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Mankinds Greatest Need

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    Posted: 08 July 2006 at 7:31am

Bismillah irrahman irrahim

Assalamu alaikum

Purification through Tawhd

Mankinds Greatest Need

Ibn Abil-Izz (d.792H) - rahimahallh - said:
Knowledge of Uslud-Dn (the fundamentals of the Dn) is the most noble branch of knowledge, since the excellence of a certain type of knowledge depends upon what it is concerned with, and this is the greater Fiqh (understanding), which is why Imm Ab Hanfah (d. 150H) - rahmatullhi alayhi - called that which he compiled concerning Usl ud-Dn: al-Fiqhul-Akbar. (the Greatest Fiqh). The need of the servants for this knowledge is greater than every other need; and it is the most necessary of all things for them, since there is no life for the hearts, nor any delight, nor any tranquility, except through knowing their Lord, the One to be worshipped, their Creator - with His Names, His Attributes and His Actions, and that He - along with all that - is more beloved to the person than anything else. So mans striving is with regards to everything that will draw him nearer to Allh, to the exclusion of the creation.

However, it is impossible for the minds to come to know and understand all that in detail, so the Most Merciful , the Most Majestic - from His mercy, sent Messengers to teach that and call to it; and to give good news to those who accept their Call and to warn those who reject it. The key to their Call and the essence of their message was the servants drawing closer to Allh - the Most Perfect - through His Names, Attributes and Actions, since all that the Messengers were ordered with is built upon this. This then is followed by two great principles:- Firstly: Knowing the path that leads to Him - and that is the Sharh which is comprised of His orders and prohibitions. Secondly: That those following the path know what lies in store for them, which is endless bliss. So the people who know Allh best are the ones who best follow the way to Him; and know best what lies at the end of the way. [1]

Firmness Upon the Dn

So, firmness upon the Dn of Allh, excellence in this world and salvation in the Hereafter is built upon two great matters: Firstly: Knowledge of Allh and the beautiful Names and lofty Attributes that befit Him and His Actions - and this necessitates appreciation of His Majesty, honouring Him, fearing Him, being in awe of Him, loving Him, placing ones hopes in Him, placing reliance upon Him, being pleased with His decree and having patience with what He sends down as regards hardships. Secondly: Knowledge of what He loves and is pleased with, and what He hates and angers Him - whether beliefs saying, or outward or inward actions. So the one who has knowledge of this has to rush to fulfill that which Allh loves and is pleased with, and to avoid that which He hates and which angers Him. [2]

Sufyn ibn Uyaynah (d.197H) - rahimahullh - said:
There are three types of Scholars: one who knows Allh and knows Allhs commands; and one who knows Allh, but does not know His commands; and one who knows Allhs commands, but does not know Allh. And the most complete of them is the first - and that is the one who fears Allh and knows His rulings. [3]


The Essence of Islm

Explaining the essence of Islm and its main pillar, the Prophet sallallhu alayhi wa sallam said: Islm is built upon five: Testifying that none has the right to be worshipped except Allh and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allh, establishing the Salh, paying the Zakh, making pilgrimage to the House and fasting in Ramadhn. [4] In another narration: Islm is built upon five: To worship Allh and to reject anything along with Him ... [5] Also in another narration: Islm is built upon five: The Tawhd of Allh ... [6]

Thus: Testifying that none has the right to be worshipped except Allh, has the same meaning as: To worship Allh and to reject anything along with Him, which has the same meaning as: The Tawhd of Allh, So, it will be clear to the honourable reader that Tawhd is the essence of Islm, and it is the starting and ending point for all goodness and excellence.

Linguistically Tawhd means: To make something one, or to assert the oneness of something. [7] However, what we are concerned with here is the Sharah or technical meaning of Tawhd which is: To single out Allh alone for worship. [8]

Al-Bayjowr - rahimahullh - said:
It is to single-out al-Mabd (the One to be worshipped - i.e. Allh) with worship, along with belief and affirmation in the oneness and uniqueness of His Dht (Essence), Sift (Attributes) and Actions. [9]

Shaykh al-Ghunaymn - hafidhahullh - said:
It is to single Him out with worship, with love, lowliness and submissiveness to Him, by complying with His commands and submitting to them. [10]

The Divisions of Tawhd

And Tawhd - with the Salaf and the Scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamah - has three divisions.

Allmah as-Safrn (d.1112H) - rahimahullh - said:
Know that Tawhd has three divisions:- Tawhd ar-Rubbiyyah (the Oneness of Allh in His Lordship), Tawhd al-Ulhiyyah (to single-out Allh alone for worship) and Tawbd al-Asm was-Sift (the uniqueness of Allhs Names and Attributes). [11]

And Allh has gathered these three divisions in His - the Most Highs - saying: Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, so worship Him alone and be constant and patient in the worship of Him. Do you know of any who is similar to Him? [12] [13]

So Tawhd ar-Rubbiyyah implies: A firm and definite belief that Allh alone is the Creator, the Master and Owner, and the Command is for none but Him. [14]

And Tawhd al- Ulhiyyah is to single-out Allh alone for all worship and not to worship anything along with Him, whether it be an angel, a Messenger, a Prophet, a pious person, a tree, a stone, the sun, the moon, or other than these. [15]

And Tawhd al-Asm was-Sift is the uniqueness of Allh - the Most High - with regards to His Names and His Attributes, by affirming that which Allh has affirmed for Himself - whether in His Book or by the tongue of His Messenger sallallhu alayhi wa sallam - without tahrf (distorting the Names and Attributes), tatl (denial of the Names and Attributes), takyf (saying how they are), or tamthl (making any resemblance with the creation). [16]

Tawhd in Knowledge and Action

The above three divisions of Tawhd have been grouped - by some of the Scholars - into two types:- the first type deals with knowing Allh through His Names, Attributes and Actions (i.e. Tawhd al-Asm was-Sift and Tawhd ar-Rubbiyyah), and the second deals with actualising and manifesting this Tawhd through singling out Allh alone for worship (i.e. Tawhd al-Ulhiyyah). The first type of Tawhd is connected with knowledge, whilst the second type is connected with action.

Ibn al-Qayyim (d.756H) - rahimahullh - said:
As regards the Tawhd which the Messengers called to and which the Books were sent down with, then it is of two types:- Tawhd al-Marifah wal-Ithbt (the Tawhd of knowledge and affirmation) and Tawhd fit-Talab wal-Qasd (the Tawhd of actions and intentions).

So the first type affirms the reality of the Dht (essence) of the Lord - the Most High - along with His Names, His Attributes, His Actions, His speaking in His Books and His speaking to whomsoever He wishes from His servants. It also affirms the all-embracing nature of His Predestination and Pre-Decree and His wisdom. The Qurn has completely clarified this type of Tawhd - as occurs at the start of Srah Hadd and Srah T H, at the end of Srah al-Hashr, at the beginning of Srah Sajdah, at the beginning of Srah l-Imrn and all of Srah al-Ikhls, and other than these.

The second type: Then it is what is contained in Srah al-Kfirn and contained in His - the Most Highs - saying: Say: O people of the Book! Come to a word that is just and fair between us and you, that we shall worship none but Allh and that we shall associate no partner along with Him, and that we shall not take others as lords beside Allh. Then if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims. [17] It is also contained at the beginning of Srah Tanzl and at the beginning, middle and end of Srah al-Mumin, and at the beginning and end of Srah al-Arf and the greater part of Srah Anm. Indeed every Srah in the Qurn comprises these two types of Tawhd, witnessing to it and calling to it.

Since the Qurn either gives information about Allh, His Names, His Attributes, His Actions and His Sayings - which is Tawhd al-Marifah wal-Ithbt (the Tawhd of knowledge and affirmation); or [ii] it is a call to worship Allh alone without any partner, and a rejection of whatever is worshipped besides Him - and this is Tawbd al-Ird at-Talab (the Tawhd of actions and intentions); or [iii] it is a command to obey Him and to comply with His orders and prohibitions - so this is from the rights of Tawhd and is a completion of it; or [iv] it gives information about the people of Tawhd and how they were treated in this world and how they will be honoured in the Hereafter - and this is the reward for Tawhd; or [v] it gives information about the people of Shirk (associating partners along with Allh) and the punishment they receive in this world and the torment they shall receive in the Hereafter - so this is the reward for those who abandon Tawhd. [18]


Tawhd - its Importance in the Qurn

Ibn Abil-Izz - rahimahullh - said:
So the Qurn - all of it - is about Tawhd, its rights and its rewards; and about Shirk, its people and their punishments. Thus: All praise belongs to Allh, Lord of the worlds. [19] is Tawhd (of knowledge). The Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy. is Tawhd (of knowledge). The Master of the Day of Judgement. is also Tawhd (of knowledge). You alone do we worship and You alone do we seek aid and assistance from. is Tawhd (of action). Guide us to the Straight Path. concerns Tawhd and asking for guidance to the path of the people of Tawhd, (which is): The Path of those whom You have favoured. Not of those who have earned Your anger, nor of those who have gone astray. those who have separated themselves from Tawhd. [20] So Allh begins this Srah by first informing us about Himself - the Most Perfect (i.e. Tawhd of knowledge). Then after having knowledge of Allh - the Most High - Allh orders us with the Tawhd of action: You alone do we worship.

