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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Purification Through Tawheed : Mankind's Greatest Need

I begin with the Name of Allaah

Purification Through Tawheed : Mankind's Greatest Need

Ibn Abil-'Izz Rahimahullaah (died 792 AH) - said: "Knowledge of Usool-ud-Deen (the fundamentals of the religion) is the most noble branch of knowledge, since the excellence of a certain type of knowledge depends upon what it is concerned with, and this is the greater Fiqh (understanding), which is why lmaam Abu Haneefa Rahimahullaah (died 150AH) - called that which he compiled concerning Usool-ud-Deen: "al-Fiqhul- Akbar" (The Greatest Fiqh). The need of the servants for this knowledge is greater than every other need; and it is the most necessary of all things for them, since there is no life for the hearts, nor any delight, nor any tranquility, except through knowing their Lord, the One to be worshipped, their Creator - with His Names, His Attributes and His Actions, and that He - along with all that - is more beloved to the person than anything else. So man's striving is with regards to everything that will draw him nearer to God, to the exclusion of the creation.

However, it is impossible for the minds to come to know and understand all that in detail, so the Most Merciful, the Most Majestic - from His mercy, sent Messengers to teach that and call to it; and to give good news to those who accept their Call and to warn those who reject it. The key to their Call and the essence of their message was the servant's drawing closer to Almighty God - the Most Perfect - through His Names, Attributes and Actions, since all that the Messengers were ordered with is built upon this. This then is followed by two great principles: Firstly: Knowing the path that leads to Him and that is the Sharee'ah (Islamic Law and Way) which is comprised of His orders and prohibitions. Secondly: That those following the path know what lies in store for them, which is endless bliss. So the people who know God best are the ones who best follow the way to Him; and know best what lies at the end of the way."1

Firmness Upon the Deen (The Religion of Islam)
So, firmness upon the Deen of Almighty God, excellence in this world and salvation in the Hereafter is built upon two great matters: "Firstly: Knowledge of God and the beautiful Names and lofty Attributes that befit Him and His Actions - and this necessitates appreciation of His Majesty, honoring Him, fearing Him, being in awe of Him, loving Him, placing one's hopes in Him, placing reliance upon Him, being pleased with His decree and having patience with what He sends down as regards to hardships. Secondly: Knowledge of what He loves and is pleased with, and what He hates and angers Him - whether beliefs, sayings, outward or inward actions. So the one who has knowledge of this has to rush to fulfill that which Almighty God loves and is pleased with, and to avoid that which He hates and which angers Him.2

Sufyaan ibn 'Uyaynah Rahimahullaah (died 197H) - said: "There are three types of Scholars: one who knows God and knows God's commands; and one who knows God, but does not know His commands; and one who knows God's commands, but does not know God. And the most complete of them is the first - and that is the one who fears God and knows His rulings."3

The Essence of Islam
Explaining the essence of Islam and its main pillar, the Prophet - the peace and blessings of God be upon him - said: "Islam is built upon five (pillars): Testifying that none has the right to be worshipped except Almighty God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God; establishing the Salaah (formal prayer), paying the Zakaah (charity tax), making Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House and fasting in Ramadaan. "4 In another narration: "Islam is built upon five (pillars): To worship God and to reject anything along with Him . . . "5 Also in another narration: "lslam is built upon five: The Tawheed of Almighty God . . . "6

Thus: "Testifying that none has the right to be worshipped except Almighty God", has the same meaning as: "To worship Almighty God and to reject anything along with Him", which has the same meaning as: "The Tawheed of Almighty God." So, it will be clear to the honorable reader that Tawheed is the essence of Islam, and it is the starting and ending point for all goodness and excellence.

Linguistically Tawheed means: "To make something one, or to assert the oneness of something."7 However, what we are concerned with here is the Sharee'ah or technical meaning of Tawheed, which is: "To single out Almighty God alone for worship."8

Al-Bayjowree - may God have mercy on him - said: "It is to single-out al-Ma'bood (the One to be worshipped - i.e. Almighty God) with worship, along with belief and affirmation in the oneness and uniqueness of His Dhaat (Essence), Sifaat (Attributes) and Actions."9

Shaykh al-Ghunaymaan - may God protect him - said: "It is to single Him out with worship, with love, lowliness and submissiveness to Him, by complying with His commands and submitting to them."10

The Divisions of Tawheed
And Tawheed - with the Salaf and the Scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah has three divisions.

