Tauhid (By Prof Omar Hasan Kasule)


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Tauhid (By Prof Omar Hasan Kasule)

  1. 1. ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES029907-TAUHID: THE ISLAMIC WORLD-VIEWLecture to 1st year students at the Kulliyah of Medicine, Inrternational Islamic University, Kuantan, Malaysia on Saturday 10th July 1999 by Prof Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr.OUTLINENATURE OF TAUHIDDefinition:The testament of tauhidWorld-view BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF TAUHIDIntellectIntegrationPhysical laws PROOF OF TAUHIDEmpirical proof of tauhidThe empirical and the unseen TAUHID, ATHEISM, and AGNOSTICISMThe struggle between tauhid and shirkAtheismAgnosticism TAUHID and SUCCESSTauhid and civilizationTauhid and success in the hereafter TAUHID AL RUBUBIYYATThe concept of  rububiyyatTauhid al rububiyatRizq TAUHID AL ULUHIYYATThe concept of uluhiyyatTauhid al uluhiyyatibadatKufrShirk TAUHID al ASMAU & TAUHID al SIFATTauhid al asma.Tauhid al sifaat.The beautiful namesSifaat al tashbiih. TAUHID: IMPLICATIONS IN DAILY LIFEHuman brotherhood and equalityScience and technologySocial organizationEconomic organizationPolitical organization 1.0 TAUHID: AN INTRODUCTION1.1 NATURE OF TAUHIDDefinition: The essence of tauhid is the oneness of God (112:1-4, 23:9, 6:100). Tauhid is from the root-words w-h-d and a-h-d. It refers to the one-ness of the creator, the controller of the whole universe and all its contents. One-ness of the creator also implies one-ness of the systems, functions, destiny, and objectives of the universe.Tauhid nullifies the concepts of atheism and polytheism. Belief in a creator nullifies atheism. Belief in only one God nullifies polytheism. The testament of tauhid, kalimat al tauhid: The formula recognized is 'there is no god but one God, la ilaha illa al laahu. The first part is a negation of the existence of any other god besides the one true God. The second part is an affirmation of the one-ness of the one God. As far as humans are concerned, the act of pronouncing the testament confers the rights and privileges of a believer (KS p. 96 and KS p. 144). In front of Allah the oral testament becomes valid only if it is accompanied by righteous work (KS p. 145). Mere words are not sufficient. There must be a commitment to those words as manifested in the thinking and behavior of the individual.   World-view: The concept of tauhid encapsulates the Islamic world-view. It is the basis of Islamic culture and civilization. Knowledge, social action and social organizations in Islam are based on the world-view defined bytauhid. Tauhid defines the relation between the human and the creator as well as the relationships among the various creations in the universe. 1.2 BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF TAUHIDIntellect: Tauhid is the highest level of the development of the human mind. The concept of one God above and beyond human and the whole universe is an intellectual and abstract reality that can be grasped at the highest levels of intellectual competence. Normally many people do not want to go through the rigors of dealing with an abstract reality and they find easy recourse to one or several material 'gods' they can see and interact with directly. Integration: Tauhid is the most powerful concept that provides an integrating framework for the whole universe. All other concepts and empirical phenomena derive from and are explainable by tauhid. Human knowledge and action must have a tauhidi basis to be valid and useful. There would be irreconcilable contradictions in the absence of the integrating framework of tauhid. Physical laws: All creation and all phenomena of the universe derive from the one and same source. If the source is one, then there are relationships among all objects and phenomena in the universe. These relationships are the basis for physical and social laws, sunan Allah fi al kawn. These laws are the basis for science and technology. Science seeks to discover and exploit the laws and causal relations. 1.3 PROOF OF TAUHIDEmpirical proof of tauhid There is evidence in the universe (2:21, 3:83, 71:15-20) and in humans (2:28, 6:46, 90:8-10) for the oneness of God. The empirical and the unseen: Prior belief in the unseen is indispensable for appreciating the empirical evidence for one-ness of Allah. Starting from a basis of belief the empirical evidence becomes more powerful and reinforces the underlying belief. Those without the smallest grain of belief in the unseen will not be able to fully appreciate the empirical evidence however obvious it may be. In essence they have an inherent bias. Belief in the unseen is part of the innate nature of humans, fitra. Disbelief in the unseen is an abnormal deviation that leads to biased interpretation of reality. 1.4 TAUHID, ATHEISM, and AGNOSTICISMThe struggle between tauhid and shirk: Human history has witnessed a constant struggle between monotheism, tauhid, and polytheism, shirk. Tauhid is belief in one creator for the whole universe whereas shirkis belief in several gods either alongside one God or as a substitute for one God. In various societies and communities one of the two paradigms dominated. Prophets were sent when shirk was at its highest to bring people back to the basic paradigm of tauhid. After the passing away of the prophet people would revert toshirk necessitating sending another prophet to set the course correct. At no time in human history was the concept of tauhid completely lost. It was always around either overtly or in the background and psyche of the people. Even those who worshipped several gods had a vague idea of a supreme or overall God. Some even argued that they worshipped several gods as intermediaries to the supreme God who is not easily reachable by humans (3:39).  Atheism: Perhaps true atheism has never existed in human history because it is so much against basic human nature. Atheists are polytheists in essence because they deny God but substitute other things for him. The substitutes have been their own vanity, ideas (like communism, nationalism, and racism), pursuit of power and glory. Atheists, like most other polytheists, will remember God when in trouble (8:39, 12:10, 49:39, 33:30, 33:31) but forget as soon as the trouble is relieved. Agnosticism: The agnostics basically lack the moral courage to make a choice, they sit on the fence. Agnosticism is a comfortable position for sinners who continue a life-style they know to be immoral without their conscience being disturbed since there is no God or moral criteria to refer to. 1.5 TAUHID and SUCCESS IN THE WORLD AND THE HEREAFTERTauhid and civilization: Tauhid leads to success in this world. The concept of tauhid, by emphasising belief in one creator and sustainer of the whole universe, gives human civilization a beginning and an end. It gives it purpose, an objective, and a sense of direction. It is an integrating concept without which an ever-lasting and successful civilization can not be built. Many human civilizations that history has recorded could not sustain themselves beyond a few generations because of lack of a central integrating vision like tauhid. They soon run into contradictions and collapsed. Tauhid and success in the hereafter: Belief in one God, tauhid, guarantees entry into heaven (KS p. 96 and KS p. 144). A person who dies while not associating God with anything else, shirk, will enter heaven even if he committed major sins (KS p. 144); he or she will, however, enter hell for some time as punishment for the sins. 2.0 TAUHID AL RUBUBIYYATThe concept of rububiyyat is the assertion that there is a creator for the universe and all its contents (7:54, 32:7-9, 87:2, 54:49).  The creator can not be created and has neither beginning nor end. The concept of auto-creation, existence without a creator, is untenable because it leads to the logical absurdity of an object 'existing' before it existed. Belief in the one-ness of God is inborn (6:63, 7:172-173, 41:51). The assertion that there is only one creator for the whole universe (tauhid al rububiyyat) is a logical imperative. It is impossible for the harmonious and well-coordinated universe to have more than one creator. No two creators could agree so perfectly without any contradictions (2:21, 2:28, 73:9). No harmony can exist in situations of contradictions. Tauhid al rububiyat also explains the interactions in the eco system. No physical or biological system can be imagined to grow, change, and function based on innate controls alone. An external controlling agency must exist. The harmonious interactions in the physical world, the eco-system, and biological systems also point to an external agent that plans, organises, controls, and harmonises. Related to rububiyat is the concept of sustenance, rizq (6:44, 7:21). Allah not only created all creatures, but also provides for and sustains them. Thus rububiyyat is a continuous process. It covers human and non-human creation of Allah. It extends into the future until Allah decides to terminate the universe, as we know it today. TAUHID AL ULUHIYYATThe concept of uluhiyyat implies worship of God alone and the acknowledgement that He is the sustainer and sovereign of the world, mulk (23:84-89, 35:13, 67:1). Many people easily accept the assertion of one sole creator of the whole universe. Some however find it difficult to understand that nothing else can be associated with that creator, tauhid al uluhiyyat. They also find it difficult to understand that worship is for the only one creator, wahdaniyat al ibadat (1:5, 2:21, 109:1-6). Messengers and revelations were sent to emphasize that there is one creator to be worshipped and that there are no associates. Associating God with anything else in worship is the greatest of sins and is unforgivable. Knowledge and understanding of rububiyyat and uluhiyyat lead logically to the conclusion that the human must worship the creator. Worship, ibadat, is Allah's right from humans (KS p. 97). It is not possible that the whole complex universe was created with no purpose. This purpose, we learn from the revelations, is the worship of God. Worship is a way of expressing gratitude for the creation and the bounties of God in the universe. Every other creature worships God and never disobeys. It is only humans who sometimes disobey. The human was given a special status and specific competencies like a high intellect and limited free will. Misuse of these competencies may result in disobedience. Kufr, denial of the existence of the creator or refusal to worship Him, is a great crime. It is ungratefulness for the great gift of creation and sustenance that humans have. Many problems that afflict individuals and communities arise out of rejection of tauhid al uluhiyyat. Rejection of uluhiyat opens the door to anarchy in religion. This anarchy leads humans to appropriate attributes of the creator wrongly and some go to the extent of misusing them to justify exploitation of others. Anarchy in religion soon leads to social anarchy. Social anarchy leads to physical destruction. Archeology is a record of past civilizations that transgressed and were physically destroyed. 4.0 TAUHID al ASMAU & TAUHID al SIFATAllah has the most beautiful of names (20:8, 59:24). They all testify to His majesty and power. These names are for Allah only,  tauhid al asma. Allah is called by any of them (7:180, 17:110). The Qur'an also describes attributes that for Allah only, tauhid al sifaat. A Muslim must believe in all the names. Denial of any one name nullifies iman (p. 107 7:180). All the 99 names of Allah are mentioned in the Qur’an. The names of Allah are of great significance. They reflect the nature and power of the creator. They remind humans of their humble status in front of Allah. They help humans strengthen their understanding of uluhiyyat and rububiyyat. The names mentioned in the Qur'an in alphabetical order are: al akhir (57:3), al ahad (112:1), al akram (96:3),al awal (57:3), al bariu (2:54), al batin (57:3), al barru (52:28), al basiir (2:96),  al tawaab (2:37), al jabbaar(59:23), al hasiib (4:6), al hafiidh (11:57), al haqq (6:62), al hakiim (2:32), al haliim (2:225), al hamiid(2:267), al hayy (2:255), al khaaliq (6:102), al khabiir (2:234), al khallaaq (15:86), al rahmaan (1:1), al rahiim (1:1), al razzaaq (51:58), al raqiib (4:1),  al ra'ufu (2:143), al salaam (59:23), al samiu (2:127), al shaakir (2:158), al shakuur (35:30), al shahiid (3:98), al samad (112:2), al dhaahir (57:3), al aziiz (2:129), al adhiim (2:255), al afuwu (4:34), al aliyy (2:255), al aliim (2:29), al ghaffaar (2:82), al ghafuur (2:173), al ghaniy (2:263), al fattaah (34:26), al qaadir (6:37), al qaahir (6:18), al qudduus (59:23), al qadiir (2:20), al qariib (2:186), al qahhaar (12:39), al qawiy (8:52), al qayyuum (2:255), al kabiir (4:34), al latiif (6:103), al muta'al (13:9), al mutakabbir (59:23), al matiin (51:58), al majiid (11:73), al muhiit (2:19), al musawwir(59:24), al muqtadir (54:42), al muqiit (20:114), al mulk (20:114), al maliik (54:55), al muhaymin (59:23), al mu'umin (59:23), al wahid (2:133), al wasiu (2:115), al waduud (11:90), al wakiil (3:173), al waliy (2:257), and al wahhaab (3:8). Allah has several attributes, sifaat, mentioned in the Qur'an. Examples of attributes described as anatomical features are the leg (68:42), the eye, ‘ayn (11:37), the face, wajh (2:115), and the hand, yad (3:26). Examples of attributes described as actions or functions are: coming, majiu (2:210), sight basar (2:144), hearing sam’u(3:181), speaking, kalaam (2:37). Examples of attributes described as potential for action are: the will, iraadat(2:26, knowledge, ilm (2:30, ability, al qudrat (2:20). Some attributes are states of being such as being above,fawqiyyat (6:18), Eternity, al baqau (19:40), life, al hayat (2:255), being the first, al qidam (57:3), self-reliance,al qiyam bi nafsihi (2:255), and being unique ie different from the creations, mukhalafat al hawadith (2:116). Names and attributes are an aid for humans to understand the creator’s omnipotence. The attributes of Allah are beyond human comprehension and it is useless or even dangerous to engage in too many debates about them. It is enough to believe in them and not try to seek to explain them. Humans get confused in discussions of the nature of Allah when they do not acknowledge that there are limitations to human intellect and knowledge. Some concepts can not be reached by the human intellect and recourse must be made to revelation. The Qur’an provides enough guidance on the nature of Allah leaving no room for human confusion (2:115, 2:255, 6:103). Some of the attributes are just for resemblance, sifaat al tashbiih. The resemblance may be anatomical, functional, and state of being. Divine attributes may have names similar to names of human attributes; the similarity ends here. Divine attributes are different from human one in essence. No creation can be similar to Allah. The use of terms such as the hand, and the face for divine attributes is more for easing human understanding than making statements about the nature of Allah. The nature of Allah is beyond human understanding. Looking at the expanse and complexity of the universe shows that the creator must be very powerful, omnipresent and omnipotent. The creator must be different in all ways from what he created. It does not make sense to associate any human attributes to Him. The creator must be perfect because the creation is perfect. Shirk in essence is associating the creator with human attributes. Some human attributes like hunger, thirst, and sleep reflect human weakness and should not be associated with the creator. Shirk also occurs when divine attributes are appropriated by humans. 5.0 TAUHID: IMPLICATIONS IN DAILY LIFEHuman brotherhood and equality: tauhid explains the unity of mankind because of a common origin (2:213,10:19). The differences of nations and tribes have a purpose and do not negate the common human brotherhood (49:13). Science and technology: Tauhid presents the vista of a wide expansive universe which motivates search for knowledge far and wide. Acknowledging existence of one creator, implies that there are fixed physical laws in the universe (sunan Allah fi al kawn). These are the basis for predictable causal relations. The purpose of science is to identify and define these causal relations. Technology exploits or manipulates the causal relations to create benefits (sometimes harm) for humans. Social organization: Tauhid, by emphasising a common creator for everything, implies that there must exist social  laws needed for smooth functioning of the universe especially human society. Under tauhid the need for a community and family is obvious (7:189-190, 25:54). Both are structured organisations that ensure integrated harmonious human existence. Economic organization: The basic economic teaching under tauhid is that sustenance is from Allah (29:60-62). The wealth that an individual gets should not be a cause of arrogance because it is essentially not his or hers. Human economic activities are undertaken with a sense of responsibility knowing that economic resources are in the hands of Allah and that the human is just a vicegerant. The human will therefore undertake economic activity within a moral context defined by Allah. This context requires that economic activity shall promote moral well being, social and human justice.Political organization: tauhid implies that ultimate political sovereignty is with Allah. Those who wield political power are vicegerents and are thus accountable. They can not behave as if they have absolute authority because that is the prerogative of Allah alone.<br />©Copyright Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. July 1999<br />