Chapter 4: Tawhid Or Monotheism
Theological science of the Qur'an more than everything rests on oneness of God, and its primary motto is:
لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ
"There is no god but Allah."
This motto has been repeated in the Qur'an more than sixty times in different words. Even in the following short verse it has been repeated twice:
"Allah bears witness that there is no God but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge, maintaining His creation with justice; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the wise." (3: 18)
The following are the verses which contain this motto but in other phrases:
لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ
"There is no god but Allah.” (37: 35)
لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ
"There is no god but He.” (2: 163)
لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ
"There is no god but You." (21: 87)
لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا
"There is no god but Me." (16: 2)
مَا مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ إِلَّا اللَّهُ
"There is no god but Allah." (3: 61)
مَا مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ إِلَّا إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ
"There is no god but the one God." (5: 73)
مَا لَكُمْ مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ غَيْرُهُ
"You have no god other than Him." (7: 65)
مَا كَانَ مَعَهُ مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ
"And never was there with Him any (other god)” (23: 91)
إِنَّمَا اللَّهُ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ
"Allah is only one God." (4: 171)
أَنَّمَا إِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ
"Your god is one God." (18: 110)
إِنَّمَا إِلَٰهُكُمُ اللَّهُ
“Your God only Allah." (20: 98)
إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ
"He is only one God." (6: 19)
إِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ
''Your God is one God,” (2: 163)
إِنَّ إِلَٰهَكُمْ لَوَاحِدٌ
"Most surely your God is One." (37: 4)
هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ
"He, Allah, is one." (112: 1)
There are two terms in Arabic language for God which are very close to each other in terms of meaning. Yet, at the same time they are different. One is "Ilah" (الٰه) and the other one is ''Allah" (اللہ). "Ilah" (الٰه) grammatically is a common noun and in Persian is called "Khuda" (خدا) and its plural form is "Khudayãn" (خدایان), in Arabic also the plural form of "Ilah” that is "Ilahah" (الٰهه) is used.
But ''Allah" (اللہ) is proper noun and its expressions in Persian are "Khuda" (خدا)., "Khudawand" (خداوند)., "Yazdan" (یزدان), “Izad” (ایزد). 1
Accordingly, "Khuda" (خدا) in Persian language is used in two senses both as a common noun and proper noun; while common noun is pluralized, latter is not.
In the English, the term for "Khuda" is god. It is like Persian term with the difference that god in English is written in two ways: god and God. The former with small "g" is synonymous with "Ilah" in Arabic and "Khuda" in Persian it is common noun.
The word written with capital "G" (God) is used as proper noun in the sense of the Arabic term ''Allah" and Persian term "Khuda" proper noun in the sense of the Allah is inferred from the pre-Islamic Arabic literature and poetry recorded in history and the Qur'an itself The Arabs recognized the God who created the world and called him ''Allah" (اللہ). Accordingly, "Allah" was the particular name of the creator of the universe as “Allãt”, “Alãzzi”, “Manãt”, “Yaqus".
Most probably this "proper name" for the creator of the universe came into usage as a result of their referring to the creator as "al-ilah" that meant "the god" by prefix in "ilah" with the Arabic article "al", that meant "the", i.e. "the god".
Gradually, in the course of time it was accepted as referring to the creator of the world. And by the passage of the time the latter "hamzeh" of "Ilah" between AI (ال) and "Ilah" was deleted and the world "Allah" became the new term and the particular name for the creator of the universe.2
Anyhow, we will render both "Allah" and "Ilah" as "Khuda" in Persian translation of the Qur'anic verses and Arabic passages and we hope there will not arise any confusion in understanding what we mean to refer to by this term.
By the term "Unity of God" (Tawhid) it means believe in one reality and in theological sense it refers to believe in the unity of God and the origin of being and to have faith in his uniqueness in every respect, i.e. from the view of His Essences, Creativity, Sovereignty, and Administration of the universe on one hand, and on the other from the stand point of servitude and worship or supplication and so on (on the part of man).
Most of the monotheistic verses of the Qur'an rest on "Tawhid in commandment and direction" and "Tawhid in worship and obedience" to one God. The Qur'an in the first place focus the attention of man on the oneness of the creator and the sustainer. After making this point clear that is the creation and governance of the universe is God's Task and that sovereignty over the universe belongs to Him only, it concludes that supplication and worship be directed to God only.
The first verses of the Qur'an revealed to the prophet are about "Tawhid", which began with reference to His "Creation and Commandment"3.
اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ عَلَّمَ الْإِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ
"Read in the name of your Lord who created; created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is Most Honourable, who taught (to write) with the pen; taught man what he knew not." (96: 1-5)
According to the Qur'an most of the Arab idolaters believed in "Tawhid in creation and commandment", or at least they were ready to accept this belief.
وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ
“If you ask them, ‘Who created the heavens and the earth, and disposed the sun and the moon?’ They will surely say, ‘Allah.’ Then where do they stray?” (29: 61)
In the Qur'an, verses 31:9-13 and 87 are about the same belief. Yet at that time, there were some people who were oblivious to the “Tawhid” in Creation and Commandment" and the Qur'an asked them, to show, if there were other gods who were responsible for creation and administration of the world.
خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا ۖ وَأَلْقَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَنْ تَمِيدَ بِكُمْ وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِنْ كُلِّ دَابَّةٍ ۚ وَأَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَنْبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِنْ كُلِّ زَوْجٍ كَرِيمٍ هَٰذَا خَلْقُ اللَّهِ فَأَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِ ۚ بَلِ الظَّالِمُونَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ
“He created the heavens without any pillars that you may see, and cast firm mountains in the earth lest it should shake with you, and He has scattered in it every kind of animal. And We sent down water from the sky and caused every splendid kind [of plant] to grow in it. This is the creation of Allah. Now show Me what others besides Him have created. Rather the wrongdoers are in manifest error!” (31: 10-11)
قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ شُرَكَاءَكُمُ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقُوا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ أَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ أَمْ آتَيْنَاهُمْ كِتَابًا فَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَتٍ مِنْهُ ۚ بَلْ إِنْ يَعِدُ الظَّالِمُونَ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضًا إِلَّا غُرُورًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُمْسِكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ أَنْ تَزُولَا ۚ وَلَئِنْ زَالَتَا إِنْ أَمْسَكَهُمَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا
“Say, ‘Tell me about your partners [you ascribe to Allah] whom you invoke besides Allah? Show me what [part] of the earth have they created. Do they have any share in the heavens?’ Have We given them a scripture so that they stand on a manifest proof thereof? Rather the wrongdoers do not promise one another [anything] except delusion. Indeed, Allah sustains the heavens and the earth lest they should fall apart, and if they were to fall apart there is none who can sustain them except Him. Indeed, He is All-forbearing, All-forgiving.” (35: 41-40)
The Qur'an addresses those who are in doubt over the weakness of man-made gods and asked them to think over it so that they may apprehend this obvious fact:
قُلْ مَنْ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ قُلِ اللَّهُ ۚ قُلْ أَفَاتَّخَذْتُمْ مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ لَا يَمْلِكُونَ لِأَنْفُسِهِمْ نَفْعًا وَلَا ضَرًّا ۚ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الْأَعْمَىٰ وَالْبَصِيرُ أَمْ هَلْ تَسْتَوِي الظُّلُمَاتُ وَالنُّورُ ۗ أَمْ جَعَلُوا لِلَّهِ شُرَكَاءَ خَلَقُوا كَخَلْقِهِ فَتَشَابَهَ الْخَلْقُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ قُلِ اللَّهُ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ
“Say, ‘Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?’ Say, ‘Allah!’ Say, ‘Have you then taken others besides Him for guardians, who have no control over their own benefit or harm?’ Say, ‘Are the blind one and the seer equal? Or are the darkness and the light equal?’ Have they set up for Allah partners who have created like His creation, so that the creations seemed confusable to them? Say, ‘Allah is the creator of all things, and He is the One, the All-paramount.” (13: 16)
The Qur'an again attract the attention of those people whose minds are not sharp enough to comprehend a simple fact:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ ضُرِبَ مَثَلٌ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ لَنْ يَخْلُقُوا ذُبَابًا وَلَوِ اجْتَمَعُوا لَهُ ۖ وَإِنْ يَسْلُبْهُمُ الذُّبَابُ شَيْئًا لَا يَسْتَنْقِذُوهُ مِنْهُ ۚ ضَعُفَ الطَّالِبُ وَالْمَطْلُوبُ مَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ
“O mankind! Listen to a parable that is being drawn: Indeed, those whom you invoke besides Allah will never create [even] a fly even if they all rallied to do so! And if a fly should take away something from them, they cannot recover that from it. Feeble is the invoker and the invoked! They have not regard Allah with the regard (that is) due to Him; Indeed, Allah is All-strong, All-mighty.” (22: 73-74)
The verses 30: 40, 25: 1-4, 35: 3, 39: 43, emphasize the point that we have to think properly over the issues of "Creation and Commandment", that is creation of the universe and governance of it. If we think correctly and logically in this matter we will be led to the notion that all our supplication and worship belong to God Almighty only.
The verse 54 of the Surah Al-A’raf says that the creation and governance of the world is vested in nobody but Allah:
إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ ۗ أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ ۗ تَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ
“Indeed, your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and then settled on the Throne. He draws the night’s cover over the day, which pursues it swiftly, and [He created] the sun, the moon, and the stars, [all of them] disposed by His command. Look! All creation and command belong to Him. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.” (7: 54)
According to the Qur'an, the unique and consistent order which is governing throughout the universe is an obvious proof of Uniqueness and Oneness of the Creator and Controller of the universe. And we are asked to contemplate over such firm and coherent system in order to realize the unity in creation and commandment.
وَإِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَالْفُلْكِ الَّتِي تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِمَا يَنْفَعُ النَّاسَ وَمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِنْ مَاءٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِنْ كُلِّ دَابَّةٍ وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ وَالسَّحَابِ الْمُسَخَّرِ بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ
“Your god is the One God, there is no god except Him, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful. Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, and the ships that sail at sea with profit to men, and the water that Allah sends down from the sky —with which He revives the earth after its death, and scatters therein every kind of animal— and the changing of the winds, and the clouds disposed between the sky and the earth, are surely signs for a people who apply reason.” (2: 164-163)
The verses 6: 94-99, 7: 58, 10: 3-6 and 67-68, 16: 10-20, 65-74, 80-81, 17: 12, 36: 33-41, 45: 1-5 and several other verses of the Qur'an draw the attention of man towards the evident signs in the orderly system of the universe which indicate the Oneness of the Creator.
The Holy Qur'an refutes the doctrine of polytheism.
مَا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ مِنْ وَلَدٍ وَمَا كَانَ مَعَهُ مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ ۚ إِذًا لَذَهَبَ كُلُّ إِلَٰهٍ بِمَا خَلَقَ وَلَعَلَا بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
“Allah has not taken any offspring, neither is there any god besides Him, for then each god would take away what he created, and some of them would surely rise up against others. Clear is Allah of what they allege! The knower of the unseen and the seen, so many, He is above having any partners that they ascribe [to Him].” (23: 91-92)
If there were many creators, then the relation of them with the universe would have been like either one of the following assumptions:
(1). Firstly, each one of the creator owns a certain part of the universe which is created by him and ruled by him. In this case, there should be separate orders or disciplines in each part, independent of the others. But this assumption is wrong, for as a matter of fact, the entire world is governed by one order which is consistent and coherent.
(2). Secondly, one of the regional creators (gods) may be greater than and superior to other creators and His function might be to unit other creators and bring unity and harmony among them. In this case, he is to be considered the real creator and sovereign of the world and rest of the creators he treated as His agents.
(3). Thirdly, let us assume that all the creators rule over the world and there is no any limitation clear cut division between their spheres of domination and they act and operate wherever and whenever they like. The result of such system will be an anarchy of conflict in their wills.
In this regard the Qur'an says:
لَوْ كَانَ فِيهِمَا آلِهَةٌ إِلَّا اللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا ۚ فَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
“If there had been in them any gods except Allah, they would both have certainly been in a state of disorder; therefore, glory be to Allah, the Lord of the Throne, above what they attribute (to Him).” (21: 22)
According to these notions, oneness and eternity of the system of the universe negates the doctrine of multiplicity of god and their sovereignties. The belief that this unity of order and purpose in the universe is governed by many gods is also refuted. The other assumption which holds that there are two or more gods in this universe operating simultaneously and coordinately everywhere, is merely an illusion, for to assume that there are two or many gods, necessitates that there should be at least some difference of disharmony between them. It will, anyhow, affect the harmony and will certainly affect the order and purpose of the universe.
