A Composed Dialogue on Tawheed


A man by the name of Abdullah (Abdullah literally means the slave/worshipper of Allah) met a man named Abd-un-Nabi (The slave/worshipper of the Prophet) and felt apprehension of this name, thinking, “How can someone make himself the slave and worshipper of someone other than Allah?!”

Abdullah thus addressed Abd-un-Nabisaying: “Do you worship solmeone other than Allah?”

Abd-un-Nabi replied. “No! I do not worship anyone other than Allah. I am a Muslim and I worship Allah alone.”

Abdullah: Then why does your name resemble some Christians names, like Abd-ul-Maseeh (The slave/worshipper of the Messiah, i.e. Jesus. This is a common name among Arab Christians). It’s not strange to hear this name amongst them since they worship Jesus (alayhis salaam). Those that hear your name will immediately think that you worship the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam). This is contrary to Muslim belief about the Prophet. Muslims do believe that Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) was a Messenger of Allah, but still they must believe that he was merely a slave and worshipper of Allah.

Abd-un-Nabi: But Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) is the best human ever raised amongst humanity, and he is the leader of all Messengers. We name ourselves with this name seeking its blessings and seeking to draw near to Allah by his elevated status and special position. We seek intercession of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) by his status and position. That’s not all, my brother’s name is Abd-ul-Hussein (The slave/worshipper of Hussein, the grandchild of the Prophet and son of Ali) and my father’s name is Abd-ur-Rasool (The slave/worshipper of the Messenger). Calling ourselves by these names is an old and wide custom amongst our people. Don’t be too strict in this issue. The matter is simple and religion is easy.

Abdullah: This is another issue even worse than the first: to seek from other than Allah what only He can give. Calling upon the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) or someone lesser in status, such as Hussein (radhiAllahu anhu) or other righteous people, for something that only Allah is able to give is an act in total contradiction to the Tawheed which we have been commanded to implement. It is in direct opposition to the meaning of the statement Laa llaaha Illa-Allah.

I shall present to you some examples that will show you the importance of this issue, and that there are terrible consequences for calling oneself by these names. I have no goal or intention except to clarify the truth and follow it, to make falsehood clear and to avoid it, and to enjoin goodness and forbid evil. Only Allah is the only One who helps, and we place our trust in Him. There is no power or strength except by Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala)But before I do so, let me remind you of the saying of Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala)“The answer of the believers, when summoned to Allah and His Messenger, in order that He may judge between them, is no other than this: they say, ‘We hear and we obey’.” [24:51]

And Allah said: “And if you dispute about anything, refer back to Allah and His Messenger if you truly believe in Allah and the Last Day.” [4:59]

Now… you said that you declare that Allah is One, and that you testify Laa llaaha Illa-Allah. Can you explain its meaning?

Abd-un-Nabi: Tawheed is to believe that Allah exists, that He created the heavens and the earth, that He gives life and death, that He controls all existence, and that He is the Provider and Sustainer, the Omniscient, the Sublime, the All-Capable…”

Abdullah: If only this is what Tawheed means, then Pharaoh and his people, Abu Jahl and others would be considered monotheists as well. They were not ignorant of the fact that Allah exists, nor are the majority of the polytheist. Pharaoh, who claimed Divine Lordship for himself, believed in the depth of his heart that Allah exists and that only He has control of the creation. The proof for this is that Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said: “And he (Pharaoh) denied it in injustice and arrogance but knew in himself with certainty…” [27:14]

This acknowledgement became clear when he was about to drown. In reality, the Tawheed for which Allah sent the Messengers, for which He revealed the sacred scriptures, and on account of which the Quraish [The Arab tribe who persecuted the early Muslims in the time of the Prophet] were fought is singling out Allah in worship. Worship is defined to be all that Allah loves and is pleased with, from our speech and actions, whether done by our hearts or our limbs.

The word ilaah in the phrase Laa llaaha Illa-Allah means something or someone worshipped, and thus the meaning of Laa llaaha Illa-Allah is that nothing and no one has the right to be worshipped except Allah.

Do you know why Allah sent messengers to the earth, the first being Noah (alayhis salaam)?

Abd-un-Nabi: To call the mushrikoon (those who associate something with Allah in worship) to the worship of Allah alone, and to abandon all partners they ascribed to Him.”

Abdullah: Yes, that’s right. And in what way were the people of Noah committing shirk (associating something with Allah in worship)?

Abd-un-Nabi: I don’t know.

Abdullah: Allah sent Noah to his people when they exaggerated the affairs of certain righteous men: Wadd, Suwaa’, Yaghooth, Ya’ooq and Nasr [see Surat-Nuh [71:23]].

Abd-un-Nabi: Do you mean that Wadd, Suwaa’ and the others were pious people and not the names of some wicked leaders of the disbelievers?”

Abdullah: Yes indeed, they were righteous people whom the people of Noah took as objects of worship. Then afterwards, the Arabs followed them.

Abd-un-Nabi: What you are saying is indeed strange!

Abdullah: Should I tell you something even more strange? The final Prophet, our leader Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) was sent by Allah to a people who would seek forgiveness from Allah when they sinned, a people who worshipped Allah, performed tawaaf around the Ka’bah, performed sa’ee between Safaa and Marwah, performed Hajjand gave charity. They did all these acts of worship, but they would make some creation, such as angels and saints, as intermediaries between themselves and Allah. They wished to draw near to Allah through them and seek their intercession.

Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) was sent to them to renew the religion of their father, Ibraheem (alayhis salaam) (Abraham), and to inform them that these beliefs that they held and acts of worship which they performed are to be directed exclusively to Allah; they should not be rendered to anyone other than Him. He alone is the Creator, and no other have any right to share in these things. He is the only Provider and Sustainer. The seven heavens and seven worlds and everything they encompass are all under His dominion and control. Even those so-called gods that they worshipped acknowledge that they are under Allah’s dominion and control.

Abd-un-Nabi: These are some strange things which you are saying, do you have any proof?

Abdullah: There are many proofs. One is the saying of Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala): “Say, ‘Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight. And who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living? And who arranges every matter?’ They will say ‘Allah’ so say ‘Then will you not fear Him?'” [10:31]

Another is the saying of Allah: “Say: ‘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 ‘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 know?’ They will say ‘To Allah. ‘ Say ‘Then how are you deluded?’ Rather We have brought them the truth and yet indeed they are liars.” [23:84-91]

These polytheists would say in invocation to Allah during the Hajj: “Here I am at Your service, O Allah! Here I am at Your service. Here I am at Your service, and You have no partner. Except for a partner whom You own. You own him and all that he owns.”

Thus, the pagan Arabs used to acknowledge that Allah alone administers all affairs of the universe, a belief known as Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah, but this acknowledgement did not make them Muslims.

What made these people disbelievers was the fact that they supplicated to angels, prophets, and other righteous people with the intention of seeking their intercession and to draw near to Allah. Therefore, it is obligatory to direct all supplicationvows, sacrifices, seeking of aid, and all other acts of worship to Allah alone.

Abd-un-Nabi: If Tawheed does not only mean, as you say, acknowledging the existence of Allah and his total control of everything in the universe, then what is it?

Abdullah: The Tawheed for which Allah sent the Messengers and revealed the Sacred Scriptures, and which the mushrikoon (those who associate something with Allah in worship) refused to accept was to single out Allah in worship, directing worship to Him alone and none else. This Tawheed entails that one does not direct any worship to beings other than Allah, whether it be supplication, vows, offering sacrifice, seeking help and aid, or anything else. This is the Tawheed which is intended in the phrase Laa llaaha Illa-Allah.

The mushrikoon understood that the word ilaah meant those objects to which they directed worship, whether they were angels, prophets, saints, trees, graves or jinns (The Jinn are a creation of the Unseen parallel to humans and have a free will. They are often known in English as ‘spirits’). They did not understand the word ilah to mean the Creator, the Provider, or the Administrator, since they knew that it was only Allah who had these traits, as mentioned before. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) came to call them to this phrase of Tawheed: the Shahaadah (testimony) of Laa llaaha Illa-Allah and its practical implementation, not merely saying it with one’s tongue.

Abd-un-Nabi: It is as if you are saying that the pagan Arabs of the tribe of Quraish were more knowledgeable about the meaning of this phrase than many Muslims today!

Abdullah: Yes, this is the sad reality. The ignorant disbelievers knew that the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) meant by this phrase that one should single out Allah in worship and disbelieve in all those who are worshipped other than Allah, and that they must reject them.

When he said to them, “Laa llaaha Illa-Allah!” they said, as Allah mentions: “Do you make all the gods to be One God – this is indeed an amazing thing!” [38:5]

They did believe, however, that Allah is the only being who controls the entire universe. If the most ignorant of the disbelievers knew this, what is truly amazing is that many who claim to be Muslims today do not know the meaning of this phrase, something which the ignorant pagans even knew.

Many Muslims think that Islam is the mere verbal pronunciation of this phrase of Tawheed without having anything to do with belief in its meaning. What good can be found in people who claim to follow Islam when the ignorant pagans of the Quraish were more knowledgeable than them of the meaning of Laa llaaha Illa-Allah!

Abd-un-Nabi: But I do not associate others with Allah. Rather, I bear witness that there is no Creator, Provider or Sustainer except Allah, and that none have any power to benefit or harm except Allah alone, without peer or partner. I also bear witness that not even Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) has the power to bring benefit or harm, not even to himself, moreover those less than him in status, such as Ali (radhiAllahu anhu), Hussein (radhiAllahu anhu), Abdul Qadir al-Jilani and others. But I am a sinner, and these righteous people hold a special status with Allah. So I ask them to intercede for me by their special status.

Abdullah: As I already mentioned, the Quran narrates that the people against whom the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) fought acknowledged what you do as well. They believed that their idols have no control over any aspect of the universe, and they as well only sought intercession by their special status. I have already given you proof about this from the Quran.

Abd-un-Nabi: But these verses were revealed in relation to those that worshipped idols! How can you equate the prophets and the righteous with idols?

Abdullah: Some of these idols, as stated before, were named after certain righteous people, just as they were in the time of Noah (alayhis salaam). The disbelievers only sought their intercession because of special status they held with Allah. The proof for this is the saying of Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala)“And those who take friends and allies besides Him say ‘We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position.'” [39:3]

As for your saying, “How can you equate the prophets and saints with idols?” The answer is that some of the disbelievers to whom the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) was sent used to call on saints, as Allah said: “Those whom they invoke seek means of access to their Lord, striving as to which of them would be nearest, and they hope for His mercy and fear His punishment. Indeed, the punishment of your Lord is ever feared.” [17:57]

Others used to call upon Jesus and his mother Mary (alayhis salaam), as Allah said: “… when Allah will say ‘O Jesus, Son of Mary did you say to the people ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah? ‘ He will say ‘Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right…” [5:116]

Some of the pagans also would call out to the angels, as Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said: “The Day when He will gather them all and then say to the angels: ‘Did these people used to worship you?'” [34:40]

You should reflect over these verses, since they prove that Allah equally deems as disbelievers those that direct worship to idols, and those that direct worship to angels, prophets and saints. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) fought against all of them without differentiation.

Abd-un-Nabi: The disbelievers sought their benefit, but I don’t. I bear witness that Allah is the one who brings benefit and harm and controls all things, and I do not seek this except from Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala). The saints have no power to do these things. I only direct myself to them hoping that they intercede for me before Allah.

Abdullah: What you just said is exactly what the disbelievers said. The proof is the saying of Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala): “And they worship other than Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them saying, ‘These are our intercessors with Allah.'” [10:18]

Abd-un-Nabi: But I do not worship anyone except Allah. To resort and supplicate to them is not worship!

Abdullah: I ask you, do you admit that Allah made it obligatory upon you to make your worship purely for Allah alone, and that this is Allah’s right upon you? As Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said: “And they were not commanded except to worship Allah being totally sincere to Him in religion, inclining towards the truth and away from falsehood.” [98:5]

Abd-un-Nabi: Yes, certainly. Allah has made this a duty upon me.

Abdullah: I ask you to explain to me what this thing is that Allah made obligatory upon you. What does it mean to make your worship purely for Allah alone?”

Abd-un-Nabi: What do you exactly mean by this question?

Abdullah: Pay close attention to what I am saying so you can understand. Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said: “Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.” [7:55]

Is supplication an act of worship done for Allah?

Abd-un-Nabi: Yes, it is the basis of worship, as in the hadeeth: “Supplication is worship.” [Abu Dawud]

Abdullah: As long as you acknowledge that it is worship, if you were to supplicate to Allah night and day in fear and hope for some of your needs, and then you supplicate to a prophet, angel or saint at his grave-site for the same needs, have you associated others with Allah in this worship?

Abd-un-Nabi: Yes, I would have associated others with Allah. That is correct. Its clear.

Abdullah: I’ll give you another example, the saying of Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala): “Therefore pray to Allah and sacrifice to Him.” [108:2]

If you understand what this means and obeyed this command of Allah by slaughtering an animal for Him, is your slaughtering an act of worship done for Allah?

Abd-un-Nabi: Yes, it is worship.

Abdullah: Then if you were to sacrifice an animal for a creature, such as a prophet, a jinni or someone else along with Allah, have you associated others with Allah in this worship’?

Abd-un-Nabi: Yes, this is undoubtedly an act of shirk (associating something with Allah in worship).

Abdullah: I have given these two examples, supplication and offering sacrifice, because supplication is one of the most important verbal types of worship, and offering sacrifice is one of the most important acts of physical worship.

Nevertheless, worship is not limited to these two types; rather, it includes many other forms as well, such as vows, swearing oaths, seeking refuge and seeking aid, and so on.

Another thing, did the polytheists about whom the Quran was revealed worship angels, the saints, the idol Al-Lat and others?”

Abd-un-Nabi: Yes they did.

Abdullah: Were they doing any acts of worship other than supplication, offering sacrifice, seeking refuge, seeking aid and resorting to them? They acknowledged that they were the slaves of Allah and under His total dominance, and that Allah controlled all things, yet they supplicated and resorted to them because of the high rank they held, seeking their intercession. This fact is as clear as daylight.

Abd-un-Nabi: Do you deny that the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) will intercede and do you disavow yourself from it?

Abdullah: No, I do not deny it at all, nor do I disavow myself from it. Indeed he is the one who will intercede, and his intercession will be accepted. I look forward to his intercession. But this matter of intercession is entirely in the command of Allah, as He (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said: “Say: For Allah is all intercession…” [39:34]

Intercession can only be granted by Allah’s permission, as He (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said: “Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission?” [2:255]

The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) can never intercede for anyone except after Allah’s permission, as He (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said: “And they cannot intercede except on behalf of one whom He approves.” [21:28]

Allah is not pleased with anything except Tawheed, as He said : “And whoever seeks another religion besides Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he will be of the losers in the Hereafter.” [3:85]

If we agree that all intercession is entirely in the command of Allah and only by His permission, and that neither the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) himself nor anyone else can intercede for anyone unless Allah approves of it, and that this intercession will only be granted for those who truly single out Allah in worship (Tawheed), it should be clear that intercession is an exclusively right of Allah.

For this reason, I ask Allah for the intercession of His Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) saying, “O Allah, do not deprive me of the intercession of the Prophet,” “O Allah I ask You to allow him to intercede for me,” and similar invocations.

Abd-un-Nabi: We have agreed that it is not allowed to ask from someone what he is not able, but Allah has given the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) the right to intercede. Since he has been given this right, he is able to do it. Thus as such, I am allowed to ask him for what he is able, and this is not associating him as a partner with Allah.

