The Essence of Islam: ISLAMIC MONOTHEISM (Tawhid)

An explanation of the Islamic concept of monotheism, which entails belief in the uniqueness of God in His Lordship, the right to be worshipped, and in His Names and Attributes.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Hello, Dear Readers and followers, welcome back to my new story, I hope all’s well. Today I planned to talk about tawhid (Monotheism) is the fundamental and indivisible Oneness concept of monotheism in Islam.

This story will cover the definition and focus on the concept of monotheism or the belief in one and only one God.

Religion:

In simple words, Religion is a set of organized beliefs, practices, and systems that most often relate to the belief and worship of a controlling force, such as a personal god or another supernatural being.

Religion often involves cultural beliefs, worldviews, texts, prophecies, revelations, and morals that have spiritual meaning to members of the particular faith, and it can encompass a range of practices, including sermons, rituals, prayer, meditation, holy places, symbols, trances, and feasts.

Religion plays a very important role in every aspect of human life irrespective of place and culture. Religion remains the most important element in basic human character building.

There are many different types of religions, including the major world religious traditions that are widely known as well as much lesser-known belief systems of smaller populations. Some of these represent monotheism, or the belief in a single god, while others are examples of polytheism or the belief in multiple gods.

Monotheism

According to Wiki, Monotheism is the belief that there is only one deity, an all-supreme being that is universally referred to as God. A distinction may be made between exclusive monotheism, in which the one God is a singular existence, and both inclusive and pluriform monotheism, in which multiple gods or godly forms are recognized, but each are postulated as extensions of the same God.

A person who believes in only one God can be called a monotheist. The adjective form, monotheistic, is typically used in terms like monotheistic religions and monotheistic beliefs.

Polytheism

Polytheism is the belief or doctrine that there are multiple gods or deities. Like monotheism, the word polytheism can be used in the context of specific religions (such as Hinduism) or outside of formal religion.

A person who believes in multiple gods can be called a polytheist. The adjective form is polytheistic.

Atheism

Atheism is the absence of belief in any Gods or spiritual beings. The word Atheism comes from a, meaning without, and theism means belief in god or gods.

Atheists are people who believe that god or gods (or other supernatural beings) are man-made constructs, myths, and legends or who believe that these concepts are not meaningful.

The History Of Monotheism

Whereas monotheism is most often associated with the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions and philosophies, tendencies contributing toward a monotheistic outlook have long been present in human religious history. Monotheism is like a river with many springs and many tributaries. The course of the river is difficult to map, for monotheistic beliefs are often put forward in protest against other beliefs and practices.

Monotheistic Religion

Some of the world’s largest religions believe in one supreme god, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. These monotheistic religions believe in one omnipotent, all-powerful god and deny the existence of any other deities.

The three major monotheistic religions of the world are Christianity, Judaism, and Islam which share a lot of commonalities. They all believe in God the creator, one who rules the universe, judges, punishes and also forgives. They are referred to as Abrahamic faiths because they share the same father of the faith, Abraham. The monotheistic deities are considered omniscient and omnipotent. They are incomprehensible, hence they cannot be depicted in any form.

History of Islam

You’re probably aware that Islam is a religion practiced by Muslims. Despite the controversial headlines surrounding the religion, Islam has a rich history and several noteworthy traditions and beliefs. It’s believed to have originated in the seventh century in the territory known today as the Middle East.

Islam, which means ‘’surrender’’ or ‘’submission,’’ is based upon the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca, today considered a holy site and began preaching about the existence of a single god. In the grand scheme of things, Muhammad was thought to have reinforced monotheism in the Arab world.

In Islam, Muhammad is believed to have received revelations from Allah, which he wrote down. These writings formed the verses found today in the Qur’an, which is the holiest text in Islam. The Qur’an is considered sacred and contains the literal word of God, as relayed to Muhammad.

Today, many practicing Muslims pray up to five times a day, fast during holy holidays, and in many cases, take a pilgrimage to sacred sites. In Islam, these acts are known as pillars.

