Indeed all praises are due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we rely solely on Him. We seek His refuge from the evil in our souls and from our wicked deeds. Whoever Allah guides, no one can misguide. And whomever Allah misguides, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, He is One, with no partners, and I testify that Mohammad (pbuh) is His Messenger and His slave.
Taghoot (طاغوت) is not just a problem in our day and age, rather it’s a phenomenon that existed ever since Satan refused to obey Allah (swt) and became the first rebel. Then when humans were sent to Earth to establish a society here and be a representative of Allah (swt) and upraise His Deen as way of living to establish harmony and justice. Satan who swore to take his revenge from all human due to the jealously caused to him by the honor that Allah (swt) gave to Adam and his disobedience of Allah to honor Adam, that subsequently resulted in his humiliated departure from company of Allah (swt).
Ever since, Satan created many rebels (طواغيت) like him on Earth whose sole job and purpose is to misguide human race and redirect their energies and focus to anything but representation of Allah (swt). Human race was tagged with a title of (خليفة) Representative of Allah (swt) and their primary function was to establish Deen of Allah (swt) on Earth.
Unfortunately, many of us did not live up to the title and forgot our primary role and responsibilities. Rather many of us got twisted by the rebels (طواغيت) and we accepted their mission, either willingly or inadvertently. In fact, many of us are proud to be part of their company and many other mutedly accepted their mission due to lack of alternatives.
Allah (swt) has warned us about the rebels (طواغيت), and not just once. He (swt) has repeatedly warned us about rebels (طواغيت) ever since the first man landed on Earth. Whenever Allah (swt) sent a Messenger to people they always warned them about rebels, (وَاجْتَنِبُواْ الطَّاغُوت) to keep away to reject the rebels.
وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُواْ الطَّاغُوتَ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ هَدَى اللّهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الضَّلالَةُ فَسِيرُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ فَانظُرُواْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ
16:36 And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghoot (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghoot besides Allah)." Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth).
Islam started with Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)’s efforts to establish Tawheed (توحيد). The Prophet (pbuh) spent 13 long years in Makkah to establish Tawheed. Prophet (pbuh) went pillar to post explaining people that they should accept Allah (swt) as Illah, as in (لا اله الا الله) “There is no Illah but Allah”. It is evidently clear that acceptance to Islam was not related to prayers (صلاة) but to the very fact that one accept Allah (swt) as Illah (اله). That one first ferociously and openly rejects any rebel (طاغوت) and system of rebel (دينِ طاغوت), before he/she enters the (دين الله) Deen of Allah (swt). This is why Allah (swt) said (فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىَ لاَ انفِصَامَ لَهَا) “2:256 ..Whoever disbelieves in Taghoot and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break..”2. The prayers (صلاة) or Zakat (دين) or other laws becomes enforceable once he/she has rejected other systems of rebel (دينِ طاغوت) and entered into (دين الله) system of Allah (swt) full heartedly. This is the basic rule of Tawheed by accepting Allah (swt) as Illah (اله), and it has two aspects,
- First, Reject any rebel (طاغوت) and system of rebel (دينِ طاغوت)
- Then, accept Allah as Illah to enter the Deen of Islam.
Then this is not a just a onetime oath that one takes, rather it is a life time covenant. Then once the covenant is given, one lives rest of his life living by that oath. That he/she follows command of His Illah (اله) in every aspect of life, and he/she rejects commands of rebels (طواغيت) in every aspect of life. This is the very foundation of Tawheed.
Allah (swt) also asserted that we hold on to His Deen, – إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ فَاعْبُدِ اللَّهَ مُخْلِصًا لَّهُ الدِّينَ - “39:2 Verily We have sent down to you (O' Muhammad) Book, with Truth; therefore, make your Deen exclusive for Allah, and give your Ibadah to Him alone”. He (swt) also mentioned that it is His exclusive right as the Creator that His creation submits to Him alone. أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ - “39:3 Hark! Deen pertains exclusively to Him (and Him alone)…”3, meaning that He should be obeyed and worshiped sincerely and exclusively.
Hence, our (طاعة) obedience is reserved only for Allah (swt) and there is no obedience to (غير الله) other than Allah (swt). Similarly, our (طاعة) obedience is reserved only for (دين الله) system of Allah (swt), and our efforts our energies and our priorities are primarily to introduce and establish Allah’s Deen on Earth. The life of (مومن) believer revolves around Allah (swt). (قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ) “6:162 Say, "Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds”4.
The testimony of (طاعة) obedience and (ولاية) allegiance to Allah (swt) is only honorable if one announces his complete rejection and (براءت) disassociation with rebels (طواغيت) and system of rebel (دينِ طاغوت). This is not just a political aspect of Shariah, rather this is fundamental part of Tawheed and Iman. Such testimony is given by the most honorable, and Allah (swt) himself testified it.
شَهِدَ اللّهُ أَنَّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ وَالْمَلاَئِكَةُ وَأُوْلُواْ الْعِلْمِ قَآئِمَاً بِالْقِسْطِ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ- إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ
3:18/19 Allah bears witness that La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He is always) maintaining His creation in Justice. La ilah illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.5
That Allah (swt) testified that there is no Illah (اله) but Allah, and there is no System (دين) acceptable to Allah (swt) except Deen-ul-Islam. And then He sent Messengers after Messengers to convey that same Message: (وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ) “21:25 And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We inspired him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshiped but I (Allah)), so worship Me (Alone and none else)."”6 The difference between (كفر) Kufr and (السلام) Islam is not just merely our names or that we were born to a Muslim, rather it is this basis of accepting Allah (swt) as Illah (اله) and accepting His (دين) system as way of life. (كفر) Kufr in essence is rejecting Allah’s System (دين) as way of life. Now, it is imperative that one comprehend the meaning of word likes Deen (دين) and Illah (اله) in order to understand the primary function of our life.
Understanding Deen (دين) and Illah (اله)
In Quranic term, the word Deen is referred to a System of values, ethics and laws that is established and implemented by a nation and is practiced individually and collectively. This system basically is the code of conduct that runs their politics, economics and ethical and moral values. If this System is established based on principles and laws given by Allah (swt) and His Messenger (pbuh) then it is considered Deen-ul-Islam (دين السلام). But If their source is other than Allah (swt) and His Messenger (pbuh), then this is not considered Deen-ul-Islam, rather, its Deen-ul-Mulk (دين الملك) or Deen-ul-Jahmoor (دين الجمهور) etc.
Allah (swt) mentioned in (مَا كَانَ لِيَأْخُذَ أَخَاهُ فِي دِينِ الْمَلِكِ) – “12:76 He could not take his brother by the law of the king”7. Here Allah (swt) declared that their Deen was Deen of Mulk (Law of the King).
Hence, Deen in essence are the Laws or the code of conduct which is practiced and obeyed by a nation. Illah (اله) is the ultimate authority who makes the Laws and to whom every one directs their obedience. Such ultimate authority can only by the one who created them in the first place. It is His right that He decides the way His creation should live, and what is halal for them and what is haram for them. Rub (رب) is one who sustains the creation and by that has the right to decide the way of living for His creation. Hence, Quran used the word (أَرْبَابًا) to refer to those who makes laws for society and it uses the word (يَعْبُدُو) to refer to those are obedience to those laws.
اتَّخَذُواْ أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُواْ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُواْ إِلَـهًا وَاحِدًا لاَّ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُون
َ9:31 They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allah), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded (in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)) to worship none but One Ilah (God - Allah) La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). Praise and glory be to Him, (far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him)."9
The word Yabudu (يَعْبُدُو) refers to their Ibadat (عبادة). Ibadat (عبادة) means that one accepts the decision and order of the Rub (رب) and Illah (اله) and gives his complete obedience to Him. Then it is ethical and moral responsibility that being an (عبد) slave that one accepts the limits and laws set by the Illah (اله). And if he/she remains in bound of those limits and laws of Allah (swt) then he/she is true (عبدالله) salve of Allah (swt), and if one accepts and obeys law of some one else, then he truly is (عبدالفلان) salve of that someone else.
Hence, whoever obeys laws of someone other than Allah (swt), he is in essence (عبد) slave of that person. Imam Ahmed and Tirmidhi reported that when Adi bin Hatem who was Christian before, and when he was accepting Islam he denied this understanding that “اتَّخَذُواْ أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللّهِ” (that obeying those rabbis and monks is accepting them as Lord or lawgiver), then the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) replied to him that (بلى انهم حرموا عليهم الحلال و احلوالهم الحرام فتبعوهم فذالك عبادتهم اياهم) “why not! When they (rabbis) made halal haram on them (people), and haram halal on them, and they (people) accepted it, then this is their Ibadat (عبادة) on to them”.
Hence, when one submits to Allah (swt) and accepts Him as Rub (رب) and Illah (اله), and bears witness that he will be (عبد) slave of Allah (swt) and accepts Him as (معبود), then justice is that the person keep his words and fulfils his promise and covenant. The word Deen is much bigger and larger in meaning, and it includes all aspects of Allah (swt)’s Shariah. It encompasses all aspect of life that one has to face while living on earth. This is not just limited to political or governance, or social aspect, but every aspect of life. Matter related to our ethical and moral standards, matter relating to our relationship with other humans and creations, matter related to our economics and financial transactions, matter relating to (نسوك و شعائر) rituals. Since, our article surrounds discussions on specific topics of Taghoot. Hence, our focus here is more on Legislative Authority, which in turn is political. However, politics is part of Deen-of-Islam as naturally politics is part of human life, as one has to deal with it be it in governance, institutions, organizations or community. Those who deny this aspect of Deen are merely in illusion. Islamic Shariah does not ignore this aspect, rather, it has spanvalues and framework on how one conducts in political arena.
- (pbuh) is commonly used abbreviation for peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
- Quran, Chapter 2:256, Al-Baqarah (The Cow)
- Quran, Chapter 39:2-3 Az-Zumar (The Groups)
- Quran, Chapter 6:162, Al-An'am (The Cattle)
- Quran, Chapter 3:18-19, Ale-Imran (Family of Imran)
- Quran, Chapter 21,25, Al-Anbiya (The Prophets)
- Quran, Chapter 12:76, Yusuf (Prophet Joseph)
- Quran, Chapter 42:21, Ash-Shura (The Consultation)
- Quran, Chapter 9:31, At-Tauba (The Repentance)