Tawheed ul-`Ibaadah
(The Monotheism of Worship)

All those who profess the Islaamic beliefs should naturally submit to Allaah and worship Him alone, by doing whatever He commanded and by avoiding whatever He has forbidden, which is Tawheed ul `Ibaadah. Without this aspect of Tawheed, one's belief in Allaah's Oneness is not complete.

We Muslims often use the term `Aqeedah, but what do we mean by it? Is `Aqeedah something that is memorized and simply rattled off on one's tongue? And what is the relationship between one's `Aqeedah and one's actions?

`Aqeedah is the firm creed that one's heart is fixed upon without any wavering and doubt, creed which excludes any supposition, doubt or suspicion. The Qur'aan uses the term "Emaan" instead. In the understanding of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah, it is well known that Emaan is profession in the heart and by the tongue, and action by the heart, tongue and the limbs. [al-`Aqeedat ul-Wasitiyyah of Ibn Taymeeyah]. Therefore, Emaan is much more than just a mere profession. For that reason, we find that early Makkans refused to say the Shahada - even though mere saying of it is not a difficulty - as they understood its implications. They understood that one's belief in Allaah which is stated by tongues must be present in the heart and must manifest in one's actions of heart (such as love and fear of Allaah), of tongue (dhikr, saying of the Shahada...) and of limbs (prayer, enjoining good and forbidding evil...).

Today, however, some people pronounce the Shahada without a second thought and without realizing the intended meaning and implications of the testimony of faith..

To profess the Islamic belief is to believe in:

The unity of Allaah's Lordship (Tawheed ur-Ruboobeeyah): That Allaah is the One Who Creates, Owns and Administers what He Created, the One Who Brings Benefit and Averts harm, and the Sole Power in the universe. Allaah's unity regarding His Perfect Names and Attributes (Tawheed Asmaa' Allaah wa Sifatih)- describing Allaah according to the names and attributes by which He has described Himself in the Qur'aan or by those used by Prophet Muhammad to describe Him.
All those who profess these beliefs should naturally submit to Allaah and worship Him alone, by doing whatever He commanded and by avoiding whatever He has forbidden, which is Tawheed ul `Ibaadah. Without this aspect of Tawheed, one's belief in Allaah's Tawheed (Oneness) is not complete. In fact, if any of the above aspects of Tawheed is missing, one's realization and maintaining of Tawheed in one's life is lacking and defective.

However, an aspect of Tawheed that perhaps needs to be stressed in particular is Tawheed ul-`Ibaadah, as it is often either not understood properly or is neglected to a varying degree. Absence of such understanding and practice leads to various deviations, from believing that faith is mere statement on the tongue and thus not fulfilling one's true purpose of creation, to the very common ritualism, wherein the religion is taken as a set of ritualistic actions without much meaning and impact on one's life.

What is Tawheed ul`Ibaadah?

Tawheed ul `Ibaadah is to single-out Allaah alone for all worship and not to worship anything along with Him, whether it be an angel, a Messenger, a Prophet, a pious person, a tree, a stone, the sun, the moon, or other than these, such as money or one's desires. Allaah says (which means): "And your Lord is one Lord, there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful" [2:163]. Also (which means) , "And the Mosques are for Allaah (alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allaah" [72:18]. And as regards to worshipping other than Him, Allaah the Exalted says (which means), "That is because Allaah is the Truth, and what they invoke besides Him, it is falsehood. And verily, Allaah is the Most High, the Most Great" [22:62].


How does one take others as god besides Allaah? In brief, Ibn al-Qayyim says that "Taghoot" (false god, anything worshipped besides Allaah) includes everyone who rules by other than the Revelation of Allaah and the example of His Messenger ; or that which is worshipped instead of, or in addition to, Allaah; or which is followed in opposition to the Commands of Allaah. Therefore, if one chooses to love, revere, obey or follow other than Allaah and His Revelation, then he could be regarded as a god besides Allaah.

The Implications of Tawheed ul-`Ibaadah

To un the reality of ul-`Ibaadah and what it means to worship Allaah alone, without attributing partners to Him, is of extreme importance, and all those who succeed in it will be a step closer to becoming true `Ibaad (worshippers, servants) of the Merciful, and those who are doing their best to fulfill the purpose of their creation and maintain Tawheed in their lives. The following are some reasons which point to the essentially of Tawheed ul-`Ibaadah, hoping that they would increase us in our desire to understand it and apply it in our short lives:

This aspect of Tawheed is based mainly on action, rather than knowledge, unlike the other two aspects of Tawheed, and it is by affirming this Tawheed that one truly submits to Allaah (s.w.t.). To affirm this Tawheed by action until the end of this life is a command in the Qur'aan: