Tawhid: Meaning, Types, Significance, Quranic References
Tawhid or Tawheed, which can be translated as “Oneness” or “Monotheism,” is a central concept in Islam that encapsulates the belief in the absolute oneness of God. It is the foundational principle upon which the entire Islamic faith is built. Shahada or bearing witness to one Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) as his last messenger is also the first pillar of Islam. Tawhid serves as a distinctive feature that distinguishes Islam from other belief systems and religions. The concept is derived from the Arabic root word “wahada,” meaning to unify or make one.
Definition of Tawhid
Tawhid asserts the absolute oneness of Allah (God) in all aspects of His existence. It denies any form of multiplicity, division, or partners associated with God.
Types of Tawhid
Tawhid encompasses three main categories: Tawhid ar-Rububiyyah (Oneness of Lordship), Tawhid al-Uluhiyyah (Oneness of Worship), and Tawhid al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (Oneness of God’s Names and Attributes).
Let’s delve into more detail about each category of Tawhid:
1. Tawhid ar-Rububiyyah (Oneness of Lordship):
- This aspect of Tawhid emphasizes the oneness of Allah in His role as the Lord and Creator of the universe. It involves acknowledging that God is the sole originator, sustainer, and controller of all things.
- Believers affirm that Allah is the only source of power, the only one with the authority to legislate, and the only one with the ability to create and maintain the universe.
- Tawhid ar-Rububiyyah serves as a foundation for understanding the divine wisdom behind creation and events in the world. It emphasizes that everything happens by the will and decree of Allah alone.
Quranic References of Tawhid ar-Rububiyyah
- Surah Al-Fatir (Chapter 35, Verse 13): “He causes the night to enter the day, and He causes the day to enter the night, and He is Knowing of that within the breasts.”
- Surah Al-An’am (Chapter 6, Verse 102): “That is Allah, your Lord; there is no deity except Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs.”
2. Tawhid al-Uluhiyyah (Oneness of Worship):
- This aspect of Tawhid is concerned with the exclusive right of Allah to be worshiped. It involves directing all acts of worship, devotion, and obedience solely to Allah, without associating any partners with Him.
- The concept of Tawhid al-Uluhiyyah rejects the worship of anything or anyone other than Allah, including idols, saints, or any created beings. The primary Islamic creed, the Shahada, encapsulates this aspect by declaring the oneness of God and the exclusive worship of Him.
- Shirk (associating partners with Allah) is considered the gravest sin in Islam, and avoiding it is central to maintaining Tawhid al-Uluhiyyah.
Quranic References of Tawhid al-Uluhiyyah
- Surah Al-Baqarah (Chapter 2, Verses 21-22): “O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous. He who made for you the earth a bed and the sky a canopy, and sent down from the sky rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you, so do not attribute to Allah equals while you know [that there is nothing similar to Him].”
- Surah Al-An’am (Chpater 6, Verses 102-103): “That is Allah, your Lord; there is no deity except Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs. Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted.”
3. Tawhid al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (Oneness of God’s Names and Attributes):
- Tawhid al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat is concerned with the uniqueness and perfection of Allah’s names and attributes. It involves affirming the names and attributes mentioned in the Quran and Hadith, while avoiding any anthropomorphic or human-like interpretations.
- Muslims believe that Allah’s names and attributes are incomparable and unique, reflecting His perfection and absolute transcendence. They avoid making any resemblance between the Creator and His creation.
- Tawhid al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat encourages believers to contemplate the divine attributes as a means of drawing closer to Allah and understanding His nature within the limits set by Islamic teachings.
Quranic References of Tawhid al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat
- Surah Al-Ikhlas (Chapter 112, Verses 1-4): “Say, ‘He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.'”
- Surah Al-Hadid (Chapter 57, Verse 3): “He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing.”
Significance of Tawhid in Islam
The significance of Tawhid in Islam is profound and pervasive. It serves as the foundational principle of the faith and affirms the absolute oneness of Allah. Tawhid unifies Muslims, transcends cultural differences and fosters a sense of community. This concept underlies the moral and ethical framework, guiding believers in personal conduct and social interactions. Rejecting shirk, or associating partners with Allah, Tawhid emphasizes exclusive worship of the One God. It clarifies the purpose of human existence, emphasizing obedience to Allah and accountability in the Hereafter.
Tawhid also safeguards the uniqueness of Allah’s names and attributes, preventing anthropomorphic interpretations. In daily life, Tawhid influences practices, from prayer to business dealings, integrating the oneness of God into all aspects. Quranic emphasis on Tawhid reinforces its significance and makes it a guiding principle that shapes the worldview and actions of Muslims.
Tawhid stands as the bedrock of Islamic theology and encompasses the oneness of Allah in His lordship, worship, and attributes. It’s profound significance is evident in its role as a unifying force, moral compass, and guiding principle in the lives of Muslims. Rooted in Quranic references, Tawhid shapes the core beliefs and practices, reflecting the essence of monotheism that defines the Islamic faith.