Sunnah and Creed

• The Term ‘Tawhid’ in the Sunnah (First issue)

By: Professor Malik bin Zain al-Abidin al-Farjani (Lib - 2012-09-10

Some people allege that the word Tawhid is a new term, not present in the Sunnah.  This mistake is the result of lack of thorough reading of the books of the Sunnah which have transmitted this term. We will mention some of these authentic ahadeeth which have explicitly transmitted the word Tawhid, and others which mention it implicitly, and lastly, ahadeeth that have Tawhid mentioned therein as actions.


The scholars of hadeeth among the righteous predecessors used to rely on this term, mention it, and used to write books and name them, “At-Tawhid”, such as the book, “At-Tawhid” by Ibn Mandah, “At-Tawhid” by Ibn Khuzaimah, and “At-Tawhid” by Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab, may Allah have mercy on all of them.



First: The ahadeeth which have explicitly used the term, ‘Tawhid’:

  1. `Amr bin Shu`aib narrated from his father, who narrated from his grandfather t that al-`Aas bin Wa’il made an oath during the pre-Islamic times (al-Jahiliyyah) that he would slaughter one hundred goats and that Hisham bin al-`Aas slaughtered his share of 50 goats.  Then `Amr bin al-`Aas asked the Prophet r about that, and he said, “As for your father, if he affirmed Tawhid and you fast and give charity on his behalf, it would benefit him.” (Collected in, as-Sahihah, 484)
  2. Al-Harith bin al-Harith al-Ghamidi said, “I said to my father, ‘What is that group?’ He said, ‘Those are a people following a Sabian among them.’  So, we continued on and found Allah’s Messenger r calling the people to the Tawhid of Allah U, and to have faith in Him. All the while, they were rebuking and hurting him until it became midday and then people left from around him.  A woman, who’s upper chest was uncovered, appeared carrying a cup of water and a handkerchief; the Prophet drank from it and made ablution, then raised his head saying, “O girl, cover your chest and do not fear for your father.’  We said, ‘Who is that?’ They said, ‘This is his daughter, Zainab.’” (Collected by at-Tabarani in, Al-Kabir, 3373, Ibn Abi `Asim in, al-Ahadeeth wa al-Mathani, 2403, and refer to, Jilbab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, pg. 79)
  3. Abu Hurairah t reported that when Allah’s Messenger r“wanted to slaughter, he would buy two castrated great white rams with some black sections with horns. He would slaughter one of them on behalf of his Ummah, for those who believe in Allah while affirming Tawhid and who believe that he conveyed the Message, and he would slaughter the second on behalf of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad r.” (Collected by Ibn Majah, 3122, and refer to, Irwa’ al-Ghalil, 1138)
  4. Jabir bin `Abdillah t said, “Allah’s Messenger r said, ‘People of Tawhid will be punished in Hellfire, until they turn into coal, then mercy will descend on them and they will exit, and will be placed by the doors of Paradise.  The people of Paradise will pour water on them, and they will grow like the tree branches, leaves, and seeds that grow in the aftermath of floods; then they will enter Paradise.” (Collected in, As-Sahihah, 2451)
  5. `Ubadah bin as-Samit t reported that the Prophet r said, “Whoever testifies that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger, then Allah has made Hellfire forbidden for them.’” At-Tirmithi then says his point of view, “This was before the obligations, orders, and prohibitions were revealed.” Then he said, “It has been narrated from Ibn Mas`ud, Abu Tharr, `Imran bin Husain, Jabir bin `Abdillah, Ibn `Abbas, Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, and Anas from the Prophet r that he said, “A group of people from among those of Tawhid will exit Hellfire and enter Paradise.”“This has also been narrated from Sa`id bin Jubair, Ibrahim an-Nakha`i and others among the tabi`in when explaining the ayah, ‘Perhaps (often) [at that time] will those who disbelieve wish that they were Muslims.’ (15:2)” (Collected by at-Tirmithi, 2638)
  6. Ja`far bin Muhammad narrated that his father said, “We entered on Jabir bin `Abdillah, and he asked about who was with him, until he reached me and I said, ‘I am Muhammad bin `Ali bin Husain.’ Then, he reached his hand towards my head, unbuttoned my top and bottom buttons and placed his hand on my chest – and I was a young boy back then – and said, ‘Welcome, O nephew, ask what you wish.’