Sadr ul-Muta’allihin in his book, Asfar refers to the above quoted verse of the Qur'an 'in this context and concludes:
"Another way of proving the oneness of God is implied in His Godhood and His Sovereignty and oneness, and cohesiveness of the universe is an evident proof of the oneness of God. This is the same approach which Aristotle, the teacher of the Peripatetics, adopted and the Divine book also indicated." (Asfar, Vol.6, p.94)
At another place, in the same book Sadr ul-Muta’allihin throws light on this matter and says that:
..."Taking into consideration that sphere of being is unique and its scope and arcs are integrated organically with each other coherently and that there is unity in its multiplicity and there is conclusive proof for his oneness, ingeniousness, almightiness, greatness and kindness may the name of your God be great and Magnificent. Since the domain of being is one, the creator of that also should be not more than one. His sovereignty embraces all that exists."
وَاللَّهُ مِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ مُحِيطٌ
“And Allah besieges them from all around.” 4 (85: 20)
Following this point, Sadr ul-Muta’allihin states that the Divine book pointed to those verses of the Qur’an which we have cited earlier.
The Holy Qur’an rests on the belief of “Tawhid in creation and Commandment”. Nevertheless, it does not overlook the role of causation in the world. The Qur’an says:
وَاللَّهُ أَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِقَوْمٍ يَسْمَعُونَ
“Allah sends down water from the sky with which He revives the earth after its death. There is indeed a sign in that for a people who listen.” (16: 65)
The phrase “Revive the earth” means, to remind role of water as a means of reviving the earth.
What is indicated from the text of the Qur’an regarding the “causes and their role” is that God, the Omnipotent and Omniscient knows everything and is able to do everything. But he created the world according to a particular design and within that system. He assigned to certain created things the task of creating certain other phenomena. But such created things are totally subordinated to Divine will and purpose and act as God's agents.
These agents perform their duties obediently. They operate under their Lord's command and do not deviate a bit from his path and are completely under Divine control:
وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ
"... and [He created] the sun, the moon, and the stars, [all of them] disposed by His command…” (7: 54)
The magnificent force of gravitation of the sun is effective in the vast domain of His sovereignty due to His will only. Yet such force operates in accordance with the God's command. The forceful gravitation of the earth is also very effective, but that is too insignificant vis-a-vis God's will and command. Do you not see that if God wills, He can grant ability to a small bird to fly against the gravitation of the earth and suspend in air for hours?
أَلَمْ يَرَوْا إِلَى الطَّيْرِ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ فِي جَوِّ السَّمَاءِ مَا يُمْسِكُهُنَّ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
“Have they not regarded the birds disposed in the air of the sky: no one sustains them except Allah. There are indeed signs in that for a people who have faith.” (16: 79)
Therefore, from the stand point of the Qur'an the law of “Cause and Effect" is a great force in the system of the universe. It is valid and valuable. Man, in spite of possessing God given faculties, knowledge and increasing power of manipulation and performing amazing things in this world. Nevertheless, in all his efforts and acts, he should be aware of the law of causation, because he is only able to act within the field of its operation. Otherwise, all his efforts would be in vain. But this powerful system of cause and effort is under the domination of God's will. It means while there is a framework for man and other beings to act within that; there is no such limitation on God and this frame work is nothing for the real efficient cause of this system for it is He who with His power and knowledge created all the causes with a certain effect or plural effects and qualities. Any time He wills, He may strip a particular cause or a set of causes of its effects.
قَالُوا حَرِّقُوهُ وَانْصُرُوا آلِهَتَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ فَاعِلِينَ قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَأَرَادُوا بِهِ كَيْدًا فَجَعَلْنَاهُمُ الْأَخْسَرِينَ
“They said, ‘Burn him, and help your gods, if you are to do anything!’ We said, ‘O fire! Be cool and safe for Ibrahim!’ They sought to outmaneuver him, but We made them the biggest losers.” (21: 68-70)
Accordingly, whenever He considers necessary to divest the fire of its burning capacity, He can do it by the same command which has created the world.
If the wise and powerful men of this century have attained ability to stop the explosion of a bomb, or a mine and other explosive devices which are manufactured by him through radio and electronic messages, why not God be able to divest the same thing which he created of its effect?
The approach of some other religions, is also, similar an incident in Upanishad ken when Brahma divested fire of his burning power: Now Brahma won a victory for the gods. Now, in the victory of this Brahma the gods were exulting. They bethought themselves: "ours indeed is this victory, ours indeed is this greatness!"
"They said to Agni (Fire): Jatanedas, find out what this wonderful being is.
So, be it.
He ran unto it.
Unto him it spoke: "who are you?"
"Verily, I am Agni", he said,
"Verily, I am Jatavedas."
Of what power are you invested? Indeed, I might burn everything here, whatever there is here in the earth. It put down a straw before him 'Burn that!' He went forth at it with all speed. He was not able to burn it.
There upon indeed he returned, saying: “I have not been able, to find out who this wonderful being is.” (362-363/The Upanishad)
Thus, Brahma can divest the Agni (gods of fire) of its burning power to the extent that he is not able to burn even a straw.
There is no contradiction between miracles and law of causation, which we have discussed above. According to the law of causation, "no phenomenon comes into existence without being produced by some cause". From the Qur'anic view-point there is cause of miracles also and the cause of miracles is God's special will. So, the incident of miracles is not only incompatible with general principle of causation, but it is not also inconsistent with the scientific and practical value of common law connection cause with effect, for, man in his quest to applying scientific laws which he has discovered within the system of causation operating in the physical world, does not except to discover the absolute laws of nature that does not permit any exception.
All persons who are involved in research in the field of empirical sciences, know that most of the scientific laws which are discovered as the laws of nature, are subordinated to the laws of relativism. Conscious experts of natural science, who are not arrogant, do not believe in absoluteness and hundred percent certainty of these laws.
Yet, despite this uncertainty they pursue their research rest on the same relative laws and draw conclusion in accordance with the same laws that are only relatively true and applicable unless further discoveries in science prove them unfounded what had come to be known as a scientific and empirical law. In our ordinary life also, we are not to wait for discovering absolute and hundred percent valid laws.
All wise people in the world use for travelling, such means as car, train, ship, and air-plane which are controlled by expert technicians, and run by experienced and well-trained drivers, captains pilots, despite knowing well that all these means of transport do not guarantee hundred percent safety. At any moment even the most sophisticated of them despite being controlled and run by the best experts in the field may face some unexpected trouble and technical failure as a result of which they meet accident.
