Our noble Shaykh, Muḥammad al-ʿAnjarī (hafiẓahullāh), conducts an exremely important and beneficial lesson regarding the importance of tawḥīd and its different categories. Delivered in the English language, it is heart warming to listen to the manner in which the Shaykh engages his students interactively, showing his love and desire for them to fully understand every concept discussed.
Our noble Shaykh Muḥammad al-ʿAnjarī (hafiẓahullāh) begins his lecture by outlining the three different categories of tawḥīd and emphasises its fundamental importance in the religion, as it was the lack of correct understanding and acceptance in these categories which separated the Mushrikūn of Quraysh from the Believers.
The First Category of Tawḥīd:
Al-Rubūbiyyah - This is to single out Allāh alone in His Lordship, to have knowledge it is Allāh alone who is the Rabb of all of the Worlds, He alone created it and brought it into existence; He manages the affairs of the heavens and the earth and all that is in it1. As Allāh, the Most High mentions in the Qurʾān,
"Allāh is the Creator of all things.'' [Sūrah Al-Zumar: 62]
Belief in Tawḥīd al-Rubūbiyyah alone is not suffiicient to make one a believer, since the disbelieving Quraysh at the time the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) readliy affirmed that Allāh alone is the Creator, Sustainer and Controller of all affairs, as Allāh says,
'And if you should ask them, 'Who has created the heavens and the earth?' They would surely say, 'They were created by the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.''' [Sūrah al-Zukhruf: 9]
The Second Category of Tawḥīd:
Tawḥīd al-'Ibādah or al-Ulūhiyyah, and this is tawḥīd of singling out Allāh alone in acts of worship. It is affirming that Allāh is al-Mustahiq, He alone has the right to be worshipped, and worship itself can be divided into two, as Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah (rahimahullāh) said, 'Worship is everything that Allāh loves and is pleased with from the inward and outward sayings and actions.' Secondly, it is submission to Allāh in obeying all that He is has commanded and abstaining from and abandoning all that He dislikes and has forbidden.
It is termed al-ʿIbādah due to the fact that al-ʿUbūdiyyah is a description of the slave, as it is obligatory upon the servant to single Allāh out alone in worship, recognising that he is need of Allāh and without Allāh the servant is poor and destitute. Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah (rahimahullāh) mentions in his Majmuʾ,
"Know that the poverty of the slave in front of Allāh is that he should worship Him and not associate anything with Him and He does not have a partner who can be compared to Him. A similitude of this (dependence) in someway is like the body's dependence upon food and drink, even though the difference between the two similitudes is great. For verily the reality of the slave is his heart and soul and there is no rectification for them except through their Lord, Allāh, the One besides whom there is no one worthy of worship; and there is no tranquility in this world except by way of His remembrance. So if the slave achieves delight and happiness without Allāh then it would not last. Rather it would move from one type to another, and one person to another. As for the happiness from his Lord, then he would achieve that in all times and wherever he is, his Lord would be with him." [Majmuʾ al-Fatāwá, Vol. 1 page 24]2
The Third Category of Tawḥīd:
Tawḥīd al-Asmāʾ wa al-Sifāt, to have firm knowledge and belief that Allāh is unique and sole possessor of His Names & Attributes. The belief that all of Allāh's Names are beautiful, they do not deficient in any way, and that they encompass both titles and descriptions.
Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah (rahimahullāh) said,
"And from faith in Allāh is faith in what He described Himself with in His Book and what His Messenger Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) described Him with without tahrīf, or taʾtīl and without takyīf of tamthīl."3
The Names of Allāh are 'Tawqīfiyyah', there is no place for intellectual free thinking with regards to them. Ahl al-Sunnah must suffice themselves with What Allāh has described himself with in His Book, and upon the tongue of His Messenger in his Sunnah, without adding or omitting anything from that.4