'Allaamah as-Safaareenee (died 1112H) - may God's mercy be upon him - said: "Know that Tawheed has three divisions: Tawheedar-Ruboobiyyah (the Oneness of God in His Lordship), Tawheed al- Uloohiyyah (to single-out Almighty God alone for worship) and Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (the uniqueness of God's Names and Attributes)."11

"And God has gathered these three divisions in His - the Most High's- saying: "Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, so worship Him alone and be constant and patient in the worship of Him. Do you know of any who is similar to Him?"12"13

"So Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah implies: A firm and definite belief that Almighty God alone is the Creator, the Master and Owner, and the Command is for none but Him."14

"And Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah is to single-out God alone for all worship and not to worship anything along with Him, whether it be an angel, a Messenger, a prophet, a pious person, a tree, a stone, the sun, the moon, or other than these."15

"And Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat is the uniqueness of Almighty God - the Most High - with regards to His Names and His Attributes, by affirming that which God has affirmed for Himself - whether in His Book (i.e. the Qur'an) or by the tongue of His Messenger - may the peace and blessings of God be upon him - without tahreef (distorting the Names and Attributes), ta'teel (denial of the Names and Attributes), takyeef (saying how they are), or tamztheel (making any resemblance with the creation)."16

Tawheed in Knowledge and Action
The above three divisions of Tawheed have been grouped - by some of the Scholars - into two types: the first type deals with knowing Almighty God through His Names, Attributes and Actions (i.e. Tawheerd al-Asmaa was Sifaat and Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah), and the second deals with actualising and manifesting this Tawheed through singling out God alone for worship (i.e. Taawheed al- Uloohiyyah). The first type of Tawheed is connected with knowledge, whilst the second type is connected with action.

Ibn al-Qayyim (died 756H) - may God's mercy be upon him - said: "As regards the Tawheed which the Messengers called to and which the Books were sent down with, then it is of two types: Tawheed fil-Ma'rifah wal-lthbaat (the Tawheed of Knowledge and Affirmation) and Tawheed fit-Talab wal-Qasd (the Tawheed of Actions and Intentions).

So the first type affirms the reality of the Dhaat (Essence) of the Lord - the Most High - along with His Names, His Attributes, His Actions, His speaking in His Books and His speaking to whomsoever He wishes from His servants. It also affirms the all-embracing nature of His Predestination and Pre-Decree and His wisdom. The Qur'aan has completely clarified this type of Tawheed - as occurs at the start of Soorah Al-Hadeed and Soorah Taa Haa, at the end of Soorah al-Hashr, at the beginning of Soorah Sajdah, at the beginning of Soorah Aal 'Imraan and all of Soorah al-Ikhlaas, and other than these.

The second type: Then it is what is contained in Soorah al-Kaafiroon and contained in His - the Most High's - saying: "Say: O people of the Book! Come to a word that is just and fair between us and you, that we shall worship none but God and that we shall associate no partner along with Him, and that we shall not take others as lords besides God. Then if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims."17 It is also contained at the beginning of Soorah Tanzeel and at the beginning, middle and end of Soorah al-Mu'min, and at the beginning and end of Soorah A'raaf and the greater part of Soorah An'aam. Indeed, every soorah (chapter) in the Qur'an comprises these two types of Tawheed, witnesses to them and calls to them.

Since the Qur'an either gives:

[i] information about Almighty God, His Names, His Attributes, His Actions and His Sayings - which is Tawheed fil-Ma'rifah wal-lthbaat (the Tawheed of Knowledge and Affirmation); or
[ii] it is a call to worship Almighty God alone without any partner, and a rejection of whatever is worshipped besides Him - and this is Tawheed al-lraadee at-Talabee (the Tawheed of Actions and Intentions); or
[iii] it is a command to obey Him and to comply with His orders and prohibitions - so this is from the rights of Tawheed and is a completion of it; or
[iv] it gives information about the people of Tawheed and how they were treated in this world and how they will be honoured in the Hereafter - and this is the reward for Tawheed; or
[v] it gives information about the people of Shirk (associating partners along with Almighty God) and the punishment they receive in this world and the torment they shall receive in the Hereafter - so this is the reward for those who abandon Tawheed."

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