What is Tawhid?
Author: Alaaddin Başar (Prof.Dr.)
Tawhid (oneness) means to say and to believe that ‘there is no god but Allah’, to utter the word ‘La ilaha illallah’.
When the word tawhid is uttered, the phrase “La ilaha illallah” comes to the mind. This phrase is called kalima at-tawhid and it expresses that there is no true god to be worshipped except Allah.
There are many similes for this realm of beings. One of them is the palace of the universe. Tawhid is the creed of accepting and recognizing the Sultan of this palace as one and not associating any partners with Him.
It is impossible for the floor of the palace to belong to someone and the ceiling to belong to another one. The carpets, lamps and other things in the palace of the universe were not brought from another realm and then mounted here. Everything, every guest in the palace is born in the palace. Let us have a look at a flower: Every being of the palace, from the soil to the sun, has some share in it. Let us have a look at the human body: The elements that are the building blocks of this palace are present in him.
The mountains settled on the plains like armchairs. However, they were not brought from somewhere else; they rose from within the plain. The fruits are attached to the trees. They were not imported from another country; they grew from the trees.
The baby is on its mother’s lap. It did not come from another country; it grew up in her womb. The sun is a lamp for this palace. It was not brought from somewhere else; it was created together with the sky.
Numerous beings that exist in this realm have been united; relationships have been established among them and this realm of beings has been made like a palace. People who think of this utter kalima at-tawhid and know that this palace is the property and creature of Allah with everything in it.
Kalima at-tawhid means there is no true god to be worshipped except Allah but since the word Allah encompasses all divine names, it also contains the meanings like, “there is no giver of life but Allah, there is no creator but Allah” Thus, onenesses as many as the divine names are hidden in this oneness.
Some scholars divide oneness into two as oneness based on knowledge and oneness based on action. According to this classification, the things written so far are oneness based on knowledge. Oneness based on action means the full rule of this belief over man in his realm of action.
The verse, “iyyaka na’budu wa iyyaka nastain” teaches us the oneness based on action. “Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.” We turn to the direction that you tell us only; we stand in the presence of you only; we bow down and prostrate before you only. We think about the things that only you consent to and we love those that only you consent to.
A person who worships Allah only is freed from the contempt of worshipping idols; a person who asks for the help of Allah only will not pursue causes and will be freed from being the slave of events; and he will take refuge in Allah with full trust. It is a lofty pleasure and a superior power.
Besides, the way of being a perfect believer is through attaining perfection in oneness based on knowledge and oneness based on action.
Oneness is not limited to those we have mentioned above. Oneness is in question for the attributes, names and deeds of Allah, too. It is possible to summarize them as follows:
Oneness of Deeds: “To know that the causes have no effects on the creation of things”, “to believe that Allah is the only creator.”
Oneness of Attributes: “To know that the attributes like knowledge, power and will given to the creatures are the creatures of Allah and not to attribute them independent beings.”
Oneness of the Essence: “To know that every being is in the level of non-existence in the presence of His essence and existence.”
To give life, to kill, to heal, to guide, to sustain are all different deeds. Those numerous deeds are based on the same attributes: Life, knowledge, power, hearing, sight, will, speech and creating. To accept that those numerous deeds carried out in the realm of creatures originate from those divine attributes is called oneness based on deeds. To attribute all that attributes to only one being is called oneness of essence.