Answering the four principles of Wahhabism

The saying of polytheists, “you have a partner under your ownership”

Update 23/01/2017 (Original post 07/05/2012)

In authentic narrations, it is mentioned that during the practice of Hajj the idolators used to say in their Talbiyah: “You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns”. The followers of Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahab cite this saying of the polytheists to argue that polytheists believed in the oneness of Allah’s Lordship or oneness in His Ownership.

In this saying “You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns” we see on the one hand the polytheist explicitly ascribing a partner to Allah, yet they are claiming the partner to be under Allah’s ownership. The Wahhabiyya take the latter statement in isolation as a proof for their argument that polytheists recognized the oneness of Allah’s Lordship. But the reality of its meaning can be understood by noting the following Quranic parable against the belief of polytheists:

{He gives you this example, drawn from your own lives: do you make your slaves full partners with an equal share in what We have given you? Do you fear them as you fear each other? This is how We make Our messages clear to those who use their reason.} [30:28]

This above verse was revealed as a response to this talbiyah of Mushriks, as mentioned by Ibn Kathir in his tafsir:

At-Tabarani recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “The people of Shirk used to say in their Talbiyah, `At Your service, You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns.’ Then Allah revealed the words: {Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you, whom you fear as you fear each other}”

From this verse we see that Allah analogized their belief with that of a master who took his slave as an equal partner. This belief is self contradictory. This is because; if the slave was made into an equal partner of the master then the slave would no longer remain a slave. So it is impossible that he could be a slave and partner at the same time. If he was a slave then he would no longer be an equal partner, and if he was a partner then he would not be a slave. It was such inconsistent or rationally absurd creed the polytheists ascribed to Allah. It is such self contradicting belief contained in the saying of idolators “You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns”, because a partner of Allah cannot be under His Ownership. This is similar to the self contradiction of the Christians who say God is one as well as three.

Moreover we also clearly see from this parable in the Quran that the Mushriks believed these partners have an equal share in the ownership over creation and that they believed Allah feared these partners.  This is all blatant shirk in Allah’s Lordship.

To add to all of this, we see in another verse,

{And say, “Praise to Allah , who has not taken a son and has had no partner in [His] dominion and has no [need of a] protector out of weakness; and glorify Him with [great] glorification.”} [Quran 17:111]

In this verse, Allah rejects belief that Allah has son, a partner in his dominion or that he needs a protector, which are all shirk in Ruboobiyah.

Ibn Kathir in commentary to this verse says,

Ibn Jarir recorded that Al-Qurazi used to say about this Ayah,
{And say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has not begotten a son…”} that the Jews and Christians said that Allah has taken a son; the Arabs said, “At Your service, You have no partner except the partner You have, and You possess him and whatever he owns;” and the Sabians and Magians said, “If it were not for the supporters of Allah, He would be weak.” Then Allah revealed this Ayah : {And say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has not begotten a son, and Who has no partner in (His) dominion, nor is He low to have a supporter. And magnify Him with all magnificence.”}

We see that this verse was revealed against those Arabs who said the same “You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns”. And yet notice the verse here shows that the Arab polytheists believed Allah has partner in His “Mulk (dominion)” thereby refuting therefore the argument given by the Salafiyya that the talbiyah proved the Mushriks did not associate such a partner.

Imam al-Qurtubi says in commentary to the above verse:

قوله تعالى: { وَقُلِ ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِي لَمْ يَتَّخِذْ وَلَداً } هذه الآية رادة على اليهود والنصارى والعرب في قولهم أفذاذاً: عزير وعيسى والملائكة ذرية الله سبحانه؛ تعالى الله عن أقوالهم! { وَلَم يَكُنْ لَّهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي ٱلْمُلْكِ } لأنه واحد لا شريك له في ملكه ولا في عبادته.

Rough translation: “{Praise to Allah , who has not taken a son} This ayah is a refutation of the Jews, Christians and Arabs in their saying: Uzair, Isa and the angels are offspring of Allah…{and has had no partner in [His] dominion} because (He is) one and has no partner in His dominion and in worship”

Imam Ibn Adil al Hanbali (d. 880H) in commentary to this verse says:

وهذه الآية ردٌّ على اليهود في قولهم
{ عُزَيْرٌ ٱبْنُ ٱللَّهِ }
[التوبة: 30]، وردٌّ على النصارى في قولهم
{ ٱلْمَسِيحُ ٱبْنُ ٱللَّهِ }
[التوبة: 31] وعلى مشركي العرب في قولهم: ” المَلائِكةُ بنَاتُ الله “.

والنوع الثاني من الصفات السلبية قوله: { وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي ٱلْمُلْكِ }.

والسَّببُ في اعتبار هذه الصفة: أنَّه لو كان له شريكٌ، فلا يعرف كونه مستحقًّا للحمد والشُّكر.

Rough translation:

“This verse is a refutation of the Jews who said {Uzair is the son of Allah} , and refutation of the Christians in their saying {the Messiah is the son of Allah} and the Arab Mushriks in their saying “angels are daughters of Allah” …………. {and He has no partner in [His] dominion} the reason for mentioning this attribute is that: If he had a partner, then he is not in truth worthy of praise and thanking.”

From all this we see that from among the beliefs of the Arab Mushriks who use to say the talbiyah was that the angels were daughters of Allah which is shirk in Lordship by itself and that they  were made as equal partners to Allah in His Dominion and that Allah was in fear of them and in need of them, which are beliefs that constitute shirk in Lordship. And it is because of such plethora of beliefs that the Mushriks denied Allah alone was worthy of worship.