Article: Islamic Monotheism (Tawhid)

Posted: April 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

Islamic Monotheism (Tawhid)

Islam is one of, if not, the fastest growing religio-political entities today. Islam grows through Da’wah (preaching) and jihad (struggle through holy war). Although I do not intend to go into great historical detail about Islam, a general understanding of Islam’s history is essential to fully understanding this entity and its writings.

Islam began when Mohammad supposedly received his first revelation from the angel Gabriel about 610 A.D. He grew up in Mecca as a member of the Quraysh tribe. He spent the first thirteen years of his prophetship in the city of Mecca which is in modern Saudi Arabia. During this period Islam was weak and small. This period was divided into two sections for Mohammad. In the first period Mohammad was commanded to only pray and read.  In the second period Mohammad was permitted to also warn. He was to warn his relatives, tribe, Arabs in the area, all of Arabia and then to the whole world. (1) Sound familiar?

The Meccan period ended when Mohammad’s protector, his uncle Abu Talib, died and the Meccans forced him out of town. The Meccans believed themselves to be very progressive and they accepted any god into their pantheon as long as the deity’s followers did not disturb the religious matrix. The Ka’ bal was a big black box in the center of town. According to Islamic mythology the Ka’ bal was built by Abraham and Ishamael when they visited the area of modern Saudi Arabia. During Mohammad’s stay the Ka’ bal contained 360 idols of the various deities worshiped by those in the vicinity including a picture of Jesus and Mary. Mohammad, as Islam has done throughout its history, attempted to force Allah onto the people of Mecca disturbing the religious matrix. For this Mohammad was run out of town. He went to Medinah which is about 150 miles from Mecca but still within Saudi Arabia.

Mohammad is now at odds with the Meccans especially his tribe and he is forced to emigrate to Medinah. The Medinah period is of tremendous importance to Islamic history. Mohammad stayed in Medinah for about eight years. This is the Hajj or Hijra. There are two important items associated with the emigration. The Hajj is the journey which every Muslim male who is able must make at least once in his lifetime. In addition, the Islamic calendar begins when Mohammad emigrated to Medinah. The Islamic calendar is lunar and defined by the letters AH or the year of the Hijra. The 2012 A.D. is 1433 AH.

The first thing Mohammad does when he reaches Medinah was to explain to the indigenous population that he was Allah’s prophet and asked if the three Medinah tribes would be his protectors. They agreed with the caveat that they would be a part of Mohammad’s state. Mohammad did two very important things when he moved to Medinah. The first thing he did was to set up the first Islamic state by the Treaty of Medinah. Secondly, Mohammad set up the first mosque under oversight of the Islamic state. The mosque and Islamic state are inseparable. The Medinah era is divided into a peaceful and violent periods. The Meccan era is all peaceful because Islam was consistently weak.  But this was not the case in Medinah. The first period in Medinah was peaceful because the Medinah tribes protected Mohammad and Mohammad had brought together the Jews, “Christians” and Muslims to be one people by treaty. But the Qurayish continually caused Mohammad problems as he did them. About sixteen or so months after the emigration Muslim raiders attack a Meccan caravan and blood flows. Mohammad uses this event to permit Muslims to use violence against their enemies. Finally, he permits unfettered warfare against all unbelievers. (At Tawbah 9:5)

About 9 AH, Mohammad returns to Mecca. During his stay in Medinah he created and trained an Army and then militarily overthrew the Meccans, killed those who did not support him, cleansed the Ka’ bal of all the idols, proclaimed Mecca his capital and the Ka’ bal the house of Allah. From Mecca, the Muhammadan armies spread out across the Near and Middle East into Eastern and Western Europe and Africa. Eventually, Islam would control 2/3rds of Europe and the Caliphate’s (Islamic state) capital would be set up in Cordova, Spain. In time, the Islamic hordes would be driven out of Western and Easter Europe. The Caliphate setup in Turkey after the collapse of the Caliphate in Western Europe in the Ottoman Empire but would be dissolved in 1923-24. The Islamic state would again collapse and breakup into numerous squabbling nations which is a far cry from the glory days of Mohammad’s Islamic state. Primarily, Islam is centered within what is now called the Middle East nevertheless, it has always had a strong presence in the Near East and its influence is growing considerably in the West and Orient. Mohammad was poisoned and died in 632 A.D.