Scientists, in their research work, follow the same path. Every experienced scientist is well aware that any experiment conducted under new condition by new instruments, may lead to discover new facts and relationships between various natural objects may lead him to negate the earlier assumptions and reject the earlier scientific laws or may prove that earlier formulas are giving wrong results in certain circumstances and exceptional cases because of the presence of some unknown factors which undermine the earlier formulas discovered by themselves.
At the first stage, attempt to review the accepted assumptions and try to modify them. At the second stage, try to achieve maximum validity of the modified law with the possible highest percentage, for example (999999/1000000) and consequently in their work rely on this law. Now the frequency of miracles and supernatural events which occur in certain exceptional cases by the command of god is very small even less that so we may conclude that accepting the possibility of the occurrence of miracles by the will and command of God does not undermine and affect the scientific and empirical validity of the general principle of causation.
One of the valuable teachings of the Qur’an concerning the causes and their validities is elaborated as follows:
In the course of knowing the causes and the extent of their effects, we should rely merely on the knowledge that is clear, unambiguous and self-evident, that is, we may depend only on conclusive proofs which are able to remove all ambiguity, and rest not on some baseless and unverifiable assumptions.
To believe in imaginary physical factors, causes backwardness in science and technology and brings in its wake retrogression and inability to exploit the natural resources just like those ancient people who while suffering from certain maladies and diseases did not try to discover in a scientific way their real causes and took recourse in baseless superstitions such as the effect of stars on human fate, and as a result make use of their scientifically developed instruments like Astrolabe (Ostorlab) in order to foretell the effect of celestial spheres on man's affairs ignoring to make use of it for scientific purposes.
To believe in superstitious and imaginary forces in metaphysical sphere is more dangerous than it is in science, for it distracts man from the sublime principle of Tawhid and traps them into polytheism (Shirk). That is why Qur'an regarding the metaphysical causes emphatically and explicitly declares that one has to abstain from acting upon arbitrary dubious conjectures and opinions.
وَما لَهُم بِهِ مِن عِلمٍ ۖ إِن يَتَّبِعونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ ۖ وَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ لا يُغني مِنَ الحَقِّ شَيئًا
“And they have no knowledge of it; they do not follow anything but conjecture, and surely conjecture is not substitute for truth.” (53: 28)
وَقالوا لَن يَدخُلَ الجَنَّةَ إِلّا مَن كانَ هودًا أَو نَصارىٰ ۗ تِلكَ أَمانِيُّهُم ۗ قُل هاتوا بُرهانَكُم إِن كُنتُم صادِقينَ
“And they say, ‘No one shall enter paradise except one who is a Jew or a Christian.’ Those are their [false] hopes! Say, ‘Produce your evidence, should you be truthful.” (2:111)
قالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ وَلَدًا ۗ سُبحانَهُ ۖ هُوَ الغَنِيُّ ۖ لَهُ ما فِي السَّماواتِ وَما فِي الأَرضِ ۚ إِن عِندَكُم مِن سُلطانٍ بِهٰذا ۚ أَتَقولونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ ما لا تَعلَمونَ
“They say, ‘Allah has taken a son!’ Immaculate is He! He is the All-sufficient. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. You have no authority for this [statement]. Do you attribute to Allah what you do not know?” (10 :68)
قُل إِنّي عَلىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ مِن رَبّي وَكَذَّبتُم بِهِ ۚ ما عِندي ما تَستَعجِلونَ بِهِ ۚ إِنِ الحُكمُ إِلّا لِلَّهِ ۖ يَقُصُّ الحَقَّ ۖ وَهُوَ خَيرُ الفاصِلينَ
“Say, ‘Indeed I stand on a manifest proof from my Lord and you have denied it. What you seek to hasten is not up to me. Judgement belongs only to Allah; He expounds the truth and He is the best of judge.” (6: 57)
The above quoted Qur'anic verses emphasize scientific knowledge based upon proof, conclusive, argument, self-evident and verification.
Supplication is one of the causes that is effective in man's affair, that is, to focus attention on God with the totality of one's existence in seeking His assistance. There is no doubt that God is well aware of man's needs and his secret desire. But as He has formed a law that govern man's relation with nature in his life that is, nothing can be attained without struggle and action and that every action bears its fruits. He has laid down the principle that no treasure is uncovered without toil and no reward is conferred without one's being deserving it, similarly regarding man's direct relation with God a system of supplication and its acceptance by God has been determined.
وَإِذا سَأَلَكَ عِبادي عَنّي فَإِنّي قَريبٌ ۖ أُجيبُ دَعوَةَ الدّاعِ إِذا دَعانِ ۖ فَليَستَجيبوا لي وَليُؤمِنوا بي لَعَلَّهُم يَرشُدونَ
“When My servants ask you about Me, [tell them that] I am indeed near most. I answer the supplicant’s call when he calls Me. So, let them respond to Me, and let them have faith in Me, so that they may fare rightly.” (2: 186)
Lest not anybody say:
"Is God's will be changed by our supplication, as He asks us to pray to have something from Him? Is not the Divine will changeable?"
This question resembles to the question regarding work and effort on one hand, and the Divine will and destiny (Qaza wa-Qadar) on the other, which has given rise to the controversy of will, determinism and intermediate position (Amr Bayn al-Amrayn).
In this context also, it is said: Is not everything predestined for everybody by God from pre-eternity? or is god's will or whatever He predestined from the beginning, changeable, as a result of man's beginning changeable as a result of man's action and effort? In this matter we came to the conclusion that effort and action on the part of man are anyhow effective. We tried to solve this problem in the following way:
"God granted authority to man from pre-eternity to have freedom of choice and action and attain his aim according to his will." In this matter of supplication and its being granted also we may arrive at a similar conclusion that is as follows:
God is eternal, His will is also eternal and it is His immutable will that ordained a large part of the being that is nature to be in the state of "becoming" rather than remaining as "being". In this part of the being (nature), at every moment a new phenomenon may emerge automatically and in this continuous process prior factors play a vital role.
For instance, in certain cases my work or supplication, which is also regarded as a part of my effort, is effective and plays an important role, the same role or duty that God has destined for us from the beginning.
Accordingly, God is eternal and His knowledge and will are eternal too, and at the same time at any moment new phenomena emerge in this world, and that man's act, will, and supplication play an effective and important role in their emergence.
يَسْأَلُهُ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ هُوَ فِي شَأْنٍ
“All those who are in the heavens and the earth ask of him; every moment He is in a state (of glory).” (55 :29)
If you undergo and face hardships, you should not be disappointed. You should not leave your efforts but strive and seek God's help, for you can never anticipate with certainty that there is no way out of a difficult situation. "Every day He exercises (universal) power." How you can consider yourself being defeated hundred percent. Most probably the situation may change tomorrow in your favor.
There are cited a lot of such new incidents in the Qur’an which happened contrary to man's anticipation. For instance, seeking of assistance by the Prophet Musa (a) (20: 25-26); seeking of son by the prophet Zakariya (a) (19: 19), etc. Through they considered to be as effective cause as other kinds of causes in the nature.
For instance, God granted particular qualities to light, heat, electricity, and gravity etc. or ordained that some herb with a specific chemical composition may be effective in curing a disease. Similarly, He assigned a particular role and effect to "supplication" which can be effective in fulfillment of man's desires. This effectiveness of supplication is not only confined to psychological effects only. Psychological supplication still has many known and unknown effects.
For example, it revives hope, strength, will and actualize many hidden potentials in man, even encourages man to take up some job which he is not expected to perform. But the way Qur’an describes the effectiveness of supplication covers far greater aspects other than discussed above. The best description of the effect of supplication according to the Qur’an is given below:
Supplication itself is a kind of cause which has its effect; it is not necessarily psychological such as strengthening of will etc. Supplication in other religious scriptures is also considered to be an effective case in man's activities and affairs. This view is not only formed in the Semitic religious books but also in the Aryans books. The Avesta in this regard says:
"O, Mazda Ahura all those wise persons whom thou consider rightful and pious, make them successful. for I believe that expressing one's aspiration before thee bears fruit and success for one's salvation." (34: 10, Avesta)
The basic difference between the views of the Qur’an and the Avesta and other religious books is that in the later supplication is not addressed to the Creator of the universe only in the following supplication:
"O, Mazda! Ahura! I O, Urdibehish I O, Bahman! lest not this pious servant of yours cause any unpleasantness to you enable us to endeavour to offer to you my benediction and supplication. It is you who are more able than all people of the world to bestow success upon the pious and raise them to the world of spirits." (34: 9, Avesta)
There are numerous such instances in the Avesta, but in the Qur’an seeking help and supplication is specified to God only. The Qur’an emphasizes that we should raise our hand towards God only in order to seek our help, and to refrain from seeking help of anybody other than God, for deities are only agents who cannot do anything independently. They cannot grant anything to anybody and in the same way cannot take away anything from anybody.
قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَدْعُو رَبِّي وَلَا أُشْرِكُ بِهِ أَحَدًا
“Say: I only call upon my Lord, and I do not associate any one with him.” (72: 20)
As we have discussed earlier, Tawhid in the Qur’an rests more than everything on monotheism and "Tawhid as regards to worship" is based upon it. It is considered to be the logical consequence of "Tawhid in creation and commandment". When it has been made clear that there is only God's will and command at work behind all affairs of the world e.g. creation, administration and sovereignly, and everything everybody acts in the way God destined to it.
Moreover, nothing has any independent role to play in this world except that which is determined by God for it. When we know that all the sources of movement and are subordinated to Divine will such as the sun, the moon, the stars, clouds, wind, rain, lightening, thunder, soil, water, devils, angels, etc. then worship and praise of such obedient agents or their images and status is meaningless.
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَأَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّهِ أَنْدَادًا وَأَنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“O men! serve your lord who created”. You and those before you so that you may guard (against evil). Who made the earth a resting-place for you and the heaven a canopy and (who) sends down rain from the cloud then brings forth with it subsistence for you of the fruits; therefore, do not set up rivals to Allah while you know.". (2: 21·22)
وَجَعَلُوا لِلَّهِ شُرَكَاءَ الْجِنَّ وَخَلَقَهُمْ ۖ وَخَرَقُوا لَهُ بَنِينَ وَبَنَاتٍ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ تَكُنْ لَهُ صَاحِبَةٌ ۖ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَاعْبُدُوهُ ۚ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَكِيلٌ
"And they make the jinn associates with Allah, while He created them, and they falsely attribute to Him sons and daughters without knowledge; Glory be to Him, and highly exalted is He above what they ascribe (to Him). Wonderful originator of the heaven and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no spouse, and He (Himself) created everything, and He is the knower of all things. That is Allah, your Lord, there is no god except Him, the creator of all things; so, worship Him. He watches over all things.” (6: 100-102)
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ ۚ لَا تَسْجُدُوا لِلشَّمْسِ وَلَا لِلْقَمَرِ وَاسْجُدُوا لِلَّهِ الَّذِي خَلَقَهُنَّ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ
“Among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Do not prostrate to the sun, nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah who created them, if it is Him that you worship.” (41: 37)
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَتَّخِذُ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَنْدَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ ۗ
“Among the people are those who set up compeers besides Allah, loving them as if loving Allah —but the faithful have a more ardent love for Allah.” (2: 165)
If one wishes to worship for the fulfillment of one’s desires, all praise and supplication are due to God only, for He alone can fulfill one's desires:
قُلْ أَنَدْعُو مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنْفَعُنَا وَلَا يَضُرُّنَا
“Say: shall we call on that besides Allah, which does not benefit us nor harm us,...” (6: 71)
If worship is meant by self-effacement, love and passion of an imperfect being vis-a-vis the glory, perfection and beauty of the most perfect Being, it should be again for God only, for He is the only one who deserves to be the object of such love and passion.
وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ ۗ
"...and those who believe are stronger in love for Allah ..." (2: 165)
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
"All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Master of the Day of judgement. You [alone] do we worship, and to You [alone] do we turn for help.” (1: 2-5)
Faith in one God Almighty, the Creator, the source of creation who is above everything, is found in most of the religions, philosophical schools and mystical schools. Furthermore, most of these schools of thought and religion, besides holding that there is only one God, are also of the view that there is no being in the world comparable with God, the prime Creator.
Accordingly, He is one and peerless. but the Qur'anic conception of Tawhid does not confine itself to this extent but goes to say that prime Creator is not the God of gods, He is the only God and that is all. This is why, in other religions, faith in the unity of God is not inconsistent with polytheism in worship, i.e. seeking help from others and worshiping other gods too.
But according to the Qur’an, Tawhid and the realization of the unity of God becomes meaningful only when it is practically translated into Tawhid in worship, supplication, seeking help, praise and Tawhid in obedience.
