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Aqeedah Series : Part 3 (Types of Tawheed)

Aqeedah Part 3


The Three Types Of Tawheed

The scholars have traditionally divided the concept of  Tawheed (Oneness of Allah) into three types. These are the Tawheed of Lordship (Rububiyyah), the Tawheed of worship (Uluhiyyah) and the Tawheed of the Allah’s Names and Attributes (al-Asmaa’  wa al-Sifaat). This means that Allah is unique and alone in all these three aspects and none is like him . This division is based on proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah.

As stated by Dr. Bilal Philips (2005) these three aspects of Tawheed are interlinked and overlap. Therefore whoever fails to fulfill one aspect from them has not completed the requirements of Tawheed.

We will now have a brief look at these three types of Tawheed –

1. The tawheed of Lordship or Tawheed ar-Rububiyyah
This involves affirming the Oneness of Allah in His Lordship over His Creation. This means that Allah alone is the Creator, Master and Regulator of all the affairs of the creation. This is proved by Allah’s statement in Surah Al-Fatiha, verse one where He says, “All praises and thanks are Allah’s, the Lord of the Alamin [mankind, jinn and all that exists]”. The word used for Lord in the Qur’an is Rabb. Khan (1997) states that there is no proper equivalent  for it in English. Rabb means the One and Only Lord for all the universe, its Creator, Owner, Organizer, Provider, Master, Planner, Sustainer, Cherisher and Giver of security. So the word Lord is used to give an approximate meaning.

2. The tawheed of worship (al-Uluhiyyah) 
This means having a firm conviction that only Allah is the true God worthy of worship. In Arabic the term ’ibadah’ (worship)  is associated with obedience, subservience and submission. It has been defined by some scholars as “complete love accompanied by complete submission”. Thus worship in all its forms cannot be dedicated to anyone else besides Allah. It is important to point out that the concept of worship is all-embracing. Worship transcends the five pillars of Islam and covers all the good things and deeds which please Allah. Therefore, things like supplication, reliance, obedience, subservience and submission would be covered by this definition. All these things should be done solely for the sake of Allah.

Evidence of this type of Tawheed is in Allah’s statement “And I Allah did not create the jinns and men except that they should worship Me (alone)”.
{Surah An-Nahl 16: Verse 36}

“This Tawheed marks the difference between the monotheists and polytheists and punishment in this world and in the hereafter is based upon it. Those who do not believe in it are polytheists”.
– Ibn Taymiyyah (ra)

3. Tawheed of Allah’s names and attributes (Tawheed al-Asmaa’ wa al-Sifaat)
This Tawheed means that we should address Allah by the names and attributes which He used to describe Himself in the Qur’an and the attributes which the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to describe Him in the Sunnah. In short Allah is characterized by all the attributes of perfection, is above all defects and deficiencies and He is unique in his names and attributes. We should not deny, distort, explain away, wrongly and falsely interpret his names and attributes. We should believe in them as was revealed.

 It is important to point out that Allah’s attributes should not be given to his creation like in cases where we have people who claim to have knowledge of the unseen. Similarly titles like “King of kings” should not be used for mere mortals because they are exclusive for Allah alone. Another grave error which people commit in this regard is to attribute human qualities to Allah like those who claim that Allah created the heavens and earth in six days and the seventh day he rested. This implies that Allah got tired and this is a highly unfitting description of Allah. It is extremely disrespectful  and wrong.

 The golden rule in this type of Tawheed is the verse “There is nothing like Him; and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer”.
{Surat Ash-Shura 42: Verse 11}

Authored by Ustadh Shaibu Asali is a life-long student of Islamic Studies. He will complete his MA in Contemporary Islamic Jurisprudence at the Hamad bin Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar in June 2013 Inshaa Allah. Currently he is a part-time Tutorial Assistant at the Islamic Online University where he teaches Usool al-Hadeeth (Principles of Hadeeth) and Usool al-Fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) in English. He also answers students’ questions on fiqh issues. Shaibu is enthusiatic about daawa and is interested in spreading Islamic teachings through all possible means with emphasis on all the available online platforms. He likes translating Islamic books into English.
Drafted by Noorain Fathima

Prophet Muhammad - "Convey (knowledge) from me even if it is just one ayah" [Bukhari 3461]

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