Understanding Tawhid: To Him belongs the greatest of names

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Compassionate

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ

Say He is Allah, the One, Allah is the All-embracing, He is neither begat, nor is He begotten, Nor has He any equal.

In the previous post we aimed to negate any composition (التركيب) from Allah and to establish that His attributes are at the core of His essence. But first it is prudent to establish what are the types of composition that exist; all of which do not apply to Allah, exalted be He.

One form of composition is an external composition that exists in reality. For example, water can be broken down into a composite of water and hydrogen and both of these are necessary components of the reality of water.

Another form of composition is one that exists in the mind but does not have its own existential reality. When defining an entity such as a human being, it is often said a human is a rational animal. The animal aspect is known as the genus, which is a concept that is shared by all other animals. The notion of rationality is known as the differentia, which is what differentiates a human from all the other species that fall under the same genus. However, these two aspects do not have two separate realities but fall under one reality. They are created by the mind to help distinguish different entities.

In addition to this, further types of composition can exist in the mind, such as the break down of an entity into its existence (وجود), which is again the shared aspect between entities, and quiddity (ماهية) which is the distinguishing and unique element of an entity.

A third type of composition can exist when the mind analyses an entity and describes its perfections. When we describe Person X for example, we say that X has certain perfections but is lacking certain others, and thus Person X becomes a composite of the presence of certain things and the absence of others. If we say that Person X has a certain level of knowledge but not any higher, then he is a composite of the presence a certain level of knowledge and the ignorance of other levels of knowledge.

The concept of Divine Simplicity (البساطة الاهيه), negates any form of composition, whether it be composition that exists in reality or one that exists in the mind.

Proving Divine Simplicity

The refutation of composition can be organised into two categories, of which I will only discuss one. These are Aqli (intellectual) and Naqli (transmitted) reasons that prove divine simplicity and negate composition. Due to limited opportunity, I will only discuss the intellectual reasons.

Firstly, any composite is dependant on the existence of its components for its existence. If the individual components do not exist, the composite does not exist. For water to exist, the individual components of hydrogen must exist and the absence of either component would mean that water does not exist.

This need and dependence would mean that the necessary existent is not necessary any more, because it is in need and impoverished by its parts. Any thing impoverished is in need of something else, and that which is impoverished cannot be necessary. However, it has been proven that Allah is independent and rich and it is us who are needy and impoverished.

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ أَنتُمُ ٱلْفُقَرَآءُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ ۖ وَٱللَّهُ هُوَ ٱلْغَنِىُّ ٱلْحَمِيدُO mankind! You are the ones who stand in need of Allah, and Allah—He is the All-sufficient, the All-laudable. (35:15) Thus, if He was a composite, He would be impoverished and needful and this contradicts the all-sufficiency of Allah.

The second reason begins from here: If Allah was a composite, either the parts that form Him are all necessary existents or all possible existents. If they are all necessary existents then we have more than one necessary existent and this amounts to shirk and quantitative unity which we discussed in previous posts.

If the parts are possible existents it means that Allah is also a possible existent because He is a composite of these parts and anything which is a possible existent is in need of something else.

A Brief Conclusion

One of the main results one achieves from proving divine simplicity is the following:

As mentioned previously, one type of composition is the composite of presence of a perfection and the absence of another, and this is regarded by Al Hakeem Al Sabzawari, (author of Sharh Al Manzuma)  as one of the worst types of composition.

Since proving that Allah is not a composite, it means that there is not an existential perfection or degree of being that is absent for Allah, exalted be He. Any perfection that can be proposed, it is present for Allah. For Allah, all perfections are present and there is no perfection that can be proposed that Allah does not have, because He is has no limit and He is the infinite Being.

قُلِ ٱدْعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ أَوِ ٱدْعُوا۟ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنَ ۖ أَيًّۭا مَّا تَدْعُوا۟ فَلَهُ ٱلْأَسْمَآءُ ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ

Say, ‘Invoke ‘‘Allah’’ or invoke ‘‘the All-beneficent.’’ Whichever [of His Names] you may invoke, to Him belong the Best Names.’ (17:110)

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