Monotheism According to the School of Ahlul-Bait (PBUTH)

Monotheism According to the School of Ahlul-Bait (PBUTH)

Imam Ali (a.s.) in Nahjul-Balagha says: "The foremost in religion is the knowing of Him, the perfection of knowing Him is to believe in His Oneness, and the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to be sincere to Him." Belief in Allah, the One, and the Only, to Whom all the attributes of perfectness are ascribed and Who is above all the attributes of imperfection, is the main origin and base of the Islamic faith, thought, legislation and conduct...etc. Therefore, the Imams of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.) gave more importance to form a pure concept of monotheism free from doubts, perversions, and disbelief of pre-Islamic ignorance and the remnants of pagan thought and strived hard towards correcting such thought by explaining the true meanings and faith of monotheism as proved by the Qur'an.

For more details, we cite some narrations of Ahlul-Bait (ass.) concerning the true meanings of monotheism and its concepts. Imam Musa bin Ja'far (a.s.) wrote to one of his companions and said: "Verily, Allah is High, and Mighty (Sublime) and Great and far above that the reality of His attributes should be comprehensible. Assign to Him only those attributes that He ha s assigned to Himself and refrain from qualifying Allah with anything besides those attributes." Regarding the Almighty's integrity and the purity of Islamic thought from polytheism and paganism, the Ahlul-Bait (a.s.) narrated: "Whoever likens Allah with His creatures is a polytheist; surely Allah is the Almighty and High. Nothing resembles Him and nothing is like Him, and He is totally the reverse of whatever is imagined.".

One of the companions of Imam Ja'far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (a.s.) asked him about the correct sect in monotheism, He (a.s.) said: "You - may Allah be merciful to you - asked me about monotheism and what that group of people believe in. Exalted is Allah, the like of whom there is naught, and He is All-Hearing and All-Seeing: Allah is above what is attributed to Him by those describers who liken Allah to His creatures, those who are slanderous to Allah. Know you - may Allah be merciful to you that in respect to monotheism, the true doctrine is what is revealed in the Qur'an about the attributes of Allah, the Almighty, the Exalted. Attributed not to Allah, the Sublime, any ideas of nihilism and similitude. Neither should His existence be negated nor should He be likened (to anything).

He is Allah, the Established the Existent. Exalted is He far above what the false interpreters attribute to Him. Exceed not the Qur'an or you will go astray after the clear exposition of truth." Thus, the Imams of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.) explain that the true monotheism is the one called upon by the Qur'an which unified Allah in His Self, His attributes, His deeds and His worships.

Divine Justice

"Allah (Himself) is witness that there is no god save Him, and (so do) the angels and the men of learning, maintaining His creation injustice. There is no god save Him, the Almighty, the Wise."(1) Justice is one of the attributes of Allah, the Exalted and its effects are discerned in all of His acts. Its manifestation can be seen in the world of creation and in the divine legislation and law, as well. It (Divine Justice) can be seen in the obligations that He assigns upon His servants as can be seen in the Judgment and Punishment Day, and the compensation of the sufferings resulting from them without punishment nor revenge. Thus, the Qur'an talks about Allah, the Almighty's Justice, and man's responsibility of his deeds and, also, refuses the idea of fatalism.

The Almighty says:"Allah enjoins justice and kindness."(2) "...and your Lord wrongs no one."(3) "...for it (is only) that which it has earned, and against it (only) that which it has deserved."(4) "And whoever does good an atom's weight will see it then.(5) And whoever does ill an atom's weight will see it then." "We have shown him the way whether he be grateful or disbelieving."(6) "And pointed out to him the two conspicuous ways."(7) "Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of that which men's hands ban wrought...".(8)

Different opinions, among the Muslims, appeared in explaining man's acts and their relation with Allah, the Almighty. Even some Islamic schools believe that man has no free will and no option of his own, and all his behavior and actions are predetermined by Allah, the Almighty. Therefore, he is forced to do what he does and is not free in his acts. Others say that man has full choice to do whatever he wills, as his will is separate from Allah's will, and that man does whatever he wills and Allah is actually incapable of stopping man from doing what he wills. But, the Imams of Ahlul-Bait refute both of these beliefs and say: Neither Fatalism nor Self-Determination because, man, if he was forced to do what he does, he would not deserve punishment and reward and if man has full choice to do whatever he wills, Allah will not have power over all things. Thus, the following three opinions appeared to explain man's actions:

1. Fatalism
2. Self-Determination or Free will
3. Neither Fatalism nor Self-Determination Muhammad bin Ajlan, one of those who lived during the period of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) narrated the explanation of the Imam (a.s.) regarding man's actions: He said: I asked him (the Imam): "Did Allah leave His creatures to their affairs? He said: 'Allah is more generous than to leave their affairs to them,' I asked: 'Then did He impose on them their actions? He replied: 'Allah is more just than to compel a servant to do something, then torture him for that."

So, man is responsible for his own deeds, and therefore, deserves punishment and reward because man not only owns free will and option, but, also, Allah grants him kindness and help for guidance and salvation from error and misguidance if one chooses the path of guidance. According to the Qur'an's declaration, man is free to choose one of the ways:"And pointed out to him the two conspicuous ways." "We have shown him the way whether he be grateful or disbelieving."

NOTES:

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1. Holy Qur'an (3:17)

2. Holy Qur'an (16:90)

3. Holy Qur'an (18:49)

4. Holy Qur'an (2:286)

5. Holy Qur'an (99:7-8)

6. Holy Qur'an (76:3)

7. Holy Qur'an (90:10)

8. Holy Qur'an (41:30)