Likewise just as: the great Qurn opens with Tawhd it also ends with it. So the Qurn opens with Srah al-Ftihah: All praise belongs to Allh, Lord of the worlds. and the great Qurn ends with the Srah: Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind. [21] [22]

Likewise, the greatest yah in the Qurn is yatul-Kurs. [23] Since this great yah informs us - from start to finish - purely about Allhs Names, His Attributes and His Actions. So this further emphasises the importance of the Tawhd of knowledge.

Similarly, Srah al-Ikhls - from start to finish - is concerned with the Tawhd of knowledge, whilst Srah al-Kfirn is connected with the Tawhd of action. Indeed, the Prophet sallallhu alayhi wa sallam said about a man who was reciting al-Kafirn in the first rakah: This is a servant who believes in his Lord. Then the man recited al-Ikhls in the second, so he sallallhu alayhi wa sallam said: This is a servant who knows his Lord. [25] The Prophet sallallhu alayhi wa sallam said: Say: He is Allh, the One is equivalent to one third of the Qurn. And Say: O disbelievers ... is equivalent to a quarter of the Qurn. [26]

What further demonstrates the importance of this Tawhd is the fact that the Prophet sallallhu alayhi wa sallam would begin his day with Tawhd (of knowledge and action), since he recited both Srah al-Kafirn and Srah al-Ikhls in the two rakt before Fajr (dawn prayer). [27] And he would end the night by reciting both of these Srahs in his witr prayer. [28] [29]

Indeed, all of the Qurn is about Tawhd. [30] And Allh - the Mighty and Majestic - says: A book We have sent down, full of blessings, that men may ponder over its messages; and those who possess understanding may take them to heart. [31]

Tawhd - its Importance from the Sunnah

And what proves the importance of Tawhd from the Sunnah is that the Chosen one - alayhis-salltu was salm - remained in Makkah thirteen years amongst the disbelievers, calling them to it, and saying to them: Say: None has the right to be worshipped except Allh and thus be successful ... [32]

The Messenger of Allh sallallhu alayhi wa sallam said: I have been sent close to the Hour, with the sword, so that none has the right to be worshipped except Allh alone, without any partner. My sustenance is beneath the shade of my spear. And humiliation and ignominy is for whosoever opposes my command. And whosoever resembles a people is from them. [33] [34]

Similarly he would send his Companions to various communities ordering them with this Tawhd first - as was the case when he sent Mudh ibn Jabal to Yemen, saying: Indeed you are going to a people from the People of the Book, so let the Tawhd of Allh be the very first thing you call them to ... [35]

And just as the Prophet sallallhu alayhi wa sallam started his Prophethood and teaching with the matter of Tawhd, then likewise, he sallallhu alayhi wa sallam mentioned the matter of Tawhd during his final illness from which he alayhis-salltu was salm died, when he said: The curse of Allh be upon the Jews and the Christians, for they took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship. [36] [37]

Clearing a Misconception

Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah (died 728H) said:
The Tawhd with which the Messengers came with comprises of affirming that Divinity and worship belong to Allh alone, such that a person witnesses that none has the right to be worshipped except Allh, and that none is worshipped except Him, nor depended upon other than Him, nor are alliances or enemies made except for Him, nor is an action done except for Him. This affirmation also covers those Names and Attributes which Allh affirms for Himself, as Allh - the Most High - says: And the Allh to be worshipped is only one Allh. None has the right to be worshipped except Him, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy. [38] And Allh - the Most High - says: Do not take two objects of worship. Indeed, Allh is the only Deity to be worshipped, so fear Him. [39]. And He - the Most High - says: Whosoever calls upon (i.e. supplicates or prays to) other than Allh, for which he has no proof, then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Indeed the disbelievers will not be successful. [40] Allh - the Most High - also says: And ask those of our Messengers whom we sent before you: Did We ever appoint objects of worship besides the Most Merciful? [41]

And Allh informed us about every Prophet from amongst the Prophets that they called the people to the worship of Allh alone, having no partner, as He said: Indeed there is an excellent example for you in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people: Indeed we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allh. We have rejected you, and there has arisen between us and you, hostility and hatred forever - until you believe in Allh alone. [42] And Allh said about the mushriks (pagan idolaters): When it is said to them: None has the right to be worshipped except Allh, they become arrogant. And they say: Are we to abandon those deities that we worship because of a mad poet? [43] And this occurs a lot in the Qurn.

