The most important part of the call of the Messengers – Tawheedul-Uloohiyyah (Singling out Allaah with all Worship) – Shaykh Rabee

The Importance of Tawheedul-Uloohiyyah
(Singling out Allaah with all Worship)

I will discuss tawheed of Allaah with regard to worship (Tawheedul-Uloohiyyah) and its importance because of two reasons:

Firstly, that it is the most important part of the call of the Messengers presented to us in the Qur’aan, and because it was the reason for the continual struggle between them and their enemies, the proud and haughty, and the obstinate, in every nation. It has continued as the reason for conflict until this day, and perhaps it will continue as such until the Day of Resurrection, as a trial and test for the inheritors of the Messengers, and in order to raise their station.

Secondly, the most severe and dangerous deviation afflicting the Muslims in the east and the west is with regard to it, and this affects the majority of the ignorant amongst the Muslims and many of those who are educated and those who associate themselves with knowledge. So we will begin by presenting the calls of the Prophets in general, and then present the call of some of them in particular.

Allaah, the Most High, says,

“We sent a Messenger to every nation ordering them that they should worship Allaah alone, obey Him and make their worship purely for Him, and that they should avoid everything worshipped besides Allaah. So from them there were those whom Allaah guided to His religion, and there were those who were unbelievers for whom misguidance was ordained. So travel through the land and see the destruction that befell those who denied the Messengers and disbelieved.”[1]

Allaah, the Most High, says,

“We did not send any Messenger before you, O Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  , except that We revealed to him that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, so make all of your worship purely for Him.”[2]

He, the Most High, says after mentioning a number of stories of the Prophets, alayhimus-salaatu was-salaam: 

“This religion of yours is a single religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me alone.”[3] 

Allaah, the Most High, says:

“O Messengers, eat from the food which Allaah has made lawful, and do correct and righteous deeds. Indeed, I am fully aware of whatever you do. Indeed this religion of yours is a single religion, and I am your Lord so keep yourselves safe from My punishment by obeying Me.”[4]

Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer said, “Mujaahid, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr, Qataadah and Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Zayd ibn Aslam said about the saying of Allaah, the Most High,  which means, ‘Your religion is one.’[5] Then the meaning of these two Aayaat occurs in the Sunnah in his (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   saying, “I am the closest of the people to ‘Eesaa ibn Maryam in this world and the Hereafter. The Prophets are brothers, their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”[6]

Also Allaah, the Most High, says about the Messengers who were firmest in determination (oolul-‘adham), alayhimus-salaatu was -salaam:

“Your Lord prescribed for you O people, the same religion which He prescribed for Nooh, and that which We revealed to you O Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ), and which He prescribed for Ibraaheem, and Moosaa, and ’Eesaa, that you should establish the religion, acting upon what is prescribed, and not split into sects with regard to it. It is intolerable to the polytheists that you call them to sincerely worship Allaah alone and reject worship of all else besides Him. But Allaah chooses for His religion whomever He pleases and He guides those who turn to Him in repentance and obedience, to act in obedience to Him, and to follow the guidance with which He sent His Messenger.”[7]

This was the call of all the Prophets, and at the head of them the Messengers who were firmest in determination. So the Prophets who numbered one hundred and twenty four thousand [8] followed a single methodology in their call, and began from a single starting point which is tawheed, the greatest issue and most important principle which they conveyed to all mankind, throughout the ages and despite their varying societies, lands and times.

This is a proof that this is the single way which must be followed in calling the people to Allaah, and it is something laid down by Allaah to be followed by all of His Prophets and their true and sincere followers. It is not permissible to change or replace it, nor to turn away from it.

Examples From the Calls of Some of the Messengers

Allaah, the Most High, has informed us about some of the individuals from the greater Prophets, and how they faced their people. We see that all of them proceeded upon the universal way laid down for them by Allaah and they followed the methodology established for all of them by Allaah. Not a single one of them is at variance with it. Allaah, the Most High, says,

“And We sent Nooh to his people saying, ‘I am a clear warner sent to you, that you should worship none besides Allaah. Indeed, if you do not make all your worship purely for Him I fear for you the torment of a painful Day.’ The chiefs of the disbelievers amongst his people said, ‘We see that you are but a man like ourselves and we do not see you followed except by the lowest of the people, in what is apparent to us. Nor do we see that you have any excellence over us, rather we think that you are a liar.’”[9]

Allaah, the Most High, says,

“And to ’Aad We sent Hood, saying, ‘O my people worship Allaah, making all of your worship purely for Him, since there is none besides Him having the right to be worshipped by you. Will you not fear your Lord?’ The leaders of those who disbelieved amongst his people said, ‘We see you upon error (due to your abandonment of our religion and worship of our gods) and we think that you are a liar (in claiming to be a Messenger from the Lord of the Worlds).’ He said, ‘O my People, I am not upon error, I am indeed a Messenger sent by the Lord of the Worlds. I convey to you the Message of my Lord and am sincere in my advice and faithful to my trust. Do you wonder that Allaah should send admonition for you through a man from amongst you, warning you of Allaah’s punishment and to fear Him? And remember the blessings of Allaah upon you in that He made you successors to the people of Nooh (after drowning them for their unbelief and denial of their Messenger), and He increased you in height and size. So remember the favours bestowed upon you by Allaah, so that you may be successful.’ They said, ‘Do you come to us warning us of punishment from Allaah for that which we practise as religion, so that we should instead worship Allaah alone and forsake what our fathers used to worship? We will not do that, so bring us the punishment which you threaten us with if you are truthful.’ He said, ‘Allaah’s punishment and wrath have become unavoidable for you. Do you dispute with me about mere idols which you and your fathers have given names to, things which can neither bring harm nor benefit, and Allaah has given no proof or excuse for their worship? Then wait for Allaah’s judgement between us, I too shall wait.’ So We saved Hood and those with him through Our Mercy (due to their eemaan and their worship of Allaah alone), and we annihilated those who rejected Our signs and were not Believers.”[10]

This was the call of the Messengers, all of them followed this methodology in their da’wah to Allaah: they called first to the tawheed of Allaah, and that He alone must be singled out with all worship. Then their people opposed them because of this, except those whom Allaah guided, facing them with mockery, charging them with being liars and seeking to ridicule them. As Allaah, the Most High, says:

“Many Prophets were sent to the earlier peoples, and no Prophet came to them except that the people met him with mockery.”[11]

There is nothing more severe and hurtful to lofty believing souls than accusations of falsehood, ridicule and mockery. These things are more hurtful to them than being struck with swords and imprisonment and punishment. This fact is mentioned by the Arab poet who said, “Being harmed by close relatives is more painful to the soul than being struck with a sharpened sword.”

’Aa’ishah, radiyallaahu ’anhaa, asked the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  , “Has there been a day more severe upon you than the Day of Uhud?” So he said, “Your tribe has troubled me greatly, and the most troublesome thing which I experienced from them was on the day of ’Aqabah when I presented myself to ’Abd Yaaleel ibn ’Abd Kulaal and he didn’t respond as I had hoped. So I returned overwhelmed with sorrow and did not recover until I reached Qarnuth-Tha’aalib.[12] I raised my head and saw a cloud shading me, then I looked and saw Jibreel in it, and he called me saying, ‘Allaah has heard what your people said to you and their reply, and Allaah has sent the Angel of the mountains to you, for you to order him to do whatever you wish.’ So the Angel of the mountains called me and greeted me with salaam and then said, ‘O Muhammad, Allaah has heard what your people said to you, and I am the Angel of the mountains, and my Lord has sent me to you for you to order me as you wish. So what do you wish?’ So Allaah’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   said, “No, rather I hope that from their offspring will come those who will worship Allaah alone and not worship anything else besides Him.”[13]

This hadeeth clearly shows the da’wah of Allaah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and his perseverance in that, and his mildness with his people. See how he was patient with them and asked for them to be spared from destruction which would have wiped them out. He instead hoped for good from Allaah, and hoped that from their offspring would come those who worshipped Allaah alone, not worshipping anything besides Him. Indeed what a noble and lofty goal, which is not realized except by those who taste the blessing of tawheed and know its station.

The books of Seerah[14] detail some of the answers given by those who mocked him and their scornful stance when he invited them to Islaam. They mention that he went to a number of the nobles and leaders of the tribe of Thaqeef, and they were three brothers, ’Abd Yaleel, Mas’ood and Habeeb… and he sat with them and called them to Allaah and asked them to support Islaam and stand with him against those of his people who opposed him. So one of them said, “If it is actually true that Allaah has sent you, then He is tearing down the covering of the Ka’bah.” The second said, “Could Allaah not find anyone to send but you?” The third said, “By Allaah, I will never speak with you. If you are truly a Messenger from Allaah as you claim, then you are more serious than to have me reply to your words, and if you are lying against Allaah then it is not proper that I should ever speak to you.” So Allaah’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   left having despaired of good from Thaqeef.[15]

What we see from the hadeeth and the stroy is that mockery and scorn and harm caused by the foolish idolaters was more severe to the Prophets than any other trouble, even more so than the fierce battles in which lives are spent and the blood of their pure companions is shed. Indeed on the Day of Uhud more than seventy Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   were martyred.[16] Amongst them: Mus’ab ibn ’Umayr,[17] and Hamzah ibn ’Abdil- Muttalib[18] the paternal uncle of Allaah’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  , and Allaah’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   was injured in the face and his incisor was broken.[19] He also suffered along with his Companions at the hands of the hypocrites, and suffered great harm and hardship before that in Makkah, and at Badr and other battles. Yet despite all of this, the severest trouble which he faced was on the Day of Taa’if because of the mockery and contempt which he faced to such a degree that it is unbearable for pure souls. Furthermore Allaah’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   said, Those who suffered the severest trials are the Prophets, then those who are most like them, then those who are most like them after that.[20]

So those who are most like them, and then those who are next closest are those who proceed upon their methodology in calling to Allaah, and called to what they called to, i.e. to the tawheed of Allaah and that He is to be singled out with all worship, and to rejection of all shirk (attribution of any form or part of worship to anyone besides Allaah). Such people will suffer similar harm and trials as suffered by the Prophets who are their example. It is because of this fact that you see many of the callers departing away from this difficult methodology, and this rugged path, since the caller who follows it will have to face opposition from his mother, his father, his brother, his friends and those whom he loves. He will be opposed by the society which will treat him as an enemy and seek to mock and harm him. So many callers divert their attention to other aspects of Islaam which do have their place, and are not denied by anyone who truly believes in Allaah, except that those aspects do not involve that difficulty and hardship and do not bring about mockery and harm particularly in Islamic societies. This is because the majority of the people of the ummah of Islaam are willing to gather around these type of callers, and they throw praise and honour upon them instead of mockery and harm, unless they pose a threat to the rulers and are a danger to their positions, in which case they suppress them brutally. For example political parties which oppose the rulers and threaten to dethrone them. In such a case the rulers will show no love to relatives or friends, Muslims or disbelievers.

Then in any case we say to those callers: no matter how much noise they make, and no matter how high they raise their voices in the name of Islaam, restrain yourselves because you have left the way prescribed by Allaah and His Straight Path, upon which the Prophets and their followers proceeded in calling to tawheed of Allaah and to making the religion purely for Him. So no matter how much you speak and raise your voices in the name of Islaam, you are still deviating from the methodology of the Prophets which was laid down by Allaah. No matter how much effort you expend, and how much you manage to extend your da’wah and your own methodology, you are still preoccupying yourselves with the means to the exclusion of the goal. Then what use are the means[21] if they merely harm the goal, and they themselves grow at its expense.

Indeed woe to those callers who obstinately persist upon the methodologies which they themselves have innovated, those who fight against the methodology of the Prophets in calling to the tawheed of Allaah, beneath dazzling banners and slogans which captivate the simple minded and those ignorant of the methodology and way of the Prophets.

Footnotes

[1] Soorah an-Nahl (16):36.

[2] Soorah al-Ambiyaa (21):25.

[3] Soorah al-Ambiyaa (21):92.

[4] Soorah al-Muminoon (23):51-52.

[5] Tafseer Ibn Katheer (5/365).

[6] Reported by al-Bukhaaree (Eng. trans. 4/434 no.652) and Muslim (Eng. trans. 4/1260 no.5834).

[7] Soorah ash-Shooraa (42):13.

[8] As shown by the hadeeth of Aboo Dharr, reported by al-Bukhaaree in, at-Taareekhul-Kabeer (5/447), and Ahmad in al-Musnad (5/178 and 179) by way of al-Mas’oodee, from Aboo ’Umar ad-Dimashqee, from ’Ubayd ibn al-Hashaas, from Aboo Dharr. It is also reported by Ibn Hibbaan as occurs in al-Mawaarid (no.94), and Aboo Nu’aym in al-Hilyah (1/166-168) and he indicated other chains of narration from Aboo Dharr. It is also reported by Ahmad (5/265), Ibn Abee Haatim in his Tafseer (quoted by Ibn Katheer (2/324), and at-Tabaraanee (8/258)). It also has a further chain of narration from Aboo Umaamah quoting the number of the Messengers (Rusul) which is three hundred and thirteen, and that is reported by at-Tabaraanee (8/139) and Ibn Hibbaan, as occurs in al-Mawaarid (no.2085). Ibn Katheer said, “It is reported by at-Tabaraanee and its narrators are those of the Saheeh except Ahmad ibn Khaleed al-Halabee, and he is reliable.”

