The Essence and Principles of Islam
رسالة أصل دين اإلسالم وقاعدته
"Risālah Aslu Dīn Al-Islām wa Qā’idatuhu"
Written by Shaykh Al-Islām Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhāb
The explanation of "Risālah Aslu Dīn Al-Islām wa Qā’idatuhu
Written by his grandson Shaykh Abdur-Rahmān ibn Hasan
Shaykh al-Islām Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhāb said:
Aslu Dīn al-Islām and its principles are in two issues:
The first: The commandment of worshipping Allāh alone Who has no partners, the incitation to this, allying based on this and declaring takfīr on whoever leaves this.
The second: Warning against shirk in the worship of Allāh, being harsh in this, having enmity based on this and declaring takfīr on whoever commits this.
And those who oppose this are of several kinds.
The worst of them in opposition is the one who opposes all of this.
And among the people is the one who worships Allāh alone but he has not rejected shirk and does not show enmity toward its people.
And among them is the one who shows them enmity but does not declare Takfīr upon them.
And among them is the one who does not love Tawhīd nor does he hate it
And among them is the one who declares takfīr upon them (the Muslims) and claims that this (tawhīd) is cursing at the righteous.
And among them is the one who does not hate shirk nor does he love it.
And among them is the one who does not know shirk and does not reject it.
And among them is the one who does not know tawhīd and does not reject it.
And among them – and he is the most dangerous kind – is the one who acts upon Tawḥīd but does not know its value. So he does not hate whoever leaves it nor does he declare Takfīr upon them.
And among them is the one who leaves shirk and hates it but he does not know its value and he does not show enmity towards its people nor does he declare Takfīr upon them.
And these have verily opposed what the prophets have come with from the religion of Allāh – subhānahu wa ta’ālā – and Allāh knows best.
Shaykh Abdur-Rahmān ibn Hasan - rahimahullāh – said as an explanation to his grandfathers words, Shaykh Muhammad - rahimahullāhu ta'ālā:
In the Name of Allāh the Most Beneficent the Most Merciful
Aslu Dīn Al-Islām And Its Principles Are In Two Issues:
The first: The commandment of worshipping Allāh alone Who has no partners, the incitation to this, allying based on this and declaring Takfīr on whoever leaves this.
I say: And the evidences for this in the Qurān are more than it is possible to count. Such as His Exalted words:
قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّه
“Say: ‘O people of the book, come to an equal Word between us and you - that we do not worship anyone but Allāh and we do not commit shirk with Him in anything and we do not take one another as lords besides of Allāh.’” until the end of the verse. (Āli 'Imrān 3:64)
Allāh commanded His Prophet to invite the people of the book to the meaning of Lā ilāha illā Allāh which he also invited the Arabs and others to.
And the Word is: Lā Ilāha Illā Allāh. And He explained it with His words: “That we do not worship anyone but Allāh”. So in His word: “That we do not worship” is the meaning of Lā ilāha and that is the negation of the worship for anyone but Allāh. And His words: “Anyone but Allāh” is the exception in kalimatu Al-Ikhlās (the word of sincerity – Lā ilāha illā Allāh).
So He the Exalted commanded that he should invite them to restricting the worship for Him alone and negating it for everything besides Him. And there are many verses like this, that explains that al-ilāhiyyah (the divinity) is the worship and that none of it may be directed towards other than Allāh. Just as the Exalted said:
وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ
“And you Lord has decided that you may not worship anyone but Him.” (Al-Isrā 17:23)
And the meaning of Qadā (have decided) is: He has commanded and advised. Two words which meanings are the same. And in His words: “That you may not worship” is the meaning of Lā ilāha, and in His words: “anyone but Him.” is the meaning of illā Allāh.
