The core of Ibadah is Tawhid; and around it always revolved the conflict between the prophets and their Ummahs

Explanation of the Tawhid of the Prophets and its antithesis in the religions of the Kafirs and Mushriks

 

All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and truly the good end shall always be for the righteous.
Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and upon all Prophets, Messengers, and righteous people.

Allah (may He be Praised and Exalted) sent His Honorable Messengers to guide people to know Him, to call to Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of allah/ monotheism), and sincere and pure dedication of ‘Ibadah (worship) to Allah Alone, as Allah (Exalted be He) says:

And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allâh (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Tâghût (all false deities i.e. do not worship Tâghût besides Allâh).”

Allah (may He be Praised) explains in this glorious Ayah (Qur’anic verse) that He sent a Messenger for every Ummah (nation based on one creed) to invite them to worship Allah Alone and avoid worshipping Taghut (false gods).

The core of ‘Ibadah is Tawhid; and around it always revolved the conflict between the prophets and their Ummahs, as the Mushriks (those associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) worshiped Allah (may He be Praised), but also others besides Him.
Therefore, Allah sent Messengers to order them to worship Him Alone and abandon the worship of any other than Him, as Allah (Exalted be He) says:

And (remember) when Ibrâhîm (Abraham) said to his father and his people: “Verily, I am innocent of what you worship, “Except Him (i.e. I worship none but Allâh Alone) Who did create me; and verily He will guide me.”

Allah informs that His Khalil (the close friend of Allah), Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him), declared himself innocent of what his people worshipped, except Allah Alone.
This is the meaning of Allah’s Saying: Except Him (i.e. I worship none but Allâh Alone) Who did create me
This indicates that they were worshipping Allah, but also worshipped others besides Him.
Therefore, Ibrahim renounced all the gods they worshipped, except for the One who created him, and that is Allah (Exalted be He). He (Glorified be He) is the only One deserving of worship, because He is the Creator and the Sustainer of all.

The word “created” here means that He created him without modeling on a previous example (i.e. with no precedence), and only One with such power deserves to be worshipped, with none beside Him.

Allah (Exalted be He) says: And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) but We revealed to him (saying): Lâ ilâha illa Ana [none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allâh)], so worship Me (Alone and none else).”

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says that He revealed to all the Messengers before the Last of the Prophets, Muhammad (peace be upon him), that there is no deity except Him that is worthy of ‘Ibadah and He orders them to worship Him Alone.

This shows that all deities that are worshipped other than Allah, whether they are prophets, Awliya’ (pious people), idols, trees, Jinn, angels, etc., are all false deities.

This m eaning is clarified by Allah’s Saying: That is because Allâh — He is theTruth (the only True God of all that exists, Who has no partners or rivals with Him), and what they (the polytheists) invoke besides Him, it is Bâtil (falsehood). Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) informs about the Mushriks, when they were called by our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to testify that there is no deity but Allah, that they said: “Has he made the âlihah (gods) (all) into One Ilâh (God – Allâh).

 Verily, this is a curious thing!” Allah (may He be Praised) also says: Truly, when it was said to them: Lâ ilâha illallâh “(none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh),” they puffed themselves up with pride (i.e. denied it). And (they) said: “Are we going to abandon our âlihah (gods) for the sake of a mad poet?”

This shows that they knew that the testimony of Tawhid (La ilaha illa Allah – there is no deity but Allah) voids their Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinits ay or worship), as it makes it clear that their deitiere false.
It inevitably creates the realization that Testifying that there is no deity other than Allah demands dedication of all ‘Ibadah to Allah Alone and belief that He (may He be Praised) is the only true God to be worshipped.

If this were not so, they would not have been proud and refrained from saying it, because saying it would entail the abolishment of all the other deities worshipped.


Unfortunately, this truth is not so clear to many people, who think that if anyone says there is no deity but Allah that they are a Muslim and that their blood and property are inviolable, even if they dedicate most of their ‘Ibadah to other than Allah, such as Du‘a’ (supplication),fearing, hoping, trusting, sacrificing, making vows, etc.

This is the actual situation of grave worshippers, as they testify that there is no deity but Allah and then seek the help of the dead, whom they call the Awliya’ (pious people), and ask them to fulfill their needs, remove adversities, and grant them victory over their enemies by either supplicating to them at their graves or from far.

 

They may even do that with our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the other prophets. They may also resort to the Jinn for help to meet their needs and slaughter sacrifices for their sakes, hoping this will benefit them, cure their sick, and protect them, their cultivated lands, and the like.

All these matters are well-known and not hidden from those who deal with grave worshippers and see their blatant Shirk and manifest Kufr (disbelief). Allah sent all the Messengers to refute Shirk and warn against it, and invite people to worship Allah Alone, as was mentioned in the previous Ayahs.

Allah (may He be Praised and Exalted) ordered the Messengers to make people know their Lord, Creator, and Sustainer, and to tell them His Beautiful Names and High Attributes that bespeak of the Perfection of His Grandeur, Omnipotence, Knowledge, Benevolence and Mercy towards His Servants.

They were ordered to enlighten people that Allah is the Giver of benefit and harm, the Disposer of all people’s affairs, and the Knower of all their conditions. Thus, it is not befitting to associate others in worship with Allah or to supplicate to others for help, because Allah Alone is the One Who is capable of anything and is the All-Knower of everything; whatsoever else is poorly in need of Him. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:
 And I (Allâh) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).
I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures).
Verily, Allâh is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong. Allah (Exalted be He) further says:
O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allâh), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious – See V.2:2). up to His Words:
 Then do not set up rivals unto Allâh (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped). Allah (Exalted be He) also says:

O mankind! it is you who stand in need of Allâh. But Allâh is Rich (Free of all needs), Worthy of all praise.

If He willed, He could destroy you and bring about a new creation.

And that is not hard for Allâh.

Allah informs us that His Messengers (peace be upon them) taught their people about the Greatness of Allah (may He be Praised), His Power over everything, His Knowledge of everything, and that He (may He be Praised) hears the Du‘a’ and answers the distressed, as He is the One Who brings benefit and causes harm.
They taught them that what they worshipped besides Allah could neither harm them nor benefit them, nor hear the supplications of those who supplicate or answer them. They also told them that their idols could neither speak to them nor guide them to the Right Path, nor have any power to harm or benefit them.
All of this obligates them to be sincere to Allah Alone in their ‘Ibadah, Tawbah (repentance to Him), and asking for their needs only from Him. They should also believe in His Prophets and adhere to His Shari‘ah, as Allah reports that Nuh (Noah, peace be upon him) said to his people:
 Ask forgiveness from your Lord, Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving ‘He will send rain to you in abundance, ‘And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.’”

Likewise, Hud (peace be upon him) said to his people: “Do you build high palaces on every high place, while you do not live in them? “And do you get for yourselves palaces (fine buildings) as if you will live therein for ever. “And when you seize (somebody), seize you (him) as tyrants? “So fear Allâh, keep your duty to Him, and obey me. “And keep your duty to Him, fear Him Who has aided you with all (good things) that you know. “He has aided you with cattle and children. “And gardens and springs. “Verily, I fear for you the torment of a Great Day.”

Allah also quotes His Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) as saying to his people: “Will you be left secure in that which you have here? “In gardens and springs. And green crops (fields) and date-palms with soft spadix. “And you hew out in the mountains, houses with great skill. “So fear Allâh, keep your duty to Him, and obey me. “And follow not the command of Al-Musrifûn [i.e. their chiefs: leaders who were polytheists, criminals and sinners], “Who make mischief in the land, and reform not.”

Allah also relates about His Khalil Ibrahim (peace be upon him), saying:

And recite to them the story of Ibrâhîm (Abraham). When he said to his father and his people: “What do you worship?” They said: “We worship idols, and to them we are ever devoted.” He said: “Do they hear you, when you call on (them)? “Or do they benefit you or do they harm (you)?” They said: “(Nay) but we found our fathers doing so.” until His Saying: Except him who brings to Allâh a clean heart [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifâq (hypocrisy)].”

Also, Allah says, in the story of the Children of Israel and their worship of the calf:
 And the people of Mûsâ (Moses) made in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of a calf (for worship). It had a sound (as if it was mooing). Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to the way?
And He says inSurah Ta-Haabout the same story:
 Did they not see that it could not return them a word (for answer), and that it had no power either to harm them or to do them good?
The meaning of this is to question what those people did, did they lose their minds to the extent that they worshipped a calf that cannot speak to them nor benefit, harm, or guide them to goodness! This makes it clear that it is Allah (may He be Praised) Who has the power to benefit or harm; Who hears the Du‘a’ and responds to the distressed, when they call on Him;

Who speaks, if He so wills. These are among the Attributes of Perfection, which the True God to be worshipped must have, unlike the idols and other objects of worship that cannot hear, bring benefit, inflict harm, respond to, or guide those who call upon them.

How is it possible then to worship others beside the True King, the All-Hearing, the Responsive, the Giver of Benefit, the Causer of Harm, the All-knowing of everything, and the Omnipotent Who has power over all things. There is no deity but Him, and no Lord but Him.

There are many Ayahs that carry this meaning and they all show that Allah (may He be Praised) possesses the attributes of absolute perfection and is free from any attributes of imperfection or blemish. This entails showing Tawhid and sincerity in ‘Ibadah to Allah (may He be Praised), turning one’s heart to Him, and putting one’s trust in Him in all matters, while associating with Him no other partner, because He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Owner of everything, the Disposer of all affairs. Accordingly, it is not lawful to worship other than Him.

Allah (may He be Praised) informs us that His Prophets, Nuh, Hud, Salih and Shu‘aib said to their people: Worship Allâh! You have no other Ilâh (God) but Him. He also mentions that all the Messengers told the same to their people, as was stated in the above Ayahs.

Allah (Exalted be He) says: And (remember) Ibrâhîm (Abraham) when he said to his people: “Worship Allâh (Alone), and fear Him: that is better for you if you did but know. “You worship besides Allâh only idols, and you only invent falsehood. Verily, those whom you worship besides Allâh have no power to give you provision: so seek your provision from Allâh (Alone), and worship Him (Alone), and be grateful to Him. To Him (Alone) you will be brought back. He (Exalted be He) further says inSurah Al-Safat: And, verily, among those who followed his [Nûh’s (Noah)] way (Islâmic Monotheism) was Ibrâhîm (Abraham). When he came to his Lord with a pure heart [attached to Allâh Alone and none else, worshipping none but Allâh Alone – true Islâmic Monotheism, pure from the filth of polytheism]. When he said to his father and to his people: “What is it that which you worship? “Is it a falsehood – âlihah (gods) other than Allâh – that you desire? “Then what think you about the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn, and all that exists)?” He (may He be Praised) also saysin Surah Maryam,concerning His Khalil Ibrahim (peace be upon him): And mention in the Book (the Qur’ân) Ibrâhîm (Abraham). Verily he was a man of truth, a Prophet. When he said to his father: “O my father! Why do you worship that which hears not, sees not and cannot avail you in anything? “O my father! Verily there has come to me of the knowledge that which came not unto you. So follow me, I will guide you to the Straight Path. “O my father! Worship not Shaitân (Satan). Verily Shaitân (Satan) has been a rebel against the Most Gracious (Allâh). “O my father! Verily I fear lest a torment from the Most Gracious (Allâh) should overtake you, so that you become a companion of Shaitân (Satan) (in the Hell-fire).” [Tafsir Al-Qurtubî] He (the father) said: “Do you reject my gods, O Ibrâhîm (Abraham)? If you stop not (this), I will indeed stone you. So get away from me safely (before I punish you).”

Ibrâhîm (Abraham) said: “Peace be on you! I will ask Forgiveness of my Lord for you. Verily He is unto me Ever Most Gracious. “And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allâh. And I shall call upon my Lord and I hope that I shall not be unblest in my invocation to my Lord.” So when he had turned away from them and from those whom they worshipped besides Allâh, We gave him Ishâq (Isaac) and Ya‘qûb (Jacob), and each one of them We made a Prophet. And We gave them of Our Mercy (a good provision in plenty), and We granted them honour on the tongues (of all the nations, i.e. everybody remembers them with a good praise). Allah (may He be Praised) also says inSurah Al-A‘raf,about the people of Hud, that they said to Hud (peace be upon him): “You have come to us that we should worship Allâh Alone and forsake that which our fathers used to worship. So bring us that wherewith you have threatened us if you are of the truthful.” Allah also says inSurah Yunus,about the Arab Mushriks to whom our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent: And they worship besides Allâh things that harm them not, nor profit them, and they say: “These are our intercessors with Allâh.” Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) answers them saying: And they worship besides Allâh things that harm them not, nor profit them, and they say: “These are our intercessors with Allâh.” Say: “Do you inform Allâh of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?” Glorified and Exalted is He above all that which they associate as partners (with Him)! He also says inSurah Al-Zumar: The revelation of this Book (the Qur’ân) is from Allâh, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. Verily We have sent down the Book to you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) in truth: So worship Allâh (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allâh’s sake only. Surely the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allâh only. And those who take Auliyâ’ (protectors, helpers, lords, gods) besides Him (say): “We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allâh.” Verily Allâh will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allâh guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever.

Allah (may He be Praised) explains in these Ayahs that the Mushriks to whom Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent did not worship images, idols, prophets, the righteous, and others, because they could bring benefit or cause harm, or create or sustain, instead they worshipped them to obtain Shafa‘ah (intercession) with

Allah and draw close to Him. Yet, Allah (may He be Praised and Exalted) declared them to be Kafirs and Mushriks because of their so doing.

In this respect, Allah (Exalted be He) also says:

 Such is Allâh, your Lord; His is the kingdom. And those, whom you invoke or call upon instead of Him, own not even a Qitmîr (the thin membrane over the date-stone). If you invoke (or call upon) them, they hear not your call; and if (in case) they were to hear, they could not grant it (your request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them. And none can inform you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) like Him Who is the All-Knower (of everything).

Allah (may He be Praised) tells in this Ayah that the Sovereignty is His Alone and that He is the Sole Disposer of His creatures. All those worshipped by the Mushriks, other than Him, whether they are Jinn, humans, trees, stones, etc., do not even own a Qitmir – the thin membrane over the date-stone – and that they cannot hear the Du‘a’ of those who call upon them.

 Even if they did, they could not respond, because they are either dead, absent, or inanimate objects that cannot do anything. Allah (may He be Praised) also explains that those whom they worship besides Allah will deny their worshipping them on the Day of Resurrection and refute it. This indicates that their attachment to them and their Du‘a’ to them is Shirk, as He (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:
And the Day whereon We shall gather them all together, then We shall say to those who did set partners in worship with Us: “Stop at your place! You and your partners (whom you had worshipped in the worldly life).” then We shall separate them, and their (Allâh’s so-called) partners shall say: “It was not us that you used to worship.”
“So sufficient is Allâh as a witness between us and you that we indeed knew nothing of your worship of us.” He (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: And who is more astray than one who calls on (invokes) besides Allâh, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them?
And when mankind are gathered (on the Day of Resurrection), they (false deities) will become their enemies and will deny their worshipping.

In these Ayahs, Allah explains that all those worshipped other than Him shall disown their worshippers on the Day of Resurrection, deny their worship, and inform them that they were heedless of it.

 

What a great regret and loss those Mushriks will have on the Day of Resurrection! They have incurred upon themselves failure and sorrow, and have earned the Anger and Wrath of the Almighty, by their disbelief in Him and their worship of others with Him that cannot bring benefit, cause harm, or avail them anything.

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: And whoever invokes (or worships), besides Allâh, any other ilâh (god), of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely! Al-Kâfirûn (the disbelievers in Allâh and in the Oneness of Allâh, polytheists, pagans, idolaters) will not be successful.

There are many Ayahs that explain the falsehood of Shirk, the bad end of the Mushriks, and their loss on the Day of Resurrection. The Sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him) also explains the misguidance of Mushriks, their bad end, and the enormity of their losses, not for associating others with Allah in Tawhid-ul-Rububiyyah (Oneness of Allah’s Lordship), because they knew that He is the Creator, Sustainer, and the Disposer of all their affairs.

Rather, it is because they associated others with Him in Tawhid-ul-Uluhiyyah (Oneness of Worship) in invoking, fearing, hoping, slaughtering sacrifices, vowing, and other forms of ‘Ibadah.

It is authentically reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Mu‘adh when he sent him to Yemen,
“You are going to a community of the People of the Book, so let the first thing to which you call them be worshipping Allah.”

According to another narration,

“…call them to testify that there is no deity but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah.”

In another narration by Al-Bukhari (may Allah be merciful to him),

“…call them to believe in Allah Alone (Tawhid).” Similarly, it is reported in “Sahih Muslim” on the authority of Sa‘d ibn Tariq Al-Ashja‘y from his father (peace be upon him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

 “Anyone who says that there is no deity but Allah and disbelieves in whatever is worshipped besides Allah, their property and blood become inviolable, and their account is with Allah.”

According to the wording of the narration by Ahmad,

 “Anyone who believes in Allah Alone and disbelieves in whatever is worshipped besides Allah…”

These two Hadith explicitly enjoin tawhid, sincerity in ‘Ibadah to Allah, and disbelief in whatever is worshipped besides Him.

It is also related in the Two Sahih Books of Hadith on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him),

 He (peace be upon him) said to Jibril (Gabriel, peace be upon him), when he asked him about Islam, “It is to worship Allah and not associate anything with Him, to perform the obligatory Salah (Prayers), to pay the prescribed Zakah (obligatory charity)…”

Likewise, in “Sahih Muslim” on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) it is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

“Islam is built on five (pillars): on belief in the Oneness of Allah, performing Salah, giving Zakah, Sawm (fasting) Ramadan, and Hajj (pilgrimage).” According to another narration of his: “…on worship of Allah and disbelief in any other than Him…”

The original narration of this Hadith is reported in the Two Sahih Books as Marfu‘ (a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with a connected or disconnected chain of narration) with the following wording:

“Islam is built on five (pillars): the testimony that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing Salah, giving Zakah, Sawm of Ramadan, and Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (the Ka‘bah).”

It is also related by Muslim in the Hadith on the authority of ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) in which Jibril asked about Islam, Iman (Faith), and Ihsan (the perfection of Faith), that the Prophet (peace be upon him) answered saying,

 “Islam is to testify that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, perform Salah, pay Zakah, fast Ramadan, and Hajj to the House (the Ka‘bah) if you are able to undertake the journey.”

These Hadith and others bearing the same meaning prove that the meaning of the testimony: “La ilaha illa Allah (there is no deity but Allah)” is belief in the Oneness of Allah, sincerity in ‘Ibadah to Him, and disbelief in whatever is worshipped beside Him.

This meaning is the true essence of the Tawhid with which Allah sent the Messengers, revealed the Books, and established Jihad (struggling/fighting in the Cause of Allah); and divided the people into Kafirs and Mu’mins (believers), wretched and blessed.

It is enjoined upon every Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions) to seek the means for salvation, adhere to Tawhid, dedicate ‘Ibadah purely and sincerely to Allah Alone, disbelieve in any ‘Ibadah to other than Him and repudiate it,and hold allegiance or enmity on this basis, as Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:

Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrâhîm (Abraham) and those with him, when they said to their people: “Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allâh: we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you hostility and hatred for ever until you believe in Allâh Alone”

 

This is the Din (religion) of all the Messengers and it is the Din that Allah sent the Last and Best of the Prophets, our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with.

It is obligatory upon every Muslim to bite on this with their molars, stand straight on the Din, invite people to it sincerely and honestly, and be patient with what afflicts them on the Path of adhering to it or performing Dawah (calling to Allah). Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says to His Prophet (peace be upon him): Therefore be patient (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) as did the Messengers of strong will Allah (Exalted be He) also says: And endure you patiently (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم), your patience is not but from Allâh.

He (may He be Praised) further says: and be patient. Surely, Allâh is with those who are As-Sâbirûn (the patient). And He (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: By Al-‘Asr (the time). Verily, man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islâmic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth [i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma‘ruf) which Allâh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar which Allâh has forbidden], and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allâh’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islâmic Monotheism or Jihâd). Allah (may He be Praised and Exalted) says: Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning. There are many other Ayahs to this effect.

May Allah, the One Who is begged for aid, bring us, all Muslims, and all those who call people to Al-Haqq (the Truth) together in what pleases Him, and guide His Servants. May Allah guide all the rulers of Muslims to what benefits their people and puts them on the Right Path. Indeed, He is the Patron and the One Capable of doing it. Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and his family and Companions, and those who follow their course until the Day of Resurrection!

Fatwas of Ibn Baz>Volume 3>Explanation of the Tawhid of the Prophets and its antithesis in the religions of the Kafirs and Mushriks

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