People may say the testification that none has the right to he worshipped save Allah upon their tongues, but when it is said sincerely, coming from the heart – it takes on board a completely different reality. It is in accordance to ones actualisation of Tawhid that one completes his servitude of Allah,
“Have you seen him who has taken his whims and desires to be his god? Will you then be his guardian? Do you suppose that most of them hear or understand? They are like cattle, indeed they are even more astray!” (Surah al-Furqan, 25: 43-44)
This describes the state of the polytheists, those who worshipped whatever seemed fair to them, thereby taking gods besides Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. This is why al-Khalil (Prophet Ibrahim) said,
“I do not love what sets.” (Surah al-An’am, 6 : 76)
The nation of Ibrahim never rejected the existence of a Creator, but they used to worship whatever seemed fair to them, whatever they thought would bring them benefit such as the sun, the moon, and the stars. Ibrahim explained that those things that set, disappear from their worshippers and can be covered by clouds; they are unable to see their worshippers, hear their words or know anything about their conditions; they are unable to bring benefit or harm to them – so why should they be worshipped?
The more the servant increases in sincerity in his saying of, “None has the right to be worshipped except Allah”, the weaker becomes servitude to his base desires and the more sins is he able to avoid. Allah,
Exalted is He, says,
“That happened so We might avert from him all evil and lust. He was Our chosen servant.” (Surah Yusuf, 12 : 24)
So the reason given for his being turned away from evil and indecent acts was that he was from the chosen servants of Allah and it is about such servants that Allah, Exalted is He says,
“But as for My servants, you will have no authority over them … ” (Surah Al-isra, 17 : 65)
“By Your might, I will mislead all of them except for Your chosen servants among them.” (Surah Saad, 38 : 82-83)
It is established in the Sahih that the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Whoever says, ‘None has the right to be worshipped except Allah’ sincerely from his heart, Allah would make the Fire prohibited for him.” [Musnad Ahmad (5/236) and ibn Hibban (200) with a sahih isnad]
Sincerity negates the cause that makes one enter the Fire. Therefore whoever enters the Fire, from amongst those who did say this statement, entered it because they never actualised that level of sincerity which would have made the Fire forbidden them. Instead there would be found in his heart some form of shirk that made him deserve entry into the Fire. Shirk is more hidden than the walk of an ant across a rock. It is for this reason that the servant is ordered to say in every prayer,
“You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help.” (Surah al-Fatihah, 1 : 5)
Satan enjoins the person to commit shirk and the soul inclines towards obeying him, so the soul is always turning to other than Allah, either out of fear of it or in hope of it. Therefore the servant is always in need of purifying his Tawhid of Allah.
Ibn ‘Asim and others record that the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Satan says, ‘I destroy people through sins and they destroy me through saying – None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and seeking forgiveness. When I realised this I incited their base desires such that they sin and do not seek forgiveness, thinking instead that they were doing good.’ ”
The person who obeys his desires rather than revelation falls under the category of those who take their desires as gods besides Allah and ends up committing a form of shirk that prevents him from seeking forgiveness.
In contrast, whoever actualises tawhid and seeks forgiveness will have evil removed from him and this is why Dhun-Nun said, “None has the right to be worshipped except You; glory be to You, far removed are You from any imperfection; I have been amongst the wrong-doers.”
By – Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, From the book : THE RELIEF FROM DISTRESS-AN EXPLANATION TO THE DU’A OF YUNUS