So I asked him – and he was blind – until it was time for prayer, then he stood. He had a woven piece (of cloth) wrapped around him which was so small that every time he tried to pull it onto his shoulders its edges would uncover another part of his body, and his garment was to his side on the clothing rail.  He led us in prayer, and I asked said, ‘Tell me about the hajj of Allah’s Messenger r.’  He signaled with his hand and nine people gathered around him, and he said, ‘Allah’s Messenger r spent nine years without making pilgrimage. Then, in the tenth year, it was announced to the people that Allah’s Messenger r would be making the pilgrimage.  Many people came to Madinah, all of them wishing to take Allah’s Messenger r as an Imam, and to do as he does.  So, we went out [on pilgrimage] with him.  When we reached Thi al-Hulaifah, Asma’ bint `Umais gave birth to Muhammad bin Abi Bakr and asked Allah’s Messenger r what she should do.  He said, ‘Perform ghusl (shower), istathfiri (meaning wear your garment in a manner which resembles underwear [overlapping the woman’s private areas] and which helps to stop the bleeding of a woman) and then begin ihram (the act of `umrah or hajj).’  So Allah’s Messenger r prayed in the masjid and rode al-Qaswa’ (his camel), until the camel sat in the desert.  I looked as far as I could at those who rode and walked and as many as there were in front of him, there were to his right, to his left, and behind him.  Allah’s Messenger r was still among us, the Qur’an was still being revealed to him, he knows its explanation, and we did everything he did.  He glorified Allah using Tawhid, saying, ‘Labbaika Allahumma Labbaik, Labbaika Laa Shareeka Laka Labbaik, Inna al-Hamda wa an-Ni`mata Laka wa al-Mulk, La Shareeka Lak (O Allah I am here at your service, O Allah obedience is to you without associates, indeed praise, blessings and kingship are yours, there is no associate with you.’  The people also glorified Allah with these words.’” (Collected by al-Bukhari, 5571, and Muslim, 3009)

  1. The Prophet r said, “There was a man who came before you who did no good whatsoever, except Tawhid. When his time to die came, he said to his family, ‘Look, if I die have my body burnt to coal, then make them into ashes and wait for a windy day and throw half of the ashes in the desert, and half in the ocean.  By Allah, if Allah decides to punish my body, He will punish it like none other in the universe.’  When he died they did as he requested to his body, and Allah ordered the desert to gather whatever it had of him in it and the ocean likewise, until he stood in Allah’s Grasp. Allah U said, ‘O son of Adam, what caused you to do what you did?’ He said, ‘O Lord, I did so out of fear of you’ – and in another narration, ‘out of awe in you, and you know best–.’   The Prophet said, ‘Allah forgave him because of it, and he did no good actions, besides Tawhid.’” (Collected in, As-Sahihah, 3048)

Second: The ahadeeth which implicitly contain the word ‘Tawhid’:

  1. Ibn `Abbas t said that when Allah’s Messenger r sent Mu`ath t to Yemen, he said, “You will approach a people from among the People of the Book, so let the first thing that you call them to is to unify Allah  in worship, if they learn that, inform them that Allah obligated five prayers on them during their days and nights, if then pray, inform them that Allah has obligated charity on them (zakat) which is to be taken from their rich and given to their poor.  If they affirm all that then take it (their zakat money), and avoid taking the most precious wealth of the people as zakat.” (Collected by al-Bukhari, 1458, and Muslim, 19)
  2. `Abdullah bin `Umar, may Allah be pleased with both of them, narrated that the Prophet r said, “Islam has been built on five [pillars, and they are]: that Allah should be unified [in worship], that prayer should be established, zakat be give, Ramadhan be fasted, and pilgrimage.”  Someone said, “Pilgrimage and fasting Ramadhan?” Ibn `Umar said, “No, fasting Ramadhan, and then pilgrimage; this is the order in which I heard it from Allah’s Messenger r.” (Collected by Muslim, 16)

Third: The ahadeeth that have the word Tawhid is mentioned as actions:

  1. Abu Malik al-Ashja`i narrated from his father, may Allah be pleased with both of them, who said, “I heard Allah’s Messenger r say to a people, ‘Whoever unifies Allah and disbelieves in what is worshiped besides Allah, his wealth and blood are protected, and his judgment will be with Allah U.’” (Collected by Ahmad, 15875)


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