TagJannah

Your Intention Makes the Difference – Part 3

If you have read the first two parts of these series, you would know by now that your intention really makes the difference between success and failure. Success by winning Paradise in the hereafter or failure by entering into the Hell fire. Your intention, your sincerity towards Allah in your deed will decide whether it is an acceptable deed or not, as the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam relates to us:


“Allah does not accept any deed except that which is done only for Him and to seek His pleasure.”

Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 3140; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 52

But now we are going to answer an important question in this article:

Is a sincere intention to please Allah enough to make a deed permissible?

To answer this, we must first understand that the intention is always one of two players in a deed. The other player that accompanies an intention almost all the time is the action itself. We know what the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam has said about the intention. Now what has the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said about the action? He said:

“Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (that is Islam), will have it rejected.”

Narrated by Muslim, al-Aqdiyyah, 3243

From this we understand that although the intention is an important component of the deed, it is NOT enough to make a deed permissible. It has to be accompanied by an action that is within the guidelines of the matters taught to us by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and His Messenger Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam.

The hadeeth above is so profound that the scholars of Islam have many things to say about it:

Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: “The principles of Islam are covered by three hadeeth”:

  • The hadeeth related by `Umar that actions are but by intentions,
  • The hadeeth related by `Aishah that states whoever innovates a matter in this matter of ours will have it rejected, and
  • The hadeeth related by al-Nu`man ibn Bashir which states that what is lawful is clear and what is unlawful is clear.

Al-Hakim relates that Imam Ahmad said: “It would be appropriate to mention these three hadeeth at the beginning of every book on the subject, since they are the foundations of the hadeeth”:

  • The one stating that the actions are by intentions,
  • The one stating that the creation of one of you is brought together in the womb for forty days, and
  • The one stating that whoever innovates something in this religion of ours will have it rejected

So from the matter above we can conclude that for any deed to be accepted, you have to bring two things with it. If even one of these is missing, Allah will not accept your deed:

  1. The intention of worship should be to sincerely please Allah alone.
  2. The action of worship should be in accordance with the Law of Allah and His Messenger.

The two conditions for the acceptability of any deed

The two conditions above have been mentioned by numerous scholars of Islam:

1) Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Allah has made devotion of worship to Him alone and following the Sunnah the means of deeds being accepted; if these conditions are not met, then deeds are unacceptable.”

[Al-Rooh, 1/135]

2) On this Aayah:

“So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.”

[Surat Al-Kahf: Aayah 110]

Ibn Katheer comments saying: “These two factors form the basis for an acceptable deed: it must be done sincerely for the sake of Allah alone, and it must be correct and in accordance with the Shari’ah (law) of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).’

And on this Ayah:

“And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face to Allah and he is Muhsin.”

[Surat An Nisa: Ayah 125]

Ibn Kathir explains the meaning saying: “Meaning, performs the good actions in sincerity for his Lord with faith and awaiting the reward with Allah, following the correct guidance that Allah legislated in the religion of truth which He sent His Messenger with. These are the two conditions, in the absence of which no deed will be accepted from anyone:
a) Sincerity and
b) Correctness.
The work is sincere when it is performed for Allah alone and it becomes correct when it conforms to the Shari`ah. So, the deed becomes outwardly correct with following the Sunnah and inwardly correct with sincerity. When any deed lacks either of these two conditions, the deed becomes null and void. For instance, when one lacks the pillar of sincerity in his work, he becomes a hypocrite who shows off for people. Whoever does not follow the Shari`ah, he becomes an ignorant, wicked person. When one combines both pillars, his actions will be the deeds of the faithful believers whose best deeds are accepted from them and their errors erased.

[Tafseer lbn Katheer]

3) On this hadeeth:

‘Actions are only judged by intentions’ [Saheeh al-Bukhaari #1]

Sheikh al-Albani, May Allah be pleased with him, explained: “Many people know this hadeeth in wording but don’t understand its meaning. Why? Because oftentimes we turn (to some people) and say: ‘Ya akhee, this action that you are doing, or this statement that you are uttering, is not a righteous action.’ What is the answer? ‘Ya akhee, the Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Actions are only judged by intentions’ and my intention is good! My intention is righteous!’

If one’s actions are not righteous but intention is righteous – this is not enough. Likewise it is also not enough if it is vice versa: i.e. if one’s actions are righteous but intention is not righteous. So either one is not enough without the other.”

4) Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “This hadeeth (“Whoever does any action that is not in accordance…..”) forms one of the most important principles of Islam. It is like a scale for weighing up deeds according to their outward appearance, just as the hadeeth ‘The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions’ is the means of weighing up the inner nature of deeds. Just as every action which is not intended for the sake of Allah brings no reward to the one who does it, so too every deed which is not in accordance with the command of Allah and His Messenger will also be rejected and thrown back at the one who does it. Everyone who innovates in Islam something for which Allah and His Messenger have not granted permission, that thing has nothing to do with Islam.

[Jami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam, part 1, p.176]

Incorrect actions are widespread in the Muslim ummah, where a person might think the intention is good but the action itself is an innovation in Islam. Again, repeating what was said by Ibn Rajab above about innovations:

Everyone who innovates in Islam, something for which Allah and His Messenger have not granted permission, that thing has nothing to do with Islam.

Innovations in Islam and the warning against them

Some common actions of worship that some Muslims do with a good intention but are innovations in Islam because the action itself is incorrect are as follows:

  1. Asking for help from a righteous dead person in a graveyard or shrine thinking that he/she has special virtues to provide sustenance, health and protection.
  2. Religious festivals and birthday celebrations like celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam.
  3. Wearing amulets and hanging special ornaments in the house seeking protection through it from evil.
  4. Religious music such as qawwalis that is done in remembrance of Allah and His Messenger.
  5. Reciting Surat Al-Fatihah on special occasions such as on the meal that is offered upon the death of a person, which is an innovation also.
  6. Reciting dhikr (remembering Allah) in a manner and in a number not prescribed by authentic teachings from Allah and His Messenger.
  7. Isolating certain nights to stand in worship reciting Surahs in an innovated manner and number, such as on the night of 15th of Sha’ban (known as Shab-e-Baraat in the Indian subcontinent) and 27th of Rajab (Shab-e-Mi’raj).
  8. Supplicating to Allah in unison with the imam after every Salah except in acceptable forms prescribed by the laws of Allah and His Messenger such as in Witr salah in Taraweeh.
  9. Uttering the intention out allowed such as the intention to pray.

The above are just a handful of the the great number of innovations plaguing the Muslim ummah today. These innovations arise when Muslims do not bring the two conditions for the permissibility of a deed of worship together.

Imaam ash-Shaatibee (rahima-hullaah) mentions:

“Linguistically bid’ah (innovation) means ‘a newly invented matter’. The Shari’ah definition of bid’ah as: ‘A newly invented way [beliefs or action] in the religion, in imitation of the Shari’ah (prescribed law), by which nearness to Allah is sought, [but] not being supported by any authentic proof – neither in its foundations, nor in the manner in which it is performed’.”

[Al-I’tisaam of ash-Shaatibee, 1/37]

The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam was very severe in warning us against any innovation in Islam. He Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“Beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly- invented matter is a going astray.”

Classed as saheeh (authentic) by al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2157

The warning against innovation in the religion of Islam is given to us every Friday using the words of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam, reminding us of the need to be aware of it and avoid it:

إِنَّ أَصْدَقَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابُ اللَّهِ وَأَحْسَنَ الْهَدْيِ هَدْيُ مُحَمَّدٍ وَشَرُّ الْأُمُورِ مُحْدَثَاتُهَا وَكُلُّ مُحْدَثَةٍ بِدْعَةٌ وَكُلُّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلَالَةٌ وَكُلُّ ضَلَالَةٍ فِي النَّارِ

“The truest word is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The most evil matters are those that are newly invented (in the religion), for every newly invented matter is an innovation. Every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.”

Source: Sunan al-Nasā’ī 1578
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani 

Note that the kind of innovation that is prohibited are those that are introduced in the matters of the religion of Islam, as is clearly stated in the hadeeth discussed earlier where the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (that is Islam), will have it rejected.”. This is not innovation in the matters of this world such as innovation of cars for example for the ease of the people.

Innovation in Islam stems from differing from the Qur’an and Sunnah. And differing from the Qur’an and Sunnah is what destroyed the Jews and the Christians. In the beautiful Surat Al-Bayyinah, Allah subhanu wa Ta’ala describes exactly that.

He Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:

And the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) differed not until after there came to them clear evidence. (i.e. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and whatever was revealed to him).
[Surat Al-Bayyinah: Aayah 4]

Ibn Kathir explains the Ayah above in his Tafseer by saying:

“This refers to the people of those divinely revealed Scriptures that were sent down to the nations that were before us. After Allah established the proofs and evidences against them, they divided and differed concerning that which Allah had intended in their Scriptures, and they had many differences. This is like what has been reported in a hadeeth that has many routes of transmission:

The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa sallam said:

“Verily, the Jews differed until they became seventy-one sects. And verily, the Christians differed until they became seventy-two sects. And this Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, and all of them will be in the Fire except one. They (the sahabah) said, “Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? ” He replied, “Those who are upon what I and my Companions are upon.”

It was narrated from Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stood among us and said: “Those who came before you of the people of the Book split into seventy-two sects, and this ummah will split into seventy-three: seventy-two in Hell and one in Paradise, and that is the jamaa’ah (main body of Muslims).”
Narrated by Abu Dawood (4597) and others; classed as saheeh by al-Haakim (1/128),

Sheikh ul Islam ibn Tamiyyah said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (4/155) (3/346): “The sign of these groups – i.e., the seventy-two groups that go against Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah – is that they forsake the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus. The one who follows the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus is one of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah.”

Sheikh Saalih Al-Munajjid has published on islamqa.info: “The cause of difference and division among these groups mentioned in the hadeeth has to do with fundamental matters of religion and basic issues of ‘aqeedah, not differences of opinion regarding fiqh.” [1]

Aqeedah refers to: what a Muslim believes in his heart about the matters which are known from the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah, in acknowledgement of the truth of Allah and His Messenger. [2]

That’s why Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) says:

“The saved group is described as Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, and they are the greater majority and the vast multitude. As for the other groups, they are followers of weird ideas, division, innovation and whims and desires, and none of these groups reached anywhere close to the size of the saved group, let alone being equal to them, rather some of these groups are very small in number. The sign of these groups is that they go against the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus. The one who follows the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus is one of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah.”

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (3/346).]

Keep in mind that the widely known 4 imams viz. Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and their madhabs are not one of the sects.

The Imams of the four madhab knew the seriousness of introducing innovations in Islam by moving away and differing from the Qur’an and Sunnah. All of them are famously known to have said,

“If I say something then compare it with the book of Allah and the Sunnah of his messenger and if it agrees with them then accept it and that which goes against them then reject it and throw my saying against the wall!”

[An Nawawee, al Majmoo (1/63) and Ibn ul Qayyim, A’laam ul Muwaqqi’een (2/361)]

What is important to be kept in mind from the matter above is that not all deeds done with a good intention are righteous. There are many innovative practices that were introduced and will continue to be introduced by the sects that differ from the Qur’an and Sunnah. You need to be aware of these sects and innovative practices with knowledge to protect yourself and guide those who don’t know. And more importantly, you need to make sure that your deed meets the two conditions for it to be acceptable by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. Which is that, it must be performed with a sincere intention to please Allah alone and the action of worship performed must be from the guidelines given to us by Allah and His Messenger and not an innovation in Islam that differs from the law of Allah and His Messenger. 

 

Some important pieces of advice

Before his death, the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam gave this ummah some very important pieces of advice in order to safeguard themselves from innovative sects and religious practices and to ensure that the two conditions for the permissibility of a deed are met. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala let the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam know that the Muslim ummah will be split into multiple sects and that there will come a time when there will be a lot of differences, which is the time we live in today. In such a time, this is the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam’s advice to you:

Advice number 1:

“Indeed, whoever among you lives (for a long time) he will see much difference. Beware of the newly invented matters, for indeed they are astray. Whoever among you sees that, then he must stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs. “

Jami At tirmidhi 2676, Book 41, Hadith 32

Advice number 2:

“I have left behind two things, you will never go astray as long as you hold fast onto them, the Qur’an and Sunnah.”

 Muwatta Imam Malik, 1601

Advice number 3:

“You have to follow my Sunnah (way) and the way of my rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa’ al-rashidoon); bite onto it with your eyeteeth (i.e., cling firmly to it).”

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, al-‘Ilm, 2600

Advice number 4:

“You must adhere to my Sunnah and the way of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs who come after me. Adhere to it and cling to it strongly, and beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly-invented matter is an innovation (bid’ah) and every innovation is a going astray.”

Narrated by Abu Dawood (4607) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood

If we had to summarize the advises of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam above into a single statement, it would be: 

Stick to the Qur’an and Sunnah upon the understanding and implementation of the rightly guided Salaf as-Saalih.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

“The sign of the people of bid’ah (innovation) is that they do not follow the salaf.”

End quote from Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (4/155).

Who are the Salaf as-Saalih?

Muhammad Nasir- Deen Al-Albaani (d.1420A.H) -rahimahullah-said:

“The Salaf as-Saalih (Pious predecessors) includes the three generations about whom the Messenger SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam testified regarding their goodness in a Hadeeth whose authenticity is agreed upon.  Rather this Hadeeth has reached the level of Mutawwatir due its many chains in the Saheeh of Muslim and other than them from a great deal of the Companions, that the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“خير الناس قرني ثم الذين يلونهم ثم الذين يلونهم ثم الذين يلونهم” 

“The best people are my generation then those who will come after them and then those after them…”

Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6065, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2533

Sheikh al-Albani continues, “So the three generations whose goodness has been testified are the ones who are intended by being the Salaf as-Saalih.”

The narration above is a command from the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam, his command to follow the Salaf as-Saalih and his affirmation that their path is the only correct path.

Where is the command of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala to follow the Salaf as-Saalih and his affirmation that their path is the only correct path? It is in the Qur’an as follows:

And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhajiroon) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well pleased with them, as they are well pleased with Him.
He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.

[Surat At-Tawbah: Aayah 100]

On this Aayah Sheikh al-Albani comments:

“Indeed this noble Aayah is the foundation from where it is necessary for every Muslim to spring forward from to get to know the Da’wah which some of the scholars, in the past and present have defined as the ‘Da’watus–Salafiyyah’.
Whoever truly wants to return to the Book and the Sunnah then it is necessary for that person to return to what the Companions of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam were upon, and the Tabi’een (the successors of the Companions) and the successors of the Ta’abeen.”

[Taken from a tape entitled ‘Dawatus-Salafiyyah’]

So in summary the Salaf as-Saalih are the first three generations whom Allah and His Messenger Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam have commanded us to follow, imitate and understand the Qur’an and Sunnah like the way they understood it. They are:

1st generation – The Sahabah (Those who met the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam as believers and died in a state of believing in him as Muslims).

2nd generation – Tabi’een (Those who came after the period of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam, who did not meet the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam, but met the Sahabah as believers and followed the teachings of the Sahabah and died as Muslims.)

3rd generation – Atba at Tabi’een (Those who came after the period of the Tabi’een, who did not meet the Sahabah, but met the Tabi’een as believers and followed the teachings of the Tabi’een and died as Muslims.)

Some practical steps in order for us to ensure that the action in our deed is from the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah:

1. Obtain knowledge of the religion of Islam from true scholars so that your action is based upon clear evidence from the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah. If someone comes with something new that you do not know of, ask for evidence. 

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala commands ask to verify some new piece of knowledge that comes to us with clear evidences:

O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.
[Surat Al Hujurat: Aayah 6]

Say, “Produce your proof, if you should be truthful.”
[Surat Al Baqarah: Aayah 111]

If we don’t know whether an action is a permissible form of worship, then Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala tells us to:

“Ask the people of the knowledge if you do not know.”
[Surat Al-Anbiya: Aayah 7]

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.”

[Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 224
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani]

He Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam also warned us to take knowledge from the true scholars before it is taken away:

“Allah does not take away the knowledge by taking it away from the hearts of the people, but He takes it away by the death of the Scholars till no Scholar remains. Then people will take as their leaders the ignorant who when asked will give their verdict (fatwa) without knowledge. So they will go astray themselves and will lead the people astray.”

[Reported by Al-Bukhārī, no. 100]

In a wording, he said, “There will remain the ignorant from whom verdicts (fatwas) will be sought. They will give verdicts based upon their own opinions, so they will go astray and will lead the people astray.”

[Al-Bukhāri no. 7307]

Ibn Mas’ūd said,

“Learn knowledge before it is taken away, and it is taken away by the death of the scholars. Beware of going extremes and delving too deeply, and beware of innovations. Upon you is to adhere to the ancient affair.”

[See Ad-Dārimī with the explanation, Fathul-Mannān 2/115, Al-Musannaf of Abdur-Razzāq 11/252, Jāmi’ Bayān Al-‘Ilm wa Fadlihi 1/152, Al-‘Amr bil-Ittibā’ p. 59)

Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (Radhi Allah ‘Anhu) said:

“O’ people, you must seek knowledge before it is taken away, for indeed when its people (the scholars) die, it will be taken away. And beware of bid’ah, innovation and sophistication, and adhere to the ancient way [i.e., the way of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)].”

[Al-Bidaayah wan-Nahy ‘anha by Ibn Waddaah]

And always, always ask for evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah with regards to the act of worship that you are about to perform:

The author, (Imām al-Barbahārī) may Allah have mercy upon him said; “Examine! May Allah have mercy upon you, the speech of every person that you hear, practically in your day and age. Do not act in haste and do not enter into anything from it until you ask and see – Did any of the companions of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam speak concerning it or any of the scholars? For if you find a narration from them concerning it then hold tightly onto it and do not exchange it for anything nor give anything precedence over it and consequently fall into the Hell-Fire.” [4]

Sheikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan says:

“Beware and do not rush into accepting speech upon false value even if you are impressed and carried away by his eloquent speech, ability to manipulate words and lectures, do not hasten to it until you have looked into it and examined it against the Qurʾān and Sunnah. Look to see who said (this speech), is he a person of understanding or not? Ask the people of knowledge about him and examine to see if any of the salaf had preceded him in his speech. I have warned against this on many occasions, do not introduce opinions, views, statements that have not been mentioned before (from any of the salaf).” [4]

[Ithāf al-Qāriī fī Sharh us-Sunnah of Al-Barbahārī, 1/102-109 of Shaykh Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzān al-Fawzān]

 

2. Ensure that the action is something which the Salaf as-Saalih have known to have done and it is not something newly introduced. Stop where they stopped. 

It is easy to understand this point when we realize that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala perfected and completed the religion of Islam during the time of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam. All the rules and regulations of worship were sent through revelation during the time of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam. The revelation also stopped during the time of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam. Then how can someone come after and introduce something new to a religion that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala said is perfect and complete?

This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.
[Surat Al-Maidah: Aayah 3]

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala perfected the religion to the extent that He taught us through His Messenger Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam how to clean ourselves after excretion and urination, to a level of perfection that someone was very amazed at this and said to Salman Al-Farsi RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu:

“Your Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam teaches you about everything, even about excrement.”

To which Salman Al-Farsi RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu responded:

“Yes, he has forbidden us to face the Qibla at the time of excretion or urination, or cleansing with right hand or with less than three pebbles, or with dung or bone.”

[Sahih Muslim: Book 2, Hadith 73]

The companions of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam practiced the perfect religion. It is enough for us to follow them.

Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan (RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu) said:

“Do not perform any act of worship that was not practiced by the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, for the earlier generation did not leave any room for the latter to add anything (to the religion). Fear Allah, O’ readers, seekers of knowledge, and follow the path of those who came before you.”

[Narrated by Ibn Battah in Al-Ibaanah]

Imaam Al-Awzaa’ee (d.157) said:

“Make yourself patient upon the Sunnah, stop where the people stopped, speak with what they spoke with, and refrain from what they refrained from. And follow the path of your Righteous Predecessors (Salaf-as-Saaliheen) for verily, sufficient for you is that which was sufficient for them.”

[Related in Ash-Shari’ah, by Al-Aajurree, p. 58]

‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood (RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu) said:

“Whoever wants to follow an example, let him follow the example of those who have passed away, the Companions of Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). They were the best of this ummah, the purest in heart, the deepest in knowledge, the least in sophistication. They were people whom Allah chose to be the Companions of His Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and to convey His religion, so imitate their ways and behavior, for they were following the Straight Path.”

[Al-Baghawi in Sharh as-Sunnah]

‘Abdulaah Ibn Mas’ood (RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu) said:

“Follow and do not innovate, for everything has been taken care of, and you must follow the ancient way (i.e., of the Salaf).”

[Ad-Daarimi in his Sunan]

‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar (RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu) said:

“People will continue to adhere to the correct way so long as they follow the footsteps [of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam)].”

[Al-Laalkaa’i in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah]

Ibn ‘Abbaas RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu said:

“Indeed the most detestable of things to Allah are the innovations.”

[As-Sunan al-Kubraa, 4/316]

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said:

“The basic principles of Sunnah in our view are: adherence to the way of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, following their example and forsaking bid’ah (innovation), for every bid’ah is going astray.”

