What Does Oneness of God (Tawhid) Means in Islam?
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all considered monotheistic faiths, but for Islam, the principle of monotheism exists to an extreme degree. For Muslims, even the Christian principle of the Holy Trinity is seen as a detraction from the essential “oneness” of God.
Of all of the articles of faith in Islam, the most fundamental is a strict monotheism. The Arabic term Tawhid is used to describe this belief in the absolute Oneness of God. Tawhid comes from an Arabic word meaning “unification” or “oneness” – it is a complex term with many depths of meaning in Islam.
Muslims believe, above all else, that Almighty God (Allah) is the sole divine deity, who does not share his divinity with other partners. There are three traditional categories of Tawhid as given below. These categories overlap but help believers to understand and purify their faith and worship.
Oneness of Lordship:
Muslims believe that Allah caused all things to exist. Allah is the only one who created and maintains all things. Allah is not in need of help or assistance over creation. While Muslims greatly respect their prophets, including Mohammad and Jesus (PBUH), they firmly separate them from Allah.
On this point, the Quran says: “Say: ‘Who is it that provides you with sustenance out of heaven and earth, or who is it that has full power over [your] hearing and sight? And who is it that brings forth the living out of that which is dead, and brings forth the dead out of that which is alive? And who is it that governs all that exists?’ And they will [surely] answer: ‘[It is] God.’” (Quran 10:31)
Oneness of Worship:
Because Allah is the sole creator and maintainer of the universe, it is to Allah alone that Muslims direct their worship. Throughout history, people have engaged in prayer, invocation, fasting, supplication, and even animal or human sacrifice for the sake of nature, people, and false deities. Islam teaches that the only being worthy of worship is Allah. Allah alone is worthy of prayers, praise, obedience, and hope.
Any time a Muslim invokes a special “lucky” charm, calls for “help” from ancestors or makes a vow “in the name of” specific people, they are inadvertently steering away from ‘Oneness of Worship’. Several times a day, Muslims recite in prayer: “You alone do we worship; and unto You alone do we turn for help” (Quran 1:5).
The Quran says: [Abraham] Said: “Do you then worship, instead of God, something that cannot benefit you in any way, nor harm you? Fie upon you and upon all that you worship instead of God! Will you not, then, use your reason?” (Quran 21:66-67)
The Quran specifically warns those who claim that they worship Allah when they are really seeking help from intermediaries or intercessors. Islam teaches that there is no need for intercession because Allah is close to his worshippers. (Quran 2:186). Also, the Quran warns those who claim that they worship falsegods for bringing them nearer to God! (Quran 39:3)
Oneness of Allah’s Attributes and Names:
The Quran is filled with descriptions of Allah’s nature, often through attributes and special names. The Merciful, the All-Seeing, the Magnificent, etc. are all names which describe Allah’s nature. Allah is seen as distinct from his creation. As human beings, Muslims believe that one may strive to understand and emulate certain values, but Allah alone has these attributes perfectly, in full, and in their entirety. (Quran 7:180)
Understanding Tawhid is key to understanding Islam and the fundamentals of a Muslim’s faith. Setting up spiritual “partners” alongside Allah is the one unforgivable sin in Islam. (Quran 4:48).
For those who would like to know more about Islam:
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Originally posted on February 18, 2022 @ 8:32 pm