What is Islam ?

A Return to Tawheed

A Return to Tawheed 1

The kalimah (word) of tawheed, ‘La ilaha ill-Allah” came to correct belief – not only that of the ancient polytheists, but of all men up until the Day of Judgment. It testifies that there is no divinity except Allah none other than Him and none along with Him. None is similar to Him, none creates and sustains except Him, and none has the right to govern creation but Him. The concept of tawheed necessarily overflows into all aspects of belief and worship into all aspects of life. Whether he recognizes it or not, man is totally indebted to his Creator for his continuing existence hour by hour, not to mention such blessings as his many possessions and abilities. Knowing that Allah alone is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Provider, the Controller, the source of all benefit and harm in whose hands is the Judgment and the final destination of men requires through common sense and reason that He alone be worshiped
Although the concept of worship (ibadah) has been gradually reduced in common usage to mean little more than the performance of certain religious rites and rituals, the original and true definition is comprehensive. It encompasses all actions and intentions motivated by a recognition of greatness – that combination of love and fear, producing efforts to please the worshiped one and to avoid his displeasure. An object of worship continually occupies the mind of the worshiper and consequently governs his behavior, both consciously and unconsciously. When applying the correct definition, it becomes clear that despite lip-service to “La ilaha ill-Allah,” one’s object of worship could well be something other than Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

“Have you seen the one who takes as his god ins own desire, and [so] Allah has left him astray because of knowledge?” [Al Jaathiya 45 :23]

{أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ } الجاثية: 23

Transliteration: Afaraayta mani ittakhatha ilahahu hawahu waadallahu Allahu AAala AAilmin

Scholars have said that the phrase “ala ilm” (because of knowledge) refers to Allah’s knowledge of that servant and his preference for his own desires, or as well, to that servant’s knowledge of the truth although he rejects it.

Those pursuers of falsehood in the form of political ideologies and national leaders, foreign customs, wealth, fashion or various worldly enjoyments might assume that by bowing to Allah in prayer, they worship Him alone. But Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) firmly corrected this misconception.

Once, ‘Adiyy bin Hatim entered while the Prophet was reciting a verse from the Qur’an:

“They took their scholars and monks as lords other than Allah and [also] the Messiah, Son of Mary. And they were not ordered except to worship one God…” [At-Tawba 9: 31]

{اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَـٰهًا وَاحِدً } التوبة: 31

Transliteration: Ittakhathoo ahbarahum waruhbanahum arbaban min dooni Allahi waalmaseeha ibna maryama wama omiroo illa liyaAAbudoo ilahan wahidan 

‘Adiyy (who had been a Christian), said, “O Messenger of Allah, they did not worship them.” The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied, “Did they not tell them that the prohibited was lawful and that the lawful was prohibited and they followed them in that?” When ‘Adiyy admitted, “Yes,” the Prophet stated, “That was their worship of them.” [Reported by: Ibn-Taimia]

« قدم [عدي بن حاتم] على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو نصراني فسمعه يقرأ هذه الآية: {اتخذوا أحبارهم ورهبانهم أربابا من دون الله والمسيح بن مريم وما أمروا إلا ليعبدوا إلها واحدا لا إله إلا هو سبحانه عما يشركون} قال: فقلت له: إنا لسنا نعبدهم، قال: أليس يحرمون ما أحل الله فتحرمونه، ويحلون ما حرم الله فتحلونه، قال: قلت: بلى، قال: فتلك عبادتهم» رواه بن تيمية

Thus worship was defined as obedience – a fact that becomes evident from even a superficial study of the Qur’an in which Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) orders repeatedly:

“Obey Allah and the Messenger.” [Ali-Emran 3: 32, Ali-Emran 3: 132, AnNisaa 4: 59, Al-Anfal 8: 1, Al-Anfal 8 :64, An-Noor 24:54, Muhamad 47 :33, Al-Mojadala 58 :13 and At-Taghabon 64 :12.]

{قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَالرَّسُولَ} التغابن: 12

Transliteration: Qul ateeAAoo Allaha waalrrasoola

Many other verses, although worded differently, carry the same meaning.

“Legislation is only for Allah. He has commanded that you not worship any but Him. That is the right religion, but most of the people do not know.” [Ysuf 12 :40]

{إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّـهِ ۚ أَمَرَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ} يوسف: 40

Transliteration: ini alhukmu illa lillahi amara alla taAAbudoo illa iyyahu thalika alddeenu alqayyimu walakinna akthara alnnasi la yaAAlamoona

A Return to Tawheed 2Two types of shirk were common both before and after the prophet-hood of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). The first of these is the direction of acts of worship (especially supplication) to others besides Allah while still claiming belief in Him. The Qur’an orders:
“And do not invoke besides Allah another god. There is no god but Him.” [Al Qasas 28: 88]

{وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ ۘ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ} القصص: 88

Transliteration: Wala tadAAu maAAa Allahi ilahanakhara la ilaha illa huwa

The other type of shirk is the willful adherence to laws and rulings other than His.

“Do you not consider those who claim to have believed in what was revealed to you and what was revealed before you? They wish to refer legislation to taghoot [i.e. false objects of worship or those transgressors who usurp the divine right of government] while they were commanded to reject it.” [An-Nisaa 4: 60]

{أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَن يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ} النساء: 60

Transliteration: Alam tara ila allatheena yazAAumoona annahum amanoo bima onzila ilayka wama onzila min qablika yureedoona an yatahakamoo ila alttaghooti waqad omiroo an yakfuroo bihi 

The loss of tawheed is sadly evident today in the acceptance of foreign philosophies and lifestyles, political oppression, innovations in religion, and countless forms of disobedience. Allah (subhanahu wa taala) warns:
“Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord. And do not follow any patrons other than Him.” [Al-Araaf 7: 3]

{اتَّبِعُوا مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا مِن دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ} الأعراف: 3

Transliteration: IttabiAAoo ma onzila ilaykum min rabbikum wala tattabiAAoo min doonihi awliya

“And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will lead you away from the path of Allah.” [Al-Anaam 6: 116]

{وَإِن تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ} الأنعام: 116

Transliteration: Wain tutiAA akthara man fee alardi yudillooka AAan sabeeli Allahi 

“And certainly do many lead [others] astray through their own desires without knowledge.” [Al-Anaam 6: 119]”

{وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا لَّيُضِلُّونَ بِأَهْوَائِهِم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ} الأنعام: 119

Transliteration: wainna katheeran layudilloona biahwaihim bighayri AAilmin 

“And do not obey one whose heart We have made unaware of Our remembrance and who follows his desires and whose affair is excess [i.e. exceeding the limits of Allah].” [Al-Kahf 18: 28]

{وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا} الكهف: 28

Transliteration: wala tutiAA man aghfalna qalbahu AAanthikrina waittabaAAa hawahu wakana amruhu furutan

Reform will be accomplished only when the majority of Muslims has returned to the true worship of Allah and will no tolerate shirk. The greater jihad against tyranny and oppression everywhere on earth will neither be accepted by Allah nor aided by Him until the participants are truly dedicated to His cause and free of all other motivations. Jihad against the self and refinement of the soul are the first steps towards jihad for Islam.

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” [Ar-Raad 13: 11]

{إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ} الرعد: 11

Transliteration: inna Allaha la yughayyiru ma biqawmin hattayughayyiroo ma bianfusihim 

The solution begins with the individual…in the soul.