Tawheed: bedrock of the Islamic Faith
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
Worshipping Allah and to qualify as His bondman depends on one’s sound faith and perfect belief. Without a thorough understanding of this essential element, neither worship nor any other act, however great it may seem would have any merit, worth and acceptability. On the other hand even a small act backed by a sound faith carries a great weight in the sight of Allah. It is therefore a primary responsibility of every believer to pay due attention to the quality of his faith as it is absolutely necessary for understanding the concept of Tawheed, i.e. Oneness of Allah (SWT). This concept forms the very basis of man’s entitlement to the honor and unique status of KhalifatulLah, the vicegerent of Allah of earth. It is also the fountain head of all those morals, ethics, manners, practices, and conduct, which distinguishes man as the most eminent and super among all of Allah’s creations. It also leads him to deserve the reward of Paradise, which is his original abode. That is why the Holy Qur’an has mentioned this concept emphatically and repeatedly. In fact according to an estimate Aayahs dealing with Tawheed constitute to be one third of the Holy Qur’an. The last Aayahs of Surah Al-Furqan emphasize the correct understanding of Tawheed in addition to other attributes of Ibaad-ul-Rahman. Aayah 68 declares:
“…those who never invoke any other deity beside Allah…”
The first and the most important of the three components mentioned in this Aayah is that the special servant of Allah hold fast to the concept of Tawheed, and does not, repeat does not consider anyone worthy of worship beside Allah (SWT). He is the Most Supreme, the Most Powerful, He is the only One, Who is worthy of worship and it is He alone, who grants supplications and listen to prayers. No one shares His absolute power, and the believers are aware of His command mentioned in Aayah 60 of Surah Ghaafir:
“Your Lord says, Call on Me and I will answer you…”
Deeply ingrained in believers’ consciousness is Aayahs 4-5 of Surah Al-Faatiha, which says:
“[Allah, Your are the] Master of the Day of Judgment. It is You we worship; it is You we ask for Help.”
The believers understand what is meant by Faith; they are aware about their total dependence on Allah. Worshipping Him alone and turning to Him for help is the dictate of their faith as mentioned in Aayah 123 of Surah Hud:
“All that is hidden in the heavens and earth belongs to Allah, and all authority goes back to Him.”
Man from head to toe is nothing but a seeker of help. Like a beggar he holds a bowl in his hand asking for help. He is an all time dependent for the fulfillment of his needs. From the time he is born, opens his eyes to the moment he closes them for good and dies, man has countless physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs and no one can provide growth and sustenance to him but his Creator. Man cannot depend for his being on any one whose resources, means, power, authority, control and knowledge is limited. He for his survival needs some one, whose sovereignty and majesty is most supreme, not to be challenged by anyone. He needs someone whose knowledge encompasses the past, the present and the future and whose governance is flawless and extends to all that ever was or will ever be. Man needs someone to look after him, who neither has a prejudice nor bias, and who does not sleep or slumber and for whom taking care of the vast known and unknown expanse of the universe and regulating the cosmos is just a matter of will. He doesn’t get tired and doesn’t need weekends to rest as proclaimed by certain faiths. Aayah 25 of Surah Al-Baqarah declares:
“Allah; there is not god but Him, the Ever Living, the Ever Watchful. Neither slumber no sleep overtakes Him. All that is in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Him. Who is there that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, but they do not comprehend any of His knowledge except what He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth; it does not weary Him to preserve them both. He is the most High, the Tremendous.”
The miraculous unexplored universe within man and the unending exploration to discover the expanding universe beyond man’s stretch of imagination attest to the fact that there One who’s Law permeates the universe and keeps it flawlessly running. It is none but the One and Only Allah (SWT). It is He to whom one should submit in obedience. There are signs all around us, and within us attesting to the truth mentioned in Aayah 53 of Surah Ha Meem Sajdah/Fussilat:
“We shall show them Our signs in every region of the earth and in themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth.”
Man is frail and weak by his very nature. He takes mirages for real water. He attributes godly powers to animate and inanimate objects alike and considers them as a source of benefit or harm. He created gods and goddesses and weaved enchanting myths around them. To lead light and to clear his blurred vision, Allah (SWT) sent prophets and messengers at different times and places. These great men told in clear and simple terms that God is One and He is the only One worthy of worship. Aayah25 of Surah Al-Anbiya says:
“We never sent any messenger before you [Muhammad (SAW)] without revealing to him: [that] there is no Allah but Me, so serve Me.”
and Aayah 36 of Surah Al-Nahl reminds:
“We sent a messenger to every community, saying: Worship Allah and shun false gods…”
These prophets and messengers adopted two methods to lead mankind from darkness of ignorance into the light of understanding:
1) They repeatedly explained the attributes of Allah with clarity, simplicity and in unequivocal terms as it was the only effective dose to cure the sick hearts and clouded minds. Lacking such knowledge leads to ignorance and superstitions. That is why Allah (SWT) said in Aayah 67 of Surah Al-Zumar:
“These people have no grasp of Allah’s true measure. On the Day of Resurrection, the whole earth will be in His grip. The heavens will be rolled up in His right hand – Glory is to Him! He is far above the partners they ascribe to Him!”
