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Following the Extremism of Sayyid Qutb, the likes of Abdur-Rahman Abdul-Khaliq and others innovated a new category for Tawheed, called "Tawheed al-Haakimiyyah", and this was simply a stratagem through which the doctrines of Sayyid Qutb could be made palatable to a Salafi audience. When they started to propagandize for Sayyid Qutb's exaggerated doctrine of "al-Haakimiyyah", Ahl us-Sunnah took the issue to the Major Scholars. The verdicts of the Scholars started to appear from around 1996-1997, and prior to this time, many speakers in the West were propagandizing for this "fourth" category of Tawheed and explicitly stating it to be an independent fourth category of Tawheed. Ali al-Timimi was one of the movers and shakers in this regard and in 1996, he said in his theatrical performance:
Now somebody might ask, of the four types of Tawhid that they mentioned, Tawhid ur-Ruboobiyyah, Tawhid ul-Ibaadah, Tawhid ul-Asmaa' was-Sifaat and Tawhid al-Haakimiyyah, why did they pay so much attention to Tawhid ul-Haakimiyyah. What's the secret behind this. The secret behind this is because those who have falsely attributed these ideas to Salafiyyah have tried to argue that Tawhid al-Haakimiyyah is not from Tawhid, and that to state Tawhid al-Haakimiyyah, some of them have said that this is a bid'ah and some of them have said that this should be reduced to the principles of fiqh.
Here, Ali al-Timimi was commenting on a small treatise written by some Kuwaitis in which certain issues and their importance were being highlighted. Now, you have to understand what is going on here, and let us illustrate.
A Tablighi in Saudi Arabia can write a treatise in which he brings evidences for and emphasizes the importance of the kalimah, khushoo' in the prayer, knowledge and remembrance, honouring the Muslims, being sincere in one's intentions, and going out and striving in the path of Allaah, providing evidence for each issue from the texts and sayings of the Scholars of Ahl us-Sunnah. He can then take it to a Shaykh and say, "What do you say about this advice" and any Shaykh will say, "This is great advice, it contains benefit for the Muslims". Then the Tablighi can go and explain those generalized subjects upon his particular innovation and call to his innovation through this by claiming that the Shaykh supports him in both the general and specific details of what he is calling to.
And what Ali al-Timimi was reading from was precisely this, a generalized advice which no two Muslims would disagree upon. There is no mention of the label "Tawhid al-Haakimiyyah" in the tract he was reading from, but just quotations from the Scholars, like Imaam ash-Shanqiti, and Shaykh Ibn Ibraaheem, emphasizing the importance of ruling by what Allaah has revealed, and its being a part of Tawheed. With the audience unawares, he brought his own speech with certain particulars, and the audience left with the understanding, "Hey Ibn Baz speaks with Tawhid al-Haakimiyyah, as a separate category of Tawhid and so do those other scholars". And of course, Ali al-Timimi was explaining these generalized points (which no two Muslims would disagree over in their generality), upon the methodologies of al-Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen, upon the doctrines and methodologies of Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna, which came to him from the likes of Abdur-Rahman Abdul-Khaliq and others. The proof for this is extensive and firmly established and will be dealt with elsewhere, as we cannot digress here. However, it is important that the reader understand the context and what was going on here. The Qutbiyyah (see here, here, here, here and here) were responded to by the Scholars in the following verdicts:
When the Major Scholars declared such people to be Innovators, they quickly retreated to teaching just "two categories" of Tawheed and denied ever having even spoken of a fourth category of Tawheed called "Tawheed al-Haakimiyyah". This is why the more shrewd amongst the Qutbiyyah made a hasty retreat and backed off, even if some of them continued their deception by trying to use the issue of Shaykh Ibn Baz writing an introduction for a book of Abdur-Rahman Abdul-Khaliq in which the latter makes reference to "Tawheed al-Hukm", as justification for their innovation of making "Tawhid al-Haakimiyyah" into an independent fourth category. There is a difference between speaking of a certain notion and its importance (i.e. you could emphasize the importance of tawheed udh-dhabh, tawheed al-isti'aanah), and dedicating a few pages to it, and between making it an independent fourth category of Tawheed in addition to the three agreed upon by ijmaa' which comprise every aspect of Tawheed already. But this was just one of many types of deceptions of these people which will be covered elsewhere.
Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-Uthaymeen on Making Tawhid al-Haakimiyyah a Separate Category of Tawheed
Shaikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen was asked concerning this, and he replied that:
من يدعي أن هناك قسما رابعا للتوحيد تحت مسمى توحيد الحاكمية , يعد مبتدعا فهذا تقسيم مبتدع صدر من جاهل لايفقه في أمر العقيدة والدين شيئا !!وذلك لأن الحاكمية تدخل في توحيد الربوبية من جهة أن الله يحكم بما يشاء وتدخل في توحيد الألوهية أن العبد عليه أن يتعبد الله بما بماحكم .فهو ليس خارجا عن أنواع التوحيد الثلاثة وهي :توحيد الربوبية والالوهية وتوحيد أسماء الله وصفاته
Whoever claims that there is a fourth category of tawheed under the title "Tawheed al-Haakimiyyah" is to be counted as an innovator (mubtadi'). So this is an innovated categorization which emanates from an ignorant person who does not understand anything of the affairs of 'aqeedah and the deen. This is because "al-Haakimiyyah" falls within Tawheedur-Ruboobiyyah from the aspect that Allaah decrees whatever He wills.
"Al-Muslimoon" no. 639, 25th of Dhul-Hijjah 1417H which corresponds to Friday the 2nd of May 1997.
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