The System of Tauheed: The Decisive Cure For Post Traumatic-Shirk Disorders?
by Imam Qasim Ahmed
“I have not created Jinn or Man except for My worship” Holy Qur’an
The purpose of this presentation is to provide insightful research into the idea of the Oneness and Purity of the worship of Allah or Tauheed, which is the nature of the entire universal order of creation, and when man deviates from the order of his role as a worshiper, he corrupts his potential to reach the goal intended for him by Allah, thus creating a condition that can be referred to as “Post Traumatic Shirk Disorders".
There are two major influences shaping the life of human beings and their thinking ability. These influences can be observed through the concept that ‘if your worship is right, your thinking will be right.’
The first influence involves ‘correct worship or tauheed.’
When we think in the natural and ordered environment created by Allah, this promotes peace, harmony, law, order, and obedience, which consequently results in a life that grows and prospers under the influence of correct worship. This gives the human being freedom and responsibility and makes him more productive to evolve to higher planes of existence with a greater dimension for social benefit and harmony. This great potential in humanity to follow the divine laws that Allah has provided them with through revelation, results in the harmonious growth and balanced expressions of the human personality in changing environments. Understanding the systems of tauheed and its intricate systems of purity and unity promotes a healthy mental and spiritual existence in the life of the human being.
The second influence that shapes the life of the human being involves ’corrupt worship or shirk.’
Shirk is the antithesis of tauheed, and is defined as taking a partner with Allah. In other words, it entails giving a right that is due to Allah to a created object instead. So if a person enters into shirk, he automatically exits from tauheed, since tauheed, by its very definition, is the purifying of one’s actions for the sake of Allah. Corrupt worship creates a confused, disordered, immoral and disfigured environmental setting, through miscalculation and misinformation of life’s natural processes and movements, thereby retarding its human potential and excellence. If the human being realizes that the sin of shirk is the greatest sin and the biggest evil, and is the one sin that Allah has promised not to forgive, then he will realize the great importance of avoiding this deadly disease. The study of tauheed and its opposite, shirk, brings us to understand that our nature is created to worship G-d and G-d alone, thus bringing forth from that nature, more productivity and progressive advancement in its life form.
The Concept of Tauheed in the Universal Order
“Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you can see; is firmly established on the Throne (of Authority); He has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law)! Each one runs (its course) for a term appointed. He does regulate all affairs, explaining the Signs in details, that you may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord.
"And it is He Who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and (flowing) rivers; and fruits of every kind He made in pairs, two and two; He draws the night as a veil over the day. Behold, verily in these things there are Signs for those who reflect!" Holy Qur’an 13:2-3
The greatest evidence of the unity (Tauheed) of Allah before us is His creation. Nature itself and our study of nature, both bear witness to the fact that there is but one G-d, who in His infinite wisdom has created and continues to sustain the entire universe. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an in Surah 2 ayat 255:
"Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permits? He knows what (appears to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as he wills. His throne does extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory)."
By ignoring or rejecting this truth, we plunge ourselves into darkness, ignorance and the evils that follow.
The standard view of the physical phenomena in creation is that they can ultimately all be reduced to a few fundamental interactions of prescribed laws that operate fully by the command of Allah. This implies that every physical system follows a unique design and course of evolution. It is obvious even at a casual glance that the universe is remarkably ordered and systematized in harmony on all scales, from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy. Allah has distributed throughout the vastness of space uniformed and organized structures that are identifiable in what may seem to be a very complex system. We see the miracle of universal harmony and order, and we marvel at the divine blessings of Allah. His versatile mastery is Akbar (The Greatest). With omniscient genius and incomparable efficiency, He brought forth, from nowhere countless stars and their satellites, placed them into extraordinary orbits throughout intangible space with invisible ties, and holds them whirling and moving in such mathematical precision that we can foretell the occasion of an eclipse, or the visit of a comet years in advance. So perfectly are factors in the universe coordinated that the unity of the whole is secure from violation. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an in Surah 67:3,
“He who created the seven heavens, one above another; No ant of proportion will you see in the creation of (G-d) Most Gracious. So turn your vision again; do you see any flaws?"
The cosmos, with its vast expanse, its rich diversity of forms, and above all, its coherent systematic unity, cannot be accepted simply as accidental, but must be seen as the work of All Mighty Allah, who deserve all praise and thanks from His Creation. This is proof conclusively that Tauheed is the supreme purpose of the physical universe.
