Three Fundamentals of Islam – Text – Shaykh Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhab

By Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhab At-Tamimi (1703-1792)

[For PDF Document
Click – The Three Fundamental Principles – Shaykh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab- Translated by ]

Translated by Ahmad Jalal and Muhammad Ghali,
Printed and published by: The Cooperative Office for Call and Guidance, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

You should know, may Allah have mercy on you, that we should learn four points:

  1. Knowledge: which consists in knowing Allah, knowing His Messenger, and knowing the religion of Islam by knowing the proofs from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
  2. Acting according to this knowledge.
  3. Calling other people to this knowledge.
  4. Persistence in the face of adversity that results from calling the people to it.

And the evidence is from the saying of Allah azza wa jall:

“By the Time. Verily Man is in loss. Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” (103:1-3)

Al-Shafiái said about these verses: “If no argument besides this verse had been revealed by Allah to his creatures, it would have been sufficient for them.”

Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy on him, named a chapter in his Sahih:

“Chapter: Knowledge before Saying and Acting”

The evidence is the saying of Allah azza wa jall:

“ Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for your fault.” (47:19)

He, azza wa jall, began with knowledge first before saying and acting. Know, may Allah have mercy on you, that every Muslim, male and female, should learn these three things and act according to them:

1.      That Allah has created us, has given us sustenance, and has not left us without guidance. He has sent His messenger to us; whosoever obeys Him is destined to Paradise, and whosoever disobeys is consigned to Hell. The evidence is in His saying:

“We have sent to you, (O men!) a Messenger, to be a witness concerning you, even as We sent a Messenger to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh disobeyed the Messenger; so We seized him with a heavy Punishment.” (73:15-16)

2.      Allah does not accept that any partner is associated with him in worship, be he an exalted angel or a messenger prophet. The evidence is in His saying:

“And the places of worship are for Allah (alone): So invoke not any one along with Allah.”(72:18)

3.      Whosoever bears obedience to the Prophet and worshipped Allah alone should not take for friend those who deny Allah and His messenger, even if they were his nearest kin. The evidence is in His saying:

“ You  will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein (for ever). Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve Success.”(58:22)

Know you, may Allah guide you to His obedience, that the Hanifiyyah is the creed of Ibrahim (Abraham), which is to worship Allah alone, with pure religious devotion. It is this that Allah has ordained on all people; and indeed He created them for this purpose. The evidence is in His saying:

“I have only created Jinn and men, that they may serve Me.” (51:56)

To “serve Me” means to serve and worship Allah azza wa jall alone without partners. The greatest thing that Allah has ordered is to Tawheed, that is to worship Allah alone. The greatest of what he forbade is Shirk, which means calling upon other with Allah. The evidence is in His saying:

“Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him.” (4:36)

The Three Fundamentals

If you were asked “What are the three fundamentals that must be understood by every Muslim?”, say: “A worshipper should know his Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer), his religion, and his Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

The First Fundamental: Knowing Allah

If you are asked: “Who is your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)?” say: “My Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) is Allah. He has nourished me and all other creatures with his blessings. He is my Deity, and I have no other Deity but Him.” The evidence is in His saying:

“Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;” (1:2)

Every thing other than Allah is of His Creation; and I am part of that Creation.

If you were asked: “How did you know your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)?” say: “Through His signs and His creatures. Among his signs are the Night and Day, and the Sun and Moon. Among His creatures are the Heavens and the Earth, and all that is in and between them.” The evidence is in His saying:

“Among His Signs are the Night and the Day, and the Sun and the Moon. Prostrate not to the Sun and the Moon, but prostrate to Allah, Who created them, if it is Him you wish to serve.” (41:37)

And His saying:

“Your Guardian Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then He settled Himself on the Throne: He draws the Night as a veil o’er the Day, each seeking the other in rapid succession: and the Sun, the Moon, and the stars, (all) are subservient by His Command. Verily, His are the Creation and the Command. Blessed be Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds!” (7:54)

The “Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)” here is the worshipped Deity. The evidence to this is in His saying:

“O you people! Worship your Guardian Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer), who created you and those who came before you, that you may become righteous; Who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith Fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals unto Allah when you know (the truth)”(2:21-22)

Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “ It is only the Creator of all these things Who is worthy to be worshipped.”

Some of the forms of worship ordained by Allah are Islam (Submission), eman (faith), ehsan (charity), Duâa (prayer and supplications), khawf (fear), rajaa (hope), tawakkul (trust), raghbah (aspiration), rahbah (awe), khoshoâ (homage), khashiah (apprehension), enabah (remorse), estianah (supplication), estiadhah (appeal for refuge), estighathah (succor), dhabh (sacrifice) and nadhr (vowing).

These as well as other forms ordained by Allah are all to Him, taala. The evidence is in His saying:

“And the places of worship are for Allah (alone): So invoke not any one along with Allah.” (72:18)

Consequently, if anyone performs one of these rites not exclusively to Allah; he is a polytheist and an unbeliever. The evidence to this is His saying:

“If anyone invokes, besides Allah, any other god, he has no authority therefore; and his reckoning will be only with his Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)! And verily the Unbelievers shall not prosper!.”(23:117)

1.      Prayer:

It was narrated in the Hadith: “Prayer is the essence of worship” and the evidence is in His saying:

“And your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) says: ‘Call on Me; I will answer your (prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely enter Hell abased!’”  (40:60)

2.      Fear:

Evidence to fearing Allah alone is in His saying:

“Be you not afraid of them, but fear Me, if you have faith.” (3:175)

3.      Hope:

Evidence of hope is in His saying:

“Whoever expects to meet his Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer), let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer), admit no one as partner.” (18:110)

4.      Trust:

Evidence of trust is in His saying:

“But on Allah put your trust if you have faith.” (5:23)

and His saying:

“And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him.” (65:3)

“Whoever expects to meet his Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer), let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer), admit no one as partner.” (18:110)

5.      Aspiration, Awe, and Humility:

Evidence of aspiration, awe, and humility is in His saying:

“They used to call on Us with yearning and awe, and humble themselves before Us.”  (21:90)

6.      Apprehension:

Evidence of apprehension is in His saying:

“So fear them not, but fear Me; and that I may complete My favors on you, and you may (consent to) be guided.” (2:150)

7.      Remorse:

Evidence of remorse is in His saying:

“Turn you to your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) (in repentance) and submit to Him, before the chastisement comes on you: after that you shall not be helped.” (39:54)

8.      Supplication:

Evidence of supplication is in His saying:

“You Alone do we worship, and  Your aid we seek.” (1:5)

and from the Hadith:

“If you need aid, supplication to Allah for aid.”

9.      Appeal for Refuge:

Evidence of appeal for refuge is in His saying:

“Say: I seek refuge with the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) and Cherisher of Mankind, The King of Mankind,” (114:1-2)

10.  Appeal for Succor:

Evidence of appeal for succor is in His saying:

“Remember you implored the assistance of your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer), and He answered you: ‘I will assist you with a thousand of the angels, ranks on ranks.’”  (8:9)

11.  Sacrifice:

Evidence of sacrifice is in His saying:

“Say: ‘Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds: No partner hath He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit to His will.’”    (6:162)

And from the  Hadîth : “Allah’s curse is upon those who offer sacrifices to other then Him.”

12.  Vows:

Evidence of vows is in His saying:

“They perform (their) vows, and they fear a Day whose evil flies far and wide.” (76:7)

The Second Fundamental: Knowing the Religion of Islam through evidences.

This knowledge is the submission to Allah alone, and yielding to Him by obeying His commandments; and the denial of association with Him and the Mushrikeen or those who associate partners with Allah.

This knowledge is of three ranks:

  • Islam (submission)
  • Eman (faith)
  • Ehsan (Perfection of Worship)

The first rank : Islam (submission)

Islam has five pillars:

  1. Testifying that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger.
  2. Performing prayers
  3. Paying the Zakat
  4. Fasting the month of Ramadan.
  5. Pilgrimage to the Sacred House (Mecca).

The evidence for testifying from the Qur’an is His saying:

“There is no god but He: That is the witness of Allah, His angels, and those endued with knowledge. Standing firm on justice. There is no god but He, the Exalted in Power, the Wise.”  (3:18)

This means that it is only Allah that is worthy of being worshipped, and the negation, “… no god but …”, implies the denial of any other deities worshipped besides Allah. He should have no partner in His worship as He has no partner in His Domain. The following verses illustrate this point:

“Behold! Abraham said to his father and his people: ‘I do indeed clear myself of what you worship: (I worship) only Him Who originated me, and He will certainly guide me.’ And he left it as a Word to endure among those who came after him, that they may turn back (to Allah).” (43:26-28)

And His saying:

“Say: ‘O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) and patrons other than Allah.’ If then they turn back, say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will).” (3:64)

The evidence for testifying that Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is the Messenger of Allah is in His saying:

“Now has come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that you should suffer, ardently anxious is he over you: to the Believers is he most kind and merciful. But if they turn away, Say: ‘(Allah) suffices me: there is no god but He: On Him is my trust,- He the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) of the Throne Supreme!’”  (9:128-129)

To testify that Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is the Messenger of Allah signifies that one should obey his ordinances and believe him in what he tells, avoid what he prohibits and worship Allah according to His precepts. The evidence for prayers and Zakat, and the meaning of worshipping Allah alone is in His saying:

“And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to give Zakat; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.” (98:5)

The evidence for fasting from the Qur’an is His saying:

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint.”   (2:183)

The evidence for Pilgrimage is His saying:

“Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah,- those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures.”  (3:97)

The second rank : Eman (Faith)

Eman comprises of seventy and something branches (narrated by Bukhari), that highest is to say “La ilaha illa Allah” which is to testify that “there is no god but Allah”, and the lowest is to remove obstacles from the path of the people. Modesty and bashfulness is one of the branches of Eman. The pillars of Eman are six:

Belief in…

  1. Allah,
  2. His Angles,
  3. His Books,
  4. His Messengers,
  5. The Last Day,
  6. and Destiny, whether good or bad.

Evidence from the Qur’an for the six pillars of Eman is:

“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and give Zakat; to fulfill the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God fearing.” (2:177)

Evidence for Destiny from the Qur’an is:

“Verily, all things have We created in proportion and measure.” (54:49)

The third rank : Ehsan (Perfection of worship)

Ehsan has only one pillar and that is you have to worship Allah as if you see Him; for though you do not see Him, He sees you.

Evidence is in His saying

“For Allah is with those who restrain themselves, and those who do good.” (16:128)

and in His saying:

“In whatever business  you may be, and whatever portion  you may be reciting from the Qur’an,- and whatever deed you (mankind) may be doing,- We are Witnesses thereof when you are deeply engrossed therein.”  (10:61)

Evidence from the Hadîth is the well known Hadîth of Jibreel (Gabriel).

According to Omar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, who said:

“One day while we were sitting with the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, there came upon us a man with very white clothes and very dark hair; no traces of any traveling on him, and non of us knew him. He sat before the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, with his knees touching the Prophet’s knees, and his hands over the Prophet’s thighs. The stranger said:

“O Muhammad, tell me about Islam.” He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “It is to testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to perform prayer, to give Zakat, to fast the month of Ramadan, and to perform the Pilgrimage to the House, if you can afford it.”. He (the stranger) said: “You have spoken the truth.” We wondered why he asked him and then told him that what he had said was true.

The stranger then said: “Tell me about Eman.” He said: “It is to believe in Allah, His Angles, His Books, His Messengers, The Last Day, and in Destiny, whether good or bad.”

He said: “Tell me about Ehsan.” He said: “To worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, for though you do not see Him, He sees you.”

He said: “Tell me about the Final Day.” He said: “The answerer has no better knowledge than the questioner.”

He said: “Tell me about its signs.” He said: “When a slave girl gives birth to her own mistress, and when you see the bare-footed and tattered needy shepherds vying with each other in erecting high buildings.”

Then that stranger left, and the Prophet was silent for a while then said: “O Omar, do you know who was the questioner?” I said:” Allah and His Messenger know better.” He said: “That was Gabriel. He came to teach you your religion.”

The Third Fundamental: Knowing your Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

He is Muhammad, son of Abdullah, son of Abdulmuttalib, son of Hashim, of the clan of Quraysh, one of the Arab clans, the descendants of Ismael, the son Ibrahim Al-Khalil. He was born in Mecca. He lived for sixty three years, forty before his mission and twenty three years as a prophet and a messenger.

He was initiated into prophethood with the revelation of the verses:

“Read! in the name of your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) and Cherisher, Who created. Created man, out of a leech-like clot. Read! And your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) is Most Bountiful,- He Who taught (the use of) the Pen,- Taught man that which he knew not.” (96:1-5)

Later Allah sent him as a messenger to warn against associating partners with Allah and to preach worshipping Allah alone. The evidence is in His saying:

“O  (Muhammad) wrapped up (in the mantle)! Arise and deliver your warning! And your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) do thou magnify! And your garments keep free from stain! And all abomination shun! Nor expect, in giving, any increase (for yourself)! But, for your Rabb’s (Cause), be patient and constant!” (74:1-7)

“Arise and deliver your warning” against associating partners with Allah, and call the people to worship Allah alone, and “Your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) do thou magnify” through testifying His unity, and “Your garments keep free from stain”, means keep your deeds clean from the acts of association, and “Abomination shun” mean keep away from idols and from idolaters and deny them.

He continued to preach worshipping Allah alone for ten years, when he was ascended to Heaven where the five prayers (salaat) and their times were ordained. Thus, he performed prayers in Mecca for three years.