And this is the Tawḥīd of worship which is the Da’wah (call) of all the prophets when they said to their people:
اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَٰهٍ غَيْرُهُ
“Worship Allāh, you have no other ilāh than Him.” (Al-Muminūn 23:32)
So to begin with a person must negate shirk and free himself from it and from whoever commits this act. Just as the Exalted said about His close friend Ibrāhīm – alayhi as-salām:
وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ إِنَّنِي بَرَاءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا الَّذِي فَطَرَنِي
“And when Ibrāhīm said to his father and his people: ‘Indeed, I am free from that which you worship. Except for He who created me.’” (Az-Zukhruf 43:26-27)
And He said regarding him - alayhi as-salām:
وَأَعْتَزِلُكُمْ وَمَا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّه
“And I will leave you and those you invoke besides Allāh.” (Maryam 19:48)
So it is obligatory to leave shirk and is people, and to free oneself from these two. Just as he declared this in the words of the Exalted:
َدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَآءُ مِنكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ أَبَدًا حَتَّىٰ تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ
”There has already been for you an excellent example in Ibrāhīm and those with him, when they said to their people: ’Verily we are free from you and from what you worship besides Allāh. We have rejected you, and there have started enmity and hatred between us forever until you believe in Allāh alone.’” (Al-Mumtahanah 60:4)
And those with him are the messengers, just as Ibn Jarīr have mentioned this.
And this verse includes everything that our Shaykh – rahimahullāh – has mentioned. The incitation to Tawḥīd, the negation of shirk, the alliance with the people of Tawḥīd and declaring Takfīr upon the one who leaves it (Tawḥīd) by committing shirk which is the opposite of Tawḥīd. Verily the one who commits shirk has left Tawḥīd, because these two are verily opposites that cannot be united. So when shirk is present then Tawḥīd disappears.
Verily did the Exalted say regarding the one who commits shirk:
وَجَعَلَ لِلَّهِ أَندَادًا لِّيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ قُلْ تَمَتَّعْ بِكُفْرِكَ قَلِيلًا إِنَّكَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ
“And he ascribes rivals to Allāh to mislead (people) from His way. Say: ‘Enjoy your Kufr for a little; indeed, you are of the companions of the fire.’” (Az-Zumar 39:8)
So the Exalted declared Takfīr upon the person due to him taking a rival which are partners in worship. And there are many similar verses.
So a person cannot be a Muwahhid (Islāmic monotheist) except if he negates shirk, frees himself from it and declares Takfīr upon whoever commits shirk.
Then he said – rahimahullāhu ta'ālā:
The second: Warning against shirk in the worship of Allāh, being harsh in this, having enmity based on this and declaring Takfīr on whoever commits this.
So the establishment of tawhīd is not completed except by the fulfilment of this. Ad this is the religion of all the messengers. They warned their people against shirk, just as the Exalted said:
وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ
“And verily, We have sent in every ummah (community, nation) a messenger (proclaiming): ‘Worship Allāh, and avoid (or keep away from) tāghūt (all false deities).’” (An-Nahl 16:36)
And the Exalted said:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُون
“And We did not send any messenger before you (O Muhammad) except that We inspired him (saying): ‘There is none worthy of worship except Me (Allāh), so worship Me (alone).” (Al-Anbiyā 21:25)
And the Exalted said:
وَاذْكُرْ أَخَا عَادٍ إِذْ أَنذَرَ قَوْمَهُ بِالْأَحْقَافِ وَقَدْ خَلَتِ النُّذُرُ مِن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا اللَّهَ
“And mention the brother of 'Ād, when he warned his people in the (region of) AlAhqāf – and warners had already passed on before him and after him – (saying): ‘Worship none but Allāh.’” (Al-Ahqaf 46:21)
His words: In the worship of Allāh. The worship: A word that includes everything that Allāh loves and is pleased with from words and internal and external actions.
His words: Being harsh in this. This is present in the Book and the sunnah, such as His the Exalted’s words:
فَفِرُّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِنيٌ وَلَا تَجْعَلُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِن
“So flee to Allāh. Indeed, I am a clear warner to you from Him. And do not make another deity (as equal) with Allāh. Indeed, I am a clear warner to you from Him.” (Adh-Dhāriyāt 51:50-51)
And had it not been for being harsh in this, then Quraysh would not have done what they did of great harm to the Prophet – sallAllāhu alayhi wa sallam – and his companions, as it in detail have been mentioned in the books of sīrah. Because verily he began with them by cursing their religion and criticizing what they worshipped.
