Tawheed: A great Principle

By Shaikh Islaam ibn Taymiyah(rh)


Shaykh al-Islaam said:

All praise and thanks are due to Allaah, we seek His Help and we seek His Forgiveness. We seek refuge with Him from the evil of our souls and the evil of our actions. Whosoever Allaah guides then none can misguide him, and whosoever Allaah leaves to stray then none can guide him. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship save Allaah, the One Who has no partner and we bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is his servant and Messenger.


Concerning the distinction between the worship of the adherents to Islaam and possessors of faith, guidance, tawheed, sincerity, knowledge, divine legislation, those who follow the Prophets and Messengers and between the worship of those possessing shirk, ignorance, misguidance, innovation from amongst the polytheists and those who resemble them from the adherents of the different religions.

The worship of the Muslims is founded upon two principles:

The First: they do not worship anything save Allaah, the One Who has no partner.

The Second: they worship Him in the way He has ordered and legislated and has been conveyed by His Messengers

So they worship Allaah without associating partners with him, they have taqwaa of Him and they obey His Messengers. Allaah said:

“We sent Noah to his people (with the command): ‘warn your people before there comes to them a grievous Punishment.’ He said, ‘O my people! I am to you a warner, clear and open that you should worship Allaah, fear Him and obey me.'” [Nuh (71): 1-3]

Similarly He mentioned that Hud, Saalih and Shu`ayb said to their respective nations,

“Worship Allaah! You have no other god save Him.” [Hud (11): 50]

He said concerning the Messiah,

“The Messiah said, ‘O Children of Israel! Worship Allaah, my Lord and your Lord.’ Indeed whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allaah then Allaah has forbidden Paradise for him and the Fire shall be his abode. And for the wrong-doers there are no helpers.” [Maa`idah (5): 72]

“And indeed Allaah is my Lord and your Lord so worship Him (Alone). This is the Straight Path.” [Maryam(19): 36]

Indeed every Messenger said,

“So fear Allaah, keep your duty to Him and obey me.” [ash-Shu`araa (26): 108]

He said concerning the nation of Muhammad (SAW),

“They say: ‘we have believed in Allaah and His Messenger and we obey’ then a party of they turn away thereafter, such are not the believers.” [an-Nur (24): 47]

“The only saying of the faithful believers when they are called to Allaah and His Messenger to judge between them is that they say: ‘We hear and obey,’ such are the successful. And whosoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger, fears Him and keeps his duty to Him such are the successful.” [an-Nur (24): 51-52]

Hence appointing obedience to Allaah and the Messenger and appointing fear and taqwaa for Allaah Alone. Allaah said,

“Would that they were contented with what Allaah and His Messenger gave them and had said, ‘Allaah is sufficient for us. Allaah will give us of His Bounty and His Messenger. To Allaah do we trurn our hopes.”[at-Tawbah (9): 59]

Appointing the giving to Allaah and the Messenger. Similarly, the Exalted said,

“Whatsoever the Messenger gives then take it and whatsoever he forbids from then abstain from it.”[al-Hashr (59): 7]

Therefore the lawful is what Allaah and His Messenger made lawful and the unlawful is what Allaah and His Messenger made unlawful and the religion is that which Allaah and His Messenger legislated.

Allaah appointed sufficiency and hope for Himself Alone in His sayings,

“Say: Allaah is sufficient for me, in Him let those who trust, put their trust.” [az-Zumar (39): 38]

“But if they turn away, say: ‘Allaah is sufficient for me. There is none worthy of worship but Him, in Himhave I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.'” [at-Tawbah (9): 129]

“And if they intend to deceive you, then indeed Allaah is All-Sufficient for you.” [al-Anfaal (8): 62]

“They unto whom the (hypocrites) said: ‘Verily the people have gathered against you (a great army) therefore fear them.’ But it only increased them in faith and they said: ‘Allaah (Alone) is sufficient for us and He is the best Disposer of affairs.” [Aali `Imraan (3): 173]

Hence Allaah Alone is the recourse of the Messengers and the Believers in their entirety as Allaah says,

“O Prophet! Allaah is sufficient for you and for the believers who follow you.” [al-Anfaal (8): 64]

Meaning that He Alone Suffices you and all those who follow you. This is the understanding of this verse according to the majority of the Salaf and later scholars.

So this is the religion of Islaam, a religion any other than this is not accepted by Allaah – not from the first peoples or the later peoples. Islaam is to worship Allaah at all times in the way that He has commanded – He is the sole object of worship. Allaah said,

“Allaah said: Take not two gods in worship. Indeed He is One God then fear Me (and Me Alone). To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth and to Him belongs perpetual sincere obedience. Will you then fear any other than Allaah? Whatsoever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allaah. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help. Then, when He has removed the harm from you, behold! Some of you associate others in worship with their Lord. So (as a result of this) they deny thefavours We have bestowed on them! Then enjoy yourselves but you will soon come to know!” [an-Nahl (16): 51-55]

However the legislated laws have differed for example the case when the Prophet (SAW) first prayed towards Bait al-Maqdisbefore the Hijrah and after the Hijrah for ten odd months and then Allaah had him change direction to face the Ka`ba. {1}Hence the legislated law changed but in both cases, before and after, the religion was one and the same. The religion ofIslaam – to worship Allaah Alone without any partners.

In Saheeh Bukhaaree and Muslim that the Prophet (SAW) said, “indeed we, the gathering of Prophets – our religion is one and the Prophets are paternal brothers.” {2}

Meaning that their religion is one and the same even if the laws differ. Allaah said,

“Allaah has ordained for you the same religion which he ordained for Noah, and that which We have inspired in you and that which We ordained for Abraham, Moses, and Jesus saying: you should establish the religion and not make any divisions in it. Intolerable upon the polytheists is that which you call them to.”[ash-Shura (42): 13]

“So set your face towards the religion of pure monotheism – the nature in which Allaah has created mankind. No change is there in the creation of Allaah. This is the straight religion but most men are unaware. (Always) turning in repentance to Him, and be afraid and dutiful to Him, establish the prayers perfectly and do not be of the polytheists. From those who split up their religion and became sects, each party rejoicing in what was with it.” [ar-Rum (30) 30-32]

“O Messengers! Eat of the lawful and good things and do righteous deeds. Indeed I am well Acquainted with what you do. Indeed your religion is one religion and I am your Lord so keep your duty to Me.”[al-Mu`minoon (23): 51-53]

Similarly He said with regards to the Prophets,

“Truly! This is religion is one religion and I am your Lord so worship Me.” [al-Anbiyaa (21): 92]

The word ‘ummah’ has been explained to mean religion, i.e. ‘your religion is one and the same’, this is as Allaah says,

“Nay! They say: ‘We found our fathers upon a religion (ummah) and we guide ourselves by following their footsteps. Similarly, We sent not a warner before you to any town but the affluent ones among them said: ‘We found our fathers upon a religion (ummah) and we will guide ourselves by following their footsteps.”[az-Zukhruf (43): 22-23]

If it said that the meaning of ‘ummah’ is people then the meaning still remains the same i.e. call all of mankind to worship Allaah Alone as Allaah says,

“Establish the religion and make no divisions.” [ash-Shuraa (42): 13]

“And We did not send any Messenger before you but We inspired him (saying): There is none worthy of worship save Me, so worship Me (Alone)” [al-Anbiyaa (21): 25]

“And ask those of Our Messengers whom We sent before you: ‘Did We ever appoint gods to be worshipped besides the Most Merciful?'” [az-Zukhruf (43): 45]

“And indeed We sent among every community (ummah) a Messenger (proclaiming): ‘Worship Allaah (Alone) and avoid all that is worshipped besides Allaah.” [an-Nahl (16): 36]

“He sends down angels with inspiration of His Command to whom of His slaves He pleases (saying): ‘Warn mankind that none has the right to be worshipped but Me, so fear Me.” [an-Nahl (16): 2]

Every Prophet was upon the religion of Islaam as Allaah mentions about Noah that he said,

“But if you turn away, then no reward have I asked of you, my reward is only from Allaah and I have been commanded to be one of the Muslims.” [Yunus (10): 72]

He mentioned concerning Ibraaheem al-Khaleel,

“And who turns away from the religion of Ibraaheem except he who fools himself? Truly We chose him in this world and indeed in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, ‘submit,’ he said, ‘I have submitted (become a Muslim) to the Lord of the Universe.'” [al-Baqarah (2): 130-132]

Ibraaheem and Ismaa`eel said,

“Our Lord! Make us Muslims and make of our offspring those who are Muslims” [al-Baqarah (2): 128]

He said concerning Musaa that he said,

“O my people! If you have believed in Allaah, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims.” [Yunus (10): 84]

He said concerning the magicians who believed in Musaa,

“And you take vengeance on us only because we believed in the signs of our Lord when they reached us! Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and cause us to die as Muslims.” [al-A`raaf (7): 126]

“Indeed We sent down the Torah wherein was guidance and light by which the Prophet who submitted themselves to the Will of Allaah (became Muslims) judged the Jews.” [al-Maa`idah (5): 44]

He said concerning Yusuf as-Siddeeq that he said,

“… and cause me to die as a Muslim and join me with the righteous” [Yusuf (12): 101]

Bilqees said,

“My Lord! Verily I have wronged myself and I submit (in Islaam) together with Solomon to Allaah the Lord of the Universe.”[an-Naml (27): 44]

He said concerning the followers of the Messiah,

“And when I put into the hearts of the disciples (of Jesus) to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: We believe and bear witness that we are Muslims.” [al-Maa`idah (5): 111]

Allaah said,

“Allaah bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but He, and the Angels and those having knowledge (also give this witness). (He is always) maintaining His creation with justice. None has the right to be worshipped save Him. Truly the religion in the Sight of Allaah is Islaam.” [Aali `Imraan (3): 18-19]

Qataadah said concerning His saying, “the only religion acceptable to Allaah is Islaam” – “the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped save Allaah and to accept all that has come from Allaah. This is the the religion that He legislated for Himself and sent His Messengers with and guided His friends to. He does not accept any other religion and does not reward except one who follows it.”

Allaah has censured the one who legislates a religion that He did not reveal, or declares something to be lawful or prohibited without any proof from the revelation saying,

“Or do they have partners with Allaah who have instituted a religion for them which Allaah has not allowed.” [ash-Shuraa (42): 21]

He censured the polytheists for making unlawful what He had not declared to be unlawful and for making lawful what He had made unlawful thereby legislating a religion that He had not revealed saying,

“And when they commit an indecent action they say: ‘We found our fathers doing it and Allaah has commanded us to it.’ Say: ‘Nay, Allaah never commands indecent actions. Do you say of Allaah that which you know not?’ Say: ‘My Lord has commanded justice and (said) that you should face the Qiblah in each and every place of worship during prayers. Supplicate to Him only making your religion sincerely for Him.”[al-A`raaf (7): 28-29]

“Say: ‘Who has forbidden the adornment with clothes given by Allaah which He has produced for His slaves and all good things?’ Say: ‘They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe and exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection.’ Thus We explain the signs in detail for the people who have knowledge. Say: ‘The things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are all indecent actions, whether committed openly or secretly, sins of all kinds, oppression, joining partners with Allaah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge.” [al-A`raaf (7): 32-33]

Alif Laam Meem Saad. A Book sent down to you so let not your breast be constricted therefrom, that you may warn thereby, and a reminder unto the believers. (Say): ‘Follow what has been sent down to you from your Lord and do not follow any friends or protectors who besides Him. Little do you take heed!” [al-A`raaf(7): 1-3]


As for the religion of the Polytheists and the innovating People of the Book then this is a religion for which Allaah has sent down no authority. They either supplicate to others alongside Allaah or they say: ‘we worship them only that they may make us draw closer to Allaah,’ and they say: ‘these are our intercessors with Allaah.’ Or they worship Him in a way that He has not commanded or legislated – worshipping Him with what those whom they have set up as partners to Allaah command. Allaah said,

“They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and monks to be their lords besides Allaah, and they also took the Messiah son of Mary (to be their Lord) while they were commanded to worship none save One God. Glory be to Him (far above is He) from having the partners they associate.” [at-Tawbah (9): 31]

“It is not for any human being to whom Allaah has given the Book and wisdom and Prophethood to say to the people: ‘Be worshippers of me rather than Allaah.’ On contrary (he would say): ‘Be you learned men of the religion because you are teaching the book and studying it.’ Neither would he order you to take Angels and Prophets as lords. Would he order you to disbelieve after you have submitted to the Will of Allaah?” [Aali`Imraan (3): 79-80]

“Say: ‘Call unto those besides Him whom you pretend (to be gods). They have neither the power to remove the adversity from you nor even to shift it from you to another place. Those whom they call upon themselves seek and desire the means of approach to their Lord, as to which of them should be nearest and they hope for His Mercy and fear His Torment. Verily the Torment of your Lord is to be feared!” [al-Israa (17): 56-57]

Meaning that those people to whom the polytheists supplicate themselves are desiring and seeking a means of approach to draw close to their Lord. Ibn Abbaas and Mujaahid said, “they are `Eesaa and his mother, `Uzayr, the Angels, the sun, the moon and the stars.” {3)

Ibn Mas`ud said, “a group of people used to worship a party of the Jinn. The Jinn then accepted Islaam and the people who used to worship them were unaware of this and stuck to their worshipping them and Allaah condemned them.” {4}

Therefore according to all the opinions concerning the meaning of this verse, Allaah censured whosoever supplicated to a created being when in fact that created being itself worships Allaah and seeks to draw close to Him – hoping and fearing Him. Included in this are all of the Angels, the Prophets and the righteous from amongst mankind and Jinns.

So if it is not permissible to supplicate to these creatures that have been exalted and are close to Allaah then it is even more the case that those disobedient to Allaah, such as the satans and jinns, cannot be supplicated to. The verse refers unrestrictedly to all who supplicate to other than Allaah.

He made clear that the person who is supplicated to is not able to remove any harm from the supplicator or even shift the harm to another place saying,

“Say: ‘Call upon those whom you assert (to be gods) besides Allaah, they possess not even an atoms weight – either in the heavens of the earth, nor have they any share in either, nor is there for Him any supporter from among them. Intercession with Him is of no avail except for him who He permits.” [as-Saba (34): 22-23]

Therefore Allaah explained that the created being does not have the sovereignty just as he does not have any share in it and just as he does not help Allaah in any form of fashion. All he can have is the ability to intercede but this intercession is of no avail unless Allaah grant him permission to intercede. Allaah said,

“And they worship besides Allaah things that hurt them not nor profit them and they say: ‘these are our intercessors with Allaah.’ Say: ‘Do you inform Allaah of that which He knows not in the heavens and the earth?’ Glorified be Allaah, Exalted is He above all that they associate with Him.” [Yunus (10): 18]

“And warn therewith those who fear that they will be gathered before their Lord, when their will be neither a protector nor an intercessor for them besides Him.” [al-An`aam (6): 51]

“But remind them with (the Qur`aan) lest a person be given up to destruction for that which he has earned, when he will find for himself no protector or intercessor besides Allaah.” [al-An`aam (6): 70]

“Allaah, it is He Who created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in Six Days, then He Rose over the Throne. You have none besides Him as a protector or an intercessor, will you then no take heed?” [as-Sajdah (32): 4]

“Surely, your Lord is Allaah Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days and then Rose Over the Throne, disposing the affair of all things. No intercessor (can plead with Him) except after His leave. That is Allaah, your Lord; so worship Him (Alone) so will you not take heed?” [Yunus (10 ): 3]

“Who is there that can intercede with Him except after His permission?” [al-Baqarah (2): 255]

“And how many are the Angels in the heavens whose intercession will be of no avail except after Allaah has given leave for whomsoever He Wills and Pleases.” [an-Najm (53): 26]


The misguided people call to the religion of some unknown entity not possessing any authority sent down from Allaah for what they call to. Allaah, the Exalted says,

Say: ‘The things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are all indecent actions, whether committed openly or secretly, sins of all kinds, oppression, joining partners with Allaah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge.” [al-A`raaf (7): 33]

“And they have assign a portion of that which We have provided them unto what they know not (false deities). By Allaah, you shall certainly be questioned about all that you used to fabricate.” [an-Nahl (16): 56]

Allaah said concerning the believers from amongst the people of Pharaoh that they said,

“And O my people! How is it that I call you to salvation while you call me to the Fire! You invite me to disbelieve in Allaah and to join partners with Him; that of which I have no knowledge, and I invite you to the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving. No doubt you call me to one who cannot grant me me request (or respond to me invocation) in this world or the Hereafter.” [Ghaafir (40): 41-42]

Allaah said,

“And they worship besides Allaah others for which He has sent down no authority, and of that which they have no knowledge and the wrong-doers shall have no helpers.” [al-Hajj (22): 71]

Authority means: the revelation that is sent down from Allaah. Allaah said,

“Or have We revealed to them a Scripture which speaks of that which they have been associating with Him?” [ar-Rum (30): 35]

“They are but names which you have names – you and your fathers – for which Allaah has sent down no authority.” [an-Najm (53):23]

The religion that has been revealed is none other than the religion that Allaah, the Mighty and Magnificent, has legislated whereas the people of misguidance follow a religion that does not concord to the legislation that has been revealed and neither do they have knowledge of it. Indeed all they do is follow their vain desires and all they find that would satisfy their base desires.

This is why the true scholars enjoin one to follow the Legislation and knowledge and they censure the worshipers who do not follow these two things just as Allaah said,

“And they worship besides Allaah other for which He has sent down no authority and of that which they have no knowledge and the wrong-doers shall have no helpers.” [al-Hajj (22): 71]

This is why Allaah demanded knowledge and authority from the misguided in His words,

“Say: ‘Has he forbidden the two males or the two females, or (the young) which the wombs of the two females enclose? Inform me with knowledge if you are truthful.” [al-An`aam (6): 143]

Hence explaining that the truthful one is the one who is upon certain knowledge of what he says and believes, whereas the one who has no knowledge to back what he says and believes is spreading lies against Allaah. Allaah says,

“Say: ‘Tell me what provision Allaah has sent down to you! And you have made of it lawful and unlawful.’ Say: ‘Has Allaah permitted you, or do you invent a lie against Allaah?” [Yunus (10): 59]

“And say not concerning that which you tongues put forth falsely: ‘this is lawful and this is unlawful’ so as to invent lies against Allaah. Indeed those invent lies against Allaah will never prosper.” [an-Nahl (16): 116]

“O Mankind! Eat of that which is good and lawful on the earth and follow not the footsteps of Satan. Indeed he is to you and open enemy. He commands you only to what is evil and indecent and that you should say against Allaah what you know not.” [al-Baqarah (2): 168-169]

“O People of the Scripture! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allaah aught but the truth.”[an-Nisaa (4): 171]

“Then after them succeeded an evil generation who inherited the Book but they chose (for themselves) the goods of this low life saying: ‘everything will be forgiven us.’ And if again the offer of the similar goods came their way they would again seize them. Was not the covenant of the Book taken from them that they would not say about Allaah anything but the truth? And they have studied what is in the Book and the Home of the Hereafter is better for those who are God-fearing. Do you not then understand? And as to those who hold fast to the Book and establish the prayers, certainly, We shall never waste the reward of those who do righteous deeds.” [al-A`raaf (7): 169-170]




There are two types of people who report hadeeth from the Prophet (SAW): the trustworthy and precise; and those who are not trustworthy and precise.

From amongst this second category are those who deliberate lies while most of them do not do this but it is possible that one of them narrate a lie due to having weak memory. The scholars have criticised both these types of people [in this second category] in order to preserve the religion from addition and subtraction.

As for those who speak based upon their opinions, research, understanding, and what their hearts find contentment with then their words are of two types: whatsoever agrees with the Messenger (SAW) then it is the truth and whatsoever opposes him is in error. Most of these people do not deliberately err but do so unintentionally but there are some who deliberately say something that is not true knowing that the truth lies elsewhere.



The best of creation after the Prophets, those with the most complete knowledge and religion, those who clung firmest to the rope of Allaah and who followed the religion of Islaam most closely were the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (SAW).

Indeed the nation of Muhammad (SAW) is the best of nations, and the Companions are the best of the nation of Muhammad (SAW) as is established in the Saheeh with a number of different wordings that the Prophet (SAW) said, “the best of generations is the generation in which I have been sent, then those who follow them, then those who follow them.” {5}

Allaah, the Glorious, has informed us that He is Pleased with the fore-runners and is Pleased with those who follow them in good saying,

“The fore-runners, the first to embrace Islaam of the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar, and those who followed them in good. Allaah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [at-Tawbah (9): 100]

These fore-runners are those who gave the pledge of allegiance under the tree and they were the one who gave in charity from the beginning and they were the ones who fought (alongside the Messenger) in all the battles before the conquest ofHudaybiyyah. Allaah said,

“Not equal among you are those who spent and fought before the conquest (with those among you who did so after). Such are higher in degree than those who spent and fought afterwards. But to all Allaah has promised the best reward and Allaah is All-Aware of what you do.” [al-Hadeed (57): 10]

It is established in Saheeh Muslim that the Prophet (SAW) said, “whosoever gave the pledge of allegiance under the tree shall not enter the Fire.” {6}

In Saheeh Bukhaaree and Muslim from Jaabir that “the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said to us on the Day of Hudaybiyyah,‘you are the best people on the face of the earth,’ and we numbered fourteen hundred and if I could see now I would show you the place under the Tree (where we gave our pledge of allegiance).” {7}

It was these people and those who followed them that Allaah promised the best reward.

