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Tawheed is the noun derived from the Arabic root verb :وحَّدَ- يوحِّدُ/  (wahhada / yuwahhidu) which means to make something one. This is not accomplished except by a negation and affirmation, both together – negating this characteristic from anything other than the thing which is being singled out, and affirming it to that thing. [1]


Table of Contents


Linguistic meaning

Linguistically, the word Tawheed comes from the word wah-hada, which means to make something waahid (singular). Waahid is the opposite of two, three, etc., the opposite of plurality. So waahid is something that will continue to be singular and never become a partner of something else.


Islamic meaning

Islamically i.e., sharee'ah (shari'ah)'s definition, the Tawheed means to single out Allah with all forms of worship, so that you make all of your worship for Allah alone.


Allah says: "...and the religion will be entirely for Allah" (Soorah Al-Anfaal 8:39).The word religion in this ayath means worship, as Allah says: "and I have not created the Jinn nor Mankind except to worship Me" (Soorah Ath-Thaariyaat 51:56).And Allah says: "and worship Allah, and do not ascribe a single partner to Him" (Soorah An-Nisaa' 4:36).Allah also says: "So call on Allah, making the religion entirely for Him, even if the disbelievers detest it" (Soorah Ghaafir 40:14).


This is the meaning of Tawheed - to single out Allah in all acts of worship and to abandon the worship of anything else. [2]



Categories of Tawheed

As for the categories of Tawheed as it pertains to Allah, they all fall under the general definition of Tawheed as “Singling out Allah alone (Glory be to Him) with anything and everything that specifically pertains to only Him.”


The categories of Tawheed, as mentioned by the people of knowledge, are three:


1. Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah (Tawheed of Allah’s Lordship)

2. Tawheed Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (Tawheed of Allah’s names and attributes)

3. Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah (Tawheed of Allah’s sole right to all worship)


The scholars know this categorization by studying and examining the aayaath of the Qur’an and Ahadeeth. They found that all forms of Tawheed fall under one of these three categories.

1. Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah

Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah is to single out Allah alone with the actions of creating (everything), owning (everything), and controlling (everything). The details of this meaning are as follows:


First, as for singling out Allah alone (Glory be to Him) with the action of creating; He is the Creator other than Whom there is no creator. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: Is there are creator other than Allah that provides you with sustenance from the heavens and earth? There is nothing deserving of worship besides Him alone. [Soorah Faatir, 35:3]


So Allah alone is the only Creator. He created everything, decreeing the creation before its existence. His creation includes what He Himself has made by His own actions as well as the actions of the creation. For this reason, it is from the completion of Eemaan in Qadr (Pre-decree) to believe that Allah is the Creator of the servants’ actions as He (Glory be to Him) said: Allah created all of you and what you do. [Soorah As-Saaffaat, 37:96]


2. Tawheed Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat

Tawheed Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat is to single out Allah alone with what He has named Himself with or described Himself with in His Book or upon the tongue of His Messenger (May Allah Honour him and Grant him Peace). This is by affirming whatever (names and attributes) Allah has affirmed for Himself without distorting or denying them or their meanings, nor believing them to be similar to the creation’s, and without questioning “How” they are (seeking thereby to arrive at the same level of understanding of them as Allah Himself has). It is incumbent to believe that whatever Allah has named and described Himself with of names and attributes are real and actual. However, we do not delve into them, asking “How” they are and we do not believe them to be similar to the names and attributes of the creation in any way.


This is the category of Tawheed regarding which various groups of this nation went astray, those who pray towards the same direction as we do and ascribe themselves to Islam.


The way of the Pious Predecessors, or those righteous predecessor Muslims who followed Islam correctly in belief, action, and manners; their way with regards to this type of Tawheed is that they name Allah and describe Him with what He has described Himself with. They accept and believe in these names and attributes as being real and actual, yet in a manner that befits Allah. They do not distort their meanings, deny them altogether, nor do they question them or believe they are similar to the names and attributes of the creation.


An example of this is that Allah (Glory be to Him) has named Himself with the names of al-Hayyu (The Ever-Living) and al-Qayyoom (The One Who controls and sustains everything). So it is obligated upon us to believe that al-Hayyu is one of Allah’s names and we must also believe in whatever characteristics this name implies which is a perfect, ever-lasting and complete life that was not preceded by inexistence nor will it ever end. Allah has also named Himself as-Samee’ (The All-Hearing) so likewise, it is upon us to believe it is one of His names and that He has the attribute of complete hearing of everything at all times. He is attributed with the action of hearing as well, which is necessitated by this name and its attribute, for one that is named “Hearing” yet does not actually have the characteristic of hearing, nor the action of hearing sounds and voices, then this is an impossible contradiction.


Allah (Glory be to Him) says: And the Jews say, “Allah’s hand is tied up (He is stingy)!” Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered. Rather, both His hands are widely outstretched. He spends (of His Bounty) as He wills. [Soorah Al-Maaidah, 5:64]


Allah says, “Rather, both His hands are widely outstretched.” So He has affirmed to Himself two hands with the descriptions of being widely outstretched – which is that He gives generously. So from this, it is obligated upon us to believe that Allah does in fact have two actual hands, widely outstretched in giving and bestowing favors generously. However, it is also upon us that we do not try to imagine them with our hearts, nor speak about them with our tongues, questioning how they are in reality, nor do we believe they are similar to the hands of the creation because Allah  says: There is nothing similar to Him. And He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. [Soorah Ash-Shooraa, 42:11]


And He also said : Say: “My Lord has only forbidden al-Fawaahish (immoral sins, adultery, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), oppression committed without right, joining partners (Shirk - in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and that you say things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.” [Soorah Al-‘Araaf, 7:33]


And He says: And follow not that of which you have no knowledge. Certainly, the hearing, the sight, and the heart – of each of those you will be questioned. [Soorah Al-Israa, 17:36]


3. Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah

Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah is to single out Allah alone with all acts of worship. People must not take anyone or anything else along with Allah, worshipping them or seeking nearness to them as they do with Allah (Glory be to Him). This is the type of Tawheed with which the polytheists went astray due to it – these same polytheists which the Prophet (S) fought, the safety of their blood and wealth being lost as well as their land and homes. It is this type of Tawheed with which the Messengers were sent, and by which the books were revealed along with the other two types: Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah and Tawheed of Allah’s names and attributes. But most of what the Messengers focused on correcting among their people was this type of Tawheed – Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah.


Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah is that people are not to give any form of worship to other than Allah (Glory be to Him) – not an angel brought near (to Allah), nor a Messenger sent (by Allah), nor to a righteous servant (of Allah), nor to anything else created. Worship is not deserved by anyone but Allah alone. Whoever violates this type of Tawheed, not fulfilling what it entails, then he is a polytheist, a disbeliever even if he were to accept and believe in Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah and the Tawheed of Allah’s names and attributes. If someone were to believe that Allah (Glory be to Him) is the only Creator, owner, and controller of all affairs and that He deserves what befits Him of names and attributes, yet he worships along with Allah other than Him; then his acceptance of the other two types of Tawheed would never benefit him. So if one were to completely believe in Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah and Tawheed Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat, yet he goes to the grave of someone deceased, worshipping him, making vows to him and seeking nearness to him, then such a person is a polytheists, a disbeliever destined to reside in the Fire forever. Allah says: Indeed, whoever makes Shirk (associating partners in worship) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, his destination is the Fire, and there will never be any helper for the transgressors. [Soorah Al-Maaidah, 5:72] [3]


Importance of Tawheed

1.      It is the pillar upon which Islam is built. The Prophet said "Islam is built upon five : the Tawheed of Allah…..(Related by Muslim no. 19)


2.      It was the key and essence of the call of the messengers: "Verily we have sent to every nation a messenger saying worship Allah and avoid the worship of false gods" (16:36)


3.      Because Allah has created us to worship Him, "I have not created the jinn and mankind but to worship me" then how can we worship Allah, if we don't know who He is? It is only through knowledge of His names and attributes we can learn about Allah.


4.      Its great emphasis in the Quran. The Quran begins with Tawheed (al fatihah) and ends with Tawheed (al Ikhlas) likewise the greatest ayat in the  Quran describes Tawheed (of knowledge)


5.      The prophet began his day with Tawheed by reciting surah al kafiroon and ikhlas in the sunan of fajr and end with reciting these two surahs in the witr prayer. (related by Muslim)


6.      The prophet mentioned it during his last illness (shows its importance) when he said "the curse of Allah be upon the Jews and the Christians for they took the graves of their prophets as places of worship." (Bukhari)


7.      It's the first thing the prophet invited to and preached to for thirteen years. "say, none has the right to be worshipped and thus be successful." (Ahmad 4/63)


8.       And he ordered his companions to preach Tawheed when sending them to various communities. He sent Muadh ibn jabal to Yemen saying "Indeed you are going to the people of the book so let the first thing that you invite them to be the Tawheed of Allah" (Bukhari 9:469) 


9.      If a person dies upon this he will enter Paradise. When the Jewish boy accepted Islam, the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) said, "All praise is for Allah who saved this boy from the fire." Although this person had no good deeds. (Bukhari) [4]


The Virtues of Tawheed

 There is nothing that produces such good results nor holds such a variety of virtues like Tawheed; for Tawheed with its virtues : is the best produce in this world and the Hereafter.

