EXPLAINING THE FOUNDATIONS OF FAITH
by Shaykh Ibn Al-‘Uthaymeen, rahimahullaah
translated by Dr Saleh As-Saleh rahimahullaah
Belief In Allah (WHAT IS TAWHEED?)
Belief in Allaah’s Ruboobiyyah:
This means to believe that Allaah is the only Rabb without a partner or a
helper. The Rabb is the One to Whom belongs the Creation, Kingdom,
and Command; Their is no Creator but Allaah; No Maalik (Possessor)
except Him(31), and there is no Command but His. He, Most High, says:
His is the Creation and Commandment. (Qur’aan 7:54).
Allaah also said:
“Such is Allaah your Rabb; His is the kingdom. And those, whom you
invoke or call upon instead of Him, own not even a Qitmeer (the thin membrane over the date-stone).”(32) (Qur’aan 35:13).
It is not known that anyone had denied the Ruboobiyyah of Allaah
except an arrogant who does not believe what he says, like what
happened to the Pharaoh when he said to his people:
I am your rabb, most high. (Qur’aan 79:24).
O chiefs!I know not that you have an Ilaah (a god) other than me.
What he said was not a matter of conviction. Allaah Ta’ala said:
And they belied them (the aayaat: proofs, evidences, verses, lessons,
signs, revelations, etc.) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their
ownselves were convinced thereof [i.e. the aayaat are from Allaah, and
Musa alaihi salaam is the Messenger of Allaah in truth, but they disliked to obey
Musa, and hated to believe in his Message of Tawheed.] (Qur’aan 27:14).
Allaah related what Musa alaihi salaam told the Pharaoh:
(Musa alaihi salaam) said: “Verily, you know that these signs have been sent
down by none but the Rabb of the heavens and the earth as clear
(evidences i.e. proofs of Allaah’s Oneness and His Omnipotence etc.).
And I think you are, indeed, O Pharaoh doomed to destruction (away
from all good)!” (Qur’aan 17:102).
For this reason, the Mushrikeen (the pagan Arabs) used to acknowledge
the Ruboobiyyah of Allaah Ta’ala despite committing Shirk in His
Uloohiyyah. Allaah Ta’ala said:
Say: “Whose is the earth and whosoever is therein? If you know!’
They will say: ‘It is Allaah’s!’ Say: ‘Will you not then remember?’
Say: ‘Who is (the) Rabb of the seven heavens, and (the) Rabb the
Great ‘Arsh (Throne)?” They will say: ‘Allaah.’ Say: ‘Will you not
then fear Allaah (believe in His Oneness, obey Him, believe in the
Resurrection and Recompense for each and every good or bad deed).’
Say: ‘In Whose Hand is the sovereignty of everything (i.e. treasures of
each and everything)? And He protects (all), while against Whom
there is no protector (33), if you know.’ They will say: “All that
(belongs) to Allaah.” Say: ‘How then are you deceived and turn away
from the truth?’ (Qur’aan 23:84-89).
He Ta’ala also said:
And indeed if you ask them, “Who has created the heavens and the
earth?” They will surely say: “The All-Mighty, the All-Knower
created them.” (Qur’aan 43:9).
He Ta’ala further said:
And if you ask them who created them, they will surely say:
“Allaah”. How then are they turned away (from the worship of Allaah
Who created them)?” (Qur’aan 43:87)
The Command of ar-Rabb (Allaah) comprises both the al-Kawnee
(Universal) and the ash-Shar’ee (Legal or Judicial) Commands. Just as
He is the One Who runs the affairs of the universe, Ruling it as He wants
and in accordance with what is necessitated by His Wisdom, He is also
the Judge Who rules it by means of Legislations that deals with
Ibaadaat (34) and Laws governing all forms of Mu’aamalaat,(35) in
conformity with His Wisdom. So, whoever sets up a legislator besides
Allaah in Ibaadaat or a judge in Mu’aamalaat, commits Shirk and does
not ascertain the Eemaan.
Belief in Allaah’s Worship (Uloohiyyah):
It is the belief that Allaah alone is the true Ilaah who has no partner or
associate. The Ilaah means al-Ma’looh i.e. al-Ma’bood, the only true
God who deserves to be worshipped out of love and magnification.
Allaah Ta’ala said:
And your Ilaah is one Ilaah, َ Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (There is
no true God worthy of worship but He), ar-Rahmaan (Whose Mercy
encompasses everything), the Most Merciful. (Qur’aan 2:163).
He Ta’ala also said:
Allaah Bears witness that Laa Ilaaha illa Huwa (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 in
Justice. Laa ilaaha illa Huwa, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (Qur’aan
All that is being taken as an ilaah worshipped as god besides Allaah, its
Uloohiyyah is false. Allaah Ta’ala says:
That is because Allaah-He is the Truth (the only True God of all that
exists, Who has no partners or rivals with Him), and those besides Him
whom they (the polytheists) invoke-they are but Baatil (vain
Falsehood). And verily, Allaah,-He is the Most High, the Most Great.
