Friday, 27 May 2011

Tauheed or Shirk - unity of Allah - Meaning - Difference

Allama Syed Ahmed Sa'eed Kaazmi Shah Saheb (Alaihi
rahma) was a great Aalim, Scholar and a specialist
in the Field of Hadith and Tafseer, to which he made
a voluminous contribution. He earned the title of "Ghazzali-e-Zamaan"
or "The Ghazzali of the Age". In this treatise, he
clearly distinguishes between "Shirk" and "Tauheed".
He does so in an extremely simple manner, so that
all Muslims are able to understand. This policy of
his is based on the principle of education and the
acquisition of knowledge which is compulsory in the
life of all Muslims, man or woman.

The aim of the writer is not one of trivial argument
and discussion based on hearsay, rather, it is to
make the public aware and to educate them on
practices followed by the first generation of
Muslims, yet these practices are mocked by a few
"enlightened Modern-day" Muslims.

May Allah assist and guide those Muslims who are
instrumental in producing this book and all those
involved in the protection of the pristine faith of
Islam. Aameen.

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Being of the Almighty Allah is indeed One. It is
only those who are ignorant and persist in being
ignorant need an explanation on how Almighty Allah
is One and is actually Present. Those who are
Allah-conscious do not desire an explanation on this
subject of Tauheed and Shirk. They in fact accept
without questioning. There is a famous proverb in
the Arabic language which is as follows: Al Ashyaa'u
tu'rafa bi azdaadihi - "Objects are indeed
understood by its opposites."

For example, peace can only be understood and
appreciated by that person who has felt and
experienced anxiety. That person though who has not
felt anxiety, cannot appreciate peace. In the same
manner, Day cannot be understood if a person has not
experienced the Night. Likewise, if a person has not
comprehended misguidance how is it possible for him
to understand guidance? Using this very principle,
we may ask, if a person has not understood "Shirk"
or Polytheism, how is it possible for him to
appreciate or comprehend "Tauheed" or Monotheism? It
is, therefore, only logical that after we have
understood Shirk can we then understand Tauheed.

The Almighty Allah has in fact very clearly
explained the action Shirk and Tauheed, thereby
completely eradicating the concept of non-religion.
It is very surprising that after explaining the
differences in the concept of Tauheed and Shirk so
clearly, there are still doubts in the minds of
those whose sole duty it is to destroy the concept
or fundamentals of unity found in Islam.


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. If
any individual believes that another possesses these
Attributes, he will be guilty of Shirk.


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


Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters, 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, also 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 non-bestowed, while the
attribute of living which we posses is one which we
have been bestowed with by Allah. The attribute of
living which He has bestowed upon us is temporary
and non-eternal, while His Attribute of Living is
Eternal and non-bestowed.

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 Muslims whose sole aim is
to deprive Islam of its unity, peace and harmony,
intentionally make it difficult so that the
simple-minded Muslims become confused and misguided.


answer to this 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 the
Almighty Allah Possesses Power and Authority. We
also know that He has created these attributes
within man. You may well ask, if both possess power
and authority, then what is the difference? The
answer to this is quite simple. If one applies the
above law and principle, there is no doubt that the
Almighty Allah Possesses Power and Authority, yet,
although possessing these Attributes, He is not
subservient to anyone, neither have these Attributes
been given to Him by anyone. His slave, man, 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. The 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 the Almighty Allah
and His slave.

We understand that if an attribute which is
conferred to any slave has been bestowed upon the
slave by the Almighty Allah, then this belief cannot
be labeled as Shirk. For example, if we relate the
quality of "hearing" to a slave, we must therefore
believe that this attribute of "hearing" has been
bestowed upon the slave by the Grace of Allah, then
this belief cannot be termed Shirk.

At this point an important question arises. Applying
the above principle, we ask, 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 to this question is quite clear and
simple. When the Idol worshipper believed that their
Idols were a creation of Allah, they also should
have believed that the slave is undoubtedly 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 to complete
(Allah forbid!) because their Idols could do
whatever it 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 to
totally 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 the 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. Any person who believes that Almighty
Allah has given His certain slave God-head and
Divinity has committed Shirk. There is no doubt in
this. 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


Almighty Allah states in the Holy Quran: Man zal
lazi yashfa'u indahoo illa bi izni. "Who is it that
can intercede with Him, except with His permission."
(Surah Baqara: Verse 225)

From this Quranic injunction, an important fact is
becoming apparent to us. Almighty Allah is quite
clearly stating to us that not everyone will be
given permission 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
and hold high esteem of 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 the Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu
alaihi wasallam) as proven by many authentic
sources. Thereafter, the other Prophets, the Martyrs
(Shuhada), the Saints, etc. Another important fact
we must always bear in mind is that if an individual
performs a duty without the Permission of Allah,
then this would be considered Shirk, whereas if a
duty has been allocated, as will be discussed
shortly, then this cannot be considered Shirk.

The Holy Quran 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. He states: Wa ubri'ul akmaha wal
abrasa wa uh'yil mawta bi iznillahi - "I heal those
who are born blind and the leper and I raise the
dead by Allah's permission." (Surah Ale Imraan:
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 has said, "these duties are performed
through the permission 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 great 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.

If one questions this and states that a Muslim
cannot perform these amazing duties (of miracles and
interceding) then he is contradicting numerous
Quranic verses and Ahadith wherein amazing qualities
and attributes of the special servants of Allah are


Every creation of the Almighty Allah has been
created for some specific reason and purpose,
namely, the sun, the trees, water, the wind.
Explaining the purpose for the creation of Man, the
Almighty Allah states: Wa ma khalaqtul Jinna wal
insa illa liya'budun - "I have not created Man and
Jinn, but that they worship Me." (Ad Dhaariyat:
Verse 56)

Worship can only be performed if there is
recognition. In other words, mankind and Jinn have
been created to recognize the Almighty Allah. The
question that arises is, what is the outcome of this
recognition? It means that the more we recognize
Allah, the more we worship Him.

From the above discussion we come to realize that
mankind has been created to recognize Allah, and by
doing so we become closer. In other words, closeness
to Allah is the pinnacle of glory in the life of

By understanding this, we must examine its
connotation, it's results and it's meaning in the
light of Islamic Law.

There is a Hadith-e-Qudsi found in the Sahih Bukhari
explaining this: The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi
wasallam) has explained that the 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 Nafil
(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."

Some individuals state that only after achieving
this status does the slave refrain from all bad
deeds. This thought is a flagrant misinterpretation
of the Tradition, for any person possessing a little
common sense will tell you that after refraining
from all bad deeds, does the slave achieve this
status. In other words, after he has adopted piety
and abstinence, does he stand any chance of becoming
the beloved.

In the following verse, Almighty Allah is explaining
how we can achieve His closeness. He states: Kul in
kuntum tuhiboonal laaha fattabi'ooni yuh'bibkumul
laahu - "Say (O Muhammad to them), if you love Allah
follow me, Allah will love you." (Surah Ale Imraan:
Verse 31)

In other words, after we have adopted piety and
abstinence in following the Holy Prophet (sallal
laahu alaihi wasallam), will we have any chance of
becoming a beloved? The slave first refrains from
bad deeds and actions. He then performs the Fardh
and Nafil acts continuously. Then only does he
become the beloved. It is not possible for him to
continue performing evil deeds and still feels he
can become the beloved servant of Allah.

Imam Fakhrudeen Raazi (radi Allahu anhu) in his
"Tafseer Kabeer", explains the above Hadith: "In the
same manner, if the slave continuously adopts good
deeds, then he indeed reaches that stage of which
the 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."

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 it has
been given to him by Almighty Allah, and we still
believe that the slave is the servant of Allah and
is still subservient to Him. This is the belief of
all Muslims.

When we have understood and accepted this, the
difference between Tauheed and Shirk becomes quite
clear, yet, unfortunately, there are certain
individuals who state that they believe in Allah,
yet consider asking His beloved slaves for
assistance as Shirk. If this indeed be their faith,
then what, we ask of you, is Kufr?

It also seems to be the habit of these "believers"
to relate verses meant for the Kufaar towards
Muslims, perhaps they are merely following the habit
of their forefathers. It is recorded in the Sahih
Bukhari, that Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Omar (radi Allahu
anhuma) used to despise the Khaariji sect the most.
Why? Let us see. He considered them the worst of
creation. He used 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."



Some individual has asked this question, and we feel
that it should be answered. The question is this: we
accept that the beloved slave of Allah possesses all
these magnificent attributes. We accept that he can
assist and help. Yet, are not all these attributes
only prevalent in him when he is in this world, for
when he dies, will not his body become a heap of
sand and rubble? When it does become a heap of sand,
will not all the attributes found in him will be
immediately nullified?


This doubt, in fact, has only been created, for we
have merely considered Man to be a combination of
flesh and bones. This manner of thinking is indeed
incorrect, for the essence of man is not flesh and
bones, rather it is the soul. The soul, unlike the
flesh and bones, never dies. If we accept that his
soul will die, then how will he experience the
punishment and reward within the grave? Describing
the condition within the grave, the Prophet (sallal
laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated that the grave is
sometimes a Garden of Paradise and sometimes a Pit
of Hell.

We, therefore, logically ask: for who is this grave
sometimes a Pit of Hell or sometimes a Garden of
Paradise? It is, without doubt, for the soul which
is still alive. The soul always has a connection
with the body even if the body, described as the
rays of the sun, even though it may manifest itself
on a heap of sand, on a tree or on the roof of a
house, it still has a relationship with the sun.

So we judge from this that the essence of man is the
soul, it is this which enables him to assist us in
times of need and anxiety.

Another query that seems to confuse people is: how
is it that we cannot see the punishment or reward
experienced by the body or the soul? The answer to
this is simple. The happenings of the grave are
being experienced within the Aalam-e-Barzakh, a
world in itself which means, "The Screened World." A
logical explanation of this would be that if a
person complains about a headache and although the
pain he is experiencing is an absolute reality, we
cannot perceive it or even comprehend it simply
because the pain is screened from our eyes.
Similarly, punishment and reward is experienced
within the grave.

Another example would be of a person dreaming.
Although he is seeing himself burning, we cannot see
him burning or receiving a gift, for the simple
reason is that his life in that context is screened
from our eyes.


It is reported in the Ahadith that when the person
is placed within the grave, the grave squeezes him,
be he Muslim or non-Muslim. The earth could be
described as "the mother", for man has been created
from sand. Therefore, it stands to reason that all
will return to her. Some of her children who have
adopted piety and abstinence, they she will be
welcomed and agreeably received. Those, on the other
hand, who have adopted disgraceful behavior and
dishonor, she will receive them, not welcome them,
but rather to punish them. This example clearly
describes how a Muslim and non-Muslim will be
treated in the grave. It will welcome the Muslim as
a mother caressing her child, while she will squeeze
the disbeliever till his ribs appear on opposite
sides. This illustrates that the soul never dies and
that the reward or punishment within the grave is a

Let us return to the discussion describing the
magnificent attributes possessed by the beloved
slaves of Allah. Having proven that his soul and
body still possesses these attributes, it means that
he can still assist us, traverse miles on end,
listen and see things far and near. When he can
still do these things with the Permission of Allah,
then how can any sane person term it as being as
Shirk if we ask them to assist us?

In the Tirmidhi Shareef, Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas (radi
Allahu anhuma) narrates that a Sahaba once pitched
his tent on a plot of ground without realizing that
he was doing so over a grave. After a while, he
realized that his tent was over a grave for he could
hear the recital of the Surah Mulk. He related the
entire episode to the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi
wasallam), who replied that the recital of Surah
Mulk indeed assists the person within the grave and
protects him from pain and punishment.

From this episode, we see that the beloved servants
of Allah are still alive within their graves, or
else the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)
would have merely disregarded the entire incident.
But he did not do so. Rather, he commented on the
excellences of the Surah Mulk, which means that he
also accepted that the beloved servants of Allah are
still alive within their graves.

Let us relate another incident from the period of
the companions. It is recorded that in the period of
Hazrat Mu'awwiya (radi Allahu anhu) a canal was dug
between Mecca and Medina. Co-incidentally, the canal
passed through that plot of land where the Shuhada
(Martyrs) of Uhud lay buried. A person while digging
accidentally cut the foot of a Shaheed with a spade.
As a result of this, blood began to flow from the
blessed foot. We learn from this incident that aside
from their souls, even the bodies of these great and
beloved servants of Allah are alive. This incident
is narrated in "Jazbul Quloob" by Shaikh Muhaddith
Dehelvi (radi Allahu anhu) and "Sharahus Sudur" by
Imam Jallaludeen Suyutwi (radi Allahu anhu).