Abdullah: Had Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) allowed you to do so, this would have been true. But Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) has said: “And do not supplicate another along with Allah.” [72:18]

Seeking intercession is a type of supplication. The one (Allah) who gave the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) the right to intercede is the one who prohibited you to call out in supplication to any person or thing other than Him, no matter who or what.

Another important point is that intercession will also be granted to people other than the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam), since it has been narrated that the angels, the children who have died before puberty, and the righteous will be given the right to intercede as well. Is it allowed then to seek their intercession as well since Allah will allow them to intercede?

If you affirm this, then you have again reverted to the worshipping of the righteous which Allah mentions in the Quran. And if you do not, your previous claim – that you are asking the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) for his intercession since Allah gave him the right – is invalid.

Abd-un-Nabi: But I don’t associate others in the worship of Allah. Resorting to the righteous is not shirk.

Abdullah: Do you admit and acknowledge that the prohibition of shirk in the worship of Allah is greater than the prohibition of fornication and adultery, and that Allah does not forgive the sin of shirk?

Abd-un-Nabi: Yes, I do. This fact is very clear from the Quran.

Abdullah: You have just denied that you have committed shirk, a sin which Allah has prohibited. Will you, by Allah, clarify for me what kind of shirk you are talking about and claiming you have not committed?

Abd-un-Nabi: Shirk is to worship idols, to direct oneself to them, to seek things from them and to fear them.

Abdullah: And what is worshipping idols? Do you think that the disbelievers of Quraish used to believe that those pieces of wood and stone create, provide sustenance and control the affairs of those who call out to them in supplication? They didn’t believe this, as I have explained before.

Abd-un-Nabi: I don’t believe that either. Rather, I believe that worshipping idols is directing oneself to a piece of wood or stone, a grave or any other thing, supplicating it or offering a sacrifice to it, and saying that this is done to draw near to Allah, and to keep harm away through the blessings of these deeds.

Abdullah: This is true. This is exactly what you do at these stones, tombs, graves and other places. Moreover, when you mention that shirk is the worship of idols, do you mean that it is limited to those types of deeds alone, and that relying upon the righteous and supplicating them is not classified as shirk?

Abd-un-Nabi: Yes, that is what I meant.

Abdullah: Then how do you interpret all these verses of the Quran we mentioned before which clearly state the unlawfulness of relying on the prophets, the righteous and the angels, and indicate the disbelief of those that do these actions.

Abd-un-Nabi: But those who supplicate to the angels and prophets were not regarded as disbelievers for this reason. They only became disbelievers when they said that the angels are the daughters of Allah and that Jesus Christ is the son of Allah. As for us, we don’t say that Abdul-Qadir is the son of Allah or that Zainab is the daughter of Allah.

Abdullah: To declare that Allah has a son or daughter is totally different kind of disbelief than what we are talking about. Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said : “Say: He is Allah: the One: the eternally absolute and independent whom all seek for their needs. He is not begotten nor He begets.” [112:1-3]

Whoever denies this has become a disbeliever, even if he does not deny the end of this chapter [which says : “And there is no one who is His peer or likeness.” [112:4]]

Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) also said: “Allah has not taken any son, nor has there ever been with Him any deity – then each deity would have taken what it created and some of them would seek to overpower others. Allah is Exalted above what they describe.” [23:91]

Thus Allah has distinguished between these two kinds of disbelief. Another proof is that the polytheists who supplicated Laat (a famous pagan idol) because he was a righteous person did not make him the son of Allah.

Similarly, those that worship the jinn do not make them the sons of Allah. The books of jurisprudence of the four schools: the Hanafi, Maaliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali schools – all mention in the chapters dealing with apostasy and apostates, that whoever says that Allah has a son or a daughter is an apostate from Islam, and whoever associates partners with Allah is an apostate as well. This shows that they also distinguished between the two kinds of disbelief.

Abd-un-Nabi: But Allah says: “And indeed the friends of Allah have no fear on them and they will not be sad.” [10:62]

Abdullah: We believe that this is true, yet we also believe that they are not to be worshipped. We reproach that they are worshipped along with Allah, and they are associated with Him in worship.

However, it is obligatory for us to love the friends of Allah and follow their good examples. We must acknowledge any miraculous events associated with them, unlike the innovators who deny them. Islam, the religion of Allah, is a middle path between two extremes.

Abd-un-Nabi: Those upon whom the scriptures of the Quran were revealed did not declare their testimony of Laa llaaha Illa-Allah. They also denied the prophethood of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) the Messenger of Allah. They denied the Day of Judgment and the truthfulness of the Quran, describing it as some kind of sorcery.

We, on the other hand, testify that there is none that has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. We believe in the Quran, the Hereafter and resurrection, and we also pray and fast. How can you say that we are like those people?

Abdullah: There is a consensus among the scholars that if a person affirms the truth of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) in one thing and belies him in another, then he is a disbeliever and hasn’t entered Islam.

This rule is also applicable to anyone who believes in some parts of the Quran and disbelieves in other parts, or acknowledges Tawheed but denies the obligation of prayer, or acknowledges Tawheed and prayer but denies the obligation of Zakah, or acknowledges all these things but denies the obligation of fasting Ramadan, or acknowledges all the previous but denies the obligation of Hajj.