[Al-Laalkaa’i in Sharh Usool Ahl as-Sunnah]

The author, (Imām al-Barbahārī) may Allah have mercy upon him said: “Safe yourselves from the small innovations, cause verily the small/minor innovations go to an extent and become major. Likewise every innovation in this ummah was minor in the beginning, seemed similar to the haqq (the truth). Everyone who performed it got deluded by it, to an extent that it became unavoidable. It later turned into a deen that is practiced. So the person who followed it left the Sirat al-Mustaqeem (the straight path).”

 

3) Do not decide whether an act of worship is acceptable or not based upon its good or bad appearance, logic or on weak opinion. Its permissibility depends only upon whether it is found in the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah or not.

‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umr said:

“Every bid’ah (innovation) is misguidance, even if people think it is good.”

[Al-Laalkaa’i in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah]

About the act of mas’aa (wiping over socks to complete the ablution) the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam taught us to wipe the top of the socks even though it is logically more sound to wipe the bottom of the socks because you find more dirt there. About this ‘Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (Radhi Allah ‘Anhu) commented:

“If religion were based on opinion (what people think is common sense), then we should wipe the bottom of the khuff (leather slippers) rather than the top, but I saw the Messenger of Allah wiping the top of them.”

[Ibn Abi Shaybah in Al-Musannaf]

Imam Al-Awzaa’i said:

“You must follow the footsteps of those who came before, even if the people reject you. Beware of personal opinions even if people make them attractive. The clear way is that of the Straight Path.”

[Al-Khateeb in Sharaf Ashaab al-Hadeeth]

Imaam Maalik said:

“Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct (sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Book and the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it.”

[Ibn ‘Abdul Barr in Jaami’ Bayaan al-’Ilm, 2/32]

Imaam Abu Haneefah said:

“When I say something contradicting the Book of Allah the Exalted or what is narrated from the Messenger (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), then ignore my saying.”

[Al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz Al-Himam, p. 50]

Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee said:

“The Muslims are unanimously agreed that if a sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is made clear to someone, it is not permitted for him to leave it for the saying of anyone else.”

[I’laam , 2/361]

Imaam Ahmad said:

“Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinion of Maalik, nor Shaafi’i, nor Awzaa’i, nor Thawri, but take from where they took (i.e. from the Salaf as-Sallih)”

[Ibn al-Qayyim in I’laam, 2/302]

 

To Conclude

Your intention makes the difference, but your sincere intention is useless if the action you perform is not according to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah upon the understanding of the Salaf as-Saalih.

We will end this series with an incident that took place after the death of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam, that shows to us how important it was for the Sahabah to ensure that both their intention and their action is according to what Allah and His Messenger had left them with in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Here is the incident:

Amr ibn Yahya said: “I heard my father narrating from his father who said:

“We were at the door of ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas‘ood before the early morning prayer. When he came out we walked with him to the mosque. Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari came up to us and said, “Did Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan come out to you yet?” We said, “No.” He sat down with us until [Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan] came out. When he came out, we all stood up to greet him, and Abu Moosa said to him: “O Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan, earlier I saw in the mosque something that I have never seen before, but it seems good, al-hamdu Lillaah.” He said, “And what was it?” He said, “if you live, you will see it. I saw people in the mosque sitting in circles waiting for the prayer. In every circle there was a man, and they had pebbles in their hands. He would say, ‘Say Allahu akbar one hundred times,’ and they would say Allahu akbar one hundred times; then he would say, ‘Say Laa ilaaha ill-Allah one hundred times,’ and they would say Laa ilaaha ill-Allah one hundred times; then he would say, ‘Say Subhaan Allah one hundred times,’ and they would say Subhaan Allah one hundred times.’ He asked, ‘What did you say to them?’ He said, ‘I did not say anything to them; I was waiting to see what your opinion would be and what you would tell me to do.’ He said, ‘Why did you not tell them to count their bad deeds and guarantee them that nothing of their good deeds would be wasted?’ Then he left, and we went with him, until he reached one of those circles. He stood over them and said, ‘What is this I see you doing?’ They said, ‘O Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan, these are pebbles we are using to count our takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh.’ He said, ‘Count your bad deeds, and I guarantee that nothing of your good deeds will be wasted. Woe to you, O ummah of Muhammad, how quickly you are getting destroyed! The Companions of your Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) are still alive, his garment is not yet worn out and his vessels are not yet broken. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, either you are following a way that is more guided than that of Muhammad or you have opened the door of misguidance!’ They said, ‘By Allah, O Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan, we only wanted to do good.’ He said, ‘How many of those who wanted to do good failed to achieve it! The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told us that people recite Qur`an and it does not go any further than their throats. By Allah, I do not know, maybe most of them are people like you.’ Then he turned away from them. ‘Amr ibn Salamah said, ‘I saw most of the members of those circles fighting alongside the Khawaarij on the day of Nahrawaan.’ ”

[Reported by al-Daarimi, al-Sunan, no. , ed. by ‘Abd-Allah Haashim al-Yamaani. Al-Albaani classed its isnaad as saheeh in al-Silsilat al-Saheehah under hadeeth no. See Majma’ al-Zawaa’id by alHaythami ]

The point to understand from the hadeeth above is:

Even though the act of worship that the people in the masjid were performing by saying takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh is an act that looked good in appearance and sincere in intention as they were praising Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’la, the sahabah still scolded them for doing it because it was an action done in a manner that was not prescribed by the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and warned them to stop because they knew it will not be accepted by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.

The incident above is a lesson for us to ensure that our deeds with sincere intentions are always accompanied by correct actionIt warns us against becoming like those who try to change a religion that is already perfect by introducing new practices which will never be accepted by Allah, about whom the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“I will reach the Cistern ahead of you. He who comes to me will drink, and whoever drinks will never thirst again. There will come to me some people whom I will recognize and they will recognize me, then they will be prevented from reaching me. I shall say: ‘They are of me,’ but it will be said: ‘You do not know what they introduced after you were gone.’ So I shall say: ‘Away, away with those who changed (the religion) after I was gone.’”

[Narrated by al-Bukhaari (6212) and Muslim (2290)]

 

The Intention Makes the Difference Part 3

Resources used in making this article:

[1] https://islamqa.info/en/answers/90112/who-are-the-saved-group

[2] https://islamqa.info/en/answers/951/what-is-aqeedah

[3] https://theauthenticbase.wordpress.com/quotes-from-the-salaf/

[4] http://dusunnah.com/article/examine-the-speech-of-every-person-you-hear-today/

 

Your Intention Makes the Difference – Part 1

When you come across the aayaahs in the Qur’an that speak of the hell fire, you are left terrified, shaken, broken by the extreme nature with which Allah describes the destruction of it! Aayaahs of the Qur’an such as:

In fierce hot wind and boiling water
And a shade of black smoke,
Neither cool nor beneficial
[Surat Al-Waaqi’ah: Aayahs 42-44] 

There will be sent against you both, smokeless flames of fire and (molten) brass, and you will not be able to defend yourselves.
[Surat Ar-Rahmaan: Aayah 35]

For them there will be no food except from a poisonous, thorny plant, which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger.
[Surat Al-Ghashiyah: Aayahs 6-7]

Wherein he will neither die nor live.
[Surat Al-A’la: Aayah 13]

It is a fire about whose intense heat in comparison to that of the fire on earth has been described by the Prophet Sallalahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam when he said,

“The fire of the Children of Adam that you all kindle is one part of the seventy parts of the fire of Hell.”
They (the Companions) said, “O Messenger of Allah! Isn’t it sufficient’?’
He replied,” It is more than it by sixty-nine times.”

Al-Bukhari and Muslim

It is a fire whose severe isolation and loneliness has been described by the sahabah and many scholars of the past.
Ibn ‘Abbas RadhiAllahu Anhu said, “Its doors will be closed.” and “they will have chains on their necks, and the gates (of Hell) will be shut upon them.”
Ad-Dahhak said, ُ”It will be sealed over them and it will have no door.”
Qatadah said, ُ”It will be shut and there will be no light in it, no escape, and no way out of it forever.”
Thabit Al-Bunani said, “It will burn them all the way to their hearts while they are still alive.” Then he said, “Indeed the torment will reach them.” Then he cried.

Such horrifying reports of the fire that Allah has prepared make you wonder how evil the people who enter it must have been, so much so that they weren’t able to attain Mercy from the Most Generous of those Who grants Mercy and Forgiveness. As Allah says:

None shall enter it save the most wretched.
[Surat Al-Layl: Aayah 15]

These must have been some really reaaaaally bad people who did some reaaally bad deeds.

But do you know who are the very first amongst the people who will enter such a fire? Here are the first three:

  1. A man who studied religious knowledge and taught it and who used to recite the Qur’an.
  2. A man who spent his wealth in every way possible way that Allah likes.
  3. A man who died as a martyr in the path of Allah. 

You don’t believe it? It is what the Prophet Sallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam said himself:

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say:
“The first of people against whom judgement will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr.
He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them.
[The Almighty] will say: ‘And what did you do about them?’
He will say: ‘I fought for You until I died a martyr.’
He will say: ‘You have lied – you did but fight that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is courageous.’
And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.

[Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Qur’an. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them.
[The Almighty] will say: ‘And what did you do about them?’
He will say: ‘I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Qur’an for Your sake.’
He will say: ‘You have lied – you did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is learned.’ And you recited the Qur’an that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is a reciter.’
And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into the Hell-fire.

[Another] will be a man whom Allah had made rich and to whom He had given all kinds of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them.
[The Almighty] will say: ‘And what did you do about them?’
He will say: ‘I left no path [un-trodden] in which You like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake.’
He will say: ‘You have lied – you did but do so that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is open-handed.’
And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.”

It was related by Muslim (also by at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa’i)

While Abu Hurayrah RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu was narrating this hadeeth, he was so traumatized by it that he kept gasping until his head fell forward and he needed the support of another person beside him.

These three people, in spite of all their hard earned effort towards doing good deeds, where did they fail? The failed in their sincerity towards Allah. And only that caused them to enter the Hell fire. Their intention is what made the difference.

We learn from this that just doing a good deed is not enough. What plays an even more important role in deciding whether that deed will be accepted by Allah, is the intention behind it.

The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Allaah does not accept any deed except that which is done only for Him and to seek His pleasure.”

Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 3140; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah, 52.

The question that should be asked to yourself before doing any good deed is:

Am I doing this to please Allah?

Riya

They fell into something called Riya (showing off).

In al-Musnad (27742), it is narrated that Mahmoud ibn Labeed said that the Messenger of Allaah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“The thing that I fear most for you is minor shirk.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, what is minor shirk?” He said: “Showing off, for Allah will say on the Day when people are recompensed for their actions: ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off with your deeds in the world, and see what reward you find with them.’”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah, 951.

Allah has mentioned in the Qur’an with regards to shirk:

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship).”
[Surat An-Nisa: Aayah 48] 

And although riya is regarded as minor shirk, it must be avoided just as major shirk is avoided.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: Do the words of Allah, “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship)” [an-Nisa’ 4:48] include minor shirk?

He replied: “The scholars differed concerning that. Some of them said that it includes all kinds of shirk, even minor shirk such as swearing by something other than Allah; Allah will not forgive him. But with regard to major sins, such as drinking alcohol and zina, they are subject to the will of Allah; if Allah wills He will forgive them and if He wills He will punish them. 
Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] said different things. On one occasion he said: Allah does not forgive shirk even if it is minor. And on another occasion he said: That which Allah does not forgive is major shirk.  Whatever the case, we must beware of shirk altogether, because the general meaning may include minor shirk too, because He says “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him” meaning any partner, therefore it suggests any kind of shirk.
End quote from Majmoo’ Fataawa as-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (2/203).[2]

We can notice how riya ties to shirk even in the following hadeeth where we see how we may incur the anger and wrath of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, who is the Most Merciful, if we do our deeds to show off to others than Allah:

The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:


“Allah – the Blessed and Sublime – says:  “I am in no need of partners. Whoever does a deed for the sake of others as well as me, I leave his deed for those others.'”

Sahîh Muslim

We see how it affects one of the most important principles of Tawheed (to single out Allah in all acts of worship and to abandon the worship of anything else) which is:

Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah – to single out Allah within the actions of the servant.”

This includes all actions that draw them closer to Allah, Glorified and Exalted, like Du’aa (supplicaton).
All forms of worship must be strictly for Allah alone, and nothing can be done for other than Him. This is what is called tawheed al-‘ibaadah, or tawheed al-uloohiyyah, and it is the tawheed that is put into practice as the servant singles out Allah in everything He has requested, with an intention for Him alone, in all acts of obedience.
[Taken from Shaykh Saalih ibn ‘Abdillaah Al-Fawzaan’s book-Duroos min Al-Qur’aan Al-Kareem (p.12-14).]

This is why it is so important to learn Tawheed and we made a special article just for you on that here: The Only Way You Will Succeed 

A remedy for Riya

The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“Shirk among you will be more subtle than the footsteps of an ant, but I will teach you something which, if you do it, both minor and major shirk will be kept away from you. Say:

اللهم إني أعوذ بك أن أشرك بك وأنا أعلم وأستغفرك لما لا أعلم

Allahumma inni a’oodhu bika an ushrika bika wa ana a’lam wa astaghfiruka lima la a’lam.
(O Allah, I seek refuge with You from associating anything with You knowingly, and I seek Your forgiveness for that of which I am unaware).”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3731

It is tragic to know how many times we fall into this error. When we stand up for salah, do we stand up with the sole purpose of seeking Allah’s pleasure alone or do a thousand other thoughts run in our mind because of which prayer just becomes a ritual that we do to go with the flow that everyone else is going in? Do we stand up to pray just to be seen by others to save our reputation which is at stake when people start realizing we don’t come to the mosque so often? When I invite people over for dinner am I doing it so that I receive praises of how delicious and costly the food is and make them listen to the trouble you had to go through to arrange for it?  When once in a blue moon you call your parents to check on how they are doing, do you see the deed as just a chore that you need to get out of the way so that you don’t have to listen to your parents complaining about you not keeping in touch with them so often? Where is Allah in our minds when we do all these so called ‘good deeds’? The pleasure of Allah is the last thing in our minds let alone the only thing.

We can do all the good deeds that we want, be as righteous, humble, knowledgeable, devoted to worship in the eyes of people as much as we want, but if there is no connection that we make between our deeds and the pleasure of Allah, we are doing it all for nothing.

Even the Jews and Christians do good deeds

Even the Jews and Christians do a lot of good deeds, maybe sometimes even more so than a lot of the Muslims in today’s time. But Umar ibn Al Khattab RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu would look at the righteousness of these folks and start crying, for he understood that all that hard work was going to get them nowhere except into the Hell fire.
Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Burqani narrated from Abu `Imran Al-Jawni that he said,
“Umar bin Al-Khattab passed by the monastery of a monk and he said: `O monk!’
Then the monk came out, and `Umar looked at him and began to weep.
Then it was said to him: `O Commander of the faithful! Why are you weeping?’ He replied: `I remembered the statement of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, in His Book:

‘Working [hard] and exhausted (in doing their deeds).
They will enter in the hot blazing Fire,’
[Surat Al-Ghaashiyah: Aayahs 3-4]

So that is what has made me cry. ‘

Ibn Kathir writes for the explanation of the Aayah above, ‘they did many deeds and became weary in their performance, yet they will be cast into a blazing Fire on the Day of Judgement.’
Can we say the same for us and many of our deeds?

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala constantly reminds us throughout the Qur’an of the importance of accompanying ‘belief in Allah’ along with our righteous deeds. The same Aayah is repeated again and again:

Except for those who have believe and do righteous deeds..
[Surat Al-Asr: Aayah 3]

Ibn Kathir writes concerning this Ayah, “Allah makes an exception, among the species of man being in loss, for those who believe in their hearts and work righteous deeds with their limbs.”

The element of having belief i.e. being mindful of Allah, while we do good deeds cannot be taken lightly. We should be afraid of becoming from the people who used to do so much work and so many good deeds whom Allah will treat as follows:

And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed.
[Surat Al-Furqan: Aayah 23]

Under the Ayah above, Ibn Kathir quotes this Ayah:

O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a smooth rock on which is a little dust; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it bare. They are not able to do anything with what they have earned.
[Surat Al-Baqarah: Aayah 264]

The Salaf-us-Saalih were afraid

The Salaf-us-Saalih (our righteous predecessors) were afraid of their insincerity towards Allah in their deeds, even though they were the best of mankind in their worship towards Allah. The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam has said about them:

‘The best people are my generation then those who will come after them and then those after them…’

Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6065, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2533

So the word ‘Salaf or more appropriately ‘Salaf-us-Saalih’ includes the first three generations from the time of the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam:
1st generation – The Sahabah
2nd generation – The Tabi’een (Those who followed the Sahabah)
3rd generation – The Atba-ut-Tabi’een (Those who followed the Tabi’een)

The concern that the Salaf-us-Saalih had towards ensuring sincerity in their actions for the pleasure of Allah alone and the fear they had of showing off can be seen by some of their actions and statements:

A great scholar and imam by the name of Ibn al-Qayyim rightly said,

“Deeds without sincerity (to please Allah alone) are like a traveler who carries in his water jug dirt. The carrying of it burdens him and it brings no benefit.”

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim

One of them would be reading Qur’an in the masjid when someone would walk in and he would hide it in his garment so that others don’t see that he is doing a good deed.

One of them would wait for their wife to go to sleep, and then he would sneak out of his bed to pray Qiyaam al-Layl (the night prayer). His wife would never know.

One of them continued to fast voluntary fasts for 20 years. His wife would give him breakfast in the morning and he would go give it as a sadaqah. He would come home during maghrib time to eat and break his fast and his wife would think it is his dinner.

Sa’eed ibn ‘Aamir may Allah have mercy upon him said: “Ayyoob As-Sikhtiyaani may Allah have mercy upon him used to pray all night long and would conceal this from people. When it was close to the time of the Fajr prayer, he would raise his voice as if he had just woken up.”

Abu Yoosuf, may Allaah have mercy on him, said:
“Intend Allah through your (search for) knowledge, for indeed I never sat in a gathering of people in which I made it my intention to humble myself except that I didn’t leave from it until I had surpassed them. And I never sat in a gathering of people in which I made it my intention to surpass them, except that I didn’t leave from it until I was disgraced.
Knowledge is one of the many acts of worship and one of the many ways of gaining nearness to Allah. So if one purifies his intention while seeking it, his deed will be accepted and purified. And its blessing will become complete. However, if he intends other than the sake of Allah when seeking knowledge, his deed becomes nullified and wasted and his transaction is lost. Perhaps he may even miss out on these (worldly) objectives and never achieve any of them. So in this case, he will have failed in his objective and at the same time wasted his efforts.”[1]

Please see how the words above tie in to what the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“He who does not acquire knowledge with the sole intention of seeking the Pleasure of Allah but for worldly gain, will not smell the fragrance of Jannah on the Day of Resurrection.”

Reported by Abu Hurairah: Abu Dawud, Book 13, Hadith 1391

Al-Hasan al-Basrî said:
“I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul. No one feels safe from it (insincere intention) except for a hypocrite and no one fears it except for a believer.”

Yaqub il Maqfuf used to say:
“The sincere person is the one who hides his good deeds the same way he hides his bad deeds.”

Abu Uthmaan used to say:
“Sincerity is forgetting the sight of the creation, and continually being mindful of Allah.”

Ibraheem ibn Al Adham used to say:
“He has not been truthful to Allah, the one who seeks fame and recognition.”

The famous Sheikh Al Albaani used to say:
“Fame will break ones back.”
i.e. the more famous you become in the eyes of the people, the harder it is for you to guide your actions towards sincerity.

Sa’ad ibn ‘Abdullah used to say:
“There is nothing tougher upon the person then his niyyah.”

Sufain Ath-Thawri used to say:
“I have not struggled against anything more difficult than my niyyah (intention). Verily it keeps changing upon me.”

Abdullah ibn Mubarak used to say:
“Maybe a small deed will become big because of the niyyah (intention), and a big deed may become small because of the niyyah.”

The quote above is reflected in the hadeeth where a small task of giving half a date can save someone from the fire where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Save yourself from hellfire by giving even half a date-fruit in charity.” –

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 498

Compare this to the hadeeth of the three men who entered hell. The man who spent his wealth in every possible way that Allah likes entered hell. And in this hadeeth a man who is giving only half a date in charity is being saved from the hell fire.
The intention is what made the difference.

Please read part 2 of this article here: Your Intention Makes the Difference Part 2

The Intention Makes the Difference

Resources used:

[1] https://abdurrahman.org/2014/09/30/sincerity-in-seeking-knowledge-shaykh-muhammad-baazmool/

[2] https://islamqa.info/en/91763

[3] A lot of the quotes of the Salaf-us-Saalih were taken from this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ajdFvbq5MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Muslims Reflection on Hawking and the Likes…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

As a student of Astrophysics, I have always found myself plunging into studying the cosmos. Lately I have also started reading about particle physics. In short I can describe my experience as breath-taking! I am stunned by the creation of Almighty.

