What was the first advice on Luqman’s list of admonitions for his son? To stay away from shirk. Allaah subhanahu wa ta`ala says in soorah Luqman:
وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ
“And, when Luqman said to his son while he was instructing him, “O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allaah . Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice.”
We know that every thing is known by its opposite. So in order to eradicate shirk – of any level, whether major or minor – from our hearts we have to be able completely grasp the understanding of Tawheed, and what it means to be a slave of Allaah. Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullaah has given us a very concise elucidation of `Uboodiyyah [servitude to Allaah]. He says:
“The heart is inherently dependent on Allaah in two ways: from the point of view of worship, which is the ultimate goal, and from the point of view of seeking His help and relying upon Him, which are the means to that end. The heart cannot be sound, or succeed, or find joy, or be happy, or feel pleasure, or be good, or be at peace, or find tranquility, except by worshipping its Lord, loving Him and returning to Him. Even if it attains all that it can enjoy of created things, it will not feel at peace or find tranquility, because it has an inherent need for its Lord, for He is the focus of its worship, love and seeking, and this is the only way to attain joy, happiness, pleasure, peace and tranquility.
For if a person is helped to attain what he loves, seeks, desires and wants, but he does not worship Allaah, he will never achieve anything but sorrow, regret and suffering. He can never be free of the pain and hardship of this life except through loving Allaah sincerely, so that Allaah becomes his ultimate desire and he loves Him for what He is, and he loves anyone or anything else only for His sake, and he does not love anything for its own except Allaah. If he does not achieve this (level of love), he has not properly understood the true meaning of “La illaha ill Allaah” or of Tawheed or of Uboodiyyah or of loving Allaah. There is something lacking in his Imaan and Tawheed, and he will suffer pain, regret and anguish accordingly.”
Remember, that the foundation of all our actions is Tawheed, and that in turn is directly related to Ihsaan (perfecting one’s actions). Ihsaan is an integral part of our deen especially in relation to the tazkiyyah (purification) of our souls and is directly related to our Imaan, which is again, linked to Tawheed. Hence, if our Imaan is sound, our deeds will be sound. There are ofcourse varying levels of Ihsaan, and the highest is that in which our actions are done in the state of mushaahadah (witnessing), which means to worship Allaah as if we see Him. The more a person’s well-grounded in his knowledge of Allaah’s Oneness, His Names and attributes, the easier it would be for him to attain the station of mushaahadah.
Our efforts throughout this month, insha’Allaah, should be on attaining that level and if not, then atleast the recommended level (muraaqabah) which is worshiping Allaah as if He sees us.
So before embarking on this long and grueling journey, make sure your beginning is not shaky. Below are some tips on how to solidify Tawheed in your heart and to eliminate any remnants of shirk.
- Prior to starting any job, work, chore, worship, etc.. remember to purify your intention and to make it solely for Allaah.
- Read up on the different aspects of Tawheed, analyze them and apply them to your daily life.
- Learn, memorize and understand the names and attributes of Allaah subhanahu wa ta`ala. When making du`aa, call Allaah by His lofty names.
- Furthermore, have certainty that no one can answer your prayers except Him. Shaykh `Abdur-Rahman ad-Dimashqiyya said: “How could such person submit himself to any power on earth while he knows that all which concerns him is entirely in the hands of the Creator of the heavens and the earth? How could he ever submit himself to any master who has risen from the dust? This doctrine and belief in qadar is sufficient to remove all traces of faint-heartedness and cowardice from the heart.”
- Witness Allaah’s Names and Attributes in His creation. For example, when you see someone sinning, or find yourself committing a sin then remind yourself that Allaah is Shadeed al-`Iqaab, i.e. (Severe in Punishment).
- Make it a habit to enumerate Allaah’s many blessings on you before going to sleep. Make a list if you have to, and this will further ingrain the Tawheed of Allaah in your heart.
- Contemplate on the creation of Allaah, the universe and everything it contains. Try to spend atleast 30 minutes a day if you have a very busy schedule and ponder. Just seclude yourself for that half hour, sit on your porch in silence, go to your backyard or simply take a walk out, and look at the sky above you, compare the vastness of the sky with the tiny twinkling stars you see, remind yourself of who created them. The best time for this is just before fajr and/or after maghrib when the lights go out and its easier to find some calm, quiet time.
- Remember Allaah often. Mu`adh ibn Jabal used to say to his companions: “Let us sit still for an hour so as to strengthen our belief.” If you don’t have your adkhaar memorized, carry a mus-haf and a copy of Hisnul-Muslim with you wherever you go and make sure to seize any idle moment to recite from it.