Share on facebook
Share on twitter


The Issue of the Doctrine of Tauhid

Even though Salafi Muslims have been led to believe that Islam upholds the absolute unity of Allah (otherwise known as the doctrine of Tauhid) the fact is that neither the word Tauhid nor its precise formulation appears either in the Quran or in the traditions attributed to Muhammad.

In fact, Muslim authorities have readily admitted that the word Tauhid and its threefold various subset were only coined and developed centuries after Muhammad’s death and thus were unknown to him and his companions.

What makes this all the more ironic is that Tauhid literally means to unify or unite, and therefore presupposes that Allah is actually a plurality of some kind!

Tauhiyd comes from the verb wahhad which literally means TO UNITE. In Islamic terminology, it means to realize and maintain the unity of Allâh in one’s actions (inwardly and outwardly). The actual word tauhiyd does not occur in the Quran or Sunnah though the present tense of the verb (from which tauhiyd is derived) is used in Sunnah. The Prophet sent Muadh ibn Jabal as governor of Yemen in 9 A.H. He told him, “You will going to the people of the book, so first invite yuwahhidu Allâh [them to the assertion of the oneness of Allâh]”.[1]

Further, the division of tauhiyd into the components known to us today WERE NOT DONE BY THE PROPHET OR HIS COMPANIONS. It was systematically defined as such in order to convey, as concisely as possible, the simple unitarian belief of Islam. This was necessary because as Islam quickly spread to the four corners of the world, new converts began to interpret the teachings of Islam in line with their own philosophical concepts of Allâh and so confusion arose. Preconceived interpretations, all of which are blameworthy, were propagated by those who wanted to destroy Islam from the inside. The first such enemy of Islam was an Iraqi convert from Christianity named Sausan who preached man’s absolute free will while denying (qadr) Divine Decree[2]. His student, Ma`bad ibn Khalid al-Juhani[3], spread such deviant ideas until he was tried and executed by the Umayyad Caliph. There were three other such executions over the period of 26 years. The later Umayyad Caliphs were relatively more corrupt and cared less about such religious issues. At the same time, the masses were also relatively less educated about their religion. This proved to be a deadly combination. As the number of deviants increased through the liberation of various lands, apostates were no longer executed. Instead, Muslim scholars rose to execute the tide of heretics intellectually. Tauhiyd, precisely defined, EMERGED OUT OF THIS DEFENSE STRATEGY. Tauhiyd had been divided into the three following categories: tauhiyd ar-rububiyah, tauhiyd al-asma was-sifaat, and tauhiyd al-`ibadah or tauhiyd al-`uluuhiyah. Tauhiyd has been likened to a tree, the roots being tauhiyd ar-rububiyah, the trunk being tauhiyd al-asma was-sifaat, and the fruit being tauhiyd al-`ibadah. Each category of tauhiyd will now be discussed in some detail. (The Concept of Tauhiyd in Islam, 7 October 2005; bold and capital emphasis ours)



Definition and Categories:

Islam believes in ‘Tawheed’ which is not merely monotheism i.e. belief in one God, but much more. Tawheed LITERALLY MEANS ‘UNIFICATION’ i.e. ‘asserting oneness’ and is derived from the Arabic verb ‘Wahhada’ which means TO UNITE, UNIFY OR CONSOLIDATE. (Concept of God; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Isn’t it ironic that the very word which Muslims coined to denote absolute monotheism bespeaks of plurality and unification? Instead of pointing to Allah’s singularity Tauhid actually points to Allah being a plurality-within-unity, a unified being composed of separate and distinct aspects! Thus, the word Tauhid actually demonstrates that in some sense the Islamic deity is more than one.

Suffice it to say not all Muslims are happy with dividing Tauhid into three categories. In fact, some Muslims are rather quite vocal that this is nothing more than an innovation and perversion of Muhammad’s teaching!

Or consider the seventy-three-page “introduction” to volume one of this same translation, a tract that explains the Muslim TrinityTawhid al-Rububuyya, Tawhid al-Uluhiyya, and Tawhid al-Asma wa al-Sifat—the (1) Tawhid of Lordship, (2) Tawhid of Godhood, and (3) Tawhid of Names and Attributes. By way of preface to it, Dr. Khan notes that many Western converts enter Islam without knowing what belief in the Oneness of Allah really means. He clarifies that tawhid is not one; namely, to say and believe the shahada of Islam with complete conviction—as it was from the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) until the advent of Ibn Taymiya seven centuries later—as new converts might imagine, but must now be three in order to be one, and cannot be one without being three. While such logic may be already familiar to converts from Christianity, Imam Bukhari (d. 256/870) certainly never knew anything of it, and its being printed as an “introduction” to his work seems to me to qualify as “tampering with classical texts”—aside from being a re-form of traditional ‘aqida, in which Islam, in the words of the Prophet of Islam (Allah bless him and give him peace), “is to testify that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah …” (Sahih Muslim, 1.37: 8). (Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Question 3, Re-Forming Classical Texts: As far as Wahhabi tamperings with classical texts goes, how widespread is this heinous crime? Can you give some serious examples of this?; bold emphasis ours)

Another noted Sunni scholar claims:

It is related by al-Harawi from Imam al-Shafi`i, that he said, Imam Malik was asked about kalam (Theological rhetoric) and tawhid, so Malik said:

“It is foolishness to think about the Prophet, that he taught this Umma about istinja (cleaning after relieving oneself), but he did not teach them tawhid. And tawhid is what the Prophet said:

‘I was commanded to fight the people until they say: There is no Deity worthy of worship besides Allah.’” [Quoted in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

This report is true and its meaning undisputed. It shows that tawhid is One, NOT THREE. Its splitting into three IS ONE OF THE INNOVATIONS OF MISGUIDANCE that created fitna among the Muslims and is reminiscent of the Byzantine disputations. It is strange that some are still confused over this. (Shaykh Gibril Foaud Haddad, ” “Salafi” Tampering of Classical Texts ~ The `Aqida of The Imams ~, (2) Tampered Report – Imam Malik And Istawa; bold and capital emphasis ours)

And in his criticism of Ibn Taymiyya Haddad writes:

His Invention of a Double or Triple Tawhîd

Also among Ibn Taymiyya’s kalâm innovations was his division of tawhîd into two types: tawhîd al-rubûbiyya and tawhîd al-ulûhiyya, respectively, Oneness of Lordship and Oneness of Godhead. The first, he said, consisted in the acknowledgment of Allâh as the Creator of all, a belief shared by believers and non-believers alike. The second, he said, was the affirmation of Allâh as the one true deity and only object of worship, a belief exclusive to believers. His natural conclusion was that “whoever does not know tawhîd al-ulûhiyya, his knowledge of tawhîd al-rubûbiyya is not taken into account because the idolaters also had such knowledge.” He then compared the scholars of kalâm to the Arab idol-worshippers who accepted tawhîd al-rubûbiyya but ignored tawhîd al-ulûhiyya! This dialectic was imitated by Ibn Abî al-`Izz in his commentary on al-Tahâwî’s `Aqîda. (Ahmad ibn Taymiyya (661-728) A Brief Survey)

Despite this candid admission that such terms and concepts were unknown to Muhammad and his followers, we are going to insist that Ibn Anwar be consistent and quote Quranic references where all of these doctrines are mentioned by name explicitly; otherwise, we are going to have to assume that the Muslim scripture doesn’t endorse such theological distortions (actually it doesn’t since it teaches that there is more than one god!).

So we need to ask the Salafi anthropomorphists the following questions.

Who invented this innovation of Tauhid?

Who is actually responsible for adopting this word and breaking it down into three distinct categories?

And which specific prophet of the true God ever used this word or referred to its three distinct classifications?


This doctrine was developed by men who are regarded by Salafi Muslims as authorities and scholars at the expense of other concepts that existed at that time that are now deemed heretical, i.e. the views of the Kharijites, Mutazilites, Asharites, Maturidites, Jahmiyyites, Qadarites, Murjiites, etc. One cannot help but compromise strict adherence to the so-called idea of the perspicuity of the Quran and the supposed all-comprehensive nature of Muhammad’s sunna in order to arrive at Tauhid. For if you only went by these sources without the assistance of a particular school of Muslim theology twisting the Islamic sources you will miss Tauhid and may come up with other strange doctrines concerning God.

Thus, Tauhid and its threefold classification depend on the traditions of men which is rather ironic since Salafi Muslims oppose other branches of Sunni Islam as well as Islamic sects such as Shia Muslims because of their dependence on the “traditions of men” as opposed to deriving their beliefs from the Salaf. And yet the Salafi belief in Tauhid and its three subsets, which are supposed to be the core essential doctrine of Islam, turn out to be nothing more than the traditions and innovations of men!

Related articles