Let us now quote another example from the period of
the Taabe'ins. Imam Abu Na'eem (radi Allahu anhu) in
his book, "Hilyatul Awliya", narrates from Hazrat
Sa'eed (radi Allahu anhu). The great saint states,
"By Allah, Hameed Taweel (radi Allahu Anhu) and
myself were burying Hazrat Thaabit Nibhaani (radi
Allahu anhu). As we were setting the final rocks,
one rock accidentally fell into the grave. As I
peeped into the grave, I saw that Hazrat Thaabit
Nibhaani (radi allahu anhu) was about to perform the
Salaah and he was imploring Allah in the following
manner, 'O Allah, You have given certain of Your
creation the Permission to perform their Salaah
within the grave, give me also the same permission'.
It was indeed beyond the Mercy of Allah to refuse

N.B.: Hazrat Thaabit bin Aslam Nibhaani Basri (radi
Allahu anhu) was a Taabi'in. He has narrated Ahadith
from Hazrat Anas (radi Allahu anhu) and various
other Companions. Shuba states that he used to
complete the recitation of the Holy Quran in one day
and night. He also used to fast during the day. Abu
Bakr Al Muzni states that he had not seen a more
pious person than Thaabit bin Aslam (radi Allahu
anhu). ("Kashfun Noor", Imam Abdul Gani Naablisi,
pg. 9)

Imam Baihaqi (radi Allahu anhu) narrates from Qazi
Nishapuri Ebrahim (radi Allahu anhu) who states
that, "A pious woman passed away. Among those that
were present for her Janazah was a coffin thief, who
attended only with the intention of noticing where
she was being buried. As darkness set in, he dug the
grave and was about to steal the coffin when the
pious lady exclaimed, 'By Allah, how strange that a
dweller of Paradise is stealing the coffin of
another dweller of Paradise'. She explained that
whosoever took part in her Janazah, Allah would
forgive them, and that the coffin thief took part in
the Janazah. The thief immediately covered the grave
and repented with a true heart."

Indeed this is the greatness of the beloved servants
of Allah, that one goes to them as a thief and
returns as a Saint himself.

It is reported in the Hadith-e-Qudsi that the
Almighty Allah has stated:

"When My slave, becomes My beloved, then his words
and attributes become the mirror of My Words and
Attributes. Whatever he pleads for, I bestow it upon
him. If he seeks refuge in Me, I protect him."

As we have seen, all these gifts are still found in
the beloved servants of Allah even after they have
departed from this world. It is due solely to this
that the believing Muslims visit the graves of the
Saints for they are indeed people who have been
promised the Mercy and Assistance of Allah. We
derive from these proofs, that if an individual goes
to the Mazaar of a great Saint and implores to him
in this manner, "O beloved servant of Allah, you are
indeed the beloved slave of Allah. Please ask the
Almighty on my behalf," how, we ask of you, can this
be termed Shirk, when the Almighty Allah Himself has
promised them all these gifts?

After considering these facts, if any person feels
that he cannot achieve any help and assistance by
visiting a Mazaar of a great Saint, then he has not
in any way insulted the Saint, rather he has doubted
the promise of Allah whereas Allah has promised his
slaves His assistance.

Till now, we have proved that help and assistance
that can be rendered by the beloved slaves of Allah
in this world and in the Aalam-e-Barzakh, the
question is: will they be able to assist us in the

The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has
already given this answer. He has stated: "The Ulema,
the Hufaaz, and the Shuhada of my followers will
indeed intercede on the Day of Judgment. Even the
infant whose parents are Muslims will intercede."
If, as some misled individuals say, that it is Shirk
to ask the creation for assistance, then how will
these above mentioned beloved slaves help us on the
Day of Judgment. This again is proof that it is not
Shirk to ask them in this world either!

The events that will take place on the Day of
Judgment are clear to all. We know that mankind will
go to each Prophet (alaihimus salaam) seeking
assistance, when finally they reach the Holy Prophet
(sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), he will say, "I am
for it (that is, I am that person who will intercede
for you)."

He will then go into prostration and Praise the
Almighty Allah, after which the Almighty Allah will
say, "O Muhammad! Raise your head. Speak you shall
be listened to. Ask, it shall be given to you.
Intercede, your intercession will be accepted."

The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) will then
intercede. After him, the great Prophets and Saints.
If it is Shirk to ask the beloved servants of Allah
for assistance, how will it be permissible on the
Day of Judgment? We suggest to those who consider
this action as Shirk to voice their opinion on the
Day of Judgment, perhaps they will be amply
"rewarded" for their folly.

May the Almighty Allah bestow upon people the Imaan
to differentiate correctly between Shirk and Tauheed.


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