In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
The concept of unity of God in the Qur’an is very clear, but do we have any evidence from other religious scriptures pointing in the same direction? And if so, what then seems to be the difference, if indeed any, between Islam and all these other religions?
There are many reasons to believe that many of the other religious scriptures (other than the Qur’an) do contain within their pages truths originating from the one and only true God. To a Muslim, the great prophets (like Abraham, Moses, and Jesus) in Christianity and Judaism, are of course true prophets of Allah mentioned in the Qur’an. In Islam, these religions too are sometimes respectfully referred to as “religions from the sky”. Further to the 25 God’s Messengers (Rasul) mentioned by name, the Qur’an also made reference to the fact that there had been great many prophets (Nabi) whose names are not mentioned. So, Muslim scholars are always open to the possibility that God’s truths could well have found their way into numerous scriptures of religions other than Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
Such being the case, it should not be at all surprising to a Muslim that the idea of Unity of God might well be found in many religious scriptures of the world. But is that really the case? Well, let us examine scriptures of some of the world’s major (other than Islam) religions :
As exclaimed by Moses (pbuh): “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4.
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from Me there is no God.”
“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”
Jesus Christ (pbuh) said the following in the Bible:
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”
“The most important commandments,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, is one Lord’”
As described by Paul in his Letter to Timothy:
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
1 Timothy 1:17
(He (God) is One only without a second.)
Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1
Meaning in English: “Sages (learned Priests) call one God by many names.“
“Ma cid anyad vi sansata sakhayo ma rishanyata“
(O friends, do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One. Praise Him alone.)
“Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan“
(There is only one God, not the second; not at all, not at all, not in the least bit.)
Brahma Sutra of Hinduism
“Ek Onkar, Sat Naam, Karta Purakh, Nirbhau Nirvair, Akal Murat, Ajuni, Saibham, Gurprasad”
(There exists but one God, who is called The True, The Creator, Free from fear and hate, Immortal, Not begotten, Self-Existent, Great and Compassionate.)
Granth Sahib, Mulmantra Pg.1
Meaning in English: “There is only the One Supreme Lord God; there is no other at all.”
Granth Sahib, Pg. 45
Meaning in English: “God is merciful and infinite. The One and Only is all-pervading.”
Granth Sahib, Pg. 710
Clearly, the above verses from religious scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism, without a doubt, affirmed the truth of the unity of God in the strongest of terms. It is very important to also note that, like the relevant verses of the Qur’an, many of the above verses are in the form of a statement that a father would use to remind his child not to fall for something dangerous, knowing fully well the child might just still fall for it! The child for example, might later fall for drugs taking, assuring his father:don’t worry dad, I only take it because it helps me, trust me!
So, with such amazing similarity on the concept of ‘Unity of God’ between all the above mentioned major world’s religions, what then seems to be the difference between them? From a Muslim’s point of view, the difference is in the ‘implementation’ of the concept in one’s daily ‘religious life’ and in fact also ‘normal life’. It could be that a certain scripture may state a certain principle ‘from the sky’, but then falls short in defining the daily life (including religious life) consequents of such principle. Worse still, things become ‘neutralised’ when other parts of the same scripture state principles in direct contradiction to the one ‘from the sky’.
Muslims also believe the Qur’an to be the only surviving verbatim (word for word) Word of God, no more no less words. As such, there is no vagueness or contradiction in it, especially with regard to important matters of basic belief in God. In Islam, the concept of ‘Unity of God’ is very basic and central to the belief in God, to the point, getting it even ‘very slightly wrong’ would render one’s ‘belief’ or ‘faith’ in God and religion, impotent, and in fact almost completely meaningless. Understandably so, for what use is submission and worship when it is directed to the wrong god? The great importance of the doctrine of the Unity of God in Islam is well reflected in the fact that in addition to being a constant reminder throughout the Qur’an, a whole chapter of the Qur’an is dedicated to it – an extremely brief (mere four short verses!) surah (chapter) number 112, also known as Al-Ikhlas, meaning ‘Sincerity or Purity’:
Say: He is Allah, the One and only. Allah, the Eternal, Absolute. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him.
To summarise, in Islam, any and all worships must be directed to Allah alone, without any ‘intercessor’ or ‘partner’ alongside Him. As is well known, Muslims love and revere the last and final Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), but by his own teaching, would never ‘worship’ him as god. Doing so would amount to shirk (assigning partner to Allah) which is the biggest sin against God. Nothing and no one in the whole universe can benefit, aid or protect us without Allah’s will. The message to always remember is: “Worship only the Creator, not His creations.”