At the same time, I always wonder, why the likes of smart people, highly intelligent, like Hawking (Theorotical Physicist – highly known for his work on Black Holes and Hawking Radiation, who died today), Ed Witten (proposer of M-theory) etc. did/do not receive guidance to believe in a Superme Creator..

image

(Hawking has produced some amazing research on Black Holes. Hawking Radiation describes the process on how a black hole slowly evaporates and loses its existence)

I found my answer in the Nobel Qur’an, where Allaah عز وجل says,

وَعَادًا وَثَمُودَ وَقَدْ تَبَيَّنَ لَكُمْ مِنْ مَسَاكِنِهِمْ ۖ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ وَكَانُوا مُسْتَبْصِرِينَ

“And ‘Ad and Thamud (people)! And indeed (their destruction) is clearly apparent to you from their (ruined) dwellings. Shaitan (Satan) made their deeds fair-seeming to them, and turned them away from the (Right) Path, though they were intelligent.”

-Sura Al-Ankabut, Ayah 38

For anyone who knows the history of the people of ‘Ad and Thamud, it becomes apparent that they were highly intelligent, strongly built, carved homes in sand hills – a feat which requires planned engineering (refer Tasfir ibn Kathir). This becomes explicit in the ayah,

أَوَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَيَنْظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ كَانُوا أَشَدَّ مِنْهُمْ قُوَّةً وَأَثَارُوا الْأَرْضَ وَعَمَرُوهَا أَكْثَرَ مِمَّا عَمَرُوهَا وَجَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ ۖ فَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَظْلِمَهُمْ وَلَٰكِنْ كَانُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ

“Do they not travel in the land, and see what was the end of those before them? They were superior to them in strength, and they tilled the earth and populated it in greater numbers than these (pagans) have done, and there came to them their Messengers with clear proofs. Surely, Allah wronged them not, but they used to wrong themselves.”

-Sura Ar-Rum, Ayah 9

Going back the former ayah in Surah al-Ankabut, Allaah عز وجل uses the word مُسْتَبْصِرِينَ to describe the people of ‘Ad and Thamud – that means they were given baseerah – they were a people with deep insights. That’s why, Dr. Muhsin Khan and Taqi ud Deen al-Hilali (May Allaah have mercy upon both of them) interpreted the word مُسْتَبْصِرِينَ as ‘they (people of ‘Ad and Thamud) were intelligent’.

So it becomes explicit now, people with high intelligence doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be guided. Why aren’t they guided then?

Dr. Muhsin Khan and Taqi ud Deen al-Hilali mentioned the five reasons why people fall into major disbelief in the appendix of their interpretation of the Noble Qur’an,

image

(To understand what a true Muslim believes and what are the six articles of faith, please download the concise thirteen page book here – Belief of a Muslim)

So basically, it is one of the reasons above, the well known scientists today persist in their disbelief and hence lack guidance towards the ultimate truth.

I’d like to conclude this article by including another ayah from the Noble Qur’an and سبحان الله , this from Surah al-Ankabut again,

Allaah عز وجل says,

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah’s Religion – Islamic Monotheism). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinun (good doers).”

-Sura Al-Ankabut, Ayah 69

May Allaah عز وجل guide all those who sincerely strive to seek the truth.

– Compiled by Sarfarāz ibn Shuja

 

PicsArt_03-19-12.46.56

The Only Way You Will Succeed

There is one thing that distinguishes Islam from all the other religions out there. It is a belief that makes the motto with which one enters Islam. A motto that is recited and declared a minimum of five times a day in almost every city around the world in the call to prayer (adhan). A motto that is whispered into the ear of a baby born to a Muslim household as the very first few words it hears when it comes into this gigantic world full of words. But this motto is not just mere words, it is the foundation upon which everything we as Muslims say, do or understand is built. Just these few words and the way you decide to understand them, and to abide by them can change your life here and in the hereafter. What are those words? They are:

“Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah Muhammadur Rasool-Allah”

There is no god worthy of worship but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

This is the motto, the testimony of faith (what in Arabic is called ‘Shahada’) that all Muslims have to abide by to be Muslims, otherwise we are nothing but mere Muslim names.
This is the foundation upon which everything else is built, and if this foundation isn’t strong, if we fail to understand the importance of it and act upon it, not much can be said about all the other good deeds with which we may try to build over it, except that they will be in vain. All those efforts will produce no result.
This is not a ruling that somebody just came up with out of thin air, this is in fact what Allah Himself has emphasized by Mentioning it in His Glorious Quran by Saying to His Messenger Muhammad Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam:

And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad), as it was to those (Allah’s Messengers) before you: “If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.”

Nay! But worship Allah (Alone and none else), and be among the grateful.

[Surah Az Zumar: Ayah 65-66]

So it is absolutely, fundamentally important that we as Muslims understand this foundation of Islam before we even bother to discuss all the other matters that our religion consists of because they are subsidiary in nature to this one, for Allah says:

Is it then he, who laid the foundation of his building on piety to Allah and His Good Pleasure, better, or he who laid the foundation of his building on an undetermined brink of a precipice ready to crumble down….

[Surat At Tawbah: Ayah 109]

In order to understand this better, let us answer the question that – in Islam:

What comes first?

The call to believe in the Oneness of Allah Subhanu wa Ta’la (Glory be to Him the Most High) came before any other call in Islam, it came before the call to establish the five time prayer or keeping fasts, it came before the call to fulfilling the rights of the orphan or the neighbours, or the call forbidding the abhorrent crime of burying female offspring alive into the Earth that was prevalent before the coming of the last Messenger, although all such matters hold a very high status in Islam.

After three years of quietly preaching Islam in secret, the time finally came for the Messenger of Allah Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam to start preaching it openly in the city of Makkah, it came by the revelation of the following Ayah:

And warn your tribe (O Muhammad SAW) of near kindred.

[Surat Ash-Shuara: Ayah 214]

Gathering a crowd of forty-five men from his city, he stood up and delivered the following speech:

I celebrate Allah’s praise, I seek His help, I believe in Him, I put my trust in Him, I bear witness that there is no God worthy of worship but Allah with no associate. A guide can never lie to his people. I swear by Allah , there is no god Worthy of Worship but He, that I have been sent as a Messenger to you, in particular and to all the people, in general. I swear by Allah you will die just as you sleep, you will be resurrected just as you wake up. You will be called to account for your deeds. It is then either Hell forever or the Garden (Paradise) forever.” [Fiqh As-Seerah p.77,78]

If you were to think about the Ayahs of the Quran that were revealed in Makkah, you will find that they focus entirely on calling people towards worshipping none but Allah. The vast majority of the religious obligations like zakaah, fasting, Hajj, the affairs of halaal and haraam, business transactions, etc. were not revealed until after the Prophet Muhammad’s Migration to the city of Madeenah. Thus showing how truly important the subject is. Furthermore, the religious obligations were not revealed until the call to worship Allah without any partners was presented and established within the souls of the people. [Taken from Shaykh Saalih ibn ‘Abdillaah Al-Fawzaan’s book-Duroos min Al-Qur’aan Al-Kareem (p.5-11)]

The Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam rooted the five pillars of Islam for us, and what did he mention as the first among them?:

It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah son of ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said:

“Al-Islam is raised on five (pillars), testifying that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is His slave and messenger, and the establishment of prayer, payment of Zakat, Pilgrimage to the House (Ka’ba) and the fast of Ramadan.”

Muslim :: Book 1 : Hadith 20

When the Messenger of Allah authorized his companions, people who had converted to Islam during his time, to go and spread the message, he would specify the aspect of the religion the should they call towards first. Such has been captured in the following incident.

It is reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that Mu’adh said:

“The Messenger of Allah sent me (as a governor of Yemen) and (at the time of departure) instructed me thus: You will soon find yourself in a community one among the people of the Book, so first call them to testify that there is no god but Allah, that I (Muhammad) am the messenger of Allah, and if they accept this, then tell them Allah has enjoined upon them five prayers during the day and the night and if they accept it, then tell them that Allah has made Zakat obligatory for them that it should be collected from the rich and distributed among the poor……”

Muslim :: Book 1 : Hadith 27

The Noble Messenger Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam brought up his followers upon the Oneness of Allah right from when they were children.

He Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said to the son of his uncle, his cousin Abdullah Ibn Abbas RadhiAllahuAnhu:

“O boy! I will teach you a statement: Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him before you. When you ask, ask Allah, and when you seek aid, seek Allah’s aid. Know that if the entire creation were to gather together to do something to benefit you- you would never get any benefit except that Allah had written for you. And if they were to gather to do something to harm you- you would never be harmed except that Allah had written for you. The pens are lifted and the pages are dried.”

Narrated by Ibn Abbas :: Jami` at-Tirmidhi
English reference :  Vol. 4, Book 11, Hadith 2516
Arabic reference :    Book 37, Hadith 2706

Our Prophet Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam also emphasised and prioritized mentioning the Oneness of Allah even in the form of Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) when he said:

“The best Dhikr (remembering Allah) is La ilaha illallah (there is no god worthy of worship except Allah) and the best supplication is Al-Hamdu Lillah (All praise be to Allah).”

At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’la has emphasised in His Book the mission that He sent His Messengers with, the first to the last. What was that mission? He said:

And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and that they should avoid everything worshipped besides Allah.”

[Surat An Nahl: Ayah 36]

And Allah said:

And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.”

[Surat Al Anbya: Ayah 25]

The Prophets that Allah sent followed this command. Episodes that reflect the very first thing that they used to warn their people against before anything else is presented in various places of the Quran.

This was Nuh Alayhis Salams first message in the da’wah to his generation:

“O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him…”

[Surat Al A’raf: Ayah 59]

“I have come to you as a plain warner. That you worship none but Allah…..”

[Surat Hud: Ayahs 25–26]

This was Prophet Huds first message in the da’wah to his generation:

 “O my people, worship Allah ; you have no deity other than Him. Then will you not fear Him?”

[Surat Al Aaraf: Ayah 65]

 This was Prophet Ibrahim Alayhisalams first message in the da’wah to his generation:

“O my people! I am indeed free from all that you join as partners in worship with Allah. Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth (worshipping none but Allah Alone) and I am not from amongst those who ascribe partners with Him in worship.”

[Surah Al Anam: 78 -79]

When we examine the stories of all the Prophets, we find that all of them started upon the same universal way of firstly calling towards the Oneness of Allah. None of the Prophets commenced their call by referring to subsidiary subjects like fasting, zakah, cleanliness, halal and haram food etc. This has been the way and the method of the Prophets and Messengers, the best of mankind to walk the face of the Earth, the way that was prescribed to them by Allah. Is there any way better than the way of Allah? Is there any doubt in the end result being successful while following Allah’s path and method?

 And so it is evidently proven that the matter of worshipping Allah alone without any partners has been and will always be the most prominent aspect of the religion to call towards, as it relates to the very purpose of our existence stated by Allah Himself. A great purpose that Allah has defined for us in the Quran:

And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).

[Surat Adh Dhariyat: Ayah 56]

This is a purpose of honour and high nobility, a purpose that brings meaning to the state of us being alive and makes us more than just a random arrangement of carbon molecules run by systems of society.

So the answer to the question – ‘What comes first? is the matter of singling out Allah with all forms of worship, so that you make all of your worship for Allah alone. In a more general sense, this is the definition given to the word Tawheed in Islam.

The meaning of Tawheed is –

To single out Allah in all acts of worship and to abandon the worship of anything else.

And this is what the most important motto of Islam, the Shahaada, the testimony of faith proclaims as –

‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allah’ 
(There is no god worthy of worship but Allah)

Now that we have understood that Tawheed comes first in Islam, the question is how can we achieve it? But before we deal with that question, someone may ask why bother making the effort to achieve it? After all –

What’s in it for me?

Allah, The Lord of everything that exists promises you:

“… Whoever disbelieves in false deities and believes in Allah, has grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that will never break…”

[Surat Al Baqarah: Ayah 256]

Tawheed is the solution to the turmoil Muslims are in today. Allah promises us honour and authority over the Earth if we attain Tawheed, when He said:

“Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Fasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allah). “

[Surat An-Noor: 55, 56]

Ibn Kathir, famously known amongst Islamic scholars for his Tafsir (Explanation) of the Quran commented on this Ayah by saying:

“This is a promise from Allah to His Messenger (Prophet Muhammed – blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that He will cause his ummah to gain authority in the land, i.e., become leaders of people and rulers over them, and by means of them the people’s affairs will be put right and the people will submit to their rule, and after having being afraid of the people, they will enjoy security and will rule over them. And He, may He be glorified and exalted, did indeed do that, may He be praised. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did not die until Allah enabled him to conquer Makkah, Khaybar, Bahrain, the entire Arabian Peninsula and all of the land of Yemen; he took the jizyah from the Magians of Hajar and from some of the border regions of greater Syria. Heraclius, the ruler of Byzantium, exchanged gifts with him, as did the ruler of Egypt and Alexandria, al-Muqawqis, the kings of Oman, and the Negus, the ruler of Abyssinia, who came to the throne after Ashamah, may Allah have mercy on him and honour him. Then when the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) died, and Allah chose for him that which is with Him of honour, Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq became the ruler (caliph) of the Muslims.” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer (6/77)]

A companion of our Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam named Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and said:
“O Messenger of Allah, what are the two deeds that make entering Paradise or Hell inevitable?”
He said: “Whoever dies not associating anything with Allah will enter Paradise, and whoever dies associating anything with Allah will enter Hell.”

Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh (135) 

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) explained the situation of the sinners in Hell, and he explained that no one will be brought out of Hell except those who died believing in Tawheed and uttered the Shahaadah (testimony of faith), and had in their hearts something of faith:

“There will be brought out of the Fire anyone who said, Laa ilaaha ill-Allah (there is no god Worthy worship but Allah) and had in his heart goodness equal to the weight of a grain of barley. Then there will be brought out of the Fire anyone who said Laa ilaaha ill-Allah (there is no god Worthy of Worship but Allah) and had in his heart goodness equal to the weight of a grain of wheat. Then there will be brought out of the Fire anyone who said Laa ilaaha ill-Allah (there is no god Worthy of worship but Allah) and had in his heart goodness equal to the weight of a small ant.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6861; Muslim, 285

Notice, with complete attention, that people are not being taken out of the Hell fire on the basis of any other deed such as being kind to parents or ceaseless charity. Rather, it is because of the faith and the complete belief that one had on the words ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allah’ that they are being taken out from the Hell fire, signifying and highlighting its importance.

Allah will forgive anything lesser than the crime of ascribing partners to Allah in any way or form if He Wishes,

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin”

[Surat an-Nisa: Ayah 48]

Abu Dharr RadhiAllahuAnhu said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: 
“Jibreel appeared to me at the side of the harrah and said: ‘Give your ummah the glad tidings that whoever dies not associating anything with Allah will enter Paradise.’ I said: ‘O Jibreel, even if he steals and even if commits zina?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ I said: ‘Even if he steals and even if commits zina?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ I said: ‘Even if he steals and even if he commits zina?’ He said: ‘Yes, and even if he drinks alcohol.’”

Al-Bukhaari (6933) and Muslim (1659)

Bear in mind that this Hadith in no way encourages the commencement of such heinous crimes of fornification and drinking of alcohol, bear in mind that Allah is severe in punishment and He will punish whomsoever He Wills . The Hadith only goes to show the Mercy of Allah Subhanu wa Ta’la towards those who had sown the seed of Tawheed (to single out Allah in all acts of worship and to abandon the worship of anything else) in their hearts and that it will be enough to take them out of the Hell fire.

It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“When the people of Paradise enter Paradise and the people of Hell enter Hell, Allah will say: ‘Whoever had a mustard-seed’s weight of faith in his heart, bring him out.’ So they will bring him out, and they will come out like burned skeletons, and they will turn into charcoal. They will be thrown into the River of Life, then they will grow like seeds growing in the silt left by a flood.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do you not see how they emerge yellow and curved?”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (6192) and Muslim (184)

The vastness of the forgiveness of Allah to those who do not associate anything or anyone in worship with Him can be well expressed by the following Hadith:

Abu Dharr reported Allah’s Messenger Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam as saying that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, stated:
“He who comes with goodness, there are in store for him ten like those and even more than those: ‘And he who comes with vice, ‘ it is only for that that he is called to account. I even forgive him (as I like) and he who draws close to Me by the span of a palm I draw close to him by the cubit, and he who draws close to Me by the cubit I draw close to him by the space (covered) by two hands, and he who walks towards Me I rush towards him, and he who meets Me in the state that his sins fill the earth, but not associating anything with Me, I would meet Him with the same (vastness) of pardon (on My behalf).”

Sahih Muslim 
Book 48, Hadith 29
USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 35, Hadith 6499

Narrated Anas RadhiAllahuAnhu : The Prophet Sallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, 
“Allah will say to that person of the (Hell) Fire who will receive the least punishment, ‘If you had everything on the earth, would you give it as a ransom to free yourself (i.e. save yourself from this Fire)?’ He will say, ‘Yes.’ Then Allah will say, ‘While you were in the backbone of Adam, I asked you much less than this, i.e. not to worship others besides Me, but you insisted on worshipping others besides me.'”

Sahih al-Bukhari 3334
Book 60, Hadith 9
USC-MSA web (English) reference : Vol. 4, Book 55, Hadith 551

 Now the following is a narration that should sum it all up to show you how high and important the place for Tawheed is in Islam.

‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“A man from my nation will be called before all of creation on the Day of Resurrection, and ninety-nine scrolls will be spread out for him, each one extending as far as the eye can see. Then Allah will say: “Do you deny anything of this?” He will say: “No, O Lord.” He will say: “Have My recording scribes been unfair to you?” Then He will say: “Apart from that, do you have any good deeds?” The man will be terrified and will say: “No.” (Allah) will say: “Indeed, you have good deeds with Us, and you will not be treated unjustly this Day.” Then a card will be brought out on which is written Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah wa anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluhu (I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger). He will say: “O Lord, what is this card compared with these scrolls?” He will say: “You will not be treated unjustly.” Then the scrolls will be placed in one side of the Balance and the card in the other. The scrolls will go up (i.e., be light) and the card will go down (i.e., will weigh heavily).”

Grade : Sahih
Sunan Ibn Majah
English reference : Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4300
Arabic reference   : Book 37, Hadith 4442

So now do you see what’s in it for you and me? Do you see the power and weight that just a few words have over all other aspects of Islam? A few words when acted upon, that can substantially change our lives here for the hereafter? Because they are not just mere words, they are words that that are the ultimate truth and no other phrase uttered from anyone’s mouth can match their stature, they define our the outcome of the various things we do here and our end result in the hereafter because they are the foundation upon which everything else we do will be built, they are words that define the only way you will succeed –

“Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah Muhammadur Rasool-Allah”

There is no god worthy of worship but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

And so let us examine and make an individual assessment of ourselves to see whether we have understood these words correctly like the way they should be understood, and to make sure we are fit to enter everlasting Paradise that Allah has promised for the believers in these words. Let us ask ourselves the following question:

Have I achieved Tawheed?

We have already had a look at what Tawheed means.It is –

To single out Allah in all acts of worship and to abandon the worship of anything else.

It becomes clear just by the definition of it that being on Tawheed is more than just uttering the words Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah. Knowing exactly what you mean by the words escaping your mouth and acting upon every word matters a lot more.

It was narrated that Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Whoever says ‘I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah alone [with no partner or associate] and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, and that ‘Eesa is the slave of Allaah, the son of His maidservant, a Word which He bestowed upon Maryam and a Spirit created by Him, and that Paradise is true and that Hell is true, Allah will admit him into Paradise with the deeds which he had done even if those deeds were few.”
(Junada, the sub-narrator said, ” ‘Ubada added, ‘Such a person can enter Paradise through any of its eight gates he likes.)

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3252) and Muslim (28)   

A great and revered Islamic scholar by the name of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allaah have mercy on him) commenting on the hadith above said:

“The words “Whoever says ‘I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah alone” mean, the one who speaks these words, knowing what they mean and acting upon them inwardly and outwardly, because with regard to the Shahaadatayn (the testimony of faith) it is essential that one know and be certain and act upon them as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “So know (O Muhammad )that Laa ilaaha illAllaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah)” [Muhammad 47:19].”

So it can be said that it is not enough to just utter the Shahadah and forget about it, but more importantly knowing and acting upon is what counts considerably more. Allah Subhanu wa Ta’la says:

…except those who bear witness to the truth (i.e. believed in the Oneness of Allah, and obeyed His Orders), and they know (the facts about the Oneness of Allah).

[Surat Az Zukhruf: Ayah 86]

Directing any act of worship to other than Allah and associating any among the creation with Him in worship are acts of disbelief, even if one pronounced La iláha illalláh a thousand times with his tongue.

A renowned Islamic scholar, who belonged to what Prophet Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam described as the second best generation of Muslims after that of the Sahabah, named Al Hasan Al-Basri was once asked: “Some people say that those who proclaim La iláha illalláh shall enter Paradise.” Al Hasan Al-Basri replied, “Yes. For those who proclaim this word and fulfill its implications and requirements, then saying La iláha illalláh shall enter them into Paradise.” In addition, Wahb bin Munbih asked: “Is not La iláha illalláh the key to Paradise?” He said, “Yes. However, every key has teeth; if you use a key that has teeth it will open for you, otherwise it will not open.”

And so we have to ask ourselves, as it is without a shadow of a doubt the most important matter of our lives here and in the hereafter –

Do we know and act upon Tawheed?

Here is a chance to finally check for ourselves and find out.

To answer this question, we will have to analyze our relation with certain aspects of Tawheed. For ease of understanding, Islamic Scholars have categorized the characteristics of Tawheed into three categories. Three very simple, easy to understand categories derived straight from the book of Allah Subhanu wa Ta’la that no intelligent person in the right senses cannot understand or grasp.

As we go along the three categories, let us question ourselves whether or not we comply with each because if we are not upon all of them, we are not upon Tawheed.

1.
Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah
(Oneness of Allah’s Lordship)

The first category is Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah, which means “to single out Allah in understanding His Actions“, like His creating, providing, bringing of life and death, and keeping order in all affairs. A person understands that Allah alone is the Creator, the Provider, the Ever-Living One in charge of all affairs.

[Taken from Shaykh Saalih ibn ‘Abdillaah Al-Fawzaan’s book-Duroos min Al-Qur’aan Al-Kareem (p.12-14)]

Whoever believes that there is any creator other than Allah or any sovereign controlling this universe and disposing of its affairs other than Allah has denied this aspect of Tawheed and disbelieved in Allah.

Who created the heavens and the Earth? None but Allah.
Who created us? None but Allah.
Who makes the Sun rise and set? None but Allah.
Who makes the day enter into the night and the night enter into the day? None but Allah.
Who makes the vegetation grow on this beautiful lively planet of ours and Who nourishes the animals on the earth, in the sky and within the depths of the oceans? None but Allah.
Who sustains me with food and monitors every single one of my affairs? None but Allah.
Who creates within the bellies of the mothers? None but Allah.
Who decides whether it is a boy or a girl? None but Allah.
Who protects me from harm and provides for all my needs? None but Allah.
Who will decide whether I enter Paradise or the Hellfire? None but Allah.

So who is the Creator, the Owner, Provider, Sustainer, Protector etc? None but Allah.

No one except Allah is the Owner of everything that exists and therefore everything is under His Control and Lordship. And if anyone was to attribute any of Allah’s Actions to anyone else, then he is not upon Tawheed.

But is it enough to be upon this aspect of Tawheed to be on Tawheed as a whole? No. In fact even the disbelievers during Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallams time used to believe in this aspect of Tawheed.

The evidence that they used to accept this is found in several verses of the Qur’aan such as the following:

“And if you were to ask them: ‘Who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon?’ they will surely reply: ‘Allah.’ How then are they deviating (as polytheists and disbelievers)?”

[Surat Al-‘Ankaboot: Ayah 61]

“And if you were to ask them: ‘Who sends down water (rain) from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death?’ they will surely reply: ‘Allah.’ Say: ‘All the praises and thanks be to Allah!’ Nay, most of them have no sense”

[Surat Al-‘Ankaboot:  Ayah 63]

“And if you ask them who created them, they will surely say: ‘Allah.’ How then are they turned away (from the worship of Allah Who created them)?”

[Surat Al-Zukhruf: Ayah 87]

So if the disbelievers had no problem in accepting Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah (Oneness of Allahs Lorship), where did they make the mistake? It is in the second aspect of Tawheed.

Summary:

The meaning of Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah is –

To single out Allah in understanding His Actions.

2.
Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah
(Oneness in Allah’s Worship)

The second category is Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah, which means “to single out Allah within the actions of the servant.” This includes all actions that draw them closer to Allah, Glorified and Exalted, like Dua (Supplicaton).
All forms of worship must be strictly for Allah alone, and nothing can be done for other than Him. This is what is called tawheed al-‘ebaadah, or tawheed al-uloohiyyah, and it is the tawheed that is put into practice as the servant singles out Allah in everything He has requested, with an intention for Him alone, in all acts of obedience.

[Taken from Shaykh Saalih ibn ‘Abdillaah Al-Fawzaan’s book-Duroos min Al-Qur’aan Al-Kareem (p.12-14)]

If we associate partners to Allah Subhanu wa Ta’la in our acts of worship, which is basically worshiping others than Allah, then we are clearly not upon this aspect of Tawheed and Islam as a whole.

Allah says:

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him”

[Surat Al-Isra: Ayah 23]

“Worship Allaah and join none with Him (in worship)”

[Surat An-Nisa: Ayah 36]

 And He commands us to say something that we recite at least 17 times a day in every unit of prayer:

“You (Alone) we worship, and you (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).”

[Surat Al-Fatihah: Ayah 5]

 The Prophet Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam taught us to proficiently polish our Intention (Niyyah) before performing every act of worship of doing it only and only for the sake of Allah when he said:

Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab:
I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.”

Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 1 :: Hadith 1

Allah makes sure that we firmly believe that whatever we do here for the hereafter is only for Allah and nobody else, He the Most High tells us to:

Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.”

[Surat Al Anaam: Ayah 162]

Allah warned His Messenger and Prophet Muhammad Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam and all of the believers, who believe and affirm that Allah is their Lord and the Only One Who is to be worshipped, about the dangers of setting partners in worship with Him or worshiping anyone else besides Him by Saying:

And it was already revealed to you and to those before you that: “If you should associate [anything] with Allah, your work would surely become worthless, and you would surely be among the losers.”

Rather, worship Allah alone and be among the grateful.

[Surat Az Zumar; Ayahs 65-66]

And this is where the disbelievers erred. They used to believe in the existence and the Lordship of Allah but also used to associate make-believe partners to Allah and worship them.

What were the disbelievers of the Prophet’s time like?

They didn’t like the powerful message that the Prophet SallahuAlayhi wa sallam was proclaiming of the futility and insensibility of idol worship. The disbelievers of the Prophet’s hometown (Makkah) burst into outrage and disapproval. The Prophets words of calling towards Tawheed created a thunderbolt that turned the Makkan time- honoured ideological life upside down. They could not bear to hear that the tradition of idol worship that they were so accustomed to was a strayed path. They had to do something about this situation.

And so they tried to push him and his followers down. They would clog their ears with their fingers whenever the Prophet would recite the Ayahs or they would play the dirty trick of talking loudly and insolently when it was being read, so that even the passer-by’s and those who wanted to listen may not be able to hear.
They tried to harm him by throwing stones at him, threw the entrails of goats on his back when he was praying and strangling him. Even his followers were not left alone. The uncle of ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan used to wrap ‘Uthman in a mat of palm leaves, and set fire under him. Bilal, the slave of Omaiyah bin Khalaf, was severely beaten by his master when the latter came to know of his conversion to Islam. Sometimes a rope was put around his neck and street boys were made to drag him through the streets and even across the hillocks of Makkah. At times he was subjected to prolonged deprivation of food and drink; at others he was bound up, made to lie down on the burning sand and under the crushing burden of heavy stones. Khabbab bin Al-Aratt  was made to  lie on burning coal with a big rock on his chest to prevent him from escaping. Some Muslims of rank and position were wrapped in the raw skins of camels and thrown away, and others were put in armours and cast on burning sand in the scorching sun of Arabia.

One of their most devilish schemes of shunning the bright illuminating message of Islam and debarring the public from being attracted to the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallams message was by calling him a soothsayer, possessed, a poet, a magician and a liar. But no matter how hard they tried, the messenger’s followers kept increasing because of the sheer might of the message he had come with.

The very fact that they had to go through so much trouble of trying to stop people from being attracted to Islam shows how powerful and how true the message was, and the disbelievers knew this too. The following incident reflects on how entrancing and realistic this message was even to the disbelievers of Makkah:

One day some of the important men of Makkah gathered in the enclosure of Al-Ka‘bah, and ‘Utbah bin Rabi‘a, a chief among them, offered to approach the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam and contract a bargain with him whereby they give him whatever worldly wealth he asks for, on condition that he keep silent and no longer proclaim his new faith. The people of Quraish (the elite tribe in Makkah) endorsed his proposal and requested him to undertake that task. ‘Utbah came closer to Muhammad [pbuh] and addressed him in the following words:

“We have seen no other man of Arabia, who has brought so great a calamity to a nation, as you have done. You have outraged our gods and religion and taxed our forefathers and wise men with impiety and error and created strife amongst us. You have left no stone unturned to estrange the relations with us. If you are doing all this with a view to getting wealth, we will join together to give you greater riches than any Quraishite has possessed. If ambition moves you, we will make you our chief. If you desire kingship we will readily offer you that. If you are under the power of an evil spirit which seems to haunt and dominate you so that you cannot shake off its yoke, then we shall call in skilful physicians to cure you.”

“Have you said all?” asked Muhammad Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam; and then hearing that all had been said, he spoke forth, and said:

Ha, Meem.

[This is] a revelation from the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful –

A Book whose verses have been detailed, an Arabic Qur’an for a people who know,

As a giver of good tidings and a warner; but most of them turn away, so they do not hear.

And they say, “Our hearts are within coverings from that to which you invite us, and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a partition, so work; indeed, we are working.”

[Surat Fussilat: Ayah 1-5]

The Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhu wa Sallam went on reciting the Chapter while ‘Utbah sitting and listening attentively with his hand behind his back to support him. When the Messenger reached the verse that required prostration, he immediately prostrated himself. After that, he turned to ‘Utbah saying: “Well Abu Al Waleed! You have heard my reply, you are now free to do whatever you please.” ‘Utbah then retired to his company to apprise them of the Prophet’s attitude. When his compatriots saw him, they swore that he looked different coming back from when he had gone. He immediately communicated to them the details of the talk he gave and the reply he received, and appended saying:

“I have never heard words similar to those ones he recited. They definitely relate neither to poetry nor to witchcraft nor do they derive from soothsaying. O people of Quraish! I request you to heed my advice and grant the man full freedom to pursue his goals, in which case you could safely detach yourselves from him. I swear that his words bear a supreme Message. Should the other Arabs rid you of him, they will then spare you the trouble, on the other hand if he accedes to power over the Arabs, then you will bask in his kingship and share him his might.” These words of course fell on deaf ears, and did not appeal to the infidels, who jeered at ‘Utbah and claimed that the Prophet [pbuh] had bewitched him.” [Ibn Hisham 1/293,294]

Such were the disbelievers. Why didn’t they want to submit to this mighty message? The answer to this is simple. They knew that denying worship to anyone but Allah and that belief in the Divine Message and the Hereafter would mean complete compliance and absolute commitment, and this in turn would leave no area at all for them to claim authority over themselves and over their wealth, let alone their subordinates. In short, their arrogated religiously-based supremacy and highhandedness would no longer be in effect; their pleasures would be subordinated to the pleasures of Allah and His Messenger and lastly they would have to abstain from incurring injustices on the weak, and carry out dreadful sins in their everyday life. They would have to give up a major part of their distorted lives. They had already been fully aware of these meanings, which is why their souls would not condescend to accept this ‘disgraceful’ position not out of motives based on dignity and honour but rather because of the reason that Allah Himself proclaimed in the Holy Quran:

 But man desires to continue in sin.

