by Sh Saalih Ibn Humaid
O People! I advise you and myself to be conscious of Allah. Fear Allah who has created you and devote everything He bestows upon you in His service. Your Lord did not create you in jest; and He did not leave any of your affairs in this life without purpose. However, He created life and death in order to test you to see which of you is the best in deed.
O Muslims! When people stray from the path of Allah, they become confused in their religion and become submerged in all types of shirk and various levels of ignorance.
In this context, Allah, Most High, says which translates as: “And be not of those who ascribe partners unto Him. Of those who split up their religion and became schismatic, each sect exulting in its tenets” (Ar-Rum: 31-32). “. . . and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away” (An-Nisa’: 116). People’s minds are so limited that they not only fall short of comprehending the way of righteousness by themselves, but they also cannot obtain goodness or defend themselves from harm.
Sorrow will not be lifted from souls, nor will minds be relieved from disturbances or confusion, nor will there be rest for the heart from worry and difficulties until the soul ( the mind) submits to the fact that Allah is the Only God Who is Unique, Besought, Sublime Potent and Superb; that to Him everything belongs; that He is the Disposer of all affairs; and that everything returns to Him. He, the Most High, says which translates as: “Yes, but whoever submits his whole self to Allah and is a doer of good, – he will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” (Al-Baqarah: 112). “And who can better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Abraham, the true in faith?” (An-Nisa’: 125).
O Brothers! Tawheed briefly defined is the Oneness of Allah in Divinity, in Worship, and in His Names and Attributes.
Verily, submission to Allah and the dedication of worship to Him alone, elevates the believers’ character and mind, saves him from a heart that wanders astray, from desires that become corrupted, from the darkness of ignorance, superstition, from the tricks of soothsayers and non – Muslim religions, and from authorities of the Christians and the Jews who traffic in the verses of Allah for a small profit. Sincere belief in Tawheed (the Oneness of Allah) protects man from becoming reactive without control or restraint.
O Brothers! Belief in the Oneness of God is to worship Allah alone as an implementation of the words of truth: “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) is the Messenger of Allah”. It is to commit yourself to all aspects of this statement, and to abide by its dictates under all circumstances in life; prayer, sacrifice, life and death.
The concept of the Oneness of Allah must be applied to belief, worship and laws of religion. This concept purifies the heart and soul from accepting a divinity other than Allah, from diverting all aspects of worship to other than Allah, and from accepting law from a source other than Allah.
Belief in the Oneness of Allah is the focal point around which the religion of Islam revolves. It is the beginning of the religion and the end (the first of it and the last of it – in other words, it is the entire religion), it is the seen and the unseen, it is the cornerstone of Islam. It is has been established by proof, proven by evidence, and explained by verses of Qur’an. Islam is built upon the belief in one God, and the Qiblah to which Muslims turn in prayer is founded on the concept of the Oneness of Allah. This belief guarantees a covenant of protection (among believers); safeguards life, distinguishes (Darul Islam) the realm of those who believe from (Darul Kufr) the realm of those who disbelieve; and separates people into categories of those who are happy or sad, and those who are guided or have gone astray.
O Brothers! The Qur’an has directed utmost attention to the doctrine of Tawheed (the Oneness of Allah) as it is the greatest message of Islam and the mission of every prophet.
In the Qur’an, Allah, Most High, says which translates as: “We assuredly sent amongst every people a Messenger, (with the command), “worship Allah, and eschew taghut (all false deities worshiped beside Allah)”(An-Nahl: 36). “ And question thou our Messengers whom We sent before thee; did We appoint any deities other than the Most Gracious, to be worshiped?” (Az-Zukhruf: 45).
The Qur’an contains many verses that deal with the concept of the Oneness of God and the call to it. According to the Qur’an, salvation and pleasure in this life and in the Hereafter are totally founded on the absolute worship of Allah alone.
The Qur’an discusses the reward and honour Allah will bestow upon those who believe in the Oneness of Allah. Similarly, it talks about Shirk (polytheism) and the disgrace the polytheists will have in this life and the severe chastisement in the Hereafter.
The Qur’an proclaims which translates as: “If anyone assigns partners to Allah, he is as if he had fallen from heaven and been snatched up by birds, or the wind has swooped (like a bird on its prey) and thrown him into a far – distant place” (Al-Hajj: 31). “Verily Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him in worship” (An-Nisa’: 48).
