PURE MONOTHEISM (Tawheed) to POLYTHEISM (Shirk) and DISBELIEF (Kufr - Including Al-Ilhaad - ATHEISM)
Tawheed from the verb: وحد Wahhada
linguistically meaning to single out, make one.
Islamically it is singling out Allah (God) in:
- Those things that are rightfully His such as His Lordship, i.e., acknowledging that He is the Creator and everything else is created (He maintains His creation, provides sustenance, and has absolute control over everything. ), and His Names and Attributes that He affirmed for Himself and which are absolute in their completeness and perfection.
- Those things that are rightfully due to Him Alone i.e., all acts of worship and devotion. (sayings and actions both outward and inward ).
Shirk from the verb شرك Sharaka
linguistically meaning “to share”
Islamically it is associating partners with Allah in what is rightfully due to Him Alone.
DISBELIEF” Kufr from the verb كفر Kafara
Linguistically meaning “to cover”
Islamically it is to reject Allah and deny or “cover” the truth.
Shirk is more general than kufr - Everyone who commits shirk has committed Kufr (e.g., polytheists) but not everyone who commits kufr has committed shirk (e.g., atheists).
Allah created mankind with the innate nature (fitrah) to worship Him Alone.
So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.(Quran 30:30)
Satan (who is also one of God’s creation), is the one:
Whom Allah has cursed. For he had said, "I will surely take from among Your servants a specific portion. And I will mislead them, and I will arouse in them [sinful] desires, and I will command them so they will slit the ears of cattle, and I will command them so they will change the creation of Allah ." And whoever takes Satan as an ally instead of Allah has certainly sustained a clear loss. (Quran 4: 118,119)
Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) said: (No child is born except in a state of Fitrah, then his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Zoroastrian, just as each animal produces a perfect animal like itself -- do you see any among them that are born mutilated) then the narrator (Abu Hurayrah) said (recite this Ayah), (Allah's Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Allah's Khalq, that is the straight religion.)'' (Quran 30:30)
It is in our innate nature to recognize Allah (God) as our Lord and it is in our innate nature to direct all acts of worship and devotion to Him Alone. We were born to be pure monotheists.
Allah created Satan who became jealous of the children of Adam due to his pride and arrogance and thus became our #1 enemy. He and his minions come at the human beings from every side to lead them from worshiping God Alone.
[Satan] said, "Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You]." (Quran 7:16,17)
Abdullah ibn Mas’ood said: “One day the Messenger of Allah drew for us a straight line on the ground and said, ‘this is the path of Allah.’ Then he drew a number of other lines on the right and the left of the straight line, and said, ’these are pathways, on the head of each path is a shaytan (devil) calling people to it (himself).’ Then he recited: And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous. (Quran 6:153)
Every time mankind deviated from the straight path and pure religion, their Creator, Allah Almighty sent prophets and messengers from amongst themselves to guide them back to the straight path and pure monotheism.
Mankind were one community and Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed. And only those to whom (the Scripture) was given differed concerning it after clear proofs had come unto them through hatred, one to another. Then Allah by His Leave guided those who believed to the truth of that wherein they differed. And Allah guides whom He wills to a Straight Path. (Quran 2:213)
Ibn`Abbas says about the interpretation of this verse, ‘There was between Adam and Noah ten generations, all of them were upon clear and true religion. Then Satan caused them to be astray from the Straight Path by deluding them to make statues of pious people and worship them. Thus when they went astray, Allah sent Noah to them to call them to clear religion.’
EVERY NATION has been sent a messenger.
“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 etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah).’ ” (Quran 16:36)
The final Messenger to all of mankind is Muhammad - And this is obvious since Islam began in the wilderness of Arabia and now it has spread to every continent on earth.
And We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a Messenger to mankind, and Allah is Sufficient as a Witness. (Quran 4:79)
So there you have it: the history of mankind's "way of life" in a nutshell. Simple, clear and so easy to comprehend. For more details please refer to the Noble Quran and Authentic Hadeeh of Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam)
Nay, verily, this (Quran) is an admonition, * So whosoever will (let him read it), and receive admonition (from it)! * And they will not receive admonition unless Allah wills; He (Allah) is the One, deserving that mankind should be afraid of, and should be dutiful to Him, and should not take any Ilah (God) along with Him, and He is the One Who forgives (sins). (Quran 74:54-56)
SOURCES: The Quran and Sunnah.