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The Command to adhere to Tawhid

Allah says: `so set your face and persevere in the religion which Allah has prescribed for you, the worship of Allah Alone, the religion of Ibrahim, to which Allah has guided you and which He has perfected for you with the utmost perfection. In this manner, you will also adhere to the sound Fitrah with which He created His creation.' Allah created His creation to recognize Him and know His Tawhid, and that there is no God except Him, as we have already seen when discussing the Ayah,

﴿ وَأَشۡہَدَهُمۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِہِمۡ أَلَسۡتُ بِرَبِّكُمۡ‌ۖ قَالُواْ بَلَىٰ‌ۛ

(and made them testify as to themselves (saying): "Am I not your Lord'' They said: "Yes!...'') (7:172). And according to a Hadith, Allah said,

« إِنِّي خَلَقْتُ عِبَادِي حُنَفَاءَ، فَاجْتَالَتْهُمُ الشَّيَاطِينُ عَنْ دِينِهِم »

("I created my servants Hunafa (i.e., monotheists), then the Shayatin misled them from their religion.'') We will see in the Hadiths that Allah created His creation with the Fitrah of Islam, then among some of them there emerged corrupt religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism.

﴿ لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ

(No change let there be in Allah's Khalq,) Some of them said that this means, `do not change the creation of Allah, for if you do, you will divert the people away from the Fitrah with which He created them.' So it is instructive; just as His saying:

﴿ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ ۥ كَانَ ءَامِنً۬ا‌ۗ

(And whoever enters it, he is safe) This is a good and correct interpretation. Others said that this means, Allah made all of His creation equal, all of them have the same sound Fitrah and are by nature upright; they are all born with this nature and there is no disparity among people in this regard. Ibn `Abbas, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd said that the Ayah:

﴿ لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ

(No change let there be in Allah's Khalq) means, the religion of Allah. Al-Bukhari said:

﴿ لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ

(No change let there be in Allah's Khalq,) "It means, the religion of Allah, and the religion, and the Fitrah is Islam.'' Then he reported that Abu Hurayrah said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

« مَا مِنْ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ إِلَّا عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ أَوْ يُنَصِّرَانِهِ أَوْ يُمَجِّسَانِهِ، كَمَا تُنْتَجُ الْبَهِيمَةُ بَهِيمَةً جَمْعَاءَ، هَلْ تُحِسُّونَ فِيهَا مِنْ جَدْعَاءَ؟ »

(No child is born except in a state of Fitrah, then his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Zoroastrian, just as each animal produces a perfect animal like itself -- do you see any among them that are born mutilated) then the narrator (Abu Hurayrah) said (recite this Ayah),

﴿ فِطۡرَتَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّتِى فَطَرَ ٱلنَّاسَ عَلَيۡہَا‌ۚ لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمُ

(Allah's Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Allah's Khalq, that is the straight religion.)'' This was also recorded by Muslim.

﴿ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمُ

(that is the straight religion,) means, adherence to the Shari`ah and the sound Fitrah is the true, straight religion.

﴿ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ

(but most men know not.) means, most people do not know this and they deviate far astray from it, as Allah says:

﴿ وَمَآ أَڪۡثَرُ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَوۡ حَرَصۡتَ بِمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.) (12:103)

﴿ وَإِن تُطِعۡ أَڪۡثَرَ مَن فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ

(And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's path) (6:116).

﴿ مُّنِيبِينَ إِلَيۡهِ

(turning in repentance to Him) Ibn Zayd and Ibn Jurayj said, "This means, returning to Him.''

﴿ وَٱتَّقُوهُ

(and have Taqwa of Him;) means, fear Him and remember that He is always watching.

﴿ وَأَقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ

(and perform the Salah), which is the greatest act of worship.)

﴿ وَلَا تَكُونُواْ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِڪِينَ

(and be not of the idolaters.) Be of those who single out Allah, devoting their worship sincerely for Him alone, not anyone or anything other than Him. Ibn Jarir recorded that Yazid bin Abi Maryam said: "`Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) passed by Mu`adh bin Jabal and asked, `What is the foundation of this Ummah' Mu`adh said, `Three things, and they are the things that will bring salvation: Al-Ikhlas (doing a deed for Allah alone), which is the Fitrah with which Allah created mankind; Salah, which is the thing that tells a believer apart from a disbeliever; and obedience, which is protection.' `Umar said: `You have spoken the truth.

