All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the Worlds and Prayers and Peace
upon His Final Messenger Muhammad.
Today’s lesson will give us an overview of Tawheed at a
basic level. This will lead us to the next two lessons in which we will look in
more detail at some of the branches of Tawheed.
But before we go any further, we want to stop here and just
reflect a bit on exactly what we are doing - in other words we want to be clear
about what the objective of these lessons are. If you refer back to Lesson 1 (on
Eemaan), you will find that we introduced a small model which showed us the
components of Eemaan (faith). We will reproduce here again:
What we are trying to do is to use this model as a foundation.
In other words, all the lessons after this first one, will be building upon this
model. So every time we go through a topic, you have to stop and think and see
how it relates back to this diagram. If you recall Lesson 2 which was on
Allaah’s Attributes, you should have noticed that this falls under the
section ‘Speech of the Heart’ - since it is related to belief and is
knowledge-based. If you now reflect on Lesson 3 (Love, Fear and Hope), you
should have noticed that this falls under the section ‘Actions of the
Heart’, because it is to do with the feelings and states of the heart in
worshipping Allaah. In other words, all of our topics will fall into one of
these categories. This shows that week by week, inshaa’allaah, we are
steadily increasing our knowledge and understanding of eemaan, and also our
practice of it. When we finish this whole area of eemaan, we should all have a
good and solid foundation. Then we will move on to construct another model, i.e.
a whole new area or subject (for example Methodology, or the Science of Hadeeth,
or the Sunnah, or Bid’ah etc.).
So this is what we are trying to do inshaa’allaah.
Steadily build our religion as if we were constructing a building, section by
section, brick by brick, upon this foundation.
To continue with todays topic then, Tawheed.
Linguistically the word ‘Tawheed’
means ‘to make something one’.
In its Islamic usage it means ‘to testify to
the uniqueness and oneness of Allaah and to make all of one’s worship for
[The word ‘wahhada’ from which the word Tawheed
directly comes from has been mentioned by the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in the hadeeth of
Ibn Abbaas who explains that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) sent Mu’aadh to Yemen and
told him: "…Let the first thing you call them to be that they
perform the Tawheed of Allaah, the Exalted (yuwahhidulLaaha Ta’aalaa). It
is also mentioned in the hadeeth in Muslim "Islam is built upon five: the
Tawheed of Allaah the Most High…."]
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…
Tawheed ul-Asmaa was-Sifaat: This is to have the
knowledge of Allaah’s Names and Attributes. To have belief and conviction
in what He has described Himself with and the Names Has has mentioned in His
Book and upon the tongue of His Messenger in the Sunnah. We have to believe them
in the right way, as we have been commanded, as did the Companions of
Allaah’s Messenger. We have already covered the topic of Allaah’s
Attributes in Lesson 2 and we covered how to believe in His Attributes in such a
way so that it does not nullify the Tawheed of Allaah. In a future lesson
(Lesson 5) we will look at the Names of Allaah and discuss the principles behind
understanding them aswell.
So the above two categories are related to knowledge.
Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah: This is to worship Allaah alone
in ones inward and outward actions. Allaah has informed us of all the actions
that He loves and is pleased whether they are inward actions (i.e. of the heart)
or whether they are outward actions (i.e. of the tongue and limbs). So this
aspect of Tawheed is to do with knowing and acting upon everything that Allaah
has commanded and refraining from everything that He has forbidden. Allaah has
also explained everything that constitues Shirk (such as fortune-telling,
wearing talismans etc..) so a part of perfecting this aspect of Tawheed, is
knowing what actions constitute Tawheed and what actions constitute Shirk. And
we shall look at this in Lesson 6 inshaa’allaah.
We will now discuss a number of points related to this
1. Where did this categorisation come from:
Some one might ask - where did this categorisation come from?
Isn’t this an innovation. Because the companions never explained this?
The answer to this is that this categorisation is not an
innovation at all. And by looking at Tawheed at this way it does not mean we
have innovating anything new. And also we are not claiming that looking at
Tawheed in this way is an act of worship. (which is the definition of
Bid’ah - i.e. inventing something new and seeking to worship Allaah by
it). And even if we did not have these terms then the Qur’aan explains
these principles anyway.
In other words, Allaah has mentioned what we mean by Tawheed
ur-Ruboobiyyah, Tawheed ul-Asmaa was-Sifaat and Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah in the
There are many verses where Allaah mentions that He is
the Rabb of all the Worlds and other verses related to this where He
says He created the heavens and the earth, that He is in control of
everything etc. All of these indicate His Ruboobiyyah
There are verses in which Allaah says there is nothing
like Him (see Lesson 2) - i.e. the underlying principle in Tawheed
ul-Asmaa was-Sifaat, and verses in which He mentions His Names and
Attributes etc.. So all of these indicate His Names and Attributes AND
the way we are supposed to believe in them.
There are verses in which Allaah asks the creation to
worship Him alone and not to worship another god along with Him whether
that might be in ones inward actions, or outward actions. So all of
these such verses indicate His Uloohiyyah
So the basis of all of this is in the Qur’aan anyway.
Nothing new has been innovated. To illustrate this : Go back to Lesson 2 and
remember how we said that we have to believe in Allaah’s Attributes
without resembling them to the creation in other words we must not do
‘Tashbeeh’. Someone might say, but this word Tashbeeh, the
Companions never used it so where did you get it from? The issue is that the
principle is in the Qur’an, it doesn’t matter what we call it.
Allaah said: "There is nothing like Him’ [42:11]. So this
tells us that we cannot do ‘tashbeeh’ i.e. resemble His Attributes
to those of the creation. So the meaning is already in this verse, all we have
done is to identify this principle and give it a label to make it easier to
understand. We have not invented or imposed any new concept or meaning upon the
It is similar with the branches of Tawheed. They are all
contained in the verses of the Qur’aan and even though the names of these
categories are not mentioned, the principles, concepts and meanings behind them
have, all we have done is to identify them. In this is an uncovering of the
enemies of Tawheed, those who claim that the Salafis have resembled the
Christians in inventing a ‘trinity’, a ‘triune Tawheed’
as they say. Such idiotic fools, having no knowledge, sense or guidance, only
earn the wrath of Allaah in their constant struggle and fight against the
adherents of Tawheed. So you should not be mislead by the rantings and ravings
of the lunatics, foremost amongst them the hallucinogenic Soofees.
2. The Excellence of Tawheed and its Cleansing of Sins
(And Correct Tawheed with Many Sins is Better than Shirk and Innovation with
It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh and
worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong i.e.
by worshipping others besides Allâh), for them (only) there is security
and they are the guided. [6:82]
In other words, only those will are saved and guided who keep
their Tawheed pure and free from Shirk
"Allah will not permit to be consigned to Hell anyone who
witnesses 'There is no god but Allah,' seeking thereby nothing but Allah's
That is testifying to the oneness and uniqueness of Allaah
(from the point of view of knowledge, i.e. Tawheed ur-Ruboobiyyah and Asmaa
was-Sifaat) and worshipping Him alone (Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah) and this is the
meaning of ‘thereby seeking nothing but Allaah’s Face’ - i.e.
doing actions for Him alone, without associating any partners with Him - and
this is what Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah requires.
3. Understanding the Calls of the Groups of Innovation
(may Allaah rid the earth of them).
A second related point is that we can now look at some of the
methodologies of some groups and see how they are not calling to Tawheed at all.
Before we do this lets establish a fact. And that is that ALL the
Messenger’s called to Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah, NOT to Tawheed
ur-Ruboobiyyah. This is because their respective peoples already accepted this
anyway. Look carefully and slowly at the following verses:
And if you (O Muhammad SAW) ask them: "Who has created the
heavens and the earth," they will certainly say: "Allâh."
Say: "All the praises and thanks be to Allâh!" But most of them
know not. [31:25]
Say: "Who is (the) Lord of the seven heavens, and (the)
Lord of the Great Throne?" They will say: "Allâh."
Say (O MuhammadSAW ): "Who provides for you from the sky
and from the earth? Or who owns hearing and sight? And who brings out the living
from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who disposes the
affairs?" They will say: "Allâh." Say: "Will you not
then be afraid of Allâh's Punishment (for setting up rivals in worship
with Allâh)?" [10:31]
And indeed if you ask them, "Who has created the heavens
and the earth?" They will surely say: "The All-Mighty (al-Azeez), the
All-Knower (al-Aleem) created them." [43:9]
Can you see how the pagans accepted Allaah’s Ruboobiyyah
already. They accepted He was the creator, that He created the seven heavens and
the earth - also that He has a Throne! And even some of His Names! Such as
Al-Azeez and al-Aleem! So the pagans accepted this. This wasn’t the
dispute between them. Rather what the Messenger’s called to and what the
pagans rejected was Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah. In other words, that they should make
all their worship for Allaah alone,both inward feelings and outwards actions.
But the pagans rejected this. Look carefully and slowly at the following
And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation)
a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allâh (Alone), and avoid (or keep
away from) Tâghût (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship
Tâghût besides Allâh)." Then of them were some whom
Allâh guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified.
So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the
And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad SAW)
but We inspired him (saying): Lâ ilâha illa Ana [none has the right
to be worshipped but I (Allâh)], so worship Me (Alone and none
And indeed We sent Nûh (Noah) to his people (and he
said): "I have come to you as a plain warner." "That you worship
none but Allâh, surely, I fear for you the torment of a painful Day."
And to 'Ad (people We sent) their brother Hûd. He said,
"O my people! Worship Allâh! You have no other Ilâh (God) but
And to Thamûd (people, We sent) their brother Sâlih
(Saleh). He said: "O my people! Worship Allâh, you have no other
Ilâh (God) but Him. He brought you forth from the earth and settled you
therein, then ask forgiveness of Him and turn to Him in repentance. Certainly,
my Lord is Near (to all by His Knowledge), Responsive." [11:61]
** And to the Madyan (Midian) people (We sent) their brother
Shu'aib. He said: "O my people! Worship Allâh, you have no other
Ilâh (God) but Him, and give not short measure or weight, I see you in
prosperity; and verily I fear for you the torment of a Day encompassing.
So see how the call of the Messenger’s was to the worship
of Allaah alone, i.e. Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah. [Even Shu’aib, he called to
Tawheed first, THEN he forbade them from the evil they were doing. In other
words, calling to Tawheed first, comes before ALL the other actions]
So now we have established this fact, we can see how the calls
of certain groups are in error. For example, Jamaa’at ut-Tableegh have
shared with the pagans, the mushriks in their understanding of Tawheed and they
have not shared with the call of the Noble Messengers. This is because their
call is to Tawheed ur-Ruboobiyyah and not to Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah. This is why
amongst them you will find a man who has travelled across the world in 40 years
and he is still ignorant of the fact that he is committing Shirk by wearing
talismans and going to the graves of the dead and other such acts. That they
call to Tawheed ur-Ruboobiyyah is clearly stated in their books and more
specifically in the book of their founder Muhammad Ilyaas in what is known as
the Six Pillars. So if you look at this book you find that Tawheed to him is
just Ruboobiyyah!! High is Allaah from that. So this Jamaa’ah has no
concern whatsoever with Tawheed.
Someone might say: ‘But I know people who are with
Jamaa’at ut-Tableegh and they do not commit shirk and they don’t do
these things, and they know what Tawheed is.’ This is only a doubt and it
can be cleared in the following way. The question to be asked is: ‘Is it
because of the da’wah of JT that such people do not do these actions or is
it because of some other reason i.e. their family background etc.. or that
someone who is upon the Sunnah, actually told them and warned them about these
things, or what?’ You will never find that they avoid these acts BECAUSE
JT told them so, and that it is part of the call of JT to warn people of these
things. It is not for this reason. We will give you one example of the
JT’s when they came to this mosque. One of the bro’s with them said
that he knows that Allaah is above the Heavens and not here upon the earth. So
one of the brothers asked him, but where did you learn that from? Did JT teach
you that or what? And he explained how someone outside of JT, told him that and
so he believed it. Also another example. A brother met a TJ and he started
boasting about how educated he was and how much he has travelled the world. But
upon his wrist was a talisman. So one of the brothers (a Chinese Muslim) asked
him ‘what is that?’ He said, ‘My wife gave it to me, it helps
to cure my wrist’. So the brother said to him ‘If I showed you that
Allaah and His Messenger forbade this, would you take it off?’ The brother
said ‘Yes’. So when the brother showed him, he would not take it off
and said ‘I will do it tomorrow, or. Anyway the brother wripped it off his
wrist and destroyed it. Then the brother said to him, ‘Here take this book
and read it’ (he gave him a book on Tawheed), so the brother replied:
‘If you come with me for 3 days I will read it’, so the brother
said, ‘I will spend 3 days working for the sake of Allaah in my own time
inshaa’allaah you just take and read this book’. Sothe brother took
the book in his hand but when he left, he left the book behind on the shelf and
did not bother with it, fleeing away from the knowledge and guidance (and this
is because it is also part of this deviated group to make its followers flee and
run away from knowledge as if it were a hungry lion, chasing them.)
So these are just two illustrations of millions across the
world of how a person spends a lifetime with a group or party and does not learn
anything. And if he or she does, it is not from JT, but from someone outside of
it. This is because the call and methodology of the group is not to Tawheed, and
nor is it concerned with learning the knowledge either.
In a similar fashion you find Ikhwaan ul-Muslimeen, whose call
is not to Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah but to something else, Takfeer, Revolting,
Sufism, Modernism and a mixture other rubbish. They have made these things their
starting points in their call. Similarly with all the groups of innovation and
misguidance. Their starting point is wrong, so what follows in their methodology
is also incorrect.
4. The Three Categories of Tawheed in One Verse:
We have already explained above how many verses of the the
Qur’an, put together, mention all the categories of Tawheed, not by name,
but by principle, concept and meaning.
'Allaamah as-Safaareenee (died 1112H) - may Allaah's mercy be
upon him - said: "Know that Tawheed has three divisions: Tawheed
ur-Ruboobiyyah (the Oneness of God in His Lordship), Tawheed al-
Uloohiyyah (to single-out Almighty God alone for worship) and Tawheed
al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (the uniqueness of God's Names and
Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen said: "And Allaah has gathered these
three divisions in His - the Most High's- saying:
"Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is
between them, (i.e Ruboobiyyah)
So worship Him alone and be constant and patient in His
worship (i.e Uloohiyyah)
Do you know of any who is similar to Him? (i.e. Asmaa
was-Sifaat) " [19:65]"
We have looked at Tawheed and its categorisations. This helps
us to understand Tawheed more fully. In the next lesson (Lesson 5) we will look
at, ‘How to Understand the Names of Allaah’. In other words we are
filling in this gap in the ‘speech aspect of the heart’. We have
already looked at the ‘Attributes of Allaah’ so looking at the Names
will complete the area of Tawheed ul-Asmaa was-Sifaat. The lesson after that
(Lesson 6) that we will look at ‘Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah’. In other
words we will be filling in the gap in the ‘actions aspect of the
heart’. Then after that, we will have a break for a week in which we will
not cover anything new, but just revise the previous three lessons (4, 5 and
How is our discussion of Tawheed related to Eemaan?
Mention the two divisions of Tawheed according to Ibn
al-Qayyim and explain each one?
Give the three categories of Tawheed as commonly
understood by the Salaf and explain what each one is about?
Give some examples of how these categorisations are
actually mentioned in the Qur’an.
Why is this categorisation NOT an innovation?
What did the pagans of Makkah already accept and affirm
with respect to Allaah’s Tawheed? Quote three verses along with
references to prove this.
Give an example of when a word can be used in the
linguistic sense and in the Sharee’ah sense and how they can have
different meanings and applications.
Quote three verses along with their references that
explain the call of the Messengers and explain precisely what this call
Give some examples of groups whose call is NOT to
Quote a verse, with its reference which contains a
description of all three categories of Tawheed.
1st December 1997