And what is meant by Tawhd is not merely Tawhd ar-Rbubiyyah - the belief that Allh alone is the Creator - which is what some of the people of Kalm (speculative theology) and the Sfs think! So they think that if they affirm this type of Tawhd, along with its proofs, then they have affirmed the utmost limits of Tawhd and that if they bear witness to this and become absorbed in it, then they have absorbed themselves in the limits of Tawhd! However, this is not the case. Since even if a person agreed to those attributes which are befitting to the Lord, and declared Him free from everything He should be declared free from and affirmed that He alone is the creator of everything - then still such a person would not be a muwahhid (a person of Tawhd) until along with this, he witnesses that the only Ilh (i.e. object of worship) is Allh (Allah) - (i.e. none has the right to he worshipped except Allh alone) - affirming that Allh alone is the Ilh deserving off all worship, adhering to this worship and associating no partners with Him. Also affirming that this Ilh (object of worship) is He who is deified and worshipped and who deserves worship and it is not that Ilh merely with the meaning: The One who has the power to create and originate. [44]

So if an explainer (of the Qurn) explains Ilh to mean: The One who has the power to create and originate and believes that this is the most particular description of Ilh and affirms this to be the limits of Tawhd - as is done by the people of Kalm, and it is what they say from Abl-Hasan al-Ashar [45] and his followers - then they do not know the true reality of the Tawhd with which Allh sent His Messengers, since the Arab mushriks used to agree that Allh alone is the Creator of everything. Yet despite this, they were still mushriks, as Allh - the Most High - says: Most people do not believe in Allh except that they commit shirk (i.e. associate others with Him in belief and worship). [46]

A group from amongst the Salaf (the first three generations of Muslims) said: If you ask them who created the Heavens and the earth, they will say: Allh - yet along with this, they worshipped others besides Him. [47]

Allh - the Most High - said: Say: Whose is the earth and all that is in it, if you do indeed know? They will say: It belongs to Allh. Say: Will you not then remember? Say: Who is the Lord of the heavens and the Lord of the great Throne? They will say: Allh. Say: Will you not then fear Him? [48] So not everyone who affirms that Allh is the Lord of everything and is its Creator, will be a worshipper of Him to the exclusion of everything else - calling upon Him alone, hoping in Him alone, having fear of Him alone, forming allegiance and enmity for Him, obeying His Messengers, ordering what He orders and forbidding what He forbade. [49]

In Conclusion

Shaykh Abdul-Qdir al-Jln (d.561H) said:
So it is upon you to fear Allh - the Mighty and Majestic - and not to fear anyone else except Him. Turn to Allh - the Mighty and Majestic - for your every need, and rely upon Him alone - the Most High - seeking that which you need from Him alone. Do not rely upon anyone other than Allh. And Tawhd - all is contained in Tawhd. [50]


