Explanation of an Incredible Hadeeth of ‘Ubaadah Ibn As-Saamit (رضي الله عنه)
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah The most Gracious The Most Merciful
‘Ubaadah Ibn As-Saamit (رضي الله عنه) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Whoever testifies that nothing has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, alone, having no partner and Muhammad is His servant and messenger; and that ‘Eesaa (Jesus) is the servant of Allaah and His messenger, His word which He directed to Maryam (Mary), and a soul from Him; that Paradise is true and the Fire is true – Allaah will admit him into Paradise no matter what his deeds may be. (Recorded by Al-Bukhaaree (no. 3435), Muslim (no. 28), At-Tirmithee (no. 2640), and by Imaam Ahmad in his “Musnad” (5/314)).
He is ‘Ubaadah Ibn As-Saamit Ibn Qays Al-Ansaaree Al-Khazrajee, Abu Al-Waleed, one of the famous chiefs who witnessed the Battle of Badr. He died in Ramlah in the year 34 Hijrah when he was seventy-two years old. It is also said that he lived up until the leadership of Mu’aawiyah (رضي الله عنه)
The Explanation: “Whoever testifies that nothing has the right to be worshiped except Allaah…”
Meaning: Whoever speaks it while being fully aware of its meanings and fully acting in accordance with what it requires inwardly and outwardly. The two testimonies of faith3 must be said with knowledge, certainty, and acting in accordance with them as Allaah says: So know that nothing has the right to be worshiped.(Surah Muhammad, 47:19)
Except for those who testify to the truth while they know.(Surah Az-Zukhruf, 43:86)
As for merely pronouncing it without knowing its meanings, or with no real certain conviction in it, or without acting in accordance to it – being free and innocent of committing Shirk, having complete sincerity in statement of the heart and tongue, and sincerity of action of the heart and limbs – then such a mere pronouncement of words is useless containing no real benefit. This is something unanimously agreed upon. It negates the right of worship from everything except Allaah by saying, “Nothing has the right to be worshipped…” and it affirms this right of worship to Allaah by saying, “…except Allaah.”
Al-Qurtubee said in explaining the chapter in “Saheeh Muslim” entitled: Merely Uttering the Two Testimonies is Not Sufficient, Rather Certain Conviction of it Must be in the Heart, he said, “This chapter shows the corruption and distortion of the methodology of the extreme Murjiah sect who say that a simple pronouncement of the words in these two testimonies is enough as far as one’s Eemaan, or faith, is concerned. The Hadeeth in this chapter prove the deception and falsehood of such a methodology. It is known to be corrupt by anyone who looks at the Islamic legislation as this methodology, if it were acceptable, would absolutely justify hypocrisy and judge a hypocrite as having correct and complete Eemaan. And this is obviously wrong.”
Allaah testifies that nothing has the right to be worshiped except Him, and so do the angels and those with knowledge – (that He is) maintaining (creation) with justice. There is nothing worthy of worship except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (Surah Aali-‘Imraan, 3:18)
So many people are astray due to the lack of knowing its meanings and they are actually the majority. They have completely twisted the intended meaning by affirming a right of worship to the creation – the very thing this testimony is negating it from. So they include, in this worship of theirs, inhabitants of graves, false gods, trees, the Jinn, and others. They take that as their religion, confusing themselves and then trying to beautify it. And they have taken Tawheed as an innovation and deny anyone who tries to call them to it. They don’t even know as much about it (the statement of Tawheed – nothing has the right to be worshiped except Allaah) as the disbelievers of Quraysh knew in Jaahiliyyah. The latter knew exactly what it meant, yet they denied and rejected what it meant of complete sincerity and the sole worship of Allaah alone. Allaah said: Indeed, when it is said to them, “Nothing has the right to be worshiped,” they become arrogant and say, “Are we to leave our gods just for an insane poet?” (Surah As-Saaffaat, 37:35-36)
So the latter polytheists of this nation rejected the same thing that those former ones rejected in that they refused when they were called to leave their worship of other than Allaah like their worship of the dead, graves, shrines, false gods, and others. So those earlier ones knew full well this meaning, yet they refused it while these latter ones are ignorant of it and still they refuse it. For this reasons, you find one of them saying, “There is nothing worthy of worship except Allaah!” while at the same time he supplicates others besides Allaah.
One of the reasons for this is that the Arabs of Jaahiliyyah had the classical language of the Quraan. So they were not ignorant of any of the meanings of Tawheed. As for these people of today among whom the Shirk in worship has spread widely, they do not possess this original language. Rather, they only use religious terms that have passed on one to another in mere slang statements. So if one of the biggest of their speakers and thinkers, Al-Fakhr Ar-Raazee, was completely mistaken with regards to the meaning of “god” in the verse: They (the Jews) said, “Oh Moosaa (Moses), make a god for us like the gods they have. (Surah Al-A’raaf, 7:138).
So if he didn’t know the actual meaning, then what do you think of their lesser scholars, let alone their unlearned common people? Knowing this, is it strange that they are absolutely ignorant of the fact that when they supplicate to a dead person or even a righteous living person, or circle a grave or make vows to its inhabitant, is it so strange that such a person would be ignorant that he is actually worshiping such people, taking them as gods?!
In this Hadeeth, there is an evidence of this. It is the statement, “Whoever testifies.” A testimony or bearing witness is not correct unless it is made upon sure knowledge, certain conviction, sincerity, and truthfulness.
An-Nawawee said, “This is an incredible Hadeeth of very significant status. It is the most comprehensive, or at least one of the most comprehensive, Hadeeth that include the correct ‘Aqeedah beliefs. He (the prophet) comprised within it that which takes one out of the religion of disbelief with all its various false beliefs and completely separates one far from it. He summarized in these few words that which distinguishes a person from them all (the different factions of disbelievers).”
The Meaning of: “Nothing has the right to be worshiped except Allaah.”
The meaning of – “Nothing has the right to be worshiped except Allaah” is that there is nothing rightly worshiped in truth except Allaah. It occurs in many places throughout the Qur’an. The statement of Al-Baqaa’ee has come indicating that the explicit meaning of “…alone” further confirms the affirmation, and the statement “…having no partner” further confirms the negation. Al-Haafith says the same. This is just like in the verse: And your god is one God. There is nothing worthy of worship except Him, the Bestower of All Mercy, the Most Merciful. (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:163).
And We did not send any messenger before you except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.” (Surah Al-Anbiyaa, 21:25).
And to the ‘Aad People, (We sent) their brother, Hood. He said, “Oh my people, worship Allaah. You have no deity other than Him.” (Surah Al-A’raaf, 7:65).
They replied to him, refusing him by saying: “Have you come to us that we should worship Allaah (alone) and leave what our fathers had worshiped?” (Surah Al- A’raaf, 7:70).
And Allaah says: That is because Allaah is the truth, and that which they call upon other than Him is falsehood. And because Allaah is the Most High, the Great. (Surah Al- Hajj, 22:62).
So it contains the absolute negation of any right of worship for other than Allaah and affirms it solely to Allaah alone having no partner. The Qur’an, from beginning to end, establishes this, explaining and guiding to it. The word worship, as explained by Ibn Taymiyyah, is an inclusive word for everything that Allaah loves and is pleased with of statements and actions, inward and outward. This worship, with all its different forms, is a devoted deification that originates from the heart with love, submission and humility out of hope and fear. All of this is deserved by none other than Allaah . So whoever dedicates any of that to other than Allaah, they have made that object a partner alongside Allaah and in that case, no statement or action will ever benefit them.
The Scholars’ Statements of: “Nothing Has the Right to be Worshipped Except Allaah”
Al-Wazeer Ibn Abu Al-Muthaffar said in “Al-Ifsaah” that the testimony of “Nothing has the right to be worshiped except Allaah” requires that the one testifying to this be completely knowing that there is surely nothing that should be worshiped in any way instead of or along with Allaah just as Allaah says: So know that nothing has the right to be worshiped. (Surah Muhammad, 47:19).
