The Muslims, even though all of them testify to it, differ greatly in their actualisation of it. Some think that tawhid is merely to believe that Allah is the creator of everything and its Lord (i.e. they only affirm Tawhid ar Rububiyyahh) and hence end up not differentiating between that aspect of tawhid which even the polytheists affirmed and the tawhid which the Messengers called to, the tawhid of singling out Allah alone for worship (i.e. Tawhid al uluhiyyah of Tawhid al ‘ibadah) they do not combine between tawhid of belief and tawhid of deed.

The polytheists never said that the creation was created by two gods, nor that there was a god alongside Allah who created any aspect of it, instead they would say as Allah informed us about them,

“If you asked them, ‘Who created the heavens and the earth?’ They would say, ‘Allah’ ” (Surah Luqman 31 : 25)

“Most of them do not have faith in Allah without associating others with Him.” (Surah Yusuf, 12 : 106)

“Say, ‘To whom does the earth belong and everyone in it, if you have any knowledge?’ They will say, ‘To Allah.’ Say, ‘Will you not then take heed?’ Say, ‘Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the Mighty Throne?’ They will say, ‘Allah.’ Say, ‘Will you not then fear Him?’ Say, ‘In whose hand is the dominion over everything, He who gives protection and from whom no protection can be given, if you have any knowledge?’ They will say, ‘Allah’s.’ Say, ‘So how have you been bewitched?’ ” (Surah al-Mu’minun, 23 : 84-89)

Yet despite their belief that Allah alone was the creator, they set up gods alongside Him, deities they appointed as intercessors between them and Him saying, We only worship them that they may draw us closer to Allah and they would love them as they should have loved Allah. Committing shirk in ones love, worship, supplication, and request (i.e. shirk in deeds) is something separate from committing shirk in belief and affirmation (of the existence of Allah), as He, Exalted is He, says,

“Some people set up equals with Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. But those who have faith have greater love for Allah.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2 : 165)

So whoever loves any object of creation as he should love Allah, has committed shirk and has taken partners besides Allah, loving them as he should love Allah, even if he believes that Allah is the sole creator. This is the reason why Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) differentiated between one who loves an object of creation for the sake of Allah and one who loves an object of creation alongside Allah.

The first person appoints Allah alone as his object of worship and absolute love and loves no other alongside Him; but when he comes to know that Allah loves His Prophets and righteous servants, he too loves them for this reason; similarly when he comes to know that Allah loves the performance of the legislated and the abandonment of the prohibited, he too loves this. Therefore his love for these matters is an offshoot of his love for Allah, arising by virtue of it and therefore part of his love for Allah.1

This is totally the opposite to the one who sets up partners besides Allah, placing his hope and fear in them 2 , or obeys them without knowing that obeying them is to obey Allah, or takes them as intercessors without knowing that Allah has granted permission for this. Allah, Exalted is He, says,

“They worship, instead of Allah, what can neither harm them nor help them, saying, ‘These are our intercessors with Allah’ ….. ” (Surah Yunus, 10 : 18)

“They have taken their rabbis and monks as lords besides Allah, and also the Messiah, son of Mary. Yet they were commanded to worship only one God; there is none worthy of worship save Him! Glory be to Him above anything they associate with Him!” (Surah at-Tawbah, 9 : 31)

‘Adi bin Hatim said to Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), but they never worshipped them to which he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) replied, “They made the lawful unlawful for them and they obeyed them. That was their worship of them.” (Tirmidhi – 3095)

Allah, Exalted is He, says,

“Or do they have partners who have laid down a religion for them for which Allah has not given any authority?” (Surah ash-Shura, 42 : 21)

“The Day when a wrongdoer will bite his hands and say, ‘Alas for me! If only I had gone the way of the Messenger! Alas for me! If only I had not taken so and- so for a friend! He led me astray from the Reminder after it came to me.’ Satan always leaves man in the lurch!” (Surah al-Furqan, 25 : 27-29)


Note :

  1. The author, Majmu fatwa (10/48-49) says, “Loving Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) is from the greatest obligations of faith and the greatest of its foundations, indeed it is the source of every action of faith and religion just as belief is the source of every statement of faith and religion. Every single motion arises as a result of love, be it praiseworthy or blameworthy. Therefore all actions of faith and religion arise only as a result of praiseworthy love, the foundation of which is the love of Allah, Exalted is He. Allah does not accept any action that is not done seeking His face and therefore any action that arises as a result of blameworthy love is not righteous in the Sight of Allah.”
  2. The author, Majmu fatwa (10/61) says, “Now if love is the foundation of every religious action, hope and fear then arise as a consequence of it and furthermore lead to it. Every person who hopes in something does so because he loves it, every person who fears something runs from the object of fear in order to attain something beloved.”


By – Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, From the book : THE RELIEF FROM DISTRESS-AN EXPLANATION TO THE DU’A OF YUNUS



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