BELIEF IN THE
UNITY OF GOD
This seems to be a rather simple and elementary
concept. It should not be difficult for anybody to understand
the oneness of God, and there the matter seems to rest. But in
fact there is far more to this than meets the eye. When one examines
the concept of Unity in depth, the entire world of religion seems
to revolve around this pivotal point. This belief influences
man's life in all its aspects. It also implies the negation of
all else but God. So belief in the oneness of God is not the
end-all of belief, but all other beliefs spring from this fountain-head
of eternal truth. This also delivers a message of liberation
from all other yokes and releases man from all obligations except
such as are born out of his submission to God.
This article has been further elucidated from
different angles, both in the Holy Quran and the traditions of
the Holy Prophet of Islam. For instance, the declaration 'La
houl wala quat illa Billah' (There is no all-encompassing
power except Allah) opens up new windows for a deeper and wider
understanding of Unity. It negates all fears other than the fear
of God. The second part of the same brings to the focus of attention
another very important aspect of Unity. i.e. that the power to
achieve good is solely dependent on God, and that He is Master
of all sources of strength and energy. Hence while the first
part relates to the negative aspects of power, the second part
relates to the positive.
In application to human actions, intentions
and motivations etc., these two forces are all-encompassing.
Man's intentions and his subsequent actions are always guided
and controlled either by fear or hope, and there is no exception
to this rule. Those who do good deeds do so out of fear and hope,
and those who indulge in vices are motivated by the same. The
fears of non-believers belong to the negative ungodly category,
and they shape their lives in accordance with these worldly fears.
Sometimes they are afraid of earning the displeasure of monarchs
and authorities, sometimes they are afraid of society in general
or of despots and bullies. Again, sometimes they act evilly out
of a fear of poverty and loss etc. So, in a world full of vices,
a large part of human actions can be explained with reference
to these fears.
The belief in Unity dispels these fears altogether
and brings to one's mind the importance of the fear of God, which
means that one must not be afraid of the displeasure of the ungodly,
but should always endeavour to avoid displeasing God, and shape
one's life according to that fear alone. In the positive sense,
the same applies to all human motivations and consequent actions.
Man always lives by some motive to please someone, himself being
no exception. In fact, more often than not, he works to please
himself even at the cost of those who are otherwise dear to him.
A more exaggerated form of this attitude renders
man a worshipper of his own ego. To achieve his purpose, man
has to please those on whom his pleasures depend. As such, again
he has to constantly strive to win the favours of monarchs, authorities
etc. What we are describing is the worst form of slavery. The
hopes and fears of a slave are completely dependent on the whims.
pleasures and displeasures of his master. But a godless man has
not one master alone. Every other human being in relation to
his personal interests can play as God to him. If you analyse
the ultimate cause of social, moral or political evils, it is
such human worship which destroys the peace of man's mind, and
society as a whole begins to deteriorate endlessly.
From this point of view, when you cast another
glance at the fundamental declaration, that 'there is no God
but Allah, the One and Only', all these fears and hopes relating
to objects other than God are dispelled, as if by the waving
of a magic wand. In other words, by choosing one master alone,
you are liberated from slavery to all others. To be a slave of
such others as are themselves slaves to numberless gods is a
poor bargain indeed. But that is not all. The gods that such
people worship are many a time products of their own imagination,
which can do them neither good nor harm. Most men, on the other
hand, worship nothing but mortals like themselves, their own
egos being supreme among them all. Hence each of them bows to
numberless egotistic gods, their interests being at clash with
each other, creating a situation which is the ultimate of chaos.
The Islamic concept of Unity also inculcates
in man the realisation of the oneness of the human species, and
does away with all such barriers as divide man into racial, ethnic
and colour denominations. This gives birth to the universal concept
of equality in Islam, which is its distinctive feature. Hence
from the vantage point of God, all human beings, wherever and
in whichever age they were born, stand equal in His sight. As
will be demonstrated shortly, it is this fundamental which gives
rise to all other fundamental beliefs and doctrines in Islam.
As briefly mentioned before, Islam's doctrine of Unity is absolute
and unsplittable; it has no room for adding to the Godhead in
any form. He has neither a father nor a mother, nor has He a
spouse. For Him to give birth to sons and daughters is inconceivable.
Another important aspect of Unity of God as
presented by the Quran relates to absolute harmony in His creation.
It is this harmony concept which appealed so strongly to Einstein.
He was compelled to pay tribute to the perfect symmetry in nature,
which according to him required the oneness of creator. He was
a scientist, and his perception of that harmony was limited to
the material universe. But the Holy Quran speaks of the harmony
in creation in all its possible applications. The Holy Quran
claims that within nature, as created by God, and within the
divine books revealed by God, there is no disharmony; that there
is complete concurrence between one area of God's creation and
another, and between one book and the other.
It goes further to declare that there is perfect
consistency between the Word of God and the Act of God, and that
there can be no contradiction between nature and the divine word
as revealed to His prophets. This subject is beautifully expressed
in the first five verses of Surah Al-Mulk, and is also taken
up in many other verses of the Quran from various angles.
Coming to individuals, the belief in Unity plays
a very important role in the education and upbringing of humans.
It requires a consistency between man's views and actions, a
consistency between his relationship with God and his fellow
beings, thus binding creation in a single chain of unbreakable
unity. This can be better understood by bringing to focus the
practices of some so-called religious people, who preach hatred
for one section of human society against another in the name
of the one and only God. The principle of Unity of God is at
variance with this practice, and as such does not permit people
to create divisions between God and His creation and within the
creation of God.