The Pillars Of Laa Illaaha Illallaah
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan
Laa ilaaha illa-Allaah: Its Meaning, Requirements and Effects upon the Individual and Society. The declaration of Faith (ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illallaah) has two pillars. The first pillar is the pillar of negation (nafee), whilst the second is the pillar of affirmation (ithbaat). What is meant by negation is to negate divinity and worship (ilaahiyyah) for anything except Allaah, the Most High. What is meant by affirmation is to affirm divinity and worship only for Allaah the Most Perfect; for it is He alone that is the True Deity. So whatever else is taken by the unbelievers as deities to be worshipped are in fact all false and futile:
“ ” [Soorah al-Hajj 22:62]
Shaykh-ul-Islaam ibnul-Qayyim said: “The significance of laa ilaaha illallaah in affirming divinity and worship for only Allaah is far greater than just saying that Allaah is an ilaah. This is because the saying that Allaah is an ilaah does not negate divinity and worship to other than Allaah. This is different to the saying: laa ilaaha illallaah; which obligates restricting divinity and worship to only Allaah. Likewise, those who explain al-ilaah to mean: The one who has the ability to create and originate (al-qaadir ‘alal-ikhtiraa) have, for sure, committed a grave error.
”Shaykh Sulaymaan ibn ‘Abdullaah said in his explanation to Kitaab at-Tawheed: “If it is said: The meaning of deity (ilaah) and divinity (ilaahiyyah) have been clarified, but what is the reply to those who say that the meaning of al-ilaah is: The one who has the ability to create and originate; or other such similar expressions? Then the answer to this is from two angles:- Firstly, that this saying is a newly-invented saying which none of the scholars, nor any of the leading linguists, have ever advocated; rather the words of the scholars and linguists agree with what we have previously mentioned. Therefore, this view is false.
Secondly, Even if this is accepted then it is only an explanation of what is essential for a true ilaah. Indeed it is essential that the true ilaah be a Creator who is capable of creating and originating. If this is not the case, then that is not the true ilaah, even if he is called this. It certainly does not mean that whoever realises that ilaah means the one who is capable of creating and originating, that such a person has entered into Islaam. No one has ever said this, since it would imply that the Arab unbelievers (of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam’s, generation) would have to be considered as Muslims! If some of the later scholars did intend this, then they are mistaken, and [this view] is refuted by both textual and intellectual proofs.” [Tayseerul-‘Azeezil- Hameed (pp.56-57)]
The Shaykh also said in Bayaan Haqeeqat-ut- Tawheed (p.19): “Whoever explains the kalimah to mean just this (i.e. that Allaah is the one who creates and originates), has not affirmed anything different than what the unbelievers already affirmed. They used to affirm that none has the ability to originate, nor to create, nor to provide and sustain, nor to give life, nor to cause death, except for Allaah – just as Allaah, the Exalted mentions about them. Yet He did not declare them to be Muslims [because of this belief]. Yes, this meaning that is mentioned, enters into the overall meaning of laa ilaaha illallaah. However, it is not the main implication of this kalimah.”The Shaykh, hafidhahullaah, explained this matter further in Mujmal ‘Aqeedat-us-Salafis- Saalih (pp.10-12), where he said:
“The belief that Lordship and whatever it entails belongs solely to Allaah (Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah) is engrained in the very nature (fitrah) of man, hardly anyone amongst mankind has disputed this, to the extent that Iblees - the leader of unbelief – said:“O my Lord, because you left me to stray.” [Soorah al-Hijr 15:39]
And he said:
“By Your Might, I will surely mislead them all.” [Soorah Saad 38:82]
Thus he acknowledged that Lordship (ruboobiyyah) belongs to Allaah alone and he even took an oath by Allaah’s Might. The same is the case for the rest of the unbelievers who also acknowledged this; such as Aboo Jahl and Aboo Lahab and other leaders of unbelief who opposed [the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam]. They all acknowledged that Lordship belongs to Allaah alone – along with the fact that they were unbelievers and misguided. Allaah the Majestic said [about such unbelievers] :
“And if you asked them who created them, they would surely say: Allaah. How then are they turned away?.” [Soorah az-Zukhruf 43:87]
And Allaah, the Exalted said: “Say: Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the Great Throne? They will say: Allaah.” [Soorah al-Mu’minoon 23:86]
Allaah, the Majestic [also] said:
“Say: In whose Hand is the sovereignty of everything, Who protects all whilst against Whom there is no protector, if you do know? They will say: It belongs to Allaah.” [Soorah al-Mu’minoon 23:89-90]
Allaah, the Majestic [also] said:
“Say: Who provides for you from the sky and the earth? Or to Whom belongs hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who is the Disposer of affairs? They will say: Allaah.” [Soorah Yoonus 10:31]
So they acknowledged all of this, along with the fact that in times of difficulty and hardship they would supplicate exclusively to Allaah alone. This is because they knew that there can be no salvation from difficulty except with Allaah, the Most Perfect; knowing [also] that their deities and idols had no power at all to save them from [any] destruction. Allaah the Exalted said [about them]:
“When some harm inflicts you upon the sea, those that you call upon vanish from you, except Allaah alone. But when Allaah brings you safely to dry land, you turn away from Him. Indeed, man is ever ungrateful.” [Soorah al-Israa 17:67]
So whoever acknowledges [just] this type of tawheed, has not entered into Islaam nor will he be saved from the Hellfire. The unbelievers – as an example – acknowledged and affirmed tawheed ar-ruboobiyyah, yet their acknowledgement of it did not make them Muslims. Rather, Allaah [still] called them idol-worshippers (mushriks) and unbelievers (kuffaar) and the ruling upon them was that they would be consigned to Hellfire for eternity; even with their acknowledgement of tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah!
From this can be seen the mistake of those who – because of adopting the way of the rationalists (ahlul-kalaam) in their writings concering [Islaamic] beliefs – explain tawheed as [merely] being the affirmation that Allaah exists and that He is the sole Creator, Sustainer etc. So we say to them: This is not the belief with which Allaah sent Prophets, since the mushriks and the unbelievers – and indeed, even Iblees - already affirmed [the concept of] tawheed ar-ruboobiyyah.”Imaan Ibn Abil-‘Izz, rahimahullaah, said in Sharhul-‘Aqeedatit- Tahaawiyyah (1/28-29): “The tawheed to which the Messengers called and for which the scriptures were revealed is tawheed ul-ilaahiyyah; that Allaah alone has the right to be worshipped without ascribing any partners to Him in this, and this encompasses tawheed ar-ruboobiyyah. Indeed, the Arab mushriks used to acknowledge tawheed ar-ruboobiyyah and that the Creator of the heavens and the earth was one.”Finally, Imaam at-Tabaree relates in Jaami’ul-Bayaan ‘an Ta’weelil-Qur’ aan (13/50-51) that Ibn ‘Abbaas, radhiyallaahu ‘anhu said: ”If you ask them who created the heavens and the earth, they will reply: Allaah. Yet, along with this, they still worshipped others besides Him.”