بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah The most Gracious The Most Merciful
Meaning of Tawheed
Tawheed has two fundamental pillars:
1. Singling out Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) alone for worship. 2. Singling out the Messenger(صلى الله عليه وسلم) alone in obedience.
Clarifying and Understanding Tawheed
There are various sects that when asked about tawheed they say they believe in it and that they do not do shirk with Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). This may sound good but their understanding is greatly lacking knowledge and understanding. They believe shirk is just not following any other god but Allah or directly praying to (سبحانه و تعالى) one. They do not understand that seeking help, relying on or calling upon anyone other than Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) also constitutes shirk.
One form of shirk is exaggerating the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) , whether by calling upon him or doing innovative rituals that have nothing to do with the sunnah. We can take the example of celebrating the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) birthday. Narrated ‘Umar: I heard the Prophet saying (صلى الله عليه وسلم), “Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Apostle.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Book of Prophets , Hadith 654). There are people who claim that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is present amongst them during the celebration. Our question to them is, if the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is present amongst your celebratioin then how is he also present amongst the other people who are celebrating as well? This is beyond the fact that there is no way he would ever come down as he is dead but it’s a question for the one who lacks understanding of this religion so that he may reflect upon it. They also claim that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has ilm al ghaib (knowledge of the unseen). This attribute belongs only to Allah and attributing this to the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is shirk as Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says: Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “I possess no power over benefit or harm to myself except as Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) wills. If I had the knowledge of the Ghaib (Unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a Warner, and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe.” (Surah Al-A’raf 7:188).
Beyond calling upon the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) there are groups who call upon their “saints” and say they draw them closer to Allah and know the ghaib a’udhubillah. This is the same thing the arabs used to say about the idols they would worship, as Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says: Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allâh (سبحانه و تعالى) only. And those who take Auliyâ’ (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say): “We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allâh.” Verily, Allâh (سبحانه و تعالى) will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allâh (سبحانه و تعالى) guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever. (Surah Az-Zumar 39:3).
If it’s not a human that is being used for seeking help we have people who wear talismins and charms to keep away evil or harm from reaching them. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) specifically forbade this action yet people still disobey him and do this. narrated from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir al-Juhani (may Allaah be pleased with him) that some people came to the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and he accepted the oath of allegiance from nine of them and not from one man. They said: O Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), you accepted the allegiance of nine and not from one. He said: “He is wearing an amulet.” So he put his hand in (his garment) and broke it, then he accepted his oath of allegiance and said: “Whoever wears an amulet has associated others with Allaah (shirk).” (Narrated by Ahmad (16781); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah 492).
All these things are the opposite of what tawheed really is. It is to worship Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) alone. This means our supplications, prayers, sacrifice and deeds are done for Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) only and for nobody else, even if it is the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). How would we be any different then the pagans and those who claim they believe in Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) but they did their worship to idols and men in order to get closer to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى)? Is it because it’s a different set of people that are being worshiped that it is any better than the previous generations? May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) guide us all, Ameen.