Taken from the book American Muslim Agenda by Dr. Mike Ghouse
Chapter 16: Islamic Value No. 2
Tauheed, the Oneness of God
It does not matter to me if you believe in one God, two Gods, many Gods or no God, but if you think you are accountable to someone or other, your behavior towards fellow beings will change in creating a peaceful world. That someone or the other could be your conscience or God.
I must acknowledge here, that as of today, among all the living humans that I know in the whole wide world, Pope Francis is one of the most inclusive of all human beings. He is indeed a God’s man, and he has the inclusive vision. Like Jesus, he has embraced all humanity without discrimination. I have written an article calling him my Imam. I was looking up at Dalai Lama and Double Sri Ravi Shankar, both have failed miserably with their built-in prejudices against fellow humans. A man of God cannot be prejudiced.
The following Islamic value is for those who want to understand the oneness of God, that is Tauheed in Quran. By the way, the Bahai tradition has the most convincing explanations about Tauheed. I learned about it explaining to my Radio audiences when the Bahai representative could not make it to my Radio show.
How does Tauheed affect our attitude and contributes to building cohesive societies?
The purpose of oneness was the first step towards building a cohesive society. Subscription to the notion of one ultimate universal God was the need of the day.
One represents accountability and responsibility to get things done. We have one President, one CEO, one boss, one man or woman of the house. There is always one!
Hinduism calls it Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum – the whole world is one. What a relief it was, it freed the men from the blame games and mitigated the mundane conflicts. The wisdom was a panacea to the conflicts among people.
A cohesive society is the dream of all humanity, where each human has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Going back in time to Mecca, we find each merchant had his own icon representing “his” values, and when the conflicts arose between two merchants, it was their “personal God-Icon” who rescued or won them their battle in business. The conflicts remained a daily routine, sort of the Wild West. It was sheer arrogance to believe that my God was invincible and others were vulnerable.
It was a time period when an individual’s greed and his drive to control the resources, wealth and women turned him into pitting his version of God against the others. That was not only in Mecca, but that was the case all around the world, and it is no different now. That God is Oil today; at one time it was Sugar, Cotton, Tobacco, Silk, and Spices.
Subscribing to one universal God, with all the non-conflicting attributes packed into one was emerging. An abstract idea of God which everyone could relate to was the need of the day. Thus, the concept of the oneness of God and oneness of humanity was evolving to be a source of healing and bringing unity to the given diversity in Mecca.
Think about this for fun – A few comedians including General Boykin had said that his Christian God is mightier than the Muslim God. Imagine that there is a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu (they got many) and other Gods who want to gain control and start fighting, I am sure, one will win the battle and others will be absorbed into one mighty God. That is the God we have now, the winner who took it all. Boykin may be from another planet with his own God, we invite his God to come and fight with ours. If he wins, we will surrender to him, but let him show up.
Collapsing all the different Gods into one universal God, with all the non-conflicting attributes packed into one, an abstract idea of God, a common denominator God which everyone could relate to was the need of the day. The concept of the oneness of humanity was a source of healing and bringing unity to the given diversity.
Muhammad (PBUH) spent a considerable amount of time in the cave, a place where there was no TV, Music and other distractions. That is all they had then, almost all religious men seek that to reflect on life.
He received revelations about the oneness of God, and commonness of humanity despite the differences. He understood that when he recited God’s words (Quran 49:13) that we were born to a single couple and made into different tribes, communities, nations, and faiths. And with that uniqueness conflicts are bound to happen, and the way to move ahead is to know each other when we know each other conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
Muhammad revealed this to his family and friends, and they started seeing the value in the conflict-lessness of “Your God” versus “My God” and moving on to “our God” – a common denominator God. Thus, the word subscribing to the idea of one supreme* God came into being, the Arabic word for submission for peace was “Islam” and the one who submits to the idea of oneness, and conflict-lessness was a Muslim, a submitter to harmony.
That is indeed the pledge Muslims take that there is one and only God, who is God of all. It is also a declaration that we don’t own this God and belongs to all of us. He is not mine or yours to have a conflict and let us live cohesively as one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.