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The Three Fundamental Principles

Shaykh al-Islām Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb

The three questions which you will be asked in your grave. Who is your Lord? What is your Religion? Who is your Prophet?

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Al-Imām Muḥammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhāb (رحمه الله) said: “Know, may Allāh have mercy upon you, that seeking knowledge is obligatory, and is a cure for the hearts that are afflicted with sickness. And from the most important affairs incumbent upon you is knowledge of your Religion. This knowledge, and action upon it, is the cause for entry into Paradise whilst being ignorant of it and wasting it away is the cause of entry into the Fire. We seek refuge with Allāh for ourselves and for the Muslims from that.”1

The Four Affairs

Know, may Allāh have mercy upon you, that it is obligatory upon us to learn four affairs.
Firstly: Knowledge, and that is to have knowledge of Allāh, His Prophet (ﷺ) and the religion of Islām with the proofs.
Secondly: To act upon that knowledge.
Thirdly: To invite others to that
Fourthly: To bear patiently the harms encountered in that path.

The evidence for these points is in the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِیمِ وَٱلۡعَصۡرِ ﴿ ١ ﴾ إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ لَفِی خُسۡرٍ ﴿ ٢ ﴾ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِینَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوۡا۟ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوۡا۟ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ ﴿ ٣ ﴾

In the name of Allāh, the Beneficent, The Merciful. By Time. 2 Indeed all of mankind is in loss except for those who believe and perform righteous deeds, and those who exhort one another with the truth and with patience.
[al-ʿAsr, 103:1-4]

Imām Al-Shāfi‛ī (died 204AH) said: “Had Allāh not sent except this Sūrah as a proof upon His creation, it would surely have sufficed them.”
Imām Al-Bukhārī (died 256AH ) said: “Knowledge precedes both speech and action, and the proof for that is the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

فَاعلَم أَنَّهُ لا إِلهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاستَغفِر لِذَنبِكَ ﴿ ١٩ ﴾

And know that none has the right to be worshipped except Allāh, and seek forgiveness for your sins.
[Muḥammad, 47:19]

So Allāh began this verse with knowledge before speech and action.” 3

The Three Affairs

Know, may Allāh show you mercy, that Allāh has obligated upon every male and female Muslim to learn the following three affairs and act in accordance to them.

The first: To know that Allāh created us to worship Him, He provided for us, and did not leave us without a purpose. Rather, He sent to us a Messenger, whoever obeys him (ﷺ) enters Paradise and whoever disobeys him enters the Fire. The proof for this is the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ رَسُولًا شَاهِدًا عَلَيْكُمْ كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ رَسُولًا ‎﴿١٥﴾‏ فَعَصَىٰ فِرْعَوْنُ الرَّسُولَ فَأَخَذْنَاهُ أَخْذًا وَبِيلًا ‎﴿١٦﴾‏

We have sent to you a Messenger as a witness over you just as We had sent to the Pharaoh a Messenger. But the Pharaoh disobeyed the Messenger, so We seized him with a severe punishment.
[al-Muzammil, 73:15-16]

The second: That Allāh is not pleased that anyone should be taken as a partner alongside Him in worship, not an Angel that has been drawn close, nor a Prophet that was sent. The proof for this is in the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا ‎﴿١٨﴾

The places of worship (the mosques) are only for Allāh, so do not invoke or supplicate to anyone else alongside Allāh.
[al-Jinn, 72:18]

The third: It is not allowed for the one who obeys the Messenger (ﷺ) and singles out Allāh alone with worship to give allegiance to the one who opposes Allāh and His Messenger (ﷺ), even if it be the closest of relatives. The proof for this is the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

لَّا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ ۖ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ ۚ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ ‎﴿٢٢﴾‏

You will not find a people who believe in Allāh and the Last Day having love for those who oppose Allāh and His Messenger, even if they be their fathers, their sons, their brothers or their kinsfolk. It is such believers upon whose hearts Allāh has inscribed true faith, and He has strengthened them with īmān, proofs and guidance from Himself. He shall enter them into the Gardens of Paradise under which rivers flow, and they will dwell therein forever. Allāh is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. They are the party of Allāh, and verily the party of Allāh are the successful.
[al-Mujādilah, 58:22]

The True Upright Religion Of Ibrāhīm Was The Worship Of Allāh Alone

Know, may Allāh guide you to His obedience, that the true upright Religion of Ibrāhīm (عليه السلام) is that you are to worship Allāh alone, making the Religion purely and sincerely for Him. This is what Allāh has commanded all of the people with, and it was for this that He created them.

Shaykh al-Islām Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb

Just as He, the Most High, stated:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ ‎﴿٥٦﴾

I did not create the jinn and humans except that they should worship Me.
[al-Dhāriyāt, 51:56]

The meaning of, “worship Me” in this verse is that they are to single out Allāh alone with worship.

The greatest of all affairs that Allāh has commanded with is Tawḥīd , and that is to single out Allāh alone with worship―and the greatest of all the prohibitions that He has forbidden is Shirk, and that is to invoke and supplicate to others alongside Him (عزَّ وجلَّ). The proof for this is the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ ‎﴿٣٦﴾‏

Worship Allāh alone and do not associate anything alongside Him in worship.
[al-Nisāʾ, 4:36]

If it is said to you: “What are the three principles that every person is obligated to know?” Say in response: “A servant is obligated to know his Lord, his Religion and his Prophet, Muḥammad (ﷺ).”

The First Principle: Knowing The Lord (Ar-Rabb)

If it is said to you: “Who is your Lord?” Then say: “My Lord is Allāh who nurtured me, and He nurtured all of creation with His bounty. He is the One I worship, and there is none worthy of my worship other than Him.” The proof for this is the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ‎﴿٢﴾‏

All praise is for Allāh, the Lord of all creation.
[al-Fātiḥah, 1:2]

Everything other than Allāh is the creation, and I am one of the creation.

If it is said to you: “How did you come to know your Lord?” Say in response: “Through His signs and His creation. From His signs is the night and day, and the Sun and Moon. From His creation are the seven heavens and whatever is within them, and the seven Earths and whosoever is within them, and whatever is between the two of them.” The proof for this is the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

لَخَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ خَلْقِ النَّاسِ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ‎﴿٥٧﴾

The creation of the heavens and the Earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind, yet most of mankind know not.
[Ghāfir, 40:57]

The proof is also in the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ ۚ لَا تَسْجُدُوا لِلشَّمْسِ وَلَا لِلْقَمَرِ وَاسْجُدُوا لِلَّهِ الَّذِي خَلَقَهُنَّ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ ‎﴿٣٧﴾

And from His signs is the night and the day, and the Sun and the Moon. Do not prostrate to the Sun, nor to the Moon. Pros- trate instead to Allāh, the One who created them, if you do truly worship Him.
[Fuṣṣilat, 41:37]

The proof is also in the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

إنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ ۗ أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ ۗ تَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ ‎﴿٥٤﴾

Indeed your Lord is Allāh who created the Heavens and the Earth in six days, and then ascended over His Throne. He causes the night to cover the day which follows in quick succession. The Sun, the Moon, the stars are all subject to His command. Certainly His alone is the creation and His is the command. Exalted is Allāh, the Lord of all creation.
[al- Aʾrāf, 7:54]

The Lord (Ar-Rabb) is the One who is worshipped. The proof for this is the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ‎﴿٢١﴾‏ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّهِ أَندَادًا وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ ‎﴿٢٢﴾

O people, worship your Lord who created you and created all those who came before you, so that you may be among the pious. He who has made the earth a resting place and has made the sky a canopy. He sent down the rain from the sky, and with it, He brought out from the earth, crops and fruits as provision for you. So do not set up rivals alongside Allāh in worship whilst you know all this.
[al-Baqarah, 2:21-22]

Ibn Kathīr (رحمه الله) said: “The Creator of all these things is the only One deserving of worship.” 4

The Types Of Worship That Allāh Has Commanded

The types of worship which Allāh has commanded such as Islām 5 (submission and obedience to Allāh), Imān (belief, speech and action), Iḥsān 7 (striving to attain perfection in worship)​​, and also supplication (duʿāʾ), fear (khawf), hope (rajā), trust and reliance (tawakkul), desire (raghbah), strong fear (rahbah), humble reverence (khushūʾ), awe (khashyah), turning in repentance (inābah), seeking aid (isti’ānah), seeking refuge (isti’ādhah), seeking to be rescued (istighāthah), sacrificing (dhabh), taking a vow (nadhr), and other than these from the various types of worship which Allāh has commanded―then all of them are for Allāh, the Most High, alone.

The proof for this is the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا ‎﴿١٨﴾‏

The places of worship are only for Allāh, so do not invoke or supplicate to anyone else alongside Allāh.
[al-Jinn, 72:18]

Whoever directs any of these types of worship to other than Allāh is a polytheist and an unbeliever.

