Faith ( IIMAN ), from the Islamic perspective is not mere blind acceptance. It is a process of acquiring a knowledge of certainty in which we confirm with our innate nature and sense faculties especially that of reason - till we develop conviction.
TAUQIFIYYAH - i. e. by relying upon true report, which have already been ascertained as to its reliability as being authoritative – for Muslims, the using of evidence from the Al-Qur’an (Revelation) and authenticated Ahadith ( Sunnah - sayings, actions or consent of the Prophet);
Man cannot claim to be born with knowledge, but that knowledge is acquired. It is bestowed upon him through experience, inspiration and insight. We recognize great thinkers with their profound discoveries of the laws of the universe, and that is basically how science developed. But science is only limited to certain aspects of knowledge and cannot traverse the great mysteries of the infinite.
Yet history recognizes other types of luminaries, who were people gifted with the knowledge that delves beyond the boundaries of physics into the realm of the metaphysics. They were the prophets and messenger of God sent throughout history, repeating the same message in the existence of God, and inviting mankind towards the way of submission to the One Creator of the Universe.
The last of these messengers was Muhammad s.a.w. who has left behind to posterity, his teachings in the Qur'an and his Sunnah. In themselves, the Qur'an and Sunnah are the undeniable evidence of his NUBUWWAT (prophethood) –
With verifiable evidence of which have been preserved in its pristine state even till the present age.
He was indeed a messenger of God from Whom he received enlightenment of the profound Reality. Thus, by relying upon the authority of the Qur'an and the Sunnah itself, Muslims are convinced about the existence of God.
Note: Yet in the QUR’AN, Allah does not only inform man of His existence but offers sound arguments, appealing to the inherent instinct in man as well as to man's ability to use his reason.
Man has certain natural instincts to perceive the existence of One whom they call God. In these naturally endowed pure instincts ( fitrah salee-ma ), they lead man towards the recognition, by sense intuition - that there must exist, the Almighty Being, a ‘conscious Force’ Who overseas over his life and the entire Universe, not attributing the whole creations simply as product of ‘Nature’.
The instinct of fear is one of the most profound. Another is that of hope; yearning towards a sense of justice and fair play; the innate ability to appreciate what is right and wrong; inclination towards orderliness and progress; striving for perfection, etc.
These pure instincts (intuitions), although they may have become dimmed or corrupted, or be affected by doubts and scepticism, yet its presence in every person is undeniable and is the reason why in many communities throughout the world's history there are evidence of some form of worship to God - i.e. the notion of a Supreme Being. From the simple tribal society, to renown civilizations - evidence can be found.
Although some scientists may scoffed at this because they could not satisfactorily understand them, yet they can neither prove nor disprove all of them using empirical methods.
And although by relying upon innate instinct and intuition, some people may have deviated away from the belief that the Creator is One, into ascribing pantheons of deities, yet deep down in their instinct there still reverberates that only One is the Almighty Lord of all creation.
Unlike other religion, Islam recognizes the use of reasoning faculty, and in fact it encourages man to use them because, from the point of view of Islam, the mind or reasoning faculty is the greatest gift of God.
Although reason itself cannot fathom the infinite mysteries yet it is the means by which man can verify and confirm truth. And in this very way has the Qur'an spoke to man and invite them to recognize the existence of God.
(4) The existence of a unified order in the universe. To attribute this order to random chance is most improbable without a universal will (intelligent force).
(5) The realization that for this universe to exist as it does, there must be a Sustainer. The complexity for its being sustained, and dependability of things to other things affecting it besides itself, indicate the determination by a 'cosmic force .‘
(6) Inherent preparedness in our creation, as well as in animals, plants, etc. This preparedness cannot be something evolved because without it, that animals or plants would not have any chance to begin to survive in the first place.
(7) Time and the aging factor in our Universe. This would make us ponder concerning the meta-concept of the infinity (past) and eternity (future) - the concepts of the Divine.
The term TAU H EED is derived from Arabic word " Ahad ”(Absolute One) - " Wahada " (Oneness attested) “ Yuwaa-hidu " (he unify or attest to the Oneness) – “ Tauhii-dan ” (you attest to its' Oneness).
Therefore it implies an act of attesting to the Belief in the Oneness of Allah (God) Who is the Absolute One; by first having conviction in our hearts and mind, and manifesting them in our life, through words and deeds.
There are five approaches or methodology (types) of attestation– in the Islamic tradition (that I was taught) , which as Muslims we are to be inculcated with - each having a specific expectation, as will be explained herewith, are :
Acknowledgement that there is only One God (Allah), Who Alone is Divine, deserving of our worship and servitude. There is no god except Him. He is Allah the Absolute, Eternal. Who has no equal nor partner. The Most besought unto Whom we rely.
Allah, the One and only God, deserving of our worship or servitude (with our entire life) , and we are to deny every forms of associating His Divinity with anyone or anything. This associating or ascribing others with God is antithetical to Tau h eed , termed as " shirk ”.
Since we know that our being created is but to fulfil a reason best known to our Maker, therefore we are to manifest our acknowledgement of this in our life through a total form of worship or servitude by following the Guidance from Him, established by the Messenger of Allah s.a.w.
That we affirm and attest that Allah, the Unique God as having all the attributes of perfection, befitting His Majesty and Holiness, and reject all the absurd attributes which man may attribute to Him - as the rationalist ( Mu'tazilites ) had done, imputing imperfections in God when they try to fathom the knowledge about God using the human mind, ratio.
In Islam, the knowledge of Who is God (Allah), must come from God (Allah). Those verses which require interpretation must be consistent with the clear and explicit verses as guideline. Thus the Islamic doctrines derived would not be some absurd notion, myths, superstitions, ideas or concepts antithetical to reason.
Traditionally, the 13 or 20 attributes of God ( sifaatullaaah ) are taught in traditional Islamic scholarship, to counter them, using basis both from Revelation ( naqliyyah ) and reason ( ‘ aqliyyah ).
This method serves as refutation towards the deviations of the rationalists and innovators who appeared later in history, much influenced by philosophy of others. This is required for upholding the original creed or doctrine of the Ahl-as-sunnah wa al-jama'ah - of the Salafus- Soliheen (the pious predecessors).
Affirmations of which require us also to reflect some of His attributes in ourselves, by reciprocating those godly quality in our life, such as in His Compassion, Mercy, Justice etc. so as to be deserving of His Compassion, Mercy etc.
Through observing many of His Signs in nature, we reflect our belief in these Names - and try to read and confirm these attributes and of the act ( af-‘ al ) - of the One God - which are manifested in the Qur'an ( ayaat qaw-liyyah ) and in the whole creations and alternations of night and day ( ayaat kauniyah ).