When some people at the time of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) did not comply with the duty of Hajj, Allah revealed about them: “And Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to God; those who can afford the journey, but if anyone disbelieves then verily Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures.” [3:97]

Whoever denies the resurrection is a disbeliever by the consensus of the Muslims. Thus Allah made it quite clear in His Book that whoever believes in some rulings of Islam and disbelieve in others is undoubtedly a disbeliever.

Instead, Muslims are ordered to comply with all of the rulings of Islam. So do you acknowledge that those who believe in some rulings of the Islam and disbelieve in others are disbelievers?

Abd-un-Nabi: Yes, I do. It is crystal clear in the Quran.

Abdullah: Therefore, if you acknowledge that the one who declares the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) to be truthful and then denies the obligation of prayer, or if he acknowledges everything but denies the resurrection, then – according to all of the schools of jurisprudence – he is a disbeliever and this was made clear in the Quran.

Tawheed is the greatest of the obligations which has been brought by the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam), greater than prayer, charity, fasting and pilgrimage. How can denying any one of these acts be considered disbelieving, even if a person follows the Prophet in the rest of the Islamic duties, while denying Tawheed, the religion of all of the Prophets, not be considered disbelieving?! Glory be to Allah! How amazing is this ignorance!

Reflect upon the fact that the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) fought against Banu Haneefah in Yamaamah [This was a tribe who has testified to Tawheed and also the prophethood of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) but they also heeded the call of another, Musailimah, that he received revelation from Allah.] while they had accepted Islam with the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) and testified that there is none that has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and they would pray and make the call to the prayers.

Abd-un-Nabi: But those people testified that Musailimah was a prophet of Allah, and we say that there is no prophet after Muhammad.

Abdullah: But you raise Ali ibn Abi Talib, Adul Qadir al-Jilani and other prophets and angels and put them in equal rank with Allah.

If putting someone in an equal rank with the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) is regarded as disbelief and deems the person an apostate, even his testimony of faith and prayer not benefiting him, it is clear that raising a person to the status of divinity is even worse.

It may also be said that if the reason for judging the earlier people as disbelievers was that they coupled committed shirk with disbelief in the Prophet, the Quran, the Resurrection etc, then what do you say about what the scholars from all the schools of jurisprudence wrote about the ‘Judgments concerning the Apostate,’. After mentioning various types of disbelief, they ruled that each one alone and in itself takes a person outside the fold of Islam. From these things are some which may seem insignificant to the one who committed it, such as saying something that angers Allah without actually believing in it, such as saying something jokingly or in mockery.

Those about whom the following Quranic verses were revealed: “Say ‘Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ Make no excuse. You have disbelieved after your belief.” [9:64-65]

They claimed they were not serious about what they said and that they were just joking. However, Allah explicitly declared them to have disbelieved after having been Muslims, even though they accompanied the Prophet in the expedition of Tabuk.

Another example is when the companions of the prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) came by a tree worshipped by non-muslims, they asked the prophet to assign for them a tree just like the non-muslims. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) swore a solemn oath by Allah that their request was just like that of the Israelites when they said to Moses (as Allah mentions): “Make for us a god like the gods they have.” [7:138]

Abd-un-Nabi: But the Israelites and those that asked for a tree to hang their weapons and devote themselves to it didn’t become disbelievers by their mere asking.

Abdullah: They did not become disbelievers, since they didn’t carry out what they asked for. If they would have done so they would have become disbelievers. If those people that the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) reproached had disobeyed the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) and taken a ‘tree’ for themselves after his prohibition they would have disbelieved.

Abd-un-Nabi: But I have another problem concerning the story of Usamah ibn Zaid (radhiAllahu anhu) when he killed the person [in battle] even after he cried “Laa llaaha Illa-Allah. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) rebuked him saying: “O Usamah! You killed him after him having said Laa llaaha Illa-Allah?” [al-Bukhari] and the saying of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam): “I have been commanded to fight against all people until they say Laa llaaha Illa-Allah…” [Muslim]

How do we reconcile these two narrations and what you have just said? Guide me, and may Allah guide you.”

Abdullah: It is well known that the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) fought against the Jews, while they said Laa llaaha Illa-Allah. The companions fought against the followers of Musailimah, who also testified that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and would even offer prayers.

Those who deny the resurrection are disbelievers, as you just acknowledged.

Similarly, if someone denies any of the pillars of Islam, he is a disbeliever even if he says Laa llaaha Illa-Allah. How can it be possible that the pronunciation of this phrase Laa llaaha Illa-Allah is not accepted from those who deny thing from the branches of Islam, and at the same time be accepted from those who deny its base, Tawheed, the most basic foundation preached by all prophets?

I don’t think you understand these narrations properly. In the narration of Usamah (radhiAllahu anhu), the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) rebuked him because he killed someone after having claimed Islam by saying Laa llaaha Illa-Allah. Usamah had thought that the man only said this fearing for the loss of his life.

Anyone who declares their belief in Islam must be protected, unless he does not act accordingly. Allah said: “O you who believe, when you go forth in the cause of accordingly. Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said: “O you who believe, when you go forth in the cause of Allah, investigate fully and do not say to one who gives you a greeting of peace: ‘You are not a believer’, aspiring for the goods of worldly life; for with Allah are many acquisitions. You were like that before then Allah bestowed His favor (with Islam) upon you: so investigate, indeed Allah is ever acquainted with all that you do.” [4:94]

The second narration you mentioned conveys the same meaning: to hold back from anyone who professes Islam and Tawheed unless he acts in a way that contradicts with what he professes.