His words: Having enmity based on this. Just as He the Exalted said:
فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِنيَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُوا لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَد
“So kill the Mushrikūn (those who commit shirk) wherever you find them, and capture them, besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.” (At-Tawbah 9:5)
And there are very many verses about this, such as His words:
وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّىٰ لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّه
“And fight them until there is no more fitnah and the religion (the worship) exclusively is for Allāh.” (Al-Anfāl 8:39)
And Al-Fitnah is shirk.
The Exalted branded the people of shirk with Kufr in an amount of verses that cannot be counted. So takfīr must be declared upon them. This is a necessity of Lā ilāha illā Allāh – kalimatu al-Ikhlās – so its meaning is not fulfilled except by declaring Takfīr upon the one who associates a partner with Allāh in the worship of Him. Just as it is found in the authentic Hadīths:
“Whoever says Lā ilāha illā Allāh and rejects everything which is worshipped besides Allāh, his wealth and blood becomes forbidden and his reckoning is with Allāh.”
So his words: “And rejects everything which is worshipped besides Allāh”, is an affirmation of an-nafī (the negation which is the meaning of Lā ilāha). So the blood and wealth of a person is not protected except by this. And if he doubts or hesitates then his blood and wealth is not protected.
These issues are the fulfilment of Tawḥīd. In the Ahādīth is has been connected to some very important conditions.
(It has been connected) with knowledge, sincerity, truthfulness, certainty and no doubt. So a person is not a Muwahhid except by the existence of all these things at the same time along with his faith, acceptance, love, enmity based on this and the loyalty and friendship. So when these things are united then what out Shaykh – rahimahullāh – has mentioned is achieved.
Then he – rahimahullāhu ta'ālā – said: And those who oppose this are of several kinds. The worst of them in opposition is the one who opposes all of this.
So he accepts shirk and thinks that it is a religion (a way to achieve closeness to Allāh), and he rejects Tawḥīd and thinks that it is falsehood, as is the situation of most people.
And the reason for this is ignorance regarding what the Book and the sunnah points out of knowledge of tawhīd and what annuls it of shirk, disapproval and following the desires and what the forefathers were upon. This was also the situation of the enemies of the messengers. They accused the people of Tawḥīd of lying, falsity, slandering and being immoral. And their argumentation was:
َلْ وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا كَذَٰلِكَ يَفْعَلُون
“Nay, but we found our fathers doing so.” (Shu'arā 26:74)
And this kind of people and the one who comes after this kind have verily annulled what kalimatu al-Ikhlās have pointed out, what has been added to it and what it includes of religion which is the only religion that Allāh accepts. And that is the religion of Islām which Allāh has sent all His prophets and messengers with. Their Da’wah has been identical regarding this, just as this fact is not hidden in that which Allāh has narrated about them in His Book.
Then he – rahimahullah – said: And among the people is the one who worships Allāh alone but he has not rejected shirk and does not show enmity toward its people.
I say: From that which is well-known is that the one who does not reject shirk, he has not known Tawḥīd nor has he fulfilled it. You verily know that Tawḥīd cannot be achieved except by negating shirk and the rejection of Tāghūt, which is mentioned in the verse.
Then he – rahimahullāhu ta'ālā – said: And among them is the one who shows them enmity but does not declare Takfīr upon them.
And this kind also – with agreement – have not fulfilled that which Lā ilāha illā Allāh has pointed out of rejection of shirk and what this necessitates of declaring takfīr upon the one who commits shirk, after the clarification. And this is included in sūratu al-Ikhlās and”Say: O you disbelievers” and His words in the verse in Al-Mumtahanah: “We have rejected you”. So the one who does not declare Takfīr upon the one on whom the Qurān has declared Takfīr has verily opposed that which the messengers have come with of Tawḥīd and what it obligates.
Then he – rahimahullāh – said: And among them is the one who does not love Tawḥīd nor does he hate it.
The answer is: That the one who does not love Tawḥīd he is not a Muwahhid because exactly that (tawhīd) is the religion that Allāh has chosen for His slaves, just as He said:
َرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا
“And I have chosen Al-Islām for you as religion.” (Al-Māidah 5:3)
So if he had been pleased with what Allāh has chosen and he acted upon it then he would verily also have loved it. And the love must be present because Islām cannot be accomplished without it. So there is no Islām except by the love of Tawḥīd.
Shaykh al-Islām – rahimahullāh – said: “The sincerity is love for Allāh and wishing His satisfaction. So the one who loves Allāh he also loves His religion, and if he does not love it, then he does not (love Allāh). And that which kalimatu Al-Ikhlās necessitates – from the conditions of Tawḥīd – are all a result of the love.”
Then he – rahimahullāhu ta'ālā – said: And among them is the one who does not hate shirk nor does he love it.
I say: The person who is as such has not negated that which Lā ilāha illā Allāh has negated of shirk and the rejection of everything which is worshipped besides Allāh and freeing oneself from it. So to begin with he has nothing to do with Islām and his blood and wealth are not protected. Just as the previously mentioned hadīth has pointed out.
And his – rahimahullāh – words: And among them is the one who does not know shirk and does not reject it.
I say: The one who does not know shirk and does not reject it he has not negated it, and you can only be a muwahhid if you have negated shirk, freed yourself from it and whoever commits it and declares takfīr upon them. Along with ignorance regarding shirk then none of what Lā ilāha illā Allāh has pointed out be accomplished, and the one who does not fulfil the meaning of this Word and what it includes he has nothing to do with Islām. This is because he has not fulfilled this Word and what it includes with certain knowledge, truthfulness, sincerity, love, acceptance and submission. And this kind of person has none of this. So even if he were to say Lā ilāha illā Allāh then he does not know what it points out nor what it includes.
Then he – rahimahullāhu ta'ālā – said: And among them is the one who does not know tawhīd and does not reject it.
So I say: This person is just like the one before him. They have not lifted their heads for that which they have been created for of religion which Allāh has sent His messengers with. And this situation is the situation of those regarding whom Allāh said:
إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا
“They are only like cattle. Nay, they are even farther astray from the Path. (Al-Furqān 25:44)
And his – rahimahullāh – words: And among them – and he is the most dangerous kind – is the one who acts upon Tawḥīd but does not know its value. So he does not hate whoever leaves it nor does he declare Takfīr upon them.
So his words: And he is the most dangerous kind, because he does not know the value of that which he acts upon, so he has not fulfilled what makes his Tawḥīd correct from the important conditions which must be fulfilled. Why did you learn that Tawḥīd includes: the negation of shirk, freeing oneself from it, having enmity towards its people and declaring Takfīr upon them after the argument has been established on them? So this person has been deceived by his own situation and he has not fulfilled the issues which are obligatory for him that kalimatu al-Ikhlās has pointed out. Negation and affirmation.
And likewise his – rahimahullāh – words: And among them is the one who leaves shirk and hates it but he does not know its value.
So this person is closer than the one before him but he does not know the value of shirk, because if he knew its value then he would verily act upon what the clear verses have pointed out, such as the words of Al-Khalīl:
إِنَّنِي بَرَاءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا الَّذِي فَطَرَنِي
“Indeed, I am free from that which you worship. Except for He who created me.” (AzZukhruf 46:26-27)
And his words:
إِنَّا بُرَآءُ مِنكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ أَبَدًا
“’Verily we are free from you and from what you worship besides Allāh. We have rejected you, and there have started enmity and hatred between us forever until you believe in Allāh alone.”(Al-Mumtahanah 60:4)
So the one who knows shirk and has left it must be like this regarding al-walā and al-barā towards the worshipper and that which is worshipped, and he must hate shirk and its people and show enmity towards them.
And these two kinds (the last two mentioned kinds that opposes Aslu Dīn al-Islām): These two are the situations of many of the people who ascribe themselves Islām (those who claim to be Muslims). Some of them fall in ignorance regarding its reality and what prevents that a person can fulfil kalimatu al-Ikhlās and what it necessitates from the completion of the obligatory; that with which a person becomes a Muwahhid. So how many deceived people are there, who are ignorant regarding the reality of the religion.