Splitting into Sects and the Saved Sect

His saying:

﴿ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ فَرَّقُواْ دِينَهُمۡ وَڪَانُواْ شِيَعً۬ا‌ۖ كُلُّ حِزۡبِۭ بِمَا لَدَيۡہِمۡ فَرِحُونَ

(Of those who Farraqu Dinahum (split up their religion), and became sects, each sect rejoicing in that which is with it.) means, do not be of the idolaters who split up their religion, i.e., changed it by believing in parts of it and rejecting other parts. Some scholars read this as Faraqu Dinahum, meaning "neglected their religion and left it behind them.'' These are like the Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, idol worshippers and all the followers of false religions, besides the followers of Islam, as Allah says:

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ فَرَّقُواْ دِينَہُمۡ وَكَانُواْ شِيَعً۬ا لَّسۡتَ مِنۡہُمۡ فِى شَىۡءٍ‌ۚ إِنَّمَآ أَمۡرُهُمۡ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ

(Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah) (6:159). The followers of the religions before us had differences of opinions and split into false sects, each group claiming to be following the truth. This Ummah too has split into sects, all of which are misguided apart from one, which is Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jama`ah, those who adhere to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah and what was followed by the first generations, the Companions, their followers, and the Imams of the Muslims of earlier and later times. In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim recorded that the Messenger of Allah was asked which of the sects was the saved sect and he said:

« مَا أَنَا عَلَيْهِ وَأَصْحَابِي »

(What I and my Companions are upon.)

﴿ وَإِذَا مَسَّ ٱلنَّاسَ ضُرٌّ۬ دَعَوۡاْ رَبَّہُم مُّنِيبِينَ إِلَيۡهِ ثُمَّ إِذَآ أَذَاقَهُم مِّنۡهُ رَحۡمَةً إِذَا فَرِيقٌ۬ مِّنۡہُم بِرَبِّهِمۡ يُشۡرِكُونَ لِيَكۡفُرُواْ بِمَآ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمۡ‌ۚ فَتَمَتَّعُواْ فَسَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُونَ أَمۡ أَنزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ سُلۡطَـٰنً۬ا فَهُوَ يَتَكَلَّمُ بِمَا كَانُواْ بِهِۦ يُشۡرِكُونَ وَإِذَآ أَذَقۡنَا ٱلنَّاسَ رَحۡمَةً۬ فَرِحُواْ بِہَا‌ۖ وَإِن تُصِبۡهُمۡ سَيِّئَةُۢ بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ أَيۡدِيہِمۡ إِذَا هُمۡ يَقۡنَطُونَ أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَبۡسُطُ ٱلرِّزۡقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَقۡدِرُ‌ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يُؤۡمِنُونَ

(33. And when harm touches men, they cry sincerely only to their Lord, turning to Him in repentance; but when He gives them a taste of His mercy, behold, a party of them associates partners in worship with their Lord.) (34. So as to be ungrateful for the graces which We have bestowed on them. Then enjoy; but you will come to know.) (35. Or have We revealed to them an authority, which speaks of that which they have been associating with Him) (36. And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy, they rejoice therein; but when some evil afflicts them because of what their hands have sent forth, behold, they are in despair!) (37. Do they not see that Allah expands the provision for whom He wills and straitens (it for whom He wills). Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who believe.)

How man sways between Tawhid and Shirk, and between Joy and Despair, according to His Circumstances

Allah tells us that when man is in dire straits, he calls upon Allah alone with no partner or associate, then when times of ease come and they have the choice, some people associate others with Allah and worship others alongside Him.

﴿ لِيَكۡفُرُواْ بِمَآ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمۡ‌ۚ

(So as to be ungrateful for the graces which We have bestowed on them.) Then Allah warns them by saying:

﴿ فَسَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُونَ

(but you will come to know.) One of them said: By Allah, if a law enforcement officer were to say this to me, I would be afraid, so how about when the One Who is issuing the warning is the One Who merely says to a thing "Be!'' and it is Then Allah denounces the idolaters for fabricating lies and worshipping others instead of Him with no evidence or proof:

﴿ أَمۡ أَنزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ سُلۡطَـٰنً۬ا

(Or have We revealed to them an authority,) means, proof.

