What is the evidence for dividing Tawheed into three categories?
This division is taken from study and analysis. When the scholars analyzed the texts of the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), this became clear to them. Some of them added a fourth category, which is Tahweed al-Mutaaba’ah (oneness of following). All of that is derived from study and analysis.
Undoubtedly the one who ponders the meanings of the Qur’aan will find that it contains verses which enjoin devoting worship sincerely to Allaah alone. This is Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah (Oneness of the Divine Nature). And he will find verses which indicate that Allaah is the Creator and the Provider, that He is in control of all things. This is Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah (oneness of the Divine Lordship), which the mushrikoon affirmed, but that did not make them Muslims. He will also find other verses which indicate that Allaah has the Most Beautiful Names and the Most Sublime Attributes, and that He has no equal or peer. This is Tawheed al-Asma’ wa’l-Sifaat (Oneness of the Divine Names and Attributes), which was denied by the innovators such as the Jahamiyyah, Mu’tazilah, anthropomorphists and those who followed in their footsteps.
There are verses which indicate that it is obligatory to follow the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and to reject whatever goes against his laws. This is Tawheed al-Mutaaba’ah (Oneness of Following). This categorization is known from study and analysis of the relevant aayahs and the Sunnah. For example, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)”
“O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allaah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)”
“And your Ilaah (God) is One Ilaah (God — Allaah), Laa Ilaaha illa Huwa (there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”[al-Baqarah 2:163]
“And I (Allaah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).
I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures).
Verily, Allaah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong”
“Indeed, your Lord is Allaah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He rose over (Istawa) the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty). He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His Command. Surely, His is the creation and commandment. Blessed is Allaah, the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)!”
“There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer”
“Say (O Muhammad): “He is Allaah, (the) One.
Allaah-us-Samad [Allaah — the Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)].
He begets not, nor was He begotten.
And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him”
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): If you (really) love Allaah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’aan and the Sunnah), Allaah will love you and forgive you your sins”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:31]
“Say: “Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (Messenger Muhammad) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey Allaah’s Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way (i.e. to preach in a plain way)”
And there are many aayahs which point towards this categorization.
In the ahaadeeth:
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, according to the hadeeth of Mu’aadh whose authenticity is agreed upon (al-Bukhaari, 2856; Muslim, 30):
“It is the right of Allaah upon His slaves that they should worship Him and not associate anything with Him.”
And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever dies invoking anything other than Allaah as a rival to Allaah will enter Hell.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4497; Muslim, 92).
And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Jibreel (peace be upon him), when he asked him about Islam: “It means to worship Allaah and not associate anything with Him, to pray the prescribed prayers, to pay the obligatory zakaah…” (Agreed upon; al-Bukhaari, 50; Muslim, 9).
And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever obeys me obeys Allaah, and whoever disobeys me disobeys Allaah.” (Agreed upon; al-Bukhaari, 2957; Muslim, 1835).
And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “All of my ummah will enter Paradise except those who refuse.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allaah, who are those who refuse?” He said, “Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise and whoever disobeys me has refused.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh, 7280).
And there are many similar ahaadeeth.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “God is the One Who is worshipped and obeyed. God is the One Who is loved, and the One Who is loved is the One Who deserves to be worshipped. The reason why He deserves to be worshipped is because of His Attributes which imply that He is the Most Beloved to Whom the utmost submission is due.”
And he said: “God is the One Who is loved and worshipped, Whom hearts love, to Whom they submit, before Whom they humble themselves, Whom they fear and hope, to Whom they turn at times of difficulty, calling upon Him with regard to their concerns, putting their trust in Him with regard to their interests, seeking refuge in Him, finding tranquility in the remembrance of Him and peace of mind in love for Him. That is only for Allaah, therefore the phrase Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah (there is no god except Allaah) is the most truthful of speech. Those who believe this are the people of Allaah and His party, and those who deny it are His enemies who are subject to His wrath and vengeance. If a person gets this right his entire situation will be good, and if he fails to achieve this then his knowledge and actions will inevitably be corrupt.”
We ask Allaah to help all the Muslims, rulers and ruled alike, to understand His religion, to adhere steadfastly to it, to be sincere towards Allaah and His slaves and to beware of that which Allaah has forbidden, for He is Able to do that. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.