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Meaning Of Kalimat At-tawhid


The 'ulama' [1] of the Ahl as-Sunna [2] explain the meaning of the kalimat at-tawhid (saying "La ilaha illAllah") as follows: Men were nonexistent. They were created later. They have one Creator. He is the One who has created everything. The Creator is one. He does not have a partner or a likeness. There is no second He. He has been ever-existent; His existence did not have a beginning. He will be ever-existent; there is no end to His existence. He will not cease to exist. His existence is always necessary. His nonexistence is impossible. His existence is of Himself. He does not need any means. There is nothing that will not need Him. He is the One who creates everything and makes them go on existing. He is not material or a thing. He is not at a place or in any substance. He does not have a shape and cannot be measured. It cannot be asked how He is; when we say 'He,' none of the things which occur to the mind or which we can imagine is He. He is unlike these. All of them are His creatures. He is not like His creatures. He is the creator of everything that occurs to mind, every illusion and every delusion. He is not above, below or at one side. He does not have a place. Every being is below the 'Arsh. And the 'Arsh is under His Power, under His Omnipotence. He is above the 'Arsh. Yet this does not mean that the 'Arsh carries Him. The 'arsh exists with His Favour and in His Omnipotence. He is the same now as He was in eternity, in eternal past. He will always be the same in the everlasting future as He had been before creating the 'Arsh. No change occurs in Him. He has His own attributes. His attributes called as-Sifat ath-Thubutiyya are eight: Hayat (Life), 'Ilm (Omniscience), Sam' (Hearing), Basar (Seeing), Qudra (Omnipotence), Irada (Will), Kalam (Speech, Word) and Takwin (Creativeness). No change ever occurs in these attributes of His. Change implies deficiency. He has no deficiency or defect. Though He does not resemble any of His creatures, it is possible to know Him in this world as much as He makes Himself known and to see Him in the Hereafter. Here He is known without realizing how He is, and there He will be seen in an incomprehensible way.

[1] 'ulama': pl. of 'alim; 'ulama' ar-rasihin, those learned in both zahiri and batini sciences.
[2] Ahl as-Sunna (wa'l-Jama'a): the true pious Muslims who follow as-Sahabat al-kiram. These are called Sunni Muslims. A Sunni Muslim adapts himself to one of the four Madhhabs. These madhhabs are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali.