New Age Islam
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Spiritual Meditations ( 29 Apr 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The Nature of Monotheism

By Manzoorul Haque

It appears to me that some people do not seem to understand Monotheism (One God in a dual state- Creator and Creation as two), and they tend to confuse this with Monism (One God in a single state – Creator and Creation as one).

Well, these are two different things and it is not difficult to understand the difference with the help of an example. I do not intend hurting the religious sensibility of any one with my example, as this is meant only to explain an otherwise complex and at the same time sacrosanct idea.

On discovery channel I had seen and I am sure most of us might also have seen the picture of a shoal of very small fishes swimming close to each other in such great tandem that they formed the image of a very big fish swimming under the ocean water (this they do in self-defence) . With less resolution of vision you would see that shoal as a mighty big fish. Only when you reach close to the shoal and see carefully you realize you are looking at a swarm of small fishes. Popular Monism signifies this kind of a structure. All spirits making into one mighty Spirit. In fact this Monism is actually Polytheism –an assemblage of gods and spirits and men and beasts and plants into - One God. But this God is not real, like the shoal.  

In Islam there is no such assemblage, and the one God Islam refers to is real, Who is quite distinct from all that we can survey. There is quiddity in God; there is no quiddity in a shoal.  Since the God in Islam is real, He can question us and He can question us rather severely. We humans have to be watchful, so to say, because He commands real powers. A critic and an atheist can still say that he does not see His powers or effects in the world (and so he does not accept His existence) , but  a Muslim sees His powers or effects in whatever he sees around, and so he believes in His existence.

Footnote: The Monism that Muslim society sometimes refers to is the ability of men to communicate with God (To each, his own method. We just don’t know the mechanism), and it is given that God always has the capability to communicate with His beings. Indeed it is from God that we acquire His knowledge; otherwise there is no way to know Him.

Manzoorul Haque is an I. P. S. Officer (retired), based in Patna, Bihar and a frequent contributor to