There are five pillars of Islam, that each Muslim must practice. The pillars consist of the belief in only one God, ritual prayer five times daily, giving to those in need, fasting through Ramadan (the holy month), and pilgrimage to Mecca (Muhammad’s birthplace) at least once in a Muslim’s lifetime. The first pillar, or the belief in one God, is key to understanding Islam.

ISLAMIC MONOTHEISM

From the basic tenets of Islam, the most important and primary one is the doctrine of Tawheed (monotheism, i.e. the belief in only one God). Tawheed is the origin and root of all beliefs. Just as a tree survives not because of a branch, but because of its roots, similarly, one cannot become a Muslim without believing in Tawheed.

The concept of monotheism (known as tawhîd in Arabic) is the single most important concept in Islam. Tawhid (Arabic: توحيد‎, tawḥīd, meaning “unification of God in Islam (Allāh)”; also romanized as Tawheed, Tawhid, Tauheed or Tevhid ) is the indivisible oneness concept of monotheism in Islam.

The classical definition of tawhid was limited to declaring or preferring belief in one God and the unity of God. Although the monotheistic definition has persisted into modern Arabic, it is now more generally used to connote “unification, union, combination, fusion; standardization, regularization; consolidation, amalgamation, the merger”.

The Arabs say wahid, ahad and wahid, all meaning one. Allah is Wahid, meaning that He has no rivals or peers in any way. So Tawhid means knowing Allah is One, with none like unto Him. Whoever does not acknowledge Allah in these terms and does not describe Him as being One with no partner or associate does not believe in Tawhid.

Tawhid is the religion’s central and single most important concept, upon which a Muslim’s entire religious adherence rests. It unequivocally holds that God in Islam (Arabic: الله Allāh) is One (Al-ʾAḥad) and Single (Al-Wāḥid).

Tawhid constitutes the foremost article of the Muslim profession of submission. The first part of the shahada (the Islamic declaration of faith) is the declaration of belief in the oneness of God.[ To attribute divinity to anything or anyone else, is to shirk an unpardonable sin according to the Qur’an if repentance is not sought afterward. Muslims believe that the entirety of Islamic teaching rests on the principle of Tawhid.

According to Islam, all religions revealed to the prophets (may Allah exalt their mention) have the same essence and knowledge of Tawheed and unity of Allah; but, with time, their messages were misinterpreted, mixed with superstition, and degenerated into some rituals.

So, The basic mission of all Prophets was to lead people away from the adulation of creatures and towards reverence for the Creator. God created man and settled him on the earth. After installing him here, He has kept an unceasing watch over him. Life and death are equally in His hands. Whatever man gains or loses, it is all a matter of the will of God.

That was the same message with which Adam was sent down to earth, the same knowledge that Allah revealed to Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), and Isa (Jesus), may Allah exalt their mention, and the last Prophet sent to humanity, Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Allah Almighty says:

And We did not send any Messenger before you but We would reveal to him that, ‘There is no god except Me; hence, only worship Me.’ (Quran 21:25)

Islam rejects characterizing Allah in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power, or race. However, our human minds are often in search of understanding the concept of Allah in materialistic ways, although we are not capable to completely comprehending this concept.

From an Islamic standpoint, there is an uncompromising nondualism at the heart of the Islamic beliefs (aqidah) which is seen as distinguishing Islam from other major religions. Moreover, Tawhid requires Muslims not only to avoid worshiping multiple gods, but also to relinquish striving for money, social status, or egoism.

In consonance with the view that human religions began with Tawheed — with polytheism as a later development — the basic mission of all the Prophets who made their appearance at intervals in this world was to lead people away from the worship of many gods and back to the worship of the One God. In other words, to turn them away from the adulation of creatures and towards reverence for the Creator.

As proof of the Creator’s existence, the Quran advances the very fact of the existence of the universe. All studies of the universe show that it cannot be sui genesis: some other agent is essential for the universe to have come into existence. This means that the choice for us is not between a universe with God and a universe without God. It is rather between a universe with God, and no universe at all. Since a non-existent universe is utterly inconceivable, we are forced to accept the option of a universe with God — a necessary condition also for the existence of human beings.

