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Spiritual Arguments for Monotheism
Amin Ahsan Islahi
(Tr. by:Nikhat Sattar)

Impacts of Monotheism

It has been shown in previous chapters that monotheism is not merely an academic reality. Instead, it is a very important practical reality. It impacts human life, whether individual or collective very deeply. We shall present a few of these here briefly.

The most evident impact on personal life is that this belief bestows the high status of independence that humans are worthy of due to their status of being the best of creations. The entire universe has been created for man, but until he is aware of monotheism, he is so mean and debased that he fears and trembles in front of the lowliest of creatures of the world. He worships and obeys those things that have come into existence in order to serve him. He considers men like himself to be gods and lords; bows before them and calls them master, lord of bounty, the munificent etc. He accepts only their rights over everything they say yes or no to, to the extent that in addition to the living, he presents his requests and pleadings by graves of the dead. He believes the dead to be actively engaged with the universe, possessing knowledge of the unknown and providers of benefit and harm. He makes every polished stone and every high tree his idol. Every shaded branch, every isolated place, every flowing river, every mountain, every force that causes harm and every force that gives benefit invites him to worship. He does not feel any shame or dishonour in abasing himself in front of these inanimate objects. Once he falls from his honourable status, he keeps falling and loses the eminence that God had bestowed upon him. This is the reality that has been explained in this verse of Surah al-Hajj:


وَمَنْ يُّشْرِكْ بِاللّٰهِ فَكَاَنَّمَا خَرَّ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ فَتَخْطَفُهُ الطَّيْرُ اَوْ تَهْوِيْ بِهِ الرِّيْحُ فِيْ مَكَانٍ سَحِيْقٍ.

….. if anyone assigns partners to God, is as if he had fallen from heaven and been snatched up by birds, or the wind had swooped (like a bird on its prey) and thrown him into a far- distant place. (22:31)  

 The objects created by God to serve man do not care to prostrate to him even though they are his servants: their prostration is reserved only for Him. But man’s baseness is such that despite being their master, the image of the door of each of these is stamped on his forehead:


اَلَمْ تَرَ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ يَسْجُدُ لَهُ مَنْ فِي السَّمٰوٰتِ وَمَنْ فِي الْاَرْضِ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ وَالنُّجُوْمُ وَالْجِبَالُ وَالشَّجَرُ وَالدَّوَآبُّ وَكَثِيْرٌ مِّنَ النَّاسِ وَكَثِيْرٌ حَقَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَذَابُ وَمَنْ يُّهِنِ اللّٰهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ مُّكْرِمٍ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يَشَآءُ.

See you not that to God bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth,- the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number among mankind? But a great number are (also) such as are fit for punishment: and such as God shall disgrace,- none can raise to honour: for God carries out all that He wills. (22:18)

But receiving the glitter of monotheism, a revolution occurs suddenly in his condition. The same man whom we had observed to be the lowliest of all beings in the world, rises to be at the top of all of them, so that each and everyone comes to be lower than him except God. The sudden change in the situation of humans is exemplified best in the narrative of Moses (sws) and the magicians who had gathered to compete with him. The magicians who had been called by the Pharaoh were so base in their nature that a moment previously they had wanted to be certain of their earnings and requested the Pharaoh in a very obsequious manner:


اَئِنَّ لَنَا لَاَجْرًا اِنْ كُنَّا نَحْنُ الْغٰلِبِيْنَ.

…. shall we have a (suitable) reward if we win? (26:41)

But very soon, as the shadow of monotheism falls upon them, their nature changes so completely that the Pharaoh threatens to bring upon them the worst kind of punishment and tells them that he shall cut off their arms and legs and hang them from a noose. The threat makes no impact and they answer with confidence that they could not care less and that in any case, they would return to their Lord: the Pharaoh may do what he wished to; he had power only in this worldly life.


وَ مَا تَنۡقِمُ مِنَّاۤ  اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ اٰمَنَّا بِاٰیٰتِ رَبِّنَا لَمَّا جَآءَتۡنَا رَبَّنَاۤ اَفۡرِغۡ عَلَیۡنَا صَبۡرًا  وَّ تَوَفَّنَا مُسۡلِمِیۡنَ.

But you do wreak your vengeance on us simply because we believed in the signs of our Lord when they reached us! Our Lord! pour out on us patience and constancy, and take our souls unto you as Muslims (who bow to your will)! (7:126) 

The reason for this is that it dawns upon the one believing in monotheism that pain or happiness, life or death, every event comes and goes through only one route. Hence, he relies only upon only a single Entity and fears Him only. He is aware that this world is not a playground for various gods and role players. There is only one powerful and wise being who is running the world by His command. It is impossible for any one to interfere with the matters of this universe without His will. He also knows that the Creator of this world is Truth and a lover of truth. That is why the universe does not contain falsehood only. Falsehood has the status of an appellant that attaches itself to the truth and indirectly he is never afraid and is never alone. He partakes from an evergreen tree and quenches his thirst  from an ever flowing spring. 


اَلَمۡ تَرَ کَیۡفَ ضَرَبَ اللّٰهُ مَثَلًا کَلِمَةً طَیِّبَةً  کَشَجَرَةٍ  طَیِّبَةٍ اَصۡلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَّ فَرۡعُهَا فِی  السَّمَآءِ. تُؤۡتِیۡ اُکُلَهَا کُلَّ حِیۡنٍۭ  بِاِذۡنِ رَبِّهَا وَ یَضۡرِبُ اللّٰهُ الۡاَمۡثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ یَتَذَکَّرُوۡنَ.

See you not how God sets forth a parable? - A goodly word like a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the heavens,- of its Lord. So God sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition. It brings forth its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord. So God sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition. (14:24-25)


These are the people whose minds remain balanced under all conditions and no situation of poverty or prosperity creates chaos in the serenity of their hearts. They do not panic, or despair, or swagger or become proud. They greet challenges and troubles with the same gladness with which they welcome they accord to moments of rest.


یٰۤاَیَّتُهَا النَّفۡسُ الۡمُطۡمَئِنَّةُ. ارۡجِعِیۡ اِلٰی  رَبِّكِ رَاضِیَةً  مَّرۡضِیَّةً.

(To the righteous soul will be said:) “O (you) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! “Come back thou to thy Lord,- well pleased (yourself), and well-pleasing unto Him! (89:27-28)


This is the soul of the one who believes in monotheism. He becomes totally engrossed in his soul and focused upon the oneness of God and the same feelings then encompass his outer self. In just the same manner in which he is helpless and when faced with physical scientific laws, he also submits his own choice of action to the instructions and commands of God. He places the independence that God has bestowed upon him under the will of God happily. The sun and the moon, the cloud and the wind, the river and the mountain, all submit to God under duress. These elements walk predetermined paths in the same way as camels tied to their nose strings, but the faithful person joins these caravans by reining in himself by his own choice.  And this is man’s real quality. This deliberate obedience and servitude is the actual spirit of monotheism. He who excels most in this servitude also excels most in monotheism. The first stage of the path of monotheism is for a human being to forego obedience to his desires and give himself up to obedience to God; the second stage is to become independent of his nation, country, and all customs and binding traditions and run towards God. The third stage is that he gladly gives preference to being close to God over his life.


قُلۡ  اِنَّ صَلَاتِیۡ  وَ نُسُکِیۡ وَ مَحۡیَایَ وَ مَمَاتِیۡ   لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ  الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ. لَا شَرِیۡكَ لَهُ  وَ بِذٰلِكَ اُمِرۡتُ وَ اَنَا  اَوَّلُ الۡمُسۡلِمِیۡنَ.

Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for God, the Cherisher of the worlds: no partner has He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who bow to His will.” (6:162-163)

In the same way the collective impact of monotheism is also very deep. The basis of human society is complete justice and true equity. These two are impossible without the unity of God and unity of humans. The current chaos and destruction of the world is due to the fact that the social understanding of humans has not kept pace with scientific progress. The technological advancements are such that man has broken all geographic boundaries and by force of his inventions and creations, has converted this huge earth into the large courtyard of a house. But the narrowness of hearts and minds is such that every nation has a different god and a different human being. If men such as these break their boundaries somehow and infiltrate the boundaries of others, the killings and destruction that we are observing today within various nations of the world may be expected here too. Their faces resemble those of humans but hearts are like those of beasts. Nature has kept them apart through rivers, mountains and forests, but science has broken these boundaries.  The result is that people have pounced upon each other like beasts and the peace of the whole world has been destroyed. Those who have pondered over these problems have reached the conclusion that the principles upon which the current social and cultural structure has been founded are inadequate for this present world. But this loincloth of childhood is extremely tight for a grownup adult human being; now it is necessary that a new garment be designed for the full grown man. The time has come to bring to an end the societies and the political organizations that came into existence on the basis of race and colour, nation and statehood. The world now needs a new order. But what would this order look like? A correct answer has not yet come forth by anyone. Some say that now the world should become a world state instead of separate nations and states. But they do not explain the process through which this welcome global humanity may come into existence. The chaos among nations is such that there is neither a common deity nor even a common human. Each nation claims that it is superior to the rest. Each has a different god; different race; different father. It has different culture, beliefs and morals and it not only wishes to keep this distinction separate but also wishes to impose it upon others. Obviously until this knot remains in minds, there can be no shared tradition that can establish unity among these nations. A common tradition can be only one. And that is when they believe in only one God; establish only the shari‘ah sent don by Him and consider themselves members of the same family descended from the same Adam (sws). The building of a global nationhood and a global political organisation can thus emerge and the problems of this world can be resolved. If other solutions than this to address these issues are taken up, they will merely add yet another knot to the string: they will not resolve any difficulty.

This is the secret which the Qur’an has laid out as the two blocks of the foundation of human society in the beginning of Surah al-Nisa’: religion and family. Then the basis of religion has been declared to be monotheism. In other words, only God be accepted as the Lord and the Provider of law: others shall not have any partnership in this. The foundation of family has been given as the unity of the concept of Adam (sws). That is, all generations are born of one human: no one has any superiority over the other, except due to religion and piety. The first point liberated the world from the troubles of multiple gods and claimants of power and law making; the second brought to an end the arrogance of clans, race and lineage. All humans would be servants of one God and sons of Adam (sws). There would be no difference between blacks and whites; Arabs and non-Arabs. There would be a single governance system and a single system of law; all have the same peace; same justice; same ground for effort; same rights and same responsibilities. Here, it would be a great sin to consider any race to be slaves from birth; here, any discrimination between Aryan and Semitic races would be akin to anarchy on earth; here, depriving Red Indians of their rights on the basis of their colour would be the worst form of oppression. In such a system, only those who do not believe in these principles would be left without equal rights. The reason for this would be that these people are enemies of peace and justice; they desire chaos in the world and wish to destroy the foundations of human society without which the world would never attain peace and safety.

Today, those who are in search of a new order for the world cannot establish a foundation that can serve as a single basis for unity of all humanity unless they understand the reality of monotheism. It is natural for a human being to obey and be servant to God. This is an invitation that can be universally given to all children of Adam (sws). Any right minded person, regardless of whichever nation or race he may belong to, can accept this invitation without prejudice. It includes a natural attraction for the soul of man and in the skies and within the soul, there is irrefutable evidence for it. All claims other than this are calls of the ignorant. They carry no appeal for human nature and have no synchronisation with the order of the universe. If any attempt is made to impose any of these ideologies in the world, the latter would naturally throw it out. Consequently, either the attempt would be unsuccessful, or, if successful it would be like a thorn in the throat and an addition into other false religions of the world.   


(Translated by Nikhat Sattar)


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