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ… إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
"All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, … You [alone] do we worship, and to You [alone] do we turn for help.” (1: 2,5)
In order to gain deeper insight into the Qur'anic doctrine of monotheism and the far-reaching of the verses of the Surah Al-Hamd, we direct our attention to the following passages from the Avesta:
"O, AhuraMazda! bestow upon me with the blessing of Urdibehish that liberates virtuous and good people, welfare in the two worlds, corporeal and celestial; I that with good character is approaching thine." (The Avesta, 32: 2, 3)
"O, Urdibehish I praise thee and Bahman and Mazda Ahura and Sipant Armadh in a new and befitting manner, for it is thou and these who have stretched and decorated the eternal celestial world for those who are pious and virtuous. And I seek from thee help whenever I am call for help." (The Avesta, 33)
"O, Urdibehish shower our blessing rewards and boundaries Goshtasp, 0, Sipant Armadh let my wishes and needs be fulfilled.
O, Urdibehish, or Lord bestow strength on thine prophet so that he may be able to apologize Thee. (The Avesta, 23)
It is true that ''AhuraMazda" is considered by the Avesta to be "the great God who is the source of all", and neither Ahriman nor the highest angels are to be equal to His rank. But in the matter of praise, supplication and seeking help, AhuraMazda5, Bahman6, Urdibehish7, Sipant Armadh8, etc., also, are objects of worship and their help is sought to fulfill man's needs and desires. But the Qur’an totally prohibits the worshiping of and seeking help from any being other than God.
Obedience from the standpoint of the Qur'an as of two kinds:
(1). Obedience along with the unquestioning submission vis-a-vis whatever is ordered to man. In the view of the Qur'an, this kind of obedience in fact, is called "servitude" ('ubudiyyah), which is exclusive to God and not to any being other than Him.
(2). Obedience to those who rightly have right of guardianship (wilayah) over us. In our interest and public interest as well as from the view of human inclinations it is essential to obey the wali that are the Prophet(s), the Imams (a) and those leaders or rulers that are appointed by the Prophet(s) and Imams(a) or the leaders who have attained this status in the absence of Imam Mahdi(a) in accordance with the authentic religious traditions, and the parents etc.
The condition that makes their obedience obligatory is that they do not deviate from the path of justice and shari'ah. It is the duty of people to consider these matters critically and refrain from obeying those who violate the law of shari'ah and are unjust. Accordingly, such obedience is not absolute obedience and it is by means total submission and servitude.
اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
“They have taken their scribes and their monks as lords besides Allah, and also Christ, Mary’s son; though they were commanded to worship only the One God, there is no god except Him; He is far too immaculate to have any partners that they ascribe [to Him]!” (9: 31)
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub Al-Kulayni (329, H) in his book Al-Kafi, says that:
"Some of our associates narrates from Abu Basir that he enquired from Imam Sadiq (a) regarding these words of Allah:
اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ
“They have taken their scribes and their monks as lords besides Allah..." (9 :31)
"The Imam observed: By Allah they (rabbis and monks) never invited them for their worship (since) if they had invited them for their worship, at no cost would they have responded to them. Actually, those monks and rabbis rendered unlawful what was (divinely) lawful to them (on their own accord) and vice versa."
Al-Kulayni quotes the same tradition with reference to other sources also according to which the Imam's observation is as follows:
“…By Allah, neither did they (Christians) fast for their monks and rabbis, nor did they pray for them, but actually they followed them (blindly) when they declared the unlawful as lawful and the lawful as unlawful...”9 (Al-Kafi, 2:153)
The Shia exegetes generally, while interpreting this verse of the Qur'an refers to the same tradition. Imam Fakhr al-Razi (543 or 4-606 H) also, in his Tafsir al-Kabir writes:
"Know that God the exalted by the word "ittakhidhu" (they have taken) describes the Christians and Jews as committing a kind of Shirk. There are some points to be considered in this verse which are as follows:
The first issue: ...
The second issue: Most of the exegetes hold that by the term ''Arbaban" (Lords) which occurs in the verse are not meant rabbis and Monks, but it refers to those who had subordinated them and blindly accepted whatever they said. There is a tradition regarding Adi ibn Hatam10 that when he was a Christian, one day he came to the Prophet (s) and the Prophet
(s) was reciting the Surah al-Baqarah. When he reached this verse,
'Adi says" I said to the Prophet (s) that we were not worshipping them.
The Prophet(s) said: did not they declare the lawful as unlawful and were you not declaring also the same?
'Adi said: 'Yes'
Then the Prophet(s) said: it was the same as worshipping them.
Razi says: I said to Abu al-'Aliyyah that what was the nature of godhood of rabbis and monks among the children of Israel (Bani Isra'il)?
He replied: It was so that whenever they come across something in the Holy Book which was contrary to what those rabbis and monks were saying, they accepted what those rabbis and monks said and rejected the text of the Holy Book." (Tafsir al-Kabir, 16: 36,37)
15- Submission vis-a-vis God's Commandments and Revelation and Abstention From Internal Divisive Disputations in the Rank of the Unitarians
Tawhid regarding submission and obedience automatically necessitates the worshipers of God, to surrender themselves to the Divine Commandments, in religious matters. In this regard, they should overlook their personal inclinations and attitudes in order to pave the way for unity and solidarity of the unitarians, and save them from internal divisive religious disputations. The Qur’an, in this regard says:
وَلْيَحْكُمْ أَهْلُ الْإِنْجِيلِ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنْكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
Let the people of the Injeel judge by what Allah has sent down in it. Those who do not judge by what Allah has sent down — it is they who are the transgressors.
We have sent down to you the Book with the truth, confirming what was before it of the Book and as a guardian over it. So, judge between them by what Allah has sent down, and do not follow their desires against the truth that has come to you. For each [community] among you We had appointed a code [of law] and a path, and had Allah wished He would have made you one community, but [His purposes required] that He should test you in respect to what He has given you. So, take the lead in all good works. To Allah shall be the return of you all, whereat He will inform you concerning that about which you used to differ. (5: 47-48)
In these verses, the Qur’an put forwarded a logical and reasonable solution in order to save the followers of the revelation (wahi) from and kind of disunity so that all the people who has faith in God and the path of the Prophet (s) abstain from useless controversies and disputes11.
Every individual or group with his own understanding of Divine revelation (wahi) should rush towards good and virtues and in this way, compete for good deeds rather than engage itself in unwarranted and fruitless disputes like the followers of earlier religions.
The proper way to solve the issue as to "what is right"? One should in the first place, refer to the Qur'anic text for clarifying one’s doubt. In case, differences arise as to what is truth and who is the bearer of truth. The final solution should be left to that day when all veils will be removed and sender of the revelation (wahi) will make the truth known in unambiguous manner.
It seems that this is the only way for attaining unity of the followers of the revelation (wahi). Otherwise, not only the followers of one Prophet or scripture will quarrel with the followers of other prophets and the right and bright path of God will be lost, but also there may emerge disagreements among the followers of the same Prophet and the same scripture regarding this or that Ijtihad and this or that creed as to which is right. Even the followers of the same creed may dispute with one another an account of following this Mujtahid or that Mujtahid, as a result of which the light of wahi will be reduced to a weak and dim light.
That is why the Holy Qur'an considers faith in Divine unity as the axis of all belief and deed in religion, and in definite terms declare the disputes of seventy-two sects (72 sects is a term, a popular term used in Rumi's Mathnavi i.e. different sects) on the unity of God among Muslim as deviation from the right path and prohibit all theological disputes except those that may be enlightening and free from prejudices and selfish interests. The disputations, that are prohibited, are those which are egotistic in the eyes of God and attainment of social unity that is based on revelation.
أَمِ اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۖ فَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْوَلِيُّ وَهُوَ يُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ وَمَا اخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَحُكْمُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبِّي عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ فَاطِرُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ جَعَلَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا وَمِنَ الْأَنْعَامِ أَزْوَاجًا ۖ يَذْرَؤُكُمْ فِيهِ ۚ لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ۖ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ لَهُ مَقَالِيدُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَقْدِرُ ۚ إِنَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
Have they taken guardians besides Him? [Say,] ‘It is Allah who is the Guardian, and He revives the dead, and He has power over all things. Whatever thing you may differ about, its judgement is with Allah. That is Allah, my Lord. In Him I have put my trust, and to Him I turn penitently. The originator of the heavens and the earth, He made for you mates from your own selves, and mates of the cattle, by which means He multiplies you. Nothing is like Him, and He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth: He expands the provision for whomever He wishes, and tightens it [for whomever He wishes]. Indeed, He has knowledge of all things.’ (42: 9-12)
These verses again emphasize that God is the sole controller of the world, and add: "Naught is as His likeness". Therefore, God is a Peerless Being.
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ
“Say; He, Allah, is one. Allah is He on whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And none is like Him.” (112)
The prominent thinkers are of the view that Uniqueness and Peerlessness of God is the same as His Essential Unity which has been a subject of philosophy and mysticism. the simplest interpretation of the Essential Unity can be given as follows:
When we say, "God is one", it is meant God is a Unique Essence that exclude the concept of multiplicity. Even it is not possible to conceive any two beings or two types that are like Him, therefore, uniqueness is implied in His Essence and Tawhid or oneness is also essential for His Essence.
Thus, to understand the oneness of God. It is necessary to, at least, know Him correctly, that is, to have a correct conception of the term "God" in our mind. If we understand by this term what is really meant by it, automatically we will reach the conclusion that if there is God, He is one and cannot be two or many, for, His Essence is incompatible with duality and multiplicity.
To make this matter more explicit, let us bring an example: Look at a line which is assumed to be in space and suppose this line extends on both sides infinitely. Now we assume one more line parallel to that one at a distance of one meter from the former and extend it infinitely on both sides. Whether there is any contradiction in assuming two parallel lines at such a distance? Dose it involves any difficulty or contradiction? No, for according to the definition of parallel such two lines will be at equal distance at every point, and if they are extended up to infinity, they will never meet.
Irrespective of all discussions regarding the correctness of this definition as to whether it is relative or absolute and so on, it is clear that at least we can assume such lines.
Now let us look at a body which is before us. Suppose this body is enlarged infinitely from all sides and directions, that is in length, breadth, and height. Now the question is can we assume another body simultaneously that can extend like if in all dimensions infinitely? The reply will be in negative, for, the former body has already occupied all the space and there remains no room for the second body, whether finite or infinite, unless the latter one enters into the former one.
But this assumption is also wrong for two bodies neither can enter into each other nor can the other occupy the space between the former's at once. Accordingly, we cannot assume two indefinite bodies in space. Whichever body that is assumed in space will not be other than the same one.
In this assumption, we discussed an infinite body and it was made clear that the assumption of an infinite body negates the existence of another infinite body automatically. Yet, at the same time it does not negate the possibility of the assumption of a non-physical being such as an infinite spirit that can enter an infinite body.
Stretch this issue to the extent that it may be applicable to a being that is infinite in all respects. Is it possible to assume two or more such being? No, for, in case of assuming two such beings each one of them should be different from the other one. Hence, the existence of each one of the two will limit the other. Therefore, none of them will be infinite. Thus, God is a Being that is Peerless and Unique. His being is beyond all kinds of duality and multiplicity12.
If one fully understands the meaning of Tawhid and the Oneness of God, it could be well understood that His unity is not numerical unity such as "being in one piece." For, being numerically one implies that other such being is hypothetically possible, but due to certain factors it does not exist. This assumption is applicable to those beings only which have multiplicity inherent in them, that is there can be supposed to be two or more such things.
Sadr ul-Muta’allihin in his book Shawlihid al-Rububiyyah says: "His oneness is not numerical unity like that of other beings which when multiplied become numerous. Rather, His unity is real unity in the sense that He is peerless (It is not possible to assume a second or third like Him). (Shawahid al-Rububiyyah, p.48)
In his book Arshiyyah, Mullah Sadra (Sadr ul-Muta'allihin) has discussed this interesting issue in a profound manner under the title Qaedah al-Mashriqyyah who are interested in penetrating this issue further may refer to it.
The term personal unity is used vis-a-vis specific and generic unity. For example, Hushang and his best-singing nightingale share generic unity for both of them are living beings (animals), but do not have personal of specific unity. Hushang and his black playmate share generic and specific unity but not class unity, for Hushang is white and his friend black.
At the same time, they have no personal unity as well, for, they are two different and distinct beings. Hushang and his brother Ahmad share generic and specific unity, for both are from the same race (white) and the same father and mother. Even their physical bodies, shapes and behaviours may share common features like an apple which is cut into two parts. But they do not have personal unity, for, after all they are two distinct individuals.
Personal unity in the peculiar sense discussed above, is associated with numerical unity. Therefore, God cannot be conceived as having personal unity and be a person. But from philosophical point of view personal unity possesses a profound and delicate meaning, which God possesses and cannot be without it.
From profound philosophical point of view, we can assert that every objective fact has to possess personal unity of its own accord, that is, it is distinct and different from other facts, whether it is essentially dualistic in nature or not. If it is non-dualistic in respect to its essence, then personal unity would be a necessity of His essence, and it is not determined necessarily by external factors. But if it is dualistic in respect to its essence, it needs to be specified by an external factor or factors in order to possess personal unity.
