Polytheists of Makkah believed in Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah
Fatwa No: 344866

Question

Did the polytheists of Makkah believe in Allaah's Oneness of Lordship? I read the fatwa of Shaykh Ibn Baz as well as Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahab's fatwa in which he claimed that the Polytheists of Makkah believed in Allaah's Oneness of Lordship but did not singled out Allaah, The Exalted, in worship. Is this statement correct? If it is, then what about these verses: {37:158}, {6:164}, {12:39}, {3:80}, {39:29}, {30:28}, {23:91}, {11:54}? In these verses, Allaah condemns the polytheists for disbelieving in Allaah's uniqueness.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, it is important to know the difference between affirming Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah (Oneness of Lordship) and affirming Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah (Oneness of Worship).

Affirming the Oneness of Lordship means to affirm that Allah is the only Creator and the only Provider and that there is no other creator or provider but Him. Affirming the Oneness of Worship means to affirm that Allah alone deserves to be worshiped.

A person who affirms the Oneness of Lordship must also affirm the Oneness of Worship; otherwise, he is contradicting himself because the Creator and Provider is the only One Who deserves to be worshiped. So if a person worships other than Allah while affirming that Allah is the Creator and Provider, he is contradicting himself.

This is exactly what happened to the Mushriks (polytheists) of Makkah; they affirmed that Allah is the Creator and Provider, yet they worshiped other gods besides Allah and did not affirm that Allah is the only One Who deserves to be worshiped.

Allah says (what means): {If you asked them, "Who created the heavens and earth and subjected the sun and the moon?" they would surely say, "Allah." Then how are they deluded?} [Quran 29:61]

Allah further says (what means): {And if you asked them who created them, they would surely say, “Allah.” So how are they deluded?} [Quran 43:87]

Allah also says (what means): {Say, “Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight and who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and who arranges [every] matter?” They will say, “Allah,” so say, “Then will you not fear Him?” ?} [Quran 10:31]

Ash-Shinqeeti said in Adhwaa’ Al-Bayaan (his book of interpretation of the Quran) in regard to interpreting the above verse, “When they affirmed His Lordship, Allah rebuked them for associating others with Him, by His saying {Then will you not fear Him?}

Allah informed us about the Mushriks that while they acknowledge the Lordship of Allah, they associate others with Him in worship; Allah says (what means): {And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him.} [Quran 12:106]

Ash-Shinqeeti said while interpreting this verse, “Ibn Abbaas, Al-Hasan, Mujaahid, ‘Aamir Ash-Sha’bi, and most interpreters of the Quran said, ‘The meaning of this verse is that most people, meaning the disbelievers, did not believe in Allah as the only Lord except while associating others with Him in worship. In other words, they confess that Allah is their Lord, their Creator, and the One Who disposes of their affairs, but they worship others with Him…’

Because affirming the Oneness of Lordship necessarily requires affirming the Oneness of Worship, sometimes the Lordship is mentioned (the term Rabb) in the Quran while what is meant by it is the Oneness of Worship (the term Ilaah). For example, Allah says (what means): {Say: Is it other than Allah I should desire as a lord while He is the Lord of all things?} [Quran 6:164]

The meaning is: is it other than Allah that I should take as Ilaah (a worshiped deity)?

The Tafseer (exegesis) entitled Zahrat At-Tafaaseer reads:

Allah used the word Lord (Rabb) and did not use the word ‘Ilaah’ although what is intended is worship (Uloohiyyah), as the meaning is: should I take other than Allah as a worshiped deity while He is the Lord of all things. This is a reference to the concomitance of Ruboobiyyah and Uloohiyyah. They affirmed Lordship but they differentiated it from Worship. They believed that Allah is the Lord and Creator of everything, but they worshiped idols, and they used to say: {We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position.} [Quran 39:3]

Similar to this is the saying of Allah (which means): {O [my] two companions of prison, are separate lords better or Allah, the One, the Prevailing?} [Quran 12:39] Allah used the term Lord here, while what is intended is Ilaah, because the Lord is the One Who is worthy of worship.

Al-Baghawi said about the above verse in his Tafseer, “{…Are separate lords}; meaning various Ilaahs; one made from gold, one from silver, another from iron; one is superior, one is intermediate, and another is inferior; they are different and cause neither harm nor benefit. So are these {better or Allah, the One, the Prevailing}

It is the same thing with the saying of Allah (which means): {Nor could he order you to take the angels and Prophets as lords. Would he order you to disbelief after you had been Muslims?} [Quran 3:80]; meaning that the Prophet does not command you to worship anyone other than Allah, whether it be a sent Messenger or an angel, as stated by Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.

Allah knows best.

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