Definition of Tawheed
Sheikh Ibn Al Uthaymeen explained that the word “tawheed” etymologically is a noun, which derived from the root word which is a verb, ‘wahhada-yuwahhidu’, that means ‘oneness of something’. While in shari’a, it’s definition is ‘making Allah as the One in matters that are special for Him only. The specialties including rububiyya, uluhiyya, and asma’ wa shifat (names and attributes) matters of Him. (See: ‘Al-Qaul Al-Mufid‘ 1:5)
Hamad Ibn ‘Atiq explained that Islam is termed a tawheed religion because this religion is established upon the foundation of testimony that Allah is The One, no other deities beside Him, whether in His power or His actions. Allah Is The One in Him self, and attributes, none resembles Him. Allah is The One in the matter of worship, He deserves no partner, or rival. The tawheed that being the core of the calling of the prophets and messengers of Allah has encompassed these three kinds of tawheed (rububiyya, uluhiyya, and asma’ wa shifat). Each of these tawheed related each other, and could not separated each other. Thus, whoever realizes only one kind of these tawheed without the rest of it, meaning that he doesn’t perform the tawheed perfectly, as guided in religion. (Refer to: ‘Ibthal At-Tandid’, page. 5–6)
Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Habdan explained that tawheed will only be realized by combining the two pillars of tawheed, that is negation (nafi’), establishment (itsbat). “Laa ilaaha” is a negation/refusal, meaning that: we refuse any other deities but Allah. While “illallaah” is an establishment that Allah is the Only One Who deserve to be worshipped. (See: At-Taudhihat Al-Kasyifat, page. 49)
The Kinds of Tawheed
Tawheed is divided into three kinds:
First: Tawheed rububiyya
It means that believing in Oneness of Allah the Exalted and Glorified in His acts, such as: creating, providing sustenance, reviving, and causing death, afflicting disasters, giving benefits, and other acts that are specific actions of Allah the Exalted and Glorified. A muslim must believe firmly that Allah the Exalted and Glorified have no partner in His rububiyya.
Second: Tawheed uluhiyya
It means that believing in the Oneness of Allah the Exalted and Glorified in types of worship in shari’a, such as: prayer, fasting, zakat (obligational charity), hajj (performing pilgrimage to Mecca), vowing, slaughtering, anxiety, fear, hoping, and other kinds of worship.
This is the kind of tawheed that Allah the Exalted and Glorified require from His slaves, because tawheed rububiyya is the kind of tawheed that already being acknowledged by every one (including the jinn), even acknowledged by the polytheists that are the enemy of the messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, as revealed in Allah’s decree, which can be translated as, “If you were to ask them: “Who created them?” they will surely say: “Allah.” Whence are they, then, being led astray?” (QS. Az-Zukhruf/The Adornment: 87)
Also the decree of Allah, which can be translated as, “Ask them: “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens, the Lord of the Great Throne?” They will surely say: “Allah.” Say: “Will you not, then, fear (Allah)?” (QS. Al-Mukminun/The Believers: 86–87)
There are still lots of verses that indicate how actually the polytheists admitted the tawheed rububiyya. But in fact, they were also required to believe in the Oneness of Allah in the matters of worship. Hence, if they had testified the tawheed rububiyya, they were supposed to acknowledge the tawheed uluhiyya.
Indeed, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- was sent to call them to believe in tawheed uluhiyya. This fact is mentioned in His verse -the Exalted and Glorified- , which can be translated as, “We raised a Messenger in every community (to tell them): “Serve Allah and shun the Evil One.” Thereafter Allah guided some of them while others were overtaken by error. Go about the earth, then, and observe what was the end of those who rejected the Messengers, calling them liars.” (QS. An-Nahl/The Bee:36)
Every messengers called people to believe in tawheed uluhiyya. As for tawheed rububiyya, because it is the fitra (natural tendency, natural character -translator) of mankind, then it is not enough for merely acknowledging tawheed rububiyya without tawheed uluhiyya.
Third: Tawheed asma’ wa shifat
That is, believing the Oneness of Allah in the names and attributes of Allah the Exalted and Glorified, according to what has been established by Allah for Himself, or the ones established by the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, and negating all weakness and disgraces that Allah has negated from Himself, and every thing that has been negated by the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-,from Allah.
Every muslim is obliged to know these three kinds of tawheed, and after that, they are supposed to perform it earnestly. (See: ‘Al-Qaul Al-Mufid’)
There also scholars who divided tawheed into two kinds of tawheed. But the core, the essence of their definition is similar to the three kinds of tawheed. To the scholars who divided tawheed into two kinds, tawheed is detailed into:
First: Tawheed al-ilmi al-khabari (Tawheed in knowledge and news)
Means that believing in the Oneness of Allah in His names, attributes, and all of Allah’s deeds, which He had revealed to us in the Qur’an and sunnah. Thus, this tawheed is termed “tauhid al-ilmi al-khabari”, because it is established through knowledge and news.
Second: Tawheed al-iradi ath-thalabi
Means that this kind of tawheed contains the command to worship Allah in the matters of worship and to abandon all forms of shirk.
If it is related to the three kinds of tawheed above, it is evident that the tawheed rububiyya and tawheed asma’ wa shifat are included in tawheed al-ilmi al-khabari. While the tawheed uluhiyya resembles tawheed al-iradi ath-thalabi.
Tawheed and Faith in Allah
Dr. Shaleh bin Fauzan Al-Fauzan hafizhahullah (may Allah protect him) explained that the nature of faith in Allah is the tawheed itself, hence faith in Allah encompasses three kinds of tawheed; tawheed rububiyya, uluhiyya, and asma’ wa shifat. (See: “Al-Irsyad ila Shahih Al-I’tiqad”, page 29)
Despite that, one’s faith in Allah will not be considered as correct if it only related to tawheed rububiyya without tawheed uluhiyya, just as the condition of the polytheists in the time of the Messenger of Allah, who also admitted the tawheed rububiyya. But together with that, the Messenger of Allah still fought against them and called them to tawheed. That is because they refused to perform the consequences of tawheed uluhiyya.
Tawheed is the most important and the first command that Allah has ordered to His slaves. Unfortunately, most of the muslims of today are not aware of the nature and the position of tawheed. Whereas this tawheed is the basic of our noble religion. Thus, it is very urgent for all muslims to understand the nature and position of tawheed. The nature of tawheed is to believe in Oneness of Allah, and it’s consequences. This belief is divided into three parts, as we’ll explained below.
To believe in the Oneness of Allah in His rububiyya, and perform it’s consequences
It means that we believe in the Oneness of Allah in all deeds that can only be done by Allah, such as creating and regulating the whole universe and it’s contents, providing sustenances, giving benefits, rejecting disadvantages, and so on, among the specialtes of Allah. This fact is acknowledged by all mankind, and no one denies it.
Those who deny this fact, such as the atheists, actually show their refusal dan denial due to their arrogance. While deep in their hearts, the admit that this universe exists because it is being created by Something Who also regulate and maintain it. They just being dishonest to their selves. Allah the Exalted decreed, which can be translated as: “So leave them alone until they encounter that Day of theirs when they shall be struck down, when their stratagem shall be of no avail to them, nor shall they be succored.” (QS. Ath-Thur/Mount Thur: 35-36)
But even though one has admitted the rububiyya of Allah, this fact doesn’t make him or her a muslim, because the polytheists of Quraish, that was the enemies of the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- also admitted and believed in this tawheed, as revealed in Allah’s decree, which can be translated as, “Ask them: “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens, the Lord of the Great Throne?” They will surely say: “Allah.” Say: “Will you not, then, fear (Allah)?” Ask them: “Say, if you indeed know, to whom belongs the dominion over all things; (Who is it) that grants asylum, but against Whom no asylum is available?” They will surely say: “(The dominion over all things) belongs to Allah.” Say: “Whence are you then deluded?” (QS. Al-Mukminun/The Believers: 86–89)
A very sad fact is that most of the believers of this era consider that one is already becomes muslim if he or she believes that Allah is The Only Creator, The Bestower of Sustenance, The Owner and The Controller of the universe.
To believe in the Oneness of Allah in uluhiyya and perform it’s consequences
This means to make Allah the Only One to worship in all kinds of worships that we perform, such as prayer, du’a or invocation, vows, slaughtering, resignation, repentance, love, fear, and other kinds of worship. We must aim all those worships to Allah alone. This tawheed is the core of da’wa of all messengers of Allah, and the tawheed that being harshly denied by the polytheists of Quraish.
Allah has revealed about this in His decree, which can be translated as, “Has he made the gods one single God? This is truly astounding.” (QS. Shad: 5)
In this verse, the polytheists Quraish denied that the aim of various worships is Allah alone. Because of their denial, Allah revealed that they disbelieved in Allah and His messenger, even though they admitted that Allah is the Only Creator of the universe.
To believe in Allah in His names and attributes and perform it’s consequences
The meaning of this tawheed is that we believe in the names and attributes of Allah that are explained in the Qur’an and sunnah of His messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- . We also believe that Allah is the Only One Who deserves of the most beautiful names that are mentioned in the Qur’an and the hadith (which are known as ‘asmaul husna’). Allah revealed about this in His decree, which can be translated as, “He is Allah, the Planner, Executer and Fashioner of creation. His are the names most beautiful.” (QS. Al-Hasyr/The Exile: 24)
The Position of Tawheed
Tawheed places a very high position in Islam. This fact makes tawheed becomes an important to explain and discuss, due to the numerous violations to this matter done by those who claimed themselves as muslim. But in fact, they give some of their worships to other than Allah, whether to the one they considered as holy person, pious persons, prophets, angels, jinn, and so on.