The way of the Companions of the Prophet (SAW) was that they would worship Allaah Alone in the way they were commanded by their Prophet. Therefore the lawful was what he made to be lawful, the unlawful was what he prohibited and the religion comprised of only what he legislated. They prayed the five daily prayers at their correct times in congregation in the Mosques as they had been ordered to do so by Allaah. They fasted the month of Ramadaan, they performed the Hajj to the Ancient House, they gave in zakaah, they enjoined the good and forbade the evil and they performed Jihaad in the Way of Allaah. They worshipped Allaah through doing everything that their Prophet ordered them to do, they did not worship any save Allaah and they did not supplicate to anything else alongside Allaah – not anything in the heavens or the earth, not the Angels, the stars, the Prophets and those who resembled them most after them. Rather they knew that doing any of this was from associating partners with Allaah which Allaah and His Messenger had explicitly forbidden.

They did not supplicate to a created object, nor an Angel, or a Jinn, or a man be he a Prophet or other than a Prophet – neither at his grave nor in his absence. They did not seek help except with Allaah and they did not seek victory except with Allaah. They did not put their trust in anything other than Allaah and they did not supplicate to any created being be he absent or dead, neither did they seek succour and relief with him, they did not complain to him and they did not seek forgiveness, guidance or victory from him. Rather they sought all of this from Allaah Alone.

They did not do what the Christians used to do and seek intercession with the Angels or the Prophets and the righteous who have passed away at their graves or away from their graves. Not one of them called out saying, “O Jibreel, O Meekaa`eelintercede for me with Allaah,” just as they did not say, “O Ibraaheem, O Musaa, O `Eesaa, intercede for me with Allaah,” as was done by the Christians. Instead they knew that nothing is to be sought from the absent and the one who has died. They knew that the Angels do nothing except that which Allaah commanded them to do and they do not intercede except for the one with whom the Lord is Pleased. The same being true for the Prophets and the righteous. However it is possible to seek supplication or intercession from them during their lifetimes as the Companions used to so with the Prophet (SAW) and as the creation will seek intercession from him on the Day of Judgement. Abundant peace and blessings be upon him.



They used to pray the five daily prayers behind the Prophet (SAW) and behind others from the Imaams. There used to be a mosque for every inhabitation of the Ansaar and they used to have an Imaam behind whom they prayed the prayers with the exception of Jumu`ah and `Eid which they prayed behind the Prophet (SAW). These were the inhabitants of Madeenah.Madeenah was a large area having no defined boundary, rather it consisted of places dispersed over an area, each tribe had their own area with a Mosque, graveyard and homes that were used to differentiate between the area of another tribe. The title ‘Madeenah’ included all of this and the only people that were not included under this name were the Bedouin Arabs. Allaah said,

“Certain of the desert Arabs round about you are hypocrites as well as among the inhabitants of Madeenah.”[at-Tawbah (9): 101]

Those who tilled the land were from amongst the inhabitants of Madeenah and they were none other than the Ansaar. The living area of each tribe was called ‘home’ (daar) and the meaning of ‘home’ here referred to the tribe itself. The Prophet (SAW) ordered that Mosques be built in each of these ‘homes’ and that they should be cleaned and scented.

In the authentic hadeeth there occurs, “Madeenah is sanctified between `Ayr and Thawr.” {8} Ayr is a mountain near DhulHaleefah and its rear side resembles the back of an `ayr which is a donkey. Thawr is a small mountain near Uhud and it does not refer to Mount Thawr that is in Mecca. This hadeeth fooled some scholars into thinking that Madeenah constituted everything from `Ayr to Mount Thawr in Mecca. He (SAW) said, “I sanctify whatsoever lies between its two mountains” {9} And the Arab said to him, “there is no family between the two mountains of Madeenah who is poorer than us.” {10}

Hence everything between its two mountains constitutes Madeenah and that is what lies between `Ayr and Thawr.

The Companions used to invoke prayers (salaah) and peace (salaam) upon the Prophet (SAW) in their daily prayers as ordered by Allaah and His Messenger (SAW) saying in their tashahhud“peace be upon you O Prophet, and the Mercy of Allaah and His Blessings.” {11}

They used to invoke blessings upon him in the way that he (SAW) taught them, for example their saying, “O Allaah send Your prayers upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad just as You sent your prayers upon the family of Abraham, indeed you are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious. And send Your blessings upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad just as you sent Your blessings upon the family of Abraham, indeed you are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.” {12}

This hadeeth as also been reported with the wording, “just as You sent Your prayers upon Abraham” {13}

It has also been reported with the wording, “just as You sent Your prayers upon Abraham and the family of Abraham.” {14}

It is established from him (SAW) in the Saheeh that he said, “whosoever invokes prayers upon me once, Allaah sends prayers upon him ten times.” {15}

A similar hadeeth is reported with regards to sending peace upon him that whosoever sends peace upon him once, Allaah sends peace upon him ten times. {16}

Therefore when they invoked prayers and peace upon him (SAW), Allaah sent prayers and peace upon them (ten times).

This invocation of peace (salaam) [said in the prayer and in the absence of the Prophet] was not of the type that the Prophet (SAW) would reply to, rather the type of salaam that he replied to was when they met him and greeted him. As for the salaamsaid in the prayer then this was like the invocation of prayers (salaah) upon him in the prayer – it was Allaah who replied to them tenfold.