The proof for that 8 is the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

وَمَن يَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ لَا بُرْهَانَ لَهُ بِهِ فَإِنَّمَا حِسَابُهُ عِندَ رَبِّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الْكَافِرُونَ ‎﴿١١٧﴾

Whoever calls upon another god alongside Allāh has no proof for what he does. His reckoning will surely be with his Lord, and the unbelievers will never prosper.
[al-Muʾminūn, 23:117]

In a hadīth, there occurs: “Supplication is the principle part of worship.” 9  

The evidence is also the saying of Allāh, the Most High:

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ ‎﴿٦٠﴾

Your Lord said: Call upon Me and I will answer you. Those who are too proud to worship Me will enter the Hellfire in disgrace.
[Ghāfir, 40:60]

The proof for fearing Allāh (khawf) is in the saying of the Most High:

فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ ‎﴿١٧٥﴾

Do not fear them but fear Me instead, if you are truly believers.
[Ālī-ʿImrān, 3:175]

The proof of hope and longing for Allāh (rajāʿ) is His, the Most High, saying:

فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا ‎﴿١١٠﴾‏

So whoever longs to meet his Lord, then let him work righteous deeds, and let him not associate anyone in worship with his Lord.
[al-Kahf, 18:110]

The proof for reliance and trust in Allāh (tawakkul) is in the saying of the Most High:

وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَتَوَكَّلُوا إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ ‎﴿٢٣﴾‏

And place your trust and reliance in Allāh if you are true believers.
[al-Māʾidah, 5:23]

and His saying:

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ ۚ ‎﴿٣﴾

And whoever trusts in Allāh, He will suffice him.
[al-Ṭalāq, 65:3]

The proof for having desire (ar-raghbah), fear (ar-rahbah) and humble reverence (al-khushūʾ) for Allāh is in the saying of the Most High:

إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَبًا وَرَهَبًا ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا خَاشِعِينَ ‎﴿٩٠﴾‏

They would race to perform good deeds and they would call upon Allāh with desire and a strong fear, and they displayed humble reverence before Allāh.
[al-Anbiyāʿ, 21:90]

The proof for having awe (khashyah) of Allāh is the saying of the Most High:

فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِي وَلِأُتِمَّ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ ‎﴿١٥٠﴾

Do not be in awe of them but rather have awe of Me―and so that I may complete My blessings on you, and that you may be guided.
[al-Baqarah, 2:150]

The proof that one must turn to Allāh in repentance (ʾinābah) is in the saying of the Most High:

وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ ‎﴿٥٤﴾

So turn to your Lord in repentance and submit to Him in obedience.
[al-Zumar, 39:54]

The proof for seeking aid (isti‘ānah) from Allāh is in the saying of the Most High:

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ‎﴿٥﴾

You alone do we worship, O Allāh, and You alone do we ask for aid.
[al-Fātiḥah, 1:5]

And the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “If you seek aid, then seek the aid of Allāh.”10

The proof for seeking refuge (istiʾādhah) with Allāh is in the saying of the Most High:

قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ ‎﴿١﴾‏ مَلِكِ النَّاسِ ‎﴿٢﴾‏

Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind. The King of mankind.
[al-Nās: 114:1-2]

The proof for seeking to be rescued (istighāthah) by Allāh is in the saying of the Most High:

إِذْ تَسْتَغِيثُونَ رَبَّكُمْ فَاسْتَجَابَ لَكُمْ أَنِّي مُمِدُّكُم بِأَلْفٍ مِّنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُرْدِفِينَ ‎﴿٩﴾

Remember when you sought help of your Lord and He answered you saying: I will help you with a thousand of the angels each behind the other in succession.
[al-Anfāl, 8:9]

The proof that sacrificing (dhabh) is solely for Allāh is in the saying of the Most High:

قُلْ إِنَّنِي هَدَانِي رَبِّي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ دِينًا قِيَمًا مِّلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۚ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ‎﴿١٦١﴾‏ قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿١٦٢﴾

Say O Prophet: ‘Truly, my Lord has guided me to a Straight Path, a right religion, the religion of Ibrāhīm of true Islāmic Monotheism and he was not of the polytheists.’ Say O Prophet: ‘My prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allāh, the Lord of creation.’
[al-Anʿām, 6:161-162]

And proof from the Sunnah is the saying of the Prophet (ﷺ): “The curse of Allāh is upon the one who sacrifices to other than Allāh.”11

The proof that taking a vow (nadhr) is for Allāh is in the saying of the Most High:

يُوفُونَ بِالنَّذْرِ وَيَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا كَانَ شَرُّهُ مُسْتَطِيرًا ‎﴿٧﴾

They fulfill their vows and they fear a day whose evil will be widespread.
[al-Insān, 76:7]

Published: November 27, 2021
Edited: January 6, 2022

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