Lesson 9: Tawheed and its Categories are Proven in the First Surah of the Quran, the Last Surah, and in the First Command
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
Regarding the tafsir of Sūrah al-Fātihah as it relates to the three categories of Tawheed, then we know that Sūrah al-Fatihah is the first sūrah in the Mus’haf ― and we should know that it has within it all of the three categories of Tawheed.
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ، الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ، مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ، إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ، اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ، صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ
After the bismillāh, Allah (subhānallāhu wa ta’āla) begins this Surah with, “Alhamdullillāhi rabbil ‘ālameen” i.e. “All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation”. In these words, in that first ayah, we have the Tawheed Ar-Rubbūbiyyah of Allah (subhānallāhu wa ta’āla), the Tawheed of Allah’s Lordship. This ayah affirms the Rubbūbiyyah of Allah, “rabbil ‘ālameen”, the Lord of all the worlds, i.e. all of creation. The existence and the creation is everything that is besides Allah, and Allah is the Mālik and the Mudabbir, i.e. He is the owner and the controller.
In this first āyah from Surat al-Fatihah, or the second āyah (if you consider “Bismillāh ir-Rahmān ir-Raheem” to be the first ayah as occurs in a hadith), “Alhamdullillahi rabbil ‘alamin” has within it the Tawheed Ar-Rubbūbiyyah of Allah.
Then, the third ayah, “Ar-Rahmān, Ar-Raheem” ― Ar-Rahmān denotes that He is the Possessor of vast mercy; and Ar-Raheem, the One who bestows His mercy on whomsoever He wills. So this is the meaning of “Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem”, the Possessor of vast mercy and the One who bestows His mercy on whomsoever He wills. Then comes “Māliki yawmid-deen”, i.e. The Owner of the Day of Recompense. So, in the third and fourth verse, there is the Tawheed of Allah’s Names and Attributes. This is the establishment and the affirmation of the Rahmah (Mercy) of Allah and the Mulk, i.e. that absolute Kingship, Dominion and Ownership are solely for Allah. And the Rahmah of Allah is mentioned: Ar-Rahmān refers to the One who is the Possessor of Vast Mercy (rahmahtun wāsi’ah)―denoting the vast and expansive Mercy of Allah. And Ar-Raheem, the One who bestows His Mercy on whomsoever He wills. Likewise, Al-Mālik as in “Māliki yawmid-deen”, that He is the sole Owner of the Day of Recompense, referring to the Day of Judgment. So, here we have some of the Names and Attributes of Allah, and this is a category of Tawheed.
Then comes the statement of Allah “Iyyāka na’budu, wa iyyāka nasta’een”, i.e Only You do we worship and only You do we call upon for help. This is clearly an affirmation of sole worship. The Tawheed Al-‘Ibādah or Al-Ulūhiyyah, to single out Allah alone, that He is the sole Deity worthy of worship. The ayah is stating the obligation of singling out Allah alone with worship and with seeking His help, aid and support―only Him do we worship. So, this is obligating worship of Allah, and all of this is in the first Sūrah of the Qur’an.
Then, when we go to the last Sūrah of the Qur’an, Surah An-Nas (number 114), we also find the three categories of Tawheed. So, in the first surah and in the last surah and throughout the Book of Allah, we find the same, and all praise is due to Allah. Sūrah an-Nās begins with “Qul a’oodhu bi-rabbin nas”, i.e. Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind. This is Tawheed Ar-Rubbūbiyyah, His Lordship over mankind. Then we have, “Malikin nās”, i.e. the King of mankind. So, here is the affirmation of the Kingship of Allah (the Most High), and this is the Tawheed Al-Asmā was-Sifāt (Names and Attributes). The next āyah, “Ilāhin-nās”, i.e. The Sole God/Deity of worship for mankind―and that is Tawheed Al-‘Ibādah or Al-Ulūhiyyah (to single Him out as the sole deity worship of worship).
Then, if we start reading the Mus’haf, the first address of Allah (the Most High) to mankind and the first command of Allah to mankind is,
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱعْبُدُوا۟ رَبَّكُمُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُمْ وَٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“O mankind! Worship your Lord who created you and those who were before you so that you may become pious.” (2:21)
So, “the One who created you and those who were before you”, refers to Tawheed Ar-Rubbūbiyyah (Lordship), and you worship Him so that you may attain piety and fear of your Lord.
ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ ٱلْأَرْضَ فِرَٰشًۭا وَٱلسَّمَآءَ بِنَآءًۭ وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءًۭ فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ رِزْقًۭا لَّكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تَجْعَلُوا۟ لِلَّهِ أَندَادًۭا وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah in worship while you know (that He alone has the right to be worshipped).” (2:22)
The One who made the earth as a resting place for you, and He is Allah, the Mighty and All-Powerful, and the One who made the sky as a canopy over you. And the one who sends down the rain from the sky upon you, and with this rain He brings out the fruits from the earth as a provision for you. So do not set up rivals with Allah in worship while you know all of this. This is the first command, this is the first time that Allah addresses mankind in the Qur’an.
So, when we look at these two verses in the Qur’an in Surah Al-Baqarah (21-22), they come after Allah divided mankind into three types of people: Mu’minoon (believers), Kafiroon (non-believers) and Munafiqoon (hypocrites). And, Allah directs His servants to guidance until He (the Most High) states: “O mankind, worship your Lord.” And this is an announcement from Allah to the whole of mankind, a call from Allah to all of the creation commanding them to single out Allah alone and to abandon shirk (polytheism), i.e. to leave off associating partners with Allah. This is Tawheed Al-Ulūhiyyah, because, when you look at the last part of the 22nd verse, He (the Most High) states: “And do not set up rivals unto Allah”―here Allah is forbidding the committing of Shirk. There is the establishment of Tawheed Al-‘Ibādah at the beginning of the 21st verse and the forbiddance of Shirk at the end of the 22nd verse―and this is the first command found when reciting the Mus’haf from the beginning.
Allah affirms His Lordship as evidence for His worship. Allah stated, “O mankind, worship your Lord (ar-Rabb).” So, why should you worship Him? Because He created you, and He created those who came before you. Therefore you worship Him so that you may become pious, righteous and God-fearing―and He will be pleased with you and will reward you in this life and the next.
He (the Most High) stated, “The one who made the earth for you as a resting place. And He made the sky above your heads as a canopy covering you. And He sent down the rain from the sky.” So now, Allah is informing you of the reasons why He should be worshipped: He created you, He created those who came before you, He made the earth as a resting place for you, He placed the sky over your heads as a canopy, He sent down the rain from the sky and with that rain, Allah brought out the fruits and crops from the earth as a provision for you. That is the reason why you should worship Him.
All of what we have mentioned, are they not the actions of Allah? This is Tawheed Ar-Rubbūbiyyah of Allah, this is the Tawheed of Allah’s Lordship, Allah’s actions. Allah created you, Allah sent down the rain, Allah put the sky over your heads, Allah made it a canopy over you, Allah gave you the provision. These are all actions of Allah, Tawheed Ar-Rubbūbiyyah.
So, Allah highlighted all of this as proof as to why He should be worshipped, proof for Tawheed Al-‘Ibādah or Al-Ulūhiyyah of Allah. He, alone, performed all of these actions, He sent down the rain, without any partner, He created you and those who came before you, without any partner, He is the one who brings out the crops from the earth, without any partner, He is the one who gives you provision that comes out of those crops and fruit, without any partner. Then, likewise, none other has a right to His worship, or to be worshipped alongside Him. Just as He is alone in creating, sustaining, providing and acting, He has no partner alongside Him in that, then it is not befitting for anyone with a sound intellect to set up a partner alongside Allah in worship. This is the right of your Lord and Creator over you.
And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.
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