Islamic Monotheism (Tawhid)

The heart of Islam is not Shar’ ia but tawhid which drives everything. Tawhid refers to the oneness of Allah or what we would call Islamic monotheism. To understand tawhid is to understand Islam. Everyday there is an article in which someone tries to answer the question why Muslims seem to hate the non-Muslim world. Some of those who try to answer this question are simply clueless. They refuse to listen to the Islamic message through Shar’ ia. Oftentimes, these individuals reduce the problem to being the fault of America. The problem is that such an absurd reduction does not and cannot account for America’s conflict with Muslims in the early 1800s. Others writers are well versed in the issue but have decided to separate Islam into the religious and political. The West especially America does separate the two to an extent due to Constitutional considerations. The First Amendment specifically forbids the Federal Government to interfere in religious affairs or set up a Federally-run religious institution. So, these well-meaning people believe we can approach Islam through our Western hermeneutical glasses. In this case the problem is twofold. In some cases, the individuals in this group ignore Shar’ ia and focus on what they believe to be the political reasons for Islam’s hatred of the non-Islamic world. On the hand, some individuals in this group understand perfectly what Shar’ ia says but are afraid to bring in “religion” because of Constitutional protections. Nevertheless, the Constitution does not protect a religion bent on overthrowing the Constitution. It is both sedition and treason. It is seditious because Islam calls for the implementation of Shar’ ia and a Caliphate which clearly demands the destruction of our Constitutional Republic. It is also treasonous because Islam qua Islam commands the individual Muslim to work toward implementing Shar’ ia and the Caliphate in non-Islamic countries. The conflict between Dar al-Islami (house of submission) and Dar al-hard (War Zone) is Islamic monotheism. Mohammad supposedly stated in an ahadith:

“Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.’ And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah.'” (Bukhari, 8:387)

I will explain ahadiths in greater detail in another article but an ahadith is a saying of either Mohammad’s or the first four Righteous Caliphs or Islamic rulers. A sound ahadith carries as much weight as does the Qur’ an. All of Bukhari’s ahadiths are considered sound. The Qur’ an states:

“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world ]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.” (An-Afal 8:39, Noble Qur’ an)

Mohammad clearly defines his call as being to fight against everyone until all accept Allah as the only deity to worship. The Qur’ an commands Muslims to fight until there is no more fitnah (contention) and all worship is for Allah alone. These are two of many ayats (proofs) within Shar’ ia which clearly and unequivocally state that Islam’s purpose is to force Islamic monotheism upon the world of Dar al-harb. The ninth chapter of the Qur’ an (At-Tawbah) claims to contain some of the last words of Allah to Mohammad. In the last three verses of that chapter Allah commands Mohammad to fight against unbelievers because they do not believe in Islamic monotheism.

Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. And the Jews say: ‘Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouths. They imitate the saying of the disbelievers of old. Allah’s Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth! They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allah), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded [in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)) to worship none but One Ilah (God – Allah) La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He) . Praise and glory be to Him, (far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him). They (the disbelievers, the Jews and the Christians) want to extinguish Allah’s Light (with which Muhammad has been sent – Islamic Monotheism) with their mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the Kafirun (disbelievers) hate (it).” (At-Tawbah 9:29-32)

In reality, there is nothing special about tawhid. Shar’ ia declares that Allah is not three:

O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, (“Be!” – and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Ruh) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: “Three (trinity)!” Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs. (An-Nisa 4:171)

In addition, the Qur’ an claims Allah is not begotten:

Glorified and High be He! From ‘Uluwan Kabira (the great falsehood) that they say! (i.e.forged statements that there are other gods along with Allah, but He is Allah, the One, the Self-Sufficient Master, whom all creatures need. He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none comparable or coequal unto Him). (17:111)

Finally, Allah is said not to have begotten a son.

He to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Who has begotten no son (children or offspring) and for Whom there is no partner in the dominion. He has created everything, and has measured it exactly according to its due measurements. (Al-Furqan 25:2)

Therefore, Islamic monotheism is merely the belief that there is one person in the Islamic “Godhead” for the lack of a better term. The Islamic deity is similar to the belief that Jesus is the only deity in the Godhead with some very important distinctions. Of course, in Islam Allah does not play act any other individuals. Clearly, the Biblical description of Deity provides evidence that Christians and Muslims do not worship the same deity as is often claimed. Chrislam is a fledgling attempt to merge Islam and “Christianity” into a single entity in which the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is swallowed up by the Allah of Ishamael.

