Allah created all mankind and the jinn (a species of unseen beings created from smoke of fire) for the sole reason that they should love, adore, worship and obey Allah as He is their only Beneficent Creator, Lord, Master and God. All their activities should revolve around this central theme for their existence. Allah in His Wisdom and Mercy will provide for all their needs and true aspirations. They will find true peace, happiness and success, if they submit themselves to their Creator and His laws willingly and sincerely, as individuals, and collectively as families, clans, communities and nations.
Allah the Most Exalted said:
﴿ وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ ﴾
“And I (Allah) have not created the Jinns and humans except that they should worship Me (Alone).” [ath-Thaariyyaat 51:56]
Since Islam means the state of willing submission and surrender to the will and the command of Allah most Glorified, and a Muslim is a person in that state, it follows that a Muslim must reject all false worship and all Tawaagheet to correctly believe in and worship Allah, obey His commands, and fulfill the requirement of Tauheed. Tauheed is Islamic monotheism, believing and practicing the worship of One God, and can be called the “unity” of Allah in His Lordship and Divinity and in our belief and worship of Him.
‘Ibaadah (worship, service, obedience) is a central concept necessary for understanding Tauheed and its antithesis Shirk in relation to Taaghoot. ‘Ibaadah includes much more than what is often thought to be the traditional confines of worship.
The gradual secularization of modern life style has compartmentalized, demoted and downgraded the concept of worship, restricting it to religious rites and rituals in traditional and institutionalized patterns. This work will, by the grace of Allah and His aid, free the reader from these misguided restrictions, and restore the understanding that the concept of worship encompasses not only supplications, prayers, devotions, etc., but other aspects of human personal, social and political activities, whether modern man is willing to admit it or not. An Ilah is a “god” since it is defined as all that which is worshiped, whether rightfully or not. Allah is the only “God” and it is His right to be worshiped. All others that are worshiped are “gods” with a small ‘g’ to indicate that their worship is false and in vein. Allah is the one and only God. Correct Deen (religion, way of life) is Islam, i.e. the worship of Allah, whereas incorrect religion is the worship of others than Allah like the various kinds of Tawaagheet, like the worship of Jesus by the Christians and the worship of rabbis and acolytes by the Jews, as will be identified in the coming pages insha-Allah (God-willing).
Tauheed is formulized and epitomized in the Shahaadah (testimony and witness): [لا اله إلا الله] “LA ILAAHA ILLALLAH.” “There is no god except Allah.” In this Shahaadah the phrase [لا اله] LA ILAAHA, “there is no god” is a negation of the actual existence and right of worship of any and all so called “gods” and objects of worship, whether they are Taaghoot or otherwise. The concluding part of the testimony is in the phrase [إلا الله] ILLALLAH “except Allah”, which completes the sentence by exempting and excluding all the false worship from the true worship of Allah. The net effect is the most powerful affirmation that all worship is exclusively for Allah; all other deities and gods are entirely and absolutely excluded.
Ontologically the other deities and gods are not truly real. They are merely whims of imagination and theoretical notions without actual existence except in the minds, on the tongues and in the books of their proponents. Epistemologically they are not really true and are vain falsehoods, fantasies and lies propagated by those who worship them or benefit from their worship. Ethically there is no moral right to claim divinity and obedience to them. All such pretensions to any type or classification of divinity and the associated legal and political authority are wrong, unjust, evil, and utterly absurd. They are the tricks of the Shaitaan to misguide humans into eternal misery. As Allah says:
﴿ إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا أَسْمَاءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُم مَّا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِن سُلْطَانٍ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ
وَمَا تَهْوَى الْأَنفُسُ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَهُم مِّن رَّبِّهِمُ الْهُدَى﴾
“They are but names that you have named, you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. They follow only conjecture and that which they themselves desire, whereas there has surely come to them the Guidance from their Lord!” [an-Najm 53:23]
And Allah the Exalted said
﴿ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاء وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللّهِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلاَلاً بَعِيدًا () إِن يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ إِلاَّ إِنَاثًا وَإِن يَدْعُونَ إِلاَّ شَيْطَانًا مَّرِيدًا () لَّعَنَهُ اللّهُ وَقَالَ لَأَتَّخِذَنَّ مِنْ عِبَادِكَ نَصِيبًا مَّفْرُوضًا () وَلأُضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ وَلآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ آذَانَ الأَنْعَامِ وَلآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللّهِ وَمَن يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَانَ وَلِيًّا مِّن دُونِ اللّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُّبِينًا () يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلاَّ غُرُورًا ﴾
“Verily! Allah forgives not setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom He pleases for other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah has indeed strayed far away. They invoke nothing but female deities besides Him (Allah), and they invoke nothing but Shaitaan (Satan), a persistent rebel! Allah cursed him. And he said: ‘I will take an appointed portion of your slaves; Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the creation of Allah. And whoever takes Shaitaan as a protector and helper instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss. He makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaitaan‘s promises are nothing but deceptions.” [an-Nisaá 4:116-120]
At another place in the Qur’an, Allah the Almighty repeats similar statement in the words of the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) to his companions:
﴿ يَا صَاحِبَيِ السِّجْنِ أَأَرْبَابٌ مُّتَفَرِّقُونَ خَيْرٌ أَمِ اللّهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ () مَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِهِ إِلاَّ أَسْمَاءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنتُمْ وَآبَآؤُكُم مَّا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ بِهَا مِن سُلْطَانٍ إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلّهِ أَمَرَ أَلاَّ تَعْبُدُواْ إِلاَّ إِيَّاهُ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ ﴾
“O my two companions of the prison! Are many different lords (gods) better, or Allah, the One, the Irresistible? You do not worship, besides Him, except only names that you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The command and rule is for none but Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him that is the straight religion, but most men know not.” [al-Yusuf 12:39-40]
When we say that these “gods” are not Allah the God, the Creator and the Lord-Sovereign, we mean this in the ultimate ontological, epistemological, and ethical sense, to use the philosophical terms. They are following some ideas and ideologues that they hold sacred and esteem: they are following the Tawaagheet.
