The Fundamentals of Tawheed are what comprise the basic tenets of the Islamic belief system, and consists of and what will nullify that belief. Islam is always at the very heart of any system of belief in God, and it is easy to formulate a comprehensive explanation as to why humanity has always believed in “GOD”.
Tawhid is the basis of the religion of Islam and that it is most precisely expressed in the formula ‘Lā ilāha illallāh’, which states that there is only one true God and that he alone deserves to be worshipped.
There are many things that can nullify a person’s faith and take him or her outside of Islamic belief, therefore it is essential that every Muslim understands those words and deeds which can destroy belief. In order to stay on the straight path, one must understand the origins of the three branches of Islamic belief and what they involve.
The three branches of faith are: Tawhīd ar-Rubūbīyah, Tawhīd al-Asmā’ was-Sifāt and Tawhīd al-‘Ibādah.
- Tawhīd ar-Rubūbīyah is “maintaining the Unity of Lordship”, that is, affirming that Allah is One, without partners in his sovereignty.
- Tawhīd al-Asmā’ was-Sifāt is “maintaining the Unity of Allah’s Names and Attributes”, that is, affirming that they are incomparable and unique.
- Tawhīd al-‘Ibādah is “Maintaining the Unity of Allah’s Worship”, that is, affirming that Allah is alone in his right to be worshipped.
This division was not done by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, nor by his companions as (at that time) there was no necessity to analyse such a basic principle of faith in this fashion. However, these foundations are all implied in the verses of the Quran and the explanatory statements of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and his companions, Allah be pleased with them all.
The necessity for this analytical approach to the principle of Tawhīd arose after Islam spread into Egypt, Byzantium, Persia and India and absorbed the cultures of these regions. When the peoples of these lands entered into the fold of Islam, they brought with them some of the remnants of their former beliefs. This caused confusion to arise which threatened the pure and simple unitarian belief of Islam. Therefore the need for analyzing Islamic creed and establishing its foundations based on revelation became evident and the scholars of Islam rose to answer this challenge intellectually. They systematically opposed the alien philosophies and creeds by categorizing them and countering them with principles deduced from the Quran and Sunnah.
As one studies the categories of Tawhīd it must not be forgotten that they are all part of an organic whole which is itself the foundation of a greater whole: Islam. Negation of any one branch of Tawhīd negates the whole belief entirely.
You can learn more about the Fundamentals of Tawheed at the Online Islamic University in their free Diploma course, The Foundations of Islaamic Studies.