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At-tawheed is to single out Allah 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. This definition includes the three types of tawheed and their explanation is as follows.


1) Tawheed-ar-rububiyyah

2) Tawheed-al-uluhiyyah

3) Tawheed-al-asmaa-was-siffaat.


Table of Contents


Islamic meaning

Tawheed Ur Rububiyah is to single out Allah alone in His actions, with the belief that He is the only Creator of all the creation.



“Allah is the Creator of all things.” [az-Zumar (39): 62]


He is the Sustainer of all the animals, the people and everything else: “And there is no living creature on earth but its provision is due from Allah.” [Hud (11): 6]


He is the Owner of the dominion, the One who manages all the affairs of the world. He brings some near to Him and distances others. He honours some and brings humiliation upon others. He has the ability to do everything. He alternates the night and the day and gives life and death: “…..In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are able to do all things. You make the night to enter into the day, and You make the day to enter into the night, You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give wealth and sustenance to whom You will, without limit.”” [al-‘Imraan (3): 26-27]


 “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the ‘alameen.” [al –Faatihaa (1): 2]


He, the Most High, said: “Say: “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens, and the Lord of the Great Throne?” They will say: “Allah.” Say: “Will you not then fear Allah.” Say: “In Whose Hand is the sovereignty of everything, and He protects (all), while against Whom there is no protector, if you know?” They will say: “(All that belongs) to Allah.” Say: “How then are you deceived and turn away from the truth?”” [al-Mu’minoon (23): 86-89]


Allah has mentions that the messengers said: “Their Messengers said: “What! Can there be a doubt about Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth?”” [Ibraaheem (14): 10]


He, the Most High, said: “Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm belief.” [at- Tur (52): 35-36]


So contemplate on the world as a whole, the heavens and the earth and all their parts and surely you will find it testifying to the fact that it has a Creator and an Owner. Denial of a Creator and rejection of Him in the intellect and the natural disposition is like denying and rejecting knowledge.


The understanding of the word ‘Rabb’ in the Qur’an and Sunnah

The root of the word ‘ar-rabb’ is ‘rabbaa-yarubbu’ which means to bring up something from stage to stage, up to the state of completion. It is said: “He brought him up” and “They raised him up”. So the word ‘rabb’ is used figuratively for the doer and ‘ar-rabb’ (the Lord) is used in the absolute sense only for Allah, the One Who is responsible for setting right the affairs of the creation, as occurs in His saying: “The Lord of the aalameen.” [al-Faatihaa (1): 2]


“Your Lord and the Lord of your ancient fathers!” [ash-Shu‘araa (26): 26]


‘Ar-rabb’ is not used for anyone besides Him, except when it is attached in a specific sense, as is said: ‘Rabbud-daar’ (master of the house) and ‘Rabbul-fars (owner of the horse), such as His, the Most High’s, saying while narrating about Yusuf (‘alaihi salaam): ““Mention me to your lord (i.e. your king).” But Shaytaan made him forget to mention it to his Lord.” [Yusuf (12): 42]


So from this it becomes clear that ‘ar-rabb’ is applicable to Allah, in the definite form i.e. with ‘al’ and in the annexed form e.g. Ar-rabb (the Lord) or Rabbul-‘alameen (Lord of the aalameen) or Rabbun-naas (Lord of the people). While the word ‘rabb’ is applied to others only when it’s annexed, such as Rabbud-daar (lord of the house), Rabbul-manzil (owner of the house) and Rabbul-ibl (lord of the camel).


Meaning of Rabbul-aalameen

The meaning of Rabbul-aalameen is their Creator and Owner, the One who rectifies them, and nurtures them by His blessings, by sending His Messengers, by revealing His Books and the One who rewards them for their actions.


‘Allaamah Ibn ul-Qayyim said: “Indeed rububiyyah necessitates commanding and prohibiting the slaves and recompensing the one who does good and the one who does bad.” (Madarijus Saalikeen). This is the reality of rububiyyah.


Understanding of the word ‘rabb’ according to the misconceptions of the misguided people

Allah created the creation with a natural disposition to tawheed and the recognition of their Lord and Creator, far removed is He from imperfections. He, the Most High, said: “So set your face towards the religion of Hanifaa (worship none but Allah alone) Allah's fitrah (tawheed), with which He has created mankind. Let there be no change in the religion of Allah.” [ar-Rum (30):30]


And He, the Most High, said: “And when your Lord brought forth from the loins of Bani Aadam, their seed and made them testify against themselves (Saying): “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes! We testify”” [al-A’raaf (7):172]


So affirmation of the rububiyyah of Allah, and turning to Him is natural, whereas shirk is an external intrusion. The Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Every child is born upon the fitrah (natural inclination towards the affirmation of tawheed), then his parents make him a Jew, Christian, or a Magian.” (Bukhaari 2/262 no.476)


So if the slave and his natural disposition were left alone, he would accept tawheed which was the call of the messengers, for which all the Books were revealed and which is indicated by the universal signs.



“I created my slaves upon the worship of Me alone (Hunafaa). Then the Shayateen misguided them.” Meaning they directed them to the worship of idols and to taking them as lords besides Allah; thereby they fell into deviation and destruction and into splitting and differing, everyone taking a lord for himself to worship. Since they abandoned the true Lord, they were put to trial by taking false lords as He, the Most High said: “Such is Allah, your Lord in truth. So after the truth, what else can there be, except falsehood? How then are you turned away?” [Yunus (10):32]


Scholars view

Ibn ul-Qayyim said: “The setting up of an idol was originally in the form of hidden object of worship. So they made the idol in its image and set it up and formed it, such that it could represent the hidden deity and take its place. Otherwise, it is well known that an intelligent person does not sculpture out a piece of wood or stone by his hand and believe that it is a deity or an object of worship.” (Ighaathatul lahfaan 2/220)


Can dead intercede

This is similar to the grave worshippers of the past and present time. They claim that the dead intercede and act as intermediaries for them with Allah for the purpose of fulfilling their needs, and they say: “We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah.” [az-Zumar (39): 3]


“And they worship besides Allah things that do not hurt them, nor profit them, and they say: “These are our intercessors with Allah.”” [Yunus (10): 18]


Similarly some of the mushriks of the Arabs and the Christians claimed that their objects of worship were the children of Allah. So the mushriks of the Arabs worshipped the angels upon the belief that they were the daughters of Allah while the Christians worshipped the Messiah believing that he was the son of Allah.


A refutation of these false beliefs

Allah has refuted all of these false beliefs as follows:


a) He refuted the worship of idols in His saying: “Have you then considered al-Laat, and al-'Uzza (two idols of the pagan Arabs). And Manaat (another idol of the pagan Arabs), the other third?” [an-Najm (53): 19-20]


The meaning of the ayath as Qurtubi said is: “Have you seen these deities, do they benefit or bring about harm such that they should be regarded as partners with Allah, the Most High? And were they able to defend themselves when the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions destroyed and demolished them?”


And Allah, the Most High, said: “And recite to them the story of Ibraaheem. When he said to his father and his people: “What do you worship?” They said: “We worship idols, and to them we are ever devoted.” He said: “Do they hear you, when you call (on them)? Or do they benefit you or do they harm (you)?” They said: “Nay, but we found our fathers doing so.”” [ash-Shu‘araa (26): 69-74]


They agreed that these idols could neither hear their supplication nor could they benefit or harm them. Rather they worshipped them due to blind following of their forefathers and blind-following is a false and invalid proof.


b) He refuted those who worship the stars, the sun and the moon by saying: “The sun, the moon, the stars are subjected to His Command.” [al-‘Aaraaf (7): 54]


And His saying: “And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah who created them, if you (really) worship Him.” [Fussilat (41): 37]


c) He refuted those who worship the angels and the Messiah, believing that they are the children of Allah by saying: “No son (or offspring or children) did Allah beget.” [al-Mu’minoon (23): 91]


And His saying: “How can He have children when He has no wife?” [al-An‘aam (6): 101]


“He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” [al-Ikhlaas (112): 3-4]


Universe And Its Natural Disposition Towards The Submission And Obedience To Allah

The creation in the heavens and the earth, the stars, the celestial bodies, the sea, the angels, the jinn and mankind are all in submission to Allah and in obedience to His universal Command. He, the Most High, said: “While to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly.” [al-‘Imraan (3): 83]


“Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth, and all surrender with obedience (in worship) to Him.” [al-Baqarah (2): 116]


“And to Allah prostate all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, of the live moving creatures and the angels, and they are not proud.” [an-Nahl (16): 49]


“Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and animals and many of mankind?” [al-Hajj (22): 18]


“And whoever is in the heavens and the earth falls in prostration to Allah, willingly or unwillingly, and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the afternoons.” [ar-Ra‘ad (13): 15]


So all these universes and worlds are in obedience to Allah and in submission to His Sovereignty.


The meaning of the prostration of the universe is humility. Everything prostrates in a way that befits it and it comprises of humility towards the Lord and the tasbeeh of everything is in a way that befits it. It is a real not metaphorical.


And regarding the saying of the Most High: “Do they seek other than the religion of Allah, while to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly? And to Him shall they all be returned.” [al-‘Imraan (3): 83]


Scholars view

Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said: “So He, the One free from all imperfections, mentioned the submission of the universe willingly and unwillingly. Since all the creation are worshipping Him in a complete manner, whether one denies it or not, and they are managed by Him so they submit to Him willingly or unwillingly. There is none from the creation who is exempted from His Will and Decree and there is no Might and Power except with Him. He is the Lord of all of them and their Originator, the One who shapes and everything besides Him falls under His Lordship upon a natural disposition; poor and in need of worshipping Him, under His Power and He is far removed from all imperfections, the One, the Irresistible, the All-Powerful, the

Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms.” (Majmoo’ al-fataawa Vol. 10, page 200).


The Methodology Of The Qur’an In Affirming The Existence Of The Creator And His Oneness

The methodology of the Qur’an in affirming the existence of the Creator and His Oneness is in accordance with the correct natural disposition and sound intellect. This occurs by establishing the clear proofs by which the intellect is convinced and the opponents are defeated. Amongst them: 1) It is known by necessity that an effect must have a cause. This is a necessary matter which is known by the natural disposition and even the children are aware of it. For example, if a child was beaten by somebody who was hidden such that he could not be seen, he would ask: “ Who hit me?” If it was said to him: “No one hit you”, his intellect would not accept that beating took place by itself. So if it is said to him: “So and so hit you”, he would cry until the person who beat him is also beaten. Thus, the Most High, said: “Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators?” [at-Tur (52): 35]


The number of possible conclusions mentioned here is restricted. Allah has mentioned this in the form of a negating question to clarify that these issues are known by necessity and it is not possible for anyone to deny them. He, the Most High, says: “Were they created by nothing?” [at-Tur (52): 35]


Meaning, without a creator who created them or did they create themselves. Both these matters are false, so it is incumbent for them to have a Creator who Created them, which is Allah, free of all imperfections and there is no Creator besides Him. He, the Most High, said:


“This is the creation of Allah. So show Me that which those (whom you worship), besides Him have created.” [Luqmaan (31): 11]


“What have they created of the earth?” [al-Ahqaaf (46): 4]


“Verily! Those on whom you call besides Allah cannot create (even) a fly, even if they gather together for the purpose.” [al-Hajj (22): 73]


“Those whom they invoke besides Allah have not created anything, but are themselves created.” [an-Nahl (16): 20]


“Is then He, Who creates as one who does not create? Will you not then remember?” [an-Nahl (16): 17]


Despite this repeated challenge, no one has ever claimed to have created anything. So it becomes incumbent that Allah is the Creator without any partner.


2) The organisation and the precise execution of all the affairs of the world. All the evidences prove that the One who manages the affairs of the world is One deity and One Lord, without any partner or rival. He, the Most High, said: “No son did Allah beget, nor is there any deity worthy of worship along with Him; (if there had been many deities), behold, each deity would have taken away what he had created, and some would have tried to overcome others!” [al- Mu’minoon (23): 91]


3) Subjection of the creation for the fulfilment and establishment of the detail particulars of their duties. There is no creation that disobeys and resists performing its function in this universe. Musaa (‘alaihi salaam) used this as a proof, when Fir’awn asked him: “Who then, O Musaa, is the Lord of you two?” [Taa Haa (20): 49]


So Musaa (‘alaihi salaam) answered in a clear and concise way by saying: “Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.” [Taa Haa (20): 50]


If more than one creator

i. Either one of them would overpower the other and he would have the kingdom to himself, or


ii. Each of them would be alone in having command over his dominion and creation, or


iii. They would be under one ruler who would direct their affairs as he wished, and in this case, he would be the true diety and they would be his slaves.


This is the reality, since division and disorder have not occurred in the world; so this indicates that the Manager of the affairs is One, He has no rival and He is the One Owner without any partner.


Tawheed-Ar-Rububiyyah Necessitates And Leads On To Tawheed-Al- Uluhiyyah

The meaning of this is that whoever recognises that there is no Creator, Sustainer or One who Manages the affairs except Allah, Mighty and Majestic, then it becomes necessary for him to affirm that no one deserves worship in all its forms except Allah, free from all imperfections. This is tawheed aluluhiyyah, for verily uluhiyyah is worship (‘ibaadah) and the meaning of ‘alilaah’ is ‘al-ma’bood’, the One deserving worship. So Allah is to be called upon, help is only sought from Him, only He is relied upon, sacrificing and vowing is only for Him and all forms of worship are to be directed to Him alone. So tawheed ar-rububiyyah is a proof for the obligation of tawheed aluluhiyyah and due to this most of that which Allah uses as a proof for those who deny tawheed al-uluhiyyah is tawheed ar-rububiyyah which they have already affirmed. Like His, the Most High’s, saying: “O mankind! Worship your Lord, Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become pious. (He) Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down rain from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals with Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped).” [al-Baqarah (2): 21-22]



So He ordered them with tawheed al-uluhiyyah, which is worship of Him and He used tawheed ar-rububiyyah as a proof against them, which is the creation of the people of earlier and later time, the creation of the heavens and the earth and that which is within them, the blowing of the wind, the sending of the rain, the growing of plants, the production of fruits which are a provision for the slaves. So it is not befitting for them to associate others with Him, from those who they know have not done any of the above things or anything besides that. So the way of the natural disposition is to affirm tawheed al-uluhiyyah which is proved by tawheed ar-rububiyyah.



Book of The Aqeedah of Tawheed By Dr. Saaleh bin Fawzaan bin Abdullaah al-Fawzaan.


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