Nullifying the Tripartite Division of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism)

Author : Dr. Hassan Abu_Arqoub

Date Added : 14-09-2021

Nullifying the Tripartite Division of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism)

Some claim that Tawheed is divided into three categories: (i) Tawheed Ur Ruboobyah (Lordship) (ii)Tawheed Ul Uloohiyyah  (Worship). (iii) Tawheed Asma Wa Sifaat (Divine Names and Attributes). They have also claimed that the Prophets (Peace be upon them) weren`t sent save for Tawheed Ul Uloohiyyah, which is believing that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone. As for Tawheed Ur Ruboobyah, which is believing that there is only one Lord for the universe, there is no disagreement on this amongst Muslims and polytheists. They have based their view on the verse in which Allah says {What means}: "If indeed thou ask them who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law), they will certainly reply, "God". How are they then deluded away (from the truth)?" {Al-Ankabut, 61}.

The proponents of this division started accusing Muslims who sought intercession from the Prophets and saints with disbelief under the pretext that they turned to the latter instead of Allah. This way, they have become like the polytheists who didn`t commit disbelief on account of Tawheed Ur Ruboobyah as they believe that Allah is the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe. Rather, they left Tawheed Ul Uloohiyyah by ascribing partners to Allah in worship, as this group claimed.

If we reflect on the Quran, the Sunnah, and the views of the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet), the Tabiin (The Successors), and the Tabi al-Tabiin (Those who came after the Tabiin), we realize that there is no mention of such division either in word or meaning. Rather, it is an invented heresy that Muslims didn`t come to know until the Seventh Century of Hijrah.

Whoever ponders on the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) finds no difference between Tawheed Ul Uloohiyyah and Tawheed Ur Ruboobyah.

The evidence from the Quran is reflected in the following verses:

First: "Nor would he instruct you to take angels and prophets for Lords and patrons. What! would he bid you to unbelief after ye have bowed your will (To God in Islam)?" {Al-imran, 80}.

Second: "O my two companions of the prison! (I ask you): are many lords differing among themselves better, or the One God, Supreme and Irresistible?" {Yousef, 39}.

Third: "Saying, "I am your Lord, Most High"." {An-Nazi`at, 24}. "Pharaoh said: "O Chiefs! no god do I know for you but myself: therefore, O Haman! light me a (kiln to bake bricks) out of clay, and build me a lofty palace, that I may mount up to the god of Moses: but as far as I am concerned, I think (Moses) is a liar!"" {Al-Qasas, 38}.

Fourth: "O Messenger. proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith." {Al-Ma`idah, 67}.

The evidence from the Prophetic Sunnah is reflected in the following narrations:

First: Narrated Anas bin Malik:

One day Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) came out (before the people) and `Abdullah bin Hudhafa stood up and asked (him) "Who is my father?" The Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied, "Your father is Hudhafa." The Prophet (Peace be upon him) told them repeatedly (in anger) to ask him anything they liked. `Umar knelt down before the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and said thrice, "We accept Allah as (our) Lord and Islam as (our) religion and Muhammad as (our) Prophet." After that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) became silent." {Related by Bukhari}.

Second: Al-‘Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib reported God’s messenger as saying, “He who is well-pleased with God as Lord, with Islam as religion, and with Muhammad as messenger will experience the savour of faith,” {Related by Muslim}.

Third: Narrated Al-Bara' ibn Azib:

We went out with the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) accompanying the bier of a man of the Ansar. When we reached his grave, it was not yet dug. So the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) sat down and we also sat down around him as if birds were over our heads. He had in his hand a stick with which he was scratching the ground.

He then raised his head and said: Seek refuge with Allah from the punishment in the grave. He said it twice or thrice.

The version of Jabir adds here: He hears the beat of their sandals when they go back, and at that moment he is asked: O so and so! Who is your Lord, what is your religion, and who is your Prophet?......" {Related by Tirmithi}.


Based on the aforementioned, we conclude that the polytheists believe that Allah exists but ascribe partners to Him in worship claiming that this brings them closer to Him. This led the proponents of the tripartite division to understand that the polytheists` belief is tantamount to Tawheed Ur Ruboobyah although it has nothing to do with Tawheed/Monotheism. Rather, it is believing that God exists. Associating partners with Allah indicates that they believe that He exists but worship another God along with Him. Therefore, Allah ordered Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) to say: " Say: "What thing is most weighty in evidence?" Say: "God is witness between me and you; This Qur’an hath been revealed to me by inspiration, that I may warn you and all whom it reaches. Can ye possibly bear witness that besides God there is another God?" Say: "Nay! I cannot bear witness!" Say: "But in truth He is the one God, and I truly am innocent of (your blasphemy of) joining others with Him." {Al-`An`am, 19}.

He the Almighty also said: " Say: "Bring forward your witnesses to prove that God did forbid so and so." If they bring such witnesses, be not thou amongst them: Nor follow thou the vain desires of such as treat our signs as falsehoods, and such as believe not in the Hereafter: for they hold others as equal with their Guardian-Lord.



First: The tripartite division of Tawheed is an invented heresy that has no basis in the Quran, the Sunnah, and the views of the Sahabah, the Tabiin and the Tabi al-Tabiin.

Second: In the Quran, the Sunnah, and the views of the Sahabah, the Tabiin, and the Tabi al-Tabiin, Al-Uluhiyah and Al-Rububiyah are used interchangeably.

Third: There is no Tawheed (Monotheism) without Tawheed. A person is either a monotheist or a polytheist, which are opposites that contradict one another.

Fourth: Every monotheist believes in the existence of Allah, but not every believer in the existence of Allah is necessarily a monotheist.

Fifth: The polytheists believed in the existence of Allah but associated partners with Him in worship, as described by Allah, so the proponents of the tripartite division of Tawheed called this Tawheed Ar-Rububiyah, which contradicts the Quranic texts.

Sixth: The polytheists believe in the existence of Allah, but this belief is distorted with ascribing partners to Him, denying the Messengers, the Scriptures, the hereafter, the resurrection, and describing the angels as females, and by doing so they failed to realize a single tenet of faith to be saved by before Allah. Still, someone would claim that their problem is the alleged Tawheed of Al-Uluhiyah?!

Seventh: The danger of this division lies in the fact that it makes the polytheists amongst the people of Tawheed Ar-Rububiyah although they definitely aren`t for they don`t have true faith. This also contradicts with the texts of the Quran and the Sunnah. In addition, the proponents of this false division have made it a basis for tagging Muslims with disbelief just because they disagreed with them over secondary issues of Islamic jurisprudence, such as seeking intercession from Prophets and saints, in addition to purely jurisprudential issues that have nothing to do with the Islamic doctrine.