When the Allaah caused His Prophet (SAW) to pass away the Companions continued upon what they were upon during his lifetime. They and the Taabi`een used to pray behind Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthmaan and `Alee in his (SAW) Mosque just as they used to pray behind others. However these four led the prayers in his Mosque – Abu Bakr and `Umar until they died, `Uthmaanuntil he was besieged and `Alee before he moved to Iraq. The pledge of allegiance was given to these four in his Mosque and this is why Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal said, “every pledge of allegiance that was given in Madeenah was for the Khilaafah upon the Prophetic way.”

They continued praying the five daily prayers and invoking salaah and salaam upon him in them. They used to supplicate to Allaah during the prayers and outside of the prayers knowing that this was sufficient for them and in fact sufficed them from anything else from those matters that the Prophet (SAW) had not commanded or legislated.

When he (SAW) died, he was buried in the room of Aa`ishah, in the same room in which he became ill. The rooms of his wives were to the east and to the rear of his Mosque, joining on to the Mosque. Allaah mentioned them in His saying,

“Those who call out to you from without the Inner Apartments, most of them lack understanding.”[al-Hujuraat (49): 4]

These houses belonged to him and his wives. Allaah mentioned this in His sayings,

“O you who believe! Do not enter the houses of the Prophet until leave is given you.” [al-Ahzaab (33): 53]

“And stay quietly in your houses…” [al-Ahzaab (33): 33]

In Two Saheehs from Aa`ishah (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said during the illness from which he died, “Allaah cursed the Jews and the Christians, they took the graves of their Prophets as Mosques.”{17} And via another route, “except that he feared that it would be taken as a Mosque.” {18}

Aa`ishah said, “had it not been for this his grave would have been raised but it was feared that it would be taken as a Mosque,” {19} the wording of Bukhaaree has, “except that I feared it would be taken as a Mosque.” {20}

In Saheeh Muslim from the hadeeth of Jundub bin Abdullaah that he heard the Prophet (SAW) saying five days before he died,“I stand acquitted before Allaah that I should take a beloved friend (khaleel) from amongst you for indeed Allaah has taken me as His beloved friend just as He took Abraham as a beloved friend. If I had taken a beloved friend from my nation then I would have taken Abu Bakr. Indeed those who came before you took the graves of their Prophets and Righteous as Mosques, do not take graves as Mosques for indeed I forbid you from this.” {21}

In the Two Saheehs from Aa`ishah and ibn Abbaas that they said, “when the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) was about to breathe his last he drew his sheet upon his face. When he felt uneasy he uncovered his face and said, ‘the curse of Allaah be upon the Jews and Christians, they took the graves of their Prophets as Mosques,’ warning from their practice.” {22}

In the Two Saheehs from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, “may Allaah destroy the Jews and Christians, they took the graves of their Prophets as Mosques.” {23} The wording of Muslim has, “Allaah cursed the Jews and Christians, they took the graves of their Prophets as Mosques.” {24}

In the Musnad and Saheeh Abee Haatim that he said, “from the worst of people are those upon whom the Hour will be established and those who took graves as Mosques.” {25}

In the Muwatta of Maalik that he (SAW) said, “O Allaah do not make my grave an idol that is worshipped. The Anger of Allaah was severe upon a people who took the graves of their Prophets as Mosques.” {26}

In the Sunan of Abu Daawood and other from the Prophet (SAW) that he said, “do not take my grave as a place of festivity and invoke prayers upon me wheresoever you may be for indeed they are conveyed to me.” {27}

In the Sunan of Sa`eed bin Mansoor that Abdullaah bin Hasan bin Hasan bin [Alee bin] Abee Taalib{28} – and he is from the most noble Hasans during the period of the tab`a taabi`een – that he saw a person frequenting the grave of the Prophet (SAW) and said, “O person indeed the Messenger of Allaah said, “do not take my grave as a place of festivity and invoke prayers upon me wheresoever you may be for indeed they are conveyed to me.” You and a person in Andulus are equivalent with regards to this.” {29}

In the Sunan of Abu Daawood and others from Aws bin Aws ath-Thaqafee that the Prophet (SAW) said, “frequent the salaahupon me on the day and night of Jumu`ah for indeed your salaah is presented to me.” They said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah how can our salaah be presented to you after you have passed away?’ He replied, “indeed Allaah has forbidden the earth from eating the flesh of the Prophets.” {30}

In an-Nasaa`ee and ibn Hibbaan and others from ibn Mas`ud from the Prophet (SAW) that he said, “indeed Allaah has Angels roaming the earth who convey to me the salaam of my nation.” {31}

We have been informed that the salaah and salaam reaches him from near and far through his saying, “send salaah upon me from wheresoever you may be for indeed your salaah is conveyed to me,” and his saying, “do not take my grave as a place of festivity.” Similarly the salaam reaches him from near and far as in his saying, “indeed Allaah has Angels roaming the earth who convey to me the salaam of my nation.”

So when every Muslim says in his prayer, “peace be upon you O Prophet, and the blessings and mercy of Allaah” then this reaches him (SAW).

The Companions and the Taabi`een knew that this salaam was better and more virtuous then the salaam said to him (SAW) at his grave to which he replied because the salaam said upon greeting is shared by the Muslims as occurs in the hadeeth, “there is not a person who passes by the grave of someone who he knew while alive except that Allaah returns his soul to him so that he may reply to the salaam.” {32}

However the salaam through which one worships in the prayer, which in fact one has been commanded to say in prayer, is answered by Allaah tenfold whereas this other type of salaam that is said is answered by him (SAW) just as he would have answered during his lifetime.