Tawheed is the Aim of The Creation of mankind
Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “I created the jinn and humans for nothing else but that they may serve Me.” (QS. Adz-Dzariyat/The Winnowing Winds: 56)
The meaning of ‘serve’ in this verse is to make Allah as the The One to be aimed for in every form of worships, as explained by Ibn Abbas -may Allah be pleased with him-, a companion and expert in tafseer (interpretation of Qur’an). This verse evidently stated that the aim of the creation of jinn and mankind in this world is only to worship Allah alone. They are not created in vain. As revealed in the verse of Allah, that can be translated as, “We did not create in sport the heavens and the earth and all that lies between the two. Had it been Our will to find a pastime, We would have found one near at hand; if at all We were inclined to do so.” (QS. Al-Anbiya/The Prophets: 16-17)
At another verse, Allah decreed, “Did you imagine that We created you without any purpose, and that you will not be brought back to Us?” (QS. Al-Mukminun/The Believers: 115)
Tawheed is the Aim of Apostolate Mission
Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “We raised a Messenger in every community (to tell them): “Serve Allah and shun the Evil One.” (QS. An-Nahl/The Bee: 36)
The meaning of this verse is that the messengers, from Prophet Noah until the last prophet, our prophet, Muhammad -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- were sent by Allah to enjoin their people to worship Allah alone and do not take other deities than Him.
Tawheed is the first and most important of Allah’s Ordainment
Allah decreed, that can be translated as, “Serve Allah and ascribe no partner to Him. Do good to your parents, to near of kin, to orphans, and to the needy, and to the neighbour who is of kin and to the neighbour who is a stranger, and to the companion by your side, and to the wayfarer, and to those whom your right hands possess. Allah does not love the arrogant and the boastful,” (QS. An-Nisa`/The Women: 36)
In this verse, Allah mentioned about the matters He has ordained. The first thing He ordained is to worship Him, and ascribe no partner to Him. This order is advanced than doing good to parents and other human being as a whole. Thus, it is a very strange matter if one does good to others, but belittles the rights of his Lord, particularly the right to be worshipped alone.
Tawheed is the Core of Betterment of A Nation
Calling or enjoin people that was brought by the messengers is enjoining people to tawheed, and fighting against shirk, because shirk is the greatest wickedness and oppression upon the earth. The tawheed that the messengers enjoin people to embrace is the tawheed uluhiyya, that is to make Allah The One to worship, and purifying and consigning worships to Allah alone, not other than Him. This is the point of their treatise that was mostly opposed and denied by their people.
Allah ‘Azza wa Jalla decreed, which can be translated as, “We raised a Messenger in every community (to tell them): “Serve Allah and shun the Evil One.” Thereafter Allah guided some of them while others were overtaken by error. Go about the earth, then, and observe what was the end of those who rejected the Messengers, calling them liars.” (QS. An-Nahl/The Bee: 36)
Tawheed in The Qur’an
Ibn Al Qayyim mentioned in his book, Madarijus Salikin, 3:450, that the whole of Qur’an contain tawheed and enjoin people to tawheed, because the contents of the Qur’an can not be separated from five things:
- The news about Allah, His names, His attributes, His deeds, and other informations regarding Him. This is included in the type of tawheed al-ilmi al-khabari,, that is the understanding and news of Allah which come from indications from The Qur’an and Sunnah.
- Enjoining people to worship Allah alone and detaching themselves from all other deities than Allah. This is included in the type of tawheed ath thalabi (tawheed that contains the demand to perform deeds) or in the other word it is the form of “tawheed uluhiyya”.
- Commands and prohibitions, which are the consequences of obedience to Allah, by performing His commands and avoiding His prohibitions. These are also the rights and consequences of tawheed.
- News about the ahlu tawheed (those who hold firm to tawheed), the prophets and pious men, the delights and pleasures that Allah had given to them, and the promise of rewards and kindness that Allah will give to them in this world and in the Hereafter.
- Stories about the infidels (kufr) and punishments that Allah gave to them, in this world and in the Hereafter. This fifth content is included in the category of punishment and torments to the infidels who refuse to believe in tawheed and perform it’s consequences.
That is why it is said that the whole contents of The Qur’an is tawheed.
- Madarijus Salikin. by Ibnul Qayyim. Dar Al-Kitab. Beirut.
Article of Whatisquran.com