Fulfilling Allah’s commands and refraining from His prohibitions, and steering clear of prohibited matters are the dictates of the belief in One God. In more than one verse, the Qur’an directly addresses the disbelievers regarding the concept of Tawheed to acknowledge and adopt it, saying which translates as: “O ye people! Worship your Guardian Lord, Who created you and those who came before you that ye my become righteous.” (Al-Baqarah: 21). “Therefore flee unto Allah: I am from Him a warner to you, clear and open! And make not another object of worship with Allah: I am from Him a warner to you, clear and open.” (Adh-Dhariat: 50-51).
Likewise, every prophet used to say to his people, as in the Qu’ran which translates as: “O my people! Worship Allah! Ye have no other god but Him.” (Al-`Araf : 59). “Not a Messenger did We send before thee without this inspiration sent by Us to him: that there is no god but I, therefore worship Me” (Al-Anbiya: 25).
The Qur’an addresses the believers to increase their faith so that they will be satisfied with the realization of the belief in the Oneness of Allah, and warns them against having any omission, imbalance or imperfection in this belief, as Allah says which translates as: “O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him)” (An-Nisa’: 136).
Among the attributes of Allah’s servants is worshiping Him alone as He describes which translates as: “Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god” (Al-Furqan: 68). Another proof of this characteristic found in those who believe and to whom Allah has promised supremacy on earth is stated in the following ayah which translates as: “They worship Me (alone) and not associate ought with Me” (An-Nur: 55).
Allah ordered His Prophets and Messengers to discard polytheism and avoid polytheists. Allah exalted and blessed is He, says which translates as: “Behold! We pointed the site, to Abraham, of the (sacred) House, (saying): Associate not anything (in worship) with Me ” (Al-Hajj: 26).
“And Abraham enjoined upon his sons and so did Jacob; ‘Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the faith for you, then die not except in the state of submission (to Me).’ Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, he said to his sons: What will ye worship after me? They said: ‘We shall worship thy God and the God of thy fathers, of Abraham, Ismail, and Isaac, the One (True) God; to Him do we submit ” (Al-Baqarah: 132-133).
“But it has already been revealed to thee, as it was to those before thee, If thou went to join (gods with Allah), truly fruitless will be thy work (in life), and thou wilt surely be among the losers. Nay, but worship Allah, and be of those who give thanks ” (Az-Zumar: 65-66).
“Say: I am commanded to worship Allah, and not to join partners with Him. Unto Him do I call, and unto Him is my return ” (Ar-Ra’d: 36).
“And invite (men) to thy Lord and be not of the company of those who join gods with Allah” (Al-Qasas: 87).
“Follow what thou art taught by inspiration from thy Lord: there is no god but He: and turn aside from those who join gods with Allah ” (Al-An’am: 106).
Commenting on the previous Qur’anic verses, scholars said that if those who would not commit shirk (like the prophets) are commanded not to ascribe partners with Allah, then what about all others? The Prophet Abraham (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), the leader of those who submitted to Allah, said which translates as: “(O my Lord) preserve me and my sons from worshiping idols. O my Lord! They have indeed led astray many among mankind ” (Ibrahim: 35-36).
Ibrahim At-Taymiy said, “Who does feel safe from error (polytheism) after Ibrahim?”
The aforementioned verses are evidence from the Qur’an. Now, let us also reflect upon some proof from the Sunnah of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam).
1 – The message, mission, and biography of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) from its beginning to the end, in Makkah and Madinah, in travel and residence, in peace and in war, all focused on the concept of one God. The message started with the absolute admonition: “and all abomination shun” (Al-Mudhathir: 5); then with admonishing the nearest kinsmen: “So call not on any other god with Allah, or thou wilt be among those who will be punished. And admonish thy nearest kinsmen ” (Ash-Shu`ara: 213-214); then with the order to proclaim the Da`wah openly: “And expound openly what thou art commanded, and turn away from those who join false gods with Allah ” (Al-Hijr: 94); then after he was commanded to migrate from Makkah to Madinah: “Have no fear, for Allah is with us ” (At- Tawbah: 40); then with the permission to fight and launch war (Jihad) against the enemies of Allah: “those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right, (for no cause) except that they say, “Our Lord is Allah” (Al-Hajj : 40); until the conquest of Makkah and the demolition of idols: “And say: Truth has (now) arrived, and falsehood perished ” (Al- Isra’: 81); and the approach of death: “Celebrate the Praises of thy Lord, and ask for His Forgiveness” (An-Nasr: 3).
– The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), when he was at death’s door, said, “Allah’s curse is upon the Jews and Christians, as they used to take the graveyards of their Prophets as mosques” (Bukhari and Muslim).
You cannot find a period during the lifetime of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) in which he did not declare the Oneness of Allah and fight against taking partners with Allah (shirk) and its manifestations. You can say that the call to the belief in one God was the exclusive target of the Prophet’s mission. He (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) did not give up this call even when he was alone, in a state of siege, or while he (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) was immigrating (to Madinah) with the unbelievers chasing him (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). In addition, he (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) did not stop preaching the Oneness of Allah when he (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) took the helm in Madinah and his (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) message became known among his Companions and supporters even after the decisive conquest of Makkah.
In times when Muslims are commanded to swear the oath of allegiance, they were also commanded to believe in the Oneness of Allah and discard polytheism.
It is important to note that all of this is in the recorded biography and authentic sayings (Ahadith) of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), and the Qur’an; therefore, belief in the Oneness of Allah should take precedence over all other things throughout all time and in every place.
As for the five essential pillars of Islam, they have been enacted to embody, establish, and implement the concept of the Oneness of Allah in thought and application as well as in theory and practice. For example, the Shahada (testifying that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) is a confirmation of Allah’s Oneness and a rejection of polytheism. Similarly, this concept (exemplified in the Shahada) is shared in Islamic legislation and continued in the person sent to deliver the message, Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) who was inspired by Allah.
Salah, the formal prayer is also a manifestation of Tawheed, the belief in the Oneness of Allah. The beginning of Salah with the opening Takbir (the pronunciation of Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greatest) is based upon the repudiation of anyone besides Allah being in this exalted position and the minimization of anything besides Him. In Salah, during the recitation of Al-Fatihah (the Opening Chapter of The Qur’an which is said in each Raka’at), the Muslim recites Allah’s saying which translates as: “You (alone) do we worship; you (alone) do we ask for help” (Al- Fatihah: 5).
Similarly, paying alms (Zakaah) shows an affiliation with Salah in that it is also an act of worship and an acknowledgement of the Lord, the Majestic. The one who pays it does it for the sake of Allah, thereby doing good for his soul and freeing himself from enslavement to money, as Allah says which translates as: “And woe to those who join with Allah, those who pay not Zakaah and who even deny the Hereafter ” (Fussilat: 6 – 7).
Furthermore, fasting is a manifestation of Tawheed, the belief in one God, as a fasting person gives up his food, drink, and his sexual passion only for the sake of his Lord and Cherisher. Correspondingly, the pilgrimage (Hajj) is a clear indication of the belief in the Oneness of Allah, as the pilgrims respond to Allah’s call, submitting to Him alone and discarding polytheism.
In this context, Abu Ishaq Ash-Shatibi (may Allah bless his soul) said, “We all know that testifying to faith (Shahada), prayer, and other devotional acts have been prescribed in order to bring a Muslim closer to Allah, to teach him to return to Him and to glorify Him alone. Additionally, these acts have been prescribed so that the heart, too, may obey and submit, just as the other parts of the body do.”
It is reported that our Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) was in the daily habit of saying the following supplication: “We have begun the day on the Fitrah (religion) of Islam and with the word of devotion, and on the religion of our Prophet Muhammad, and on the religion of our father, Ibrahim, the true and upright, who was never an idolater” (Ahmad).
He also used to pray to Allah using the following supplication: “O Allah! I seek refuge in You from knowingly associating others with You and I ask You for Your forgiveness for what I have no knowledge of ” (Ahmad).
O Servants of Allah! All this abundant evidence and intense arguments are presented due to the seriousness of the issue, and out of fear for people’s safety from deviation of the heart, since devils (shayateen) are forever trying to mislead mankind to stray from the right path.
In a Hadith Qudsi (Sacred Hadith), Allah – Most High, says: “I have created all My servants following the upright faith. Yet, devils (shayateen) came to them and misled them (away from their religion), forbade to them what I have permitted, and commanded them to associate partners with Me without any warrant having been given to them” (Muslim).
How is it that we don’t fear polytheism and yet the Messenger (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) addressed his honorable Companions, saying, “The greatest thing I fear of you is the minor shirk” (Ahmad).
