- Religion and Philosophy
Do Jews, Christians and Muslims over look the importance of “Monotheism” today?
The Meaning of monotheism
First let’s define this profound word Monotheism. According to the well known dictionary Webster it means:
Mon´o`the`ism 1. (N) The doctrine or belief that there is but one God.
So now that we understand that in the “Webster” dictionary. We can now deal with its meaning within Islam. LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAH means there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.The religion of Islam is founded on firm belief in this profound statement. Islam stands firm on this belief without any compromise. It does not bend to any pagan, symbolic or philosophical influences. Monotheism is purely preserved in Islam.
The Islamic understanding of monotheism
It has been mentioned by one of the noble scholars known as Shaykh Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Sa’eed Raslan of our time from his book Conditions of Testimony “LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAH” And Things That Invalidate Islam. About the meaning of LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAH, he said: “The words (LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAH) has to main fundament: negation and affirmation. Laa ilaaha banishes all kinds of worship attributed to anything other than Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). While, illallah affirms all kinds of worship directed to Allah alone. The negation and affirmation is the Tawheed (monotheism) with which the scriptures were revealed upon and Messengers have brought (from the first Nuh (‘Alayhis - Salam) to seal of them) Muhammad (May the peace and blessings be upon him). It affirms the oneness of ALLAAH alone, and it incites in the believer the desire to testify that there is no god worthy of worship except Allaah. It makes him aware that Allaah alone is worthy of worship and that all deeds should be done for His sake. Tawheed cannot be complete without these two words (negation and affirmation), by contradicting the exaltation to anyone other than Allaah (the Most Exalted). The ‘nafyu’ (denunciation) alone is inadequate thus the ‘ithbaat’ (affirmation) cannot stand alone, but the two must be linked together.”
The noble Shaykh had more written about this subject. But due to this being a Hub, I’m trying to be concise and to the point. So I advise for you the reader to try to purchase the book if possible.
Well after hearing what the Shaykh had said about monotheism from the Islamic stand point. This proof is enough amongst much more proofs from other scholars alike. Islam’s concept of monotheism is very pure, highly respected, and protected from contradiction or corrupted understandings of monotheism. Monotheism’s pure sensible understanding known as “Tawheed” in Arabic are preserved just through such a profound statement (LAA ILAHAA ILLALLAH). This was sufficiently stated by the Shaykh in his book. But Unfortunately the Muslims they 've gone astray from the Origin of Islam (Tawheed) and they ended up following what is not from Islam at all (Shirk).
The Muslims going away from the importance of Monotheism
Unfortunately many Muslims have fallen victim to the corrupted understanding of monotheism. They have strayed away so far from the importance of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism). That it has led them to even practicing Shirk (polytheism) and not even realizing that it is. They usually make exaltation of dead scholars, imams, or religious leaders also known as saints like in Christianity. They use them as intercessors between them and Allah (God). These are similar practices of pagans. They rely on them through prayer in hopes they will answer or mention this prayer to Allah as though He is incapable of knowing the needs of all His creation. Does He not hear? This of course is not the case according to all three religions Islam, Christianity and Judaism; they all originally believe the same that he is All Knowing and All Hearing.
Judaism and Christianity allowing corrupted understandings into the minds and eventually the hearts of these people. Lead its misguidance from pure monotheism to monotheism as a cover over polytheism. Christianity being the main one straying away especially with its concept of belief in Jesus (May peace be upon him). I will touch more on the other two religion’s reasons later in the article.
This has unfortunately become a reality for many of the Muslims even today.This sad result has lead to Muslims fighting and killing one another even more now than from the past. This even lead to Muslims leaving the Faith of Islam for Christianity, occult spirituality, and even atheism. This is because, either they were not taught Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism), or they were not taught that it was the most important aspect of their belief. According to Islamic standards monotheism is very important. Unfortunately portions of its people (Muslims) have gone away from its importance. Especially with the neo-atheism none as secularism it has been a great influence in misguiding the Muslims. Insha’ALLAAH I will touch on this dilema at a later time in another Hub.
The Christian understanding of monotheism
Historical research has shown that the animism and idol worship of primitive peoples in the world is in all cases a regression from an original monotheistic belief, and the One-God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as was mentioned early in this article. These religions grew up in opposition to many-gods (polytheistic) beliefs that surrounded them rather than evolving out of these beliefs. Thus in any tradition, the pure teaching is to be found at its beginning and what follows is necessarily a decline, and it is from this perspective that the history of Christianity should be viewed It began with the belief in One God and was then corrupted, and the doctrine of the “Trinity” came to be accepted. This of course was not an easy task.
The Christians have a very futile and conflictive history when it comes to how it has come to understand monotheism within its religion.
If we begin from the time that Jesus, Christos or Christ is where the name Christian and the Christian religion derived from. He did not preach much of what later the Christians came to believe and follow within their religion, such as the trinity. Let’s take a look at the brief early history of Christendom.
Early History of Christianity
Early Christianity did not stay pure with Jesus as it began. The purity ended with Paul (aka Saul who was a Jewish tax collector). Jesus taught a continuation of the Musan laws (aka Laws of Moses) and according to theologians he added some of his own known as the gospels.
In the first century after the disappearance of Jesus, those who followed him continued to affirm the monotheistic understanding that there was Only One God that was worthy of worship. Submission to Him only, that only He was divine none else. They knew this because these teachings were from Jesus himself actually repeating the teachings of the Torah (The Old Testament). This was illustrated by the fact that the “Shepherd of Hermes in the”, written in about 90 A.D. was regarded as book of Revelation by the Church. The first of the twelve commandments which it contains begins:
“First of all, believe that God is One and that He created all things and organized them and out of what did not exist made all things to be, and He contains all things but alone is Himself uncontained”…
1) The Apostolic Fathers, E.J. Goodspeed.
So as you see here even the scripture affirmed true belief in the One and Only God none as monotheism. Even later between 180 A.D. and 210 A.D. the word “Father” was added before “Almighty.” This was bitterly contested by numerous leaders of the Church. Bishop Victor and Bishop Zephysius are on record as condemning this movement, since they regarded it unthinkable sacrilege to add or subtract any word to the Scriptures. They opposed the tendency to regard Jesus as divine. This belief of Pure Monotheism then was common throughout North Africa and West Asia.
So as the teachings of Jesus spread it came into contact with other cultures and into contact with those in authority. It began to be assimilated and adapted by these cultures and was also altered to diminish persecution by the rulers. In Greece, especially, it become metamorphosed, both by its being expressed in a new language for the first time, and by its realignment with the ideas and philosophy of that culture. It was the many gods viewpoint of the Greeks which highly influenced and contributed to the formulation of this doctrine of the Trinity, together with the gradual elevation of Jesus by none other than Paul of Tarsus, from prophet to God. It was only in 325 A.D. that the doctrine of trinity was declared to be theorthodox Christian belief. According to historical reports of course this was enforced fully with the assistance by the pagan Roman known as Constantine who presided over the council of Nicaea. Through Constantine with his also political goals drove him to succeed in replacing Jerusalem as the center of the Christian faith with Rome as the newly established Pauline Christianity later to be known as Catholicism.
So even today the Catholic Church, the Vatican and the Pope as its authorities. They lead the Christian world with this same belief that has been covered over the true beginnings of Jesus’ teachings which was pure monotheism. This shows how the Christian long ago left the importance of monotheism. Also even with Christianity from the early 1800s, to the ending of the World Wars, and even still today. Secularism has put many restrictions on Christian’s belief and traditions being practiced in the West after the spread of it through many of the European and Western controlled countries.
The Jewish understanding of monotheism
According to the faith of the Jews known as Judaism of course has a richer beginning. It’s also considered to be the cradle of monotheism. It’s beginnings of course started with Abraham who is considered the well known Patriarch of monotheism in all three faiths. From him monotheism was purely expressed and followed. Abraham (Ibrahim in Arabic) learnt this by study and logical deduction of the many falsehoods that surrounded him, like the worship of inanimate objects known as idols. They were believed to represent or house a godly soul within it, according to his people in his time. He even met conflict with his own father over this belief known as polytheism.
Through time and patience even while receiving harm upon his way of belief in the oneness of ALLAAH the Creator of all things the Almighty God. He submitted himself into what is known as a state of Islam (which basically means to submit yourself and life to worshipping only ALLAAH alone and also means peace). His family that he eventually established also followed in his footsteps which of course spread far and wide with his people who became to be known as the Children of Israel (Israel being the nick name of his grandson Jacob (Yaqoob in Arabic).
So time went on and the Children of Israel established a strong nation of monotheist and they even had many battles against those who would oppose their expansion especially through the areas now know as the Middle East. It was during the times of Moses (Musa Arabic) that the Children of Israel suffered long and harsh trials under the hands of the Egyptian Pharaoh know as Ramses the Second. They were forcefully influenced to change their beliefs and rely on Pharaoh as a God. They could no longer serve The One God of Abraham, but they must serve Pharaoh. Many of them of course did not want to do it, but some did out of maybe necessity or losing their belief. Most kept their faith hidden. They thought because ALLAAH (The One God) to them did not have any power or control over their lives it seemed to be in the hands of Pharaoh. So this is where the Jews started to not see monotheism as an important factor in their lives. Even after the great conflict between Pharaoh and the great prophet and liberator of the Children of Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh.
They turned away from the traditional teachings of monotheism in their faith especially after being conquered and defeated by another people and that ruled over them like the Romans did before Jesus time. They resorted to such beliefs especially the well known one that Uzayr (Ezra) was called the son of ALLAAH ( The One God)
"The Jews call ’Uzayr a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is the saying from their mouth; (In this) they are intimate; what the Unbelievers of the old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the truth." [Qur‘aan 9:30
Also there are other historical proofs that not all of Children of Israel only a portion also fell into the influences of paganism, philosophy, superstition, magic, politics, lavish living and other practices that lead them astray from their original teachings which were based on monotheism. This happened especially in Babylon, as history states.
As for Secularism today especially, the Jews are not exempt from this great influence.
After gathering this information besides what I could not include in this article due to there being to much information of these three religions past. I came to the conclusion that today are surely different times, and in these times people are in battle with different ideologies of life let alone "Faith" or many may say religion.
I really see that many people believe that monotheism just does not fit in with today's human lives especially non-Muslims besides wayward Muslims. They are just stuck on the worldly, physical and even spiritual lives according to what fits their desires. They take any religion, any belief, anyway as long as it suits them. The likes of these ways of thinking are mainly Influenced by secularism in the name of neo-democracy (it's main origins known from ancient Greece). This is what the people want and worship, not the Great One who gave life to all organic and inorganic lifeforms, seen or unseen beings etc. Is mankind consumed with desire worship today or is it the fault of the secularist? Who's to blame? Will Islamic Monotheism prevail as the true way to submission, peace and harmony with the Creator? Insha'ALLAAH these questions will be dealt with in future Hubs based on this profound subject Monotheism.