The concept of “Tawheed” is the most fundamental concept of Islam as a religion and one that each and every Muslim should subscribe to. Every Muslim should believe in the one true God alone and should not worship any deity other than Him.
The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “O Mu’adh! Do you know what Allah’s Right upon His slaves is?” I said, “Allah and His Apostle know best.” The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “To worship Him (Allah) Alone and to join none in worship with Him (Allah). Do you know what their right upon Him is?” I replied, “Allah and His Apostle know best.” The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Not to punish them (if they do so).”
As for the categories of Tawheed as it pertains to Allah, they all fall under the general definition of Tawheed as “Singling out Allah alone with anything and everything that specifically pertains to only Him.”
The categories of Tawheed, as mentioned by the scholars, are three:
- Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah (Tawheed of Allah’s Lordship)
- Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah (Tawheed of Allah’s sole right to all worship)
- Tawheed Al-Asmaa wa-Sifaat (Tawheed of Allah’s names and attributes)
Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah is to single out Allah alone with the actions of creating (everything), owning (everything), and controlling (everything). The details of this meaning are as follows:
First, as for singling out Allah alone with the action of creating; He is the Creator other than whom there is no creator.
Allah says: “Is there are creator other than Allah that provides you with sustenance from the heavens and earth? There is nothing deserving of worship besides Him alone”.
(S: Faatir, V:3, 35:3)
He said: “Allah created all of you and what you do”.
(S: As-Saaffaat, V:96, 37:96)
Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah is to single out Allah alone with all acts of worship. This is the type of Tawheed with which the polytheists went astray due to it – these same polytheists which the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) fought, the safety of their blood and wealth being lost as well as their land and homes. It is this type of Tawheed with which the Messengers were sent, and by which the books were revealed along with the other two types: Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah and Tawheed of Allah’s names and attributes. But most of what the Messengers focused on correcting among their people was this type of Tawheed – Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah.
Allah says: “Indeed, whoever makes Shirk (associating partners in worship) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, his destination is the Fire, and there will never be any helper for the transgressors”.
(S: Al-Maaidah, V:72, 5:72)
Anyone who has read the Book of Allah knows that the polytheists that the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) fought, making their blood and wealth permissible, taking captives from their families, and inheriting their lands – these same people used to believe and accept that Allah alone is the sole Lord and Creator; they used not to make Shirk, associating partners, in this particular belief of theirs. However, they used to worship along with Allah others. By this, they became complete polytheists.
3.Tawheed Al-Asmaa wa-Sifaat
Tawheed Al-Asmaa wa-Sifaat is to single out Allah alone with what He has named Himself with or described Himself with in His Book or upon the tongue of His Messenger.
However, it is also upon us that we do not try to imagine them with our hearts, nor speak about them with our tongues, questioning how they are in reality, nor do we believe they are similar to the hands of the creation because Allah says:
“There is nothing similar to Him. And He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing”.
(S: Ash-Shooraa, V:11, 42:11)