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Islamic monotheism

By Sister Usmah Sister Usmah © 2012


(In the Name of Allah the Most Merciful, the Especially Merciful).

What is Islamic monotheism (or Tawheed in Arabic?)

Tawheed is defined as: the singling out of Allah in worship, while believing
in His Unique Essence, Attributes and Actions.

Let’s analyse this first pillar of Islam commonly referred to as the shahaada
(which basically means to bear witness i.e., to bear witness that there is no
deity worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His Slave [most
perfect worshipper] and His Messenger).

If we look at the first part of the shahaada –

There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.

What is a deity?

It is something that is worshipped whether it is Allah, Prophet an Angel or a


What is worship?

It means to utilise the actions of the heart, tongue or limbs or combinations

of these and to direct it to a deity.

When a person directs their worship to other than Allah they have committed
an act of polytheism (shirk in Arabic) i.e., associated a partner in worship
with Allah. In Islam this is the only unforgivable sin if a person dies in that
state. To believe in some other deity other than Allah is also shirk.

Therefore the first part of the shahaada is to reject and disbelieve in all else
that is worshipped except Allah and to worship Him alone.
Who is Allah?

According to the Pocket Oxford English Dictionary 9th Edition 2001

Allah is the name of God among Muslims (and Arab Christians).

There are at least 99 acknowledged names and attributes of Allah. The name
Allah itself has many elements to it and is considered to be the greatest name
of Allah.

The word Allah linguistically cannot be made plural. It cannot be made

masculine or feminine. It is unique, you cannot change it and there is
nothing else like it. Allah basically means the only one to be worshipped.

The following are verses from the Qur’aan explaining who Allah is.

Say, “Have you considered (tell me): if there came to you the
punishment of Allah or there came to you the Hour – is it other than
Allah you would invoke, if you should be truthful?” No, it is Him [alone]
you would invoke, and He would remove that for which you invoked
Him if He willed, and you would forget what you associate [with Him].

Say, “Have you considered: if Allah should make for you the night
continuous until the Day of Resurrection, what deity other than Allah
could bring you light? Then will you not hear?” Say, “Have you
considered: if Allah should make for you the day continuous until the
Day of resurrection, what deity other than Allah could bring you a night
in which you may rest? Will you then not see?” And out of His Mercy
He made for you the night and day that you may rest therein and [by
day] seek from His bounty and [that] perhaps you will be grateful.

Misconceptions about what a deity worthy of worship is

 “Mother nature” created everything. Allah is the Creator. The Creator of

the universe, the Creator of man, the Creator of everything. If a person
says “Mother nature” created him then he affirms there is a creator called
“Mother nature”. Even if a person claims to be an atheist, they are still
affirming a belief in something or some concept. Belief in science i.e.,
evolution and all other scientific explanations for the things that go on
around us is a belief in and of itself.

 A person should be able to see what they worship. If we take this

literally it means people should worship the sun as it is the greatest thing
we can see. But Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) refutes this when
he was debating with his people, as seen in the Qur’aan:

And thus did We show Abraham the realm of the heavens and the earth
that he would be among the certain [in faith]. So when the night covered
him [with darkness], he saw a star. He said, “This is my Lord.” But
when it set, he said, “I like not those that set [i.e., disappear].” And
when he saw the moon rising, he said, “This is my Lord.” But when it
set, he said, “Unless my Lord guides me, I will surely be among the
people gone astray.” And when he saw the sun rising, he said, “This is
my Lord; this is greater.” But when it set, he said, “O my people, indeed
I am free from what you associate with Allah. Indeed, I have turned my
face [i.e., self] toward He who created the heavens and the earth,
inclining toward truth, and I am not of those who associate others with
Allah. 6:75-78

Consider electricity, your brain, air, germs, etc we do not see them but we
know they exist. The signs of their existence are all around us. We are able
to do many things and it is our brain that controls this. We do not see our
brain but we can see what it can do. Take a look at the universe it is proof
that there exists its Creator. What about a car or picture, someone had to
make them. In relation to the car, someone put it together specifically in that
order to make it more than just metal and plastic. Just because we cannot see
something does not mean it does not exist. If there is creation logically there
must be its’ Creator.

 A deity can have human qualities. Humans are prone to errors. A deity
should be something that is perfect i.e., free from imperfections. For
example, a deity should not need to rest. Allah says in the Qur’aan:

Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of

[all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him
belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is
it than can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows
what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they
encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His
footstool extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation
tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. 2:255

 A deity is everywhere in everything. A deity cannot be in everything, nor

would He be required to be in something to understand it or know about
it. For example, to say that a deity is in your heart or in a human is not
befitting for a deity. To say this, a person is saying that the particular
deity is imperfect and does not know everything and thus must take the
form of a human to know about the human and its’ affairs. If we assume
that that same deity created the human than surely He knows about it.
When a person makes a gadget he does not need to be in it to know how
it works. This concept is illogical. If you ask a child if God is in filthy
places he will be disgusted and say no. It is not befitting to worship
something that can be found in filthy places. In Islam Allah is above His
throne. Allah is above creation, completely separate from it and thus is
not surrounded by it. He has absolute knowledge of everything going on
in the universe.

 Man and a deity can unite thus having divine attributes. If a person can
supposedly unite with something they are worshipping thus making them
have their so-called divine qualities then that thing is not worthy of
worship. This makes them an equal or better than the deity they are/were
worshipping. Islam refutes this. Since Islam affirms one unique deity –
Allah. Nothing can be like Him, thus making Allah far above this

 A deity can unite with man. A deity should be something that is not like
his creation. He has to be different. Why? Because if the deity was like
his creation that means he would not be the only one worthy of worship
as something else is like him and has those same qualities. Allah says in
the Qur’aan:

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] Uniquely One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He
neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent”. 112:1-4

These verses can be interpreted as the concise definition of what a deity

worthy of worship should be. If what you worship falls in to the above
category then you are worshipping Allah, as only Allah fits the above
definition. Hence only Allah is worthy of worship.
Who is Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the name of a Prophet who rose up in

Arabia at around 610CE. He was unlettered (i.e., could not read or write).
Through Divine guidance and help he managed to change the barbaric
ignorant Arabs in to a civilized respectable world leading nation. Prior to the
revelation descending he was considered to be highly truthful and
trustworthy. Even after the announcement of prophethood his enemies still
left their valuables with him. Despite their refusal to accept the truth of the
message he came with they still valued his trustworthiness and honesty.
Every aspect of his life is full of exemplary characteristics. In the Qur’aan
he is referred to as the “Mercy to mankind”. This is evident when we see
that he conquered Makkah in peace and everyone who had shown hostility
to him and his followers was forgiven. As a result huge amounts of people
accepted Islam there and then.

What is the Qur’aan

There are thousands of miracles attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace

be upon him). The Qur’aan is the greatest miracle confirming Muhammad’s
(peace be upon him) Prophethood. It is the last revelation send by Allah.
Since the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Allah’s last Prophet
(Muslims believe in all the previous Prophets sent by Allah from Adam to
Jesus (peace be upon them all)), some of his miracles had to stand the test of
time and the Qur’aan does just that. There are scientific facts that are stated
in the Qur’aan over fourteen hundred years ago that have only been
discovered in the last hundred years. The Qur’aan is the main source of
guidance for Muslims and combined with the authentic teachings
(commonly referred to as the Sunnah or way) of Muhammad (peace be upon
him) form the complete manual on how to live life successfully as dictated
by the Creator Allah.

What to do if you want to become a Muslim?

You have to verbally declare your testimony of faith – the shahaadah.

Prior to saying the shahaada many things have to take place:
1. The person wishing to become a Muslim must have correct
knowledge of what Islam is. They need to know the pillars of Islam,
the pillars of faith and what it means to be a Muslim.
2. Once they have got the facts, they need to believe it and be certain
that it is the truth.
3. They must then accept it. Once a person realises that Islam is the
truth and that only Allah is worthy of worship they must accept it.
4. They need to repent for their previous un-Islamic actions and submit
their will only to Allah.
5. They need to be obedient and sincere to Allah.
6. They must do the above out of Love for Allah. Once a person truly
knows who Allah is they will undoubtedly have great love for Him.
7. They must reject the worship of everything else.

Once the above conditions have been met, then take a bath then say the
shahaada. A person needs to say “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illAllaahu, wa
Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa Rasooluhu (I bear witness that
there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that
Muhammad is His Slave [most perfect worshipper] and Messenger).

Becoming a Muslim is life-changing for most people. It is a gradual process.

Each person needs to take the changes step-by-step and you do not have to
be perfect to be Muslim.

Allah’s Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“If a person embraces Islam sincerely, then Allah shall forgive all his past
sins, and after that starts the settlement of accounts, the reward of his
good deeds will be ten times to seven hundred times for each good deed
and an evil deed will be recorded as it is unless Allah forgives it”.

Next steps

Once you have become a Muslim you now need to know how to pray. You
can visit your local mosque, Islamic book store or even ask a Muslim you
know and they should be able to give you some books and even show you
how to pray.

May Allah bless us all. Ameen (same as Amen)

For free ebooks visit:

 http://www.islamicbulletin.com/services/all_ebooks_p1.aspx
 http://www.sultan.org/books/
 http://www.converttoislam.org/
 www.shareislam.com/
 www.kalamullah.com/
 www.islamhouse.com/

Further information

 The Qur’aan English translation by Sahih International;

 Sahih Al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim – these two are unanimously the
most authentic sources of the teachings of Muhammad (peace be upon
 Al-Mubarakpuri, Safi-ur-Rahmaan. Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum. The
sealed nectar. Riyadh: Darussalam, 2002 (This is a biography of
Muhammad (peace be upon him))
 Bacaille, Maurice. The Bible the Qur’aan and Science. Lahore: Al
Falah Islamic Books, 15th ed, 1993
 www.shareislam.com
 http://watchislam.com/
 www.irf.net
 Peace TV (sky channel 820)
 Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal. The Fundamentals of Tawheed.
Birmingham: al-Hidaayah publishing, 2004
 Sakr, Ahmed H. The Most beautiful names of Allah. Illinois:
Foundation for Islamic knowledge, 2003

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