Muhammed bin Abdul Wahab’s principles can be summarized as follows:
1) The Meccan polytheists accepted the oneness of Allah’s Lordship and yet were considered as polytheists.
2) The polytheists argued that they worship others besides Allah only to seek nearness and intercession, yet they were considered as polytheists.
3) They worshiped variety of objects. Islam made no distinction with them and rejected all of them.
4) They sought Allah solely at times of extreme hardship yet went back to worshiping others at other times. Hence, the essence of shirk was in the worship of others besides Allah, and the worship here consisted of their seeking of objects besides Allah.
The jest of these principles comes down to saying that, the meaning of ilaah (in context to the polytheists) is an object that is sought. And the basic central meaning therefore of la illaaha illallah revealed against the polytheists was that “there is no object that is to be sought except Allah”.
And the refutation to this can be summarized that:
1) The Meccan polytheists did ascribe partners in Allah’s Lordship. This was the fundamental reason why they were not considered as a people of tawhid.
2) Although the polytheists worshiped these lords besides Allah, they argued that they were by it seeking only nearness and intercession to Allah. Here seeking intercession and nearness to Allah was not in and of itself shirk, but rather their taking them as lords and worship of them instead of Allah constituted shirk. The intercession they believed was one of lords interceding with other partners in lordship using their attributes of lordship, rather than attributes of servanthood of a slave of Allah.
3) That they worshiped various objects is irrelevant, as all these various objects were in essence taken as partners in Allah’s Lordship. Besides the meaning of worship as per Islam is the ultimate servitude given to them and not the new found definitions invented in past century.
4) Although they directed themselves to Allah abandoning their idols at extreme times yet that did not constitute as worship of Allah. Therefore, the mere seeking of an object was not enough to constitute worship and the new invented definitions are proved as false. It also proves that polytheists remained impure in their belief of Allah that caused their acts to not be counted as worship of Allah. The polytheists abandoned these idols only because they were useless stone objects at that point of time and not because they at sea affirmed only Allah is Lord and only Allah deserves to be worshiped.
Ilaah carries the meaning of lordship/divinity as well as it’s subjective derivative of giving ultimate servitude. The meaning of la illaaha illallah therefore is a combination of meaning originating from inner belief i.e., ‘there is no lord besides Allah” and hence “there is no object to be given ultimate servitude except Allah”. The interpretation of illaah instead as an “object that is sought” is a new found definition not found in the shariah nor sanctioned by Muslim scholarship, contradictory to shariah, and even close to blasphemy as it asserts prior acknowledgment of the existence of illaah’s besides Allah over which only Allah is to be chosen as illaah, while the Islamic testification starts by asserting that there is no ilaah besides Allah.