Lecture delivered to 1st year medical
students at Kuantan, Pahang on July 26th
1997 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. Deputy Dean for
Research and Post-graduate Affairs, Kulliyah of Medicine IIUM
THE ISLAMIC WORLD-VIEW
Culture & Civilisation
Intellectual and abstract
Basis for physical laws (sunan Allah fi al kawn)
Empirical evidence for tauhid
Existence of a creator is a logical necessity
The creation indicates only one creator (tauhid
Creation as a continuous process
3.1 Worship of only one God (wahdaniyat al ibadat)
Association of others with Allah in worship (shirk)
3.3 Religious anarchy in the absence of tauhid al
NAMES OF ALLAH AND ALLAH’S ATTRIBUTES
The 99 names of Allah
Description of the attributes: contrast with humans
Shirk: human appropriation of divine attributes
IMPLICATIONS FOR DAILY LIFE
Brotherhood and equality
Science and technology
1.0 TAUHID: THE ISLAMIC WORLD-VIEW
The concept of tauhid encapsulates the Islamic
world-view. It is the basis of Islamic culture and civilization. Knowledge, social action and social organizations in Islam
are based on the world-view defined by tauhid. Tauhid
defines the relation between the human and the creator as well the relationships among the various creations in the universe.
Tauhid is the highest level of the development of the human mind. It is an intellectual and abstract reality. Normally many
people do not want to go through the rigors of dealing with an abstract reality and they find easy recourse to one or several
material gods they can see and interact with directly.
Tauhid is the most powerful and integrating concept for the universe. All other concepts and empirical phenomena derive from
and are explainable by tauhid.
All creation and all phenomena of the universe derive from the one and same source. If
the source is one, then there are relationships among all objects and phenomena in the universe. These relationships are the
basis for physical and social laws (sunan Allah fi al kawn)
There is evidence in the universe (p 692 s:21…71:15-20) and in humans (p 698 …9:8-10) for oneness of Allah. One-ness of Allah
(wahdaniyyat) can be proved philosophically or empirically. Prior belief in the
unseen is indispensable for appreciating the empirical evidence for one-ness of Allah. Starting from a basis of belief the
philosophical and empirical evidence becomes more powerful and reinforces the underlying belief. Those without the smallest
grain of belief in the unseen will not be able to fully appreciate the empirical or philosophical evidence however obvious
it may be. In essence they have an inherent bias since belief in the unseen is innate in humans (fitra).
2.0 TAUHID AL RUBUBIYYAT
The concept ofrububiyyatis the assertion
that there is a creator for the universe and all its contents (, 32:7-9, 87:2, 54:49). This concept can be appreciated
as a logical imperative since all the universe could not create itself.
The essence of tauhid is the oneness of Allah
(112:1-4, 23:9, 6:100). Belief in the one-ness of Allah is inborn (p 699 6:63…41:5). The assertion that there is only
one creator for the whole universe (tauhid al rububiyyat) is also a logical imperative.
It is impossible for the harmonious and well-coordinated universe to have more than creator. No 2 creators could agree so
perfectly without any contradictions (p705-706 s:21…80:17-19; p708 2:139…73:9). No harmony can exist in situations
Related to rububiyat is the concept of sustenance
(rizq) (p 702-703 …67:21), Allah not only created all creatures but
provides for and sustains them. Thus rububiyyat is a continuous process. It covers
human and non-human creation of Allah. It extends into the future until Allah decides to terminate the universe as we know
3.0 TAUHID AL ULUHIYYAT
The concept of uluhiyyatimplies worship of Allah and the acknowledgement that He is the sustainer and sovereign and of the world
(mulk) (p 708 23:84-89…67:1). Many people easily accept the assertion that
the sole creator of the whole universe deserves to be worshipped. Some however find it difficult to understand that nothing
else can be associated with that creator in worship (tauhid al uluhiyyat). They
also find it difficult to understand that worship is for the only one creator (wahdaniyat
al ibadat/wahdaniyat al ibadat) (p 709-710 1:5…109:1-6).
Messengers and revelations were sent to emphasize that there is one creator to be worshipped
and that there are no associates. Associating Allah with anything else in worship is the greatest of sins and is unforgivable.
Many problems that afflict individuals and communities arise out of rejection of tauhid
al uluhiyyat. Rejection of uluhiyat opens the door to anarchy in religion.
This anarchy leads humans to appropriate attributes of the creator wrongly and some go to the extent of misusing this to justify
exploitation of others.
Knowledge and understanding of rububuyyat and
uluhiyyat lead logically to the conclusion that the human must worship the creator.
It is not possible that the whole complex universe was created with no purpose behind the creation. This purpose we learn
from the revelations is the worship of Allah. Worship is a way of expressing gratitude for the creation and the bounties of
Allah in the universe. Every other creature worships Allah and never disobeys. It is only humans who sometimes disobey. The
human was given a special status and specific competences like a high intellect and limited free-will. Misuse of these competences
may result in disobedience. Kufr, denial of the existence of the creator or refusal
to worship Him, is a great crime. It is ungratefulness for the great gift of creation and sustenance that humans have.