Calling them aaliha (gods) does not entitle them to the right of
Uloohiyyah. Allaah Ta’ala said describing the pagan deities of Al-laat, Al’Uz-zaa, and Minaat that:
They are but names which you have named,-you and your fathers,for
which Allaah sent down no authority. (Qur’aan 53:23).(36)
He (Allaah) told us that Yusuf alaihi salaam said to his two companions of the jail:
O two companions of the prison!Are many different arbaab (lords)
better or Allaah, the One, Al-Qahhaar(37)? You don’t worship besides
Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your
fathers, for which Allaah has sent down no authority. (Qur’aan 12:39-40).
For this reason, the Messengers, may the Salaah and Salaam of Allaah be
upon them, used to say to their respective nations:
Worship Allaah!You have no other Ilaah (God) but Him. (Qur’aan
7:59,65,73,85; 11:50,61,84; 23:23,32).
The Mushrikeen, however, refused and set up gods as rivals to Allaah,
worshipping them besides Allaah, and seeking their support and help.
Allaah Ta’ala invalidated their acts by two proofs:
First: There is not any Divine Quality in the gods they worshipped
besides Allaah. These gods are created and cannot create and extend
neither benefit to their worshippers nor can they ward off harm from
them; they can neither give them life, nor cause their death; they possess
nothing from the heavens and have no share in it. Allaah Ta’ala said:
They have taken besides Him other gods that created nothing but are
themselves created, and possess neither hurt nor benefit to
themselves, and possess no power (of causing) death, nor (of giving)
life, nor of raising the dead. (Qur’aan 25:3).
Allaah Ta’ala also said:
Say: (O Muhammad Salal Allah wa ‘Alahi wa Salam to those polytheists, pagans, etc.) “Call upon those whom you asset (to be associate gods) besides Allaah, they possess not even the weight of a small ant,-either in the heavens or on the earth, nor have they any share in either, nor there is for Him any
supporter from among them. Intercession with Him profits not,
except for him Whom He permits. (Qur’aan 34:22-23).
Do they attribute as partners to Allaah those who created nothing
but they themselves are created? No help can they give them, nor can
they help themselves. (Qur’aan 7:191-192).
If this is the situation with those gods, then worshipping them as gods
besides Allaah is the utmost of foolishness and falsehood.
Second: Those Mushrikeen used to confess that Allaah Ta’ala Alone is ArRabb Al-Khaaliq (the Creator) in Whose Hand is the Sovereignty of
everything and He protects (all), while against Whom there is no
This (confession) necessitates that they should have attested that He is
the Only True Ilaah worthy of Uloohiyyah as they have done with His
Ruboobiyyah (when they took Him as their only true Rabb). In this
regard Allaah Ta’ala said:
O mankind!Worship your Rabb (Allaah), Who created you and those
before you so that you may become pious. Who has made the earth a
resting place and the sky as a canopy, and sent down rain from the
sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then
do not setup up rivals unto Allaah (in worship) while you know (that
He alone has the right to be worshipped). (Qur’aan 2: 21-22).
He also said:
And if you ask them who created them, they will surely say:
“Allaah.” How then are they turned away (from the worship of Allaah,
Who created them)? (Qur’aan 43:87).
Say: Who provides for you from the sky and from the earth? Or Who
owns hearing and sight? And Who brings out the living from the dead
and the dead from the living? And Who disposes the affairs? They will
say: “Allaah.” Will you not then be afraid of Allaah’s Punishment (for
worshipping other than Him)?” Such is Allaah, you Rabb, in truth. So,
apart from Truth, what (remains) but error? So, how then you are turned
away? (Qur’aan 10:31-32).
Belief in Allaah’s Names and Sifaat (Attributes):
It means to affirm the Names and Attributes which Allaah affirmed to
Himself in His Book and in the Sunnah of His Messenger Salal Allah wa ‘Alahi wa Salam in the way
that best fits Him without
Tahreef (distortion of the meaning),
Ta’teel (negating the meaning),
Takyeef, (assigning a manner to any attribute), or
Tamtheel (drawing parallels to Allaah).
Allaah Ta’ala said:
And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him
by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter
impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what
they used to do. (Qur’aan 7:180)
He also said:
His is the highest description (i.e. none has the right to be worshipped
but He, and there is nothing comparable unto Him) in the heavens and
in the earth. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (Qur’aan 30:27).
And there is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the AllSeer.
Two sects went astray regarding this matter:
The First Sect: Al-Mu’atilah, who negated all or some of Allaah’s
Names and Attributes claiming that affirming Allaah’s Names and Sifaat
necessitates Tashbeeh (drawing similarities between Allaah and His
creation)!This claim is surely false in many respects, including:
First: It necessitates false obligations like contradiction in the words of
Allaah, far removed is He from every imperfection. This is so because
Allaah affirmed the Names and Attributes to Himself and negated the
likeness of anything unto Him. Had its affirmation necessitated the
Tashbeeh, then it would imply contradiction in the Speech of Allaah and
that its parts refute one another
Second: It is not necessary that agreement in Name or Attribute between
two things obligates likeness between them. Indeed you see two people
in a state of agreement where each is a hearing, seeing, and speaking
human. In no way this necessitate likeness neither in the human values
nor in the hearing, sight, and speech. You see that animals have hands,
legs, and eyes. This kind of agreement does not necessitate that their
hands, legs, and eyes are like each other. If this distinction in the
agreement in Names and qualities amongst the created things is clear,
then the distinction between the Creator and the created thing is greater
and more evident
The Second Sect: The Mushabbiha who affirm Allaah’s Names and
Attributes but make Tashbeeh (draw similarities) between Allaah and His
Creation, claiming that this is what is necessitated by the meaning of the
texts on the ground that Allaah Ta’ala addresses the ‘Ibaad (mankind)
according to their understanding!Such a claim is false in many respects,
First: The Mushaabaha (likeness) of Allaah to His creation is a false
concept that is negated by the Shar’a as well as reasoning. Thus it is
impossible that a false matter is necessitated by the texts of the Qur’aan
Second: Allaah addressed mankind according to their understanding of
the basic meanings of His Names and Attributes. However, the
knowledge of the essence and true nature of meanings regarding His Dhaat (Essence) and Sifaat exclusively belongs to Allaah Alone. So, if
Allaah affirms to Himself that He is All-Hearer, then the Hearing is
known from the understanding of the basic meaning, which is the
comprehension of voices. However, the essence of this meaning with
respect to the Hearing of Allaah Ta’ala is unknown because the essence of
hearing is distinct even amongst the created. Certainly, the distinction
between the hearing of the created and that of the Creator is greater and
It is known that if Allaah mentioned about Himself that He Istawaa ‘alal’Arsh(39), then the Istiwaa’ according to the basic meaning is known
(means: ascendance), however, the manner (the ‘how’) of His ascension
above His ‘Arsh is unknown, because the essence of the Istiwaa’ amongst
the creatures is distinct. The Istiwaa’ on a firmly stable chair is not the
same as that on the saddle of an unyielding and easily frightened camel.
When this is distinct with respect to the creatures, then it is greater and
more evident between the Creator and the creature.
The belief in Allaah Ta’ala according to what we have described above
yields great benefits to the believers:
First: The true manifestation of the Tawheed of Allaah Ta’ala such that
there is no attachment to other than Him in hope, fear, and
Second: The perfect Love, Magnification and Exaltation of Allaah
Ta’ala as obligated by His Most Beautiful Names and Sublime
Third: Manifesting our worship of Him by doing what He
commands and avoiding what He forbade.
Allaah, Most Great, is the Possessor of every possessor. He permits whom He wishes to possess. Allaah possesses all the treasures of the heavens and the Earth. All the good is in His Hand, He gives to whom He wishes and takes from whom He wishes. Everything is in need of Allaah. [TN].
This great aayah is a reminder for those who invoke upon the dead or the absent person(s) seeking help and refuge in them, that those whom you seek and call upon instead of Allaah don’t possess even a Qitmeer. They cannot help themselves let alone those who call upon them. Those who seek refuge or intercession through the righteous in their graves have not
correctly estimated Allaah as the One who gives and takes, the One who provides and sustains, the One who loves to be invoked Alone, etc. [TN].
If Allaah saves anyone none can punish or harm him, and if Allaah punishes or harms anyone none can save him. [See Tafseer al-Qurtubee, vol.12, p.145 ].
Ibaadaat: Acts of worship done sincerely for Allaah’s sake and in accordance with evidence from Qur’aan and (or) authentic Sunnah. [TN].
Mu’aamalaat: All forms of mutual relations, treatment, procedures, behavior, conduct, and interactions including social, business, transactions, etc. [TN].
Allaah said that Hud told his people: Dispute you with me over names which you have named-you and your fathers, with no authority
from Allaah? (Qur’aan 7:71).
Allaah is Al-Qahhaar: He subdued all creatures and all the elements of the loftiest and lowest worlds; nothing occurs or moves without His Permission. Everything of His Creation is in need of Him. His Irresistibility is linked to His Perfect Living, Power, and Ability. [TN].
If Allaah saves anyone none can punish or harm him, and if Allaah punishes or harms anyone none can save him. See Translation of the Meaning of the Noble Qur’aan by alHilaalee and Khaan, soorat al-Mu’minoon, aayah 88, p.534, quoting from Tafseer alQurtubee, vol.12, p.145.
Istawaa ‘alal-’Arsh: Ascended the Throne in the manner that suits His Majesty. [TN].