Islam is based on monotheism. Tawhid, the oneness of Allah, is an essential belief for all Muslims. Islam teaches that Allah, the one god, has 99 attributes. Although we can understand some of His attributes, His essence cannot be comprehended by a human’s limited mental capacity. Allah has created mankind primarily so that they may know their creator through his creations.
Realisation of the supremacy of Allah, although necessary for success in the hereafter, has not been enforced on man – it is a test that is based on the fact that man has been given free will. However, man’s free will is limited, although he has the freedom to choose between right and wrong, he cannot change parts of his destiny that Allah has pre-determined. Understanding the nature of Allah is essential as it has a substantial effect on a Muslim’s duties to Allah.
The oneness of Allah is the one most important theological principal in Islam. The first of the five pillars, the declaration of faith, which is the first act that one does to embark on Islam, reiterates the necessity of the belief in the oneness of Allah. It begins with the negation of any god other than Allah:
“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger.”
Beginning with negation rather than affirmation, in this case, serves to emphasise strongly the importance of the oneness of Allah.
The Quran, the words of Allah mediated to Prophet Muhammad by the angel Jibril (Gabriel), is full of references to the essential belief in one god:
Say ‘He is Allah the One’ 112:1
Surely Allah alone is the creator of all things and he is the One, the Most Supreme 13:17
Say ‘I am only a Warner, and there is no god but Allah, the One, the Most Supreme. 23:66
Holy is He! He is Allah the One, the Most Supreme 39:5
He is also the Master of the Day of judgement. Hand painted Allah, word on a canvas. Islamic Art Gallery Toronto.