In reality the two are very different. The Bible refers to three separate individuals as Deity in the true sense of the term.  The Father, Son and Spirit are called Deity. (1 John 3:1; John 10:30; Acts 5:3-4) Yet, despite their separateness they are one in two different senses. In one sense all three individuals are one Deity and not two, three, four or more. Isaiah provides a tremendous explanation of this oneness in chapters 41 through 46. The three is also one in the sense of essence of what makes a person what they are. This is what Jesus is referring to in John 10:30 when he says, “I and my Father are one.” The term one refers to essence and therefore, this Jesus claims to be of the same essence of as the Father. This essence is Deity. This is the reason the Jews pick up stones to stone him. How can the three be one in essence? The term infinity (Psalms 147:5) describes this essence. Deity is infinite in all areas therefore, since the Father, Son and Spirit are Deity they are infinite. But if all three are infinite there is no distinction between their essence. Thus, they are one or in complete unity. Clearly, Allah is not remotely similar to Jehovah.

Tawhid not only underlies the doctrine of the Islamic deity but it also underlies the doctrine of Shar’ ia. Mohammad Hashim Kamali says, “Tawhid is the first article of the Muslim faith and a major theme of the Qur’ an. There is only one God. Likewise there is one Islam. one scripture, one ummah (community) and one Shariah.” (2) Despite the many contradictions inherent in the Islamic view of tawhid, the concept supposedly underlies Islam’s religious, political, economic and social concepts. The principle of tawhid forbids a faithful Muslim from unnecessarily involving themselves in the religious, political, economic or social aspects of the host country. When Islam is weak within a host nation Shar’ ia provides numerous exceptions nevertheless, Islam’s overriding purpose in any non-Islamic country is to become strong enough to impose Islamic values on the host country whether they like it or not. The Qur’ an states:

“It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad ) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions even though the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate (it).” (At-Tawbah 9:33)

Tawhid therefore, forbids a Muslim from integrating into the society of the host nation in which they live. Again, Shar’ ia allows for a Muslim to outwardly act like those around them when they are in a position of weakness as long as they do not deny Islam in the heart. This is the principle of taqiyya or religious deception. Nevertheless, the Muslim’s goal is to impose Shar’ ia and an Islamic state (Caliphate) on non-Muslim countries.

Violating tawhid leads to the greatest sin in Islam: Shirk. Shirk is translated polytheism and is the worship of others along with Allah or attributing divine characteristics to someone other than Allah. There are three forms. The first is Ash-Shirk-al-Akbar (major Shirk) The major Shirk involves (1) praying to someone other than Allah, (2) doing deeds of worship toward other deities, (3) rendering obedience to any authority against Allah’s wishes and (4) showing love to another than what belongs to Allah alone. The second form is Ash-Shirk-al-Asghar (minor Shirk). This Shirk is doing acts of worship to show off. The third form is Ash-Shirk-al-Khafi (inconspicious Shirk).  This Shirk is being inwardly dissatisfied with Allah’s provisions. The major Shirk is the most serious and it is the only form for which a Muslim could lose paradise.

Yet, this is does not fully explain Shirk for Shirk has two categories and both are driven by tawhid. The first category involves worshiping a being other than Allah. Christians commit polytheism by worshiping Jesus as God the Word who became flesh as God’s son. This is almost unforgivable. The second category of Shirk is obeying man-made laws. Most Christians are not familiar with this category. Shar’ ia teaches that Allah is sovereign and therefore, he alone has the right to make laws for mankind. Abu Hamza Al-Masri like many jurist turn to At-Tawbah 9:31 as evidence of this. At-Tawbah states:

They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allah), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded [in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)) to worship none but One Ilah (God – Allah) La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He) . Praise and glory be to Him, (far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).”

This passage states that Jews and Christians take their rabbis and monks as lords by obeying them. Mohammad supported this passage with an ahadith explaining that the rabbis and monks made laws which Allah did not and that by following the rabbis and monks they were literally worshiping them. (Noble Qur’ an, page 255) To worship another violates Allah’s sovereignty and the principles of tawhid. For this reason, a faithful Muslim will not willingly obey manmade laws. Therefore, a Muslim commits major Shirk by obeying another deity or manmade laws as in our Constitutional Republic.

Next: The Islamic Triology

Bo Perrin

1) Seyyid Qutb, Milestones, (Dar Al-ILm: Damascus) , 53-54
2) Mohammad hashimkamali, Shar’ iah law: An Introduction, (Oneworld Publications: Oxford, 2008), 99

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