[This article was published in the 19th issue of Nida'ul Islam
magazine (), July - August 1997]

Tawheed ul-`Ibaadah
(The Monothesim of Worship)

All those who profess the Islamic beliefs should naturally submit to Allah and worship Him alone, by doing whatever He commanded and by avoiding whatever He has forbidden, which is Tawheed ul `Ibaadah. Without this aspect of Tawheed, one's belief in Allah's Oneness is not complete.

We Muslims often use the term `Aqeedah, but what do we mean by it? Is `Aqeedah something that is memorized and simply rattled off on one's tongue? And what is the relationship between one's `Aqeedah and one's actions?

`Aqeedah is the firm creed that one's heart is fixed upon without any wavering and doubt, creed which excludes any supposition, doubt or suspicion. The Qur'an uses the term "Emaan" in its stead. In the understanding of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah, it is well known that Emaan is profession in the heart and by the tongue, and action by the heart, tongue and the limbs. [al-`Aqeedat ul-Wasitiyyah of Ibn Taymeeyah]. Therefore, Emaan is much more than just a mere profession. For that reason, we find that early Makkans refused to say the Shahada - even though mere saying of it is not a difficulty - as they understood its implications. They understood that one's belief in Allah which is stated by tongues must be present in the heart and must manifest in one's actions of heart (such as love and fear of Allah), of tongue (dhikr, saying of the Shahada...) and of limbs (prayer, enjoining good and forbidding evil...).

Today, however, some people pronounce the Shahada without a second thought and without realizing the intended meaning and implications of the testimony of faith..

To profess the Islamic belief is to believe in:

All those who profess these beliefs should naturally submit to Allah and worship Him alone, by doing whatever He commanded and by avoiding whatever He has forbidden, which is Tawheed ul `Ibaadah. Without this aspect of Tawheed, one's belief in Allah's Tawheed (Oneness) is not complete. In fact, if any of the above aspects of Tawheed is missing, one's realization and maintaining of Tawheed in one's life is lacking and defective.

However, an aspect of Tawheed that perhaps needs to be stressed in particular is Tawheed ul-`Ibaadah, as it is often either not understood properly or is neglected to a varying degree. Absence of such understanding and practice leads to various deviations, from believing that faith is mere statement on the tongue and thus not fulfilling one's true purpose of creation, to the very common ritualism, wherein the religion is taken as a set of ritualistic actions without much meaning and impact on one's life.

What is Tawheed ul`Ibaadah?

Tawheed ul `Ibaadah is to single-out Allah alone for all worship and not to worship anything along with Him, whether it be an angel, a Messenger, a Prophet, a pious person, a tree, a stone, the sun, the moon, or other than these, such as money or one's desires. Allah says: "And your Lord is one Lord, there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful" [2:163]. Also, "And the Mosques are for Allah (alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah" [72:18]. And as regards to worshipping other than Him, Allah the Exalted says, "That is because Allah is the Truth, and what they invoke besides Him, it is falsehood. And verily, Allah is the Most High, the Most Great" [22:62].


How does one take others as god besides Allah? In brief, Ibn al-Qayyim says that "Taghoot" (false god, anything worshipped besides Allah) includes everyone who rules by other than the Revelation of Allah and the example of His Messenger; or that which is worshipped instead of, or in addition to, Allah; or which is followed in opposition to the Commands of Allah. Therefore, if one chooses to love, revere, obey or follow other than Allah and His Revelation, then he could be regarded as a god besides Allah.

The Implications of Tawheed ul-`Ibaadah

To unthe reality of ul-`Ibaadah and what it means to worship Allah alone, without attributing partners to Him, is of extreme importance, and all those who succeed in it will be a step closer to becoming true `Ibaad (worshippers, servants) of the Merciful, and those who are doing their best to fulfill the purpose of their creation and maintain Tawheed in their lives. The following are some reasons which point to the essentiality of Tawheed ul-`Ibaadah, hoping that they would increase us in our desire to understand it and apply it in our short lives:

By Br. Ahmad Ibrahim

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