Oneness of Allah – The Tawheed
The most important and basic belief about Allah in Islam is tawheed – the Oneness of Allah. Belief in Allah is the foundation of Islam. It is the bedrock of a Muslim’s faith.
Allah is One – Unique. He is the All-Powerful, the Sustainer of the entire universe. In His Hands are the life and death of all creatures. He is the Sovereign, He is the Lawgiver. He is the Just, All-forgiving, All- Merciful. He is with us in His infinite Knowledge wherever we may be. He is the All-Knowing, All-Seeing, and All-Hearing. The Oneness of Allah forms the basis of all other Islamic beliefs, attitudes, practices and rules. A Muslim should worship none but Allah. He should not associate anything or anyone with Him in worship. He should have absolute trust in Him and love and fear none more than Him.
Indeed, tawheed – the belief in the Oneness of Allah – permeates every walk of a believer’s life, and it is for this reason that Almighty Allah sent prophets and messengers to call people to the worship of Allah alone, the only Lord and Master.
Allah’s revelation is the source of all guidance for man. Man must surrender to the Divine guidance, as ultimate and final. It is man’s duty to love and serve Allah. He should submit to His Will. Obviously, no one can do this if Allah does not let humans know what His Will is! How is man’s life to be guided then? How can man decide whether or not an action is right or wrong?
Allah is Merciful
Surely, Allah is Most Merciful. He revealed His Will to human beings through His Prophets and Messengers to take them out of darkness into light. It should be borne in mind that belief in the reality of divine revelation (wahee) and, consequently, the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) is the main pillar of Islam.
The Quran says, “And it is not for any human being that Allah should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a partition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills. Indeed, He is Most High and Wise.”
Thus, the message Allah revealed to His Prophets and Messengers is the channel of communication between Allah and mankind. A message (risaalah) communicated to a Messenger of Allah is a revelation or wahee.
Allah in His mercy sent many prophets (anbiyyoo’, sing, nabee) and messengers (rusul, sing, rasool) to guide and lead humanity to success in this world as well as in the life to come.
The Quran says, “And We have already sent messengers before you. Among them are those (whose stories) We have related to you, and among them are those (whose stories) We have not related to you…”
“And (We sent) messengers about whom We have related (their stories) to you before and messengers about whom We have not related to you.”
The Quran also states that He sent a messenger to every people: ” And for every nation is a messenger.”
It further states that it is said that Allah did not send any messenger who did not speak the language of the people who were entrusted to him:
“And We did not send any messenger except (speaking) in the language of his people to state clearly for them”
The Hadeeth tells us that – from the first Prophet, Adam ( down to Allah’s Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) – Allah sent 124,000 prophets, of whom 313 received new commands, or books.
The Words Rasool and Nabee
The Quran uses the words rasool and nabee to refer to the Prophets and Messengers. The word rasool, as well as its plural form rusul, occurs more than 200 times and means ‘the one who is sent’ or ‘a messenger’. Less common but frequent is the word nabee, which means ‘someone who brings news’ and occurs about 50 times in the Quran.
The word nabee in the Quran, however, does not mean ‘one who gives news about the future’ but rather one who gives news from Allah’. He comes from Allah to warn against evil and to give good news to mankind. Thus, the words ‘giver of good news’ (basheer) and ‘warner’ (nadheer) frequently appear in the Quran.
Rasool means messenger, one sent by Allah to mankind, although this word is sometimes used to refer to the Angel of Revelation (Jibreel), whom Allah sent to His Prophets and Messengers. In fact, Muslim scholars have made a distinction between the two words, saying that a nabee means a messenger without a law (Sharee’ah) and without a book revealed to him, while a rasool means one with a law and a revealed book. Thus we can also define the difference further: every rasool is a nabee, but not every nabee is a rasool.
The Quran clearly and firmly demands of the believers to believe in all the Prophets and Messengers and the books revealed to them without making a distinction among them. The Quran mentions books revealed to Ibraaheem and specifies the Tawraah, the Zaboor of Daawood, the Injeel and the Quran as revealed books. Aadam was the first of the prophets, and he and others – Nooh, Hood, Saalih, Ibraaheem, Ya’qoob, Yoosuf, Moosaa,
Daawood, Sulaymaan, Easaa and Muhammad (pbuh), to mention only a few of them – were all human beings chosen by Allah and were given the same message: that Allah is One and that He alone is to be worshipped.
Allah refers to all these prophets as Muslims because all of them followed the Right Path and were His true and faithful servants, to Whose Will they submitted in all the affairs of their life. Every Muslim is required to believe in all the prophets of Allah and respect them. Rejection of one of them is like rejection of them all. In fact, rejection of one is enough to take one outside the fold of Islam.
Prophets played very influential and important roles throughout history in delivering the Message of Allah. They all brought the same message, calling people to worship none but Allah, not to associate partners with Allah in worship, completely submit to Allah’s Will, offer salaah, pay zakaat, lead a moral life according to the Divine Guidance, prepare for the Day of Resurrection when everyone will stand before Allah to be judged for the deeds done in this life.
The stories of Allah’s Prophets and Messengers form a significant portion of the Quran, but the Quran does not tell the stories of all of them. In fact, there are twenty-five prophets and messengers mentioned by name in the Quran.
Prophets and Messengers were human beings chosen by Allah to receive His Message and deliver it to human beings. In fact, they were not only the bearers of the divine message, but they also showed how the message was to be interpreted in practical life. They were the models, or examples, to be followed. It is the Prophets’ example that inspires a living faith in the heart of his followers and brings about a real change in their lives. That is why the Noble Quran lays special stress on the fact that prophets and messengers were men, The reformation of man is thus entrusted to man.
The Quran argues, “Say, “If there were upon the earth angels walking securely, We would have sent down to them from the heaven an angel (as a) messenger.””
The Quran, however, not only establishes the fact that prophets have appeared in all nations; it goes further and renders it obligatory that a Muslim should believe in all those prophets.