This claim is supported by the fact that the same Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) who said to Usamah: “You killed him after he said Laa llaaha Illa-Allah?”, and who said: “I have been commanded to fight the people until they say Laa llaaha Illa-Allah.” Also, he said about the Khawarij: “Wherever you meet them, kill them,” [al-Bukhari]even though the Khawarij were amongst the most fervent in worshipping and glorifying Allah, to the extent that the companions of the Prophet would belittle their own worship in comparison with theirs!

The Khawarij learnt from the companions, professed Islam and did many acts of worship, yet all these things did not prevent the companions from fighting and killing them when they clearly violated the Islamic law.

Abd-un-Nabi: So what would you say about the fact that people will seek help from Adam, then Noah, then Abraham, then Moses, then Jesus, peace be upon all of them, as has been authentically reported. All of them will excuse themselves, and finally people will seek the aid of Muhammad. This shows that seeking aid from others besides Allah is not committing shirk.

Abdullah: You are confusing things. We acknowledge that seeking aid from a living and present person is not incorrect if he is able to provide that help. This is similar to what Allah mentioned about Moses (alayhis salaam): “And the one from his faction called for his aid against the one from his enemy…” [28:15]

This is also similar to one asking help from others else in times of warfare and other affairs which are within their capabilities.

What we are reproaching is that type of seeking aid which is considered an act of worship, that type in which you seek aid from the righteous at their graves, or when they are not present, or you ask them for things that only Allah can do.

On the Day of Resurrection, however, people will seek the aid of the prophets to supplicate to Allah for the judgment to commence and to ease the calamity of that situation for the people of Paradise. This kind of seeking aid is allowed in this life as well as the Hereafter: to approach a righteous person whom you meet personally and hears your words, and then say to him, “Supplicate to Allah for me.”

This is like what the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) used to do in his life. But after he died, they ceased to do so – May Allah forbid (such blasphemy). They never asked him at his grave. Rather, scholars throughout history have even rebuked people who merely sought to supplicate to Allah at the grave of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) [They do so believing that there is more chance that Allah would accept their supplications due to the blessings of the place.]

Abd-un-Nabi: What do you say about.the story of Ibraheem (alayhis salaam) when he was thrown into the fire, and Jibreel (the angel Gabriel (alayhis salaam) came to him while he was in the air before he was about to land in the fire? Jibreel asked him, “Are you in need of help?” He replied, “If it is from you, then I am in no need of it.”

If seeking aid was shirk, then Jibreel wouldn’t have offered it to Ibraheem.

Abdullah: This dubious claim is no different from the previous one. Moreover, the narration is not even authentic.

But say we were to assume that it ‘is authentic, Jibreel did actually have the ability to help him in this affair, as Allah describes: “[A revelation] taught to him (Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam)) by the one who is Very Strong [Jibreel].” [53:5]

If Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) had allowed Jibreel to take the fire, its surroundings and the mountains themselves and throw them to some place in the east or west, he would have been able to do it. The case here is like that of a rich man offering to lend some money to a poor man who is in need, but the poor man refuses and prefers to wait for Allah’s sustenance, so that no one will have a favor or merit to hold over him. This is no way comparable to that type of seeking aid which is considered worship and shirk common nowadays.

My brother, you should also know that the people of before to whom the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) was sent committed forms of shirk (associating something with Allah in worship) lesser than those committed by people nowadays, and we can say this due to three reasons:

1. The polytheists of before used to worship others besides Allah only in times of ease. In times of calamity, they would call out supplicating to Allah alone, as is proved in the verse: “And when they ride a ship on sea they supplicate Allah, sincere to Him in religion, but when He delivers them safely to the land – Lo, they associate partners with Him.” [29:65]

Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) also said: “And when waves come over them like canopies they supplicate Allah, sincere to Him in religion, but when He delivers them to the land, there are some of them who are moderate (in faith). And none rejects Our signs except every treacherous and ungrateful.” [31:32]

The polytheists whom the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) fought against supplicated to Allah as well as others only in times of ease. In times of hardship, they would call out supplication to Allah Alone, and abandon their other gods. But the polytheists of today invoke others besides Allah both in the times of ease as well as crisis. If some difficulty arises, you see them calling out: “Yaa Rasoolallah! (O Messenger of Allah!),” “Ya Hussein!”(O Hussein) and others. Unfortunately, only a few understand this point.

2. The polytheists of before used to call out to truly righteous people who truly held a high status with Allah, such as the prophets, the righteous, the angels, or at least stones and wood that is an obedient creature of Allah. The polytheists of today, however, call out supplicating to the most wicked and evil of people (some of their tyrants and wicked leaders).

Those that hold these beliefs in regards to the pious or obedient wood or stone are in a better state than those who hold these beliefs in people well-known for their evilness and corruption.

3. Most of the shirk committed by people during the time of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) violated Allah’s sole right to worship (Tawheed al-Ulooliyyah), and not His exclusive powers and dominion (Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah). These days, however, people commit shirk in Allah’s dominion and powers as well as His sole right to be worshiped. For example, they attribute ‘nature’ as the entity which controls events in the universe and brings life and death, etc.