So when you have realized that Allāh has declared Takfīr upon the people of shirk and described them with this in the clear verses, such as His words:
مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِنيَ أَن يَعْمُرُوا مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ شَاهِدِينَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِم بِالْكُفْر
“It is not for those who commit shirk to maintain the mosques of Allāh while witnessing against themselves with disbelief.” (At-Tawbah 9:17)
And likewise is the Sunnah.
Shaykh Al-Islām – rahimahullāhu ta'ālā – said: “So the people of Tawḥīd and Sunnah they believe in them (the messengers) in what they have informed, they obey them in what they have ordered, they remember what they have said and they understand it and act upon it. They negate the distortion of the extremist for Him, the personification of the false-doers and the wrong interpretation of the ignorant ones. They strive against those who oppose them, and they do this in order to come closer to Allāh and seeking the reward from Him alone.
And the people of ignorance and exaggeration they do not distinguish between what they (the messengers) ordered and what they prohibited, or between what is authentically narrated from them and the lies which have been invented about them. They do not understand the reality of what they wanted and they do not seek to obey them. Rather they are ignorant due to their actions and they admire what they own.”
I say: That which Shaykh Al-Islām has mentioned is similar to the situation of the last two kinds (of people).
An issue that has occurred is missing which Shaykh Al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah has spoken about and that is: Not to declare Takfīr upon a specific person to begin with due to what he – rahimahullāhu ta'ālā – mentioned where he made it obligatory to stop in declaring Takfīr upon this person until the argument has been established upon him. He – rahimahullāhu ta'ālā – said:
”After the knowledge of what the Messenger has come with we know with necessity that he has not legislated for his Ummah that they invoke anyone from the dead nor the messengers, the righteous or other than these. Not by asking them for help or in other manners and not by seeking refuge with them or in other manners. Likewise he has not legislated for his ummah to make Sujūd to a dead person or anything similar. Rather we know that he prohibited all these things and that they are from the shirk which Allāh and His Messenger – sallAllāhu alayhi wa sallam – has prohibited. But due to the great ignorance and the little knowledge about the narrations from the message among the later generations, then it is not possible to declare takfīr upon them due to this until that which the Messenger has come with is made clear from that which opposes it.”
I say: So he – rahimahullāhu ta'ālā – mentioned what was obligatory for him; not always to describe these people with Kufr, especially with specific individuals except after the clarification and insisting. Verily he became an ummah of his own because there were scholars who declared takfīr upon him due to him prohibiting them to commit shirk in the worship. So it is not possible that he treated these people according to what he said1 .
Just as it happened to our Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhāb – rahimahullāhu ta'ālā – in the beginning of his da’wah. Verily when he heard them invoking Zayd ibn Al-
1 Translator: It was not possible for Ibn Taymiyyah to stop in declaring takfīr upon these people because they were scholars (i.e. the knowledge of Al-Qurān and Prophet Muhammad – sallAllāhu alayhi wa sallam – had already reached them) and due to this they were not excused. So the injunction of stopping in declaring Takfīr upon a person is only valid if knowledge about the religion has not reached him and is not available to him. Stopping in declaring Takfīr upon a person who commits shirk does not mean that this person is considered a Muslim. Rather it means that he is considered as a Mushrik, but the argument has not yet been established upon him so he has an excuse with Allāh on the Day of Judgment. But in this life he is considered a Mushrik until he has fulfilled Aslu Dīn al-Islām.
Shaykh Abdur-Rahmān ibn Hasan said: "The scholars from the earlier and later generations from among the sahābah, tābi’īn, the leaders and everyone from Ahlus-Sunnah agree on that a person cannot be a Muslim except if he leaves the major shirk and frees himself from it." (Ad-Durar As-Saniyyah 11/545- 546)
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhāb's sons and Hamd ibn Nāsir Alī Ma’mūr said: ”If he commits Kufr and shirk due to ignorance or because there is no one to inform him, then we do not judge his Kufr until the argument has been established upon him, but we do no judge him as a Muslim either.” (AdDurar As-Saniyyah 10/136)
Khattāb he said: “Allāh is better than Zayd”, as a drill for them to negate shirk. (He did this) with soft words while he with this hoped for the benefit and no aversion (from them).
And Allah knows best. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon our leader Muhammad and his family and companions.
[Translated by Al-Aqeedah.com]