4.0 TAUHID: NAMES (ASMAU) & ATTRIBUTES (SIFAAT)
Allah has the most beautiful of names. They all testify to His majesty and power. These
names are for Allah only and no creature can have any of them (tauhid al asma).
A Muslim must believe in all the names. Denial of any one name nullifies iman.
All the 99 names of Allah are mentioned in the Qur’an (p 107-126). The names of Allah are of great significance. They
reflect the nature and power of the creator. They remind humans of their humble status in front of Allah. They help humans
strengthen their understanding of uluhiyyat and rububiyyat.
Allah has attributes (sifaat) (p 708-709 2:163….112:4).
The Qur’an has mentioned all of Allah’s attributes that a human needs to know (2:115, 2:255, 4:164, 6:133, 6:59,
7:143, 19:52, 31:26, 31:34, 42:11, 42:49-50).
Some of the attributes are just for resemblance (sifaat
al tashbiih) such as leg (p 689 68:42), eye, ‘ayn (p 690 11:37…54:14),
coming, majiu (p 690 2:210…89:22), face, wajh
(p 690 2:115…92:20), hand, yad (p 690 13:26…67:1), sight basar, p 772 2:144…96:14), hearing sam’u p. 678 3:181…58:1),
speaking, kalaam p 682-683 2:37…66:12).Attributes with names similar to the above are also found in humans and other creatures but are different from Allah’s
because nothing can be like Him. The use of terms such as the hand, the face, hearing etc was more for easing human understanding
than making statements about the nature of Allah. The nature of Allah is beyond human understanding.
Some attributes are states of being such as being above, fawqiyyat (p 690 ..92:20), Eternity (al baqau p. 688 …57:3),
life (al hayat, p. 687-688 2:255…40:65), being the first (al qidam p 682 57:3), and self-reliance (al qiyam bi nafsihi p 682
2:255…112:2). Some attributes relate to actions such as will (iraadat p 676
…74:31), knowledge (ilm p. 678-681 …100:11), ability
(al qudrat p. 681-682 ….85:13), and being unique ie different from the
creations (mukhalafat al hawadith p 683-684 2:116….112:3).
Shirk in essence is associating the creator with human attributes. Some human attributes like hunger, thirst, and sleep reflect
human weakness and should not be associated with the creator. Shirk also occurs when divine attributes are appropriated by
Names and attributes are an aid for humans to understand the creator’s omnipotence.
The attributes of Allah are beyond human comprehension and it is useless or even dangerous to engage in too much debate about
them. It is enough to believe in them and not try to seek to explain them. Humans get confused in discussions of the nature
of Allah when they do not acknowledge that there are limitations to human intellect and knowledge. Some concepts can not be
reached by the human intellect and recourse must be made to revelation. The Qur’an provides enough guidance on the nature
of Allah leaving no room for human confusion (2:115, 2:255, 6:103).
Looking at the expanse and complexity of the universe shows that the creator must be very
powerful, omnipresent and omnipotent. The creator must be different in all ways from what he created. It does not make sense
to associate any human attributes to Him. The creator must be perfect because the creation is perfect.
5.0 TAUHID: IMPLICATIONS IN DAILY LIFE
Tauhid and civilization: the concept of tauhid, by emphasizing belief in one creator and sustainer of the whole universe,
gives human civilization a beginning and an end. It gives it purpose, an objective and a sense of direction. It is an integrating
concept without which an ever-lasting and successful civilization can not be built. Many human civilizations that history
has recorded could not sustain themselves beyond a few centuries because of lack of a central integrating vision like tauhid. They soon run into contradictions and collapsed.
Human brotherhood and equality: tauhid explains
the unity of mankind because of a common origin (2:213, ). The differences of nations and tribes have a purpose
and do not negate the common human brotherhood (49:13).
Science and technology: Tauhid presents the
vista of a wide expansive universe which motivates search for knowledge far and wide. Acknowledging existence of one creator,
implies that there are fixed physical laws in the universe (sunan Allah fi al kawn).
These are the basis for predictable causal relations. The purpose of science is to identify and define these causal relations.
Technology exploits or manipulates the causal relations to create benefits (sometimes harm) for humans.
Social organization: Tauhid, by emphasising
a common creator for everything, implies that there must exist social laws needed for smooth functioning of the universe especially
human society. Under tauhid the need for a community and family is obvious (7:189-190,
25:54). Both are structured organisations that ensure integrated harmonious human existence.
Economic organization: The basic economic teaching under tauhid is that sustenance is from Allah (29:60-62). The wealth that an individual gets should not be a cause of
arrogance because it is essentially not his or hers. Human economic activities are undertaken with a sense of responsibility
knowing that economic resources are in the hands of Allah and that the human is just a vicegerent. The human will therefore
undertake economic activity within a moral context defined by Allah. This context requires that economic activity shall promote
moral well-being, social and human justice.
Political organization: tauhid implies that ultimate political sovereignty
is with Allah. Those who wield political power are vicegerents and are thus accountable. They can not behave as if they have
absolute authority because that is the prerogative of Allah alone