Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tawheed (Monotheism) and Shirk (Polytheism)

  • Tawheed (Monotheism)

    In the Arabic language, Tawhīd literary means "To make something one, or to assert the oneness of something."

    The term is derived from the three consonants root w-h-d, which serves as the vehicle for the basic concept of ‘oneness,’ or ‘unity,” along with the closely related ideas of ‘singularity’ and ‘uniqueness.’ These root letters are clearly apparent in the numerical adjective wahid [one]. In the words of the Qur`an:

    "Inna Ilaaha-kum-la-Wahid"
    Indeed, you God is One. (Surah as-Saffat 37:4)

    Allah revealed in Surah Ikhlas (112:1-4) as follows:
    In the name Of Allah, The most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

    • Say, Allah is One,
    • Allah The Everlasting, The Eternal,
    • He has not given birth and was not born,
    • And no one is comparable to Him

    Types of Tawheed are:

    • Tawheed al-Rububiyah – Unity of Lordship

      This category is based on the fundamental concept that Allaah alone caused all things to exist when there was nothing; He sustains and maintains creation without any need from it or for it; and He is the sole Lord of the universe and its inhabitants without any real challenge to His sovereignty.
      In Arabic the word used to describe this creator-sustainer quality is Ruboobeeyah which is derived from the root "Rabb" (Lord).

      Prophet Muhammad (saws) used to often repeat the exclamatory phrase "La hawla wa laa quwwata illaa billaah" (There is no movement nor power except by Allaah's will).

    • Tawheed al- Uluhiyah (Tawheed al-'Ebaadah)– Unity of Worship

      Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah and Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat must be accompanied by their complement, Tawheed al-'Ebaadah, in order for Tawheed to be considered complete according to Islaam. This point is substantiated by the fact that Allaah Himself has related in clear terms that the Mushrikoon (idolators) of the Prophet's time confirmed many aspects of the first two forms of Tawheed.

      Tawheed al-Uluhiyah is to single out Allah (in worship) through the slave's actions, which he performs in order to get closer to Allah in the manner prescribed by the Sharee'ah, like supplication, vow, sacrifice, hope, fear, reliance, love, reverence, and turning in repentance.

      This category of Tawheed was the main object of the Dawah of all Prophets, from the first to the last of them. Allah says, 'And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming), 'Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghoot.' [Soorah an-Nahl (16): 36]

      Important points of Tawheed al-Uluhiyah:

      Absolute perfection from all aspects without any flaw from any angle necessitates that all worship should be for Allah alone; glorification, reverence, hope, supplication, repentance, seeking aid, reliance, seeking help, utmost humbleness with utmost love. All this should be necessarily performed for Allah alone, and this is proved by the intellect, Sharee'ah and the natural instinct. It is against the intellect, Sharee'ah and the natural instinct that any of these should be performed for someone other than Him.

    • Tawheed al- Asma wa Sifaat – Unity of His Names and His Attributes

      There are 5 aspects:

      • 1. For the unity of Allaah's names and attributes to be maintained in the first aspect, Allaah must be referred to according to how He and His Prophet (saws) have described Him without explaining away His names and attributes by giving them meanings other than their obvious meanings.

        For example, Allaah in the Qur'aan says He gets angry with the disbelievers and the hypocrites.

      • 2. The second aspect of Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat involves referring to Allaah as He has referred to Himself without giving Him any new names or attributes.

        For example, Allaah may not be given the name al-Ghaadib (the Angry one), in spite of the fact that He has said that He gets angry, because neither Allaah nor His messenger has used this name.

      • 3. In the third aspect of Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat Allaah is referred to without giving Him the attributes of His creation.

        For example, it is claimed in the Bible and Torah that Allaah spent the first six days creating the universe then slept on the seventh.23 For this reason, Jews and Christians take either Saturday or Sunday as a day of rest in which work is looked at as a sin.

      • 4. The fourth aspect of Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat requires that man not be given the attributes of Allaah.

      • 5. Maintaining the unity of Allaah's names also means that Allaah's names in the definite form cannot be given to His creation unless preceded by the prefix 'Abd meaning "slave of" or "servant of'.

