Oneness of Allah
We sent no Messenger
before you without revealing to him, "There is no god but Me, so worship
Me (alone)" (Al-Anbiya 21:25).
The Oneness of Allah, known as tawhid, is the
first and paramount constituent of the Islamic concept, as it is the
fundamental truth of the Islamic faith. It is also one of the chief
characteristics of the Islamic concept because, among all the belief systems
and philosophies currently prevailing among human beings, only the Islamic
faith can be characterized as having a pure form of monotheism. This is why we
have included “The Oneness of Allah" as one of the characteristics of the
From the outset we state that the message of the
Oneness of Allah has been the chief constituent and characteristic of all
religions brought by the Messengers of Allah Most High, because every religion
sent from Allah was nothing but Islam, which is submission to Allah alone by
following the way prescribed by Him alone, receiving guidance in matters of
faith and moral conduct from Him alone, purifying one's intention and worship
for Him alone, and obeying His commandments and implementing His laws in human
affairs as well as in worship. Unfortunately, after these Messengers passed
away, interpolations and deviations were introduced into the pure din of
Islam producing many impurities in these religions, so that no belief has been
left in its correct and pure form apart from the concept brought by Prophet
Muhammad, may Allah's blessings be upon him. Allah Himself has protected the
principles of the Islamic faith so that no deviation has ever touched it nor
has any impurity ever entered into its beliefs. This is why “the Oneness of
Allah" has become the distinctive characteristic of this faith.
The Oneness of Allah is a characteristic of the
Islamic concept because the truth of the Divine Oneness includes all aspects of
the Islamic faith and practice. It permeates concepts, morals, manners, and all
types of dealings among people in a truly Islamic community.
The certainty of the truth that Allah is One dominates
the Muslim's concept of the universe and of everything happening in it and his
concept of the real, active power behind events in his own life and in the life
of the community in which he lives. This certainty and conceptual conviction
extend to all aspects of a Muslim's life, including what is hidden and what is
apparent and what is significant and what is insignificant, and it applies to
everybody he meets, the great as well as the lowly, to all customs, laws,
beliefs, and actions, and to this life and the life-to-come, simply because not
a single element of the Islamic system can escape from the all-inclusive belief
in the Oneness of Allah. This point was earlier discussed in the chapter
The Islamic concept
rests on the principle that the Divine Being is distinct from His creation.
Divinity belongs exclusively to Allah Most High, while creatureliness is common
to everyone and everything else. Since Allah Most High is the only Divine
Being, it follows that all the Divine attributes belong to Him alone. And since
everyone and everything else is His creation, it also follows that they are all
devoid of Divine attributes. Thus there are two distinct orders of existence, namely,
the independent existence of Allah Most High and the dependent existence of
all others as His creatures. The relationship between Allah and everything else
is that of the Creator to His creatures and of the Lord to His servants.
This is the first principle of the Islamic concept and
all other principles follow from it. Because the Islamic concept rests on this
basic principle, the Oneness of God is its most important characteristic.
Earlier we said that all the Messengers of Allah Most
High brought the message of the Oneness of Allah, so this was the
characteristic of all the Divinely-revealed religions. Our assertion is derived
from the Qur'an, which states this fact in relation to the earlier Messengers.
We sent Nuh (Noah) to his people, and he said, "O
my people! Serve Allah. You have no god besides Him. I fear for you the
retribution of an awful Day (Al-A 'raf 7:59).
And to (the tribe of) 'Ad (We sent) their brother, Hud. He said,
"O my people! Worship Allah alone! You have no god besides Him. Will you
not then be conscious of Allah?" (Al-A 'raf 7 :65).
And to (the tribe of) Thamud (We sent) their brother
Salih. He said, "O my people! Worship Allah alone! You have no god besides
Him. A clear evidence has now come to you from your Lord" (Al-A'raf7:73).
And to Midian (We sent) their brother Shu'ayb. He
said, "O my people! Worship only Allah! You have no god besides Him. Clear
proof has now come to you from your Sustainer" (Al-A'raf 7:85).
And has the story of Moses ever reached you? He saw a
fire, and he said to his family, "Wait here! I see a fire (far away).
Perhaps I shall bring you a brand from it or may find guidance at the
fire." But when he came close to it, a voice called out to him: "O Moses!
I am your Lord! Take off your shoes, for you are in the hallowed valley of Tuwa. I have chosen you (to be My
apostle), so listen to what is revealed (to you). Verily, I, and I
alone, am Allah! There is no god but Me! So serve Me and be constant in prayer
in order to keep Me in your remembrance" (Ta Ha 20:9-14).
