The Fundamentals Of Tawheed
Shaykh Usaamah Al-Qoosee (hafidhahullah)
Source: A four part tape set taught by the Shaykh in Egypt titled: “At-Tawheed”
All Praise is for Allaah and may His peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and on his family, Companions and those who follow his guidance. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah, alone and with no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) is His slave and Messenger.
We have finished our discussion on the issue of Hijaab and now we move on to discussing the foundation and main basis of this Religion, which is Tawheed. So when we turn our attention towards one group of people, we find that they reject the obligation of wearing Hijaab, describing it as being something backward or that it is a call to return to the times of old or that it goes against the spirit of women’s freedom. Or they claim that the Hijaab is just something of which its time has passed and there is no place for it in these times of progression and modernisation. I say that these types of people should not be talked to about the obligation of Hijaab, but rather, they should be talked to, first, about knowledge of Allaah. They should be talked to about the Tawheed (Oneness) of Allaah before they are talked to about the obligation of Hijaab.
The reason for this is because if someone knows and understands who Allaah is, he will readily accept what comes from Him. But if he doesn’t know about Allaah or what Allaah requires him to know, then he will indeed debate and argue about His verses without knowledge, and he will take them as a joke and a trivial matter – and due to this, he will be far astray. So knowledge of Allaah and His Oneness is the foundation of this Religion. And it was the da’wah (Call) of all of the Messengers sent by Allaah.
In the Saheeh of Imaam Al-Bukhaaree, there is found the famous hadeeth in which the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) sent Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal (radiyallaahu anhu) to Yemen. When he was seeing him off, he said to him:
“Indeed you are going to a group of people who are from the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and Christians). So let the first thing that you call them to be that they worship Allaah alone and not ascribe any partners to Him.”
In another wording of this hadeeth found in the Saheeh of Imaam Al-Bukhaaree, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“So let the first thing that you call them to be that they single Allaah out (i.e. worship Him alone).”
So this indicates to us that the foundation of this Religion is Tawheed.
And in another wording of this hadeeth, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said to Mu’aadh: “So when they come to know Allaah, then inform them or teach them that Allaah has obligated five prayers on them during each day and night.”
The point here is that these people should not be talked to about the prayer until after they first perfect their understanding of Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala). So knowledge of Allaah, which is Tawheed, is the primary foundation of this Religion – the Religion of Islaam. And it is that which all the messengers and prophets were sent with. They were sent with the Tawheed of Allaah, as Allaah says quoting from the prophets:
“You must worship Allaah; you have no other god besides Him.”
When we read the Noble Qur’aan, we find that Allaah, Lord of Glory and Might (Tabaraaka wa Ta’alaa), described these messengers as ones who called their people to worship Allaah alone and not ascribe any partners to Him (or mix other gods in their worship of Him). Just looking in the Qur’aan will make us understand this point very well. We can find this same understanding in what is intended in Allaah’s saying:
“And indeed We have sent messengers in every nation, saying to their people: ‘Worship Allaah, and stay away from the Taaghoot (false deities and systems).'” [An-Nahl (16):36]
So worshipping Allaah and avoiding the false deities is what is meant by the saying: “Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah.” The part of the ayah: “Worship Allaah” is an affirmation of our servitude to Allaah alone, and His saying “Stay away from the Taaghoot” is a rejection and a denial of everything that is worshipped besides Allaah.
So this statement of Tawheed has two parts to it: One is a negation, while the other is an affirmation. This is when we say Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah (There is no deity that has the right to be worshipped, except Allaah). If we were to reflect and ponder on this sentence that we say so often, we would find that it consists of two parts – a part in which there is a negation “Laa Ilaaha” and a part in which
there is an affirmation “Illaa Allaah.” And here, this (second) part serves as an exemption (to the previous general and absolute negation.) So “Laa Ilaaha” (There is no deity that has the right to be worshipped) is a negation, and “Illaa Allaah” (Except Allaah) is an affirmation.
Tawheed cannot be achieved unless there is both a negation and an affirmation. So whoever says “Laa Ilaaha” and then stays quiet after that, then he is an atheist, for he has negated and not affirmed. The person who says “Laa Ilaaha” – this is a pure and absolute negation. So the unrestricted negation is considered atheism, because it is a denial of God. In fact, it is a denial of everything that is labelled with the title God. It is a negation of all gods, in the general and absolute sense. So this is atheism. And if someone affirms but does not negate – if he says: “I worship Allaah”, and then it is said: “Say: And I do not ascribe any partners to Him (or mix others in worship with Him)”, he says: “No, I worship Allaah and then I remain silent and I do not negate all the other gods.” This is Shirk. So whoever negates but does not affirm, then he is an atheist. And whoever affirms but does not negate, then he has committed Shirk (ascribing partners to Allaah).
And whoever negates and affirms at the same time, then he has singled Allaah out and made Him One in Tawheed. So therefore, Tawheed means that we negate and we affirm. So we say Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah, which means: “There is no true god that deserves to be worshipped except Allaah.”
What connection does this point have to our discussion, which is the issue of knowing Allaah? Knowledge of Allaah is the foundation of this Religion. As the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said to Mu’aadh: “So if they know that” meaning if they affirm Allaah and know who He is, then at this point you should say to them: “This Lord and this God whom you have come to know and comprehend, He has obligated you to pray five prayers every day.”
At this point, it is not possible for the one who knows Allaah to say: “When I am convinced, I will pray” – because he has already become convinced when he singled Allaah out and made Him one in Tawheed. The Muwahhid (one who implements the Tawheed) is convinced about the foundation of the Religion, which is Tawheed. So if he is convinced about the foundation of this Religion and if he agrees with the basis of this Religion, which is Tawheed, then the matter to him becomes such as that of receiving and readily accepting whatever comes from Allaah. So because of this, the Muwahhid has no problem with praying or giving Zakaat or making Hajj or fasting, or with regard to women, she has no problem with the Hijaab.
These kinds of people, when they are commanded by Allaah – whom they believe in and make One – to abide by and implement any of the obligations of this Religion, their response is that of the believers, which is: “We hear and we obey.” Allaah says:
“Indeed when the believers are called to Allaah and His Messenger to judge between themselves, their only saying (in response) is to say: We hear and we obey. And these are the successful.” [An-Noor (24):51]
So the believers do not argue about Allaah’s verses nor do they change and distort the words from their true nature. Nor do they cover the truth with falsehood. The only thing that the believer needs is to be called to Allaah and His Messenger – so if it said to him Allaah said such and such and it is authentically reported on the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) that he said such and such, then nothing is expected from the Muwahhid except that he should say: “We hear and we obey.”
But if he gives an answer that is not the proper answer – it is not “We hear and we obey” – then this person is not a Muwahhid (i.e. he does not establish the Tawheed of Allaah). He is not a Muwahhid nor is he someone who knows Allaah, since the Muwahhid accepts from Allaah because he knows Allaah. Let us look at the hadeeth of Mu’aadh, in which the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “So if they know Allaah”, “So if they know that”, “So if they agree with that.”
Therefore, Tawheed is the foundation of this Religion. And it is Allaah’s right that he has over all of His servants, as is stated in a hadeeth reported by Mu’aadh (radiyallaahu anhu) also. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do you know what the servants’ right over Allaah is and what Allaah’s right over His servants is?” So Mu’aadh said: “Allaah and His Messenger know best.” The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allaah’s right over His servants is that they worship Him alone and not mix anything with Him in worship.”
So Tawheed is the right Allaah has over His servants. On the other hand, what is the right the servants have over Allaah, providing they first give Allaah His right? If they worship Him alone and do not mix anything with Him in worship, their right is that Allaah will not punish them – that He will not punish anyone that worships Him and does not ascribe partners to Him.
So if we understand this basic principle, O noble brothers, then we must know that Tawheed means: Singling Allaah out in worship as well as freeing and absolving oneself from everything that is worshipped besides Allaah from the false gods, rivals, opponents, intercessors – everything that is considered a rival to Allaah.
This is why we said it is a negation and an affirmation. “Laa Ilaaha” is a negation and “Illaa Allaah” is an affirmation. So Tawheed is negating and affirming. One cannot be a Muwahhid (adherent of Tawheed) unless he negates and affirms. So whoever negates only, then he is an atheist, and whoever affirms but does not negate, then he is a mushrik (ascribed partners to Allaah). One cannot be a Muwahhid unless he negates and affirms at the same time.
Now we will present a strange question. What is this question? Are we in need of giving a lecture on Tawheed? The answer will be given in the form of a question. And this question (i.e. answer) will definitely make us say: Yes, the Muslims are in great and extreme need during these days of understanding Tawheed, because many of them, whether because of ignorance or error, have serious deficiencies and errors in the matter of Tawheed, while knowing that they are contradicting it. So the question we will respond to them with is the following:
“If you truly want to know the importance of this subject, then ask those around you in your gatherings and in your daily affairs, rather the Muslims who are beloved and close to you. Try and attempt with them. And ask those Muslims around you. Say to one of them: ‘You, O Muslim, who believes in Tawheed, you say this statement of Tawheed: Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah. So what is its meaning O Muslim, who understands Tawheed?”
Ask him this question! And we don’t mean by this that they give us a class or a lecture on it! Rather, we only want the simple and basic meaning, which every Muslim – even the unlettered person can understand.
Unfortunately, some people that go out to give Da’wah or who are put in charge of running the Da’wah, calling others to Islaam, when they are asked this question, they respond with the answer: “It means: ‘There is no Creator except Allaah.'” These are callers that are in positions of responsibility within the field of Da’wah, and who think they are calling others to Islaam! When they are asked this question: What does Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah mean? They respond: “It means that there is no Creator except Allaah.” And this is an answer that is completely wrong, for this answer “There is no Creator except Allaah”, was understood well by even Abu Lahab – the one for whom Allaah revealed the following verses:
“Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and may he perish. Neither his wealth nor his progeny will avail him. He will be burned in a Fire of blazing flames. And his wife too, who carries wood. Upon her neck is a twisted rope of masad (palm fibre).” [Al-Masad (111):1-5]
Abu Lahab knew that there was no Creator except Allaah. So then was Abu Lahab a Muwahhid? No, the answer is no. So now we realize the danger of being ignorant about Tawheed, in the total sense, on the part of the Muslims. If I were to say to my brothers, and I am not exaggerating, but this is the truth and it is actually occurring and present, that some people who are responsible for calling the people towards good, according to their perception, they themselves do not know the meaning of Tawheed! So he talks about it as if its meaning were “There is no Creator except Allaah.”
So if someone who is in charge of giving Da’wah says to you that the meaning of the statement of Tawheed is that there is no Creator except Allaah. And this meaning, which he claims is the meaning of the statement of Tawheed – Abu Lahab and Abu Jahl knew and understood it. The high nobles and leaders of the Quraysh knew and understood this meaning very well, as Allaah says:
“And if you were to ask them who created them, they would surely say Allaah.” [Az-Zukhruf (43):87]
And He says:
“And if you were to ask them who Created the heavens and the earth, they would surely say Allaah.” [Az-Zumar (39):38]
They understood this very well – that Allaah created the heavens and the earth and that Allaah created them.
So at this point, there should be occurring some kind of self-questioning in the minds of the listeners – because someone may be reflecting to himself saying: “I understand the statement Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah to mean that there is no Creator except Allaah. So then what is the difference between Abu Lahab and me and between Abu Jahl and me (?) so long as I understand this statement with a meaning that these polytheists used to agree and comply with?”
This self-questioning is the beginning of knowledge. This self-questioning is the commencement of understanding. So if you truly desire good for yourself and your close ones, then each of us must be truthful to himself and truthful with Allaah, such that he is sincere to Allaah.
But if I am ignorant, then know that ignorance is not a defect unless it goes from slight (baseet) ignorance to compounded (murakkab) ignorance. It is easy to correct the one that has slight ignorance because he can be corrected through knowledge. So the ignorant person – who has slight ignorance – this person acknowledges that he is ignorant. But the misfortune lies in the one who is ignorant – with compounded (murakkab) ignorance. He is the one who thinks he understands and knows, but in reality he neither knows nor understands. He
thinks that he is upon something good, he regards himself to be upon knowledge, when in fact he ascribes partners to Allaah and places rivals with Him. But yet, he thinks that he is a Muwahhid (adherent to Tawheed).
So the one with slight ignorance can be cured through teaching. And all of us, except those whom Allaah has had mercy on, can say that we were ignorant of things that were from the most important aspects of Tawheed, while we though that we were from the Muwahhideen. But this was until we learned, and understood and listened and opened our ears to those who admonished us and reminded us and taught us and made us understand. And we came to realize our ignorance and lack of understanding, so then we began to accept and understand. But this was when we answered the call of the caller.
Dear brother in Islaam, I do not exaggerate when I say that many Muslims don’t understand anything that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) used to call to. What was the point that marked the differing between the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and his people? Was it concerning the point of affirming that Allaah was the Creator? Rather, this was an issue that they both agreed on. And if he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) did speak about this aspect of Tawheed (Rububiyyah) then it was only so that he could connect it to the Tawheed (Oneness) of Allaah in Worship (Uluhiyyah), and this is the aspect of Tawheed that we are talking about now.
So what we stated before that Allaah is the only Creator and that He is the only Administrator, and that He is the only Governor, this is Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah or the Oneness of Allaah in His Lordship. And if you recall, this was the topic of the lecture that I gave in the conference on Tawheed in Masjid Al-‘Azeez Billaah in the vicinity of Zaytoon. I said there that Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah is a Tawheed that is innate. Everyone’s fitrah (natural inclination) agrees with it. Everyone’s fitrah (natural inclination) agrees with it. And no one rejects it except someone who suppresses it or restrains it, but who deep down inside agrees and acknowledges that Allaah is his Lord and that there is no Lord equal to Him. So therefore, there is no need to debate in this matter with someone who argues concerning this part of Tawheed. [Pharaoh said]:
“And what is the Lord of the Worlds?”
“He is your Lord and the Lord of your ancient forefathers.”
So he debated them with points that he knew they already held within their hearts.
[In another ayah, he said to Pharaoh:]
“You indeed know that these signs have truly been sent down by none but the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth.”
So he is calling Pharaoh and his people by saying “You indeed know.” This means: “You acknowledge that inwardly and agree with it, so this matter does not require any affirmation or evidence for it. And Allaah says:
“And they denied (the signs Moosaa brought) wrongfully and arrogantly, even though their own selves were convinced of them” [An-Naml (27):14]
Therefore, Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah does not require affirmation nor does it require any evidences, as it complies with one’s natural inclinations. Rather, the only thing that the messengers called their people to was Tawheed Al-Uluhiyyah (that Allaah alone must be worshipped) or Ilaahiyyah. Allaah says:
“(The messengers said to their people): O My people! Worship Allaah (alone), you have no other god (that deserves to be worshipped) besides Him.”
[Al-A’raf (7):59,65,73 and 85]
This is why we call it Tawheed. Why do we say Tawheed? It’s meaning is: “Singling Allaah out in worship.”
“To single Him out” (Ifraad Allaah) means to worship Allaah and not worship anyone else besides Him – to worship only Allaah and not mix anything in worship with Him. This is the call of the Qur’aan – it addresses all those that know the revealed books and accept the messengers, in Allaah’s saying:
“O People of the Book! Come to a word that is common between you and us. That we don’t worship anyone except Allaah and that we don’t mix anything in worship with Him and that none of us take others as lords besides Allaah. But if they turn away (and refuse) then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.” [Aali ‘Imraan (3):64]
This was the call of the prophets and messengers. So it was as if the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) called them and said to them: “We do not call you to say something new, rather you and us – we are the same. We say to you: Come and we are with you. We will all devote ourselves to Allaah in obedience, so you and us are servants (worshippers) of Allaah. No one amongst us will glorify another person with the type of glorification that is only befitting for Allaah. No one amongst us will take another person as a lord besides Allaah. Instead, we will all worship Him alone. You and us are equal in this respect.” This is what Tawheed is.
O People of the Book, we do not call you to something that is specific to you apart from us. We do not invite you to let us subjugate you, so that we can be above you and you below us. Instead, we say that you and us are slaves (worshippers) of One God that has no partner or child or wife. This Kind Lord is the One whom all of us call to – that He alone must be worshipped and that nothing must be mixed with Him in worship.
So Tawheed means singling Allaah out in worship and freeing oneself from everything that is worshipped besides Him. So therefore, the meaning of the statement of Tawheed is not that there is no Creator except Allaah. Rather it’s meaning is that “There is no deity that deserves to be worshipped except Allaah.”
So we don’t negate all Creators, and then affirm that for only Allaah, but rather we negate all deities that are worshipped, then we affirm that for only Allaah. So the meaning of Tawheed (Tawheed Al-Ilaahiyyah) is that we worship only Allaah and that we do not ascribe any partners to Him (when worshipping Him). So there is a big difference between us saying that the meaning of Tawheed is “there is no Creator except Allaah” and our saying that its meaning is “there is no god that has the right to be worshipped except Allaah.”
