Could you please give me information about the Oneness of Allah? What does Burhan al-Tamanu (Reductio ad Impossible) mean?
Submitted by on Fri, 29/01/2010 - 13:02
Dear Brother / Sister,
Islamic theology scholars mentioned various proofs in order to prove the oneness of Allah. The most important of them is the proof called Burhan al-Tamanu (reductio ad impossible) that refutes the claim that there is more than one god. When we assume that there are two equal gods in the universe, it is definite that there will be discussions between them and conflicts between their wishes.
In the end of such a conflict, for instance when one god wanted something to happen and the other wanted it not to happen, one of the following three possibilities would happen.
1. Both of the gods’ wishes would take place.
2. Neither of the gods’ wishes would take place.
3. One of the gods’ wish would take place and the other’s wish would not.
All of those possibilities are rationally invalid and impossible.
If the wishes of both of them took place, a state in which something would happen and would not happen at the same time would take place, that is, two opposites like existence and non-existence would come together, which is logically impossible.
If neither of the gods’ wishes would take place, it would mean something would be deprived of existence and non-existence, that is, the opposites would disappear, which is also rationally and logically impossible.
In addition, the gods would suffer weakness when their wishes were not realized. Weak beings cannot be divine beings; they cannot create anything.
In the third possibility, the wish of one of the gods would take place and the other would be prevented; then the god whose wish did not take place would become weak. A weak being cannot be a god.
Moreover, we mentioned that the gods would be equal; when one of them turned out to be weak, the other would be weak too because they were equal. Then, both of them would be weak. Weak beings cannot be gods.
Thus, all of the possibilities turned out to be invalid; and the theory that there are two or more gods is proved to be invalid spontaneously.
Then, the divine being that created the world is one. And that being is Allah, the Exalted, who has absolute perfection, power and greatness as a necessity of the existence of His pre-eternal and post-eternal personality.
There are other proofs that prove the belief of oneness. Let us mention some of them that we regard as important:
• Proof that “His sovereignty does not accept any partners”:
The most important and indispensable law of the truth of sovereignty is independence and freedom. That is, rejection of others’ intervention and partnership in sovereignty.
It is obvious that even weak men who have a slight shadow or part of sovereignty reject the outer interventions in order to protect their independence and they act aggressively when others interfere in their business. In history, kings who were full of love and compassion killed their innocent children and beloved brothers lest they should intervene in their sovereignty. It clearly shows that the truth that no intervention is in question in sovereignty is dominant so absolutely and essentially.
Since the shadow of the feeling of sovereignty in weak and needy men rejects intervention so much and does not accept partnership in their sovereignty and try to protect their independence by all means, it will be understood that God Almighty, ‘who has absolute sovereignty in the form of being the Lord of the worlds, absolute dominance in the form of divinity and absolute independence in the form of oneness’ is free from having a partner, counterpart and rival.
Therefore, independence and uniqueness is an indispensable principle of the absolute sovereignty of Allah.
• Proof of order:
The perfect order and unerring system seen in the beings on the earth from atoms to stars in individuals and in all of them is the greatest proof and the brightest evidence of oneness. If anybody other than the Maker intervened in the divine activities and creation in the universe, that highly delicate order and balance would be spoiled and the marks of disorder would be seen everywhere.
• Proof of “ease at oneness and difficulty in plenitude”:
If the creation of things is attributed to only one Maker and Creator, it will be easy like the creation of one thing. If it is attributed to the nature, a fly will be as difficult as the skies, a flower as difficult as a spring and a fruit as difficult as an orchard. Since an eternal ease is seen in the creation of things in the universe, it is understood that the Creator is one and single...
PROOFS OF ONENESS (TAWHEED):
One of the most beautiful metaphors about this world: the Palace of the Universe
There is oneness in this metaphor. There cannot be two sultans in a palace. The floor of the palace cannot be owned by someone and the ceiling by another person. It is impossible for the outer walls to belong to the sultan and the inner partitions to the vizier. When there is one palace and one sultan, the things in it cannot belong to someone else.
The carpets, lamps and other furniture of that palace of the universe have not been brought from another world and placed there. Everything in the palace, and the most significantly, every guest is born in the palace. Let us have a look at a flower: Everything, from the soil to the sun, has a share in it. Let us have a look at the human body: The elements that are the cornerstones of the palace exist in him.
The mountains have settled on the plains like armchairs. However, they have not been brought from somewhere else; they rise from within the plain itself.
The fruit holds on to the branch. It has not been imported from another place; it rises from within the tree.
A baby is on its mother’s lap. It has not come from another country; it has grown in her womb.
The sun has become the lamp of the palace. It has not been brought from somewhere else; it was created together with the sky.
Oneness is the belief of knowing the sultan of the palace as One, accepting Him as One and not associating any partners with Him.
That oneness in the universe manifests itself in everything.
“There is a oneness in everything, and the oneness shows the One.”
The universe is a single palace and the sun is a single lamp. Every tree is an independent being… Man is an exclusive world.
Man is said to be a small model of the world. You cannot say that his hand was created by some someone and his foot by someone else; you cannot say his inside was created by someone and his outside by someone else.
Allah is the exclusive owner, single possessor and the Creator (without any partners) of the world of all of the beings.
“…There are no partners in His sultanate and He does not need any assistants or partners in His divine activities. Nothing can intervene in anything if His order, will, strength and power are not present.” (Mektubat) (Letters)
We learn two levels of the oneness from those statements: the oneness of divinity and the oneness of Lordship.
The oneness of divinity means to know the personality of Almighty God as one and to free him from all kinds of partners. That is what is thought of when oneness is mentioned. The word “La ilaha illallah” (There is no God but Allah) expresses that oneness.
When the name of Allah is mentioned, all of the perfect attributes and beautiful names are remembered together: Allah is pre-eternal, Allah is post-eternal, Allah is Rahman (the All-Merciful), Allah is Rahim (the All-Compassionate), etc.
Thus, it will lead us to the oneness of divinity to think about all of those meanings expressed by the name Allah. That is, what trains everything gradually and elevates them to a point of perfection is only Allah. That training, that lordship is carried out through all divine attributes and holy deeds; and a work on which divine names are manifested comes out. Allah is both the Creator and Lord (trainer) of that work.
What was an egg yesterday flies today. What was a seed yesterday produces fruit today. What was a nutfah (a drop of liquid) yesterday studies science today. The latter ones have been trained. All of them have been trained by the Lordship of Allah.
Let us think of a building. Someone laid the foundations; another person put up the walls; different workers installed the electricity and water system, plastered and painted; yet another one fixed the glasses. The creation of man is not like that. The building of man was recorded with all of his systems and parts, with the places and numbers of organs in the divine code called nutfah, with the providence of Lordship. The Being that recorded the information is the One that created the body with all of its parts. It is Allah who created the nutfah and it is He who decoded the code and it is He Who arranged the body with that He produced from it. All of the deeds belong to Him and exclusive to Him.
To know that all of those deeds belong to or come from Allah is called the oneness of deeds. Those deeds are carried out by the divine attributes, that is by the same science and knowledge, power and will. The one who knows and the one who wills are not different beings. The one who sees and the one who produces with his power are not different people.
The same power produces trees from seeds, creates fish in the egg, creates the young in the womb, holds up the sky without any pillars, makes the world rotate in a system, makes the wind blow, and sends down rain. The same will and knowledge directs and knows those deeds.
We call the attribution (isnad) of all those worlds of deed to the same attributes as the oneness of attributes.
There is also oneness of the being: to know the endless knowledge and science, limitless power, absolute will and the other attributes that are active in the worlds of the beings and to attribute them all to Him.