2) They exposed the reality of the existence of the things created. They laid down bare facts for man to understand that everything in this universe is but created and is regulated by its Creator according to His own plan. They emphasized that every thing submits to Allah (SWT)’s supreme and final authority.
These prophets and messengers said things about the attributes of Allah (SWT), which are simple yet revolutionary and brief yet comprehensive. They explained them in terms, which are candid, logical, convincing and conclusive. For example take the Allah’s attribute “Samad”, which means that each and everything in this universe is created and dependent on Allah (SWT), Who is independent of all. He has all the reins of power and He alone runs the show, operates and calls the shots. Aayah 5 of Surah Sajdah says:
“He runs everything, from the heavens to the earth and every thing will ascend to him in the end…”
No one shares power in His total and absolute sovereignty. Aayah 22 of Surah Saba says:
“Say; Pray to your so-called gods besides Allah’ they do not control even the weight of a speck of dust in heaven or earth, nor do they have any share in them, nor are any of them any help to Allah.”
And Aayah 111 of Surah Bani Isra’eel:
“…and say: Praise belongs to Allah, who has neither child nor partner in His rule. He is not so weak as to need a protector. Proclaim His limitless Greatness!”
Allah protects the man and His angels shield and look after him. Aayah 11 of Surah Al-Ra’ad says:
“…each person has guardian angels before him and behind, watching over him by Allah’s command…”
Allah (SWT) controls the destinies and sends His angels for man’s safeguard as long he is destined to live. Aayah 61 of Surah Al-An’aam declares:
“He is the Supreme Master over His subjects. He sends out recorders to watch over until, when death overtakes any of you, those sent by Us take his soul – they never fail in their duty.”
The Holy Qur’an is full of such Aayahs and volumes after volumes can be written in their explanations and interpretations. One is required to ponder and deliberate on each of them as they unfold a new world of meaning and understanding.
A historical approach with an objective and unbiased mind reveals that the disbelievers and polytheist during Prophet (SAW)’s time did not regard their gods as equal to Allah (SWT). They superstitiously took them as intercessors or a go-in-between them and Allah (SWT). Hence they called them for help, turned to them in an hour of need, sacrificed animals in their name on altars they had built in their honor. They had belief in angels, but considered them as Allah (SWT)’s daughters.
Hazrat Shah WaliulLah Muhaddis Dehlvi (RehmA) in his celebrated book “HujjatulLahil Baaligha” has defined four aspects of the concept of Tawheed:
“If you [Prophet] ask them: “Who created the heavens and the earth?” They are sure to say: “They were created by the Almighty, the All Knowing.”
the One to be worshipped, and that no one else deserves or is worthy of worship. These two sub-aspects are inter-related and inter-dependent. The Holy Qur’an has dealt with these two aspects and provided detailed answers to dispel the doubts of whims of the disbelievers and polytheists.
Insha Allah I will further discuss this subject later, but let me put a straight question to you. “If a servant betrays his master, you denounce him as faithless. If an officer becomes disloyal to the state, you dub him as a traitor. If a person cheats his benefactor, you condemn him as ungrateful.” If a king trusting loyalty bestows a higher rank to one of his subjects, grants him favors night and day, puts everything at his disposal and rewards him highly, yet the person commits rebellion both in secret and in the open and disobeys him in public and private, you call his act as betrayal of trust, treason, and treachery, which is punishable by death. “A little reflection would reveal that Allah (SWT) is the greatest benefactor of man. He is the Creator, Lord, Nourisher, Sustainer, as well as the real King and Sovereign. And this being the position of Allah (SWT) vis-à-vis man, what can be greater betrayal, ingratitude, rebellion, and treason than disobeying Him and committing Kufr? We pray that we understand the meaning of Tawheed and behave the way a loyal servant should behave. Aameen!
SWT = Subhanahu Wa Ta'Ala
SAW = Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam
AS = AlehisSalam
RA = Radhiyallaho anhu
RAnha= Radhiyallaho anha
The Friday Khutbahs are published to enhance your knowledge of Islam. The references of Quran and Hadith are the approximate translation of the Arabic text. The editors have not verified the accuracy of the the English translation. The scholarly reader is encouraged to refer to the original Arabic script if there is any doubt. Kindly notify us if the translation can be enhanced.