Let me conclude now by mentioning a great issue by which you will understand that which has proceeded.

There is no disagreement about the fact that Tawheed must be a belief held by the heart, proclaimed by speech, and acting accordingly. If any one of these conditions is not met, a person is not a Muslim. If the person acknowledges Tawheed but does not act according to it, he is an obstinate disbeliever like the Pharaoh and Iblis [lblis is the personal name of Satan] (who knew the truth but opposed defiantly).

Many people in this issue make the mistake of saying that what we have mentioned is true and correct, but they are not able to abide by it as it is not allowed in their land and among their people. They say that they must agree with them and sweet talk them, or otherwise they would be harmed.

However, the person who argues the case in this manner doesn’t realize that most of the leaders of disbelief know the truth, but did not abide by it for some lame excuse, as Allah said about them: “They have exchanged the signs of Allah for a paltry price and turned people away from His way. Indeed it is evil what they do.” [9:9]

Likewise, whoever displays Tawheed openly in public but does not understand it and believe in it in his heart is a hypocrite. He is considered worse than an outright disbeliever, as proven by the saying of Allah: “The hypocrites are in the lowest dregs of Hellfire. And you will not find for them any helper.” [4:145]

This issue becomes crystal clear if you think about what was said by the people of before. Some of them knew the truth yet did not follow it due to the fear of losing their worldly possessions, like Qaaroon, fear of losing their worldly status, like Haamaan, or fear of losing their dominion and authority, like the Pharaoh.

You will also see those who outwardly conform to Tawheed, yet they do not believe inwardly, like the hypocrites. If you could ask them what they actually believe in their hearts, they would not know.

It is crucial here to understand two verses of the Book of Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala): The first verse is one that has proceeded, the saying of Allah: “Say: ‘Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ Make no excuse. You have disbelieved after your belief.” [9:64-65]

If some of those who went out to fight against the Byzantines with the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) disbelieved by some words they emitted from their mouths in jest, it becomes clear that someone who speaks words of disbelief or acts according to them due to the fear of losing property, status or dominion and authority, or does so for the sake of sweet talking someone is committing a more heinous act of shirk.

The reason for this is that the person who says something in jest does not usually believe in what he says, but rather he says it for the sake of amusing other people. On the other hand, the person who says or does disbelief fearing or desiring some created thing or creature, has believed truthfully in the promise of the Satan, as Allah informs us: “The Satan promises you poverty and bids you to do vile deeds.” [2:268] …and feared his punishment, as Allah informs us: “That is only the Satan who strikes fear into his followers.” [3:175]

This person also does not believe and does not fear the promise of Allah: “…and Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself and abundance.” [2:268]

“Do not fear them (i.e. the Satan and his followers) but fear Me.” [5:3]

Is a person whose condition is as mentioned above, to be affiliated to the friends and allies of Allah or to the friends and allies of the Satan?

The second verse is the saying of Allah, “Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief – except for one who is coerced while his heart is secure in faith. But those who open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is wrath from Allah and for them is a grievous punishment. That is because they preferred the life of this world over the Hereafter and that Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” [16:106]

Allah did not excuse anyone for pronouncing words or committing acts of disbelief except those people who did so under compulsion, their hearts reaming firm and tranquil upon faith.

No other people are excused. They are disbelievers, whatever the excuses may be, such as fear, desire or sweet talking someone, or because of the love of one’s homeland, family, tribe, or property, or doing so in jest or otherwise. The only person who is excused, according to the verse, is the person who is forced into uttering or doing an act of disbelief.

However, the verse indicates that a person can only be forced to say or do an act of disbelief. One can never be forced into inwardly believing in a certain doctrine. When Allah says: “That is because they preferred the life of this world over the Hereafter and that Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” [16: 107]

He makes it clear in this verse that the punishment that those people received was not because of their belief or ignorance, or their hatred of religion or love of disbelief. Rather, they were punished because of their love of worldly pleasures and preferring them over the religion, and Allah knows best.

After all this, isn’t it time that you repent to your Lord, return to Him and leave what you are doing. You have heard how important and dangerous this matter is!

Abd-un-Nabi: I seek forgiveness from Allah and return to Him. I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. I reject all that I used to worship along with Allah before.

I also ask Allah to excuse me for my past and pardon me, and deal gently with me with His forgiveness and His mercy, and make me firm upon Tawheed and the correct creed and belief until I meet Him on the Day of Resurrection. I ask Allah to give you a good reward – my brother Abdullah – for presenting to me this sincere advice, for verily the religion is sincere advice, and for your rebuking of my name Abd-un-Nabi.

I am informing you now that I will call myself Abd-ur-Rahman (slave of the Most Merciful). I thank you for reproaching me for this incorrect belief that I had which, if I had met Allah with it, I would not ever have been saved from the punishment of Hellfire.

One last thing, could you please tell me about some reprehensible things that many people do these days?

Abdullah: Of course I will, so lend me an ear. Don’t follow every issue in which the scholars have differed seeking to interpret them the way you wish and causing them to be a trial. In reality, only Allah knows the correct interpretation of these issues.

