Lesson FourThere are three categories of Tawhid:
The Categories of Tawhid and Shirk
1) Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah (Lordship) .
2) Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah (Godhood)
3) Tawhid Al-Asma' was-Sifat (Names and Attributes) Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah:
The belief that Allah is the Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of all things, and that He has no partners in those matters. Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah:
The belief that Allah is the only One Who truly deserves to be worshipped and that He has no partner in that regard. And that is the meaning of Laa Ilaha Illallah, or "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah." All acts of worship - such as prayer and fasting - must be performed sincerely for Allah alone; it is not permissible to direct even a portion of that worship to other than Him. Tawhid Al-Asma' was-Sifat:
The belief that all that has been related in the Noble Qur'an or in the authentic Sunnah regarding Allah's Names and Attributes must be established and affirmed for Allah alone, in a manner that is suitable to Him - how perfect He is - without changing their meaning or ignoring them completely or twisting the meanings or giving resemblance to any of the created things. Allah Almighty says: Say: "He is Allah, (the) One, Allahus-Samad (Allah - the Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks). He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him. (Surah Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)
And He Almighty says:
There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. (Surah Ash-Shura 42:11)
Some of the people of knowledge hold that there are two categories of Tawhid, simply because they have included the third category (Names and Attributes) under the first one (Rububiyyah). There is no real difference in the two ways of classifying, because the goal of explaining Tawhid is achieved either way. The Classification of Tawhid
Tawhid is a crucial topic because it is the foundation of our religion and the basis for which all of the Messengers, peace be upon them, were sent, from the first of them to the last. This topic is also so important because people who go astray or are destroyed only suffer those consequences because they turn away from this foundation, because they are ignorant of it, because they act contrary to its implications.
The polytheists of old were ignorant regarding the aspect of Tawhid which required them to worship Allah alone, without associating partners with Him - and it was because of that aspect that the Messengers were sent, the Books were revealed, and jinns and humans were created.
They thought that their religion of Shirk was correct, and that through it, they were getting closer to Allah Almighty. In reality, however, they were perpetrating the greatest crime and sin. But because of their ignorance, their turning away, and their blind following of their fathers and ancestors, they thought their religion was true, they rejected the Prophets, and they fought them. Allah Almighty says: Surely they took the Shayatin (devils) as Awliya' (protectors and helpers) instead of Allah, and consider that they are guided. (Surah Al-A’raf 7: 30)
The first people who went astray and believed in Shirk were the people of Nuh (Alayhi Salam); they were the first nation to believe in Shirk, while those after them followed them. What led them to Shirk was exaggeration in venerating righteous people: Wad, Suwa', Yaghuth, Ya'uq, and Nasr. These were all righteous men who died and whose people were very sad to have lost them. The Shaitan embellished the idea of exaggerating in veneration for those righteous men. This lead them to make images and erect statues of them at their gathering places. They reasoned that people would look at the statues of the righteous men and follow in their way; however, rather than following in their way, they were ruined, and so were those who came after them. As time passed, people forgot the initial reason why the statues were made, and they began to worship them. Some of our pious predecessors said, "When these people (who built the statues) were destroyed, those came after them who worshipped the statues, and so Allah revealed this verse regarding them: And they have said, “ You shall not leave your gods, no shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwa', nor Yaghuth, nor Ya'uq, nor Nasr." And indeed they have led many astray. And (0 Allah): "Grant no increase to the wrongdoers except in error." Because of their sins they were drowned, then they were made to enter the Fire, and they found none to help them instead of Allah. (Surah Nuh 71:23-25)
Exaggeration regarding the status of angels, Prophets, righteous men, jinns, or statues is the basis of the evil of Shirk. At the hands of the Messengers, peace be upon them, Allah clarified to mankind that it is obligatory to worship Him alone, that He is the true God, and that it is forbidden to take intermediaries between Him and His creatures; rather, we must worship Him directly without any intermediary. This is the message the Messengers were sent to deliver, and for which the Books were revealed, and for which creation was created. Allah Almighty says:
And I created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).
(Surah Ath-Thariyat 51:56)
O mankind! Worship your Lord, Who created you and those who were before you.
(Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 21)
Tawhid is an issue that at all times and on all occasions requires much attention, especially when we are calling others to the religion of Allah and to worship Him alone, and especially considering that Shirk is the greatest sin, a sin that most people of the past and present are guilty of. Therefore, Muslims must strive to call others to the way of Tawhid and warn them about Shirk and its different categories, so that people may be wary of it. The last Prophet, Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) delivered that message completely, both in Makkah and in Al-Madinah.
When calling others to Islam, the people of knowledge must give Tawhid priority over all else because it is the foundation: if it is spoiled in any way by Shirk, all other deeds are nullified. But if they had joined in worship others with Allah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them. (Surah Al-An’am 6: 88)