All of the Companions used to send salaam upon him in every prayer and on some occasions used to go to him and extend thesalaam to him. So the first salaam has been ordered by Allaah to be said in every prayer whereas the second type of salaamhas only been legislated upon meeting him. The reward of the first type of salaam is greater because Allaah returns the salaamtenfold whereas only the Messenger answers the second type.

He also taught them to say upon entering the Mosque, “with the Name of Allaah, peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah, O Allaah forgive me my sins and open for me the gates of Your Mercy,” and upon leaving the Mosque to say, “with the Name of Allaah, peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah, and open for me the gates of Your Bounty.” {33}

Many people took the graves of their Prophets as places of festivities and as objects of worship and through them committedshirk with Allaah after their death whereas during their lifetimes it was impossible for any of them to commit shirk through them or to take them as lords (besides Allaah). This is why the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) and those who followed them strictly adhered to the tawheed with which Allaah sent His Messenger, they avoided all that he forbade them from such as shirk and the means of falling into it. They followed his command to prohibit people (from doing this) by his grave so that shirk would not occur through him. Therefore the performance of evil near him was prevented after his death just as it was prevented during his (SAW) lifetime.

This is one of his excellent qualities and one of the excellent qualities of his nation for there is no Prophet after him and his nation cannot gather and unite upon misguidance. If his grave were to be raised then many ignorant people would desire to take it as a Mosque, an idol and a place of festivity. Instead he was buried in the room, hidden away from the people and therefore no one was able to commit shirk through him and neither to take him as an idol or perform any evil near his grave. Hence this situation became specific to him – not shared by anyone else (who was righteous for shirk was committed through them). This is because his Mosque was built upon taqwaa, and it is legislated to make a journey to it, and performing worship in it is of extra merit and there is no Mosque near the grave of any other to which it is legislated journey to, indeed many of those other Mosques have been built as a result of graves and this is prohibited, the Prophet (SAW) warned his nation from this, cursing those who did it.

The Mosque of the Prophet (SAW) was built upon taqwaa, and it is the best of Mosques after the Holy Mosque and it is said: rather it is the best of all Mosques. To perform prayer in it is better than a thousand prayers in any other Mosque (except the Holy Mosque) and journeying to it is legislated and recommended.

As for enacting the prohibited matters then this is not possible to be done by his grave. It is not possible for anyone to visit his grave and travel to it as it is possible for them to visit any other grave such that they can do whatever (prohibited matter) they desire. It is established in the Saheeh that he (SAW) said, “do not sit on the graves and do not pray towards them.” {34} Also he forbade people from taking the graves as Mosques as has just preceded. The reason for all of this is because the basis for the shirk that occurred amongst the children of Aadam was by their committing shirk through the graves of their righteous. The first shirk that appeared was amongst the people of Nuh. Abdullaah bin Abbaas (RA) said, “between Aadam and Nuh were ten generations all of them upon Islaam.” {35}It is also established in the Saheeh that the people will say on the Day of Judgement(while asking for intercession), “O Nuh you are the first Messenger that Allaah sent to the inhabitants of the earth.”{36}

This is why Allaah did not mention a Messenger who came before Nuh and neither did He mention a nation that was destroyed before the nation of Nuh. Allaah said, while narrating his story,

“They said: ‘do not abandon your gods, abandon not Wadd, Suwa, Yaguth, Ya`uq and Nasr.’ They have already misled many; and do not increase the wrong-doers in anything save misguidance.” [Nuh (71): 23-24]

A group of the Salaf said, from amongst them Muhammad bin Ka`b al-Qardhee, “these were the names of a righteous people who lived some time between Aadam and Nuh. When they died they had a following who followed them and took to their way of worship. Then Iblees came to them and said, ‘if only you depicted forms for them then this would increase your eagerness to worship.’ They did this, then a people arose after them and Satan came to them and said, ‘indeed those who came before you used to worship them’ and so they worshipped them.” Reported by Abd bin Humaid in his tafseer from Muhammad bin Ka`b. {37}

This then was the beginning of the worship of statues and these statues were called by these names (mentioned in the verse) because these statues were made in the forms of those Muslims.

Bukhaaree mentions in his Saheeh from `Ataa from ibn Abbaas who said, “the idols that were worshipped by the People of Nuhalso came to be worshipped by the Arab who came after. As for the idol Wadd, it was worshipped by the tribe of Kalb atDawmatul Jandal. Suwa was the idol of Bani Hudhayl and Yaguth was the idol of the tribe of Muraad and then by Bani Ghutaifat al-Jurf near Saba. Ya`uq was the idol of Himyr.” {38}




{} Saheeh Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/267 no.’s 1071-1075 ]

{2} Saheeh Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 4/434 no.’s 651,652], Saheeh Muslim [Eng. Trans. 4/1260 no.’s 5834-5836]

{3} Refer to ‘ad-Durr al-Manthoor’ [4/189-190]


{5} A similar wording has been reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 5/2 no. 3] and Muslim [Eng. Trans. 4/1345 no.’s 6150-6159]

{6} A similar wording has been reported by Muslim [Eng. Trans. 4/1332 no. 6090] and at-Tirmidhee [5/357]

{7} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 5/337 no. 475] and a similar wording has been reported by Muslim [Eng. Trans. 3/1035 no. 4580]

{8} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 3/56 no. 97] with similar wording and Muslim [Eng. Trans. 2/688 no. 3163]

{9} A similar wording is reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 3/54 no. 93] and the wording given is that of Muslim [Eng. Trans. 2/686 no. 3153]

{10} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 3/89 no.157] with the words ‘Ahwaj‘ instead of ‘Afqar‘ and Muslim [Eng. Trans. 2/540 no. 2457]

