“Tawheed”: The Essence of Religious Co-Existence

By   /  3 December 2016   


The Prophet of Islam (PBUH) categorically stated, as does the Quran, that he brings nothing new to the world, and that his message is only a confirmation of what has already been known to mankind. The Quranic verses 41:6 and 18:110 attest that Muhammed is another man “like you”, to whom it was made clear that the God of the universe is one and the same for everyone.

The realization of the Oneness of God (“Tawheed” in Arabic) is not denied by any theological stream. Christians, Hindus, Judaists and people of all mainstream religions clearly know that the Lord of the world is one and the same for all. The concept of Trinity does not imply Christians believe that God is divided into three, and deities of various forms does not imply that Hindus are unaware of the one formless being, all pervasive and devoid of attributes.

Tawheed is a proclamation of how the truth applies. It initiates the seeker into the understanding of the truth, leading him to a self-assertion of submission to the truth itself. Tawheed is the experience which renders men intensely aware of the fact that there is indeed a God, creator and sustainer to all things living and nonliving, the absolute master of destiny whose unquestionable will prevails over all the events that happen in our own lives, and in the lives of all around us.

It is such absolute conviction that the Quran demands to its audience. The Quran requires us to constantly reflect on the works of nature, such as the birds in flight and the animals that walk the earth, the splendor of the starlit sky, the day-night cycles, the solar and lunar motions, the sun and the rain, the sprouting vegetation and streams, the ripening fruit and the food and fodder that reach us.

Constant remembrance of God through a heightened awareness of our surroundings and our own existence is the aim of the Quranic exercise and a theme that bonds all religions.

Regrettably, the Tawheed statement “There is no God but God” is exploited by distorted approaches and misleading narratives, which interpret it as “There is no God as you know it, but only as we know it”. In doing so, they spread the fear among Muslims that the rest of the world unceasingly connives to eliminate them because they are the only ones who believe in the Oneness of God.

This is not a case of knowledge in wrong hands, but of wrong knowledge. Such a misinterpretation of Tawheed has resulted in a view which denies the different paths that religions indicate to arrive at the same truth.

For people of all faiths this is both an insult to their intelligence and a threat to their religious freedom. Therefore, Muslims needs to reclaim the true notion of the highest tenet of Islam as it is enshrined in the Quran, upholding it against those extremist and distorted views which are pushing many of them away from the path to God and to the realization of his Oneness for all major religions.

Insights from the Muslim World is an RSC column examining the major issues concerning contemporary Islam.
It argues against extremism and the political use of religion, highlighting arguments drawn from the very Islamic holy scriptures and tradition to counter radicalization and ideological recruitment.

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