(Reason 1 of ‘22 serious reasons shahada should contain no name except God’s’)
‘Our God and your God is One. 29:46’
Islam, which is peace-seeking through submission to the Truth, is the system delivered by all true messengers of all times and places, and its core principle is testimony (‘shahada’) to the absolute authority and unshared divinity of one God alone.
This focal point of Islam, as the formulation ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ (‘There is no god but God’) – and its equivalents like ‘There is no god but He/ You/ Me’ – is stated throughout the Quran most clearly, consistently and constantly, and NEVER in conjunction with another name.
See: 2:163; 2:255; 3:2; 3:6; 3:18; 3:62; 4:87; 5:73; 6:102; 6:106; 7:158; 9:31; 10:90; 11:14; 13:30; 16:2; 20:8; 20:14; 20:98; 21:25; 21:87; 23:116; 27:26; 28:70; 28:88; 35:3; 37:35; 38:65; 39:6; 40:3; 40:62; 40:65; 44:8; 47:19; 59:22; 59:23; 64:13; 73:9.
It is the same first commandment revealed to all true prophets, rishis and sages of humanity from all nations and all times (21:25, 16:2; cf. 16:36, 19:58, 35:24, 98:5): the list includes, apart from Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and many other known and unknown Semitic messengers, also non-Semitic messengers.
All the messengers of this list – which may potentially include celebrated figures like Krishna, Veda Vyasa, Buddha, Mahavira, Akhenaten, Confucius, Lao-Tzu, Zoroaster, Mani, Quetzalcoatl, Aesop, Pythagoras, Socrates and so on – though not everyone mentioned by their names, are equally recognized and respected by the Quran (4:164, 40:78; cf. 2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 13:7, 13:38):
And We did not send any messenger before you except that We inspired him that: “There is no god but Me, so serve Me alone.” 21:25
He sends down the Forces with this divine inspiration, by His command upon whomever He wills of His servants: “Warn that There is no god but Me, so be aware of Me.” 16:2
In HINDU scriptures ‘There is no god but God’ appears as:
-‘He is One only without a second (Ekam evadvitiyam)’. 6:2:1 Chandogya Upanishad;
-‘What is One, sages describe Him in many ways’ (Ekam Sat, Vipraha Bahudha Vadanti)’. 1.164.46 Rig Veda;
-‘Do not worship anyone but Him, the Divine one; praise Him alone (Ma Chidanyadia Shansata)’. 8:1:1 Rig Veda;
-‘There is only one God, not the second; not at all, not at all, not in the least bit (Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan)’. Brahma Sutra, Vedanta;
-‘Those who are devotees of other gods, whom they worship with faith, actually worship only Me, though they do so in an improper way.’ Bhagavadgita 9.23;
Hindus believe they worship only one God while praising His infinite attributes or facets in the representation of infinite symbols (as Kaba, reverenced as a portrayal of God’s oneness, is actually an image of a divine attribute, i.e. ‘oneness’). Each of these symbols, as perceived by the devotees, is no more than a focal point (Qibla) to communicate with God.
In BUDDHIST scriptures we read ‘There is no god but God’ expressed in many ways, including:
-‘There is the unborn, undying being that is one-and-the same, though spoken of under various names.’ Lankavatara Sutra;
-‘The Uncreate is the eternal which never originates and never passes away./ There is the end of sorrow.’ Udana Sutta.
In CONFUCIANISM ‘There is no god but God’ is found in its ancient texts quoting its founder, the great Chinese prophet Confucius:
-‘Heaven (divine way) means to be one with God.’ The Analects;
-‘He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.’ The Four Books.
In TAOISM ‘There is no god but God’ appears as:
-‘Embrace the One’ (‘Shou-yi’). The Taotejing.
-‘The Tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Tao’. The Taotejing.
In other words, in all our actions and thoughts we must always hold the awareness of ‘the One’ (‘the Tao’ or the totality). This is the ultimate One that is beyond all description and perception. Thus the ‘One’ and ‘Oneness’ are very much central to Taoist philosophy.
In ZOROASTRIAN faith ‘There is no god but God’ is voiced as:
-‘There is one universal and transcendental God, Ahur Mazda, the one uncreated Creator, to whom all worship is due’. Zend-Avesta.
In JEWISH scripture ‘There is no god but God’ appears as the first commandment:
-‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one’. Deut 6:4, Torah.
God’s oneness is emphasized on and on in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 4: 39; 6: 4; 32: 39; Exod 20: 2-3; 1 Samuel 2: 2.1; Kings 8:60; Isaiah 42: 8; 45: 5-6.
Then the CHRISTIAN Bible reads ‘There is no god but God’ as:
-‘For us there is but one God’. 1 Cor 8:6, New Testament.
God’s oneness is emphasized on and on in the Gospel: e.g. Mark 12:29; 4:10; 6:24; 10:18; Luke 18:19; Matthew 12:17-18.
And in SIKH scripture ‘There is no god but God’ appears as ‘Mool Mantra’ (the main principle):
-‘There is only one God’ (‘Ik Onkar’). The ‘opening’ of Guru Granth Sahib.
Even AGNOSTICISM sounds like declaring ‘There is no god but God’, when it maintains that
-‘There is only one god, though this first principle is unknowable’ (as claimed by agnostic theists); or even when it maintains that
-‘There is no god and the first principle is unknowable’ (as claimed by agnostic atheists).
And in ISLAM this testimony to God’s absolute oneness – bearing of which in mind is the sole basis of submission (Islam) and thus the only essential ideological requirement of being a Muslim (2:177, 2:111-112, 2:130-131, 3:18-20, 6:71, 18:110, 27:44, 40:66) – is depicted in the following passage in the form of a declaration:
God bears witness (SHAHADA) that there is no god but He (‘LA ILAHA ILLA ALLAH’), and so do the Forces and those of knowledge, upright with equity: there is no god but He, the Almighty, the Wise.
The system with God is submission (ISLAM), and those who received the Book differed, after the knowledge had come unto them, only out of rivalry among themselves. 3:18-19
Importance of One God for all
In Quranic vision, humankind, split endlessly in mutual enmity (2:36, 7:24; cf. 3:103), can regain their ‘lost garden’ by following the prophetic message of oneness (2:37; cf. Those invite to the Inferno, when God invites to the Garden. 2:221). This Unitarian reminder asks people to firmly hold their link with ONE DIVINITY, the common thread they all share (And hold firmly to the rope of God, all of you, and do not be divided. 3:103).
Hadiths, sharia bylaws and selfish interventions, with their by-products like sectarian discords and divisions, all stand in the way of this unity by idolizing human authorities while associating God with humans (42:13).
Since ‘There is no god but God’ is devoted to one God alone, it can help all humanity to unify under the banner of their one Creator. Thus, anyone from any background, whoever devotes to one Divinity alone – a true Hindu, a true Buddhist, a true Jewish, a true Christian, a true Muslim, a true Sikh and so on – can accept this testimony unreservedly as they all find the same as the core concept of their own!
Also, as the very foundation of Islam, the Quranic shahada can mitigate sectarian conflicts, such as Shia-Sunni and others. These conflicts are often instigated by idol-worshippers who add their own human god/s to shahada.
The most important declaration of all humankind’s spiritual awareness is about God’s absolute oneness; why cannot we devote it to one God alone?
The first commandment of Islam has no name in it except God’s
The core principle of Islam is testimony (‘shahada’) to the absolute authority and unshared divinity of one God alone.
As the formulation ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ (‘There is no god but God’ and its equivalents like ‘There is no god but He/ You/ Me’), it is stated throughout the Quran most clearly, consistently and constantly, and NEVER in conjunction with another name (2:163; 2:255; 3:2; 3:6; 3:18; 3:62; 4:87; 5:73; 6:102; 6:106; 7:158; 9:31; 10:90; 11:14; 13:30; 16:2; 20:8; 20:14; 20:98; 21:25; 21:87; 23:116; 27:26; 28:70; 28:88; 35:3; 37:35; 38:65; 39:6; 40:3; 40:62; 40:65; 44:8; 47:19; 59:22; 59:23; 64:13; 73:9).
It is the same first commandment revealed to all true prophets, rishis and sages of humanity from all nations and all times (21:25, 16:2; cf. 16:36, 19:58, 35:24, 98:5), who, though not everyone mentioned by their names, are equally recognized and respected by the Quran (4:164, 40:78; cf. 2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 13:7, 13:38).
Islam, as the universal system or deen, and as an advocate of spiritual pluralism, must retain this original shahada in its unpolluted form, which inspires unity rather than division.
This is because – while sectarian shahada with human names causes discords and divisions among various factions – true shahada, devoted to one God alone, can help all humanity to unify under the banner of their one Creator (3:103).