The Status of Tawheed, Part 5: Foundations of Islamic Monotheism: The Three Categories

Lesson 5

All Praise is due to Allāh, we praise Him, seek His aid and His Forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allāh from the evils of our souls and the evils of our actions. Whomsoever Allāh guides there is none to misguide and whomsoever Allāh misguides there is none to guide. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, alone, without any partners and I bear witness that Muhammad (صلّ الله عليه و سلّم) is His servant and Messenger.

To proceed,

The truest speech is the Book of Allāh, and the best way is the way of Muhammad (صلّ الله عليه و سلّم). The worst of affairs are the newly introduced matters, every newly introduced matter is an innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Fire.

To proceed: (transcribed):

Continuing from this work, “Duroos min al-Qur’ān Al-Kareem”, Shaykh al-Fawzān (hafidhahullāh) states that the Tawheed of Allah, the belief in the oneness of Allah (the Most High), is of three categories. The first being Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah, the second being Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah; also referred to as Tawheed al-Ibādah. The third category is Tawheed al-Asma was-Sifāt which is to affirm for Allah His Names and Attributes which He has affirmed for Himself, and what the Messenger affirmed for Him – and to believe in them as the Prophet and His Companions believed in them.

And that is to have Imān, firm Iman and belief in that which Allah (subhānahu wa ta’āla) has affirmed regarding His Names and His Attributes. That is to accept and to affirm whatever has been reported in the Qur’an and whatever has been reported in the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) regarding Allah’s beautiful Names and His lofty Attributes.

That means to narrate them as they came, that we do not deny them and nor do we resemble them to any one of His creation. The Names and Attributes of Allah (subhānahu wa ta’āla) are unique to Allah: “There is nothing like unto Allāh, and He is the All-Hearing and the All-Seeing.”

The categories of at-Tawheed are derived from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu-‘alayhi-wassallam). Every verse in the Qur’an that speaks regarding the actions of Allah, His creating, His providing, His giving life and His causing death, His controlling the affairs, all of these denote the Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah of Allah, i.e. the Lordship of Allah. Allah has mentioned this category of Tawheed, the Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah, in numerous places in the Qur’an, which is to single out Allah alone with His actions.

Allah has mentioned in the Qur’an, “Say to them, O Prophet, ‘To whom belongs the earth and that which is within it, if you truly know?’ They will say: ‘It belongs to Allah.'” The earth and whatever is within it, it belongs to Allah. “Say to them, O Prophet: ‘Will you not then remember and take admonition?'” Also, “Say, O Prophet, to them: ‘Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and who is the Lord of the Mighty Throne?’ The idol worshippers they will say: ‘It belongs to Allah.’ Say, O Prophet, to them: ‘Will you not, therefore fear Allah and be dutiful to Him?'” Also, “Say to them, O Prophet: ‘In whose Hand is the sovereignty of everything, and He is the one who protects, while against Him there is no protector if you truly know?’ They will say: ‘It is for Allah.’ Then how are you then deceived and turned away from the truth?” (See Surah al-Mu’minoon 23:84-89)

These ayāt prove that the Mushrikeen used to affirm the ar-Rubboobiyyah (the Lordship) of Allah. When they were asked, “To whom belongs the earth and whatever is within it?” They would say “Allah”. When it was said to them, “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and who is the Lord of the Mighty Throne?” They used to affirm that the Lord of the seven heavens is Allah and the Lord of the Mighty Throne, is Allah. The polytheists affirmed all of this. When it was said to them, “In whose hand is the sovereignty?” They would say, “It is for Allah”. When asked, “Who is the one who protects everything, against whom there is no protector?” They would say, “It is Allah.”

The mushrikeen of Makkah used to affirm the Rubboobiyyah of Allah; the Lordship and ownership of Allah. Likewise, Allah stated in Sūrah Yunus, āyat 31: “Say to them, O Prophet, ‘Who is the one who provides you with sustenance from the sky, and from the earth? Who is the one who owns the hearing and He owns the sights, the one who brings life out of the dead and the one who brings the dead out of the living? Who is the one who controls all of the affairs of the universe?'” The Mushrikoon, those idol worshippers of Quraish they said to the Prophet, “It is Allah.” So say to them O Prophet: “Will you not fear Him and will you not be dutiful to Him?”

In all of these verses, it is clear that the Mushrikoon used to affirm that: Allah is their Lord, Allah is the Creator, Allah is the Provider, Allah is the one who brings life from the lifeless and the one who causes the living to die and the One who controls the affairs of the universe. The Mushrikoon of Makkah, who used to worship the idols Al-Lāt, Al-‘Uzza and the other gods never denied the category of Tawheed Ar-Rubboobiyyah, which is Allah’s Lordship. Yet they were still considered Polytheists.

If they were asked, “Who is the Rabb of the Ka’ba?” They would say “It is Allah.” If it was said to them, “Who owns the Mighty Throne?” Those Mushrikoon who used to worship the idols would say “It is Allah who owns the Mighty Throne and the one who sends down the rain from the sky.”

Shaykh al-Fawzan stated that every verse that makes mention of the creation of the heavens and the earth and the existence of the universe – then all of this enters into the Tawheed ar-Rubboobiyyah of Allah (the Mighty and Majestic), which is to single out Allah alone with regard to His Lordship, i.e. His ownership and actions.

Every āyah that mentions ‘ibādah (worship), with the command to worship Allah and forbids from shirk (polytheism), then that enters into Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah, to single out Allah alone concerning His worship and concerning the fact that He is the sole Deity worthy of worship.

And every āyah that speaks regarding the Names and Attributes of Allah enters into the Tawheed al-Asmā was-Sifāt, to single out Allah alone with His beautiful Names and His lofty Attributes.

So, you will find all of these categories of Tawheed in the Book of Allah and for this reason, the ‘Ulama, said that Tawheed is three categories:

1. Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah: to single out Allah alone as the sole deity worthy of worship.
2. Tawheed ar-Rubboobiyyah: to single out Allah alone concerning His Lordship, that He is the Creator, and to single Him out with His actions.
3. Tawheed al-Asmā was-Sifāt: to affirm that which Allah has affirmed in the Qur’an of His Names and Attributes and that which the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) affirmed for Him upon their apparent meaning, without denying them, distorting them, saying ‘how’, or resembling them to the creation.

The ‘ulamā did not invent this categorisation themselves! When the ‘ulamā spoke concerning the three categories of Tawheed, it was not an innovation. It was not a bid’ah. Instead, they derived it from the Book of Allah, and we shall explain this affair, inshā’ Allah, in more detail in the next article. And also the position of those who reject these categories of Tawheed, for whatever reasons that they use.

To be continued, inshā’ Allāh.

Lecture Series by Abu Khadeejah Abdul Waahid
Ramadan 1438 / 2017 Masjid As-Salafi Birmingham

Lessons from the Noble Qur’ān by Shaykh Salih al-Fawzan (adapted).

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