- The forgiveness of sins and their removal is among the general virtues and results of Tawheed.

- Among its virtues is that it is the greatest means of removing the sorrows of this world and the Hereafter , and warding off punishment in both worlds.

- Among its virtues is that it grants guidance and perfection to its practitioner , complete safety in this world and the Hereafter.

- It is the exclusive reason for being granted Allah's pleasure and rewards , and the most fortunate of people - who are granted Muhammad's (sallahAllahu 'alayhi wasallam) intercession are those who said Laa ilaahi illa Allah with sincerity in their hearts.

- Among the important virtues is that all deeds and sayings - both inner and outer - are dependent upon tawhid.

- When Tawheed is complete in the heart of its bearer, Allah endears him with faith and adorns his heart with it. He would hate kufr , fisq and sin , and it places him among the ranks of the guided.

- It lightens the worshipper's mishaps and weakens his pain. It is based on the completeness of the worshipper's Tawheed and Eemaan that his heart is comfortable with his mishaps and misfortunes. And his soul is content, submitting and accepting that Allah has decreed such trials for him.

- Among the greateset virtues is that it frees the worshipper from slavery to created beings , from depending upon them, fearing them, hoping in them, and doing deeds for their sake, and this wins him true honour and respect.

- Among the virtues of Tawheed is that Allah has granted its people victory , honour , respect, and aid in this life. He grants them guidance and makes things easier for them, setting their affairs right and strengthening their sayings and actions.

- Allah protects the people of Tawheed and faith from the evils of this world and the hereafter, and he grants them a good tranquil life and solace in His rememberance. Testimony for this is well known and can be seen often in the Book and the Sunnah. And Allah knows best. [5]

The implications of Tawheed

 1.         Purpose of creation

 2.         Reason for sending prophets

 3.         Reason for revealing books

 4.         Differentiates between Muslim and kafir

 5.         Cause of peace and contentment

 6.         First call that we have been commanded

 7.         Rights of Allah over us

 8.         Cause for entrance into paradise

 9.         Forgiveness all sins and prevent from fire of hell

10.         Dangers of its opposite ie. Shirk


Purpose of Creation

“I did not create the jinns and the humans except to worship Me alone.” (Adh-Dhaariyaat, 51:56)


This is the most explicit ayath in the Quran about the purpose of our creation.


Reason for Sending Prophets

“And We sent no Messenger before you but We revealed to him: There is no true god but I; so worship Me alone.”(Qur'an Surah Al-Anbiyaa’, 21:25)


And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah).” Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth). (Quran Surah Nahl16:36)


Reason for Revealing Books

“He sends down the angels with revelation by His command on whosoever of His servants He pleases, saying: Warn people that there is no true god but I, so take Me alone for your protector.” (An-Nahl, 16:2)


Every prophet and messenger received wahy which is the basis of a book. Sometimes it was written down, sometimes not. It is the inspiration they received. Many other books were written down, even though we are most familiar with the 4 famous ones.


Differentiates between Muslim and Kaafir

“It is He Who has created you, but some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers, and Allah sees what you do.”  (At-Taghaabun, 64:2)


Following Tawheed is a Cause of Peace and Contentment in this Life and in the Hereafter.

“Those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah; surely, it is the remembrance of Allah that hearts can find comfort.”  (Ar-Ra’d, 13:28 )


First Call that we have been Commanded to Do

O mankind! Worship your Lord Who created you and those before you, that you may guard against evil.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:21)


This is the first commandment that occurs in the Quran.


The Messenger (May Allah Honour him and Grant him Peace) said to Mu’aadh ibn Jabal, when he (saw) sent him to Yemen: “So let the first thing you call them to, be the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah.” And in another narration: “…that they worship Allah alone.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


Right of Allah Over Us

The Prophet (May Allah Honour him and Grant him Peace) said, “O Mu’aadh! Do you know what Allah’s Right upon His slaves is?” I said, “Allah and His Apostle know best.” The Prophet said, “To worship Him (Allah) Alone and to join none in worship with Him (Allah). Do you know what their right upon Him is?” I replied, “Allah and His Apostle know best.” The Prophet said, “Not to punish them (if they do so).” (Sahih Al-Bukhari: Vol.9, Bk. 93, No.470)


Cause for Entrance into Paradise

“…..I bear witness that Allah is the only god worthy of worship and that I am His Messenger. No servant shall meet Allah with these two (testimonies) with no doubt regarding them, but he shall enter Paradise.” (Muslim: See Sharh An-Nawawi 1/224)


Forgives All Sins; Prevents Fire of Hell

“A man who never did any good deed, said that if he died, his family should burn him and throw half the ashes of his burnt body in the earth and the other half in the sea, for by Allah, if Allah should get hold of him, He would inflict such punishment on him as He would not inflict on anybody among the people. But Allah ordered the sea to collect what was in it (of his ashes) and similarly ordered the earth to collect what was in it (of his ashes). Then Allah said (to the recreated man), ‘Why did you do so?’ The man replied, ‘For being afraid of You, as You know. ‘So Allah forgave him.” (Al-Bukhari:Vol. 9, Book 93, No. 597)


Dangers of Its Opposite (Shirk)

“Surely, Allah will not forgive that a partner be associated with Him; but He will forgive whatever is short of that to whomsoever He pleases. And whoso associates partners with Allah has indeed devised a very great sin.”  (An-Nisaa, 4:48 ) [6]


Reasons why Tawheed makes sense

One of the many common questions that are asked to me by non-Muslims is “If God does exist what reasons do we have to believe He is one?” This question is important as it addresses a fundamental concept in Islamic theology, the concept of oneness. The oneness of God, in Arabic 'Tawheed', is a central theme in the Qur’an and a message of all of the Prophets, the Qur’an eloquently describes the nature of God and His oneness in the 112th Surah,


{Say: He is God, the One. God the Eternal. He begot no one nor was He begotten. No one is comparable to him.}


In light of this there are many ways to answer the question referring to God’s singularity and uniqueness, thereby providing a positive case for the oneness of God, and they range from theological to philosophical arguments.

1.  Logical Inference

2.   Uniqueness

3.   The Quranic Argument


Logical Inference

The logic of the existence of an infinite creator is one and one only. There cannot be another infinite being as this is illogical. He has to be unique, as only finite entities can be more than one. Thus, He cannot have a spouse or a child, nor can he have a gender. He cannot be divisible into different personalities, as only finite entities can all be divided. By the same token, He cannot be partitioned into different roles because partitioning means putting limits that negates infiniteness.



The cause of the universe must be unique, as the Qur’an says “There is nothing like Him”. If the cause of the universe was not unique that would mean there are some similarities between the cause of the universe and the universe itself

The Quranic Argument

The argument the Qur’an uses to show that God is one is explained in the following verse, the divine book says, “If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides God, the heaven and the earth would have collapsed in disorder and chaos." The Qur’an points out that if there were more than one God who created the universe it would be in chaos and there would not be the level of order we find in the cosmos. [7]

The Excellence of Tawheed

1) Allah the Most High says:

Those who believe and do not mix their belief with dhulm, they are those upon whom is security and they are the rightly guided. [6:82]


From 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood, who said: When this verse was revealed, some Muslims began to grieve, and said: 'Which of us does not do dhulm (oppression) to his soul?' The Messenger of Allah said: "It is not that, verily it is shirk, have you not heard the saying of Luqmaan to his son:


Oh my Son! Do not make shirk with Allah. Verily, shirk is a great dhulm. [31:13] [Bukhari & Muslim]


This verse gives glad tidings to the believers, those who single out Allah alone for worship, those who do not mix their belief with shirk. Rather, they are far from it, they have complete security from the punishment of Allah in the Hereafter and they are the rightly guided in this world.


2) The Prophet said: "Imaan consists of sixty something branches, the highest of them is the saying 'Laa ilaaha illa Allah; and the lowest of them is to remove something harmful from the road." [Muslim]


It is reported from the Prophet that he said: "Whoever meets Allah without having associated with Him in anything will enter Paradise and whosoever meets Him associating partners with him in anything will enter the Fire. " [Muslim]


All these narrations clearly show the excellence of Tawheed, for it is that by which the happiness of the slave is achieved and the best means for the expiation of his sins and the elimination of his mistakes."


History of Tawheed

The Tawheed of the Prophets and Messengers

the message of the Messengers, from the first of them which is Nooh (’alayhis-salaam), to the last of them which is Muhammad (SallAllahu ’alayhi wa sallam); all of them called to Tawheed.  Allah the Exalted said:


“And We have not sent before you any Messenger, except that We revealed to him that there is no deity worthy of worship except Me, so worship Me.”

And Allah the Exalted said:


“And indeed We sent to every nation a messenger saying: Worship Allah, and leave off the false deities.”


It is not possible that Allah the Mighty and Majestic sent the Messengers to mankind to call to Tawheedur-Ruboobiyyah only, but to Tawheedul-Uloohiyyah also.  That is because those who denied Tawheedur-Ruboobiyyah were very few; to the extent that those who denied it did not feel this denial to be possible in the depths of their hearts, except that their intellects knew of it, and recognized it, but they rejected it due to pride. 


The Beginnings of Deviation

The beginnings of Shirk lay in the excessive praise and respect given to certain dead pious Muslims, who - due to peoples’ love for them - became idols that were worshipped and supplicated along with Allah. So what needs to be understood is why people felt that they had to worship these righteous people along with worshipping Allah.


Allah - the Most High - said:


I did not create jinn and mankind, except that they should worship Me. I do not seek any provisions from them, nor do I ask that they should feed me. Indeed Allah is the Provider, the Possessor of Might and Strength.”[Surah Al Dhaariyaat 51:56-58]


So the soul - if left to its fitrah (natural disposition and inclination) - would find itself acknowledging Allah’s Divinity, loving Him and worshiping Him alone, without worshipping others along with Him. However, this fitrah becomes corrupted and it deviates away from the pure worship of Allah, due to what the devils - from amongst mankind and jinn - whisper to some people, beautifying to them their whispers of deception. So Tawheed (to worship Allah alone) is the core and root of man’s fitrah, whereas Shirk (directing any part of worship that belongs only to Allah, to other than Allah) is alien to it and is something that deceptively enters into it. Allah



Mankind was, in the beginning, a single Ummah (nation) upon Tawheed, the pure worship of Allah alone. Then Shirk gradually overcame them. The basis for this belief is what Allah - the Most High - said:


  “Mankind was one Ummah (nation), then Allah sent Prophets bringing good news and warnings.” [Sooratul-Baqarah 2:213]


Mankind was not except a single Ummah, then they differed.” [Soorah Yoonus 12:19]


Ibn ’Abbaas (radiyAllahu ’anhu) said: “Between Nooh and Aadam there were ten generations, all of them were upon the Sharee’ah (Law) of the truth, then they differed. So Allah sent Prophets as bringers of good news and as warners.” 


So, “during the time of the Prophet Nooh(’alayhis-salaam), Shirk appeared amongst his people, and they started worshipping idols along with worshipping Allah. So Allah said:


Indeed We sent Nooh to his people and he said to them: I have come to you as a clear warner; that you should worship only Allah.” [Soorah Hood 11:25-26].” [5]



Allah - the Most Perfect - said about the people of Nooh:


And they said: You shall not forsake your deities/gods, nor shall you forsake Wadd, nor Suwaa’, nor Yaghooth, nor Ya’ooq, nor Nasr.” [Soorah Nooh 71:23]


 The beginnings of Shirk lay in the excessive praise and respect given to certain dead pious Muslims, who - due to peoples' love for them - became idols that were worshipped and supplicated along with Allah. So what needs to be understood is why people felt that they had to worship these righteous people along with worshipping Allah.



Allah - the One free from all defects - said:

“Indeed We have sent down to you the Book in truth, so worship Allah alone by making the Religion purely for Him. Surely the Religion, worship and obedience should be for Allah alone. But those who take as awliyaa‘ (friends and protectors)others along with Allah say: We only worship them so that they may bring us closer to Allah. Indeed Allah will judge between them concerning that in which they differ. Indeed Allah does not guide those who are liars and disbelievers.” [Sooratuz-Zumar 39:2-3]


“And they worship those besides Allah that can neither harm nor benefit them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allah. Say to them: Do you inform Allah about that which He does not have knowledge in the heavens and the earth. Glory be to Allah and how free He is from that which the associate as partners with Him.” [Soorah Yoosuf 10:18]


“So Allah - the Most Perfect - informed us in these two aayaat that the idolaters had taken others from the creation as awliyaa‘ along with Allah. They worshipped them along with Him, by offering du’aa (supplication) to them, and directing to them hope (of attaining safety or of being cured from some illness) and fear, sacrifice, vows, and their like claiming that directing such worship to these awliyaa‘ would bring them closer to Allah and that these awliyaa‘ would then act as intercessors between them and Allah.



The Prophet (sallAllahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whosoever dies whilst making du’aa (invocation, supplication) to others besides Allah, will enter the Hell Fire.” [8]



[1] Tawheed: Its Meaning & Categories by Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen,


[3] Tawheed: Its Meaning & Categories by Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen,


[5] Sharh kitabu-tawheed by al-'Allaamah 'Abdurrahmaan as-Sa'dee (rahimahullaah),


[7] [8]

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