Verily Tawheed is the first obligation that all the Messengers called to which formed the foundation of their call and their invitation to the people. Allah (swt) says: ‘We sent to every Ummah a messenger to command the people to submit to Allah exclusively and to reject Taghoot’. [EMQ 16:36]. Tawheed is the greatest Haq of Almighty Allah (swt) over his servant. It has been reported in Bukhari and Muslim, in a hadith narrated by Muadth Ibn Jabal (ra), that the Messenger Muhammad (saw) said: ‘The right of Allah over his servant is to submit to him exclusively and not to associate anything with him’. Whoever establishes the Tawheed enters Jannah and whoever negates the Tawheed they are from the people of hellfire. Establishing Tawheed is the path to happiness in this life and in the hereafter, whereas violating the Tawheed is the path of the miserable that will be doomed in this life and in the hereafter. Verily Tawheed is the only way for the unity of the Muslim Ummah and the Muslim world, for failure to establish the Tawheed amongst Muslims will be the cause of their failure, divisions and sectarian disputes.
Arqan al Tawheed
We must be aware that the Tawheed is composed of two pillars, Al Kufr bil Taghoot to reject all Taghoot and Al-Imaan billah to believe in Allah (swt). And know that man will never become a believer in Allah unless he rejects and disbelieves in the Taghoot. Whoever does not reject the Taghoot, then he has contradicted the basic message of all prophets and has contradicted the worship of Allah at its very roots for Allah (swt) says: ‘We sent to every Ummah a messenger to command the people to submit to Allah exclusively and to reject Taghoot’. [EMQ 16:36]
One cannot have Imaan in Allah (swt) unless he firsts disbelieves in the Taghoot. This is since Imaan and Shirk (polytheism) cannot be gathered together in one heart, for they are opposites. So one must remove all worship offered to other than Allah first and then establish worship to Allah (swt) alone afterward. Therefore, to believe in Allah (swt) we must reject that which contradicts the belief in Allah (swt) and we must therefore reject the Taghoot for Allah (swt) says “Whoever rejects Taghoot and believes in Allah then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold.” [al Baqarah 2:256] Mujaahid [d.103 h.] said ‘The most trustworthy handhold is imaan’ and as-Suddi [d.127 h.] said it is ‘Islam’ [Tafseer Ibn Kathir]. This ayah makes clear that there can be no Imaan without rejection of Taghoot, and that believing in Allah (swt) as the only object of worship, as the only ‘illah’ is dependent upon rejecting any other object of worship.
The Kalimah of Tawheed, ‘Laa ilaaha ill Allah’ is a statement of negation nafi and affirmation ithbaat. When we are saying ‘Laa ilaaha’ we are rejecting all worship for other than Allah (swt) and when we say ‘ill Allah’ we are affirming that the worship is only for Allah (swt). Worship includes obedience Taa’ah. This means that we must accept that only Allah can legislate for us for Allah (swt) says "…The rule hukm is for none but Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him, that is the Straight Deen but most men know not." [al Yusuf 12:40] and "…and He makes none to sharein His Rule…" [al Kahf 18:26]
Dear Brothers and Sisters, the way in which we are obliged to establish the above conditions and pillars of Tawheed, we are also obliged to fear and distance ourselves from shirk and to take precaution from all of its types, its gates and exits, whether the big shirk or small one, as verily, the biggest oppression is shirk and Allah (swt) will forgive everything except shirk. Whosoever falls into shirk, Jannah is forbidden for him and his residence will be hellfire: ‘Allah does not forgive Shirk or to associate with Him anything, but forgives less than that to whomever He wills’ [an Nisaa’ 4:48] Therefore Muslims should be aware about what negates and contradicts Tawheed in order to make a shield for themselves, protecting them from apostasy.
As for the Shari’ah definition of Taghoot, it is that which is worshiped, obeyed, submitted to, or followed other then Allah (swt). This may include Shaytan idols, stones, sun, stars, angels, or even human beings. Likewise saints, graves, pirs, rulers and leaders, other ruling systems besides Islam may also be falsely worshipped and made into Taghoot. Imaam Maalik (d.179ah) said ‘The Taghoot is anything that is worshipped apart from Allah’. Imaam Ibn al Qayyim said, ‘The Taghoot is anyone to whom the slave [a’bd] goes beyond the limits whether it is someone worshipped [ma’boodin] or followed [matbooi’n] or obeyed [mutaai’n’].
Shaykh Muhammad ibn A’bdul Wahhaab [d.1206 h.] said ‘The Taaghout are many and their heads are five: Iblees, whoever is worshipped and is pleased with that, whoever calls the people to worship himself, whoever claims to possess anything from the knowledge of the unseen and whoever rules by other than what Allah has sent down’ as well as ‘The word Taghoot is general. So everything that is worshipped besides Allah, while being pleased with this worship – whether it is something worshipped, someone followed, or someone obeyed in the absence of obedience to Allah and His Messenger, then that is considered Taghoot.
With regards to the Rulers of the Muslim Lands today who many claim for them to be believers, not only do they willingly obey, follow, submit and bow down to the laws of the kuffar, resulting in the abolishment in the first Pillar of Tawheed i.e. Al Kufr bil Taghoot, they themselves order the people to be obey, follow and submit to them and the kuffr which the legislate, and therefore become Taghoot themselves. Indeed the list of their kuffr, shirk and the rejection and hatred for the shariah of Allah (swt) is overwhelming. So whoever rules by other than what Allah revealed, implementing it knowingly, then he is a Taghoot, even if he claims what he may claim. And indeed Allah has declared him a disbeliever.