The Human Being Cannot Escape Worship
"You alone do we worship and You alone do we seek help." Holy Qur’an 1:5
In Al-Islam, the concept of Tauheed supports all other concepts, and no other concept in the Muslim language exists except that it is supported by Tauheed. Therefore, the concept of worship in Al-Islam finds its base in Tauheed. In every human being there exist, dormant or active, a spiritual need and overwhelming desire for worship. "Man cannot escape worship; he can only fail to worship G-d on the high level that he was intended for, but he cannot escape worship." If one offers worship to anyone other than Allah, the Creator of everything, he is indulging in polytheism or shirk. Allah says in the Qur’an in surah 31:13,
"Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction, "O my son! Join not worship (others) with G-d; for false worship is indeed the highest wrong doing."
False worship in the Qur’an is called "Zhulm." One of the meanings of zhulm means to put something in the wrong place or somewhere it is not meant to be. For example, when the fish is taken out of its natural environment (water), and placed upon land, it will flip flop around, and may appear to be full of life by someone without knowledge. In reality, the fish is traumatized, because it has been taken out of its natural environment for worship. Similarly with the human mind and soul, if you put it in an oppressed environment, it will have an appearance to be alive, but will be suffering from post-traumatic shirk disorders. A meaning of trauma is a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from mental or emotional stress or physical injury. By turning to anyone or anything other than Allah to fill the psychological vacuum that every normal human being feels is also an instance of zhulm. This is similar to putting the right feeling or "Love" in the wrong place or giving to others what should be given to Allah. People naturally want to turn to their true Lord and Creator to satisfy their spiritual hunger. However, under the influence of irreligious circumstances and environments, they begin to fill the inner vacuum from wrong sources. This post-traumatic shirk disorder happens in the lives of people everyday all over the world. Millions of people, who do not believe in G-d or attach any weight to religion, can be seen bowing down before gods of their own making. Allah says in the Qur’an in Surah 43:23,
"Then see you such a one as takes as his god his own vain desire” G-d has, knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart (and understanding), and put a cover on his sight. Who, then will guide him after G-d (has withdrawn Guidance)? Will you not then receive admonition?”
Muhammad the Prophet (pbuh) has said, "None of you can truly believe until his desires are made to follow the (Guidance) I have brought." He has also stated, “Of all ‘gods’ worshipped under the heavens, none are more repugnant to G-d than hawaa (desires).” Post-shirk traumatic experiences temporarily shatter the human being’s relationship with G-d, diminishing their feelings of security, adequacy, self-esteem, and causes unwarranted fears and anxieties.
SHIRK PRODUCES ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR
The influence of shirk causes abnormal conditions in the human life, and as a result, it produces serious psychological effects and makes one insensitive toward the moral obligations to the individual, family and community life. Since the word abnormal literally means “away from the normal,” it implies deviation from some clearly defined norm. In the case of physical illness, the norm is the structural and functional integrity of the body, and the boundary lines between normality and the essential nature of disease can usually be clearly drawn by medical science. For example, in order to understand the abnormality of a diseased heart or kidney, you have to have a healthy model to make a comparison. The healthy model has been created by G-d. On a psychological level, however, science has no “ideal model” or even “normal model” of man to use as a base for comparison. Thus they suffer considerable confusion and disagreement as to just what is or what is not normal, and this confusion is aggravated by the rapid change and upset of old, established norms.
The confusion of what is normal and abnormal that confronts the scientific community does not exist in the basic teaching of Qur’an and the life of Muhammad the Prophet (pbuh). Allah says in the Qur’an:
“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent Pattern/model of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.” 33:21
“Say: I am a but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your G-d is One G-d; whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.” 18:110
Whereas the scientific community has accepted G-d's created models of the material world for research and development and has achieved remarkable advancements in the created world, they have rejected the created model for the development of the soul that was illuminated and refined in the life of Muhammad the Prophet (pbuh), the perfected man. This perfection was achieved through his obedience and loyalty to his inherent nature created by G-d, and his ultimate rejection of corrupt worship, shirk. He grew in Arabia surrounded by idolatry, and remained pure, honest, decent and truthful to his created human form. Allah made this soul the example for all times. He is the perfect man, with the perfect book and the perfect religion. Imam W. D. Mohammed stated that the birth of Muhammad the Prophet (pbuh) began with the birth of the Revelation of the Qur’an. Faith for the human being can be established through our belief in the Prophet (pbuh) and the perfection of his human nature through the revelation of the Qur’an. We have to have faith in that model human being. Having faith in Muhammad the Prophet (pbuh) will motivate us towards reaching our highest potential. Then we will get closer and closer to that acceptable model that G-d approves of.
Prophet Muhammad is the model for the healthy psychology of humanity.