The fear of polytheism seizes man when he contemplates the saying of the Messenger (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), “Polytheism in my nation is even more hidden than the creeping of ants” (Ahmad). Furthermore, the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) told us the following, “There are groups of the people of my nation who will worship idols, and some others who will act like polytheists” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi).
Commenting on Allah’s words in the Qur’an, which translates as: “This is the guidance of Allah with which He guides whomever He wills of His slaves. But if they had joined in worship others with Allah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them” (Al-An’am: 88). Al Hafiz Ibn Khathir said, “(This verse) contains a stress on the question of polytheism and promises grave consequences for it.”
Why don’t we fear defectiveness and imperfection in our practice of Tawheed and devotional acts; we do not fear polytheism and its various forms and types while Allah says in His Book which translates as: “And most of them believe not in Allah without (associating) others as partners) with Him!” (Yusuf: 106).
Commenting on this verse, scholars maintain that this refers to some defects in some people’s hearts – hidden polytheism – into which people fall without being aware. Such people, though they believe in the Oneness of Allah, are not sincere in their worship and so they become attached to associating partners with Allah. They work solely for the purpose of themselves or for the attainment of worldly gains such as a high position, social status, or to ingratiate themselves with people. Their deeds are not dedicated to Allah. As a result, Satan as well as other things from Allah’s creations have a share in their worship, but Allah is Self-Sufficient and is in no need of having associates.
Dear brothers in Faith! The issue is not only serious but also sensitive. A man may commit hidden shirk in love, friendship or glorification and submit to other than Allah, as Allah says which translates as: “If ye were to obey them, ye would indeed be pagans.” (Al-An`am: 121). “They take their rabbis and their monks to be their lords beside Allah” (At-Tawba: 31).
A person may commit shirk in fear of and hope in other than Allah; in fighting and sacrificing for something other than the sake of Allah; in depending on others and not on Allah; in believing that a man can cause him harm or benefit beside Allah.
Shirk is manifested in innumerable forms, such as sorcery, evil omens, amulets, charms, swearing by other than Allah, excessive glorification of righteous people, praying to other than Allah, soliciting help of the dead, circumambulating around tombs in order that people may be saved from evil. It is also seen in the passing of their hands over these tombs in their attempt to gain blessings; they also hang lanterns or burn candles around them and put drapes on them and make animal sacrifices before these tombs, as well as make these graves sites for festivals. There is no power or might except in Allah!
O Muslim brothers! A new manifestation of incorrectness in the practice of Tawheed is found in those alleged Muslims who claim themselves to be cultured and enlightened while they, in the meantime, refuse the application of the law of Allah. Their hearts are full of hatred for Islamic Law and what Allah has prescribed for Muslims. Violent fear and nervousness seize them when a prescribed punishment of Allah is carried out. Their hearts are disgusted and their misguided brethren praise them in their transgression claiming that they are maintaining human rights, but in fact, human rights are lost or violated by people like themselves. According to them, Islam oppresses women and destroys their rights; its prescribed punishments are harsh, offensive, disgusting, and backward. They also feel that the punishment for apostasy is a threat against freedom of thought and a hamper to one’s creativity; that the laws of Shariah are a regression, a throw back to the dark ages, fanaticism, and backwardness. In fact, they associate it with terrorism. Allah says which translates as: “But no by thy Lord, they can have no (real) faith until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against thy decision, but accept them with the fullest conviction” (An-Nisa’: 65).
Allah is Great! Belief in the Oneness of Allah is a difficult thing for those who oppress and persecute (others), as Allah says which translates as: “Has he made gods (all) into one God? Truly this is a strange thing” (Sad: 5).
It is also hard for those who plunge into error and the embroilment of sin, as Allah says which translates as: “When Allah, alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter are filled with disgust. But when (gods) other than He are mentioned, behold, they are filled with joy!” (Az-Zumar: 45).
This is because that they do not know the significance of Tawheed (the Oneness of God) nor the purity of the religion; they are enslaved to their thoughts and polytheistic in their ideas. It is as if they say to unbelievers who detest the revelations of Allah, “We will obey only in some cases, rather than in all cases. Because they have not realized the significance of the belief in one God, they are like a separated group from the nation of Islam in its thoughts and views, goals and visions, bound with those outside the religion from the East and West in matters of politics, economics, sociology and literature. This has become apparent in their flagrant disregard, No! – in their rebelliousness against the history, heritage and traditions of the Ummah (the Muslim Nation).