The word “Allaah” coming after “except” indicates that this right of worship is due solely to Him; no one is worthy of this other than Allaah. In conclusion, you must know that this one statement, “Nothing has the right to be worshiped except Allaah,” comprises complete disbelief in any false gods that are worshiped other than Allaah, and complete Eemaan in Allaah alone. So when you negate this right of worship from everyone and everything and affirm it to Allaah alone, then you have rightly disbelieved in all false gods and believed solely in Allaah.
Abu ‘Abdullaah Al-Qurtubee said explaining this statement, “Nothing should be worshiped in any form except Him.”
Az-Zamarkhsharee said, “The word ‘god’ is a generic noun just like the word man or horse. It refers to anyone or anything that is actually worshiped, regardless if it is worshiped falsely (being unworthy of that) or in truth (deserving). It is used here to mean that which is worshiped in truth.”
The famous scholar of Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, said that the word ‘god’ is that which is worshiped and obeyed. The one deserving of this worship is He Who is described with those characteristics which require one to love Him with the utmost form of love and humble oneself to Him with the greatest humility. He (Ibn Taymiyyah) said, “A god is that which is loved and worshipped while the hearts are completely devoted to it with submission and humility, with fear and hope. It is that which is turned to in times of distress and supplicated to for one’s necessities. It is that which is relied upon to bring benefit and sought for protection. And a god is that which one’s trust is placed upon and, by its mention, one feels safe and secure. All of that is for no one except Allaah alone. For this reason, this statement, This statement is of no benefit unless the person knows exactly its meanings of negation and affirmation, and he believes it with full conviction in his heart and acts in accordance with it. As for the person who says it without knowledge, nor firm belief, nor its required actions, the scholars’ statements have already preceded in that this is pure ignorance. It then, no doubt, becomes a proof against him, not for him.
The Meaning of: “…alone, having no partner…”
This is a further confirmation to emphasize and make certain the meaning. Allaah has clearly explained this narrating the stories of the prophets and messengers in His evident book. How ignorant the grave-worshippers are regarding their situation! How severe is that which they have fallen into of Shirk that is totally contrary to the statement of sincere faith – “Nothing has the right to be worshipped except Allaah.” The former Arab polytheists used to outright deny and refuse “Nothing has the right to be worshipped except Allaah” in word and in meaning. However, these polytheists of today accept it in word, yet deny it in meaning. So you find them easily saying this statement while at the same time they worship other than Allaah with some of the various types of worship such as love, reverence, fear, hope, reliance, supplication, and other types of worship. Rather, their Shirk is even many times greater than the former Arab’s Shirk, for if one of them (today’s polytheists) falls into distress or hardship, he becomes totally devoted and sincere to other than Allaah by his supplication, firmly believing that which they call upon can give them faster relief than Allaah. Conversely, the earlier polytheists used to make their Shirk during times of ease, and in times of adversity, they would sincerely call upon Allaah alone for help as Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says: And when they board a ship, they supplicate to Allaah, sincere to Him in religion. But when He delivers them back to land, they immediately associate others with Him. (Surah Al-A’nkaboot, 29:65)
This being said, it is clear that the polytheists of current times are more ignorant about Allaah and His Tawheed than the former Arab polytheists and those before them.
So worship Allaah, being sincere to Him in religion. (Surah Az-Zumar, 39:2)
Muhyiyud-Deen An-Nawawee said, “Know, the concept of enjoining good and forbidding evil has been lost with the passing of time. And nothing seems to remain in these times except slight traces while this is an enormously important concern. By it, the entire matter (of religion) is established and maintained. And when deviation increases, the punishment will befall both the righteous and the wicked.
When he (An-Nawawee) said, “…in these times,” he was referring to the fifth and sixth generations. If this is the case, then what about the tenth generation and afterwards when foreign concepts have become so deep-rooted?