{11} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 1/441 no. 794] and Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/221 no. 793]

{12} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 6/302 no. 320] and Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/223 no.’s 803-808]

{13} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 6/303 no. 321] and Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/223 no. 807]

{14} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 6/303 no. 322]

{15} Reported by Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/224 no. 808]

{16} Reported by an-Nasaa`ee [3/44] with the wording, “no one sends peace upon you except that I send peace upon him ten times,” and it was declared hasan by al-Albaanee in ‘Saheeh an-Nasaa`ee’ [1/274]

{17} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 2/267 no. 472] and Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/268 no. 1079]

{18} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 2/267 no. 472]

{19} A similar wording is reported by Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/268 no. 1079]

{20} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 2/232 no. 414]

{21} Reported by Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/269 no. 1083]

{22} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 1/255 no. 427] and Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/269 no. 1082]

{23} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 1/255 no. 428] and Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/269 no. 1080]

{24} Reported by Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/269 no. 1081]

{25} Ahmad [1/435] and Ahmad Shaakir said in his notes to the Musnad, “its isnaad is saheeh.”[5/324]

{26} al-Muwatta [1/244]. Ahmad [2/246] also reports the hadeeth from Abu Hurayrah with the words, “O Allaah do not make my grave an idol that is worshipped. Allaah cursed a people who took the graves of their Prophets as Mosques.” AhmadShaakir said in his notes upon the Musnad, “its isnaad is saheeh.” [13/86]

{27} Abu Daawood [Eng. Trans. 2/542 no. 2037] and it was declared saheeh by Al-Albaanee in Saheeh al-Jaami` [2/1211]

{28} He is the noble, trustworthy and precise scholar. He died in the year 145H at the age of 75. Refer to ‘Taqreeb at-Tahdheeb’ [no. 3292]

{29} Shaykh al-Islaam said in his book, ‘ar-Radd alaa al-Akhnaa`ee’ [pg. 93], “and Sa`eed also said – i.e. Sa`eed bin Mansoor – Abdul Azeez bin Muhammad reported to us that Suhail bin Abee Suhail said, ‘al-Hasan bin Hasan bin Alee bin Abee Taalib saw me at the grave and called to me from the house of Faatimah when it was close to the time of `Ishaa saying, “come to `Ishaa!” I replied, “I do not wish to.” He said, “why do I see you by the grave?” I said, “I sent my salaam upon the Prophet (SAW).” He replied, “when you enter the Mosque then send your salaam upon him for the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, “do not take my grave as a place of festivities and invoke prayers upon me wheresoever you may be for indeed they are conveyed to me.”Therefore you and a person in Andulus are equivalent (with regards to this).’

Qaadee Ismaa`eel bin Ishaaq reported this in his ‘Fadl as-Salaah `alaa an-Nabee (SAW)’ without mentioning the addition, “you and a person in Andulus are equivalent (with regards to this).” This is because his opinion is that it is better for the one who is leaving or returning from a journey to send the salaam upon him from the side of the grave and that those outside of Madeenahsend their salaams upon him when entering and leaving the Mosque and therefore the people of Madeenah have a ranking above those outside Madeenah with regard to this. As for al-Hasan bin al-Hasan and others then they did not differentiate between the inhabitants of Madeenah and those outside Madeenah and neither between the traveler and the resident.” Refer to ‘Fadl as-Salaah `alaa an-Nabee (SAW)’ [no. 20, 30] of Qaadee Ismaa`eel bin Ishaaq.

Ibn Abee Shaybah [4/345] reported a similar wording without the addition, “you and a person…” and likewise Abdur Razzaaq[3/577] in his ‘Musannaf’.

{30} Reported by Abu Daawood [Eng. Trans. 1/269 no. 1042], ibn Maajah [1/524], Ahmad [4/2] and al-Haakim [1/278] who said, ‘it is saheeh, meeting the criteria of Bukhaaree’ and adh-Dhahabee agreed.

{31} Reported by an-Nasaa`ee [2/43], ibn Hibbaan [2/134] and declared saheeh by al-Albaanee in ‘Saheeh al-Jaami’ [1/434]

{32} A similar hadeeth is reported by al-Bayhaqee in ‘ash-Shu`ab’, ibn Abee ad-Dunya in ‘al-Quboor’, as-Saaboonee in ‘al-Mi`atayn’, ibn Abdul Barr in ‘al-Istidhkaar’ and ‘at-Tamheed’ and was declared saheeh by Abdul Haqq as mentioned by as-Suyutee in ‘Sharh as-Sudoor’ [pg. 84]. Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned that ibn Abdul Barr declared it saheeh in ‘ar-Ruh’ [pg. 8]

{33} Reported by ibn Maajah [1/253] and Ahmad [6/283]. The hadeeth was declared saheeh by al-Albaanee in ‘Saheeh ibnMaajah’ [1/128-129]

{34} Reported by Muslim [Eng. Trans. 2/460 no. 2121]

{35} Ibn Jareer reports a similar narration in his tafseer [4/275] and al-Haakim [2/546] who said that it was saheeh according to the conditions of Bukhaaree and Muslim and adh-Dhahabee agreed.

{36} Bukhaaree reports a similar hadeeth to this [Eng. Trans. 6/198 no. 236] and Muslim [Eng. Trans.]

{37} Mentioned by as-Suyutee in ‘ad-Durr al-Munthoor’ [6/269]

{38} Reported by Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 6/198 no. 236]. Al-Haafidh ibn Hajr al-Asqalaanee said in ‘Fath’ [6/83], “