Difference between revisions of "Tawheed"

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Tawheed (also spelled tawhid) is the Islamic monotheistic concept of god.

The word


Tawheed doesn't mean oneness. There are many ways to say "oneness" in Arabic:

إتّحاد ؛ أُحَادِيّة ؛ أحَدِيّة ؛ تَجَانُس ؛ تَشَابُه ؛ تَطَابُق ؛ تَمَاثُل ؛ تَوَحّد ؛ وَحْدَة ؛ وَحْدانِيّة

Oneness could be وحدانية (wahdaaniya) or توحد (tawahhud) or وحدة (wahda), but not توحيد (tawheed).

There are 10 basic word forms in Arabic (I, II, ..X). The word waahid (واحد) means "one" and it is the basic form I. Tawheed is form II. Form II is usually a causative of form I. So tawheed means "cause to be one", "unify" or "make into one". The various translations of the word tawheed outside of Islamic theology are:

amalgamation ; combination ; conjunction ; consolidation ; fusion ; integration ; joining ; junction ; merger ; merging ; standardization ; unification ; union ; uniting

Similarly we have form I word kaafir (كافر) and form II takfeer (تكفير). Takfeer means make someone a kafir (who wasn't a kaafir previously). Similarly tawheed means make something one (waahid) that wasn't one previously. Merging many into one.

Occurrences in the Quran

Although the term tawheed is central to the Islamic theology, it doesn't appear anywhere in the Quran.

Quranic argument for monotheism

The Quran presented a fallacious argument for monotheism:

Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe.

It doesn't follow that if many gods exist, therefore they will be ruined. Maybe they could be friends.

Proclamations of monotheism

Islam insists that people should worship only one god, Allah. It's usually understood monotheistically, although the texts often don't explicitly deny the existence of other gods, which allows a henotheistic interpretation.


The most popular statement of oneness of Allah is the first part of the shahada:

لا إله إلا الله

laa ilaaha illa allah

no god but Allah

It is sometimes interpreted as "There's no god but Allah", although "There's" is not present in the original Arabic. There is also the henotheistic interpretation "No god is worthy of worship except Allah".

There is grammatically equivalent Shia saying:

لا سيف إلا ذو الفقار

lā sayf ʾillā Ḏū l-Fiqār.

No sword except Zulfiqar

Which means that it's the best sword. Not that it's the only sword existing.


The verse 112:1 says:

Say, "He is Allah, [who is] One (أحد, ahad),

The word ahad is also used in the verse 2:180 talking about one (ahad) of many. It doesn't mean "one and only":

Prescribed for you when death approaches [any] one of you (أحدكم, ahadu-kum) if he leaves wealth [is that he should make] a bequest for the parents and near relatives according to what is acceptable - a duty upon the righteous.


Some verses say that Allah is one (واحد, waahid):

Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, "What will you worship after me?" They said, "We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac - one (واحد) God. And we are Muslims [in submission] to Him."

And your god is one (واحد) God. There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

So it's in the context of "someone's god is one". Maybe other people have other gods.

Polytheism in the Quran

There used to be a part of the Quran, which was later removed about goddeses:

Have you thought of al-Lāt and al-‘Uzzá and Manāt, the third, the other?

These are the exalted gharāniq, whose intercession is hoped for.

Used to be in Quran 53:19-20

Al-Lat and al-Uzza were goddesses worhiped by Arab polytheists. However later Muhammad claimed that Satan put these verses on his tongue and therefore it was deleted from the Quran. Currently they are called "Satanic verses".

Also it's worth noticing that Allah calls himself "the best of creators" as if there were more creators:

Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators.

Quran and the holy trinity

Although Christianity is a monotheistic religion, it's not compatible with the Islamic doctrine of tawheed.

The Quran accuses Christians of saying "three":

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three" (ثلاثة); desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.

While in reality Christians are actually saying "trinity" (ثالوث), not "three" (ثلاثة).

The Quran also thinks that Christians worship Mary as a part of the trinity:

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'" He will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.

Christians actually believe that the trinity is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Mary is not a part of the trinity.

It's not known much, but the Quran actually mentions the Holy Spirit:

[The Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit (روح القدس) and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel;

Some translators translate it away as "pure", but the word القدس means "holy". So both the Bible and the Quran mention the holy spirit, but Muslims just didn't incorporate it into their theology.

The author of the Quran seems to think that the trinity (or "three" as he incorrectly says) means three gods, while it actually means one god in three persons and therefore it is a monotheistic faith.

The holy duality: Allah and Quran

Most Muslim today believe that the Quran is eternal (not created). However Allah is supposed to be the only eternal thing and Allah and Quran are not the same thing. So there are two eternal beings, Allah and the Quran. And if the Quran is a part of Allah, then it is divisible from him, but Allah is supposed to be one and indivisible.

Ancient religiosity

Tawheed is supposedly "the original concept of god" that was corrupted.

However, in the ancient world, the concept of monotheism as we understand it today did not exist; all ancient people were polytheists. They may have elevated one god as higher than the others (henotheism) but nevertheless recognized the existence of divine multiplicity.

Denova, R. (2019, October 17). Monotheism in the Ancient World. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/1454/

So the whole concept of monotheism is actually a later innovation.