[Surat Al Qiyaama: Ayah 5]

They had been aware of all these consequences but they could afford to do nothing before an honest truthful man who was the highest example of good manners and human values. They had never known such an example in the history of their folks or grandfathers. What would they do? They were baffled.

And so they continued to worship others besides Allah and ask others besides Him and turned a deaf ear even when the following Ayah was revealed:

And those whom you invoke other than Him do not possess [as much as] the membrane of a date seed. If you invoke them, they do not hear your supplication; and if they heard, they would not respond to you. And on the Day of Resurrection they will deny your association. And none can inform you like the One Who knows all things.

[Surat Faatir: Ayahs 13 -14]

And how did they justify their action of invoking and calling on others besides Allah?

Allah revealed:

And those who take protectors besides Him [say], “We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position.” Indeed, Allah will judge between them concerning that over which they differ. Indeed, Allah does not guide he who is a liar and [confirmed] disbeliever.

[Surat Zumar: Ayah 3]

And Allah revealed:

And when it is said to them, “Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger,” they say, “Sufficient for us is that upon which we found our fathers.” Even though their fathers knew nothing, nor were they guided?

[Surat Al Maaida: Ayah 104]

And again to present how insensible those are who call upon and ask for help from other than Him, Allah says:

And they worship other than Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with Allah “ Say, “Do you inform Allah of something He does not know in the heavens or on the earth?” Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him!

[Surat Yunus: Ayah 18]

Now why did we dwell so deep into the times of the Prophet in the middle of understanding Tawheed you may ask? It is to understand the nature of those who denied Tawheed during the Prophets time and compare their profile with ours. As peculiar and paradoxical as the question may seem, do we as Muslims worship others besides Allah in today’s time? Are we falling into the same trap that the disbelievers of Makkah did of believing in Tawheed Ar Ruboobiyyah but failing to understand Tawheed Al Uloohiyyah? Just like we mentioned in the section of Tawheed Ar Ruboobiyyah, the desibelevers of Makkah had no problem in accepting that Allah is the Creator and the Sustainer but then when it came to worship (Tawheed Al Uloohiyyah) they abandoned Allah. Do we do the same? Do we believe in One Lord Who is responsible for creation and sustenance then invoke, ask, seek protection and therefore worship others besides the Only One Who can give? If we don’t then why do we stand beside graveyards and shrines asking the deceased saints for help and rely on pieces of rusty amulets for our protection, and then justify our actions just like the disbelievers justified theirs by saying, “These are only or intercessors with Allah, they only bring us closer to Allah and this is what our forefathers did so we will do the same”?  Sure it may not be idol worship like the disbelievers of Makkah used to do, but the only difference between then and now is that they worshipped vertical figures while we worship horizontal figures, in the grave. Are we truly following the teachings of the Messenger and his righteous followers who gave up their entire lives so that the Oneness of Allah in all matters could prevail or are we only becoming more insensible day by day because of wanting to follow our whims and desires just like the disbelievers did?

Have we forgotten the teachings that our Prophet gave to young Ibn Abbas one fine day by saying:

“O boy! I will teach you a statement: Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him before you. When you ask, ask Allah, and when you seek aid, seek Allah’s aid. Know that if the entire creation were to gather together to do something to benefit you- you would never get any benefit except that Allah had written for you. And if they were to gather to do something to harm you- you would never be harmed except that Allah had written for you. The pens are lifted and the pages are dried.”

Jami` at-Tirmidhi
English reference: Vol. 4, Book 11, Hadith 2516
Arabic reference: Book 37, Hadith 2706

Five days before the Prophet’s death, he Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam said:

Beware of those who preceded you and used to take the graves of their prophets and righteous men as places of worship, but you must not take graves as mosques; I forbid you to do that.

Muslim :: Book 4 : Hadith 1083

It has also been reported:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

Um Habiba and Um Salama mentioned about a church they had seen in Ethiopia in which there were pictures. They told the Prophet about it, on which he said, “If any religious man dies amongst those people they would build a place of worship at his grave and make these pictures in it. They will be the worst creature in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection.”

Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 8 :: Hadith 419

The Muslim Ummah in today’s time is seen vibrantly engaging in all these pathetic activities that never took place during the Prophets time and that are evidently wrong. We have to remember that for any of our deeds to be accepted they should meet two conditions:

The first condition: The act of worship should be devoted to Allah Alone.

Evidences:

Allah says:

“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him).”

[Surat Al-Bayyinah 98: Ayah 5]

It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say:

“The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or to marry a woman, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhari, Bad’ al-Wahy, 1).

It was narrated by Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, says: ‘I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having an associate. Thus he who does an action for someone else’s sake as well as Mine will have that action renounced by Me to him whom he associated with Me.”

(Narrated by Muslim, al-Zuhd wa’l-Raqaiq, 5300)

The second condition: The act should be in accordance with the Law of Allah and His Messenger.

Evidences:

It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (i.e., Islam), will have it rejected.”

(Narrated by Muslim, al-Aqdiyyah, 3243)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) enjoined following his Sunnah (ways) and teachings. And he gave us a direction to follow. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“You have to follow my Sunnah (way) and the way of my rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa’ al-rashidoon); bite onto it with your eyeteeth (i.e., cling firmly to it).”

And he warned against things invented into the perfect religion of Allah as he said:

“Beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly-invented matter is a going astray.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, al-‘Ilm, 2600; classed as saheeh/authentic by al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2157)

The time has come for us to check whether we are involved in any such newly invented practices and to stay far away from them. It is time to wake up and refrain from directing even the slightest of our acts of worship to other than Allah Subhanu wa Ta’la and knowing that He the Most High said:

O people, an example is presented, so listen to it. Indeed, those you invoke besides Allah will never create [as much as] a fly, even if they gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly should steal away from them a [tiny] thing, they could not recover it from him. Weak are the pursuer and pursued.

[Surat Al Hajj: Ayah 73]

And He said:

Say (O Muhammad to mankind): ‘How do you worship besides Allah something which has no power either to harm or benefit you? But it is Allah Who is the All-Hearer, All-Knower’?

[Surat Al Maaida: Ayah 76]

Verily, those whom you call upon besides Allah are slaves like you. So call upon them and let them answer you if you are truthful.

[Surat Al-Araaf: Ayah 194]

And He said:

Among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.

[Surat Al Baqarah: Ayah 165]

Are you stronger in love for Allah? Then invoke, ask, expect from and direct all your acts of worship to Allah Subhanu wa Ta’la Who is the Only One Who can give you what you ask for, because Only He is the Owner of everything, because Only He is the one Who can Create and Destroy, because Only He is the One Whom we can rely upon and trust during times of joy and at times of turmoil, because Only He is the All Knower and the All Wise.

This religion of ours is unique in the sense that it establishes a direct connection between the created and the Creator, a connection that all the Prophets and Messengers from the beginning of time were sent to establish. It is the Mercy of Allah that He has kept the access to this connection easy and free of cost for all that we must do to establish it is mention His Name because He said:

Remember Me; I will remember you.

[Surat Al Baqarah: Ayah 152]

And He said to you:

Indeed I am near.
I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.

[Surat Al Baqarah: Ayah 186]

 And He said to you:

Call upon Me; I will respond to you.

[Surat Ghafir: Ayah 60]

Allah is offering you to connect with Him, isn’t He sufficient for you? Do you need to direct your dua’s or any other acts of worship for anyone other than Him?  He answers this by telling you:

Surely, Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures needs, All Knowing.

[Surat Al Baqarah; Ayah 115]

Are many different lords better or Allah, the One, the Irresistible?

[Surat Yoosuf: Ayah 39]

Stay well within this aspect of Tawheed by doing whatever you do here for the hereafter for His sake and Only for Him.

Summary:

The meaning of Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah is –

To single out Allah within the actions of the Servant.

3.
Tawheed Al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat 
(Oneness in Allah’s Divine Names and Attributes) 

The third and last category is Tawheed al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat, which means “to believe in every Name and Attribute that Allah affirmed for Himself, or those that His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) affirmed for Him.

[Taken from Shaykh Saalih ibn ‘Abdillaah Al-Fawzaan’s book-Duroos min Al-Qur’aan Al-Kareem (p.12-14)]

So the third and last fundamental aspect of Tawheed is to believe that:

1) We must not name or attribute Allah except with what He or His Messenger Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam has named or attributed Him with.

2) None can be named or attributed with the Names or Attributes of Allah. (1)

3) We must believe in all the attributes of Allah which Allah stated in His Book (the Quran) or mentioned through His Messenger Muhammad Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam without changing their meaning or ignoring them completely or twisting the meanings or likening them to any of the created things.

[Extract from the appendix of The Noble Qur’an interpreted in English language by Dr. Muhsin Khan and Dr. Hilali]

Allah Subhanu wa Ta’la says a statement in the Quran that is essential for us to sear into our minds, He said:

There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer

[Surat Ash Shura: Ayah 11]

Imam Abu Hanifah (May Allah have Mercy on him) stated in Al Fiqh Al Akbar, “Allah is not like any of His creatures, nor is any creature like His. His attributes are different from their attributes. He knows but not as we know (meaning He knows Everything with complete perfection, we don’t); He acts, but not as we act; (meaning He is completely Perfect in His Actions, we aren’t); and He sees but not as we see (meaning He sees Everything with complete perfection, we don’t).”
[Taken from Al Fiqh Al Akbar with commentary by Mullah ‘Ali Al Qari page 24]

Summary:

The meaning of Tawheed Al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat is –

To single out Allah in the Names and Attributes that He has affirmed for Himself and those that His Messenger Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam affirmed for him, without adding or taking away the meanings that were assigned to them.

Now lets summarize what you have learnt:

Summary of Tawheed and its categories:

 What is Tawheed?

Tawheed is to single out Allah in all acts of worship and to abandon the worship of anything else.

What are the three categories of Tawheed?

  • Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah (Oneness of Allah’s Lordship)
  • Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah (Oneness of Allah’s Worship)
  • Tawheed Al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat (Oneness of Allah’s Divine Names and Attributes)

What do the three categories of Tawheed mean?

Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah is to single out Allah in understanding His Actions.

Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah is to single out Allah within the actions of the servant.

Tawheed Al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat is to single out Allah in the Names and Attributes that He has affirmed for Himself and those that His Messenger Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam affirmed for him, without adding or taking away the meanings that were assigned to them.

Accept and implement Tawheed. This is the only way you will succeed.

this-is-the-only-way-you-will-succeed

This article was compiled using the following resources:

  1. ‘Lessons From the Noble Qur’aan’
    by Shaykh Saalih ibn ‘Abdillaah ibn Saalih Al Fawzaan
  2. ‘The Wahhabi Myth’
    by Haneef James Oliver
  3. ‘The Sealed Nectar’
    by Sheikh Safi ur Rahman
  4. ‘The Belief of a Muslim’
    by Muhsin Khan & Taqi-ud-Din Hilali

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