What is the meaning of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism)? 

Tawheed in Islam: In all circumstances and at all times throughout your life, you’ll find that you mention the words of Tawheed more than any other. Even if we exclude prayers and reciting of the Qur’an, you will notice that in your most joyful moments, you say: “La Ilaha Ila Allah!”  

When you weep about someone or something, you say “La Ilaha Ila Allah!”  

Also when you hear good news and cannot find appropriate words to thank Allah, you say: “La Ilaha Ila Allah!” 

When you are depressed and fear your patience is wearing thin, you say: “La Ilaha Ila Allah!” 

Perhaps all of us have experienced these moments, but we didn’t notice the Tawheed in it. We did not stop to think of the meaning of “Tawheed”. Perhaps those of us that are not scholars are simply uninterested to explain its significance. As long as we believe and say “La Ilaha Ila Allah” we do not feel the need to pay special attention to the words of monotheism. 

Reflecting on Tawheed in Islam 

When we fail to reflect on the Tawheed, we miss the overwhelming feelings attached to understanding the original meaning of monotheism. The words, “La Ilaha Ila Allah” is enough to admit us to paradise eventually. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Whosoever testifies that there is no true god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, Allah (SWT) saves him from the Fire (of Hell)”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Islamic Scholars are of the view that this virtue of Tawheed is not achieved by mere speech but by the heart’s awareness of it and the sincerity of the tongue in it. So, it is important to explain the definition of “Tawheed” briefly.

What Does Tawheed (Monotheism) Mean Linguistically?

Monotheism is derived from the Greek word “mono” and “theos.” Mono means “one, single, or alone.” And ‘theism’ is “the belief in God.” Therefore, it means to believe in only one God. Monotheism in Shariah means “the oneness of God” – with what is specific to Him alone the lordship, divinity, names, and attributes. We acknowledge and affirm that He is our Lord and our creator, the Possessor of the Most Beautiful Names and Lofty Attributes. The meaning of Allah’s (SWT) monotheism is clear to us in Surah Al-Ikhlaas (Quran:112)

“Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One.

Allah, the Eternal Refuge.

He neither begets nor is born.

Nor is there to Him any equivalent.

The three different parts of Tawheed

In order to understand the Tawheed idea, Islamic scholars have divided Tawheed into 3 different parts.

1- Tawheed -ul-khaliq توحيد الخالق :

Belief in One Creator. Tawheed -ul-Khaliq, which scholars also call “Tawheed -ur-Ruboobiyyah”, is to believe that Allah is the only Creator of the world. Allah alone is the one who created the universe. One of Allah’s (SWT) names is Al-Khaleq or the creator. Tawheed -ul-Khaliq also means that Allah alone provides care to all of His creations. He (SWT) alone controls the universe and allows things to happen. Nothing happens without Allah’s permission.

“ٱللَّهُ خَٰلِقُ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ”

 “Allah is the Creator of all things” Surat Ar- ra’d

The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) explained the concept of Allah’s control over the universe, He said: ““O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah [alone]. And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you.” Hadith an-Nawawi

2- Tawheed -ul-Ibadah توحيد العبادة :

Worshipping One God. Tawheed -ul-Ibadah is one of the most important parts of Tawheed.

Tawheed -ul-Ibadah, which is also called Tawheed -ul- Uloohiyyah توحيد الألوهية means that no one has the right to be worshipped but Allah (SWT). All actions of Ibadah should be done for Allah alone. Worshipping others instead of or beside Allah is the greatest sin anyone can commit. unfortunately, many people worship people, idols, animals, planets, or other things. They think these things lead to God or they are parts of God. This is not Tawheed, and these practices are dangerous and rejected in Islam.

“قُلْ إِنَّمَآ أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ ٱللَّهَ وَلَآ أُشْرِكَ بِهِۦٓ ۚ إِلَيْهِ أَدْعُواْ وَإِلَيْهِ مَـَٔابِ”

“I have only been commanded to worship Allah and not associate [anything] with Him. To Him I invite, and to Him is my return.” Surat Ar- Ra’d: 36

Ibadah should be done directly to Allah (SWT), not through anyone or anything else. For example, many people think that they have to pray or communicate with God through a religious person. They ask God’s forgiveness through a religious person. In Islam, you pray, supplicate, and perform all acts of worship to Allah directly. Muslims are close to Allah, they repent and seek Allah’s forgiveness privately. Muslims believe that Allah hears and sees everything all the time, Allah is the all-loving and He (SWT) is very close to us.

“وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ٱدْعُونِىٓ أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ۚ”

“And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Surt Ghafir: 60

Ibn ‘Abbas (RAA) narrated, the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Be mindful of Allah and you shall find Him with you. When you ask (for anything), ask it from Allah, and if you seek help, seek help from Allah.”

Ibn Umar told that he heard Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) says, “He who swears by anyone but God is a polytheist.”

3- Tawheed -ul-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat توحيد الأسماء والصفات :

Belief in the high attributes of the one true God.
Allah (SWT) has 99 names and attributes. We understand who our creator is through His many Names. Each attribute has a meaning that is only for Allah (SWT). Tawheed -ul-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat means that Allah’s names and attributes can only describe Him and no one else. For example, one of Allah’s names is Al- Qawiyy, or the powerful. A man can also be described as powerful or Qawiyy, however, he is not nearly as powerful as Allah (SWT).

“ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ لَهُ ٱلْأَسْمَآءُ ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ”
“Allah – there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names.”
Surt Taha

In conclusion

reflecting on the meaning of Tawheed makes us depend on Allah alone and not fear people. Tawheed teaches us that no one can hurt us without the permission of Allah. Worshipping Allah is freedom and happiness; it makes all people equal since all are created by the same great creator. Join our Islamic courses to know more, and ask for free trials by Hamil Alquran Academy.

Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said:
One day, I was riding behind the Prophet (PBUH) when he said, “O boy! I will instruct you on some matters. Be watchful of Allah (Commandments of Allah), He will preserve you. Safeguard His Rights, He will be ever with you. If you beg, beg of Him Alone; and if you need assistance, supplicate to Allah Alone for help. And remember that if all the people gather to benefit you, they will not be able to benefit you except that which Allah had foreordained (for you); and if all of them gather to do harm to you, they will not be able to afflict you with anything other than that which Allah had pre-destined against you. The pens had been lifted and the ink had dried up”.

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