Follow the way of those who are firmly grounded in knowledge, who say about those verses of the Quran that seem ambiguous to them: “We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord.” [3:7]

In controversial issues, be like those who follow the sayings of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam): “Leave that which you doubt for that which you do not doubt.” [Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi] “One who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor.” [al-Bukhari and Muslim] “Sin is what disturbs your heart, and you dislike that anyone would see it.” [Muslim],

…and: “Seek the judgments and verdicts of your heart, seek the judgments and verdicts of yourself [the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) repeated this three times]. Goodness is that which soothes your soul, while sin is what disturbs it, even if people have given you its verdict.” [Ahmad]

(*) Beware of following false desires, since Allah has warned against it in His saying: “Have you seen him who takes his desire as his god…” [45:23]

(*) Beware of being fanatical about certain individuals or opinions, or about the customs and beliefs of your forefathers, since this will prevent you from following the truth.

(*) Truth is the ultimate goal of the believer and he, more than anybody else, should follow it once it is clear. Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said: “And when it is said to them ‘Follow what Allah has revealed’ they say ‘We will rather follow that which we found our fathers upon. Even though their fathers did not understand anything, nor were they guided’?” [2:170]

(*) Beware of blindly imitating the disbelievers, since the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” [Abu Dawud]

(*) Beware of placing your reliance and trust on other than Allah, for He (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said: “And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.” [65:3]

(*) Do not obey anything of the creation if it involves disobedience to Allah, as the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said: “There is no obedience to something of creation if it involves disobedience to the Creator.” [Ahmad]

(*) Beware of harboring evil thoughts about Allah, for Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) said in a Hadeeth Qudsi [as related to us by the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam)]: “I am the way My slave thinks about Me.” [al-Bukhari and Muslim]

(*) Beware of wearing a string or thread or similar charms to ward off evil before it happens or cure the problem after it befalls.

(*) Beware of wearing talismans and good luck charms to ward off the evil eye, for it is a form of idolatry. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said: “Whoever wears something [amulet, etc.], will be left to it.” [at-Tirmidhi]

(*) Beware of seeking blessings from trees, stones, buildings, relics and artifacts, since this is a form of shirk.

(*) Beware of believing and acting upon omens, since this is a form of shirk, as the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said: “Believing and acting upon omens is shirk, Believing and acting upon omens is shirk, Believing and acting upon omens is shirk.” [Ahmad and Abu Dawud]

(*) Beware of believing in sorcerers, astrologers, or those that claim to know the unseen (such as soothsayers and diviners). Many magazines and newspapers have special sections devoted to their prognostications. Affirming the truthfulness of these things is shirk, as no one knows the unseen except Allah.

(*) Beware of claiming that the rain falls because of the movement of certain stars, since this is shirk. Only Allah controls the fall of the rain.

(*) Beware of swearing an oath by other than Allah, who or whatever it may, since this is a form of shirk. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said: “Whosoever swears an oath by other than Allah has disbelieved or committed shirk.” [Ahmad and Abu Dawud]

This includes swearing an oath by the name of a prophet, by trust, status or protection or life, etc.

(*) Beware of cursing time, the wind or the extreme heat or cold, for indeed it is like cursing Allah who created them and decreed their effects.

(*) Beware of saying ‘if’ when some unpleasant thing occurs, since this opens the door of Satan for you and necessitates opposition to the Divine Measure of Allah (Qadar).

When something happens say: “Allah has decreed, and what He wills He does.”

(*) Beware of taking graves as Mosques, and do not pray in any Mosque in which there is a grave. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said: “Verily those before you took the graves of their prophets as places of worship. Do not take graves as places of worship, for indeed I forbid you from that.” [Muslim]

(*) Beware of being deceived by the fabricated narrations attributed to the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) and affirming them to be true, especially concerning Tawassul through him or pious people from his nation. There are many viscous lies in this regards, including the saying: “Seek waseelah (to draw near to Allah) by my status, since my status is great before Allah,” and “If you have a crisis, then seek by those in the graves,” and “Allah commissions at the grave of every wali an angel to bestow the needs of the people (who ask aid),” and “If one of you had a good thought about a stone, it would benefit him,” and the likes.

(*) Beware of celebrating various so called religions occasions, like the Prophet’s Birthday, the Night of al-Israa and Mi’raj (The Night Journey and Ascension), and night of the Middle of Sha’ban and other celebrations which have been fabricated by people. There is no evidence that can be used to support these celebrations, neither from the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) nor the Companions, who loved him more than we do and were the keener about all that is good. If there was any good in these celebrations, the companions would have raced to perform them.

Source: An Explanation of the Last Tenth of the Noble Qur’an, Also with Crucial Matters in the Life of a Muslim

4 Responses to A Composed Dialogue on Tawheed

  1. […] it’s not sufficient to worship Allah, rather you must worship Him alone. The Tawheed of a person is not correct except by singling out Allah in worship and freeing one’s self […]

  2. […]  We believe that seeking intercession from the Prophets (alayhimus-salaam), the Awliyaa, and the pious who are in their graves, by […]

  3. […] however, not only insists on this, but also rejects the use of all intermediaries between God and man, and insists that people approach God directly and reserve all worship for Him […]

  4. […] eloquently, he thinks he is Salafi. If he sees that he gathers the youth and teaches them Tawheed or Usool ath Thalaatha and the likes of these issues, he thinks he is Salafi, if they see that he […]

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