Arqaan at-Tawheed (The Pillars of Tawheed)
The very foundation of the belief of a Muslim is the testification to Laailaahah illallah, the exclusive worship to Allah (swt). This testimony forms the basis of our Deen and lays the foundation for which all else is built upon. This testimony declares the Tawheed in Allah (swt) exclusively and rejects all other forms of worship.
The Kalima if understood correctly will build a firm basis for which the Mumin can then begin to develop, if the very basis of our Deen is misunderstood or if we carry an incomprehensive understanding about it then this will only naturally go on to effect other areas of life. It is imperative that we have a firm grounding in the foundation of our Imaan for us then to be able to withstand whatever else is to come after it.
The kalima has two pillars, the first being to reject all Taghoot (al-Kufr bil Taghoot) and the second being to declare your belief in Allah (swt) (al-Imaan billah). The first pillar is to reject all other deities, idols, religions, gods, points of reference, anything that is worshipped, obeyed, followed or submitted to (other than Allah (swt)). This part of the kalima is in fact declared even before making the declaration to the belief in Allah (swt). The point being that before we testify to our belief in Allah (swt) we are obliged to make nullification to all Taghoot [i]. By declaring kuffr upon Taghoot we are wiping the slate clean from all other possible gods (i.e. purifying ourselves) in order to then declare our firm and exclusive belief in Allah (swt). know that man will never become a believer in Allah unless he rejects and disbelieves in the Taghoot. Whoever does not reject the Taghoot, then he has contradicted the basic message of all prophets and has contradicted the worship of Allah at its very roots for Allah (swt) says: “We sent to every Ummah a messenger to command the people to submit to Allah exclusively and to reject Taghoot”. [EMQ 16:36]
The way to reject Taghoot is to firstly believe that all Taghoot is falsehood, to then keep distance from it, to have enmity towards it together with the utmost hatred and to declare Takfir upon it. Allah (swt) tells us in the Quran through the example of Ibraheem (as) “Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim and those with him, when they said to their people: “Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah: we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you hostility and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone.” [al-Mumtahanah 60:4] So they absolved themselves from them and rejected and declared kuffr upon them and whatever they were worshipping besides Allah (swt). And they declared to them their enmity and hatred and their cutting off of love for them, until they make their worship purely for Allah (swt) alone, single Him out apart from others and remove all of the false gods from Him. Â This is the manner within which to fulfil this pillar of the kalima. It is also important to note that one has to ensure that this is adopted as a conviction in the heart, testified upon the tongue and practically implemented in our actions. It is not sufficient for one to reject Taghoot solely by the tongue as this would result in one carrying out acts that nullify this pillar i.e. acts of shirk and hence negate the belief. This pillar must be enacted in all spheres of life and not just regarded as a statement that has no bearing to reality.
The statement Laa ilaaha asserts this nullification of taghoot by declaring that there is no possible illah[ii] to be followed, obeyed, worshipped or submitted to. Then comes the affirmation to the belief in Allah (swt) by stating illallah (except Allah). The combination of these pillars results in declaring the exclusivity in the worship (ibaadah[iii]) to Allah (swt), setting the foundation of our belief and the basis for our life.
The second pillar i.e. to believe in Allah (swt) involves the tawheed[iv] of Allah (swt). This tawheed has been classified for ease of understanding into the following divisions;
Tawheed al-Rububiyyah – the belief in the exclusive Lordship of Allah (swt)
Tawheed al-Uluhiyyah – the actions of man in relation to the exclusive worship of Allah (swt)
Tawheed al-Asmaa wa al-Sifaat – the belief in the exclusive names and attributes of Allah (swt)
By having a comprehensive understanding of tawheed you become aware that any deviation from this in any action, saying or conviction will result in the violation of ones tawheed. It will make one aware of the shirk, kufr, nifaaq and biddah and the dangers in involving in any of these. It will allow you to have a much greater awareness of Allah (swt), the one who we devote our lives towards and are in constant worship to, by enhancing this understanding you increase your Imaan and it enables you to put you life into perspective giving you a clear understanding of your role and responsibility as a Muslim.
The implications of this one statement are insurmountable. The kalima is a statement that binds one into a contract with Allah (swt) by declaring that you are no longer responsible for determining right and wrong, good or bad and that you will obey and follow none other than Allah (swt) in all of your affairs. It is to Him exclusively that you will devote all worship towards and give full submission to, ensuring that we remain subservient and loyal to our word at the same time recognising that if we deviate from this in any way then the wrath of Allah (swt) will be upon us.
Today we have taghoot dominant all over the world, this taghoot is manifested in the rulers, governments and constitutions that are implemented and enforced throughout the world. These regimes have taken it upon themselves to become legislators by making and enforcing kuffr law and in doing so have rivalled with Allah (swt) as this is an attribute that is exclusive to Him[v]. Instead of adhering to the command of Allah (swt) by implementing the shariah we find that these regimes implement kuffr law and give more credence to ideologies like capitalism over Islam. Hence according to the very first pillar of our belief they must be rejected and nullified by distancing ourselves from them, believing that they are our enemies, having hatred for them and declaring kuffr upon them. Again this is not a mere statement upon the tongue rather this should be manifested in our actions, as belief by definition includes the actions[vi], for it is our actions that display what is within our hearts.
Therefore to believe that these governments/rulers are falsehood is a part of our belief, to speak out by declaring the kuffr upon these institutions is to testify belief upon the tongue, to work for their removal is a manifestation of our belief into action and to replace it with the shariah is a direct command upon every Muslim. This is the belief of every Muslim and is the stance of Ahle Sunnah Wal Jammah
[i]Â Taghoot is defined as anything that is worshipped, followed, obeyed or submitted to other than Allah (swt). This could be a person (king, ruler, prophet), jinn, shaytaan, rocks, stones, idols, animals, objects, governments, law and order, ideology etc.Â Â
[ii] illah is defined as the one who has the right to command you and forbid you, to declare right and wrong, good and bad.
[iii] Ibaada means to follow, submit, obey and worship.
[iv] The total and absolute belief in the exclusivity of Almighty Allah (swt) in all His names, attributes and functions.
[v] Al-Hakim is the attribute of Allah (swt) which means that it is only Him who has the right to legislate and make law. Allah (swt) says in the Quran; “the rule is for none but Allah” [12:67]
[vi] Imaan is to have conviction in your heart, to testify upon the tongue and to act upon willingly in accordance to the sunnah of the prophet (saw), which increases with obedience and decreases with disobedience.