The ‘Aqeedah underlying the declaration of Tawheed: the Talbiyah


Part two of lessons in ‘Aqeedah

دروس عقدية مستفادة من الحج

Excerpts from The Teachings of Hajj by Abdul Razzaq ibn Abdul Muhsin


The ‘Aqeedah underlying the declaration of Tawheed: the Talbiyah

One of the greatest lessons which a Muslim learns during his Hajj is the obligation of performing all acts for the sake of Allah, alone. When he begins reciting the Talbiyah, he is actually proclaiming Tawheed and renouncing Shirk:

لبيك اللهم لبيك لبيك لا شريك لك لبيك

 إن الحمد و النعمة لك و الملك لا شريك لك

“I obediently answer your call, O Allah, I obediently answer. I obediently answer your call, testifying that you have no partner, I obediently answer. To you belongs all praise, favor and dominion, You have no partner.”

Islam brought this magnificent testimony of Tawheed, renouncing all types of Shirk in the midst of people who used to worship idols and statues. They would begin their Hajj proclaiming a testimony which was infused with Shirk, they would say,

لبيك لا شريك لك إلا شريكًا هو لك

تملكه و ما ملك

“I obediently answer Your call, You have no partner except the partner You have, although You own him and all that he has.”

Thus they included their false gods in their Talbiyah while acknowledging that Allah owned everything! This is exactly what Allah described in the Quran:

وَمَا يُؤْمِنُ أَكْثَرُهُم بِاللَّهِ إِلَّا وَهُم مُّشْرِكُونَ

And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners unto Him. (Yusuf:106)

In other words, they believe that Allah is the Creator, Sustainer, Controller and Provider, but they still worship those idols besides Him! Powerless statues and idols that do not own a single thing; they cannot bring benefit or cause any harm, and they cannot give nor can they withhold. They have no power to do any of these things for themselves, let alone for others.

Ibn ‘Abbas narrated, “Part of their belief was that if they were asked, “Who created the heavens, earth and mountains?”, they would reply, “Allah”, yet they still associated partners with Him.”

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

If you were to ask them: “Who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon?” They will surely reply: “Allah.” How then are they deviating (as polytheists and disbelievers)? (Ankabut: 61)

Ibn Kathir says in the commentary of this verse,

“Allah states that there is no God but He. The idolators who worshipped others besides Him recognized that He was the sole creator of the heavens and earth, the sun and the moon, alternating the night and day. They acknowledged that He was the Creator Who provided for His servants and decreed how long they should live. He made them and their provision different, so that some were rich and some were poor, and He knew best what was suitable for each of them, who deserved to be rich and who deserved to be poor. So, Allah stated that He has alone created everything, and that He alone is controlling them — if this is how it is, then why worship anyone else? Why put one’s trust in anyone else? Since dominion is His Alone, then let worship be for Him Alone. Allah often establishes His divinity by referring to their acknowledgement of His Unique Lordship, because the idolators used to acknowledge His Lordship, as they said in their Talbiyah during Hajj and `Umrah: “At Your service, You have no partner, except the partner that You have, and You possess him and whatever he has.”

Ibn Al Qayyim gave this topic a very extensive treatment in his book. He also listed twenty magnificent lessons learnt from it; here is a summarized selection of what he mentioned:

1-    A response. You say “labbayk” to someone who has called and invited you. It in incorrect, linguistically and rationally to respond to to someone who does not speak or call the one who answered him. This affirms the attribute of speech for Allah.

2-    Love. “Labbayk” is only said to someone you love and revere. For this reason, its meaning has been explained as “I come to you with what you love.”

3-    A firm, continuous observance of worshipping Allah. It is to say, “I am firmly established upon Your obedience.”

4-    Constant humility and submission.

5-    Sincerity, the word “al-lubb” is an untarnished, pure essence of something.

6-    Affirmation that Allah hears. It is impossible for someone to say “labbayk” to one who cannot hear his response.

7-    Drawing near to Allah.

8-    It has been designated, while in Ihram, to signify a transfer from one state to another. Similar to Takbeer in Salah which is an indication of changing positions, the Talbiyah indicates switching from one rite to another. For example, the Sunnah is to recite the Talbiyah until beginning Tawaaf and then to stop doing so until he is standing at ‘Arafah and so on. Hence, the Talbiyah is a distinguishing mark of Hajj which is said between moving rites. Once he concludes the rites of Hajj he discontinues the repetition just like the Takbeer is discontinued after he concludes the prayer.

9-     A sign of Tawheed, the deen of Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam, which is the essence and the aim of Hajj.

10-    It is the key to Jannah, and the gate through which one enters Islam- the declaration of sincerity and testifying that Allah has no partner in worship.

11-    Praise for Allah- this is one of the greatest things that brings one closer to Him.

12-    Recognition that all blessings and favor is from Allah.

13-    Affirming that all dominion belongs to Allah; each and every single thing in this universe is in His control, and that is a consoling belief.

14-    Simultaneously affirming dominion, bounty and praise for Allah. This is another way of exalting Him and it differs from mentioning these lofty descriptions individually. It combines all of these:

  • Al Hamd- praise is for the one who is complete in His magnificence and generosity

  • Al Ni’mah- bounty which is given by the one who is complete in His goodness, kindness and mercy

  • Al Mulk- the dominion which is attributed to the one who is complete in His power

15-    There is a rebuttal in the Talbiyah for anyone who denies the attributes of Allah and His Tawheed.

-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)



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