Understanding Tauheed and Shirk
The Being of the Almighty Allah is indeed One. It is only those who are ignorant and persist on being ignorant who say that we commit Shirk when we talk about certain qualities which the servants of Allah possess.
The meaning of Tauheed is to believe that there is no partner to Allah in His Being and in His Attributes. In other words, how Almighty Allah is, we do not believe that there is another being like Him. If any person believes on the contrary, then his belief would constitute Shirk. We should remember that the attributes of Allah, among others, include the act of Listening, Seeing and Possessing Knowledge.
After we have understood the meaning of Tauheed, the natural question that arises is, if knowledge, which is one of the Attributes of Allah, is ascribed for another individual, will this really mean that we are guilty of Shirk? We know that Listening and Seeing are also among the Attributes of Allah. If we prove these very attributes for another individual, will we be guilty of Shirk? In the very same manner, the Attributes of Living is also among the Attributes of Allah. If we ascribe this attribute for another individual will we again be guilty of Shirk?
Dear Muslims, do not be deceived by those who hope to mislead you. You should remember that indeed Almighty Allah possesses the Attribute of “Living”, yet He has, through His Mercy, bestowed upon His creation this very quality. The attribute of living though, which we relate to ourselves, is not the same Attribute of Living as we relate to Allah. The difference is that His Attribute of Living is Eternal and non-bestowed, while the attribute of living which we possess is one which we have been bestowed with by Allah and is temporary and non-eternal.
If this principle and law is applied to all qualities and attributes, then the question of Shirk will never arise. It is simple, yet, as we have mentioned earlier, those so-called Muslims whose sole aim is to deprive Islam of its peace and harmony, intentionally make it difficult so that the simple-minded Muslims become confused and misguided.
Has Almighty Allah given man power and authority? The answer is quite simple. If man has not been given power and authority, then what indeed is the difference between him and stone? We know that Almighty Allah possesses Power and Authority. We also know that He has created these attributes within man. You may ask, if both possess power and authority, then what is the difference? There is no doubt that Almighty Allah possesses Power and Authority, but, He is not subservient to anyone, neither have these Attributes been given to Him by anyone. His servant on the other hand, possesses these attributes of power and authority, yet, he is still subservient to the Almighty Allah, and these attributes are not his, rather they have been bestowed upon him by the Almighty Allah.
This very same principle as explained above, can be applicable to the question of Knowledge, Seeing, Listening, and other Attributes. Almighty Allah possesses these Attributes and so does the slave. No one has given these Qualities to Allah, whilst the slave, on the other hand, has been accorded these attributes by Almighty Allah. This is, in fact, one of the clear differences between Almighty Allah and His slave.
We understand that if Almighty Allah has bestowed an attribute upon the slave, then this belief cannot be labelled as Shirk. For example, if we relate the quality of “hearing” to a slave, we must therefore believe that the Grace of Allah has bestowed this attribute of “hearing” upon the slave, then this belief cannot be termed Shirk.
At this point an important question arises. Applying the above principle, why is it that we condemn the idol worshippers who also believe that their idols have been given these amazing powers by Allah. Are they not using the very same principle, which we are applying?
The answer is simple. When the idol worshippers believed that their idols were a creation of Allah, they also should have believed that the slave is indebtedly in bondage to the Creator. Without the Creator, the creation cannot come into being. They also should have believed and accepted that, as in life or in death, the slave is in need of the Creator. But, they refused to believe and accept this principle, that is, Allah’s Authority.
They began to believe that although their idols were a creation, Almighty Allah had given the idols Divinity and total “God-head”. They believed that after creating their idols, there was now no need for submission towards Almighty Allah (Allah forbid!) because their idols could do whatever they wished, even if Almighty Allah had not commanded it to do a certain thing. The idol worshippers could not understand this very simple principle, that is, that the creation can never be independent of Almighty Allah.
Indeed, Almighty Allah through His Mercy, may bestow upon His slave whatever powers He wishes, yet He would not bestow Divinity, which is Permanent and Independent, the attributes given to His slave are not permanent or even independent. The idol worshippers believed that because of the tremendous worship performed by their idols, “Laat” and “Manaat”, Almighty Allah set them free to do as they pleased. Based on this belief, the idol worshippers believed that their idols have been given Divinity and God-head. This is another difference between the Muslim and the idol worshipper. The Muslim believes that the servant of Allah will always remain a servant and can never become one possessing God-head and Divinity.
Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur’an, “Who is it that would intercede with Him, except with His permission.” [Surah 2, Verse 255] From this Qur’anic injunction, an important fact becomes apparent to us. Almighty Allah is quite clearly stating to us that no one will be able to intercede except those to whom He has given permission. It is also a warning to the idol worshippers, in that they should not believe in and hold in high esteem their idols considering that their idols have never been given permission to intercede for their worshippers. This clearly proves that their idols are totally useless.
The beloved slaves of Allah, on the other hand, have been given permission to intercede. The first to intercede will be our Beloved Master Muhammad Mustafa (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as proven by many authentic sources. Thereafter, the other Prophets, Martyrs, Saints, etc.
The Holy Qur’an is evidence of Hazrat Isa (Alaihis Salaam) explaining to his nation some of his amazing miracles. This serves as a reminder to all, of the power and authority bestowed by Allah upon His beloved servants. The Holy Qur’an states, “I heal those who are born blind and the leper and I make the dead alive by the command of Allah.” [Surah 3, Verse 49] We know that to perform amazing duties as explained by Hazrat Isa (Alaihis Salaam) is indeed the Grace of the Almighty Allah, yet this great Prophet is actually stating that he can perform them. Is he guilty (Allah forbid!) of committing Shirk? No, for he has clearly proven by one verse the difference between Shirk and Tauheed.
When he said, “these duties are performed through the command of Allah”, immediately, the question of Shirk is dismissed and the entire concept becomes one of Tauheed. Keeping this in mind, when Muslims state that Prophets and Saints can perform miracles and do so with the Permission of Allah, how can any sensible person call this action as being Shirk? This belief is purely Tauheed.
There is a Hadith-e-Qudsi in which Almighty Allah has stated, “He who has caused enmity with My Wali (Friend), I give him declaration of war. Among those acts through which My slave achieves My closeness, the most beloved are the Fardh (Compulsory) acts. My slave also achieves My closeness through the Nafl (Optional) deeds, till I make him into My beloved. When he becomes My beloved, I become his ears through which he listens, his eyes through which he sees, his hands by which he holds, his feet by which he walks. When he pleads to Me for anything I definitely bestow it on him. When he seeks refuge in Me from any bad deed, then I definitely save him from it.” [Sahih Bukhari]
In the following verse, Almighty Allah is explaining how we can achieve His closeness. He states, “O Beloved say you, “O people! If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you.”” [Surah 3, Verse 31] In other words, only after we have adopted piety and abstinence in following the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) will we have any chance of becoming a beloved.
In the same manner, if the slave continuously adopts good deeds, then he indeed reaches that stage of which Almighty Allah states that He becomes the slaves eye and ear. When the Magnificent Noor (Light) of Allah becomes the eye of the slave, then the slave perceives things near and distant. When this Light becomes the hand of the slave, then he, the slave, is then able to dispense with things easy and difficult, near and far. [Tafseer Kabeer]
We also come to realize from this explanation that the beloved slaves of Allah have been given the power to help and assist. Once we have proved this, how can we call it Shirk if we implore them for assistance? It can never be Shirk, for although the slave and the Creator can help and assist, remember that the Creator possesses this Attribute without it being given to Him by anyone. The slave, on the other hand, possesses these attributes after Almighty Allah has given it to him, and we still believe that the slave is the servant of Allah and is still subservient to Him.
It seems to be the habit of so-called “believers” to relate verses meant for the Kufaar towards Muslims, and to say that we are committing Shirk. Perhaps they are merely following the habit of their forefathers. It is recorded in Sahih Bukhari, that Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) used to despise the Khaariji sect the most. He considered them the worst of creation. He use to say that “these people have made it a practice of theirs, that whatever verse has been revealed against the idol worshippers, they relate these verses towards the Muslims.”
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the true understanding of Islam and save us from such corrupt people who try to mislead us and take our Imaan away from us, Ameen.
[Compiled from Tauheed Aur Shirk by Ghazzali-e-Zaman Hazrat Allama Sayyid Ahmad Sa’eed Kaazmi Rahmatullah Alaih]