In this sense we claim that God also possesses personal unity, for, He is a Being which is distinguished from other realities. But personal unity is essential to His Being. Therefore, His identity is by His Own Being while the identity and personal unity of other being is dependent upon the others. It is God who has granted personal identity and unity to them.
Sadrul-Muta’allihin in his book Arshiyyah says:
"Nothing except His Own Being determines His Identity..., Nothing is a proof for His existence save His Essence. His Being is a proof of and a witness to His uniqueness. As it is said "God is witness that there is no God save Him", For, His unity is not like that of a number of a species, as we usually understand by personal unity.
It is not also generic of specific or relative unity. His unity is unknowable. His unity is the root and basis of all forms of unity. His unity is of a different kind that is grounded in His Sublime Essence in the same way as His existence is necessitated by His Being, which is the source of all beings. Therefore, there is no second for Him..." (Arshiyyah, p. 220,221)
21. Another Aspect of "Essential Unity": Negation of compoundness (of God); Negation of Attributes over and above His Essence, and Negation of Multiplicity of Attributes or Unity of Attributes:
Another aspect of the Essential unity of God is that He is the Unique Being, Simple and Single, neither His Essence is a compound of various parts nor His Being is composed of an Essence and Attributes that are over and above His Essence13.
In mystical and philosophical works, usually four kinds of Tawhid are discussed: Essential Unity, Unity of Attributes, Unity of Acts and Unity in worship.
From these four kinds of Tawhid, Tawhid as regards to act and worship are directly and easily understandable from the Qur’an, and basically the Qur'anic teachings rests on these two kinds of Tawhid. But Tawhid as regards to Essence and Tawhid as regards Attributes cannot be deduced easily from the Qur'an.
If we study the Quran without being acquainted with the subtle and delicate philosophical and mystical ideas, probably, we cannot find even a single verse in the Qur'an that can directly be related to these two kinds of Tawhid. But if we turn to the Qur'an with full command of the subtle notions of philosophy and mysticism and contemplate seriously, we can find some verses of the Qur'an that are relevant to these two kinds of Tawhid. It is for this reason that for understanding of these verses one requires grater knowledge than required ordinarily.
It is at a much higher level that the verses referring to Essential unity and unity of Attributes become intelligible and do not seem to be alien to the Qur’anic doctrine of unity. With great care and diligence such verses may be interpreted as having relevance to these subtle notions of unity.
- 1. How far is the usage of the Persian term "Izad" and "Yazd" as the translation of Allah correct and compatible with the original meaning of those terms in the Avesta?
Dr. Moin in A Persian Dictionary (Farhang-e Mo'in Vol. l) says: "Izad"(Yazd) means:
(1). Firishtah, Malak i.e. angles; (Explanation): In Zoroastrian faith it is used for angles who are in every respect inferior to "Amishaspand". The number of "lzadan" are many and divided into two categories: "Minawi" and "Jahani". AhuraMazda is at the head of Yazdan. The term Yazdan is a plural from of Yazd, but in Pahlavi and Persian languages is used as a singular noun for God.
(2). Khuda, Afaridegar i.e. Creator, Allah. Its plural form is Yazdan.
- 2. Regarding the origin of this word different views have been advanced (from 20 to 30 views). You may refer to Taj al- Arus, vol. 1 to 9, the word "illah' and its derivation.
Many philosopher and thinkers have interpreted the term creation (Khalq) and command (Amr) as the former referring the physical world and the latter the world of abstraction or ideas. For having better understanding of these terms one may refer my article published a few years ago in Maktab-e Tashayy'u.
- 4. The verse 85: 20 is related to God's knowledge and might which encompasses all disbelievers who deny the Divine truths. But Sadr ul-Muta’allihin has generalized it meaning to cover all these things.
- 5. Mazda, Ahura, Mazda Ahura and AhuraMazda all are name of God, the great Creator, according to the Zoroastrian faith. (The Avesta, ft. note. p. 32) AhuraMazda, AhuraMazda, Hormazd, Ormazd, Ormazd, Hormazd, Humwzd (Pahlavi; Ohrmazd). AhuraMazda the wise Lord, the almighty God of ancient Iranian and the Zoroastrian is the Creator of the earth and the heaven, and Amishaspand and Izadan are also created by Him. He is Himself power and wisdom, and is the source of good virtuously, holiness and pity. (A Persian dictionary "Farhang-e Mo'in", Vol. 5)
- 6. The first of the arch angles that represents AhuraMazda 's pure thought, wisdom and knowledge and teaches man right speech. (The Avesta, ft. note p. 32)
- 7. The second of the arch angles that represents AhuraMazda’s truthfulness and purity, and he is the responsible for celestial sphere and god's fire on the earth. (The Avesta ft. note p. 32)
- 8. The fourth of the arch angles denotes virtuosity and sacred humility. This angel represents friendship, patience and humility of AhuraMazda in celestial sphere and is the guardian of the earth, its welfare and progress in the physical world. It is regarded as female that encourages people to engage themselves in agriculture and cultivation of land. It is called AhuraMazda's daughter in the same way as Auhar is revert and exalted by being called AhuraMazda’s son. (The Avesta, ft. note, p. 32)
- 9. Please refer to online edition of Muhammad Ya'qub Al-Kulayni’s book, Al-Kafi: http://www.holybooks.com/al-kafi-shia-divine-text/
- 10. 'Adi ibne Hitam (d. 68 A.H), is one of the companions of the Prophet (s) that came from Syria to Madinah and embraced Islam.
- 11. Notes at the end of the chapter
- 12. Tawhid in submission and obedience to God is one of the valuable aspects of Islamic Tawhid that place a decisive role in Socio-economic structure of the society. In our discourse, we have confined ourselves to exposition of the basic principle of Islamic Tawhid only, and have not gone into details of its various aspects that are related to Islamic social system, economic system and the education system pertaining to human life and society.
- 13. A detailed account of this notion has been given in the eleventh chapter in book of philosophy, of which one may refer to Al-Asfar Vol. 6, PP- 100-105.
Sadr ul-Muta'allehln, in Al-Shawahid Al-Rububiyyah basis his proof of the unity of God on this argument only. In this regard he says:
"He second emanation of the oneness (Wahdaniyyat) of the Necessary Being: for this valuable notion that is the most significant one in the view of 'Urafã with the knowledge that God has kindly bestowed upon us, we have a divine argument (Burhan-e 'Arshi) which is conclusive and highly irrefutable in its strength ...”