THE UNITY OF GOD: Belief in the Oneness of Allah (Tawheed)
Islam affirms the Unity of Allah (God) and His indivisible sovereignty over the Universe. Allah is the Creator, the Master, the Sustainer of all that exists. Everything operates according to His plan.
He has revealed, through His prophets, the Right Path for the guidance of mankind. All prophets (peace and blessings be upon them) have preached the same message – that of acceptance of Allah’s sovereignty. They invited men and women to a life committed to virtue, purity, justice and peace, and to act according to the guidance He has revealed.
All prophets, from Adam, Nuh (Noah) and Ibrahim (Abraham) to Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus) and Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on them) taught the same religion of acceptance of and submission to Allah and commitment to peace. Man’s failure lies in not protecting and preserving the teachings of the earlier prophets.
As such, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was raised to restate the original message, to present it in its perfect form and to preserve it in such a way that the word of Allah would no longer be confused with the word of man.
The Prophet Muhammad was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from Allah Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur’an, which is considered the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112 which means:
(Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.) (112: 1-4)
Contrary to what many non-Muslims believe, Allah is loving, kind, and just. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begins with the verse: “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) we are told that “Allah is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child.” But Allah is also Just.
Allah’s attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake and people oppressing and exploiting other people all their lives should not receive similar treatment from their Lord. Expecting similar treatment for them will amount to negating the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter and thereby negating all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world. The following Qur’anic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect:
(Verily, for the Righteous, are Gardens of Delight, in the Presence of their Lord. Shall We then treat the People of Faith like the People of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge ye?) (68: 34-36)
Islam rejects characterizing Allah in any human form or depicting Him as favouring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created human beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favour through virtue and piety only.
Tawheed is an important metaphysical concept and answers the riddles of the universe. It points to the supremacy of law in the cosmos and the all-pervading unity behind the manifest diversity. It presents a unified view of the world and offers the vision of an integrated universe. It is a mighty contrast to the piecemeal views of the scientists and the philosophers and unveils the truth before the human eye. After centuries of groping in the dark, man is now coming to realize the truth of this concept, and modern scientific thought is moving in this direction.
But it is not merely a metaphysical concept: it is a dynamic belief and a revolutionary doctrine. It means that all men are the creatures of one Allah and that they are therefore all equal. Any discrimination based on color, class, race, or territory is unfounded and illusory. It is a remnant of the days of ignorance that chained men down to servitude. Humanity is one single family under Allah, and there can be no sanction for those barriers. Men are one – and not bourgeois or proletarian, white or black, Aryan or non-Aryan, westerner or easterner. Islam gives us a revolutionary concept of the unity of mankind.
This concept also defines the true position of man in the universe. It says that Allah is the Creator and the Sovereign, while man is His vicegerent on the earth. This exalts man to the noble and dignified position of being Allah’s deputy on earth and endows his life with a lofty purpose: to fulfill the will of Allah on earth. This will solve all the perplexing problems of human society and establish a new order wherein equity and justice, as well as peace and prosperity, will reign supreme.
The starting point of Islam is the belief in the oneness of Allah (tawheed).