﴿ فَهُوَ يَتَكَلَّمُ

(which speaks) means, tells

﴿ بِمَا كَانُواْ بِهِۦ يُشۡرِكُونَ

(of that which they have been associating with Him) This is a rhetorical question intended to denounce them, for they have no such thing.

﴿ وَإِذَآ أَذَقۡنَا ٱلنَّاسَ رَحۡمَةً۬ فَرِحُواْ بِہَا‌ۖ وَإِن تُصِبۡهُمۡ سَيِّئَةُۢ بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ أَيۡدِيہِمۡ إِذَا هُمۡ يَقۡنَطُونَ

(And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy, they rejoice therein; but when some evil afflicts them because of what their hands have sent forth, behold, they are in despair!) This is a denunciation of man for the way he is, except for those whom Allah protects and helps, for when man is given blessings, he is proud, and says:

﴿ ذَهَبَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتُ عَنِّىٓ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَفَرِحٌ۬ فَخُورٌ

("Ills have departed from me.'' Surely, he is exultant, and boastful.) (11:10) He rejoices over himself and boasts to others, but when difficulties befall him, He despairs of ever having anything good again. Allah says:

﴿ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ

(Except those who show patience and do righteous good deeds). They are patient during times of difficulty and do good deeds at times of ease. It was reported in the Sahih:

« عَجَبًا لِلْمُؤْمِنِ لَا يَقْضِي اللهُ لَهُ قَضَاءً إِلَّا كَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ، إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ، وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَه »

(How wonderful is the affair of the believer. Allah does not decree anything for him but it is good for him. If good things happen to him, he gives thanks, and that is good for him; and if bad things happen to him, he bears that with patience, and that is good for him.)

﴿ أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَبۡسُطُ ٱلرِّزۡقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَقۡدِرُ‌ۚ

(Do they not see that Allah expands the provision for whom He wills and straitens (it for whom He wills).) He is the One Who is controlling and doing that, by His wisdom and justice, so He expands the provision for some people and restricts it for some.

﴿ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يُؤۡمِنُونَ

(Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who believe.)

﴿ فَـَٔاتِ ذَا ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ حَقَّهُ ۥ وَٱلۡمِسۡكِينَ وَٱبۡنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ خَيۡرٌ۬ لِّلَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ وَجۡهَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ وَمَآ ءَاتَيۡتُم مِّن رِّبً۬ا لِّيَرۡبُوَاْ فِىٓ أَمۡوَٲلِ ٱلنَّاسِ فَلَا يَرۡبُواْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ وَمَآ ءَاتَيۡتُم مِّن زَكَوٰةٍ۬ تُرِيدُونَ وَجۡهَ ٱللَّهِ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُضۡعِفُونَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُمۡ ثُمَّ رَزَقَكُمۡ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُڪُمۡ ثُمَّ يُحۡيِيكُمۡ‌ۖ هَلۡ مِن شُرَكَآٮِٕكُم مَّن يَفۡعَلُ مِن ذَٲلِكُم مِّن شَىۡءٍ۬‌ۚ سُبۡحَـٰنَهُ ۥ وَتَعَـٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُونَ

(38. So, give to the kindred his due, and to Al-Miskin and to the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek Allah's Face; and it is they who will be successful.) (39. And that which you give in Riba in order that it may increase from other people's property, has no increase with Allah; but that which you give in Zakah seeking Allah's Face, then those they shall have manifold increase.) (40. Allah is He Who created you, then provided food for you, then will cause you to die, then He will give you life. Is there any of your partners that do anything of that Glory be to Him! And Exalted be He above all that they associate.)

The Command to uphold the Ties of Kinship and the Prohibition of Riba Allah commands giving:
﴿ ذَا ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ حَقَّهُ ۥ

(to the kindred his due) his due of respect and upholding the ties of kinship.

﴿ وَٱلۡمِسۡكِينَ

(and to Al-Miskin) the one who has nothing to spend on his needs, or he has something but it is not enough.

