Belief (Iman) in Allah Almighty
Iman in Allah Almighty is the principle of faith:
Believing in Allah Almighty is the principle reason for which Allah created the heaven, earth, Paradise, Hellfire, the balance, the straight path and all mankind. Allah Almighty says in the Qur'an:
I created Jinn and mankind only to worship Me. [Al-Dhariyat: 56]
Knowing Allah Almighty and believing in Him requires admitting His Lordship (Rububiyyah), Worship (Uluhiyyah), Names and Attributes (Al-Assma' wa Al-Sifat) which are considered the basics of faith. Muslims must know all of these matters relating to Allah Almighty to have sound faith.
Following is a glimpse on such principles of faith:
What does Iman mean?
- Linguistic meaning: to believe.
- Technical meaning:
Believe in Allah verbally and by heart. Iman in Allah means the firm conviction that Allah Almighty is the Rabb (the Lord), Creator, Master, Cherisher of all things; and that He is the Ilah (diety) who is alone worthy of undivided worship and that He is distinguished by all the attributes of perfection and completeness and that He is above any faults or deficiencies.
The three areas of Tawhid (monotheism):
- The Tawhid of Lordship.
- The Tawhid of Worship.
- The Tawhid of Names and Attributes (al-Assma wa al-Sifat).
1- Tawhid of Lordship:
It generally means the firm conviction that Allah is the Lord, Owner and Disposer of everything with no partner.
Allah's Lordship over His creation means that He alone is their Creator, Master, and Disposer of their affairs. To attribute leadership solely to Allah means: conviction that He alone is the Creator, the Master of mankind, the One who gives them life and death, who bestows benefactions and visits with hardship; the One who responds to their supplication, the One who gives and deprives and has power over them. Creation and commandments are His and to Him is all the power.
Allah Almighty says:
His verily is all creation and commandment. Exalted be Allah, Lord of the worlds. [Al-'Araf: 54]
Believing in Allah's Lordship includes believing in predestination:
This means to believe that everything occurs according to the prior knowledge and will of Allah, Exalted be He, Who destined everything
And everyone of His creation has to meet his destiny according to what Allah has decreed.
Tawhid of Lordship from the Qur'anic perspective:
The Qur'an clearly states this branch of Tawhid in its entire chapters. This is because this kind of Tawhid is the basic for Iman and because Allah the Creator, the Owner and the Disposer is worthy of undivided worship, submission, praising, thanking, remembering, supplication, hope, fear and the like. All acts of worship must be dedicated to the One who created and disposes everything.
Moreover, Allah, the Creator, Disposer and Owner only deserve the attributes of Majesty, Beauty and perfection. This is because such attributes can never be for anyone except the Lord of the worlds since it is impossible to attribute Lordship to anyone. Allah is the Eternal. All-Hearing, All-Sighting, the Omnipotent, Ever speaker and does what He wants and Wise in all His decrees.
Therefore, this branch of Tawhid is mentioned in the Qur'an in different contexts including that of praise, worship, submission and stating Allah's Exalted Attributes and Names.
Allah Almighty says in the Qur'an:
[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds [Al-Fatiha: 1]
Then, to Allah belongs [all] praise - Lord of the heavens and Lord of the earth, Lord of the worlds. [Al-Jathiya: 36]
Say [Muhammad], "Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance; and we have been commanded to submit to the Lord of the worlds. [Al-'An'am: 71]
Say, "Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. [Al-'An'am: 162]
Say, "Is it other than Allah I should take as a protector, Creator of the heavens and the earth, while it is He who feeds and is not fed?" Say, [O Muhammad], "Indeed, I have been commanded to be the first [among you] who submit [to Allah] and [was commanded], 'Do not ever be of the polytheists.' [Al-'An'am: 14]
His verily is all creation and commandment. Exalted be Allah, Lord of the worlds. Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.[ Al-'Araf: 54-55]
And why should I not worship He who created me and to whom you will be returned? [Ya-Seen: 22]
O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous - [He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. So do not attribute to Allah equals while you know [that there is nothing similar to Him]. [Al-Baqarah: 12-22]
Tawhid of Lordship does not suffice to declare one's Islam (monotheism):
When the people of Quraysh rejected to declare the Oneness of Allah by saying "La Illaha Illa Allah" "there is no god but Allah", Allah Almighty commanded his Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to question those people about the Owner, the Creator, the Sustainer. They replied that He is "Allah". However, they rejected to single Him with worship and were stated in the Qur'an as saying, " Has he made the gods [only] one God? Indeed, this is an astonishing thing." [Sad: 5]
Thereupon, they did not enter Islam because they refused to submit themselves to Allah. This is because they have no choice regarding their creation, but they must fulfill the purpose for which they were created. Allah gave them the will to choose what they do; however, they have no choice regarding the entire creation. Allah Almighty says, "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [Al-Dhariyat: 56]
In this verse, Allah attributed the act of creation to Himself and ordered them to worship Him as it is also mentioned in many verses. Consequently, worshiping Allah means to obey His commands while refraining from disobeying Him. Hence, "La Illaha Illa Allah" means that none deserves to be truly worshipped except Allah. Mentioning the word "truly" here restricts the concept of worship to Allah alone and denying all false claims of associating partners with Him.
Allah Almighty also rebuked those disbelievers for denying the Lordship of Allah over them. Despite the fact they admit that He is the Creator, they rejected to return to Him in worship and were heedless about it. Allah Almighty says,
Say, [O Muhammad], "To whom belongs the earth and whoever is in it, if you should know?" They will say, "To Allah." Say, "Then will you not remember?" Say, "Who is Lord of the seven heavens and Lord of the Great Throne?" They will say, "[They belong] to Allah." Say, "Then will you not fear Him?" Say, "In whose hand is the realm of all things - and He protects while none can protect against Him - if you should know?" They will say, "[All belongs] to Allah." Say, "Then how are you deluded?" [Al-Mu'minun: 84-89]
And if you should ask them, "Who has created the heavens and the earth?" they would surely say, "They were created by the Exalted in Might, the Knowing."[Al-Zukhruf: 9]
- Tawhid of worship:
This means that the believer holds the firm conviction that Allah Almighty is the true God and there is no God but Him, and he directs his worship only to Him. The word Ilah means in Arabic: Alma'aluh which means: the one to be worshiped. Scholars defined the word worship as humiliation and submission to Allah; in other words it is the perfect love and submission to Allah.
Tawhid of worship is based on dedicating one's worship to Allah only either external or internal acts. The true believer worship Allah alone with love, sincerity, fear, hope, supplicates Him, puts his trust in Him, obedience, humiliation, submission and all forms of worship.
This kind of Tawhid incorporates, in its real meaning, all the other types: it incorporates the Tawhid of Allah in His Lordship, His names and attributes, the reverse is not true.
This means that the one who admits the Lordship of Allah may not believe in His Oneness or directs worship to Him alone. The same is applied to the one who admit the Tawhid of Allah's names and attributes while denying the other kinds of Tawhid. However, the one who admits the Tawhid of Allah's worship over His creation is actually realized that Allah is the Lord of this world and to whom belongs the beautiful names and all attributes of perfection. This is because sincere worship must be dedicated to Allah only, the Lord of the world and it is unacceptable that worship is to be dedicated to that which is imperfect.
Based on this, testifying the "La Illah Illa Allah" "there is no God but Allah" implies all kinds of Tawhid. This kind of Tawhid is considered the essence of religion and for which Allah created everything. Allah Almighty says, I created Jinn and mankind only to worship Me. [Al-Dhariyat: 56]
Imam ibn Taymiya (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "this kind of Tawhid distinguishes between monotheists and polytheists and for which reward and punishment will be applied in this world and in the Hereafter. So, whoever denies it, will be a polytheist".
All the Messengers and Books that Allah Almighty sent to His servants called people to this kind of Tawhid. In other words, it was the basic and essence of their missions. Allah Most High says,
And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], "Worship Allah and avoid Taghut [Idols]. [Al-Nahl: 36]
And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, "There is no deity except Me, so worship Me." [Al-Anbiya: 25]
Allah Almighty informed us in the Qur'an that all His Messengers; Noah, Hud, Salih and Shu'aib called their people to worship Allah the One true God. All of them told their people this statement: "O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. [Hud: 61, Al-'Araf: 65, Al-Anbiya: 25]
The Tawhid of Uluhiya necessitates certain matters, the first of which is to worship Allah sincerely and direct all our acts to worship to Him alone. This includes the following:
1- Loving Allah sincerely without associating any partner with Him. Whoever loves anything or associates partners with Allah in loving Him, will be a disbeliever. Allah Almighty says,
And [yet], 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. And if only they who have wronged would consider [that] when they see the punishment, [they will be certain] that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is severe in punishment. [Al-Baqarah: 165]
So, among the acts of major sins is to associate partners or take partners in loving Allah. This is a kind of disbelief that Allah never forgives except through sincere repentance.
2- Directing our supplications, trust and hope sincerely to Allah and in all matters that none save Him the Almighty can dispose. Allah Most High says,
And do not invoke besides Allah that which neither benefits you nor harms you, for if you did, then indeed you would be of the wrongdoers. [Yunus: 106]
And in Allah put your trust if you are true believers. [Al-Ma'ida: 23]
Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah - those expect the mercy of Allah. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [Al-Baqarah: 218]
3- It is an obligation no to associate partners with Allah in fearing Him. Whoever believes that any among creation may bring or has the power to harm and fears it, he then disbelieves. Allah Almighty says, "So fear only Me." [Al-Nahl: 51]
It is worthy to mention that there is difference between the above kind of fear and that one feels by instinct. Fearing Allah is a must in worshiping Him, while there is no objection to fearing beasts or any of such creatures.
To conclude, Tawhid al-Uluhiya means to declare that (there is no God but Allah and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is His Messenger). This includes singling Allah with worship and to follow what has been revealed to His Messenger.
The Tawhid of Names and Attributes (Al-Assma' wa al-Sifat):
It means that to Allah belong all the Exalted Names and Attributes. So, we must describe Him as He describes Himself and according to what His Messenger described Him without likening Him to His creatures. Allah Almighty says,
There is nothing like unto