This in itself is similar to the example that I gave you for Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah, when I said that some people – when asked how do you know your Lord – they respond: “I came to know him through (my) intellect.” Inform these types of people that it is not for a Muslim to utter such a saying. Rather, it is Allaah who has given us the intellects and bestowed on us our minds, so how can we say that we don’t know Him except through our intellect? Rather, we know Allaah – the correct answer is – that we know Allaah because of Allaah’s guiding us (to that). This is the answer that you must respond with when asked such a question, O Muslim.
If it said to you: “How did you come to know your Lord?” You should respond by saying: “I came to know Him by His having guided me (to that).” So He is the One who has guided me to know who He is. In fact, even this inanimate object – his pillar (in the masjid) – knows Allaah. All of the inanimate objects know and acknowledge Allaah, yet they do not possess intellects (minds) as all of us are aware of. So if you were some inanimate object with no mind or intellect, you would still know Allaah. Allaah says:
“And there is not a thing except that it glorifies His praise, but you understand not their glorification.” [Al-Israa’ (17):44]
And He says:
“Every thing knows its prayer and its glorification (of Allaah).”
And Allaah says:
“And everyone in the heavens and everyone in the earth prostrates to Allaah.” [Ar-Ra’ad (13):15]
“Everything in the heavens and everything in the earth prostrates to Allaah.” [An-Nahl (16):49]
The word “everyone” (man) includes those that have intellects, while the word “everything” (maa) includes those created beings without intellects. So everything prostrates to Allaah (in worship). Allaah says:
“Have they not observed things that Allaah has created: (how) their shadows incline to the right and to the left, making prostration unto Allaah, while they are humbling themselves?” [An-Nahl (16):48-49]
So even the trees prostrate to Allaah by way of their shadows – the shadows that we see. These shadows that move from the east to the west and from the west to the east, the movement of these shadows is prostration to Allaah. So inanimate objects prostrate to Allaah. The trees prostrate to Allaah.
So how can you say: “I know my Lord by way of my intellect”?!? Rather, we would not even know what our intellects were if it weren’t for Allaah. We would not know what intellect was except due to Allaah.
Now, we will relate the saying of Dhu Noon Al-Misree (rahimahullah) when it was said to him: “How did you come to know your Lord?” He responded by saying: “I came to know my Lord through my Lord, and if it were not for my Lord, I would not have known who my Lord was.” (‘Araftu Rabbee bi-Rabbee wa law laa Rabbee maa ‘araftu Rabbee.)
So just as we corrected this grave error in Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah, which was when someone is asked: “How do you know your Lord”, he responds “I know him through my intellect.” No, rather we don’t know about our intellect or anything else for that matter except because of Allaah.” Then likewise, we must point out this same type of error that is committed in the aspect of Tawheed Al-Uluhiyyah. So we say that people saying that Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah means “there is no creator except Allaah” is a huge and great error.
This definition that they are affirming for the Statement of Tawheed (Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah) used to be agreed with and acknowledged by even Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab. So these people are applying the Tawheed of Rububiyyah, which Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab used to acknowledge. But as for that which Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) called to, then that was Tawheed Al-Uluhiyyah – Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah (There is no god that has the right to be worshipped except Allaah). He (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) did not call them to say: “There is no creator except Allaah.” Rather, he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) would say to them: “Say: Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah, you will be successful.” So then that which the messengers called to was not Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah, but rather it was Tawheed Al-Uluhiyyah.
At this point, someone may ask: “Now we know some new information – that Tawheed is divided into categories. So are there any other categories for Tawheed besides those categories that we know, which are Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah and Tawheed Al-Uluhiyyah?”
So I say, according to the people of knowledge, when they looked into and investigated the Noble Qur’aan and when they contemplated on the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), they found that Tawheed is divided into three categories. The first category is Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah, and this is what we spoke about – that Allaah is the Creator and the Administrator of all affairs. This is Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah, which most of the people agree with and acknowledge – even the polytheists of old – they affirmed this.
The second category is Tawheed Al-Uluhiyyah and it means that Allaah is singled out in worship. This is what the messengers called their people to, and for which reason Allaah revealed His books. “That you worship Allaah (alone), you have no other gods besides Him.” This God whose Lordship you have affirmed and agreed with, worship Him alone and do not ascribe any partners to Him (in worship). This is why it used to be said to them: “Is the one who creates equal to the one who doesn’t create?” [An-Nahl (16):17] The polytheist (mushrik) would be addressed with this kind of talk. You acknowledge that Allaah creates. Okay, so think, is the one who creates like the one who doesn’t create? Do you equate between these two – the Creator and the created? So when they were spoken to, they were talked to with words like this over and over again. They were informed that those things that they set up as rivals to Allaah were themselves created and did not create anything.
The third category of Tawheed is very important, and no one attains it except those who first understand Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah and Tawheed Al-Ilaahiyyah. So no one can truly know Allaah except for the person who understands and applies these two categories of Tawheed first. And the fruit produced from knowing Allaah and acknowledging that He alone has the right to be worshipped is that you describe Allaah with those perfect and honourable attributes that He is deserving of. And this is known as Tawheed Al-Asmaa was Sifaat.
Comments: We continue from last time’s discussion with the third part of the Shaykh’s class on Tawheed, which is still from Tape 1. In this segment, he discusses the third category of Tawheed, which is Tawheed Al-Asmaa wa Sifaat and a common error that is committed with regard to it.
So therefore, Tawheed is divided into three categories:
2.Tawheed Al-Uluhiyyah (Oneness of Allaah in His Worship)
3.Tawheed Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (Oneness of Allaah in His Names and Attributes)
So this Lord whom we have come to know and worship, what are His Attributes? What are His Names? Who is this Lord whom we have singled out in worship. After having agreed and acknowledged that He is the only Lord – what are His Attributes? From the unfortunate matters is that some Muslims who agree with Tawheed Al-Ilaahiyyah, they constantly debate and argue about Tawheed Al- Asmaa was-Sifaat. So after having acknowledge that there is only One God that has the right to be worshipped, behold they mix Him with others with regard to His Names and Attributes and they set up other gods in this matter that are too many to be counted! So naturally, this issue is very grave and dangerous.
I will give an example of a mistake that is committed in the topic of Tawheed Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat. By this we will have presented three examples altogether – the mistake committed in Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah, which is saying that we know Allaah because of our intellect. So we said to this that this was a big mistake and that rather we don’t know our intellect except through Allaah. Then there was the error committed in Tawheed Al-Ilaahiyyah, which was interpreting the Statement of Tawheed to mean “There is no creator except Allaah.” We came to know that this was an error and that it’s true meaning is “There is no deity that has the right to be worshipped except Allaah.”
And there is also a big gross error that is committed in the aspect of Tawheed Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat. So you say to one of them: “Are you a Muwahhid?” He says: “Yes, I say Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allaah. We are Muwahhidoon, all praise be to Allaah.” Then you say to him: “So this Lord that you have singled out and made One and worshipped alone, where is He O Muslim? Where is your Lord? Where is Allaah?” So he responds to you saying: “Our Lord has no place, our Lord is in every place (i.e. everywhere)” or “Our Lord is beyond having any place or time zone, so He has no place or time zone.” This is an extremely strange answer. So then you worship nothing! When you are asked: “Where is your Lord whom you worship and single out from everything else in worship” you say He has no place (i.e. He is nowhere)? So then you are saying that your Lord does not exist!
So when Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah debated with their opposition with regard to the Names and Attributes of Allaah, they discovered that every one of those in opposition affirmed a dhaat (essence) for Allaah. This is not an innovation, for Allaah mentions some expressions in His Book, which if people would reflect on, they would derive that understanding. Allaah says quoting from ‘Eesaa:
“You know what is in my soul (nafs), but I do not know what is in Your Self (nafs).”
In the sections of Tawheed, the scholars mention the term nafs, which is ascribed to Allaah. In the Arabic Language, this word nafs (self) is synonymous with the word dhaat (essence). So those who make opposition in the field of Allaah’s Names and Attributes, they affirm an essence (dhaat) for Allaah. So of course, if they were to deny that Allaah had an essence, they would in reality be denying Allaah. It is as if one person says: “I worship a Lord that has no essence.” So then it would be said to Him: “Then you worship nothing.” This is as some of the Ahlus-Sunnah would say:
“We say to the mujassim that you worship a statue And we say to the mu’attil that you worship nothing.”
What does this phrase mean? The mujassim (i.e. commits tajseem) is the one who says: “We find that Allaah says in His Book: ‘They intend Allaah’s Face’, ‘The Hand of Allaah is over their hands’, ‘And your Lord comes.'” And so they say: “These attributes are well known attributes of human beings – in terms of how they are and what they are. Human beings are able to recognize them, so in the same way, they are also affirmed for Allaah.” So they affirm the meaning and the manner of these attributes, as they relate to created beings, for Allaah.
So based on this, they affirm for Allaah a face like the faces that they know. And they affirm for Him a hand like the hands that they know. And they say His coming resembles the way a human being comes. So these people are called the mujassimah because they have given Allaah a body in the form that is known to be that of human beings.
On the other side of these people – as the saying goes “For every action there is a reaction” – there is another group of people that came and said no, no, no. “And your Lord comes” – they say it is not possible for us to ascribe this to Allaah – He doesn’t come. What about the Face of Allaah? No, we don’t ascribe that to Him – He has no Face. What about the Hand of Allaah? No, Allaah has no hand. So every time an attribute of Allaah is presented to these people, due to fear of falling into what the mujassimah fell into, they reject the attributes of Allaah. So they were called the Mu’attilah (those who commit ta’teel). So Ahlus-Sunnah came and stopped short of these two groups saying: “The mujassim worships a statue, while the mu’attil worships nothing.”
The mujassim says that Allaah has a hand just like our hands, a face like our faces, a foot like our feet and He comes in the same manner as we come, and so on. So they affirm attributes for Allaah that are in reality the attributes of created beings. So this is giving Allaah a body (i.e. tajseem). That is why the Ahlus-Sunnah said to them: “You are worshipping a statue.”
And on the other hand, there were those who said that Allaah does not have a hand nor a face nor does He come, nor does He become happy or angry or any of that! So they said to them “Then you are worshipping nothing!” This is because every time an attribute of Allaah comes to them, they reject it. So your Lord doesn’t become happy or angry, He doesn’t come nor does He have a face or a hand or anything – so then you don’t worship anything – you worship nothing.
As for Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, then they say that we are not able to know our Lord except through His guidance, as we said when discussing At-Tawheed Rububiyyah. We came to know Allaah due to Allaah having guided us to that. And we made Him One and worshipped Him alone because of Him having guided us to that. And we affirmed that He is One and Only in His Names and Attributes because of Allaah having guided us to that.
So we affirm everything that Allaah guides us to from His Names and Attributes without committing tashbeeh (making comparisons) or tajseem (ascribing anthropomorphic qualities) and without committing ta’teel (rejection and denial) or tahreef (distorting the correct meaning).
So when we come across a text that states that Allaah has a Face, we say that Allaah has a face, which is not like our faces. And Allaah has a hand, which is not like our hands. And Allaah comes, not like the way that we come. And Allaah becomes happy, not like the way that we are happy. And Allaah becomes angry, not like the way we become angry.
So Allaah has Attributes and Names, however, just as He is One in terms of His Lordship – so there is no Lord except Him – and just as He is One in His Worship – so nothing is to be worshipped except Him. Then likewise He is One and Only in His Names and Attributes. So no one can compare to Him in His Names and Attributes, nor can anyone resemble Him in His Names and Attributes. With this, you will have affirmed Allaah’s Oneness in His Lordship (Rububiyyah), Worship (Uluhiyyah) and Names and Attributes (Asmaa was-Sifaat). This is all of Tawheed.
This is Tawheed according to its three divisions. So Allaah has no equal or rival in His Lordship, nor does He have any equal or rival in His Worship, nor does He have any equal or rival in His Names and Attributes.
With this belief, you will have affirmed Allaah’s Oneness completely. And this is the Tawheed of the prophets and messengers. So the person that says to you: “I don’t know that my Lord has any place”, say to him: “Come here, understand what you are saying. What is the meaning of saying I don’t know that my Lord has a place? Do you worship a Lord that you don’t know? You must know that this question has its answer in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.”
And we must know and become acquainted with this answer, just as the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) gave us knowledge of it. There is an authentic hadeeth in the Saheeh of Imaam Muslim, which is not a hudayyith (or a weak hadeeth) as some people who do not desire the truth or to follow the Sunnah have claimed. Some of them, because of their opposition and disagreement of what is found in this hadeeth, say “And the weak (hudayyith) saying that is in Saheeh Muslim.”