Of course in the harsh ground realities of everyday life there are many “gods” and “demigods” for those who take them for worship, obey them, and fight tooth and nail to protect them and the customs, allegiance, and institutions they have developed and surrounded themselves with. They are real “gods” for those who direct the false idol worship to them, serve their interests and obey their commands. When these various forms of worship are analyzed, the ultimate vanity, foolishness, and falsehood of their worship is apparent. It can be seen that it all revolves around mutual worldly pleasures, privileges, and benefits. The false worship is perpetuated for economic, social and political interests of specific individuals and groups. They are truly evil since their worship institutionalizes the oppression, exploitation and tyranny of men against other men and women.
A person can become a Muslim only by saying, believing and practicing the Shahaadah (testimony and witness): (لا اله إلا الله) “LA ILAHA ILLALLAH“ “There is no god except Allah.” If he rejects and negates this testimony in belief, word or act, then his testimony becomes void and worthless. He remains a Muslim only by practicing and holding firm to the Tauheed in the Shahaadah until his death and avoiding those things that exterminate it completely. This concise sentence of the Shahaadah contains two phrases, one negative and the other affirmative. They are each a Rukn of Tauheed.
What is a Rukn and why is the study of this word crucially important? A Rukn (plural Arkaan) is linguistically an integral part of a thing’s essential being or existence. A Shart (condition; plural Shuroot) is a pre-requisite that is necessary for the existence of that which it is conditional for. Shuroot are similar to Arkaan (support, basic element; Rukn, sing.) in that both are necessary for the thing’s existence. A Shart is to be distinguished from a Rukn in that it is considered outside the thing’s essential being, whereas a Rukn is an integral part of that thing’s essential being. For instance, making Wudu (abulution) is a Shart (condition) of an acceptable Salah (prayer), whereas reciting the Fatihah (the opening chapter of the Qur`an) is Rukn (essential element) of the Salah itself. Giving a biological corollary, air, sun-energy, and water are Sharoot for life, whereas in the human case a heart, head, and lungs are Arkaan. Of course Sharoot and Arkaan are inseparably intertwined in actual existence, and the body is made up of the same chemical elements as air and water etc.
The study and explanation of Sharoot (conditions) and Arkaan (essential elements) of the Shahaadah and of Tauheed is based upon a comprehensive study and assimilation of the text sources of Islam, the Qur’an and Sunnah. Knowledge of Arkaan and Shuroot in Tauheed is the most important study for a Muslim since it identifies what beliefs, words and actions are mandatory to become and remain a Muslim, and thus to remain free from all forms of Shirk and Kufr.
Arkaan are the positive elements of Islam and they are opposed to the correlative negative elements, the Mubtilaat or Nawaaqid; those actions which annul and disqualify totally the performance of an act like Wudu, Salah, Zakah, Saum, and Hajj. Next in importance are the Waajibaat, those obligatory actions which are necessary for their completion and which, if left, decrease the completeness, and may need an act of expiation to annul the sin of their damaging affects, failing which might be punishable. These positive acts, Waajibaat are correlated with their negative acts, the Muharramaat (those acts which are required to be left and rejected, and are punishable if perpetrated, but do not totally destroy the religion of Islam; only damage it proportionally to the misdeed and crime). Then there are the Sunan and Mustahabbaat, which if left, are not punishable, but for performing which there are rewards. The Sunan and Mustahabbaat are correlated with the negative Makruhaat, which are detestable things to be avoided since there is reward for leaving them, and yet no specific legal punishment for doing them.
Thus we have three degrees of actions in worship of Allah, each with its correlation in the positive loved deeds and negative hated deeds. These deeds are graded according to whether they are: 1) absolutely necessary to perform or avoid, 2) obligatory to perform or avoid, and 3) recommended to perform or avoid.
Necessary to be Loved
Necessary to be Hated
|1) arkaan||1) mubtilaat, and nawaaqid|
|2) waajibaat, faraa`id||2) muharramaat|
|3) sunan and mustahabbaat||3) makruhaat|
The Arkaan, Waajibaat and Faraa`id are sometimes used interchangeably, as are the Mubtilaat, Nawaaqid and Muharramaat, and this can be confusing during an exact analysis of the importance of doing or avoiding an act and its necessity for the existence or nonexistence of Tauheed, or Iman or some specific worship.
Here in Tauheed the negative Rukn and the affirmative Rukn together are called the Ruknain (two Rukn) of the Shahaadah. They are also called; Ruknai-ash-Shahaadah: [لا اله إلا الله] “LA ILAAHA ILLALLAH.” “There is no god except Allah.”