Initially I thought I would write about the three reasons that I find Islam so groundbreaking and why I embrace Islam fully. These three reasons are the Oneness of God (Tawhid), the universal appeal of Islam, and the fact that in Islam God has no gender. Now there is quite a lot to write about these three points, they yield an abundant harvest of reflections* on diverse theological, philosophical, and tasawwuf matters. This promised to be a long post. Then I looked again and it dawned on me, I no longer saw three points, or three reasons, but only one, just One – Tawhid, Tawhid, Tawhid – for that is what the second two points also reveal themselves to be about at closer investigation, tawhid. If anyone is displaying signs of understanding tawhid then take a look at this photo of baby Sinan over at Abu Sinan’s blog.
This has happened to me before; I mean beginning what I thought was going to be a fairly long post only to be brought up short by a sudden realization. It happened when I started thinking about destiny and free will.
But why do I claim these three points to be groundbreaking? To address tawhid first, the Oneness of God has no qualifiers in Islam, there are no lesser gods, nor is there any division of the One into three. Further, from a Sufi understanding, the Unity of God means there is nothing other than God, all of creation can only exist and be within God for without God there is no existence. God simply Is, God created existence. Now if this all seems too far beyond human comprehension, it’s certainly beyond mine, then that is the point, God is beyond human comprehension. And yet He is certainly not beyond His own comprehension, this is the kernel of knowledge for although we cannot comprehend God with our normal faculties nevertheless we have a Heart, qalb, that is the organ of gnosis, the knowledge that is ‘given’, and the man or woman whose heart is pure can ‘see’ God, for it is He who sees, hears, tastes, through the true human being.
Allah subhanallah wa ta’ala sees His Reflection in the innermost being (sirr) of His friend (wali). This is said in the hadith qudsi which I cited in my previous post ‘Heart of Faith’ and one of the most often heard hadith qudsi of Sufi tradition is the following:
My servant draws near to me by acts of devotion, and then I love him. And when I love him I become his ears, his eyes, his tongue, his hands, his legs and his heart: he hears by Me, he speaks by Me, he handles by Me, he walks by Me and he comprehends by Me
*See Tafakkur posts here for more on reflection, just scroll down to find the first post in the series.