And when Allah said, "O Jesus son of Mary, did
you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as gods besides Allah?” he said,
"Glory be to you! It is not possible for me to say what I have no right
to. Had I said this, You would have known it. You know what is in my mind, and
I do not know what is in Your mind, for indeed, You are the Knower of the
Unseen. I only told them what you commanded me, 'Serve Allah, my Lord and your
Lord.' And I was a witness over them as long as I dwelt among them, but when
You took me to Yourself, you were yourself Watcher over them, for You are
witness to everything. If You punish them, they are Your servants. If You
forgive them, You are the All- Mighty, the All-Wise" (Al-Ma'idah 5:116-118).
We sent no Messenger
before you without revealing to him, "There is no god but Me, so worship
Me (alone)" (Al-Anbiya 21:25).
With the passage of time, however, this message
brought by all the Messengers about the Oneness of Allah became distorted by
the influence of diverse beliefs and myths. We have already discussed this
point in some detail in the chapter entitled, "The Wilderness and
Intellectual Rubbish," in relation to the revealed religions as well as
polytheism and paganism.
Before we describe why the Oneness of Allah is one of
the characteristics of the Islamic concept and how it permeates the entire
life of the Muslim community, we should first briefly describe some other
concepts dealing with the Divine, with the other-than-the-Divine, and with the
Oneness of the Divine Being.
Hinduism, for example, acknowledges one Divine Being
called Brahma, who alone is "existent" and who alone has the
attributes of perfection, goodness, and perpetuity. Apart from this One
Existent and Real Being there is nothing, which is to say, this universe and
whatever is in it is non-existent.
On the other hand, Hinduism also says that Brahma, the
real Being, who is entirely Good, is incarnated or diffused into the “non-existent,"
which is entirely evil. Thus Brahma is diffused into every part of this
universe, including man, and thus is a compound of being and non-being, good
and evil, perfection and defect, and eternity and mortality.
A believing Hindu, therefore, must continually strive
to separate the existence, the perfection, the goodness, and the eternity in
his makeup from the non-existence, imperfection, evil, and mortality, in order
to free “the being" that is incarnate in his body. This is called "Nirvana"
or becoming free of mortality and non-being and returning to the status of pure
We note that Brahma is not the Creator of this world,
which is non-existent, evil, and imperfect, but he is diffused in it. Moreover,
He does not administer or manage the affairs of this universe, which have
become manifest because of the diffusion of Brahma into nonexistence.
Again, beyond this Oneness, and apart from this
diffusion, Hinduism also has a "Trinity": Lord "Brahma"
the Creator; Lord "Vishnu," the Giver of life; and Lord
"Shiva," the Destroyer.
Over and above the
universe and the gods rules “Karma" or "Fate." It is karma which
determines the cycles of birth and rebirth and which creates and repeats cycles
of Universes. Clearly, with the Hindu pantheon and the theory of impersonal
karma ruling over gods as well as the world, including human beings, the
concept of the Oneness of God is completely lost.
The Egyptian Pharoah, Akhinaton, believed in One God,
whom he called, “Aton," and he considered Him to be the Creator of the universe
and its Ruler. Apart from the revealed religions, his was the noblest concept
of God conceived by man. And it is quite possible that he was influenced by the
teachings of some Messenger of Allah. There was in his concept, however, some
influence of paganism, because he considered the sun to be the representation
of Aton. He thus polluted the purity of his concept of God by this
interpolation from paganism.
Aristotle made a distinction between the “Necessary
Being" and the "possible being." God is the Necessary Being but
He is devoid of will and action, and He did not create the universe, nor is He
concerned with it. The universe, and whatever and whoever is in it, was a
"possible being." Its desire to be like the Necessary Being brought
it into "'existence" from "non- existence."
Belief in the Oneness of Allah was the religion of
Abraham, peace be upon him, and he imparted it to his sons, Ishmael and Isaac.
Jacob, the son of Isaac, was also a believer in the Oneness of Allah and
bequeathed this to his children at the time of his death, as is reported in the
And who would turn away from the religion of Abraham,
except him who is deluding himself? Assuredly We chose him in this world, and
truly in the Hereafter he shall be among the righteous. When his Lord said to
him, "Submit!" he said, "I have submitted to the Lord of the
worlds." And this Abraham enjoined upon his sons and also upon Jacob,
saying, "O my sons! Truly Allah has chosen for you the din therefore,
do not die without having submitted yourselves to Him." Or, were you
witnesses when death approached Jacob and he said to his sons, "What will
you worship after me?" They replied, "We shall worship your God, the
God of your fathers, Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, the One God, and to Him
we have submitted" (Al-Baqarah 2: 130133).
When Moses, peace be upon him, came as a Messenger to
the children of Israel, he came with the message of the Oneness of Allah, but
the children of Israel, before and after Moses, corrupted this concept and
changed the meanings of the words from their intended meanings. They made Allah
into a national deity of the Israelites, the Lord God of Israel, who
helped them against the worshippers of other gods. Furthermore, they ascribed
to "the Lord God of Israel" many falsehoods, for example, by claiming
that they were the sons of God and His beloved, that He would not punish them
for their sins, that Ezra was a "son of God," that He had sons who
took the daughters of men as their wives and that the children of these unions
were giants, and that the Lord God was afraid they might become gods like Him,
and consequently He came down and caused them to speak different languages in
order to destroy their unity. They also alleged that Jacob once fought with the
Lord, hitting Him on His thigh. And they claimed that He walked in the shade of
the garden and enjoyed the coolness of the breeze, and so on. All of such
tales, singly as well as together, corrupted the pure concept of the Oneness of
Jesus, peace be Upon him, came with the message of the
Oneness of Allah, but Christians ended up with a belief in the Trinity. They
still claim that the Godhead is One entity divided among three persons: the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and they exhibit a variety of beliefs
among various denominations concerning the nature of the person called the Son.
In spite of their claim about the' 'Unity of the Godhead," the variety of
concepts and interpretations prevailing among various denominations prove that
their claim is false.
Thus we can safely state that the Islamic concept is
the only concept resting on the foundation of a complete and pure belief in the
Oneness of Allah, and that, among all the belief systems existing today, Islam
and only Islam can be characterized by this distinction.
After elucidating this point, let us now describe
briefly the nature and the definition of the Islamic concept of the Oneness of
As we stated earlier, the Islamic belief is based on
the concept that there is Allah and there is His creation. Divinity belongs to
Allah alone, whereas anything and anyone other than Him is His creature and
servant. Each and every Divine attribute belongs to Allah, whereas no creature
of Allah can possess any of these attributes. Human life, then, ought to be
based on the implications and consequences of this pure and complete belief in
the Oneness of Allah Most High.
Allah Most High is One
in His Person and is Unique in His attributes:
Say, "He is
Allah, the One; Allah the Self-Sufficient; He begets not, nor is He begotten;
and there is nothing that could be compared with Him" (Al-Ikhlas 112).
There is nothing like
Him (Al-Shura 42: 11).
So do not make any
analogy to Allah (Al-Nahl 16:74).
Allah is the Creator
of all things (Al-Zumar 39:62).
Such is Allah, your Sustainer. There is no god
but He, the Creator of everything. Worship, then, Him alone, for He has
everything in His care (Al-An 'am 6: 102).
And He created
everything and determines its nature in exact measure (Al-Furqan 25:2).
Say, "Do you see what it is you invoke besides
Allah? Show me what it is they have created on earth. Or do they have a share
in (creating) the heavens? (If so) bring me a Scripture before this
(Scripture), or any remnant of knowledge, if what you claim is true" (Al-Ahqaf
Allah, the Almighty, is the Owner of everything:
Say, "To whom
belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth?" Say, "To Allah. He
has prescribed for Himself (the rules of) mercy" (Al-An 'am 6: 12).
To Allah belongs the
dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them (Al-Ma'idah
Hallowed is He...the One to whom belongs sovereignty
over the heavens and the earth, and Who begets no offspring, and has no
partner in His dominion (Al-Furqan 25:2).
Allah Most Great is the Provider for everyone and
everything He has created:
O people! Call to mind the favor of Allah upon you! Is
there any creator other than Allah that could provide for you sustenance out of
heaven and earth? There is no god but Him. So where else can you turn to? (Fatir
How many are the creatures that cannot provide their
own sustenance! It is Allah who feeds them and you (AI-`Ankabut 29:60).
There is no creature on the earth without its
sustenance depending upon Allah. He knows its time-limit (on earth) and its resting
place (Hud 11:6).
Allah, the Glorious,
is the Administrator of all things and the Guardian of all things:
Allah holds the
heavens and the earth so that they do not deviate, and if they were to deviate
there is no one to hold them after Him (Fatir 35:41).
And among His signs is
that the heavens and the earth stand firm by His command (Al-Rum 30:25).
For We take account of
all things in a clear record (Ya Sin 36: 12).
Allah Most High is the
All-Powerful Sovereign, Who is omnipotent over everything:
And He is Omnipotent over His servants. He sends forth
heavenly forces to guard you. And when death comes to one of you, Our angels
take his soul, and they never fail in their duty. Then they are brought before
Allah, their Just Protector and Lord of Truth. Surely His is the judgment. And
He is most swift in taking account (Al-An 'am 6:61-62).
Say, "He is able
to send punishment upon you from above you or from beneath your feet, or to
bewilder you with mutual discord and let you taste the fear of one
another" (Al-An 'am 6:65).
Say, "Don't you
see! If Allah took away your hearing and your sight and sealed up your hearts,
what god other than Allah could restore them to you?" (Al-An' am 6:
All the creation of
the Most Glorious Allah is obedient to Him and approaches Him in submission and
Then He turned to the sky when it still consisted of
gases, and He said to it and to the earth, "Come, both of you, willingly
or unwillingly," and they responded, "We come obediently" (Fussilat
And among His signs is that the heavens and the earth
stand by His command. Then, when He calls you by a single call from the earth,
you come forth. To Him belongs every being that is in the heavens and on earth,
and all are devoutly obedient to Him (Al-Rum 30:25- 26).
And before Allah prostrates whatever is in the heavens
and every creature moving on the earth, and the angels. And they are not proud (Al-Nahl
And there is not a thing but celebrates His praise (Al-Isra
What has been presented here should suffice to give a
clear understanding of the Oneness of Allah in the Islamic concept, with
emphasis on the unambiguous separation of the Divine from the other-than-theDivine,
and on the fact that the relationship between the servants and the Lord is
based only upon servanthood and not upon lineage, marriage, partnership, or
resemblance, because such relationships do not pertain to Allah Most High.
Our description of the concept of the Oneness of Allah
in Islam would remain incomplete if we did not mention, at least briefly, the
far-reaching and all-encompassing consequences of this belief in the life of
mankind. In fact, these consequences are an embodiment of the belief in the
Oneness of Allah and a clear proof that this is the chief characteristic of the
One consequence of belief in the Oneness of Allah is
that Allah Most High is the Lord and Sovereign of men not merely in their
beliefs, concepts, consciences, and rituals of worship, but in their practical affairs.
The Muslim believes that there is no deity except
Allah, that no one is worthy of worship except Allah, that no one is Creator or
Sustainer except Allah, that no one can benefit or harm oneself except Allah,
and that no one except Allah is in charge of the universe or even of one's own
affairs. Accordingly, the Muslim worships Him alone, and turns to Him alone
with hope and fear and with the sincerity of his heart. In the same way, the
Muslim believes that there is no true ruler above him except Allah, no
legislator for him except Allah, no one except Allah to inform him concerning
his relationships and connections with the universe, with other living
creatures, and with one's fellow human beings. This is why the Muslim turns to
Allah for guidance and legislation in every aspect of life, whether it be
political governance, economic justice, personal behavior, or the norms and
standards of social intercourse.
Turning toward Allah for guidance in forms of worship,
in situations of hope or fear, in developing legal and economic institutions
for society, and in establishing norms and standards of behavior, is an
inevitable consequence of the Islamic concept of Allah's Oneness and of its
all-encompassing impact on the conscience and life of the true Muslim.
In the Qur'an we find that belief in the Oneness of
Allah is very closely connected with this impact on every Muslim's conscience
and practical life. Belief in the Oneness of Allah and in His sole Sovereignty
over the universe and over the life of every person places on the shoulders of
the Muslim certain responsibilities of an intellectual, spiritual,
psychological, as well as moral and practical nature. The Qur'an sometimes
links all such things in one sequence of verses, designed to connect Allah's
power and dominion in the universe, in this world, and in the Hereafter
logically and systematically with man's obedience to His commandments and Law.
And your God is One God. There is no deity but Him, the
Merciful and Dispenser of Grace.
Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth,
and in the alternation of the night and the day and in the ~hips that sail the
ocean for the benefit of mankind and in the water that Allah sends down from
the sky to revive the earth after its death and cause all manner of living
creatures to multiply on it, and in the change of the winds and the clouds that
follow their appointed courses between the earth and the sky, are signs for a
people of intelligence.
There are people who choose to believe in beings that
allegedly rival Allah, loving them as (only) Allah should be loved whereas
those who have attained to faith love Allah more than all else. If only those
who do wrong could but see, as they indeed will when they are made to suffer
(on Judgement Day), that all power belongs to Allah alone and that Allah is
severe in punishment! (On the Day) those who are followed will disown those who
followed them and the followers will behold the punishment (that awaits them), with
all their means cut off. And the followers will say, "If we had one more
chance, we would disown them as they have disowned us." Thus will Allah
show them their deeds (in a manner that will cause them) bitter regrets, but
they will not escape from the Fire.
O people! Partake of what is lawful and good on earth,
and do not follow the footsteps of Satan, for he is an open enemy to you. He
bids you only to do evil and to commit shameful deeds, and to attribute to
Allah something about which you have no knowledge. When it is said to them,
"Follow what Allah has revealed," they say, "No! We shall follow
what we found our forefathers believing in and doing. What! Even though their
forefathers did not use their reason at all and had no guidance? The parable of
those who disbelieve is as if one were to shout like a goat-herd, to things
that listen to nothing but calls and cries: deaf.. dumb, and blind, they are
O you who believe! Eat of the good things We have
provided for you and give thanks to Allah, if it is He whom you worship. He has
forbidden to you only carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that
which has been consecrated to anyone other than Allah. But if one is in grave
need, without coveting it or exceeding one's immediate requirements, then
there shall be no sin on him, for, behold, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful (Al-
Baqarah 2: 163-173).
When we ponder this passage of the Qur'an, we note
that it begins with the Oneness of Allah. Then follows the description of
natural phenomena in which Allah's power is manifested, and then the description
of the Day of Resurrection in which Allah's sovereignty, judgement, and
exclusive authority are manifested. Then come verses describing various lawful
and unlawful things, and commanding people to obey Allah's legislation and
forbidding them to obey Satan and the customs of the Days of Ignorance, since
nothing is to be followed except what Allah has legislated. The believers are
then told to eat of the good things that Allah has made lawful, with the
reminder that if they worship Allah alone they must follow His instructions
about the lawful and the prohibited. Thus Allah alone is God, He alone is the
Ruler of the universe, He alone is the Master of the Day of Resurrection, and
He alone prescribes acts of worship, the norms of moral behavior, and what is
lawful and what is prohibited.
In many other places the Qur'an describes the meaning
of the Oneness of Allah with all its implications. We present another such text
to throw more light on this subject, as well as to show how the Qur'an presents
the characteristics and the constituents of the Islamic concept in a complete
and comprehensive manner.
And thus We have made a Revelation to you in the
Arabic tongue so that you might warn the Mother of Cities (Makkah) and all
around her, and give warning of the Day of Assembly, (the coming) of which is
beyond all doubt, when some shall find themselves in Paradise and some in the
blazing Fire. If Allah had willed, He could have made them all into a single
nation, but He admits whom He wills to His mercy, whereas the wrong-doers shall
have no protector or helper. Or (did they think they could) choose protectors
other than Him? But Allah alone is the Protector, since He alone gives life to
the dead and He alone has power over all things.
And on whatever you may differ, the decision is with
Allah. (Say, therefore,) "Such is Allah, my Lord; in Him do I trust and to
Him do I turn." (Allah), the Maker of the heavens and the earth, has made
for you pairs from among yourselves and pairs among cattle, in order thus to
cause you to multiply. There is nothing like Him. He is the All-Hearing and
the All-Seeing. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. He
increases provision to whomever He wills or restricts it. Truly He has
knowledge of all things.
In matters of faith, He has ordained for you the din
enjoined on Noah, knowledge of which We have given to you (Muhammad)
through Revelation, and what We enjoined on Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus,
namely, that you should be steadfast in upholding the (true) faith and make no
division in it. The polytheists consider this unity of the din, to which
you call them, an enormity, but Allah draws to Himself everyone who is willing
and guides to Himself everyone who turns to Him.
And (the followers of earlier Revelation) broke up
their unity, out of mutual jealousy, only after they had come to know the
truth. Had it not been for a word that had already gone forth from your Lord
(postponing all decision) for a term set (by Him), the matter would have been
adjudged between them. And indeed those who inherited the Scripture after them
are in hopeless doubt concerning it. Because of this, summon (all mankind), and
stand firm as you are commanded, and do not follow their likes and dislikes,
but say, "I believe in the Book that Allah has sent down, and I am
commanded to dispense justice among you. Allah is my Lord and your Lord. For us
are our works and for you your works. Let there be no contention between us and
you. Allah will gather us together, for with Him is the end of every
journey" (Al-Shura 42:7-15).
When we ponder this passage of the Qur'an, we find
that it starts with revelation and messengership. It tells the Messenger to
warn people of the Day of Assembly and of the judgment in the Hereafter, and
describes the differing ends of the believers and of the wrongdoers in the
Hereafter depending on their ways of living in this world. Then follows the
exposition of Allah as the only Protector, who alone has power over everything,
including the power to revive the dead. Then it emphasizes that Allah is the
Ruler, and that true believers turn to Him alone and put all their trust in Him
alone. Attention is then drawn to His creation and the phenomena of the
physical world, such as the creation and sustenance of people and animals in
pairs, followed by a renewed focus on the uniqueness of His Person, "There
is nothing like Him," and the uniqueness of His Sovereignty, "To Him
belong the keys of the heavens and the earth," and of His Providence,
"He increases sustenance to whomever He wills or restricts it."
After these descriptions of the uniqueness of His
Person, Sovereignty, and other Divine attributes, the Qur'an emphasizes in this
passage that He alone is the Lawgiver, not only through this Messenger but
through all previous Messengers, "In matters of faith He has ordained for
you the din enjoined on Noah, knowledge of which We have revealed to
you, and enjoined on Abraham and Moses and Jesus."
This passage further commands the Prophet, may Allah's
peace and blessings be upon him, to call people to this din of Allah and
to the legislation inherent in it, and to stand firm on it, ignoring peoples'
desires and opinions, and to exercise justice among people by judging in
accordance with Allah's legislation. Finally, the text emphasizes that there is
a complete separation between the believers who rule and judge according to
what Allah has legislated and all others, and that the believers' final goal is
Allah Most High.
We hope that these two examples from the text of the
Qur'an are sufficient to elucidate the connection between the Islamic concept
of the Oneness of Allah and the concept of Allah's sovereignty over people, and
to explain the deep influence this belief exerts in the life of mankind, as
well as to substantiate our claim that the Islamic concept is unique in being
able to claim the Oneness of Allah as its most distinctive characteristic.
Belief in the Oneness of Allah deeply affects one's
personal life because it affects both one's intellect and heart more markedly
than any other concept possibly can, so much so that it can transform the total
life of mankind.
Belief in the Oneness of Allah disciplines the mind
and heart so that concepts, values, and morals are not shaken by changing
conditions. For the person who believes in Allah in this manner and understands
his position as a servant of the Almighty Lord knows his direction and knows
his way. He knows clearly the answers to such questions as to who he is, what
the purpose of his life is, and what the limitations of his power are. He also
comprehends the nature of everything in this universe and the nature of the
Active Power operating within it. With his correct understanding of the
realities, he can deal with things and events in a correct manner without
wavering and without hesitation. The accuracy of his conceptual framework
produces in him a disciplined intellect with balanced standards as well as a
disciplined heart with firm values. This helps him deal effectively with the
"laws of nature" established by Allah Most High, which further
increases his intellectual discipline and his firmness of character.
We can grasp this fact very clearly when we consider
the Muslim, who deals with One Sovereign Lord and acknowledges Him alone as the
Creator, the Provider, the Almighty, and the All-Knowing, and contrast the
Muslim with believers in other concepts, such as those who have to contend with
two adversarial gods, the god of good and the god of evil, those who have to
struggle with an existent god diffused in non-existence, those who have to deal
with a god who knows neither them nor the universe in which they live, and
those who have to deal with matter as a god that does not hear or see or remain
constant. Such myths deprive the intellect of anything firm and the heart of
The Islamic concept produces steadfastness in the
heart and mind, because the man who understands his Lord and His sublime
attributes and His relationship with the events occurring in the world can
never be anxious or beset with worries.
By knowing the attributes of his Lord, the Muslim
understands what is pleasing to Him and what is displeasing. He becomes firmly
convinced that there is no way of gaining Allah's pleasure except through
faith, through knowledge of His attributes, and by standing firm on His
commandments and obeying His revealed Law. He understands that his relationship
with Allah is not that of sonship nor of kinship, nor are there any
intermediaries between himself and his Lord. Rather his relationship is that of
a worshipper and an obedient servant who does what his Lord commands him to do,
keeps away from what He forbids, and follows the way of life that He has legislated.
This insight gives steadfastness to his heart and
intellect, clarity to his thoughts, and firmness to his conduct.
The clarity, simplicity, and straightforwardness of
the Islamic concept and conduct can be appreciated most fully when we compare
the concept of the Oneness of Allah in Islam with the concept of the Trinity in
Christianity. According to "mysteries" in the Christian belief, there
is One God but three Persons. Salvation can be attained only through the Person
of the Son, and Original Sin, inherited by every human being, cannot be
forgiven except through the sacrifice of the Son, who is Jesus Christ, may
Allah's blessing and peace be upon him.
Or consider the individual who thinks of himself as
the creation of "Nature," which neither hears nor sees, neither
commands nor prohibits, neither encourages its creatures to action and noble
conduct nor discourages them from meanness and indecency. How can the servants
of such a deity be steadfast in any way of life or moral conduct? How can they
be firm of heart and intellect when they do not know whether their god
possesses anything absolute, or whether they may come across something new by
chance or by experimentation.
Similarly, if we study all the concepts discussed
above in the first chapter, entitled “The Wilderness and Intellectual
Rubbish," and also in other chapters, we can see why, because of their
confusion, complexity, and intricacy, they cannot produce firmness of concept
and conduct in their followers.
When a sincere person first encounters the Islamic
concept, its characteristics of straightness, simplicity, and clarity appeal to
his or her heart and mind. This feature of Islam has attracted and still
attracts both the less-sophisticated peoples of Asia and Africa as well as the
more sophisticated persons in Europe and America, because this appeal to
straightforward and simple truth is a part of human nature common to all
peoples, both "primitive" and "civilized."
The concept of the Oneness of Allah integrates the
personality of an individual just as it integrates the powers of a community,
which is not the case with other belief systems. And this concept prevents
disintegration of the individual personality and dissipation of community
cohesion. In Islam the total personality of man, which has been created
as an indivisible whole, is directed toward One Divine Being and deals with Him
alone in all respects, in beliefs and concepts, worship and devotions, moral
rules and social laws, and in the affairs of this world and of the Hereafter.
The Islamic belief is not refracted among numerous
deities nor among numerous persons in the same deity, nor among various forces,
some of which are divine while others are independent of divine power, nor
among "natural" forces that cannot be defined uniquely or even
considered as one entity.
Islamic teachings come from a single source, whether
it concerns personal belief and worship or the system of life for an entire community
or nation. This source is not divided between matters of faith and conscience
and matters of practical life. Furthermore, the Law prescribed for human beings
is the same Law that governs the entire universe. Accordingly, when human
beings deal with each other and the universe in accordance with this one
universal law, they achieve harmony and avoid conflict and division.
This integration of all human power generates such an
invincible force that nothing can stand before it. That is why the great accomplishments
of earlier generations of Muslims now seem almost supernatural. Indeed, such
things were possible because the Islamic concept generates a unified force,
which integrates the energies of both people and nature, prepares them to
receive the blessing of Allah, and thereby makes them responsive totally to
Allah so that both forces mutually reinforce each other in a single force
dedicated to His service.
The Islamic concept, and especially the concept of the
Oneness of Allah, has an electrifying effect on the life and conscience of the
Muslim and on the internal organization and functioning of Islamic communities,
whether at the level of the family or at the level of all mankind.
Indeed, the effect is no less than the liberation of
man or rather the birth of man. To believe in the Uniqueness and Oneness of
Allah and to understand His Divine attributes of divinity means that human
beings must take the rules and laws for their lives from no one other than
Allah, just as they take the rules for conducting their worship from Allah.
Sovereignty is one of the most important attributes of Allah. The person who
refuses to attribute sovereignty, either in theory or practice, to anyone
besides Allah is a Believer, while the one who does so is an Unbeliever.
The text of the Qur'an
is very clear about this, and there cannot be any doubt or controversy
concerning this point.
Judgement belongs only
to Allah; He has commanded you not to serve anyone or anything but Him. This is
the (one) ever-true faith (Yusuf I2:40).
Or have they partners
(for Allah) who have made lawful for them in religion that which Allah has not
allowed? (Al-Shura 42:21).
Whoever does not judge
according to what Allah has revealed is a disbeliever (Al- Ma'idah 5:44).
But no, by your Lord!
They will not believe until they make you the judge regarding disagreements
between them and find within themselves no dislike of your verdict but surrender
in full submission (Al-Nisa 4:65).
The Islamic concept does not differentiate between the
rules of conduct for private worship and the laws governing public life,
because the source of both is the same. There cannot be any differentiation
between these two sets of rules, because the Oneness of Allah and the Divine
Sovereignty that belongs to Him alone demand that there be no such
differentiation. Anyone who differentiates one from the other is completely
estranged from Islam and has no belief in the Oneness and Sovereignty of Allah
Most High. This is made clear by the Qur'anic passages cited above, as well as
by the following.
They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords
besides Allah, as well as the Messiah son of Mary, whereas they were commanded
to worship only One God. There is no god but He! Glory be to Him, Who is far
above anything to which they may ascribe a share in His Divinity! (Al-Tawbah
The people of the Book, about whom this verse speaks,
took Jesus the son of Mary, as their Lord, in the sense that they worshipped
him, and took their rabbis and monks as their lords, not in the sense of
worshipping them, but in the sense that they took the rules and laws of life
from them. This verse combines these two aspects of lordship by considering
each aspect as the denial of the worship of One God. It accuses them of
ascribing associates or rivals to Allah because they took Jesus as Sovereign
Lord in worship and took monks and rabbis as lords in legislation. The
Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, gave such a clear-cut explanation of
this verse that its meaning is beyond all argument.
Imam Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Jarir have variously
reported from `Adi bin Hatim, may Allah be pleased with him, that when the Call
of the Messenger of Allah reached him, he fled to Syria. He had been a
Christian in the days of pre- Islamic Ignorance, and some people of his tribe,
including his sister, fell prisoners of war to the Muslims. The Messenger of
Allah, peace be upon him, released `Adi's sister and gave her generous gifts.
She returned to her brother, persuaded him to accept Islam, and to visit the
Messenger of Allah. 'Adi came to Madinah as chief of the tribe of Tayy, and
people talked about his coming. He came into the presence of the Messenger of
Allah, wearing a silver cross around his neck, while the Messenger of Allah was
reciting the verse quoted above, "They have taken their rabbis and monks
as their lords beside Allah..." 'Adi reports that he said, "They do
not worship them." The Messenger of Allah replied, "No, but they forbid
to people what is permissible and make permissible what is forbidden (by Allah)
and people follow them in this. This is their worship and servitude."