Social psychology is the higher field of psychology, which deals with the behavior and social interaction of man. Healthy human beings are sociable and amenable creatures, and those that engage in anti-social behavior are experiencing psychological illnesses of post-traumatic disorder. When a human being becomes diseased in the mind, one of the most notable signs or symptoms is the decline in his social instincts and neglect of family responsibilities, by becoming socially immature. It has always been recorded that the psychologically insane are an anti-social group of people.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TAUHEED’S INFLUENCE ON PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH
The healthy development of the human being is of basic importance and it emphasizes his ability to live harmoniously in a changing environment as an essential ingredient of mental health. One definition of psychological health is to develop optional modes of personal and social conduct in order to produce the harmonious utilization of inborn potentials and capacities, which brings about or cultivates better physical, intellectual and emotional aspects of the individual, so far as this is compatible with that of other individuals. The society that promotes this development of its members, while at the same time ensures its own development, and is tolerant towards other societies promotes a healthy environment that brings about sound mental health. The concept of tauheed develops sound psychological health that seeks to prevent mental disorders that are formed from environmental influences that run contrary to the natural patterns that are designed in creation to progress human thought processes and potentials.
The Holy Qur’an Promotes Sound Mental Health
The idea of tauheed expressed in the Holy Qur’an promotes, in the most effective way, mental hygiene, mental health and mental harmony. In examining the term posttraumatic shirk in this presentation, we would like to emphasize that the pre-existing condition of worship in the original nature of the human being was whole and pure. By returning back to this nature, which is tauheed, it becomes the ultimate cure-all for this horrific disease. This purity of worship keeps the moral life of the human being in its proper design and ordered structure. As a worshipper and servant of G-d, the Muslim must stay in constant communication through the principle of prayer, and by recognizing Tauheed, the purity of worship.
Mental health is the knowledge of the rational application of the human mind that acquires information and knowledge from a unified creation and gives and distributes this knowledge unselfishly to promote the intellectual growth of the total society. The more conscientious and knowledgeable a person is about the Will and Laws of G-d, the more he will seek to obey and follow those laws, thereby, bringing about a peace and harmony in his life, and elevating his worth to the society.
Human harmony rest in recognizing and respecting the universal laws of creation that stem from one G-d, who has provided these laws for His most excellent creature to manage justly and fairly for the rest of the creation. The awareness that these laws are nature based, will give rise to man’s inherent nature to promote social justice and harmony for all creatures of Allah. Therefore, the study of Qur’an is the most important study a person can make for the proper cultivation and success of all human beings.
Human Nature as a Witness For Tauheed and a Witness Against Shirk
“And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam from their loins Their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves , (saying): “Am I not your Lord (Who cherishes and sustains you)?” They said: “Yes! We do testify!” (This), unless you should say on the Day of Judgment, “Of this we were never mindful.”
“Or unless you should say: “Our fathers before us may have taken false gods (shirk), but we are (their) descendants after them: will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who were futile?” Holy Qur’an 7:171
As stated earlier, the human being cannot escape worship. The above verse establishes the witness for the existence of G-d as it relates to the human soul. There is in the nature of every human being a witness or a consciousness of the existence of G-d. This inner consciousness of each human being is telling him that there is a higher being, a G-d or a Creator. We acknowledge that G-d is our Creator, Cherisher, and Sustainer, therefore, we acknowledge our duty to Him as a witness. We also testify concerning ourselves, and we assume the obligation as a witness, as it springs forth from our very nature when it is pure and uncorrupted.
Allah again says in the Qur’an in Surah 22:78,
“And strive in His cause as you should strive (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you and has imposed no difficulty on you in religion; It is the way of your father Abraham. It is He who has named you Muslim, both before and in this (Revelation); that the messenger maybe a witness for you, and you be witnesses for mankind!” and in verse 2:143 “Thus have We made you an Ummat justly Balanced that you may be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves.”
These verses emphasize that the human nature is created to stand as a witness against corrupt worship or shirk. It keeps them balanced and sane by promoting in the consciousness the perfection of worship, which brings about the harmony and order that the human being has been created with.
If the human soul has such a clear consciousness and is a witness for the existence of G-d, then how is it, the question may be asked, that there are men who deny the existence of G-d? Two things must be borne in mind. The first involves the inner light within each man, which makes him conscious of the existence of G-d, but is not equally clear in all cases. With some, as it is with prophets and messengers that come through the will of time, that light shines fourth in its full glory, and their consciousness of the Divine presence is very strong. In the case of ordinary men, consciousness is generally weaker and the inner light more dim. There may even be cases in which that consciousness is only in a state of inertia, and the inner light has almost gone out. In the second case, even the atheist or the agnostic recognizes a Higher Power, though he may deny the existence of a G-d with particular attributes, and occasionally that consciousness is awakened in him, and the inner light asserts itself, especially in times of distress or affliction. Allah says in the Qur’an,
“And when We show favor to man, he turns away and withdraws himself; but when evil touches him, he is full of lengthy supplications” (HQ 41:51). “And when harm afflicts men, they call upon their Lord turning to Him” (HQ 30:33). “And when a wave like awnings covers them, they call upon Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience. But when He brings them safe to the land, some of them follow the middle course” (HQ 31:32). “And whatever good you have, it is from Allah; then when evil afflicts you, to Him do you cry for aid” (HQ 16:53).
Post-traumatic shirk disorders creates imbalance, imperfection and disharmony, thus darkening the light of the soul. The Arabic word "Jarraha" which is form two of the verb "Jaraha" is one of the words used to indicate wound, injure or hurt (trauma). This form of the verb means to invalidate (a testimony), to challenge, and declare unreliable (a witness). It invalidates you as a witness for G-d. Verb form eight is to commit (an outrage or a crime). According to this verb form eight, the post-traumatic shirk is an outrageous crime or sin against the nature of the human being. The witness who is testifying that there is no G-d but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger becomes a criminal through the cross-examination of Satan, because of his lying and denial of G-d.
The Muslim and the Believer’s declaration of faith clearly states, “I witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah, and I witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” This declaration of faith must be said by everyone who comes to the consciousness of its relationship as a servant of G-d. The Satan, who is the enemy to man begins his cross-examination of the Believer says,
“I will lie in wait for them on your straight way; then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their left and their right; nor will find, in most of them gratitude (for Your Mercy) Holy Qur’an 7:16-17.” Allah also of Satan in the Qur’an surah 59-16, “like the evil one (Satan) when he says to man, (deny G-d; but when (man) denies G-d, the (evil one) says, “I am free of you; I do fear G-d, the Lord of the Worlds.”
Post-traumatic shirk disorders impede ones ability to follow divine guidance, when they have turned away from it, thus making the person unable to produce according to their created nature. When it comes time to respond as a witness for that life, they cannot hear the call. Allah says in the Qur’an in surah 8:24,
“Oh you who Believe, give your response to Allah and his messenger, when He calls you to that which gives you life; and know that G-d comes in between a man and his heart, and it is He to whom you (all) shall be gathered.” Allah also says, “One day shall We gather them all together. Then shall we say to those who join g-ds (with Us): “To you your place! You and those you joined as ‘partners’.” We shall separate them, and their “partners” shall say: “It was not us that you worshipped. “Enough is Allah for a witness between us and you: we certainly knew nothing of your worship of us.”
Life is about choices; you make the right one or the wrong one, but you must make a choice. Given the choice of foods, comforts or culture, we invariably take that what we think will please or benefit us most. We value what is useful and we seek what is worthy. Our difficulty is the inability to determine what is most beneficial. Allah says in the Qur’an in surah 39:18:
“Those who listen to the word, and follow the best (meaning) in it: those are the ones whom Allah has guided, and those are the ones who are endued with understanding.” And in surah 39:55, it says, “And follow the Best of (the courses) Revealed to you from your Lord, before the penalty comes on you-of a sudden, while you perceive not!”
The most difficult thing for the human life is the management of his or her life according to the plan given by Allah for that life. Proper and correct worship enables one to discriminate, and know at a glance, the faults and the evils that hinder human progress. Life begins wanting agreement and to have that agreement, life disagrees. The major force or urge in life is agreement, and we don’t know it until we know G-d or until we have a relationship with G-d that we appreciate, or is conscious of. We need agreement with His plan, His purpose, and His will for our existence. We need this agreement so that we will find our proper relationship with G-d, and everything else will be pleasing and acceptable. Tauheed is the unity that produces and brings about this order and perfection. The perfect objective in all things is order, and the control and direction of that order is Allah. Order is as vital to any fulfillment as breath is to the fulfillment of a newborn life. It is important to know this, not only for personal guidance, but particularly, in the relationship of the human experience in charting their course in this magnificent creation. Therefore, we must abandon all superstitions, all prejudices, all conceits and selfishness, as well as, proud or smug contentment and resort to the factors that are real and necessary to fulfillment in efficiency, perfection, and order. The key to this is submission and obedience to the will and plan of Allah. How this is accomplished in the universe itself is a phenomenal revelation that we find in the whole creation.
We must see post-traumatic shirk as a major disease that unravels the wholeness of the perception of G-d in our lives, and this disorder and disharmony can only be cured and made whole by the concept of Tauheed or oneness of G-d. Nothing can penetrate the wholeness and the oneness or unity of Allah. His unity is preserved pure, perfect and eternal. It’s given in the words (Allahu Samad), which means that He exist by Himself because of His own G-d nature of Divine Existence. He stays protected. He will always be G-d, the Perfect, the One, and the Unitary Whole in itself, all complete and needing nothing from outside. This is only true of G-d, and is true of nothing else He created. Everything else that He created has to depend on something from outside.
Imam Qasim Ahmed is Founder of the Islamic Learning Institute in Tampa, a member of Imam W.D. Mohammed's community, and member of MANA's Diwan and Majlis Ash Shura.
When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.