[A couple of years ago (maybe longer?) some sisters asked me to come up with a Ramadan quiz for them to work on during Ramadan in the hope that it might encourage them to learn throughout the month. I’ve decided to post the answers to those questions as a series this month Inshallah.]

1)  What does the word ‘Tawheed’ mean? What are the three areas of Tawheed? Explain.

37:4

Indeed,  your  God  is  One. (37:4)

In Islam, the word ‘Tawheed’ is the belief that Allah is the one and only God and that He alone is worthy of worship. This is THE central belief in Islam – the distinguishing factor between Islam and all other religions. We have no saints, no children of God, zero partners associated with Him and no intermediaries. It’s just us and God. That’s it. And it’s so liberating really, when you think about it: being able to take up any and all problems you have directly with Allah, without worrying about anyone/thing else.

To clarify exactly what Tawheed means and to enable us best to practice it in our lives, it has been divided into three parts:

               1)   Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah (Unity of Lordship).

Allah is Ar-Rabb – The Lord. This means that He has full dominion and power over the entire Universe and beyond. He alone created the universe and all that is in it and as such He alone enables and allows everything in it to function as it does, including us. If we fail to recognise this, and/or ascribe other beings as having any part in it, then we have wronged ourselves (cause obviously it doesn’t affect Allah in any way – He’s far to great to be affected by us) and must seek forgiveness. Or else.

              2)    Tawheed Al-Asmaa Wa Sifat (Unity of Allah’s Names and Attributes).

This means that we accept, recognise and believe in all of the names and attributes (descriptions) of Allah that He has revealed to us in the Qur’an and through the Hadith of the Messenger ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ). Also, we can’t make up names/attributes for Him – it’s just the revealed ones and that’s it.

              3)    Tawheed Al-Uloohiyah / Al-Ibadah (Both mean Unity of worship).

Unity of worship means that we only pray to Allah, without intercessors/intermediaries/anything in between. It’s just you and Allah.

However, it should be noted that Islam is a complete way of life – it’s not just about praying five times a day. The whole religion is geared to making a person’s life an entire act of worship. Therefore, following people who make things Halal (allowed) or Haram (forbidden) without evidence, or even going against what Allah Himself has allowed or forbidden, goes against this part of Tawheed.

The evidence for this is in this Hadith about the following verse in Surah Tawbah:

9:31
“They  have  taken  their  Rabbis and  monks  as  lords  along with Allah ,  and  [also]  the Messiah,  the  son  of  Mary.  And  they  were  not  commanded  except  to  worship  one  God; there  is  no  deity  except  Him.  Exalted  is  He  above  whatever  they  associate  with  Him.”

Adi ibn Hatim narrated that the Prophet explained the first part of this verse (“They have taken their Rabbis and Monks as lords along with Allah.”) saying: “Did they not used to worship them? But when they made something Halal for them they took it as Halal, and when they forbade them from something (made it Haram) they forbade it?” (Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, hadith no: 3095)

I enjoyed doing this little reminder; it’s nice to go back to the basics from time to time – it’s like hitting refresh! The next question Inshallah will be : What does the word ‘Shirk’ mean? Give one example of Shirk in each of the three areas of Tawheed.

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