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The 4 Principles Of Tawheed

Author: Shaykh-ul-Islaam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhaab [1]


the hereafter; and to bless you wherever you are, and to make you from those who are grateful when they are given, patient when they are tested, and those who seek forgiveness when they sin. For verily those are the three signs of happiness.

Know, May Allaah guide you to obeying Him, that Haneefiyyah is the religion of Ibraaheem, it is that you worship Allaah, making the religion purely for Him as He said:

“And I (Allaah) have not created the jinn and mankind except to worship Me (alone).” [51:56]

When you acknowledge that Allaah has created you for His worship, then know that worship is not regarded as such unless it is accompanied by Tawheed (Singling out Allaah alone for all Worship). Just as prayer is not regarded as prayer unless it is accompanied by purification. So when Shirk enters into worship it corrupts it just like an impurity invalidates purification.

So when you recognise that if Shirk enters into worship, it corrupts it, negates all the actions and the one who does it is eternally in the Hell Fire, then you will realize the most important matter obligatory upon you: recognition of this fact, in order that Allaah May save you from the abyss of committing Shirk with Him, about which He, the Most High said:

“Verily, Allaah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom he pleases sins other than that.” [4:116]

And this knowledge comprises of four principles, which Allaah, the Most High, has mentioned in His Book.

The First Principle is that you know, the kuffaar (disbelievers) whom the Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) fought, used to affirm that Allaah, the Most High is the Creator and Disposer of all the affairs, but that did not enter them into Islaam, and the proof is His, the Most High’s, saying:

“Say (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam): ‘Who provides for you from the sky and from the earth? Or who owns hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who disposes the affairs?’ They will say: ‘Allaah.’ Say: ‘Will you not then be afraid of Allaah’s Punishment (for setting up rivals in worship with Allaah)?’ ” [10:31]

The Second Principle: That they (the Mushrikeen) say: “We do not call and turn towards them except to seek nearness and intercession (with Allaah).” So the proof against seeking nearness (through awliyaa) is His saying:

“And those who take Awliyaa (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say): ‘We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allaah.’ Verily, Allaah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allaah guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever.” [39:3]

And the proof against intercession (through awliyaa) is His, the Most High’s, saying:

“And they worship besides Allaah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: ‘These are our intercessors with Allaah.’ ” [10:18]

And intercession is of two types, the prohibited intercession and the affirmed intercession. The prohibited intercession is that which is sought from other than Allaah concerning that which only Allaah is able to do. And the proof is His, the Most High’s, saying:

“O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Dhaalimoon (wrong-doers, etc.).” [2:254]

And the affirmed intercession is that which is sought from Allaah while the intercessor is honoured with the intercession and the one interceded for is someone whose deeds and speech are pleasing to Allaah, after He gives permissions as He, the Most High, said:

“Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission?” [2:255]

The Third Principle is that the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) encountered people differing in their worship. Amongst them were people who worshipped the angels, some who worshipped the prophets and the righteous men and others who worshipped stones, trees, the sun and the moon. The Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) fought them and did not differentiate between them. The proof is the saying of Allaah, the Most High:

“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allaah) and (all) the deen is for Allaah (Alone).” [2:193]

And the proof that the sun and moon (are worshipped) is the saying of the Most High:

“And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon.” [41:37]

And the proof that the angels (are worshipped) is the saying of the Most High:

“Nor would he order you to take angels and Prophets for lords.” [3:80]

And the proof that the Prophets (are worshipped) is the saying of the Most High:

“And when Allaah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): O Eesaa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Did you say unto men: ‘Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allaah?’ He will say: ‘Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in my inner­self though I do not know what is in Yours, truly You are the All­Knower of all that is hidden.’ ” [5:116]

And the proof that the righteous (are worshipped) is the saying of the Most High:

“Those whom they call upon desire (for themselves) means of access to their Lord (Allaah), as to which of them should be the nearest and they hope for His Mercy and fear His Torment.” [17:57]

And the proof that stones and trees (are worshipped) is His, the Most High’s, saying:

“Have you then considered Al-Laat, and Al-Uzza (two idols of the pagan Arabs). And Manaat (another idol of the pagan Arabs), the other third?” [53:19-20]

And the hadeeth of Abu Waaqid al-Laythee (radi-Allaahu 'anhu) who said:

“We departed with the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) to Hunain and we had recently left kufr. The Mushrikeen used to have a tree, which they used to devote themselves to and hang their weapons upon, they used to call it ‘Dhaat Anwaat.’ [2] We passed by a tree and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah appoint for us a Dhaat Anwaat like they have a Dhaat Anwaat.’ He said,

‘Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar! By the One in Who’s Hand is my soul these are the ways. [3] The like of what you said is what Bani Israaeel (Children of Israeel) said to Moosaa: ‘Make for us a god as they have gods.’ He said: ‘Verily, you are an ignorant people.’ [7:138] ” [4]

The Fourth Principle is that the Mushrikeen (those who worship others besides Allaah) of our time are worse in their shirk than the Mushrikeen who came before. This is because those who came before committed shirk in times of ease and made their worship purely for Allaah during times of difficulty. However, the shirk of the Mushrikeen of our time is continuous, during times of ease and difficulty. The proof is His, the Most High’s, saying:

“And when they embark on a ship, they invoke Allaah, making their Faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.” [29:65]

So based upon this, the caller (one who supplicates) then he is actually a worshipper (by this supplication) and the evidence is His, the Most High’s, saying:

“And who is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besides Allaah, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them?” [46:5]

And Allaah the Sublime knows best. Salaat and Salaam be upon Muhammad, his family and companions.


[1] He is Shaykh-ul-Islaam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhaab Bin Sulaymaan, born in the year 1115 A.H. corresponding to 1703 CE, in the city of Uyainah, 70-km north-west of Riyadh. He was a great scholar and a caller to pure Tawheed and following of the Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). He wrote many books, one of the most famous of which is his excellent work called ‘Kitaab at-Tawheed’ which contains excellent chapters on various issues of Tawheed. The Shaykh (?) died in the year 1206 A.H. corresponding to 1792 CE.

[2] Anwaat is the plural of ‘nawt’ which means clinging or hanging i.e something upon which things are hung. They used to hang their weapons on it to seek blessing from it. So some of the companions uttered this statement as they had recently accepted Islaam and they were still not fully aware of Tawheed. [Taken from ‘Explanation of the Four Principles’ by Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan]

[3] Means the paths which the people travel along, some of them following others. So the reason which led you to this is following the ways of those who came before you and imitation of the Mushrikeen. [Taken from ‘Explanation of the Four Principles’ by Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan]

[4] Reported by at-Tirmidhee (2180) who said the hadeeth is Hasan Saheeh, Ahmad (5/218), Ibn Abi Aasim in As-Sunnah (76), Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh (6702) and it was authenticated by Ibn Hajr al Asqalaanee in al-Isaabah (4/216).


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