But this is an authentic hadeeth – all of the scholars have unanimously agreed on accepting this hadeeth. And not one of the scholars has declared this hadeeth to be weak nor has any of them criticized its chain of narration. It is the hadeeth of Mu’awiyah Ibn Al-Hakam As-Sulamee. He used to own a slave girl that would go out and look after a flock of sheep. One day a wolf ate one of the sheep. So
when she went back to him and told him of what had occurred – that a wolf ate some of the sheep, he slapped her in the face. But after hitting her, he realized that he had made a mistake because his hitting her on the face was something forbidden. This ruling even applies for animals, not to mention for human beings. It is not permissible to hit the face at all under any circumstance, for indeed
Allaah has given honour to the face of the children of Aadam, not to mention all of the other created beings. So Mu’awiyah went to the Messenger and informed him of what happened and that he wanted to absolve himself from this sin he committed. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) realized that he wanted to free this slave in order to expiate his sin, but he wanted to make sure that he was freeing a believer (in Allaah), because Allaah says: “…the freeing of a believing slave (is prescribed).” [An-Nisaa (4):92] So the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Bring her to me”, so she was brought to him, and he said to her: “Who am I?” She said: “You are the Messenger of Allaah.” Then he said to her: “Where is Allaah?” She said: “Above the heavens.” So the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Free her for she is a believer.”
Some people that desire to distort this say there is no benefit in this hadeeth, because the Messenger of Allaah only freed her as a result of (proving) her level of comprehension. Laa hawla wa laa quwata illaa billaah. So it is as if they are saying that the Messenger of Allaah agreed with falsehood and was quiet about it, rather praised it, by saying: “Free her for she is a believer!”
Why O brother don’t you affirm what Allaah has affirmed for Himself? And why don’t you affirm for Him what His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) has affirmed for Him (?) without delving into the aspect of “how” (these attributes are). What is the thing that Ahlus-Sunnah stop at and do not delve into? It is the “how” (or the “manner” of the attributes) only. So Allaah, ‘azza wa jall, is fee as-samaa (above the heavens). The Arabic word used here “fee” does not hold the meaning of being inside, because some people understand the word fee to mean inside or within something, meaning that Allaah is inside the heavens. So we say to them that the word fee in Arabic has many meanings, amongst which is one meaning that has been expressed in the Qur’aan where the word fee (in) means ‘alaa (above). Allaah says quoting from what Pharaoh said:
“And I will surely crucify them (i.e. sorcerers) fee (on) the trunks of datepalm trees.”
So Pharaoh says he will crucify his sorcerers on (fee) the trunks of date-palm trees. Does this mean that he will take one of the sorcerers and put him inside the trunk of a tree and then crucify him? So the word fee (in) here takes the meaning of ‘alaa (on or above). So the ayah means:
“And I will surely crucify them ‘alaa (on) the trunks of date-palm trees.”
Allaah says: “So travel on (fee) the earth…” So then this means that we must be inside the earth? “So travel on (fee) the earth…” means “So travel on (‘alaa) the earth…”
So the word fee is used in the Qur’aan with many meanings, and one of it’s meanings is ‘alaa (on or above), and this is what it means here in this hadeeth.
So if you were asked “Where is Allaah” and responded by saying: “Fee As-Samaa” (above the heavens), you would be meaning above the seven heavens and above the Great Throne (‘Arsh).
Allaah has made it clear in many verses of His Book that He rises over His Throne. So “over” here means that He is above all of that. And Allaah’s Highness, as I have explained in our previous class held here, I said that we understand His highness incorrectly. Some people whose intellects have led them astray – we always mention the intellect because from the ways of deviating and straying is being disillusioned by the human intellect.
And for your information, all of the ahaadeeth that are reported concerning praise for the intellect are either fabricated or weak. Nothing from it is authentic. One such hadeeth states: “The first thing that Allaah created was the intellect. And if it were not for it, He would not have created anything.”
These are obviously words that are not authentic and are weak. So there is not one authentic hadeeth concerning the intellect and its virtue. So all that Allaah created the intellect for was so that mankind can understand their responsibilities. So it is a means for understanding the signs and proofs, a means for acknowledging, a means for observation, a means for comprehending.
But as for saying that the intellect is the foundation of everything, then no. This is because each person’s intellect varies and they are all limited. Since a human being has limited attributes, then likewise his intellect is limited…