Tawhid further refers to the nature of that God — that he is a unity, not composed, not made up of parts, but simple and uncompounded.
The most important belief about God in Islam is the concept of tawhid. Tawhid (Arabic for “doctrine of the oneness of God”) is the foundation of Islam and central to Muslim spirituality: the first principle, creator of all, eternally present in history and at each moment. It holds that God is one, indivisible, unique, and sovereign over, and independent of, all creation. This uncompromising belief in the unity of God, finds expression in the first pillar of Islam, the profession that “there is no God but Allah”. Islam, like Judaism, is totally uncompromising in its emphasis upon the oneness of God: “Say the Lord is one,” the Old Testament says.
Tawhid further refers to the nature of that God — that he is a unity, not composed, not made up of parts, but simple and uncompounded. He is the one God of all time and all humankind. Tawhid declares absolute monotheism — the unity and uniqueness of God as creator and sustainer of the universe. He is the most high (al-Ali), beyond all that is (al-Kabir, al-Wasi, al-Jami), infinitely near (al-Qarib), closer to each of us than his jugular vein. He is the one (al-Wahid), the only one (la ilaha illa Hu), the absolute (al-Samad), justice (al-Adl), truth (al-Haqq) and light (al-Nur).
The Quran asserts the existence of a single and absolute truth that transcends the world; a unique, independent and indivisible being, who is independent of the entire creation. God, according to Islam, is a universal God, rather than a local, tribal or parochial one — God is an absolute, who integrates all affirmative values and brooks no evil.
Tawhid has been a central theme of Islamic philosophy and jurisprudence over the centuries. An insistence that God’s unity is complete and God’s rule extends across every aspect of human life supports the notion that politics, society and religion are inseparable within Islam.
Tawhid means to integrate, because oneness does not imply only one divinity seated on the throne in heaven. It also means unity in creation, integration and interrelatedness. Islam tries to emphasise the integration of society; the integration of our soul with ourselves; the interrelation with the community, with other human beings, even with other creatures of God, the non-human world. It has a very wide application to many different domains.
God says in the Quran: “Allah — there is no deity except him, the ever-living, the sustainer of (all) existence... To him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth… His throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires him not. And he is the most high, the most great.”
Many different names are used to describe God in the Quran and the Hadith (the collection of authenticated reports of what Prophet Muhammad said, did or approved). These are sometimes referred to as “the 99 names of Allah”, although more than this number of names can be found.
Abu Hurayrah, a companion of the Prophet, has narrated a saying of the Prophet to this effect: “Verily, there are 99 names of God.”
“Nothing is like him, and he is the all-hearing, the all-seeing”: all the divine names make it possible to meditate and gain access to his transcendence, his closeness, his kindness and his mercy, but all reveal, in the human heart, human insufficiency, dependence, and “need of him”.