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Lesson 7: It is not permitted to add to the Categories of Tawheed
As mentioned, there are people who believe that Tawheed is just one category, the category of Tawheed Ar-Rubbūbiyyah. They do not forbid the one who worships at the graves because they say that he has not violated the Tawheed Ar-Rubbūbiyyah, because he has not claimed that the dead one in his grave is the Creator or the Sustainer of creation. So, to them, Tawheed is a singular category. This is well known and something that is established in their books.
As for their position on the Names and Attributes of Allah, as far as they are concerned, and what they have written in their works, that is well known over the centuries is that they believe that whoever affirms the Names and Attributes of Allah has resembled Allah to His creation! They do not accept that it is possible to affirm that which Allah has said about Himself in the Qur’an or that He has described Himself with. Ahlul-Kalām, as they are known, negate affirming the names and attributes of Allah. These are the Jahmiyyah, the Ash’ariyyah and the Māturīdiyyah.
Those people of theological rhetoric (Ahlul-Kalām), who interpret the Qur’an (and the Names and Attributes of Allah) according to their own logic, come under various names: They are the Jahmiyyah, the Mu’tazliah, the Ashā’irah and the Matureediyyah — all of these sects negate Tawheed Al-Asmā was-Sifāt (the Tawheed of the Names and Attributes of Allah). They claim that it is not permissible to affirm for Allah what Allah has affirmed for Himself of His Attributes of highness, ascension over His ‘Arsh (Throne) and descending to the nearest heaven in the last third of the night, or affirmation of the Face of Allah, the Hands of Allah and so on. They say it is not allowed to affirm these for Allah, even though Allah has affirmed them Himself in the Qur’an. So, by their negating, distorting and falsely interpreting the Names and Attributes of Allah, they claim to be purifying Allah and freeing of resemblance to the Creation.
Tawheed, to them, is limited to Tawheed of Rubbūbiyyah, the Tawheed of Allah’s Lordship and Allah’s actions only because they do not accept the concept of the Tawheed Al-Ulūhiyyah which is the Tawheed of Ibādah for Allah alone ―and they do not affirm the Names and Attributes of Allah which is the Tawheed Al-Asmā was-Sifāt. They disregard the other two categories of Tawheed and they criticise and refute those who divide Tawheed into three categories. So much so, that a present-day writer from amongst them said that the division of Tawheed into three categories is tantamount to the trinity of the Christians!
Their hatred of the Truth and its people has reached such a point that they have resembled the division of Tawheed of Allah into three categories to the religion of the Christians, where they divide the Allah into three gods: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. They mock the people of Sunnah and say that they have made a trinity within Islam, and Allah’s refuge is sought from such attacks against the people of Sunnah.
Those who add a Fourth Category have no Proof
There are individuals in this era who have divided Tawheed into four categories. So, there are those who say Tawheed is only one category, and they fall into calamitous violations of Tawheed. Then there appeared another group who went to extremes. The first group fell into neglect by only allowing one category of Tawheed. The second group went beyond bounds and divided Tawheed into four categories! They said that Tawheed is in four categories: Tawheed Ar-Rubbūbiyyah, Tawheed Al-Ulūhiyyah, Tawheed Al-Asmā was-Sifāt and Tawheed Al-Hākimiyyah (Singling out Allah alone for Judgement). The unsuspecting and unlearned person may fall for this deceit and think there is no harm, but he would do so at his own peril.
They say that there is a Tawheed of Allah’s Lordship, the Tawheed of Allah’s worship, the Tawheed of Allah’s Names and Attributes and the Tawheed Al-Hākimiyyah ―i.e. the Tawheed of Allah’s rule and judgment. This is founded upon the false assumption that the division of Tawheed is a mere matter of terminology, merely tradition and it is not connected to the textual proofs. So, there is no harm, as far as they are concerned, in increasing upon the three categories. They have made the same mistake as many people make, believing that Tawheed is merely an issue of terminology and that the number of categories does not matter. But, in reality, the affair of the division of Tawheed into three categories can only be seen through these categories, and there is no fourth. There is no reduction or increase because anywhere Allah (the Most High) speaks about Himself in the Qur’an, and He explains and clarifies Tawheed, He does so in one of these three categories, and no more.
So, it is said to such a person who divides and adds to Tawheed: “This division is not merely invented terminology, rather, this categorisation refers back to the Book and the Sunnah.”
When the Salaf categorised Tawheed into three categories, they established it from the Book and the Sunnah.
As for Tawheed al–Hākimiyyah, the Tawheed of the Judgement of Allah, then it is true that it is obligatory to judge by the Sharī’ah of Allah (the Most High) ―it is the Law of Allah that holds primacy, and judging by it enters into Tawheed al-‘Ibādah. To judge by that which Allah has revealed is obedience to Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, and worship of Him.
The Salaf did not omit Al-Hākimiyyah or Judgement to Allah, nor did they neglect it, but it comes under the existing categories of Tawheed. The Salaf used to hold that every servant is to judge by that which Allah has revealed, the Hākimiyyah of Allah, and, by doing so, he has established the worship of Allah.
That is because it is from worship and obedience to Him, by judging in accordance to His Shari’ah. It is not an independent or separate category. Otherwise, that would necessitate that a person would make Salāh into a category from the categories of Tawheed. Likewise, Zakāt, fasting, Hajj and every type of worship would be given an independent categorisation of Tawheed ―claiming that Salāh is only for Allah and Zakat only for Allah — just as with Al-Hākimiyyah because they say that the hukm (judgement) is only for Allah.
We know that all of these affairs: Al-Hukm, the Salah, the Zakat, the Sadaqah, the Sawm and Hajj are all for Allah alone anyway ―so why not turn them into categories of Tawheed?! When a person judges by what Allah has revealed, he has worshipped Allah. When he performs the Salāh for Allah, he has worshipped Allah. So, therefore, it comes under the category of Tawheed Al-‘Ibadah (Tawheed of making worship for Allah alone). Otherwise, every type of worship would be given a different category and there would be no end to it. So this is a clear error, and innovation. Rather, all of the various types of worship fall into one category ―every act and every type of worship fall into one category and that is the Tawheed Al-Ulūhiyyah (i.e. ‘Ibādah). This includes all types of worship and it excludes that which is not considered to be worship.
They are mistaken in adding a fourth category and in saying that there are more than three categories of Tawheed. They have innovated into the Religion with intentions to raise the people against the their Rulers with this slogan of Tawheed Al-Hākimiyyah.
So, this is an error: Categorisation of Hākimiyyah into a separate category is a mistake, a bid’ah and misguidance ―and this is something that many of the scholars have mentioned ―from them Shaykh Abdul-‘Aziz Ibn Bāz, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Al-Albani, Al-Fawzan, Rabee’ Ibn Hādi, Ahmad An-Najmi, Muqbil Ibn Hādi etc. All of them refuted those that claimed that Tawheed Al-Hākimiyyah is the fourth category.
The error of adding the category of Tawheed Al-Mutāba’ah (i.e. Tawheed of following the Prophet)
Some have claimed that there is such a thing as Tawheed al-Mutāba’ah ―i.e. Ittibā’ or following the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) and this is also an error. Following the Messenger of Allah is right and proper, however, following the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) is from the binding necessities of Tawheed. For this reason, the testimony, Lā-ilāha-illallāh is not correct except with the testification that Muhammed is the Messenger of Allāh (wa anna Muhammadan rasūlullah) ―so from the necessity of the testification of Tawheed for Allah, is the testification of the Messengership of Muhammad (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam). This is from the necessities of Tawheed, it is not a separate, independent category from the categories of Tawheed.
You find some authors who say that Tawheed is four: Tawheed ar-Rubbūbiyyah, Tawheed al-Ulūhiyyah, Tawheed Al-Asmā was-Sifāt and they also add Tawheed Al-Mutāba’ah ―meaning to single out Muhammed (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) alone to be followed. They have added this fourth category. And that is an error
And there is another response to their adding Tawheed Al-Mutāba’ah ―and that is that whomsoever violates Tawheed, from the well-known three categories of Tawheed, he is a Mushrik (polytheist) ―one who has committed Shirk with Allah when he associates rivals with Allah in these categories. But, the one who violates Al-Mutāba’ah of the Messenger, i.e. does not follow him, he is not a Mushrik, he is an innovator (mubtadi’) and an opposer of the Sunnah. So, therefore, the one who violates ittibā’ (following the Prophet) is an innovator. The one who violates Tawheed, he is a Mushrik.
There are those who made ijtihād and said that there is a category of Tawheed al-Mutāba’ah, and that is a mistake and they are wrong since the affair of mutāba’ah (following) is connected to the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam), the second part of the Shahādah, whereas the three categories of Tawheed are connected to the first part of the Shahādah.
So, these are the various sayings of those who contradict Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah in the categorisation of Tawheed. They are either being excessive or negligent.
So, let us stick to that which the Salaf used to know and that which we know to be correct from the Qur’an and from the Sunnah, and that is that Tawheed is of three categories, and we shall prove that through the explanations of various verses of the Qur’an, inshā’-Allāh.
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This series of articles are generally based on “Duroos min al-Qur’ān Al-Kareem” of the Shaykh, the ‘Allāmah, the Faqīh, Sālih bin Fawzān bin ‘Abdillāh al-Fawzān (hafidhahullāh).