What is the Value of Tawhid (Monotheism)? Part 2

02 December, 2016
Q I have never understood the need for or value that Islam places on tawhid, or the scriptural basis for it. I believe that Muslims have expended considerable time and energy on defining an undefinable God in very specific ways. It is my opinion that all that time and effort was is wasted because it is not relevant to monotheism and the worship of the personal creator deity. Ultimately there is only one understanding of God - He is the creator of all things. All else that we know is through revelation, through The Word made flesh. Were it not for Jesus we would not know God. IMHO tawhid is meaningless, it teaches us nothing. So what in your view is the value of tawhid?

Answer

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Salam (Peace) Dear Brother,

Thank you so much for sending us your message, and for posing your questions respectfully.

So, again, the value of tawhid is to deeply understand God and communicate with Him the way He wants us to communicate with Him. This is why God sent His last and final Messenger, Muhammad, to teach people complete submission to their Creator, which is the essence of tawhid.

This is what Islam means; complete and sincere submission of the heart, mind, body and soul to their Creator. This doesn’t negate what you mentioned about God being the Creator, on the contrary, it further achieves the purpose of deeply knowing and connecting with this Creator.

Mind you, many people claim to love and know God, but you will still see that they’re living a life of materialism, following whims and desires… they only remember God briefly or if they did something wrong. That’s not pure monotheism! If we’re taking materialism or our jobs, money…etc. as our main goal in life, then that’s not pure monotheism. You’ve actually taken these things as gods besides God.

Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire? Then would you be responsible for him?” (Quran 25: 43)

If something else or someone else takes up the majority of your life, thinking, interest, and pursuit in life… then that’s not pure monotheism. It is not befitting of God to have a superficial relationship with His creations. Why did He create them then?

Does man think that he will be left neglected? Had he not been a sperm from semen emitted? Then he was a clinging clot, and [Allah] created [his form] and proportioned [him]. And made of him two sexes, the male and the female. Is not that [Creator] Able to give life to the dead?” (Quran 75: 36-40)

Pure monotheism as opposed to not knowing God adequately If you sent someone a gift as a generous gesture to connect with that person, and then that person takes the gift and befriends the person who delivered it instead of you, and almost removes you from the equation… is that fair or right?

Our beloved Jesus, peace be upon him, as far as we believe, did not ask us to worship him. He referred people to God. We follow Jesus, yes definitely. We just don’t attribute to a man something that he is not or haven’t done or asked for.What is the Value of Tawhid (Monotheism)? Part 2 - About Islam This issue is primarily about the adequate realization and connection with The Source.

The way you referred to God as the Creator seemed vague. Yes, He is The Creator, but what does this mean for us, how do we connect with Him and actualize the purpose of our creation? In the First Chapter of the Quran that we recite in the 5 daily prayers we say to God: “It is You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help.”

This is absolute pure monotheism, dedication and connection with God. We don’t take a person or a thing as god besides God. In Chapter 112 of the Quran called Al-Ikhlas (The Sincerity/Purity of Faith/ Oneness of God), it says:

“In the Name of Allah, The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful

(1)   Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One,

(2)   Allah, the Eternal Refuge.

(3)   He neither begets nor is born,

(4)   Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

So, some people would say that they are monotheists, but they will think that God is actually more than one, or they take refuge in other than God Himself, or think that He is born or He gives birth in any way, shape or form… which doesn’t make Him a unique God and attributes to Him things that are beneath Him that none of His messengers claimed about Him. So, it is very important to get God’s identity correct. Would you want someone to confuse your own identity? Allah (Arabic word for One and Only God) wants to communicate with us directly…

{And when My servants ask you concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.} (Quran. 2:186)

God is removing the barriers between us and Him. Why then do we place them, thinking that we can’t reach Him or connect with Him except through an intermediary?

Moreover, the idea of Jesus (peace be upon him) dying for our sins is peculiar. Why would God need to kill someone (kill himself? Since it’s believed Jesus is god…) to forgive our sins? This means we’re attributing to God false attributions such as Him being incapable of forgiving.

While in Islam, we know that among God’s Name are Al Ghafoor, Al Ghaffar (The Ever Forgiving, The Perpetual Forgiver). So, He doesn’t need to take such an unfair drastic action to enable Himself to forgive what He can forgive in a second if He wishes.

It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is.” (Quran 19: 35)

Among God’s Names also is Al ‘Adl (The Just). Is it justice to kill someone for the sin of another? Is it really merciful to do so?What is the Value of Tawhid (Monotheism)? Part 2 - About Islam If you have two sons. One of them committed a mistake, then you take the other one and punish him so he can remove the sin of his brother… is this fair to the one you’re punishing?

More importantly, you let the other brother go away without learning his mistakes. You’ve omitted the educational process, the means for him to grow, learn and understand.

Say, “Is it other than Allah I should desire as a lord while He is the Lord of all things? And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.” [Quran 6: 164]

And if someone else will die for our sins, and we won’t be held accountable… why then would anyone do good deeds or stop committing evil ones? Who would hold the murderers and the rapists and the evil doers accountable for what they have done?

(First Published: April 2016)

About Dina Mohamed Basiony
Dina Mohamed Basiony is a writer based in Cairo, Egypt. She is the Chief Editor of ProductiveMuslim.com. She specializes in Islam and spirituality. Dina holds an MA and BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo.