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Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 17

What Has Been Said Concerning the Reason for
Mankind's Disbelief and Rejection of Their
Religion-it is Exaggerated Praise of the Righteous

Allah (swt ), says:

" Oh, you People of the Book! Commit not excesses in your religion, nor say of Allah anything but the truth. The Messiah, `Eisa, the son of Maryam is no more than a Messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed upon Maryam, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: So believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not "Three"-desist: It will be better for you: For Allah is one God, glory be to Him [Far exalted is He] above having a son. To him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs" (Qur'an 4:171)

In this verse, Allah (swt ), Most High, forbids the Jews and Christians from exaggeration and excess in their religion, such as the deifecation by the Christians of `Eisa (as ), the son of Maryam, while the Jews went to the opposite extreme, rejecting him, but Allah (swt ) refutes the claims of both, by describing Eisa (as ) as His Messenger and a Spirit from amongst the spirits created by Allah (swt ), and therefore they are obliged to believe truly in Allah (swt ), Alone, without attributing fathers, sons, wives or companions to Him, and to believe in all of the Messengers and not to belie them and not to elevate them above their true status, and to reject the belief in the trinity, and to affirm their belief in Allah (swt ) as the only God Who has the right to be worshipped, as the only Rabb, Owner and Creator of the whole universe, and the sole Guardian of all creatures.

Benefits Derived From This Verse

1. The forbiddance of excess in religion.

2. The prohibition of speaking according to one's own opinion in matters of religion without evidence.

3. Affirmation of the Prophethood and Messengership of Eisa.

4. A refutation of the claims of the Jews and Christians regarding the status of Eisa.

5. Affirmation of Allah's Divine Attribute of Speech.

6. Evidence of the falseness of the belief in the trinity.

7. That every aspect of Tawheed represents goodness.

Relevance of This Verse to the Subject of the Chapter

That the verse proves that the cause of the People of the Book leaving their religion was, in the case of the Christians, their excessive praise and glorification of Eisa (as ), and in the case of the Jews, their vilification of him.

Relevance of This Verse to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Christians exceeded in their praise of Eisa (as ) until they deified him and worshipped him as a partner with Allah (swt ).

..ooOOoo..

Allah (swt ), says:

" And they said: "Do not abandon your gods: Do not abandon Wadd, nor Yaghooth, or Ya'ooq, or Nasr," and they have led many astray. And [oh, Allah!] Grant increase to the wrong-doers save error" (Qur'an 71:23-24)

Allah (swt ), Most Glorified, Most High, informs us in this verse about polytheists: That they are devoted to the worship of their idols as evidenced by their advising each other to worship them and not to abandon them, in particular, those mentioned in the verse. Then He, Most Glorified, Most High, makes plain that they have caused many to go astray by their false advice, and they are described as wrong-doers who deserve their punishment and who are far astray from the Straight Path of Allah (swt ).

Benefits Derived From This Verse

1. That Shirk was present among the former communities.

2. That these five names mentioned in the verse are the names of the idols of the people of Nooh.

3. Evidence of the mutual cooperation of the people who practice falsehood in the perpetuation of that falsehood.

4. That permissibility of supplicating Allah against the unbelievers in general.

Relevance of This Verse to the Subject of the Chapter

The relevance of this verse to the subject of the chapter may be realized from the tafseer1 of some of the mufassiroon2: It is stated that these names were the names of righteous men and that their people became excessive in their love of them so that when they died, Satan whispered to them that they should make pictures of them in order to remember them; then later, when those people died, the original purpose of the pictures was forgotten and the succeeding generations began to worship them.3

Relevance of Verse to the Subject to Tawheed

That the verse proves that exaggeration and excessive veneration of the righteous is an act of Shirk because doing so means that one attributes to a created being what should only be attributed to Allah (swt ), thus making them partners with Allah (swt ).

..ooOOoo..

It is reported on the authority of `Umar (ra ) that the Messenger of Allah (saas ) said:

"Do not extoll me as the Christians extolled the son of Maryam (as ); I am no more than a slave (of Allah) and so (instead), say: Allah's Slave and His Messenger."4

In this Hadith, the Prophet (saas ) forbids his Ummah to praise him excessively so that they may never raise him above the status in which Allah (swt ) has placed him. Then he makes plain that the correct way in which to speak of him is as a dependent, worshiping slave of Allah (swt ), Most Blessed, Most High, and His (saas ) Messenger; and this entails believing him in all that he says, and obeying him in what he commands abstaining from what he forbids and knowing that Allah (swt ) may not be worshipped except in accordance with the Law which He has ordained.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

  1. The forbiddance of exceeding in praise of the Prophets and the righteous.
  2. The care taken by the Prophet to prevent any means that might lead to sin.
  3. Evidence of the Christians' exaggeration in their praise of Eisa (as ).
  4. Refutation of those who claim that Muhammad (saas ) was more than a Messenger.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That is proves that excessive praise and glorification of the Prophet (saas ), who is the best of mankind, will lead the Muslim out of the fold of Islam, just as the Christians left their religion because of excessively extolling Eisa (as ).

Relevance of This Hadeeth to the Subject of Tawheed

That it proves that excessive praise and glorification of Allah's creatures may lead to worship of them.

..ooOOoo..

The Messenger of Allah (saas ) said:

"Beware of exaggerated praise, for it was only this which led those before you to destruction."5

In this Hadith, the Prophet (saas ) forbids us from excess in religion and exaggerating the praises of Allah's creatures so that we may not be destroyed like the communities that came before us when they practised excess in their religion and exceeded all bounds in worship.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

  1. The forbiddance of excess in religious matters.
  2. That excess in religious matters is a cause of destruction.

Relevance of This Hadith to the subject of the Chapter

That the Hadith proves that the reason for the destruction of former people was their excess in matter of religion.

Relevance of This Hadith to the subject Tawheed

That it proves that excess in matters of religion, or excessive praise and reverence of Allah's creatures removes a person from the legal bounds set by Allah (swt ) because the one who does so is following his own vain desires, which means that he is elevating those desires to the level of partners with Allah (swt ), and this is Shirk, and is in contradiction with the pure Islamic concept of Tawheed.

..ooOOoo..

It is reported by Muslim on the authority of Ibn Mas'ood (ra ) that the Messenger of Allah (saas ) said:

"Destroyed are those who are extreme"

And he repeated it three times.

Because the Prophet (saas ) was sent to us with Law, he warned his community against extremism and severity in all things, particularly in matters of religion which have been prescribed by Allah (swt ), Most Glorified, Most High; and he made clear for us the limits of that Religion and he repeated his words three times in order to emphasise their importance to the listening Companions that they should understand and be warned of transgressing those limits.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

  1. The prohibition of extremism in all matters.
  2. The virtue of stressing important matters.
  3. The ease and flexibility of Islam.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That the Hadith proves that extremism in all matters, including reverence and praise of the righteous, is a cause of destruction.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed

That it proves that extremism in religious matters, or in excessive praising of the righteous puts a person beyond the limits imposed by Allah (swt ), because he spends his life in pursuit of his own vain desires and this is an act of Shirk.

Footnotes

1. Tafseer: Explanation of the meanings of the Qur'an.
2. Mufassiroon: Scholars of tafseer
3. Ref.: Tafseer Ibn Katheer.
4. Narrated by Bukhari.
5. Narrated by Ahmad, An-Nassa'I and Ibn Majah.

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