Tauheed (توحيد) is “The Doctrine of Oneness”, the root word of which is ‘Wahdt’. The linguistic meaning of this is to ascribe unity to something or some object. When it comes to Islamic sciences, Tauheed refers to the unification of Allah (SWT) or the uniqueness of Allah (SWT)-
- When it comes to His Lordship
- His Right to be worshipped &
- His Names and Attributes.
The concept of Tauheed is the one of the major distinguishing factors between Islam and other religions.We will briefly define the concept of Tauheed as it is understood as per the Shariah. Tauheed is broadly categorized as follows
- Tauheed ar-Ruboobiyyah, ( Tauheed of Lordship)
- Tauheed al-Uloohiyyah (Tauheed in Worship ) and
- Tauheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat ( Tauheed in Names & Attributes)
Tauheed ar-Ruboobiyyah: Ruboobiyyah is based on the root word ‘Rabb’ which symbolizes true and complete owner. In other words, ALLAH SWT is ONE and the fact that HE is the master of all creation. HE is the ONLY one who sustains all the creations and the ONLY one who has control over the administration of the dominion of earth, heavens, and all that is there in the Universe. ALLAH SWT proclaims “Indeed, your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. He covers the night with the day, [another night] chasing it rapidly; and [He created] the sun, the moon, and the stars, subjected by His command. Unquestionably, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds.” [Al Aaraf 7:54]
In simple terms Tauheed ar-Ruboobiyyah means declaring that there is only ONE who controls the divine functions of creating and sustaining the universe. In stark contrast there are two kinds of shirk that negate this, which are polytheism and atheism. Polytheism pronounces that there are many gods who are responsible for creating and nourishing the universe, while atheism declares that there is neither Creator nor Sustainer.
Tauheed al-Uloohiyyah is the natural follow up of Tauheed ar-Ruboobiyyah. Once the slave of ALLAH SWT acknowledges that ALLAH SWT is the Only Creator, Nourisher, and Sustainer the natural corollary is that HE alone is to be worshipped. Therefore Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah is isolating ALLAH SWT with worship so that none besides HIM is worshipped, called upon or sought for rescue, except HIM. HE IS THE ONE AND HE IS THE ONLY ONE. None is sacrificed to or slaughtered for, or made an oath for, except HIM. ALLAH SWT said, “Say: My prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death are for ALLAH, the Lord of the worlds. He has no partner. This is what I have been commanded with and I am the first of those who submit (to Him with Islam and Tauheed)” [Al-An’aam 6:162]. ALLAH SWT commanded, “Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to HIM only)” [Al-Kawthar 108:2].
Tauheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat epitomizes “the Tauheed in the Names and the Attributes of Allah “. Abu Hurairah RA narrates: “ALLAH has ninety-nine Names, and whoever believers in their meanings, and acts accordingly, will enter Paradise…” [Bukhari]. The Names and Attributes of ALLAH SWT should be accepted and believed upon without any alteration, neither in words nor in meaning. None of these names and attributes should be assigned to any of HIS creations. They should be understood in the absolute sense and free from human deficiencies because the similarity between the Attributes of ALLAH and mankind is only in name and not in degree.
For example, ALLAH SWT mentions: “That HE may punish the hypocrites, men and women, and the pagan men and women, who have an evil opinion of ALLAH. A circle of evil is around them; ALLAH is Angry with them, Curses them and has prepared for them an evil end.” [Al-Fat-h 48:6]. In this verse, ALLAH is described with the Attribute of Anger. It is wrong to believe that ALLAH’s anger has any semblance to those of the humans. It is also wrong to change the meaning of the verse saying, ‘HIS anger must mean HIS Punishment, because anger is a sign of weakness and weakness cannot be attributed to ALLAH SWT. It is sufficient to believe in the Attribute of ALLAH SWT and believe that “There is nothing like unto HIM.” The Names and Attributes of ALLAH SWT should be accepted and affirmed without inquiring about their exact nature. Believing in their apparent meaning is an obligation and deeply reflecting about ALLAH is an innovation, as the Messenger of ALLAH (PBUH) said: “Reflect upon the creation and do not reflect upon ALLAH.” [Silsilaat as-Saheehah]
Shirk in Tauheed al-Asmaa wa-Sifaat is to accredit someone else than ALLAH SWT, the qualities (Attributes), which are explicit to ALLAH Alone. For example, amongst the Attributes of ALLAH is that HE is the Knower of the Unseen (Ghayb) and HE alone knows what the heart conceals. ALLAH SWT says: “Say, None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allah, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected” [Naml 27:65]. Therefore, to consider someone other than ALLAH to have the knowledge of the ghayb or the unseen is Shirk (associating partners with ALLAH).
Allah does not have any negative attributes or qualities. Allah SWT says in Quran in Ayatul Kursi [Surah Baqarah 2:255] “Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.” This verse mentions that Allah does not sleep. Similarly Allah says in [Surah Ikhlas 112:1-4] “Say, He is Allah , [who is] One, Allah , the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent.” In this chapter the attribute of birth is denied.
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