The Fundamentals of Tawheed - (English/Arabic) - (PB)
It is of utmost importance that Tawheed is clearly understood in the way it was taught by the Prophet (PBUH) and understood by his companions, or else one could easily end up on one of the many deviant paths while claiming Tawheed, praying, paying Zakah, fasting and making Haj.
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It is common knowledge that Tawheed is the basis of the religion of Islaam and that it is most precisely expressed in the formula: ""La elaah il-lal-laah"" (There is no God but Allaah) which states that there is only one true God and that He alone deserves to be worshipped. This seemingly simple formula forms the dividing line between Eemaan (true belief in God) and Kufr (disbelief), according to the tenets of Islaam. Because of this principle of Tawheed, the Islamic belief in God is considered to be Unitarian and Islam is counted among the world's monotheistic religions along with Judaism and Christianity. Yet, according to the Islamic Unitarian concept (Tawheed), Christianity is classified as polytheism and Judaism is considered a subtle form of idolatry.
Thus, the principle of Tawheed is quite profound and needs further clarification even among Muslims. This point is vividly illustrated by the fact that some Muslims like Ibn 'Arabeel understood Tawheed to mean that Allaah is all and all is Allaah; that there is only one existence which is Allaah. Yet, such beliefs are classified by mainstream Islaam as pantheism and, as such, Kufr. Other Muslims such as the Mu'tazilah felt that Tawheed consisted of stripping Allaah of all His attributes and asserting that He is present everywhere and in everything. Yet, these ideas were also rejected by orthodox Islaam, and considered heretical. In fact, almost all of the various heretical sects which broke off from the main body of Islaam, from the Prophet's time till today, all began their divergence from the point of Tawheed. All of those who worked for the destruction of Islaam and the misguidance of its followers have attempted to neutralize the principle of Tawheed, because it represents the very essence of the divine message of Islaam brought by all the prophets. They have introduced concepts about Allaah totally alien to Islaam; concepts designed to take man away from the worship of Allaah alone. Once people accept these pagan philosophies about God, they become easily susceptible to a multitude of other deviant ideas all of which eventually lead those who accept them to the worship of created things under the guise of the true worship of God.
The Prophet (PBUH) himself, vividly warned Muslims to beware of such deviations as had befallen the nations before them. He encouraged them to stick closely to the path which he had tread. One day as he sat with his companions, he drew a straight line in the dirt, He then drew a series of lines branching off from either side of it. When the companions asked him what it meant, he pointed to the branches and told them that they represented the various paths of misguidance in this life. He went on to say that at the head of each path sat a devil inviting people to it. After that, he pointed to the straight line in the middle and told them that it represented the path of Allaah. When the companions asked for further clarification, he told them that it was his path and he recited the following verse:
“This is my path leading straight, so follow it. And do not follow the other paths or else you will be separated from His (Allaah's) path”
It is therefore of the utmost importance that Tawheed be clearly understood in the way it was taught by the Prophet (PBUH) and understood by his companions; or else one could easily end up on one of the many deviant paths while claiming Tawheed, praying, paying Zakaah, fasting and making Hajj. Allaah, Most Wise, has pointed to this phenomena when He said in the Qur'aan,
""Most of them claim to believe in Allaah but they really commit shirk.""
However, when an English reader compares the large number of books written in English on Salaah, Zakaah, Sawm (fasting) and Hajj or on Islamic economics and politics to the one or two pamphlets and booklets written on Tawheed, he or she could only conclude that Tawheed is of little significance in Islaam. This assumption is further strengthened when one reads even the most comprehensive books on Islaam, wherein, Tawheed is usually discussed in about a half a page while the rest of the book is devoted to an elaboration of the other pillars of Islaam. Yet, Tawheed is the very foundation of Islaam on which all the other pillars and principles depend. If one's Tawheed is not sound, the rest of one's Islaam becomes, in effect, a series of pagan rituals. Without a doubt, much more needs to be translated and written in the field of Tawheed to fill the void and correct mistaken beliefs rampant among Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The present work represents a humble attempt to provide English speaking readers with a basic analysis of the major areas of the Islamic Science of Tawheed. Although this book is based on the approach used in classical Arabic texts on the science of Tawheed such as al-'Aqeedah at-Tahaaweeyah, have deliberately avoided the presentation of the theological issues found in classical works which have little or no relevance to modem English readers.
The majority of the material for this book was gathered from Tawheed lessons which I prepared and taught in grades seven through twelve at Manaret ar-Riyadh English Medium Islamic School; hence, the language is purposely uncomplicated. Many of these lessons as well as other lessons in Fiqh (Islamic law),
Hadeeth (prophetic traditions) and Tafseer (exegesis) have been circulated in Muslim communities across the United States and in the West Indies. Based on a positive response and a great demand for more of such material, I decided to put this book together by revising the Tawheed lessons and by adding a few more pertinent topics pray that Allaah accept this effort and make it of real benefit to all who read it, for it is ultimately Allaah's acceptance alone that really counts, and success is only by His will.
Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia