Allaah made it obligatory upon all the servants to reject and disbelieve in at-taaghoot, and to believe in Allaah. Ibnul Qayyim (May Allaah have mercy upon him) said:
“At-taaghoot is anyone whom the servants go beyond the due bounds, whether it is someone worshipped, obeyed or followed.”
The taaghoot are many, and their heads are five:
1. Iblees (Satan), may Allaah’s curse be upon him.
2. Whoever is worshipped and is pleased with that.
3. Whoever calls the people to worship them.
4. Whoever claims to possess anything from the knowledge of the affairs of the hidden and unseen.
5. Whoever judges by other than what Allaah sent down.
The proof is the saying of Allaah, the Most High:
“No one is to be compelled to enter the religion; true guidance has been made clear and distinct from falsehood. So whoever rejects at-taaghoot and truly believes and worships Allaah alone, then has grasped the firmest handhold that will never break.”
This is the meaning of ‘laa ilaha illa Allaah’.
This is pointing to the fact that it is obligatory to worship Allaah alone and sincerely without any partners, because the first thing that Allaah commanded the servants with was to believe in Allaah and disbelieve in at-taaghoot. Moreover, they are many but their heads are five.
It means their leaders and those who a blindly followed by them.
1. Iblees; he is the outcast and accursed Satan to whom Allaah said: “My curse is upon you till the day of resurrection.” [Saad 38:78]
Iblees was with the angels, in their company and performing their actions. Then when he was commanded to prostrate to Aadam, the foulness, disdain and haughty pride within him was manifested and he refused to prostrate, became haughty and became from the disbelievers. So he was cast out from the Mercy of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.
2. Whoever is worshipped and pleased with that; he is the one who is worshipped besides Allaah and is pleased that he is being worshipped besides Allaah; he is one of the heads of the taaghoots and Allaah’s refuge is sought from that and it is the same whether he is worshipped in his lifetime or after his death, if he dies whilst having been pleased with that.
3. Whoever calls people to the worship of himself; it is anyone who calls the people to worship him, even if they do not do so. He’s one of the heads of the taaghoots whether the people responded to his call or not.
4. Whoever claims to possess anything from the knowledge of the affairs of the unseen and hidden; al-ghayb is whatever is hidden and unseen by man and it of two types: That which exists at present and that which lies in the future. What is hidden in the present is a relative matter, something may be known to one person and unknown to another. But the hidden and unseen of the future is something absolute and not know to anyone except Allaah alone, or to a messenger granted such knowledge by Allaah. So whoever claims such knowledge is a disbeliever.
5. Whoever judges by other than what Allaah has revealed; judging by that which Allaah, the Most High, sent down is from the tawheed of Lordship (ar-rooboobiyyah) since it is applying the judgement of Allaah, which pertains to His Lordship and His complete sovereignty and authority.
Therefore Allaah, the Most High, calls those who are followed upon other than what Allaah sent down ‘lords’ for their followers. He says:
“They have taken their learned men and their rabbis as lord besides Allaah, and also the Messiah, the son of Mary. But they were not commanded except to worship Allaah alone. None has the right to be worshipped except Him. How free and far removed is Allaah from the partners they associate with Him.” [At-Tawbah 9:31]
So Allaah calls those who are followed ‘lords’ since they are taken as legislators along with Allaah, the Most High, and He called them those who followed them their worshippers/devotees due to their having submitted to them and obeyed them in contradiction to the judgement of Allaah, the Perfect and Most High. ‘Adiyy ibn Haatim said to Allaah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) that they did not worship them, to which the Prophet replied:
“Indeed they used to prohibit lawful things for them, and make lawful that which is forbidden for them, and they followed them – so that is their worship of them.” [Ahmad and Tirdmidhi] (Authenticated by Al-Albaanee)
Source : A Gift For The Intellect In Explanation Of The Three Fundamental Principles Of Islaam – By Sheikh Ubaid Al-Jaabiree (Hafizahullah)