An effort in f a c i l i t a t i o n

Taaghuut. What is Taaghuut?

بسم الله والصلاة ةالسلام على رسول الله

Qur’anic words are more complex, richer and eloquent. They convey myriad of meanings.

Translators find it difficult to convey their precise interpretation. Taaghuut is one such word.

The best approach would be to retain such a word without translating it, and let the Qur’anic Arabic speak for itself. 

Allah tells in the ayah next to Aayatul Kursi:

…. فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّـهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا …. 

“….So whoever disbelieves in Taaghuut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it….” Surah al Baqarah 2:256

Allah also says that He sent His messengers to every nation commanding them to convey this to their people:

اعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ 

Worship Allah and avoid Taaghuut.” Surah Al Nahl 16:36

Taaghuut طاغوت is anything man worships or believes in other than Allah.

When you believe in Allah, you disbelieve in Taaghuut and vice versa!

Please have a look at the following so that you get a rough idea of the different words and meanings:

The triliteral root ṭā ghayn yā (ط غ ي) occurs 39 times in the Quran, in eight derived forms:

  • 12 times as the form I verb ṭaghā (طَغَىٰ) which means to transgress, to overflow

  • once as the form IV verb aṭghay (أَطْغَيْ) which means to make transgress

  • once as the noun aṭghā (أَطْغَىٰ) which means more rebellious

  • eight times as the noun ṭāghūt (طَّٰغُوت) which means false deities/gods

  • once as the noun ṭaghwā (طَغْوَىٰ) which means transgression

  • nine times as the verbal noun ṭugh’yān (طُغْيَٰن) which means rebellion or transgression

  • six times as the active participle ṭāghīn (طَٰغِين) which means transgressors 

  • once as the active participle ṭāghiyat (طَّاغِيَة) which means overwhelming blast   QuranDictionary

To make matters simple, let me list out the following meanings for the word Taaghuut, which I have gathered through extensive study of tafaseer, lexicons and dictionaries (alhamdulillaah)

1) To overflow, to transgress, to exceed the limits, to be excessive, to violate established norms

2)  Someone or something for whose sake a worshipper transgresses limits (According to Imam Ibn al Qayyim)

3) Exceeding in just limit (in an absolute sense) or in disobedience

4) To rebel, to be tyrannical, tyranny, rebellion 

5) Any head or leader of error – that is, those who take you away from right religion or divine guidance, from Light to darkness

5) false deities or an idol or whatever that is worshipped instead of Allah or to the exclusion of Allah 

6) Exorbitant in pride or corruptness or disbelief or disobedience

7) Taaghuut is also a generic name for evil powers, variously named by the interpreters as the Devil, diviners, enchanters

Please keep in mind all the above mentioned meanings of the word Taaghuut, and then read this ayah. This one ayah tells it all.

“Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into the light. And those who disbelieve – their allies are Taaghuut. They take them out of the light into darknesses. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.” 2:257

May Allah guide us on the Right Path.

Sal-lal-laahu ‘Ala Muhammad, Sal-lal-laahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam.

Baarakallaahu Feekum.


Homework 🙂

Go to Aayatul Kursi, that is ayah no. 255 of Surah al Baqarah, read it thoroughly and then read the next two ayaats, that is 2:256 and 2:257, and ponder over why Allah mentions about Taaghuut in the two verses that follow the most powerful ayah, the aayatul kursi.


The popular Saudi website Alifta gives an elaborate explanation to the following ayah. Please take time to read it so that the meaning of Taaghuut becomes more clear, InshaaAllah

“Have you not seen those who claim to have believed in what was revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you? They wish to refer legislation to Taaghuut, while they were commanded to reject it; and Satan wishes to lead them far astray.” Surah An-Nisaa 4:60

The general meaning of Taaghuut is what is worshipped instead of Allah. This `Ibadah (worship) may be Salah (Prayer), Sawm (Fast), vowing, resorting for removing harm or bringing benefit, referring to him in judgment instead of Qur’an and Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) or any other thing that should be dedicated to Allah Alone.

The Taaghuut in the Ayah means all what is referred to for judgment besides the Qur’an and Sunnah including man-made laws, systems, inherited customs and habits or what is thought by chieftains, leaders and soothsayers.

Therefore, we know that systems made to be referred to for (legislation or) judgment are included in the meaning of Taaghuut. 

Taaghuut is whoever calls and incites people to do so from among the jinn and mankind.

Secondly: What is meant by “wish” in the saying of Allah: “They wish to go for judgement (or refer legislation to Taaghuut in their disputes) to the Tâghût (false judges)…” is what is accompanied by signs and indications that prove the intention. This is affirmed by the next Ayah: “And when it is said to them: “Come to what Allâh has sent down and to the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم),” you see the hypocrites turn away from you (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) with aversion.” This is also affirmed by the cause behind the revelation of the Ayah that was mentioned by Ibn Kathir and others in interpreting this Ayah. Continuity in doing anything means approval. Thus, these things remove the problematic saying that “wish” is a hidden meaning that cannot be judged except after knowing the intention of the doer which is inconceivable.

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions. Alifta

Related Reading and References:

What is Jibt and Taaghuut?

Pearls of Islam

February 26, 2017 - Posted by | Kalimaat: Qur'anic Words, Qur'anic Phrases, Reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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