O brothers! Belief in the Oneness of Allah is one of His bounties. It takes a person out of the darkness and ignorance of (shirk) polytheism into the light of belief in Allah and His Oneness. It brings a person out of error, confusion, misguidance and wandering and leads him to knowledge, certainty, peace of mind, satisfaction, and guidance. It releases a person from the servitude of human beings or false deities and makes him worship Allah, the Supreme and only God.
Allah says which translates as: “There is no god but He (Allah). Everything that (exists) will perish except His Face. To Him belongs the command and to Him will ye (all) be brought back” (Al-Qasas: 88).
“Verily those who live in awe for fear of their Lord; those who believe in the signs of their Lord; those who join not (in worship) partners with their Lord; and those who do that which they do (righteous deed) with their hearts full of fear, because they will return to their Lord” (Al-Mu’minun: 57-61).
Praise be to Allah. We worship Him alone, offering Him sincere devotion, even though the unbelievers may detest it. I thank Him, repent to Him, and seek His forgiveness. Thanks are due to Him in this world and in the Hereafter; to Him is the decree, and to Him all people will return.
I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, who has no partners. In addition, I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger and servant of Allah. He (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) sacrificed all things for the protection of Tawheed and blocked any avenue that led to polytheism. Through him (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), Allah – Most High, has made this religion prevail over all religion even though the polytheists may detest it. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad, his family and his relatives, his Companions, his Companions’ successors, and all those who followed their example until the Day of Judgment.
O Muslims! Firm belief in the Oneness of Allah requires constant awareness of one’s heart. This is to repel every dangerous notion that tries to corrupt the worship of the slave to His Lord, and to ward off every devilish insinuation in deeds or conduct in order to dedicate one’s action for the sake of Allah.
Dear Brothers! Unfortunately, most people are heedless of some sins, which could defame and distort their belief even if the rulings on these sins are very clear. By the same token, the average people amongst Muslims always declare themselves clear of such sins and become angry if accused of committing them. In doing so, they adhere to the right way. Yet, due to the unclear nature of these sins, some people heedlessly commit them.
Therefore, the muslim scholars have established that discussing and analyzing the distorted beliefs and aspects of polytheism is the methodology of the Qur’an. This is established in order to warn people against these faults and not to pass judgements over Muslims. The people of Alus Sunnah wal Jammah do not declare anybody who faces the Qiblah of Muslims to be an disbeliever due to the comitting of a sin, unless he regards committing such a sin to be permissible. Scholars continuosly talk about the issue of apostasy, its causes, and the ways of falling into deviation and innovation in the religion, so as to warn and advise people against these grievous sins. Whoever studies the true Creed, teaches it to others, refutes its distortions, and declares the ways that lead to deviation from the straight path, (kufr) disbelief, and innovation in religion follows the right system and adheres to the straight path.
Furthermore, we should draw attention to a mistake in the field of education – where we find many books dealing with secondary and rare issues in details, (which does have merit, but there is a proper place for that) while ignoring the fundamentals – of which people are in dire need. In doing so, they neither tackle the issues pertaining to Tawheed (belief in the Oneness of Allah), its kinds ( Tawheed in Divinity, Worship and Names and Attributes, etc.) and requirements, nor do they explain the idea of its counterpart (shirk) polytheism, its kinds, features, or causes.
Simarlily, some of the early scholars (may Allah bestow mercy upon them) incorrectly concerned themselves with debate and logical discussions (philsophy) in the field of Aqeedah (belief) to the extent that the importance of many aspects of Islamic beliefs and some tenents of the religion became distorted. However, if they had followed the way of the Qur’an in dealing with these issues, both men of letters and the common people would have adhered firmly to the Divine Guidance and Grace in this regard. In this context, Ibn Hajar Al – Haythami (may Allah bestow mercy upon him) said, “The one who disseminate the knowledge of `Ilm Al – Kalam (the study of logic applied to theology) among the public, should be compelled to stop due to their inability to perceive this branch of knowledge. This, however, may bring them to deviation from the straight path. People should be guided to understand and pay attention to the evidence provided by the Qur’an, which is clear and naturally understood by the intellect.”
O People! Fear Allah so as to be forgiven by Him, be sincere to Allah in your religion, confirm your belief in the Oneness of Him, worship your Lord, and do good that you may prosper!