So the fact that the Taghoot does not only include stars, stone and wooden idols but also people who make laws against the shari’ah is manifest from the Quran and supported from the statements of the salaf and the classical scholars. The following ayah proves that whoever rejects Quran and Sunnah and prefers man-made law either voting for that, supporting it or going to judgement in courts based on that has removed himself from Islam. Allah (swt) says “Have you seen those who claim that they believe in that which was sent down to you and before you and they wish to go for judgement to the Taghoot while they have been commanded to reject them? But Shaytaan wishes to lead them far astray. And when it is said to them ‘Come to what Allah has sent down and to the messenger’ you see the munaafiqeen turn away from you with aversion. How then when a catastrophe befalls them because of what their hands have sent forth they come to you swearing by Allah, ‘We meant nothing more than goodwill and conciliation’.” [an Nisaa’ 4:60-62]
This verse was revealed in relation to a Muslim who was debating with a Jew about a certain issue. Rather then making Tahakum to Allah (by referring to Muhammad (saw)), he referred to a Taghoot Sorcerer (Al Ka'ab ibn Ashraf) for judgment and for this he became a Kafir and apostatized from the deen of Islam. Ibn Katheer [d.774 h.] said ‘The ayah has a general meaning as it chastises all those who refrain from referring to the Quran and Sunnah for judgement and prefer the judgement of whatever they chose of falsehood, which befits the description of Taghoot here. This is why Allah said “….and they wish to go for judgement to the Taghoot…” [Tafseer Ibn Kathir].
Thus, the ayah is clear in declaring the kufr disbelief of those who went to other than the revelation from Allah for laws and judgement. The ayah said “…claim that they believe…” which means that they don’t believe. Allah (swt) made clear that accepting judgement and legislation from other than Allah and His messenger is kuffr [disbelief], Allah (swt) says “But no by your Lord, they can have no imaan (belief) until they make you judge in all disputes among them and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions and accept them with fullest submission.” [an Nisaa’ 4:65]
The Way to Reject Taghoot
It is vital that we declare the false hood and rejection on Taghoot, keep distance from it and declare animosity, hatred and hostily towards it. There is no way for a believer to believe in and love Allah (swt) and also love the Shaytan, or any other Taghoot, rather we must hate those who hate Allah and we must hate all Taghoot as Allah (swt) tells us in the Quran through the example of Ibraheem (as); "Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim and those with him, when they said to their people: "Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah: we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you hostility and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone." [al-Mumtahanah 60:4] So they absolved themselves from them and rejected and declared kuffr upon them and whatever they were worshipping besides Allah (swt), and they declared to them their enmity and hatred and their cutting off of love for them, until they make their worship purely for Allah (swt) alone, single Him out apart from others and remove all of the false gods from Him. It is impossible for someone to insist that any Taghoot is Muslim, we cannot disbelieve in Shaytan, distancing ourselves from him, hating him, declaring animosity on him, and then insist that he is Muslim, rather we must make Takfeer on him, and call him kafir beyond any doubt.
After all this how can one vote for man to make law which is Taghoot as mentioned, or become involved in parliaments and governments that do not rule by what Allah (swt) has revealed and vote for them and support them, when we have been ordered by Allah (swt) to reject, have animosity and hatred to them and keep distance from them.
The Taghoot are a means of misguidance and whoever makes allegiance with the Taghoot has gone far astray. Allah (swt) says “Allah is the Wali [Protector, Ally, Supporter] of those who believe, He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve their awliya [allies, supporters] are Taghoot, they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the fire and they will abide therein forever.” [al-Baqarah 2:257]
The one who believes in the Taghoot is cursed and he will have no help from Allah. Whoever recognises the false authority of the Taghoot or believes that they have better guidance than the Shari’ah or believes that they possess any attributes or rights belonging to Allah (swt), then they are a disbeliever as Allah (swt) says “Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Book? They believe in Jibt and Taghoot and say to those who disbelieve ‘These people are better guided on the way’ than the believers. They are those whom Allah has cursed, and he whom Allah curses, you will not find for him a helper.” [an Nisaa’ 4:51-52]
Many peoples in the past have worshipped Taghoot and so gained the Anger of Allah and were cursed and transformed. “Say: ‘Shall I inform you of something worse than that, regarding the recompense from Allah those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom He transformed into monkeys and swine, those who worshipped Taghoot.” [al Maa’idah 5:60]
Paradise is only for those who reject Taghoot and there is good news for those who avoid worshipping the Taghoot. Allah says; “Those who avoid Taghoot by not worshipping them and turn to Allah, for them are glad tidings so announce the good news to My slaves, those who listen to the word and follow the best of it those are whom Allah has guided and those are men of understanding [oolul albaab].” [Az Zumar 39:17-18]
Responsibility of the Believers
Today we have Taghoot dominant all over the world manifested in the rulers, governments and constitutions that are implemented and enforced throughout the world. These regimes have taken it upon themselves to become legislators by making and enforcing kuffr law and in doing so have rivalled with Allah (swt) as this is an attribute that is exclusive to Him. Instead of adhering to the command of Allah (swt) by implementing the shariah we find that these regimes implement kuffr law and give more credence to ideologies like capitalism over Islam. Hence according to the very first pillar of our belief they must be rejected and nullified by distancing ourselves from them, believing that they are our enemies, having hatred for them and declaring kuffr upon them. Again this is not a mere statement upon the tongue rather this should be manifested in our actions, as belief by definition includes the actions, for it is our actions that display what is within our hearts.No beneficial change will occur as long as we regard as Muslims those who contradict the reason for our existence and the first pillar of Tawheed. So failing to recognise the Tawagheet as kuffaar is an error in Aqeedah and Tawheed and thus the actions that emanate from it are also in error. Much of the Ummah has accepted the enemies of Tawheed to be the leaders and their upholders of the Muslim world, and is vital that we change out beliefs and acts in relation to this.