with its linguistic meaning. We will illustrate this with an
example. You all know the saying of Umar’ when he joined all the people
together behind one imaam for the taraaweeh prayer in Ramadaan. Then he
commented ‘What an excellent innovation this is?’ Now, the word
bid’ah linguistically means ‘something new, which has no previous
example for it, an invention’. From this point of view it is not
necessarily a bad thing. But when used Islamically and in reference to the
Sharee’ah it means ‘ a newly invented matter, by which Allaah is
sought to be worshipped and which has no previous example from the
Sunnah’. So this distinction helps us to clarify that Umar said this
statement by using the word ‘bid’ah’ in the linguistic sense,
not the Sharee’ah sense. In other words, no one before him had thought of
the idea to bring all the people together behind one imaam. His idea was a good
one. So he was referring to his action from the linguistic sense. He was not
referring it from the Sharee’ah sense, why? Because this action of Umar
cannot be considered to be an innovation in the Sharee’ah sense anyway,
because then it already has a previous example. In other words this action was
done before, by the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) when he led the people in taraaweeh prayer
for three days in Ramadaan. So it is not possible for Umar to be referring to
his action in the Sharee’ah sense, because then the definition of
‘bid’ah’ in the Sharee’ah sense would not apply to this
situation or this action of Umar. Why? Because this action already has a
previous example and model, from the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) , whereas the
Sharee’ah definition of bid’ah states that it is ‘something
which has no previous model or example…’.
Anyway going back to the topic again.
We have just looked at the Sharee’ah definition of
Tawheed - ‘testifying to the oneness of Allaah and worshipping Him
In order to do this - i.e.
We have to look at our Tawheed from:
the knowledge aspect and
the actions aspect.
In other words, Tawheed can be looked at from two angles, or it
can be seen to have two branches. We have already discussed in Lesson 1, Ibn
al-Qayyim’s classification of Tawheed. Lets go back to it again.
So one type of Tawheed is concerned with Knowledge and the
other type of Tawheed is concerned with Action. We also mentioned in Lesson 1,
how there is no contradiction between what Ibn al-Qayyim says (i.e. he divides
Tawheed into two categories) and between what the rest of the Salaf say i.e.
that Tawheed is of three branches:
Tawheed ul-Asmaa was-Sifaat
This is because two of the above categories (No’s 1 and
2) are in fact related to knowledge the third one is related to action. Lets
reproduce the diagram again - including this:
So it is clear that there is no contradiction, because in
essence it is the same categorisation.
Now we will give a brief description of precisely what each one
Tawheed ur-Ruboobiyyah: This is to have the knowledge
and firm belief that Allaah alone is the ‘Rabb’ of all the worlds.
This means that He alone is the Creator, that He brought everything into
existence alone, and that He sustains and controls the whole of creation - which
includes such things like, giving life, taking life, sending down the rain,
making the sun rise and set, etc. In fact everything related to the working of
the whole of creation, then that is under the sole control of Allaah, He owns of
everything and He alone created it.He is responsible for everything that
happens. You can see how some of Allaah’s names are linked to his
Ruboobiyyah eg. Khaaliq (the Creator), ar-Razzaaq (the Sustainer),
an-Naafi’ (the One who causes benefit) ad-Daarr (the One who causes Harm),
ash-Shaafee (the Healer), al-Muhyee (the One who gives life), al-Mumeet (the One
who causes death) etc…