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Attaining Success Through Tawḥīd and Attaining Destruction Through Shirk

Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah

A warning against individuals who commit shirk. Worshipping other than Allāh alone leaves the disbelievers in a perpetual state of dysfunction and garners punishment from Allāh.

If the hearts [of mankind] are not from among those that sincerely dedicate their dīn to Allāh alone, they will engage in the worship of other gods that are pleasing to them.

Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah [d. 728 AH]

These [gods] are worshipped by most people and thus they have associated with Allāh the worship of others besides Him [i.e. shirk]. They turn to them to seek aid, worshipping other than Him, and seeking their help. Their [hearts] do so only out of ignorance of what will allow the attainment of true happiness: The worship of the Creator of those hearts, seeking aid from Him alone.

For it is through worship of Him alone that one finds himself above needing to worship others. It is through seeking aid from Him alone that one finds himself above seeking the help of the creation. Any slave whose condition is other this will find himself a perpetual sinner, constantly unsatisfied. This is because his self-sufficiency derives only out obedience to his true Lord. For indeed, such is the condition of man: destitute and needy.

In addition to this, he is an erring sinner. Therefore, he must turn to his Lord as He is the only One who can cover his faults and shortcomings. Just as it is incumbent upon him to seek forgiveness for his errors, Allāh says:

فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ

‘So (be firm in your) knowledge (O Muḥammad) that none has the right to be worshipped except Allāh (alone). And seek forgiveness for your sin.’
[Muḥammad, 47:19]

It is through tawḥīd that a servant [of Allāh] gains strength and true self-sufficiency. For whomsoever seeks happiness through seeking to be from among the strongest of mankind, let him put his trust in Allāh. [It is only through] seeking forgiveness that he [can hope to be] forgiven. Thus, he would have successfully defended himself from [Allāh’s] punishment, Allāh says:

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ
‘And Allāh would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.’
[Al-Anfāl, 8:33]

The neediness and poverty the slave [of Allāh feels towards the creation] remains steadfast except with tawḥid. He must therefore proclaim it. If he does not, he will find himself in a perpetual state of poverty and neediness [from the creation], and punishment [from Allāḥ] through seeking [from the creation the fulfillment of their hopes and goals] which may not occur for him. For Allāh does not forgive that anyone associates partners with Him. Thus, if [the slave of Allāh] seeks forgiveness while proclaiming tawhīd, he will achieve self-sufficiency and happiness. Just as that which he is punished by [i.e. his poverty and need for what is in the hands of the creation] will subside. And there is no change of condition nor might except by Allāh.1


1. Mujmūʿ al-Fatāwá: 44-45

Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: December 26, 2022
Edited: December 28, 2022


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