At-tawheed is to single out Allaah alone in Creating and Managing the affairs, to have sincerity of worship towards Him and to abandon worship of others besides Him; as well as to affirm His perfect Names and lofty Attributes and to purify Him from any deficiencies or shortcomings. The other name of Tawheed al Uluhiyyah is Tawheed al Ibadah. This definition includes the three types of tawheed and their explanation is as follows.
The meaning of Tawheed al-uluhiyyah is to single out Allaah alone (in worship) by the actions of the slaves which they do in a legislated manner in order to seek nearness to Him, such as supplication, vowing, sacrifice, hope, fear, trust, awe, dread and turning in repentance. This type of tawheed was the essence of the call of the messengers, from the first to the last of them.
Allah, the Most High, said: “And verily, We have sent among every ummah a messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allaah (alone), and shun the taaghoot.”” [an-Nahl (16):36]
The Most High said: “And We did not send any messenger before you but We inspired him (saying): Laa ilaaha illa Ana [none has the right to be worshipped but I], so worship Me (alone and none else).” [al-Anbiyaa (21):25]
Every messenger began the call to his nation with the command to establish tawheed al-uluhiyyah. As Nuh, Hud, Saleh and Shu‘aib said: “Indeed, We sent Nuh to his people and he said: “O my people, worship Allaah! You have no other ilaah (deity worthy of worship) but Him.”” [al- ‘Aaraaf (7):59]
“And to ‘Aad We sent their brother Hud. He said: “O my people, worship Allaah! You have no other ilaah (deity worthy of worship) but Him.”” [al- ‘Aaraaf (7):65]
“And to Thamud We sent their brother Saalih. He said: “O my people, worship Allaah! You have no other ilaah (deity worthy of worship) but Him.”” [al-‘Aaraaf (7):73]
“And to (the people of) Madyan, We sent their brother Shu‘aib. He said: “O my people, worship Allaah! You have no other ilaah (deity worthy of worship) but Him.”” [al-‘Aaraaf (7):85]
“And Ibraaheem when he said to his people: “Worship Allaah (alone), and fear Him.”” [al- ‘Ankabut (29):16] He, the Most High, revealed to Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam): “Say: “Verily, I am commanded to worship Allaah (alone) by making the deen sincerely for Him.”” [az-Zumar (39):11]
The first thing that is compulsory upon an individual who is obligated to observe the precepts of the religion is the testification that there is no one worthy of worship except Allaah and then to act upon its requirements. He, the Most High, said: “So know Laa ilaaha ill Allaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah), and ask forgiveness for your sin.”” [Muhammad (47):19]
The first thing a person who wishes to enter Islaam has to do is verbalisation of the shahaadatain (the two testifications). So this clarifies that tawheed aluluhiyyah was the purpose of the call of the messengers.
Al-uluhiyyah is a description of Allaah, which is Indicative of His Name Allaah. So Allaah is the One who possesses uluhiyyah i.e. the One who deserves to be worshipped. It is also known as tawheed-al- ‘ibaadah with regard to the fact that ubudiyyah (worship) is a description of the slave, whereby it is obligatory upon him to worship Allaah sincerely because of his dependence on His Lord and his poverty in front of Him. Sheikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allaah have mercy upon him) said: “Know that the poverty of the slave in front of Allaah is that he should worship Him and not associate anything with Him and He does not have a partner who can be compared to Him. A similitude of this (dependence) in someway is like the body’s dependence upon food and drink, even though the difference between the two similitudes is great. For verily, the reality of the slave is his heart and soul and there is no rectification for them except through their Lord Allaah, the one besides whom there is no one worthy of worship and there is no tranquillity in this world except by way of his remembrance. So if the slave achieves delight and happiness without Allaah then it would not last. Rather it would move from one type to another and one person to another. As for the happiness from his Lord, then he would achieve that in all times and wherever he is, his Lord would be with him.” (Majmoo al-Fataawa vol. 1 page 24).
This type of tawheed was the essence of the call of the messengers because it is the foundation upon which all the actions are built and they cannot become correct until it is actualised.
If Tawheed al Uluhiya is not implemented then that leads to Shirk. Allaah, the Most High, has said: “Verily Allaah does not forgive that partners are set up with Him in His worship.” [an-Nisaa (4):47,116]
The Most High, said: “But if they had joined in worship others with Allaah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.” [al-An‘aam (6):77]
The Most High, said: “If you join others in worship with Allaah, (then) surely all your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.” [az-Zumar (39):65]
This is the reason why this type of tawheed is the first obligation upon a slave, as He, the Most High, said: “Worship Allaah alone and associate none with Him in worship, and do good to parents…” [an-Nisaa (4): 36]
The Most High, said: “And your Lord has ordained that you worship none except Him alone and to do good to your parents…” [al-Israa’:23]
The Most High, said: “Say: “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Not to associate anything with Him in His worship; be good and dutiful to your parents…”” [al-An‘aam (6):151-153]
Book of The Aqeedah of Tawheed By Dr. Saaleh bin Fawzaan bin Abdullaah al-Fawzaan.