Monotheism (Tawhid)

The foundation of the holy religion of Islam is built upon the belief in monotheism, to the extent that without its acceptance, one cannot be called Muslim at all. This fundamental axiom is basically defined as the fact that God exists and that He is the only one; in other words, one must not only testify to the existence of a creator, a divine source, and a higher power, but also to His absolute uniqueness and singularity.

 

 

Is Human Able to Know His God?

 

We might wonder if we are able to understand or imagine God’s existence, the answer is yes but in quite a different way than other things. The concept of a divine source is philosophical and abstract; therefore we cannot feel or imagine it tangibly and vividly, however, our mind can understand such concepts by a kind of rational investigation and scrutiny in a general way.

 

 

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How Can Human Beings Realize God’s Existence?

 

There are some specific ways to understand the existence of God based on Islamic doctrine, including “innate disposition”, “scientific or pseudo-philosophical reasoning” and “philosophical reasoning”.

 

Innate Ideas

 

Perhaps the easiest form of realizing God’s existence is with the use of “innate idea” which is present in every human being. According to Islamic teaching, all of us have some desires and characteristics with which we were born and that we unconsciously seek in our lives.

 

 

One of the most important inborn desires in human beings is the yearning for a God and creator; in other words, every person with his/her special creation and distinctive spiritual characteristics knows his/her God without needing any exterior knowledge. Many psychologists have claimed the existence of a hidden self, called the unconscious, which contains the innate and unknown desires of human beings; the desires that control their actions and influence their decisions. The force in the search of God, also, can be traced in this part of the human mind.

 

 

Pseudo-philosophical Reasoning

 

The reasons that are mentioned under this division include the “Teleological Argument”, “Causal Argument”, “Occurrence Argument” and “Guidance Argument”.

 

 

Teleological Argument

 

According to “Teleological Argument”, a comprehensive and efficient system is the one whose components are in balance and harmony and are ordered in a way to achieve a certain goal. If we consider the universe as an enormous system with complex functions and a web of relations, we could easily notice its sophisticated order and discipline.

 

 

Every element in this world is built with a kind of inner structure that enables it to do its job on a regular basis. For sure, this regularity has not happened accidentally. For this huge system to work properly,  a wise and powerful creator is required, one who is aware of every incident that takes place in the universe and has control over them.

 

 

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Occurrence Argument

 

Based on this argument, this world and all other creatures had not existed before and came to be at a specific point in time. Consequently, since they have occurred and started to exist, they need a creator for their occurrence.

 

 

When we look around, we find ourselves surrounded by things whose existence is depended on something else, they go through changes – for better or worse-, and they are described concerning other things – i.e., their attributes are relative. We may first try to justify each incident by another one; however, ultimately we will realize that the summit of this chain must be a higher force who is unique and untainted by any flaw and inconsistency.

 

 

Furthermore, everything in this universe –including the universe itself- has initiated and will be terminated at a specific time; in other words, nothing in this world is infinite, and everything is born from its own kind – e.g., A human from a human, a horse from a horse, etc.

 

 

Thus the universe cannot be created spontaneously and out of itself or from a pile of dust, an animal or a tree, since the origin of every living creature is always another living creature. If we suppose that every kind of creature gains its existence from single or multiple origins, or consider the initial origin of them an ameba, then again we are faced with this question that how this ameba has been created. Here we arrive at this conclusion that there is a single, omnipotent, divine source who has caused the life on earth [i].

 

Guidance Argument

 

While “Teleological Argument” tries to prove Monotheism with regard to the complex inner structure of the creatures in the world that makes them capable of being in line with their role and objective in the universe, “Guidance argument” focuses on what these creatures actually do and how they do it.

 

 

Based on this argument, the creatures in this world, after being perfectly created, are guided by a mysterious insight and intelligent force through their course of actions. However, the path that they follow in their deeds is the result of an external cause, rather than their own built-in features. This sophisticated outer force is no one other than God, the one and only. 

 

 

Causal Argument

 

The “Causal Argument”, also known as the principle of causality, is one of the primary propositions known to people in their ordinary lives. This principle states that there is a cause for everything. In other words, every single thing that happens and every single effect, or existence, has a cause. But there must be a start to this series of events. It is believed that the beginning of this chain is a power, which is beyond all other powers and can cause everything to exist.

 

 

Philosophical Reasoning

 

This kind of reasoning, which is totally rational and philosophical, is based on the study of the existence and the existent. Briefly, philosophers claim that the existence of a “Necessary Being” [ii] is essential; meaning that if the “Necessary Being” did not exist, nothing would have started to exist and since there are things here, then a “Necessary Being” must certainly exist.

 

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Why is God One and Unique?

 

First of all, as we said before, the creator of this world should be infinite and eternal. Accordingly, we cannot consider a like for an infinite being, since He is dominant over everything and no time or place is empty of Him. Furthermore, plurality necessitates a difference; that is two beings are separate if one has something that the other lacks, so they cannot be considered perfect.

 

 

Secondly, since God is an absolute and pure being, then we cannot find any incongruity in Him, and thus there is no need for another being to make amends for His inconsistencies.

 

 

Moreover, if there were two “Necessary Beings”, they must have had a gap or lapse among themselves. Consequently, the existence of a third being becomes crucial, and this process goes on endlessly.

 

 

Finally, the unity of the universe and its oneness and the fact that there exists no inconsistency and malfunction in the elements of this world, lead us to look for a single and unique being as its creator.

 

 

To conclude, monotheism (Tawhid) as the main entry to the religion of Islam which needs to be understood rationally and then fully accepted, rejects any dualistic, Trinitarian or polytheistic beliefs. This axiom is not only the cornerstone of the other Islamic axioms but also a necessity for practicing the practical principles of the religion. Even though individual investigation and understanding will bring faith in monotheism, this belief will not be complete without total acceptance of prophethood (Nubuwwah), and this takes us to the next axiom.

 

 

Notes:

[i]. Charles Darwin, the well-known English naturalist, and geologist, on this matter explicitly states that “life had been occurred through a divine breath.”

[ii]. There are two sorts of existent entities: those that exist but could have failed to exist, and those that could not have failed to exist. Entities of the first sort are contingent beings; entities of the second sort are necessary beings [1].

 

Reference:

[1]. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/god-necessary-being