While Tawheed means the oneness of God, it must be stressed that this concept differs radically from pantheistic or animist notions that all the forms of existence are diverse manifestations of one and the same reality. On the contrary, the oneness of God as defined in Islam means that there is only one Being of the nature of God. All other things of the universe, be they physical or non-physical, are the creations of this One God: they are in no respect constituents of or partners in the divine Godhead.

However, in Islamic theology, Tawheed does have two aspects to it: Tawheed fi az-Zat and Tawheed fi as-Sifat, that is, the oneness of being and oneness of attributes. This means that in addition to the fact of there being only one Being who enjoys the status of divinity and possesses divine powers, there is also the fact that no one else can have a share in, or lay claim to God’s attributes.

Monotheism in the Quran

The Qur’an asserts the existence of a single and absolute truth that transcends the world; a unique, independent, and indivisible being, who is independent of the entire creation. God, according to Islam, is a universal God, rather than a local, tribal, or parochial one — God is an absolute, who integrates all affirmative values and brooks no evil.

Islamic intellectual history can be understood as a gradual unfolding of the manner in which successive generations of believers have understood the meaning and implications of professing God’s Unity. Islamic scholars have different approaches toward understanding it. Islamic theology, jurisprudence, philosophy, Sufism, and even to some degree the Islamic understanding of natural sciences, all seek to explain at some level the principle of tawhid.

Almighty Allah says in the Noble Qur’an:

“Allah — there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of (all) existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is (presently) before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.” (Qur’an, 2:255)

When Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) contemporaries asked him about God, Allah revealed the chapter of Ikhlas (Qur’anic chapter no. 112), which is considered as the motto of Tawheed, saying: “Say (O Muhammad), “He is Allah, (who is) One. Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor was He begotten. Nor is there to Him any equivalent.” (Qur’an, 112:1–4)

The Creator must be a different nature from the things created, because if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will, therefore, need a maker. If the maker is not temporal, He must be eternal. But if He is eternal, He cannot be caused. If nothing apart from Him causes Him to continue to exist, He must be self-sufficient and self-subsistent.

If He does not depend upon anything for the continuance of His own existence, this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore Eternal and Everlasting.

Allah Says (what means):

“He is the first and the last.” (Qur’an, 57:3)

The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, in other words, He is not only a Starter, He also preserves everything, takes them out of existence, and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.

Tawheed is the first means for the acceptance of all of a person’s good deeds and good morals. In the Holy Quran, the deeds of those who deny the doctrine of Tawheed are described as like being ashes which are blown away by the wind leaving no sign or trace behind whatsoever.

In this regard, Allah Almighty says:

The state of those who disbelieve in their Lord is such that their deeds are like ash, upon which a strong blast of wind came on a stormy day; they got nothing from all that they earned; this is deep misguidance. (Quran 14:18)

In these marvelous verses, Allah describes Himself as the only one the most powerful, ever-living Lord of us. Tawheed is the bedrock of Islam and it states that it is Allah Who has created the universe with whatever is in it and administers it. What we deduce from the operation of the universe and call ‘natural laws’ are, in fact, Allah’s regular ways of creating things and events and administering the universe.

Final Thoughts:

Another aspect of Tawheed in Islam is that it implies the equity and unity of all people in their relations with Allah. Thus, people of different social strata were not created by separate deities with varying levels of power, since this would violate Tawheed by putting barriers between them. Instead, the social dimension of Tawheed states that the same Allah created everyone, and so all people have the same fundamental essence. In fact, the noblest person in Allah’s sight is the one who is most Allah-conscious.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Your Lord is One. You are from Adam and Adam was created from dust. An Arab is not superior to a non-Arab, nor a white person over a black person, except for his/her piety and righteousness.”

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Raja Muhammad Mustansar Javaid

Writer | network engineer | Traveler | Biker | Polyglot. I’m so deep even the ocean gets jealous