[9] Soorah Hood (11):25-27.

[10] Soorah al-A’raaf (7):65-72.

[11] Soorah az-Zukhruf (43):6-7.

[12] A place between Makkah and at-Taa’if also called Qarnul-Manaazil.

[13] Reported by al-Bukhaaree (Eng. trans. 4/300 no.454) and Muslim (Eng. trans. 3/987 no.4425).

[14] Books about the life of the Prophet (ﷺ).

[15] Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah,’(3/135) and ad-Durar Fikhtisaaril-Maghaazee was-Siyaar (p.35) of Ibn ’Abdul-Barr.

[16] Al-Bukhaaree, rahimahullaah, said, (Eng. trans. 5/279 ch. 25), “Chapter: The Muslims who were killed on the Day of Uhud… ’Amr ibn ’Alee narrated to us: Mu’aadh ibn Hishaam narrated to us, saying: My father narrated to me from: Qataadah, who said, ‘We do not know of any tribe amongst the Arabs who lost more martyrs, and will have superiority on the Day of Resurrection, than the Ansaar.’ And Qataadah said: Anas ibn Maalik narrated to us: that seventy of the Ansaar were martyred on the day of Uhud, and seventy on the day of Bir Ma’oonah, and seventy on the day of al-Yamaamah.

[17] From Khabbaab, radiyallaahu ’anhu, who said, “We emigrated along with the Prophet (ﷺ) seeking thereby only the Face of Allaah, so our reward became assured with Allaah. Then there were some of us who died not having taken anything from his reward. From them was Mus’ab ibn ’Umayr who was killed on the day of Uhud and did not leave anything behind except a small striped sheet. When we covered his head with it his feet were uncovered, and when we covered his feet with it his head was uncovered. So the Prophet said, ‘Cover his head with it, and place idhkhir (a sweet smelling rush) upon his feet.’” (Reported by al- Bukhaaree (Eng. trans.5/281/no. 408), Muslim (Eng. trans. 2/446/no. 2050 ), Ahmad and an- Nasaa’ee.

[18] The story of his martyrdom is to be found in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (Eng. trans. 5/74-277/no. 399 ) and the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad (3/500-501).

[19] From Anas, radiyallaahu ‘anhu, who said: “On the day of Uhud the Prophet (ﷺ) was injured in the face and said, ‘How can a people who injure the face of the Prophet (ﷺ) be successful?’ And so the Aayah, “Not for you is the decision…’ (Soorah Aal-’Imraan (3):128) was sent down.” Reported by al-Bukhaaree (Eng. trans. 5/272 ch.20 and Muslim (Eng. trans. 2/985 no.4417), and Muslim also reports (Eng. trans. 2/984/4414) the hadeeth of Sahl ibn Sa’d with the wording, “Allaah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was wounded in his face and his incisor was broken and his helmet was crushed upon his head.”

[20] Reported by Tirmidhee (4/602 no.2398), Ibn Maajah (2/1334 no. 4023), ad-Daarimee (2/228, no. 2786) and Ahmad (1/172, 174, 180, 185), all of them by way of ’Aasim ibn Abin-Nujood, who is generally acceptable (sudooq), but makes mistakes; from Mus’ab ibn Sa’d, Tirmidhee declared it to be hasan saheeh. But Tirmidhee’s declaration of its direct authenticity is debatable, and it as if he took into account other witnesses for it, since there are other supporting narrations for it:

(1) From Aboo Sa’eed al-Khudree, reported by Ibn Maajah (no. 4024), and its chain of narration is declared saheeh in az-Zawaa’id.

(2) The hadeeth of Faatimah bint al-Yamaan reported by Ahmad (6/329).

(3) The hadeeth of Aboo Hurairah indicated by Tirmidhee after reporting the original hadeeth.

[21] Rule is a means to calling to Allaah as Allaah, the Most High, says:

“Those who, when We establish them in the land, they establish the Prayer, pay the Zakaat, call the people to make all of their worship purely for Allaah, and to His obedience and to what is known by the People of eemaan to be good: And they warn against attribution of partners in worship to Allaah, and disobedience to Him.” [Soorah al-Hajj (22):41].

Source: Excerpted from  the book : “The Methodology of the Prophets in Calling to Allaah – that is the way of wisdom and intelligence” – by Shaykh Rabee’ ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee hafidhahullaah, translated by Dawud Burbank rahimahullah