What is Tawheed?


Tawheed

The Prophet (saws) said, “O Mu’adh! Do you know what Allah’s Right upon His slaves is?” I said, “Allah and His Apostle know best.” The Prophet (saws) said, “To worship Him (Allah) Alone and to join none in worship with Him (Allah). Do you know what their right upon Him is?” I replied, “Allah and His Apostle know best.” The Prophet (saws) said, “Not to punish them (if they do so).” (Sahih Bukhari)

 

The meaning of Tawheed and its categories:

Praise be to Allaah.  

Praise be to Allaah and blessings and peace be upon His Messenger and Chosen Prophet.

Tawheed in Arabic means attributing Oneness to Allaah and describing Him as being One and Unique, with no partner or peer in His Essence and Attributes.

The Arabs say waahid, ahad and waheed, all meaning one. Allaah is Waahid, meaning that He has no rivals or peers in any way. So Tawheed means knowing Allaah is One, with none like unto Him. Whoever does not acknowledge Allaah in these terms and does not describe Him as being One with no partner or associate does not believe in Tawheed.

With regard to the shar’i definition of Tawheed, it means believing in Allaah alone as God and Lord and attributing to Him alone all the attributes of Lordship and divinity.

It may be defined as follows: Believing that Allaah is One with no partner or associate in His Lordship (ruboobiyyah), divinity (uloohiyyah) or names and attributes (al-asma’ wa’l-sifaat).

This word (Tawheed) and its derivatives are used with this meaning in the Qur’aan and Sunnah. For example:

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

Say, “He is Allah , [who is] One,

Allah , the Eternal Refuge.

He neither begets nor is born,

Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

[al-Ikhlaas 112:1-4]

And your god is one God. There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

[al-Baqarah 2:163]

They have certainly disbelieved who say, ” Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.

[al-Maa’idah 5:73]

And there are many similar verses.

In Saheeh al-Bukhaari (7372) and Saheeh Muslim (19) it is narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent Mu’aadh ibn Jabal to Yemen, he said to him: “You are going to people from among the People of the Book, so let the first thing to which you call them be belief in Allaah alone (Tawheed). If they accept that, then tell them that Allaah has enjoined on them five prayers every day and night. If they pray then tell them that Allaah has enjoined on them zakaah from their wealth to be taken from their rich and given to their poor. If they agree to that then take it from them but avoid the best of people’s wealth.”

In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Islam is built on five (pillars): belief that Allaah is One, establishing regular prayer, paying zakaah, fasting Ramadaan and Hajj.”

What is meant by Tawheed in all these texts is affirming the meaning of the testimony that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, which is the essence of the religion of Islam with which Allaah sent His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), based on the evidence of the words of the Qur’aan and Sunnah. In some versions of the hadeeth of Mu’aadh quoted above it says: “You will come to some people from among the People of the Book so when you come to them, call them to bear witness that there is no god except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1492.

According to another version of the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Islam is based on five (pillars): the testimony that there is no god except Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger…” Narrated by Muslim, 16.

This indicates that Tawheed is the essence of the testimony that there is no god except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, and that this is Islam with which Allaah sent His Prophet to the two races of mankind and the jinn, other than which Allaah will not accept any religion from anyone.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Truly, the religion with Allaah is Islam”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:19]

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:85]

Once this is understood, it should be noted that the scholars have divided Tawheed into three categories, as follows:

Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah (Oneness of Divine Lordship), Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah (Oneness of Divinity) and Tawheed al-Asma’ wa’l-Sifaat (Oneness of the Divine Names and Attributes). 

Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah (Oneness of Divine Lordship): means believing in Allaah as One and Unique with regard to His actions such as creation, sovereignty, control, giving life and death, and so on.

There is a great deal of evidence to support this in the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

Whoever believes that there is any creator other than Allaah or any sovereign controlling this universe and disposing of its affairs other than Allaah has denied this aspect of Tawheed and disbelieved in Allaah.

The disbelievers of old accepted this aspect of Tawheed in general terms, although they differed with regard to some of its details. The evidence that they used to accept this is to be found in several verses of the Qur’aan such as the following (interpretation of the meaning):

If you asked them, “Who created the heavens and earth and subjected the sun and the moon?” they would surely say, ” Allah .” Then how are they deluded?

[al-‘Ankaboot 29:61]

And if you asked them, “Who sends down rain from the sky and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness?” they would surely say ” Allah .” Say, “Praise to Allah “; but most of them do not reason.

[al-‘Ankaboot 29:63]

And if you asked them who created them, they would surely say, ” Allah .” So how are they deluded?

[al-Zukhruf 43:87]

In these verses Allaah states that the kuffaar affirm that He is the Creator, Sovereign and Controller, but despite that they do not worship Him alone (Tawheed of worship), which points to the graveness of their wrongdoing and lies, and the weakness of their reasoning. For if there is One Who is described in such terms, none should be worshipped except Him alone and none should be described as being one and unique except Him; may He be glorified above those that they associate with him.

So whoever affirms this Tawheed in the true sense must inevitably also affirm the Oneness of Allaah’s Divinity (Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah).

Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah means devoting all acts of worship, both inward and outward, in word and deed, to Allaah Alone, and not worshipping anything or anyone other than Allaah, no matter who he is. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment.

[al-Isra’ 17:23]

“Worship Allaah and join none with Him (in worship)”

[al-Nisa’ 4:36]

It may be described as devoting all one’s actions to Allaah alone.

It is called Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah because it is based on ta’alluh lillaah which is worship and devotion of Allaah accompanied by love and veneration.

It is also called Tawheed al-‘Ibaadah (oneness of worship) because it means that a person worships Allaah by doing that which He has commanded and avoiding that which He has forbidden.

It is also called Tawheed al-Talab wa’l-Qasd wa’l-Iraadah (Oneness of goal, purpose and will) because it means that a person does not seek anything except the Face of Allaah, so he worships Him sincerely.

This is the kind of Tawheed concerning which people went astray, which is why the Prophets were sent and the Books were revealed. This is the purpose for which the universe was created and laws were prescribed. Concerning this disputes arose between the Prophets and their peoples, so the stubborn were doomed and the believers were saved.

Whoever goes astray with regard to this Tawheed, such as devoting some of his worship to someone other than Allaah, has gone beyond the pale of Islam and drifted away from true belief. May Allaah protect us from that.

With regard to Tawheed al-Asma’ wa’l-Sifaat (Oneness of the Divine Names and Attributes), this means affirming the names and attributes of Allaah and believing that there is none like unto Allaah in His names and attributes. This Tawheed is based on two principles:

1 – Affirmation: i.e., affirming that which Allaah has affirmed for Himself in His Book or that His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has affirmed of His beautiful names and sublime attributes in a manner that suits the Majesty and Greatness of Allaah, without distorting them, twisting their meanings, denying their reality or discussing how they are.

2 – Denial: i.e., denying that Allaah has any faults and denying any shortcomings that He has denied Himself. The evidence for that is the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):

“There is nothing like Him, and He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Seer”

[al-Shoora 42:11]

So He has denied that He bears any resemblance to His creation, and affirmed that He has attributes of perfection in a manner that befits Him, may He be glorified.

Source:  al-Hujjah fi Bayaan al-Mahajjah, 1/305; Lawaami’ al-Anwaar al-Bahiyyah, 1/57  (

“al-Hujjah fi Bayaan al-Mahajjah” is a book written by Abul Qasim Isma`il Al-Asbahani (457- 535 H.)).
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Islamic Family


One of the reasons that the Islamic family works is because of its clearly defined structure, where each member of the household knows his or her role.  The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“Each of you is a shepherd, and all of you are responsible for your flocks.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)

The father is the shepherd over his family, protecting them, providing for them, and striving to be their role model and guide in his capacity as head of the household.  The mother is the shepherd over the house, guarding it and engendering in it the wholesome, loving environment that is necessary for a happy and healthy family life.  She is also the one who is primarily responsible for the children’s guidance and education.  Were it not for the fact that one of the parents assumed the leadership role, then inevitably there would be perpetual disputation and fighting, leading to family breakdown – just as there would be in any organization which lacked any single hierarchical authority.

“God puts forth a similitude: a (servant) man belonging to many partners, disputing with one another, and a man belonging entirely to one master.  Are those two equal in comparison?  All the praises and thanks be to God!  But most of them know not.” (Quran 39:29)

It is only logical that the one who is naturally the physically and emotionally stronger of the two parents is made head of the household: the male.

“…And they (women) have rights (over their husbands) similar (to the rights of their husbands) over them – according to what is equitable.  But men have a degree (of responsibility, etc.) over them…” (Quran 2:228)

As for the children, the fruits of their parents love, Islam lays down comprehensive morals enjoining parental responsibility and the child’s reciprocal dutifulness to its parents.

“And treat your parents with kindness.  If one or both of them attain old age in your care, never say to them a word (suggesting) disgust, nor reproach them, but address them with reverent speech.  And humble yourself out of mercy before them, and pray:  ‘My Lord!  Be merciful to them for having cared for me in my childhood.’” (Quran 17:23-4)

Obviously, if the parents fail to inculcate the fear of God within their children from an early age because they are themselves heedless, then they cannot expect to see righteous gratitude returned to them.  Hence, God’s severe warning in His Book:

“O you who believe!  Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones.” (Quran 66:6)

If the parents do indeed strive to raise their children upon righteousness, then, as the Prophet said:

“When the son of Adam dies, all his actions have ceased except [three, a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and]  a righteous child who prays for their parent.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)

Regardless of how the parents raise their children, and irrespective of their own religion (or lack, thereof), the obedience and reverence that a Muslim son or daughter is required to show them is second only to the obedience due to the Creator Himself.  Thus His reminder:

“And (remember) when We took a covenant from the Children of Israel, (saying): ‘Worship none but God and be dutiful and good to parents, and to kindred, and to orphans and to the poor, and speak good to people, and perform the prayer, and give the alms.’” (Quran 2:83)

In fact, it is quite common to hear of elderly non-Muslims converting to Islam as a result of the increased care and dutifulness their children gave them following their (i.e. the children’s) becoming Muslims.

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them…’” (Quran 6:151)

While the child is obliged to show obedience to both parents, Islam singles out the mother as being the one deserving the lion’s share of loving gratitude and kindness.  When the Prophet Muhammad was asked, “O Messenger of God!  Who from amongst mankind warrants the best companionship from me?”  he replied: “Your mother.”  The man asked: “Then who?”  The Prophet said: “Your mother.” The man asked: “Then who?”  The Prophet repeated: “Your mother.”  Again, the man asked: ‘Then who?’  The Prophet finally said: “(Then) your father.”(Saheeh al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim.)

 “And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents.  His mother bears him with hardship and she brings him forth with hardship, and the bearing of him, and the weaning of him is thirty (30) months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says: ‘My Lord!  Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my off-spring good.  Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims (submitting to Your Will).’” (Quran 46:15)

Conclusion

There exists in Islam a general principle that states that what is good for one is good for another.  Or, in the words of the Prophet:

“None of you truly believes until he loves for his (believing) brother what he loves for himself.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)

As could be expected, this principle finds its greatest expression in a Muslim family, the nucleus of the Islamic society.  Nevertheless, the dutifulness of the child to its parents is, in truth, extended to all the elders of the community.  The mercy and concern that the parents have for their children is likewise extended to all the young ones.  Actually, it is not as if the Muslim has a choice in such matters.  After all, the Prophet did say:

“He who does not show compassion to our young, nor honor our elders, is not from us.” (Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi)

Is it any wonder, then, that so many people, raised as non-Muslims, find what they are looking for, what they have always believed to have been good and true, in the religion of Islam?  A religion where they are immediately and warmly welcomed as members of one loving family.

Righteousness is not that you turn your faces to the east and the west.  But righteous is the one who believes in God, the Last Day, the Angels, the Scripture and the Prophets; who gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the wayfarer, to those who ask, and to set slaves free.  And (righteous are) those who pray, pay alms, honor their agreements, and are patient in (times of) poverty, ailment and during conflict.  Such are the people of truth.  And they are the God-Fearing.” (Quran 2:17)

Story of Three persons blocked in a Cave


The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Three persons of a people before you, were on a journey when they were overtaken by a storm and therefore they took shelter in a cave. A rock slipped down from the mountain and blocked the exit from cave.
One of them said: “The only way for deliverance left is to beseech Allah in the name of some virtuous deed.” Thereupon one of them supplicated, “O Lord, my parents were very old, I used to offer them their nightly drink of milk before my children and the other members of the family. One day I went astray far away in search of green trees and could return only after my parent had gone to sleep. When I had milked the animals and brought their nightly drink to them, They were fast asleep, but I did not like to disturb them, nor would give any part of the milk to my children and other members of the family till after my parents had their drink. Thus, with the vessel in hand, I awaited their awakening till the flush of dawn, While the children cried out of hunger at my feet. When they woke up, they had their drink. O Lord, if I did this thing seeking only your pleasure, then do relieve us of the distress wrought upon us by this rock.”
Thereupon, The rock moved a little but that not enough to let them pass out.
Then the second man supplicated: “O Lord, I had a cousin whom I loved her more passionately than any loves a woman. I tried to seduce her but she would have none of me, till in a season of great hardship due to famine, she approached me (for help) and I gave her one hundred and twenty Dinars on condition that she would have sexual intercourse with me. She agreed, and when we got together and I was just going to have intercourse with her, she pleaded: ‘Fear Allah, and do not break the seal unlawfully’; whereupon I moved away from her, despite the fact that I desired her most passionately; and I let her keep the money I had given her. O Lord, if I did this thing seeking only your pleasure, then do move the distress in which we find ourselves.”
Again the rock moved a little but not enough to let them pass out.
Then the third supplicated: “O Lord, I hired some laborers and paid them their dues, but one of them left leaving behind what was due to him. I invested it in business and the business prospered greatly.” After a time the laborer came Back and said: ‘O servant of Allah, hand over to me my wages.’ I said to him: ‘All that you see is yours – camels, cattle, goats and slaves.’ He said: ‘Don’t play joke with me, O servant of Allah.’ I assured him: ‘I am mot joking.’ So he took all of it sparing nothing. O Lord, If I did this seeking only for your pleasure, do relieve us of our distress.”
The rock then moved away, and all the three came out of the cave safe and sound.
(This Hadith indicates that one can only ask Allah for help directly or through his performed good deeds. But to ask Allah through dead or absent prophets, saints, spirits, holy men, angels etc. is absolutely forbidden in Islam and it is a kind of disbelief.)