In this respect the Islamic concept is very sharp and
clear by proclaiming the liberation of man, and indeed, the birth of man. Through
this proclamation it brings mankind out of servitude to creatures into the
servitude of the Creator. The' 'human being," in its full sense, cannot be
found on this earth except when he is totally liberated from enslavement to
servants, whatever be the form of this slavery, whether of belief and of
conscience, or of rules of behavior and system of life. Only Islam refers back
all legislative power and sovereignty to Allah and thereby brings people from
servitude to the servants into the service of their Lord. In systems where
legislative power and sovereignty belong to human beings, there is a kind of slavery
of people to other people, but in Islam, and only in Islam, all people, without
exception, are liberated from such slavery and serve their Creator alone. This
is true "liberation of man" and this is the "birth of man,"
because before this man's true "humanity" had never come into
existence in its complete and true form. This belief in the Oneness of Allah
and in His Sovereignty over people is a Divine gift that guides all people on
earth, and is the Divine favor referred to in the following verse:
Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I
have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam for your
religion (Al-Ma'idah 5:3).
This gift the believers in the Oneness of Allah offer
to all mankind, and this is the blessing they want to share with people, after
benefiting from it themselves. They offer nothing less than the pleasure of
Allah Most High. This is the new message that the believers in the Oneness of
Allah can offer to mankind today, as their forefathers offered it in the past.
Men and women receive it eagerly today. The attraction to this message is
enormous because it offers mankind something it does not possess, something not
contained in other concepts and beliefs, ideologies and philosophies, and
systems and constitutions.
Before the battle of Al-Qadisyyah, Raba' i bin `Amer
came to Rustum, the commander of the Persian army, as a messenger from the
Muslim army. Rustum asked him, "For what purpose have you come?"
Raba'I replied, "Allah has sent us to bring whoever wishes from servitude
to men into servitude to Allah alone, from the narrowness of this world into the vastness of this world and the
Hereafter, and from the tyranny of religions into the justice of Islam."
These few words convey the total message of Islam,
namely the nature of this belief and of the movement produced by this belief,
as well as the Muslims' understanding of this message and of their role in carrying
this message to the entire world.
Indeed, Islam is a migration from the servitude of men
toward the servitude of Allah, and a commitment to refer everything, whether it
concerns this world or the next, to Him alone, and to ascribe every attribute
of divinity to Allah Most High alone. Since sovereignty over people is a major
attribute of divinity, the believer cannot divide his loyalty between Allah and
something other than Allah. It follows that anyone who divides his loyalty in
such a position is a disbeliever.
It is not possible to find liberation for the human
being, or indeed, to find the "human being" at all except by
purifying one's under standing that the attribute of Sovereignty belongs to
Allah alone and by purifying one's loyalty exclusively to Him.
The believers in the Oneness of Allah Most High, by
returning to this concept and raising its banner, are able to tell the whole of
mankind what Rabi' i bin `Amer told Rustum at a time w hen the state of mankind
was similar to that of today. Mankind today is drowned in the servitude of
servants, and only belief in the Oneness of Allah in its most comprehensive
meaning can bring whoever wishes out of this enslavement into the servitude of
Allah alone. Only in this way can any person liberate himself or herself and
become a human being in the full sense of the word.
Moreover, believers in the Oneness of God, by
returning to the system of life that this belief entails and calling others to
it, are in a position to offer the whole world something possessed by no other religion,
ideology, system, constitution, or philosophy. This is the grand opportunity
for them to playa great and significant role in transforming the entire world.
Their essential role will be to lead mankind in all important matters, just as
the first generation of Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula
led mankind 1400 years ago.
At present they are not in a position to offer mankind
great scientific discoveries or dazzling cultural achievements, so that the
people of the world would flock to them because of their superiority in science
and culture. They can offer something else, however, something greater than all
scientific discoveries and all cultural achievements. This is the “liberation of
man," or greater still, the “birth of man" as intended by Allah.
In offering mankind this
gift, they offer with it a complete way of life,
a way of life based on the dignity of man and based on freedom of his person,
his mind, his conscience, and his soul from all bondages. Freed from the
shackles of human enslavement, he stands as the deputy of Allah on earth,
strong and noble, just as Allah intended him to be. As the deputy of Allah, he
can make splendid discoveries and
Open up great avenues of culture, remaining at the
height of his freedom, noble and dignified, slave neither to any machine nor to
If Allah has inspired us to say the right thing, all
praise belongs to Him the Lord of all Being.