In the name of God,the Most Gracious, the Most Compassionate
إِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَنِي آدَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ ۛ شَهِدْنَا ۛ أَن تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَٰذَا غَافِلِينَ
When thy Lord drew 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: “Yea! We do testify!” (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: “Of this we were never mindful.” ( The Holy Quran 7:172)
Knowledge of Tahwid is an intrinsic quality possessed by each human being. It is innate and it is what makes up the original human nature. Allah has taken a pledge from each human being, and each soul has testified that there is no God but God.
Imam Al Sadiq (as) was asked regarding the above verse in Surat Al A’raaf;
“قلت معاينتاً هذا؟” – “I asked the Imam did they witness this by sight?”(Themselves testifying that Allah is their Lord.)
The Imam replied:”نعم, معاينتاً فثبت المعرفة ونسو الموقف وسيتثكرونه بعد ذلك” – “Yes, they saw it and the knowledge was consolidated, and they forgot this moment and they will remember it after that.”
The Quran explains that Tawhid is in the very essence of Man when he was created. The Imams in numerous hadiths have confirmed that the meaning of Nature (Fitra) in the following verse is Tawhid. There are also many other verses that allude to this reality but this shall suffice.
فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
The nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah’s creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know (The Holy Quran 30:30)
This inherent and innate knowledge of Tawhid also helps to explain why Shirk (to associate others with God) is considered as the most grave sin a human being can commit. “To associate others with God is to go against the most fundamental instincts of the human species. It is, so to speak, to betray the human nature and even to leave the domain of human existence. This explains why it is such a grave sin: It is the overturning of what makes us human.” (The Vision of Islam, Pg 50)
Understanding Tawhid is therefore integral to understanding one’s self as it is an intrinsic part of a human’s essence. “Claiming ignorance of Tawhid is tantamount to claiming not to be human.”
In light of this, the role of the Prophets, peace be upon them, can be further understood. They were sent to remind us of what we already know! Imam Ali (as) says regarding this: “ليثيرو للناس دفاءن العقول” “(They were sent) To ignite in the people what has been buried in their minds.” This also explains the great emphasis and repeated commands by God to the Prophet in the Quran: “فذكر” ” So Remind!”
Hence our purpose is to remember what we have forgotten through our state of “غفلة”heedlessness and ignorance. It is to know that you know! This is what the journey begins with. As Imam Ali (as) says: “اول الدين معرفته” “The foremost in religion is the knowledge (acknowledgement) of Him!”
Since God’s essence is infinite and can never be comprehended by the human mind, ultimately one has to know that he can never fully know and comprehend the true Haqq (real) glorified and exalted be He!
يا من لا يعرف ما هو إلا هو
“Oh He whom no one knows what He is except He!”