The mind becomes satisfied with oneness like the heart does. If someone else paints your building, can he claim to be the owner of the building? He can only ask a wage for it. That man is neither the owner nor the possessor of that building. He is only an assistant, a worker, an employee.
No other god can adorn the body that Allah created. If we suppose for a moment that such a god existed, that god cannot own or posses that body. He is only an assistant. An assistant cannot be a god and Allah does not need any assistants.
Then, He is the one Who creates and gives life. He is the one Who shapes and gives food. He is the one Who trains and organizes. He is the one Who makes things rotate and stop…
The outside and inside of everything belong to Him. Then Allah is both Zahir (the manifest One) and Batin (the Hidden One).
He created the beginning and the end of everything. Then, He is both Awwal (the First)and Akhir (the Last).
He is the one Who owns all of the creatures and Who provides them with their needs. So, He is both Malik (the Absolute Ruler) and Razzaq (the Sustainer).
All men have a common point; they are human beings. The one Who created one of them created all of them. Men and animals have a common point; they are living beings. The one Who created the fly also created the whale. All of the stars are similar because they are stars. The one Who created one of them created all of them. All of the beings have something in common. They are creatures (they were created). They are all works of Allah; they are His art.
God Almighty united the leaves, branches, the trunk and the roots, and a tree appeared. He united seventy trillion cells; and a human body appeared. He united the mind, imagination, memory, love, fear and so many other feelings in the spirit.
And eventually, He united the spirit with the body as man.
He established strong relations between the body of man and the universe. He made the lungs dependent on air and the stomach dependent on food. He made the light of the eye travel in the sky and the feet on the ground. Thus, man became, so to speak, united with the universe. Thus, the heart becomes satisfied by knowing its Lord as one, by accepting His oneness.
Some scholars divide oneness into two as theoretical and practical. According to that classification, all of those that were written up to this point are theoretical oneness. Practical oneness is the domination of the belief of oneness over the world of deeds of man fully.
The sentence “iyyaka na’budu wa iyyaka nastain” teaches us a lesson of practical oneness.
“Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.”
We turn only to the direction that you tell us; we stand putting one hand over the other on the navel only in your presence; we bow down and prostrate only to you.
We think about only things that you give consent to and we love only those that you give consent to.
We uttered: “Inna lillah” (we belong to Allah). We speak for you and we keep quiet for you. We sit for you and we stand for you.
A person who worships only Allah is freed from the abasement of worshipping idols; similarly, a slave who seeks help only from Him is freed from becoming the slave of incidents. He seeks refuge in Allah with full tawakkul (absolute trust in Allah). It is both a lofty elation and a superior power.
Besides, does it not depend on reaching perfection in both theoretical and practical oneness to become a perfect believer?
ONENESS OF DEEDS
The shape of the nightingale is so different from that of the camel. The palm tree does not resemble the poplar tree. The most beautiful face belongs to man. Every individual human being has a different shape. Even the fingerprints are different. It is impossible to find two completely identical stars in the sky and two completely identical fish in the sea. All of those different shapes originate from one deed: Taswir (making pictures and shapes).
To hold, to maintain is one deed but it manifests itself in different shapes in different creatures. The cat carries its young in its mouth; the eagle picks up its prey with its claw; the mother carries her baby in her lap. The way the tree holds its fruit does not resemble any of them; it, so to speak, sticks the fruit to itself. The way the sun holds the planets is different; the sun cannot sacrifice them; it holds them from a distance. Those manifestations are actually the different activities of the same law and the different manifestations of the same light in different mirrors.
To give life, to kill, to cure, to guide, to provide with food are all separate deeds. Those numerous deeds are based on the same attributes. Hayah (life), ilm (knowledge), qudrah (power), sam’ (hearing), basar (sight), irade (sight), kalam (speech), takwin (creation). To base all of the numerous deeds done in the world of the creatures on those divine attributes is called the oneness of deeds. To attribute them to a single being is called the oneness of the being.
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