Indeed, Allah alone is worthy of worship and supplication. He alone should be invoked in times of hope and fear. Offering salah (prayer), vows, sacrifices and all other forms of Ibadah must solely be devoted to Allah alone.
Thus, it is clear that what the ignorant do, such as making dua (supplication), fearing, hoping and offering sacrifices and vows to the dead, are acts of major shirk (associating others with Allah in His divinity or worship) that go against the testimony of faith: La ilaha illaAllah (There is no God but Allah).
It is also evident that whoever denies the Last Day, Resurrection, Jannah (paradise), and Hellfire is truly a disbeliever who disbelieves in Allah and His deen.
The atheists commit kufr and deviation as much as those who worship others beside Allah and ascribe partners to Him, including worshipers of graves, idols, prophets, righteous people, stars, the sun, the moon, etc. Allah (Exalted be He) states: “O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqun (The Pious).” (Qur’an, 2: 21)
“Who has made the earth a resting place for you.” (Qur’an, 2:22) He (Exalted be He) also states: “Indeed your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He rose over (Istawa) the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty). He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His Command. Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)!” “Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He likes not the aggressors.” “And do not do mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, and invoke Him with fear and hope. Surely, Allâh’s Mercy is (ever) near unto the good-doers.” (Qur’an, 7: 54-56)
He who offers ‘Ibadah to others beside Allah, such as the Jinn (creatures created from fire), angels, Al-Badawy, Al-Husayn or other creatures, commits Shirk by worshiping others along with Allah — which violates the creed of “La ilaha illa Allah” — and is ungrateful for Allah’s Favors of health and safety, and disbelieves in the messengers, including our Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is the worst kind of ingratitude.
Allah (Exalted be He) states: “That is because Allah — He is the Truth (the only True God of all that exists, Who has no partners or rivals with Him), and what they (the polytheists) invoke besides Him, it is Batil (falsehood).” (Qur’an, 22: 62)
This is the true Aqidah (creed) that was brought down by the messengers (peace be upon them) and the best of them and their Imam, Muhammad (peace be upon him) who called to Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah/monotheism) and devoting Ibadah sincerely to Allah.
He (peace be upon him) sent his emissaries to different tribes, calling them to Tawhid. He sent Aly Muadh, and Abu Musa Al-Ashary (may Allah be pleased with them) to Yemen. He (peace be upon him) settled in Makkah for 13 years, calling to Tawhid. He also settled in Al-Madinah for 10 years calling for Tawhid and following the Shariah of Allah.
He started by calling to Tawhid, for it is the foundation of iman, deen, and gratitude to Allah, the Grantor. All messengers began by calling to Tawhid. Allah (Glorified be He) states: “And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah).” (Qur’an, 16:36)
Whoever misses the mark of Tawhid and sincerity for Allah renders all his deeds Batil (null and void) and futile. Allah Almighty states: “But if they had joined in worship others with Allah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.” (Qur’an, 6: 88) And: “And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad), as it was to those (Allah’s Messengers) before you: “If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.” (Qur’an, 39: 65)
In addition, thanking Allah for the grace of Tawhid and others is one of the greatest obligations that bring one closer to Allah. This is an act of the heart, involving love and glorification of Allah and love of His Sake, longing to see Him and His Gardens.
He (Glorified be He) is above His Creatures, rising over the Throne in a manner befitting His Majesty and Greatness.
The meaning of Istiwa (Allah’s rising over the Throne in a manner that befits Him) is not to be understood the way the innovators of Al-Jahmiyyah (a deviant Islamic sect denying some Attributes of Allah, claiming they are ascribed to people and cannot be ascribed to Allah) and others did. Rather, the meaning is that Allah rose over His Throne as the Salaf (righteous predecessors) stated and that He is above the heavens on His Throne and separate from His Creatures, knowing everything that nothing is hidden from Him.
It is common to cite the statement of Malik (may Allah be merciful to him) in this respect. When he was asked about Allah’s Statement: “The Most Gracious (Allah) rose over (Istawa) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty).” (Qur’an, 20:5) He was asked how Allah rises over the Throne? He answered: “Istiwa is well-known while its manner is unknown. To believe in it is obligatory and to ask about it is Bidah.”
His opinion was also held by Ahlul Sunnah wal-Jamaah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream, may Allah be merciful to them).
“Asking about it is Bidah” means asking about its manner, for this is known only to Allah Almighty. Istiwa is known as it means superiority and being up and above. The same meaning was reported by Um Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) and Rabiah ibn Abu Abdul-Rahman, the teacher of Malik (may Allah be merciful to them both).
There are forms of being thankful in one’s heart such as entertaining love for the believers and the messengers, particularly our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and witnessing that they conveyed the Message with which Allah entrusted them.
Allah Almighty states: “And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah).” (Qur’an, 16: 36)
Besides, gratitude in one’s heart one must believe firmly that Ibadah is an exclusive Right of Allah and no one else will ever deserve it.
Thanking Allah with the heart means fearing, hoping for, and loving Him to an extent that makes one carry out His Right, give up sin, call to His Way, and hold fast to it.
It also includes devotion and oft-repeated Tas-bih (saying: “Subhan Allah — Glory be to Allah”), Tahmid (saying: “Al-hamdu lillah — All praise is due to Allah”) and Takbir (saying: “Allahu Akbar — Allah is the Greatest.”)
Thanking Allah also means praising Him by the tongue, constantly expressing Allah’s Blessings, enjoining Ma’ruf (that which is judged as good, beneficial, or fitting by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) and forbidding Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect). Thanking is by tongue, heart, and action.
Thus, gratitude may be expressed by one’s tongue through the words Allah has made lawful for us.
There is a third type of gratitude, namely, expressing gratitude by one’s actions. This is the physical aspect of thankfulness, which includes adherence to Islamic tenets such as salah, sawm (fast), zakah (obligatory charity), Haj of Allah’s Sacred House, and jihad (fighting/striving in the cause of Allah) with one’s life and property.
Allah Almighty states: “March forth, whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor), and strive hard with your wealth and your lives.” (Qur’an, 9: 41)