Tawheed

Islam believes in ‘Tawheed’ which is not merely monotheism i.e. belief in one God, but much more. Tawheed literally means ‘unification’ i.e. ‘asserting oneness’ and is derived from the Arabic verb ‘Wahhada’ which means to unite, unify or consolidate.

Tawheed can be divided into three categories.

1. Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah
2. Tawheed al-Asmaa-was-Sifaat
3. Tawheed al-Ibaadah.

1. Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah (maintaining the unity of Lordship)

The first category is ‘Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah’. ‘Ruboobeeyah’ is derived from the root verb “Rabb” meaning Lord, Sustainer and Cherisher.
Therefore ‘Tawheed-ar-Ruboobeeyah’ means maintaining the unity of Lordship. This category is based on the fundamental concept that Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) alone caused all things to exist when there was nothing. He created or originated all that exists out of nothing. He alone is the sole Creator, Cherisher, and Sustainer of the complete universe and all between it, without any need from it or for it.

2. Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (maintaining the unity of Allah’s name and attributes)

The second category is ‘Tawheed al Asmaa was Sifaat’ which means maintaining the unity of Allah’s name and attributes. This category is divided into five aspects:

(2.1) Allah should be referred to as described by Him and His Prophet

Allah must be referred to according to the manner in which He and His prophet have described Him without explaining His names and attributes by giving them meanings other than their obvious meanings.

(2.2) Allah must be referred to as He has referred to Himself

Allah must be referred to without giving Him any new names or attributes. For example Allah may not be given the name Al-Ghaadib (the Angry One), despite the fact that He has said that He gets angry, because neither Allah nor His messenger have used this name.

(2.3) Allah is referred to without giving Him the attributes of His creation

In a reference to God, we should strictly abstain from giving Him the attributes of those whom He has created. For instance in the Bible, God is portrayed as repenting for His bad thoughts in the same way as humans do when they realize their errors. This is completely against the principle of Tawheed. God does not commit any mistakes or errors and therefore never needs to repent.

The key principle when dealing with Allah’s attributes is given in the Qur’an in Surah Ash Shur

“There is nothing
Whatever like unto Him,
And He is the One
That hears and sees (all things).”
   [Al-Qur’an 42:11]

Hearing and seeing are human faculties. However, when attributed to the Divine Being they are without comparison, in their perfection, unlike when associated with humans who require ears, eyes, etc. and who are limited in their sight and hearing in terms of space, time, capacity, etc.

(2.4) God’s creation should not be given any of His attributes

To refer to a human with the attribute of God is also against the principle of Tawheed. For example, referring to a person as one who has no beginning or end (eternal).

(2.5) Allah’s name cannot be given to His creatures

Some Divine names in the indefinite form, like ‘Raoof’ or ‘Raheem’, are permissible names for men as Allah has used them for Prophets; but ‘Ar-Raoof’ (the Most Pious) and Ar-Raheem (the most Merciful) can only be used if prefixed by ‘Abd’ meaning ‘slave of’ or ‘servant of’ i.e. ’Abdur-Raoof’ or ‘Abdur-Raheem’. Similarly ‘Abdur-Rasool’ (slave of the Messenger) or ‘Abdun-Nabee’ (slave of the Prophet) are forbidden.

3. Tawheed al-Ibaadah (maintaining the unity of worship)

(3.1) Definition and meaning of ‘Ibadaah’:

‘Tawheed al-Ibaadah’ means maintaining the unity of worship or ‘Ibaadah’. Ibaadah is derived from the Arabic word ‘Abd’ meaning slave or servant. Thus Ibaadah means servitude and worship.

(3.2) All three categories to be followed simultaneously.

Only believing in the first two categories of Tawheed without implementing Tawheed-al-Ibaadah is useless. The Qur’an gives the examples of ‘Mushrikeens’ (idolaters) of the Prophet’s time who confirmed the first two aspects of Tawheed. It is mentioned in the Qur’an:

“Say: ‘Who is it that
Sustains you (in life)
From the sky and from the earth?
Or who is it that
Has power over hearing
And sight? And who
Is it that brings out
The living from the dead
And the dead from the living?
And who is it that
Rules and regulates all affairs?’
They will soon say, ‘Allah’.
Say, ‘Will you not then
Show piety (to Him)?’ “
  [Al-Qur’an 10:31]

A similar example is repeated in Surah Zukhruf of the Glorious Qur’an:

“If thou ask them, Who
Created them, they will
Certainly say, ‘Allah’: how
Then are they deluded
Away (from the Truth)?”
[Al-Qur’an 43:87]

The pagan Meccans knew that Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) was their Creator, Sustainer, Lord and Master. Yet they were not Muslims because they also worshipped other gods besides Allah. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) categorised them as ‘Kuffaar’ (disbelievers) and ‘Mushrikeen’ (idol worshippers and those who associate partners with God).

“And most of them
Believe not in Allah
Without associating (others
As partners) with Him!”
  [Al-Qur’an 12:106]

Thus ‘Tawheed al-Ibaadah’ i.e. maintaining the unity of worship is the most important aspect of Tawheed. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) alone deserves worship and He alone can grant benefit to man for his worship.

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One thought on “Tawheed

  1. As “Tawheed” is the first to be fully existed and implemented in our inner heart in order to worship Allah as the one & only true Almighty God. Allah also say in Glorious Qur’an that Allah will count on someone iman & taqwa by looking on his tawheed thru in our inner heart. If in any case that Allah found that in our inner heart worshipped other than him, then Allah will never fogive us for worshipping other than Allah. This is called “Shirk”.
    One thing we didn’t realized that performing “Solah” is the second pillar of islam after Tawheed. Most of us when we perform solah, we almost never worshipped Allah from the start until the end. WHY? because when we perform solah, our mind always going round the bush or merry go round remembering of all the things that has happen to us in dunya matters; it even sometimes we remember a beautiful woman we had met before we perform.the salah has been shown during the solah (prayer) time. This prayer performance also called “Shirk Khofi”. So can we called ourselves a person who has “Tawheed” and/or Iman & Taqwa whereas even at the time of praying solah, actually we didnt worshipped Allah but dunya as a replacement of Allah. So dont we think that this important pillar need to be rectify of how to make our mind concentrate on the one & only Allah during the prayer time? Or otherwise we as a servant of Allah for sure will be punish by Allah because of “Shirk Khofi”.

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