1. Sharhul-Aqdatul-Tahwiyyah (p.69).
2. Fadl Ilmus-Salaf (p.47) of al-Hfidh Ibn Rajab (d.795H). 
3. Related by ad-Drim (1/102) and Ab Nuaym in al-Hilyah (7/280), with a Sahh isnd
4. Related by al-Bukhr (1/49) and Muslim (no. 16) from Abdullh ibn Umar - radiallhu anhu
5. Related by Muslim (no.20). 
6. Related by Muslim (no.19). 
7. Lisn ul-Arab (3/450) of Ibn Mandhr and also al-Hujjah f Baynil-Mahajjah (1/305) of Abl-Qsim al-Asbahn. 
8. Ad-Dururus-Sunniyyah (1/48) of Shaykh Abdur-Rahmn ibn Hasan. 
9. Jawharah at-Tawhd (p. 10). 
10. Sharh Kitbut-Tawhd min Sahhil-Bukhr (1/38). 
11. Lawmi al-Anwrul-Bahiyyah (1/128) of as-Safrn. For the division of Tawhd into three types, refer to: al-Ibnah an Sharatil-Firqatin-Njiyah (p. 693-694) of Ibn Battah (d.387H); Kitb ut-Tawhd of Ibn Mandah (d.395H) and al-Hujjah f Baynil-Mahajjah (1/85, 1/111-113) of Abl-Qsim al-Asbahn (d.535H). 
12. Srah Maryam 19:65
13. Taqrbut-Tadmuriyyah (p.110) of Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymn. 
14. Taqrbut-Tadmuriyyah (p.110-111). 
15. Taqrbut-Tadmuriyyah (p.112-113). 
16. Taqrbut-Tadmuriyyah (p.116-117). 
17. Srah l-Imrn 3:64
18. Madrijus-Slikn (3/449-450) of Ibn al-Qayyim. 
19. Srah al-Ftiha 1:1 - and what follows is a completion of this Srah. 
20. Sharhul-Aqdatul-Tahwiyyah (pp. 89-90) of Ibn Abil-Izz. 
21. Sratun- Ns 114:1
22. Hukmul-Intim (p.58) of Shaykh Bakr Ab Zayd - slightly adapted. 
23. Related by Muslim (no.1768) from Ubayy ibn Kab - radiallhu anhu
24. Refer to Majm al-Fatw (1/54) of Ibn Taymiyyah. 
25. Hasan: Related by at-Tahaw and Ibn Hibbn. Al-Hfidh Ibn Hajar authenticated it in Ahadthul-liyt (no.16). 
26. Sahh: Related by at-Tabarn in al-Mujamul-Kabr (3/203/2) from Ibn Umar - radiallhu anhu. It was authenticated by al-Albn in Sahhul-Jmi (no. 4405). 
27. Related by Muslim (no.726) 
28. Sahh: Related by an-Nas and al-Hkim, who declared it sahh. 
29. At-Tawhd wa Atharahu f Haytil-Muslim (p.30) of Ahmad ibn Ibrhm al-Harq. 
30. Madrijus-Slikn (3/450). 
31. Srah Sd 38:29. 
32. Related by Ahmad (4/63). 
33. Sahh: Related by Ahmad (no. 5114) and Ibn Askir (19/96/1), from Ibn Umar - radiallhu anhu. It was authenticated by al-Hfidh al-Irq in Takhrjul-Ihy (3/42), and al-Hfidh Ibn Hajr in in Fathul-Br (10/222). 
34. At-Tawhd wa Atharahu f Haytil-Muslim (p.29). 
35. Related by al-Bukhr (1/13) and Muslim (1/272), from Ibn Abbs - radiallhu anhu
36. Related by Bukhr (1/532) and Muslim (5/16). 
37. At-Tawhd wa Atharahu f Haytil-Muslim (p.29). 
38. Srah l-Imrn 3:163. 
39. Srah Nahl 16:51. 
40. Srah Muminn 23:117. 
41. Srah az-Zukhruf 43:45. 
42. Srah al-Mumtahinah 60:4. 
43. Srah Sft 37:35-36. 
44. This is the saying of the people of Kalm, such as Ab Mansr al-Mturd in at-Tawhd (pp.20-21), and for a similar misconception refer to F Dhillil-Qurn (5/2707) of Sayyid Qutb. Compare this meaning of Ilah with the correct explanations of great mufassirs - such as Imm Ibn Jarr at-Tabar in his Tafsr (20/102) and Ibn Kathr in his Tafsr (3/398) - which is: the one who is who is worshipped and who alone deserves to be worshipped.
45. He is Abl-Hasan Al ibn Isml al-Ashar (died 324H) - to whom the Ashariyyah aqdah is is incorrectly ascribed, since he abandoned this aqdah - and that of the Mutazilah previously - for the aqdah of the Salaf - as is mentioned by Ibn Kathr in Tabaqtush-Shfiiyyah and shown by his last book: Al-Ibnah an Uslid-Diynah
46. Srah Ysuf 12:106
47. This is the saying of lbn Abbs and others - as occurs in Jmiul-Bayn an Tawlul-Qurn (13/50-51) of at-Tabar. 
48. Srah Muminn 23:84-87. 
49. Majmul-Fatw (3/97-105) of Ibn Taymiyyah. 
50. Futhul-Ghayb (p.176).



Edited by fatima
Say: (O Muhammad) If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, MercifuL
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