What is the first obligation upon the creation?
The first duty upon the creation is the first thing they are called to, and this has been made clear by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) to Muaadh ibn Jabal, radiyallaahu ‘anhu, when he sent him to Al-Yaman [Yemen]. He said:
So this is the very first obligation on the ‘Ibaad, that they testify to the Oneness of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic and to testify of His Messenger’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) Message. And it is through the Tawheed of Allaah, the One free of all imperfection, and the testimony as to His Messenger being entrusted with the Message, that Ikhlaas13 and Mutaaba’ah,14 both of which constitute the prerequisite for the acceptance of every worship, would be realized. So this constitutes the very first obligatory duty on the ‘Ibaad i.e. that they must single Allaah out as the only true God worthy of worship, and testify of His Messenger’s Message [he is entrusted with it and that he proclaimed in its entirety]. Hence, the Shahaadah of Laa ilaaha illallaah comprises the entire Tawheed.
12 Reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim. The reported version is that of al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh, vol.2, no.478.
13 Ikhlaas means to purify, and it signifies that the Muslim by his worship intends and desires the Face of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and to reach al-Jannah, the place where Allaah bestows honour and favours. So the Muslim worships none along with Allaah, making the religion purely and sincerely for Him. [See Ibn ‘Uthaymeen’s Sharhul Usool ath Thalaatah within Majmoo’ al-Fataawaai, vol.6, p.31. An English translation of this book by brother Daawood Burbank is published by Daar al-Hidaayah, Birmingham, and U.K].
14 Mutaaba’ah (inf.n. of Tabi’ah i.e. to follow, to comply with, adhere, etc.): the pursuing of the Prophet Muhammad’s () guidance in all matters of Deen.