The Unity of God (‘Shahadatah’)
In Islam, the Concept of Godhood is very simple, there being only one God. No one is worthy of worship except God, the Creator of the Universe. All
creatures, prophets, angels included, bow and appeal to Him and to Him alone. The Unity of God is the central pillar of Islam, without which there is no Islam. One of the shortest chapters of the Holy Quran is made
up of four verses which read as follows:
1 He is God, One
2 God, the Eternal, the Everlasting Refuge
3 He does not Beget and has not been begotten
4 And there is none like unto Him
The greatest sin in Islam is to recognise another being as God or to associate some creatures with God. This principle was taught by all prophets. During
his lifetime, Prophet Muhammad explained by practical examples the laws of God. His advice, his decisions form the second source of law in Islam. The first article of faith which the Muslim child learns is
‘La ilaha illallahMuhammad-ur Rasulullah.’
‘There is no god save Allahand Muhammad is His Prophet.’
This is the bedrock of Islam, its foundation and its essence. It is obligatory for the Muslim to follow the method of obeying God and worshipping Him in
accordance with Prophet Muhammad’s injunctions.
‘Muslims are taught to submit to anAll-powerful God who is creator (aI-Khaliq)
Infinite and Eternal (al-Qadim and al Qayyum), All-powerful and Omnipotent (al-Aziz and al-Qadir),All-wise (al-Hakim), all-knowing and All-seeing (al-Aiim and al-Basir), Merciful and Gracious (ar-Rahim and ar-Rahman),Eternal and Absolute (as-Samad),Sovereign (al-Malik), Glorious and Perfect (as-Subhan), and
Most forgiving (aI~Ghafur)1
It should be remembered that the appellations ‘Allah’, ‘Rabb’, ‘Khuda’, ‘God’, ‘Dieu’, all mean the Creator, the Sovereign Ruler who shares neither His
Divinity nor His Power, nor His Decision with any of His Creatures.
The other pillar that expresses man’s submission to God is Prayer. All religions teach man that he needs to pray to his Creator. A Muslim is expected to
pray five times a day. The first prayer begins after sunset, and is followed by the night, dawn, noon and afternoon prayers. The faithful are called to prayer by the ‘muezzin’ who calls with a powerful and
‘God is most great. God is most great.I bear witness that there is no god but God
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of God’.Come to prayer. Come to salvation
God is most great... There is no god but Allah.
The morning call reminds Muslims that ‘prayer is better than sleep’. Facing in the direction of Mecca, opening his hands and touching the lobes of his
ears, with his thumbs, the Muslim says ‘AlIahu Akbar’. Lowering his hands and folding them, the left hand within the right, he recites the ‘Fatiha’, the first chapter of the Quran:
Praise belongs to God, Lord of the World
The Compassionate, the Merciful,
King of the Day of Judgement,
‘Tis thee we worship and Thee we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path
The path of those whom Thou hast favoured
Not the path of those who incur Thine anger nor
of those who go astray.
‘The utmost solemnity and decorum are observed in the public worship of the Muslims. Their look and behaviour in the mosque are not those of enthusiastic
devotion but of calm and modest piety . . . they appear wholly absorbed in the adoration of their Creator, humble and downcast, yet without affected humility, or aforced expression of humility.
Prayer contributes to the purification of the body and the soul. A Muslim must be clean in his body and clothes to appear before God. Prayer keeps his
inner self free from vanities and arrogance while providing him with the opportunity of thanking his Creator for the bounties and blessings He so graciously showers on humanity.
In Islam every action is done for the love of God. To remove a harmful object on a pathway is an act of charity performed for the sake of God. Charity
has an extremely wide meaning in Islam. Every Muslim is able to offer something to his fellow-man, even half a loaf. ‘In the wealth of those who possess, is the right of the needy’. This is a verse of the Holy
Quran. The Prophet said ‘Faith and avarice do not match’. Islam favours the organ isation of charitable institutions so as to canalise the distribution of alms. The Holy Quran has listed the kind of people who
deserve help. In this way no one has to go without the essentials of life. Food, shelter, clothes, medical care, education, genuine debts are all aspects of Charity. What is fundamental is that the giver is not
doing the recipient a favour; it is the right of the recipient that God has entrusted to the giver for distribution. In this way, the dignity of the poor is preserved.
To enable man to understand the suffering of his fellows and to make him practise self-restraint, fasting has been prescribed. How can one feel the pangs
of hunger and thirst, if one has never been hungry and thirsty? Fasting is a period of tough training both for the body and soul; additional prayers are offered during the fasting month until late at night.
‘The fast cuts man off from the continual and devouring flux of carnal life, introducing into our flesh a kind of death and purification; the alms
vanquish egoism and avarice and actualize the solidarity of all creatures, for alms are a fasting of the soul even as the fast proper is an almsgiving of the body.
The Pilgrimage to Mecca is the fifth article of faith. It is obligatory for all Muslims who can afford it to undertake the pilgrimage at least once in
his life time. Mecca is the centre towards which all must face when saying prayers. This visit is not just a courtesy call. When a Muslim goes on this pilgrimage, he is required to be pure in word and deed; his
thoughts must be concentrated on Allah with intense devotion. There are many benefits that the Muslims can enjoy from this pilgrimage. ‘Mecca is the centre towards which the Muslims must converge once a year, meet
and discuss topics of common interest, and in general create and refresh in themselves the faith that all Muslims are equal and deserve the love and sympathy of others, irrespective of their geographical or cultural
origin. Thus the pilgrimage unites the Muslims of the world into one international fraternity’.