    Tawheed ar-Rububiyah is a proof of Tawheed al-Uluhiyah and this is why Allah has mainly used Tawheed ar-Rububiyah as a proof against the deniers of Tawheed, as He says, 'O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become pious. Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshiped).' [Soorah al-Baqarah (3):21-22]

  • Shirk (Polytheism)

    The opposite of Tawhid is expressed by the Arabic term Shirk (polytheism), derived from the root Sh-r-k which conveys the notion of “sharing” or “partnerships.” The word Sharik (plural shurakaa) means “partner” or “associate.” It encompasses far more than the more blatant forms of idolatry and denial of Allah’s Unity. The term Shirk means associating partners with Allah, and the related term mushrik is applied to someone guilty of such polytheistic association.

    Shirk can be divided according to the three broad categories developed in the study of Tawheed, are following:

    • Shirk in Ruboobeeyah
      This category of Shirk refers to either the belief that others share Allaah's Lordship over creation as His equal or near equal, or to the belief that there exists no Lord over creation at all.

      • (A) Shirk by Association, such as Hinduism
        Beliefs which fall under this sub-category are ones in which a main God or Supreme Being over creation is recognized, however His dominion is shared by other lesser gods, spirits, mortals, heavenly bodies or earthly objects.

      • (B) Shirk by Negation, such as Buddhism
        This sub-category represents the various philosophies and ideologies which deny the existence of God either explicitly or implicitly.

    • Shirk in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat
      Shirk in this category includes both the common pagan practise of giving Allaah the attributes of His creation as well as the act of giving created beings Allaah's names and attributes.

      • (A) Shirk by Humanization
        In this aspect of Shirk in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat, Allaah is given the form and qualities of human beings and animals.

      • (B) Shirk by Deification
        This form of Shirk in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat relates to cases where created beings or things are given or claim Allaah's names or His attributes.

    • Shirk In al-'Ebaadah
      In this category of Shirk, acts of worship are directed to other than God and the reward for worship is sought from the creation instead of the Creator. As in the case of the previous categories, Shirk in al-'Ebaadah has two main aspects.

      • (A) Ash-Shirk al-Akbar (Major Shirk):
        This form of Shirk occurs when any act of worship is directed to other than Allaah.

        Major Shirk Includes

        • Shirk ad Du’a – invoking or supplicating to a false deity besides Allah
        • Shirk al-Niyah wa Iraada wal Qasd – having the intention and determination to deliberately worship a deity other then Allah.
        • Shirk at- Ta’a – obeying any created being against the command of Allah.
        • Shirk al-Muhabbah – loving a created being or an object more than Allah

        Hidden Shirk as:Shirk al- khafi means the hidden, or covert, association of partners with Allah, the One and Only God. This is an insidious form of Shirk.

      • (B) Ash-Shirk al-Asghar (Minor Shirk):

        • Shirk ar- rea –carrying out religious acts for worldly gain, e.g. showing off.
        • Shirk at- Tasmee – swearing by other then Allah.

      Mabmood ibn Lubayd reported, "Allaah's messenger (saws) said: "The thing I fear for you the most is ash-Shirk al-Asghar (minor shirk)." The companions asked "Oh! messenger of Allaah, what is minor Shirk?" He replied "Ar-Riyaa (showing off), for verily Allaah will say on the Day of Resurrection when people are receiving their rewards, 'Go to those for whom you were showing off in the material world and see if you can find any reward from them.'"

      Example for Minor Shirk is Ar-Riyaa.
      Riyaa is the practise of performing any of the various forms of worship in order to be seen and praised by people.

    The Prophet (saws) also provided protection against the inevitable acts of Shirk by teaching certain specific prayers which may be said anytime. Abu Moosaa said, "One day Allaah's messenger delivered a sermon saying 'O people, fear Shirk for it is more hidden than the creeping of an ant.' Those whom Allaah wished asked, 'And how do we avoid it when it is more hidden than the creeping of an ant, O Messenger of Allaah?' He replied, 'Say: Allaahumma Innaa na'oodhu bika an nushrika bika shay'an na'lamuh, wa nastaghfiruka limaa laa na'lamuh (O Allaah, we seek refuge in you from knowingly committing shirk with you and we ask your forgiveness for what we do not know about).'"

    Allah says in the Noble Qur`an that Shirk is the greatest sin. (S 31: 14)
    He also says that He will forgive all other sins if He wishes, except Shirk.(S 4: 49)


      Acitivities and Worksheets for kids: