“Say He is God, the Unique One of Absolute Oneness. God – the Eternally-Besought-of-All. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And comparable to Him there is none.” (112: 1-4).
Allah, God-Almighty revealed the essential principles to all prophets. However, humanity strayed away from the original message by falling to superstitions, which led to practices based in magic along with meaningless rituals and customs. These beliefs corrupted the meaning of Tawhid (The Oneness of God) and we started to see anthromorphism (giving human characteristics to God), turning angels into deities, and associating partners with God by naming prophets or godly people as deities themselves.
Knowledge of Allah, God-Almighty
“God’s knowledge, the perfection of His knowledge, is to testify to Him, the perfection of testifying to Him is to believe in His Oneness, the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to regard Him as pure and the perfection of His purity is to deny all kinds of negative attributes about Him.” – Ali Ibn Abi Talib (the Fourth Caliph).
This is to say that He is infinite, eternal, self-existent and self-sufficient. God is a Being, but not through the phenomenon of coming into being. He exists, but not from existence. He is with everything, but not by a physical nearness. He is different from everything, but not by a physical separation. He acts, but without the accompaniment of movements and instruments. He is the One, the only One Who is such that there is none with whom He keeps company or whom He misses when absent (1).
When observed closely, we can see the concept of Tawhid, clearly in every part of our daily lives. Think about the way your body works and how the different parts coordinate with one another to work properly. Since our body works in perfection without our knowledge of or ability to make it, so must there be the One who created the body for us, in perfection.
Similarly, the universe also working in perfect harmony and order must have been created by One who knew the universe and how it must work as a whole. Take for example a tree. A tree grows out of a seed and the results of that tree will also be another seed. “We will bring the creation back into existence as easily as We originated it in the first instance” (21:104). God revives the earth when it is dead and dry, displaying His Power and His all-embracing Knowledge. As the Creator, The Sustainer, and The-All-Knowing perfected our bodies and nature, it is only logical to conclude that He is the same Creator that we observe in our solar system and so on.
Indeed, the Qur’an reminds us of the impossibility for the universe to have been created by more than one God “But the fact is that had there been in the heavens and earth any deities other than God, both would certainly have fallen to ruin. All Glorified is God, the Lord of the Supreme Throne, in that He is absolutely above all that they attribute to Him.” (21:22)
Think of understanding God’s Oneness in this way: since we cannot keep ourselves alive, how would we ever be able to give life to others? Since we cannot even protect our own power (sickness, anger, frailty, tiredness, etc) how would we ever be able to control the universe?
Implications of Tawhid
“O Servants of God, be brethren.” –Prophet Muhammad
Monotheists, or those who affirm and believe in Tawhid, must encompass all of creation because everything belongs to the One God. Their love, service, and compassion must extend to all, regardless of race, color, or ethnicity. This is what produces the highest degree of self-worth, and esteem found in people who believe. The belief that true power only comes from God, only God can fulfill their needs, and only God to take them out harmful situations or keep them in pleasant situations provides them with a sense of security that is impossible to find elsewhere. Indeed, this belief will make them completely indifferent to all powers other than God. The only aim of a monotheist is to gain God’s pleasure and approval. Their worship is pure and without aim to gain something in return.
Altruistic in nature, they will work their entire lives to gain God’s good pleasure. However, they never succumb to pride and power for they know that everything they have is from and belongs to God. They will strive to acquire purity both physically and spiritually through prayer and behavior, never losing hope and faith in the Mercy and Compassion that God offers humanity.
It is this firm faith that will impart on them consolation when things seem to go wrong. It is this that will stay with them when they feel deserted. It is this confidence that produces perseverance and will lead to complete trust in God, who will never leave them and give them the strength to go on.
Firm Belief in Allah, God-Almighty
A non-Muslim historian wrote this about Tawhid:
“In this uncompromising monotheism, with its simple, enthusiastic faith in the supreme rule of a transcendental being, lies the chief strength of Islam. Its adherents enjoy a consciousness of contentment and resignation unknown among followers of most creeds. Suicide is rare in Muslim lands.”(2)
A firm belief in Allah, God-Almighty creates peace and comfort while destroying jealousy, envy, greed, cheating, lying, and deception. A monotheist knows that they must strive to gain God’s good pleasure and does what they must to do so. They know that God is aware of everything, both shown and kept secret. When a monotheist truly believes this, they will become more observant of the commands given to them by God. This is why the first condition to be a Muslim is to believe that there is no god, but God.
An-Nahj al-Balagah (1st Sermon)
(The Present and Future of Religion, quoted by Sir Arnold Lunn, And Yet So New (London: Sheed and Ward, 1958), 228).