The he was ordered to emigrate to Madinah. This emigration means departing from among the polytheists to settle with the community of Islam. This type of immigration is a duty that Muslims should observe up till the Last Day.

The evidence is in His saying:

“When angels take the souls of those who die in sin against their souls, they say: “In what (plight) were ye?” They reply: “Weak and oppressed were we in the earth.” They say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to move yourselves away (from evil)?” Such men will find their abode in Hell,- What an evil refuge! – Except those who are (really) weak and oppressed – men, women, and children – who have no means in their power, nor can they find a way (to escape). For these, there is hope that Allah will forgive: For Allah doth blot out (sins) and forgive again and again.” (4:97-99)

and His saying:

“O My servants who believe! Truly, spacious is My Earth: therefore serve you Me – (and Me alone)!”(29:56)

Al-Baghawi, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “This revelation refers to the Muslims who remained in Mecca and had not emigrated to Madinah. For Allah calls them as people who have faith.” Evidence from the Hadîth is in the Prophet’s saying:

“Emigration shall never cease (to be the refuge of oppressed Muslims) until repentance ceases; and repentance shall never cease till the sun rises from the west.”

When the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) settled in Madinah, the other ordinances of Islam were prescribed; these include the Zakat, fasting, Pilgrimage, the Adhan (call to prayers), Jihad (fighting in the cause of Allah), and the injunction to recommend good and denounce evil.

He remained in Madinah until he died ten years later, but his religion remains to guide the Muslim community to all the good and to warn them against all evil. The good is the creed of worshipping Allah alone and every thing with which Allah is pleased and satisfied. The evil is associating partners to Allah and every thing that Allah dislikes and prohibits.

Allah has sent him to all people and nations, and He has ordained that all mankind and jinn should follow him in obedience to his message. The evidence is in His saying:

“Say: ‘O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah.’”  (7:158)

And with him Allah has completed and perfected the religion. The evidence is in His saying:

“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (5:3)

The evidence of the prophet’s death is in His saying:

“Truly thou wilt die, and truly they (too) will die. In the end will you (all) dispute, on the Day of Judgment, in the presence of your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer).” (39:30-31)

And when the people die they shall be resurrected. The evidence is in His saying:

“From the (earth) did We create you, and into it shall We return you, and from it shall We bring you out once again.” (20:55)

And His saying:

“And Allah has produced you from the earth growing (gradually), and in the End He will return you into the (earth), and raise you forth (again at the Resurrection).”  (71:17-18)

After Resurrection, they shall render account to Allah and they are rewarded or punished. The evidence is in His saying:

“Yea, to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth: so that He rewards those who do evil, according to their deeds, and He rewards those who do good, with what is best.”  (53:31)

Any one who denies Resurrection is an unbeliever. The evidence is in His saying:

“The Unbelievers think that they will not be raised up (for Judgment). Say: “Yea, By my Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer), you shall surely be raised up: then shall you be told (the truth) of all that you did. And that is easy for Allah.” (64:7)

Allah has sent all the messengers to give good news and warnings. The evidence is in His saying:

“Messengers who gave good news as well as warning, that mankind, after (the coming) of the messengers, should have no plea against Allah.” (4:165)

The first messenger was Noah, and the last was Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam); and he is the Seal (Last) of the prophets. The evidence that the first messenger is Noah is in His saying:

“We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him.” (4:163)

And to every nation, from the time of Noah to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), a Messenger was sent to command them to worship Allah alone, and to interdict the worship of all idols. The evidence is in His saying:

“For We assuredly sent amongst every People a Messengers, (with the Command), ‘Serve Allah, and eschew Evil.’”   (16:36)

Allah has commanded all mankind to disbelieve in idols and to believe in Him.

Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “An idol (Taghut) means any object for which the believer oversteps his limits, whether this is an object of worship, or subordination or of obedience.”

The Idols (Tawagheet) are many, but their heads are five:

  1. Satan, may Allah curse him,
  2. Whosoever is worshipped and acquiesces to that worship,
  3. Whosoever calls people to worship him,
  4. Whosoever claims any knowledge of the Unseen (Ghaib), and
  5. Whosoever judges or rules according to whatever has not been sent down by Allah.

The evidence is in His saying:

“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects Taghut (evil) and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” (2:256)

This is the meaning of “La ilaha illa Allah”  or “There is no God but Allah”

The evidence in the  Hadîth :

“The head of the Command is Islam, its central Pillar is prayers, and its highest pinnacle is Jihad (struggle in the Cause of Allah).”

And Allah knows best.

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