Declaring Disbelief in Tāghūt
Amongst the conditions which one needs to ensure correctness of one’s Tawheed is that of declaring disbelief in the Tāghūt. There can be no Eemān in one’s heart except after declaring disbelief inwardly and outwardly to all the Tawagheet. We will present the evidences regarding this condition as follows;
Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an,
“Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:256]
The ‘trustworthy hand-hold’ here means the testimony that there is no god but Allah (swt), as stated by the scholars of knowledge and Tafsīr (explanation). The above ayah shows that whoever presents firstly declaring disbelief in the Tāghūt then follows this by declaring Eemān (belief) in Allah (swt) they are those who have attained the trustworthy hand-hold i.e. the Shahadah.
And conversely, regarding the person who does not declare disbelief in Tāghūt even if they go on to declare belief in Allah (swt), they have not fulfilled its conditions and cannot be said they have ‘…grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold…’.
It is reported in the Tafsīr of Ibn Katheer in relation to the above verse,
“This means whoever rejects the false rivals (andād) to Allah (swt), the idols (awthān) and everything that the Shaytān calls people to worship besides Allah (swt) and then makes Allah (swt) the only One worthy of worship in all matters, and bears witness that there is no god but Allah (swt) he has ‘grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold’ meaning that he has become firm upon the best and the straight path and he has come to grasp the Deen from its strongest way. The use of the word hand-hold indicates something that is fixed, will not ever break which has been tied firmly. Mujāhid said that the hand-hold is Eemān (true belief). Saeed bin Musayab and Al-Dahāk said that the hand-hold means there is no god but Allah (swt).”
I see no contradiction or inconsistency between the two explanations given by Mujāhid or al-Dahāk for the meaning of al-Urwa tu Wuthqa. Imām Qurtubi commented in his Tafsīr,
“‘Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah’ this is the assertion of the condition and ‘has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold’ is the response to the condition.”
Allah (swt) said,
“For We assuredly sent to each nation an apostle, (with the Command), ‘Worship Allah, and shun the Tāghūt.” [Surah an-Nahl 16:36]
This was the work of the Prophets and the Messenger throughout the different ages and subsequently this must also be the message of those who claim to tread upon and follow their methodology and path in calling to Allah (swt).
In a Saheeh hadith it is reported that the Prophet (saw) said,
“Whoever says there is no god but Allah and rejects and disbelieves all that is worshipped besides Allah (swt); his wealth and blood will be protected and his account will be with Allah (swt).” [Muslim, Tabarani]
When the Prophet (saw) said, ‘And disbelieves in all that is worshipped besides Allah (swt)’, that infers the condition of Kufr bit Tāghūt. Someone may say that the first part of the Shahadah already contains the condition of Kufr bit Tāghūt in the form of negation when one says, ‘there is no god,’ so why would the Prophet (saw) stipulate this condition twice as in the above hadith?
My answer is that the Prophet (saw) did such to confirm the importance of the matter and explain it accordingly as Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab explained in his Majmou’ at-Tawheed,
“To declare disbelief in all objects of worship other than Allah (swt) is proof of negation. One’s wealth and blood cannot become protected except by doing so. If a person has any doubt or hesitation regarding this then his wealth and blood will not be protected… Know that a person can only remain a true believer except by declaring disbelief in Tāghūt and the evidence for this is when Allah (swt) says, ‘Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold.’”
One’s wealth and blood not being protected is a clear indication of the annulment on a person’s Eemān (belief) regarding the one who believes in Allah (swt) but does not declare disbelief in Tāghūt. Irrespective of how often a person may repeat the Shahadah, if he does not reject the Tāghūt, he is like a person who believes in one thing and the exact opposite of it at the same time. He may say there is no god but Allah, but worships other false deities with or besides Allah (swt) at the same time.
And as we mentioned before that in the heart of a person, one cannot find belief and disbelief at the same time, nor Tawheed and Shirk as the hadith states, ‘Eemān (belief) and Kufr (disbelief) cannot co-exist in the heart of a person. [Silsalat us-Saheeha for Sheikh Albānee no. 1050]
Someone may ask, ‘What is the wisdom behind placing the aspect of negation before confirmation in the statement of the Shahadah?’
I answer that there are a number of different wisdoms behind placing the negation prior to confirmation in the Shahadah and some of these are as follows;
a) The person who is not careful in implementing the negation prior to the affirmation may be afflicted with worshipping Allah (swt) and by worshipping the Tāghūt at the same time or by having shirk and tawheed at the same time. And in so doing, is following the religion of the Mushrikeen (idol worshippers) who combine between worshipping Allah (swt) and others besides Allah (swt) concurrently. Despite believing in Allah (swt) they remain Musrikoon as Allah (swt) said regarding them,
“Most of those who believe in Allah (swt) do not do so except with associating (other as partners) with Him.” [Surah Yusuf 12:106]
b) Failing to comply with the negation before affirmation would lead to all of one’s actions to be rejected and redundant in the Hereafter. If one began to worship Allah (swt) without firstly rejecting all other false deities, then one will also be performing all manner of Shirk actions in addition to their actions of obedience to Allah (swt). And as me mentioned before, by performing shirk all actions are consequently rejected and prevents its companion from any benefit. Therefore the one who prays, fasts and performs the hajj, if he does so before declaring disbelief in the Tāghūt and disassociation from it, such actions of worship will not benefit him one iota and he will be amongst the regretful people in the Hereafter.
Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab said,
“Whosoever prays night and day to Allah (swt) and then goes to a grave and makes Du’a (petition) to the Prophet (saw) or the Awliyā (those close to Allah), it is as if they have taken another lord besides Allah (swt) and they have rejected the Shahadah since the Lord is the only One who can be called upon for Du’a. As the Mushrikeen do such at the graves of Zubair and Abdul Qadir amongst others… Whosoever slaughters 1,000 sacrificial animals in the name of Allah (swt) and then sacrifices a sole animal in the name of the Prophet (saw) or anyone else for that matter, he has taken that person as a second lord besides Allah (swt) as Allah (swt) says, ‘Say: Surely, my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death are for Allah (swt), the Lord of the worlds who has no partner." [Ar-Risala Ash-Shaksiya, pg. 166]