﴿ وَٱبۡنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ‌ۚ

(and to the wayfarer.) the traveler who is in need of money and other things during his journey.

﴿ ذَٲلِكَ خَيۡرٌ۬ لِّلَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ وَجۡهَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ

(That is best for those who seek Allah's Face;) meaning; to look upon Him on the Day of Resurrection, which is the ultimate aim.

﴿ وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ

(and it is they who will be successful.) means, in this world and the Hereafter. Then Allah says:

﴿ وَمَآ ءَاتَيۡتُم مِّن رِّبً۬ا لِّيَرۡبُوَاْ فِىٓ أَمۡوَٲلِ ٱلنَّاسِ فَلَا يَرۡبُواْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ

(And that which you give in Riba, in order that it may increase from other people's property, has no increase with Allah;) This means, that which is given as a gift to others in the hope that they will give back more than they were given. There is no reward for this with Allah. This is how this Ayah was interpreted by Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, `Ikrimah, Muhammad bin Ka`b and Ash-Sha`bi. Allah says:

﴿ وَمَآ ءَاتَيۡتُم مِّن زَكَوٰةٍ۬ تُرِيدُونَ وَجۡهَ ٱللَّهِ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُضۡعِفُونَ

(but that which you give in Zakah seeking Allah's Face, then those they shall have manifold increase.) Those are the ones for whom Allah will multiply the reward. It was reported in the Sahih:

« وَمَا تَصَدَّقَ أَحَدٌ بِعَدْلِ تَمْرَةٍ مِنْ كَسْبٍ طَيِّبٍ إِلَّا أَخَذَهَا الرَّحْمَنُ بِيَمِينِهِ فَيُرَبِّيهَا لِصَاحِبِهَا، كَمَا يُرَبِّي أَحَدُكُمْ فَلُوَّهُ أَوْ فَصِيلَهُ حَتَّى تَصِيرَ التَّمْرَةُ أَعْظَمَ مِنْ أُحُد »

(No person gives in charity the equivalent of a date which was earned in a lawful manner, but the Most Merciful takes it in His Right Hand and takes care of it for its owner, just as any one of you takes care of his foal or young camel, until the date becomes the size of Mount Uhud.)

Creation, Provision, Life and Death are all in the Hand of Allah Allah says:
﴿ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُمۡ ثُمَّ رَزَقَكُمۡ

(Allah is He Who created you, then provided food for you,) means, He is the Creator and Provider. He brings man forth from his mother's womb naked and knowing nothing, not able to see or hear, and having no strength. Then He provides him with all these things, giving him household effects, clothing, wealth, possessions and earnings.

﴿ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُڪُمۡ

(then will cause you to die,) means, after this life.

﴿ ثُمَّ يُحۡيِيكُمۡ‌ۖ

(then (again) He will give you life.) means, on the Day of Resurrection.

﴿ هَلۡ مِن شُرَكَآٮِٕكُم

(Is there any of your partners) means, those whom you worship instead of Allah,

﴿ مَّن يَفۡعَلُ مِن ذَٲلِكُم مِّن شَىۡءٍ۬‌ۚ

(that do anything of that) meaning, none of them are able to do any of that. But Allah is the One Who is Independent in His powers of creation, provision, and giving life and death. Then He will resurrect His creation on the Day of Resurrection. This is why, after all this He says:

﴿ سُبۡحَـٰنَهُ ۥ وَتَعَـٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُونَ

(Glory be to Him! And Exalted be He above all that they associate. ) meaning, exalted and sanctified and glorified be He far above having any partner, peer, equal, son or father, for He is the One, the Unique, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who begets not nor was He begotten, and there is none comparable unto Him.

﴿ ظَهَرَ ٱلۡفَسَادُ فِى ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتۡ أَيۡدِى ٱلنَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعۡضَ ٱلَّذِى عَمِلُواْ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ قُلۡ سِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱنظُرُواْ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلُ‌ۚ كَانَ أَڪۡثَرُهُم مُّشۡرِكِينَ

(41. Evil has appeared in Al-Barr and Al-Bahr because of what the hands of men have earned, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return.) (42. Say: "Travel in the land and see what was the end of those before (you)! Most of them were idolaters.'')