From WikiIslam, the online resource on Islam
(Redirected from Monotheism)
Jump to: navigation, search
Under construction icon-yellow.svg

This article or section is being renovated.

Lead = 2 / 4
Structure = 2 / 4
Content = 3 / 4
Language = 4 / 4
References = 1 / 4
2 / 4
2 / 4
3 / 4
4 / 4
1 / 4

Tawheed (also spelled tawhid) is the Islamic monotheistic concept of god. Although the concept of monotheism is intrinsic to tawheed, tawheed encompasses more than the concept of god simply being one. It also refers to all of the implications of the existence of one god who created the universe and has very specific wishes for his creations. It stands in contrast to shirk in all of its forms.

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).

Tawheed is the masdar, that is to say verbal noun, of a form II(wazn faala وزن فعّل in Arabic) verb wahhada وحّد meaning to unify or consolidate. Form II is usually a causative or implies the transmitting of the effect of the act from the doer to the receiver. So tawheed means "causing to be one", "unifying" or "making 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

Occurrences in the Quran

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

Tawheed versus monotheism

Monotheism means that only one god exists. But tawheed has a wider scope in Islamic theology. Monotheism doesn't require theocracy. But an important part of tawheed in the classical sources is that Allah is the only legislator (Tawheed Al-Hakimiyyah), which implies supremacy of religion over secular government in states which acknowledge and enact tawheed. In the traditional sources, Muslims as a result of acknowledging Allah as the highest ruler have to obey Allah before all else:

So fear Allah and obey me.

In comparison to monotheistic deism (or pantheism):

  • There is only one god (Deism)
  • There is only one god and Muhammad is his messenger (Islam)

The god of the deists is one, but the belief in this god does not comply with tawheed, as no messenger is acknowledged to provide mankind with the direct will of god to be obeyed before all else.

Quranic arguments

Against polytheism

The Quran presented an argument against polytheism:

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.

Against Atheism

The Quran also argues against Atheism:

Or were they created by nothing, or were they the creators [of themselves]?

Against Trinity

The Quran also arguesagainst the Christian Trinity:

O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son (سبحانه أن يكون له ولد). To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.

The Arabic says only "glory be to him (سبحانه) that (أن) exists (يكون) for him (له) a son (ولد)" which implies that the exalted position of god prohibits him from having a son.

Proclamations of monotheism

Islam scholars and preacher insist that people should worship only one god, Allah.


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 interpreted as "There's no god but Allah." Compare the Shi'ite saying:

{{Quote|| لا سيف إلا ذو الفقار

lā sayf ʾillā Ḏū l-Fiqār.

"No sword except Zulfiqar"


The verse 112:1 says:

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

The use of Ahad here is highly unusual, one would expect "waahid." "Ahad" though is usual in Aramaic, and has been suggested as a sign of Syriac influence on the original Qur'anic rasm.


Some verses say that Allah is one with the Arabic 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.

Polytheism in the Quran

According to the traditional Islamic sources, 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 (and also talks about himself in the plural):

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.

It should be noted that Christians in Arabic actually say "trinity" (ثالوث), not "three" (ثلاثة).

The Quran also claims 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 in any known Christian sect. Some Islamic scholars have claimed that there existed at this time in Arabia a Christian heresy which worshiped Mary as part of the trinity, but there is not much evidence for this.

The Quran actually does mention the Holy Spirit, one part of the Christian Trinity:

[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;

The author of the Quran seems to think that the trinity (or "three" as the Qur'an says) means three gods, while it actually means one god in three persons in the Christian understanding.

The holy duality: Allah and Quran

Most Muslim today believe that the Quran is eternal (not created). This belief stems from the Mu'tazila controversy/heresy in the 2nd Islamic century (the 8th century of the common era) and closely parrelels Christian debates about the nature of the Son vs God the Father (who is like the Qur'an in Islam the Word of God). Although Muslims claim strict monotheism, they generally ascribe many divine characteristics to the Qur'an.

Raised index finger by terrorists

The raised index finger with the rest of the fingers folded into a fist is the symbol of tawhid. Tawhid is not only monotheism, tawhid also means that Allah is the only legislator. This symbol has been made famous outside of the Islamic world by salafi jihadists, who often make it prior to engaging in military or terror attacks. The point of their raising the finger is that tawheed for them implies the necessity of bringing about the rule of Allah's laws on the earth, and they view their military and terrorism activities as the logical outcome of this principle.

Ancient religiosity

Tawheed is supposedly "the original concept of god" that was corrupted according to Islamic orthodoxy. This however stands in contrasts to all hitherto done research on ancient and prehistoric societes:

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/

Rather than the default position of mankind, history and anthropology seem to indicate that monotheism is the innovation.