There are some in our time who have divided tawheed into four categories, saying, "Tawheed is four categories: tawheed arruboobiyyah, tawheed al-uloohiyyah, tawheed al-asmaa wassifaat, and tawheed al-haakimiyyah. " In order to say this, they relay on the idea that dividing tawheed is just a traditional way of explaining it, not something restricted. Based on this assumption, there is nothing preventing us from adding another category.
So it should be said to such a person: "This division is not a traditional explanation, rather it goes back to the Book and the Sunnah, and the Salaf took these three categories directly from the Book and the Sunnah." As for haakimiyyah, then it is true. It is obligatory for us to rule by the Shareeah of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. However this is included in tawheed al-uloohiyyah because it is obedience to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. The Salaf did not leave out tawheed al-haakimiyyah so that someone later could add it on, verily it was already with them within tawheed al-ebaadah (tawheed al-uloohiyyah)!
That is because obeying Allaah by ruling according to His Shareeah is a form of worshipping Him, Mighty and Majestic, so it is not made into a separate category. Otherwise, prayer would be a separate category of tawheed, paying zakaah would be another separate category, fasting another, Hajj another, and all other forms of worship would be separate categories as well, and there would be no end to the divisions of tawheed! This is clearly wrong. All of the forms of worship come under one category, tawheed al-uloohiyyah. This category includes it (al- haakimiyyah), and nothing else may be added to them. There exists a group of them that adds yet another category, a fifth one.
They call it itbaa ar-rasool (following the Messenger, [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]). This is also wrong. Following the Messenger is obligatory and there is no way around it, so much that following the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] is from the things that accompany tawheed, as no testimony of "Iaa ilaaha illalaah" is valid without the testimony, "Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah." So this testimony about the Messengership of the Messenger accompanies the very testimony of tawheed. So following the Messenger is from the things that are obligatory upon the one claiming to be upon tawheed, and not a separate category of tawheed in itself. The one who violates tawheed is called a mushrik [idol worshiper] or a kaafir [disbeliever], while the one who does not follow the Messenger is a mubtadi (innovator).
These are the ones who contradict Ahlus-Sunnah in the division of tawheed, and they are either wasteful or miserly. The wasteful one adds to the three categories of tawheed unnecessarily, while the miserly one holds to only one category, leaving out the other two. The miserly one leaves out the most important one, the one that we are requested to fulfill, tawheed al-uloohiyyah. As for tawheed ar-ruboobiyyah, every nation has agreed upon it, except some rare oddities from the Creation. They have only rejected it out of pride and stubbornness, while they inwardly affirm it. So all of the creation affirms that Allaah is the Creator, the Provider, the Bringer of Life and Death, and the Controller of Affairs, however this is not the form of tawheed that is requested from us. Lessons from the Quran is the work of As-Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzan.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited