The concept of monotheism in Islam
I am doing research on the concept of monotheism in the world's five major religions. Could you please explain to me the concept of monotheism in Islam?
The Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
Monotheism is the message that all of the Prophets came with. People then deviated from the truth. Then Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came as the final Messenger and restored true monotheism to humanity. Below is a detailed explanation of monotheism in Islam. You may compare it with concept of monotheism advanced by other religions.
MONOTHEISM IN ISLAM
The concept of monotheism (known as tawhîd in Arabic) is the single most important concept in Islam. Everything in Islam is built upon it. Islam calls to the absolute oneness of Allah. No act of worship or devotion has any meaning or value if this concept is in any way compromised.
Monotheism can be looked at from the following three angles:
1. The Oneness of Allah in His Lordship
2. Devotion of All Worship to Allah Alone
3. The Oneness of Allah in His Names and Attributes
These three angles can be elaborated upon as follows:
THE ONENESS OF ALLAH IN HIS LORDSHIP
The oneness of Allah in His Lordship means that Allah has complete mastery over the universe in every way. He alone is the Creator of all things. He alone causes everything to happen. He is All-Powerful. No one shares in His dominion. None can resist His decree.
This concept is one that most people on Earth would agree with. Most people recognize that the Creator of the universe is One, without partner.
DEVOTION OF ALL WORSHIP TO ALLAH ALONE
No one has the right to be worshipped except for Allah. This concept is the central idea that was proclaimed by all the Prophets throughout the ages. It is the most important idea in Islam. The purpose of Islam is to call people away from the worship of Creation and call them towards the worship of the Creator.
This is where Islam differs greatly from most other religions. Though most religions teach that there is a Supreme Being who created all that exists, they are rarely free of some form of polytheism with respect to worship. These religions either call on their adherents to worship other beings as Allahs besides Allah – though usually placing these other Allahs on a lower level than the Supreme Being – or they demand that their adherents call on other beings as intercessors between them and Allah.
All the Prophets and Messengers, from Adam to Muhammad (peace be upon them all) called people to worship Allah alone. This is the purest, simplest, most natural faith. Islam rejects the notion of the cultural anthropologists that the early religion of human beings was polytheism, and then slowly the idea of monotheism evolved from that.
The truth is that the natural religion of humanity is to worship Allah alone. People later came along and corrupted this religion, introducing into it the worship of other beings. People seem to have a tendency to want to focus their devotions on something tangible, something imaginable, even though they have an instinctive knowledge that the Creator of the universe is far beyond their imaginations. Throughout human history, Allah sent Prophets and Messengers to call the people back to the worship of the One True Allah, and repeatedly, people returned to the worship of created beings.
Allah created human beings to worship Him alone. The greatest possible sin is to worship anyone other than Allah. It is no less sinful if the worshipper intends to get nearer to Allah by offering devotions to another being. Allah does not need intercessors or intermediaries. He hears all of our prayers and has complete knowledge of everything that happens.
At the same time, Allah does not need our worship. He is completely independent of all things. If every person in the world were to come together to worship Allah alone, they would not benefit Allah in the least. They would not add an atom’s weight to His dominion. Conversely, if all Creation abandoned the worship of Allah, this would not decrease His dominion in the least. By worshipping Allah, we benefit our own souls and fulfill the purpose for which we were created. We do not fulfill any need of Allah. He is needless.
THE ONENESS OF ALLAH IN HIS NAMES AND ATTRIBUTES
The oneness of Allah in His names and attributes implies that Allah does not share in the attributes of created beings, nor do they share in any of His. Allah is unique in every way. Muslims believe in all of the attributes that Allah asserts for Himself and that His Prophet (peace be upon him) ascribes to Him with the understanding that those attributes are not the same as the attributes of created things. Likewise, we negate any name or attribute for Allah that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) negate for Allah.
Allah’s attributes are all attributes of perfection and completeness. Human deficiencies cannot be ascribed to Allah. Allah has no deficiency or weakness whatsoever.
It is a form of polytheism to ascribe to Allah attributes of created things. It is likewise a form of polytheism to ascribe to created things attributes that belong to Allah alone. Anyone who believes that another being is, for instance, All Knowledgeable or All-Powerful has committed the sin of polytheism, which is the greatest of all sins in Islam.
And Allah knows best.