The most essential right of man is existence. The factor that sets up
harmony between thought and action is called "existence". A
being which does not think is not alive; or a being which does think but
which is inactive is not alive. Or, if a being thinks and is active but
his thought is not imminent over his actions, he, too, is not alive. If,
in his action, the being does not seek help from his thoughts, he is not
The factor which coordinates thought and action is called
"existence". Since this existence is connected with knowledge
and activity, in fact the existence and nonexistence, whether in new
creation and in survival, or in strength and weakness, is dependent on
knowledge and activity. That which is immersed in plant life is alive, but
it is a "plant" not as yet admitted to the "animal"
sphere. One whose thought is limited only to eating better, glutting, and
dressing daintily leads a plant life. Such a creation is not even an
animal let alone a human being. One whose thinking transcends the bounds
of eating, drinking, dressing, and adornment and steps into the realm of
feelings and emotions has reached the domain of animal life.
As there are numerous boundaries for animal life, a rapacious animal is
not trained. That which is careful to derive benefits from its animal life
is considered to be a good animal. That is to say, if one does not breach
his trust, he is a disciplined animal. If one supports his subordinates,
he is then a trained animal. Since a dog is a trained animal, we see that
it does not breach its trust. As a domestic hen is a tender and
responsible animal, it has motherly feelings and defends its chicken.
If such a feeling is not found in mankind, according to the Holy Quran,
"... Nay, they are in worse errors... (7:179)". All through this
Book ( ie, the Holy Qur'an), there is not a single word that is indecent.
This is because the Holy Qur'an is the Book of Light and light is not
compatible with indecency. When the Holy Qur'an referred to a group by
saying: "...Nay, they are in worse errors... (7:179)", it
unveiled a reality. This is by no means a curse and damnation. The Holy
Qur'an has taught the people to respect the views of one another:
"And do not abuse those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest
exceeding the limits they should abuse Allah out of ignorance...
The Holy Qur'an says: `Do not abuse the idolaters, for my culture is not
for vituperation! If you vilify the idol worshipped by the idolater, he
will abuse the God worshipped by the pious. There is no vituperation in
this Book. Vilification pertains to action which is separate from the
realm of means. If the Holy Qur'an mentioned a group by "...Nay, they
are in worse errors... (7:179)", it revealed a truth. In future, when
reality comes to light, it will be known who is a human and who is an
If thought and action transcend this limit, ie, the limit of sentimental
feeling, and reach the domain of reason, man enters the border of
humanity. Existence becomes more profound, therefore, in accordance with
the depth of knowledge and action. This was the first issue.
The message of the prophets in general and of the Holy Qur'an in
particular is to free human beings from plant and animal life, to lead
them towards human life, and to revive them. Before reviving them, the
prophets and the Holy Qur'an encourage them to gain insight into their own
souls: "O you who believe! take care of your souls... (5:105)".
Do not detach yourself from your soul.
After encouraging them to attain insight into their souls, the prophets
and the Holy Qur'an tell them that they must be animated and that this
animation is only possible by means of monotheism. A monotheist is alive
while others are dead, even though they possess an animal or plant life.
Whosoever is not a monotheist is not alive.
But what is tawhid (monotheism)? What are its setbacks? What are its
fruits? Who is the gardener of the blessed sapling and tree of tawhid?
These are all the messages of the prophets in general and of the last
Prophet (SA) in particular. When the Holy Qur'an raises the issue of
tawhid, it says:
"...Say: Allah; then leave them sporting in their vain discourses
(6:92)." It has also stated: What Allah has not set forth is at the
level of a plant or an animal. For this reason, the last prophet (SA)
"Neither I nor any prophet before me expressed a statement glorious
as There is no god but Allah.",
Man has not uttered any word better than tawhid. Therefore, tawhid is the
price of paradise," is a statement that raises the issue of tawhid by
adducing logical reasons.
This conference is concerned with the reiteration of the difficulties of
these issues and not with reasoning them out. The Holy Qur'an has summed
up, in two parts, the statements of those who have doubts about and
difficulties concerning tawhid. It has stated: "They either have
scientific doubts or practical passion." For instance, in the issues
of Resurrection and revelation, the Holy Qur'an has unveiled them in Surah
(Chapter) Qiyamah, because most deniers of religious principles are either
entangled with scientific doubts or practical passion. The Holy Qur'an has
"Does man think that we shall not gather his bones? Yea! We are able
to make complete his very finger-tips, Nay! man desires to give the lie to
what is before him (75:3-5)."
The denier of this does not have scientific doubts, rather he possesses
practical passion. He wants the way to be open to his debauchery and
revelation hinders this. Those who had scientific doubts, whether in the
past or at present, found that man naturally attributes every phenomenon
to a cause. So long as the cause was unknown, man lived through the period
of myth and legend. Later, man committed himself to religion and then to
philosophy. With the burgeoning of the period of science and
experimentation, the rational fabrications of philosophers became complex;
moreover, the message of revelation was (Allah forbid) rejected. Even what
was devised by the narrators of legends was rejected.
They believe that, at first, there was the period of legend Later on, this
period gave way to an era of religion. Thereafter, came the period of
philosophizing. Afterwards, there is the period of science which specifies
the cause of every phenomenon or which is on the threshold of discovering
the source of every phenomenon. Such are entangled with scientific doubts
which barred them from becoming monotheists and; as a result, gaining
animation and recovering the noble human rights.
The prophets started with the simplest matters and reached the most
complex ones. The prophets came and said: "A being whose existence is
not its essence is in need of something which is mere existence."
This holds good both for primary and for complex matters. Ibrahim (AS),
from whose idol-breaking we are blessed with religions and from whose path
whoever deviated is foolish and not wise. ("And who forsakes the
religion of Ibrahim but he who makes himself a fool...(2:130)"),.
presents reasons for the most primary matters in the same way that he
adduces the proof of tawhid for the most difficult matters pertaining to
man's general concept regarding world, man, and existence. On the one
hand, he says: "...He gives me to eat and gives me to drink
(26:79)." On the other hand, he says: "...I have turned myself,
being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth...
(6:80)." This means that even drinking water is not done without
tawhid. He Who created water, He Who gave due effect to water, he Who
created the digestive system, He Who made it responsive to effects is the
Almighty Allah. That Creator of food and that Provider of food is
Allah. He Who grants ontological and religious guidance is Allah. That
Giver of medicine and Restorer of health is Allah: "Who created me,
then He has shown me the way: and He Who gives me to eat and gives me
to drink: and when I am sick, then He restores me to health
For this reason: "... I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to
Him Who originated the heavens and the earth... (6:80)." Which
primitive person is there who cannot feel his thirst and who does not know
that water quenches it? If the Divine 'Ulama' (theologians) maintain an
origin for the world, it is not because they are looking for a cause and
as this cause was not discovered, they turned to the Unseen. Neither does
it mean that experimental science should set out to discover the strange
and chief cause and to fill in the vacuum. The
Holy Quran has replied to these scientific doubts in the best possible
manner. The Holy Qur'an has also resolved their practical doubts by means
of sermons, promises, and threats. If these promises and threats
do not produce the desired results and if they keep on saying: "...
he will prosper indeed this day who overcomes (20:64)," the Holy
Qur'an reveals the truth by saying: "...man desires to give the lie
to what is
These claim deny Divine tawhid as far as they can. When the efforts of
the prophets became effective and when people believed in Allah, these
very despotic heads who denied Divinity started to claim favour of
Divinity. They said, "...I am your Lord, the most High (79:24)."
denied Divinity as far as possible. When they found the people
accepting Divinity, they said, "People want a lord, but we are their
lord." After Divinity came the issues of revelation and prophetic
mission. The denied the prophetic mission as far as they could. When
the efforts of the prophets rendered fruits and when the society
accepted the revelation, these despotic heads said: "People cannot do
without the prophets, but Musa and Isa are not prophets, rather this
group who are in connection with us are the prophets." Therefore, the
number of the people pretending to be prophets is not less than the
number of the prophets. They opposed prophecy as far as they were able
to do. When they were defeated, they submitted themselves to
pseudo-prophecy. For this reason, if you see that the book "Milal wa
Nihal" (Nations and Religions) has two volumes; it is because a
is entitled "prophets' nations" while the other volume is
"religions of pseudo-prophets". When it was time to interpret
Books, they said there' is no need for interpretation. When they saw
that the society had the belief that exegesis of Divine Books was not
possible without the presence of the `Ulama' and spiritual leaders,
these despot rulers said: "The presence of the `Ulama' is
indispensable, but the historians and monks that are in contact with us
should interpret the Bible, because in the case of others: `...they
altered the words from their places... (5:13).", After Allah and the
prophet, scholar and commentator, they reached the belief of the mass.
They considered faith as something foolish and reactionary. After
witnessing the establishment of faith in the society, they nourished
the claim for hypocritical purity and belief. They said: "We are
believers." The Holy Qur'an unveiled this and stated: "He who
there was no lord nourished the claim of Divinity. He considers his
thought as your religion and says: `...surely I fear that he will
change your religion or that he will make mischief to appear in the
land (40:26).' and the like!"
So much for the scientific doubts of experts and the practical passion
of despot rulers. There is always a Musa for every Fir'awn and for
every Musa, there is a Fir'awn as well. The Holy Qur'an reiterated
these issues one after another. It raised the scientific doubts and
mentioned practical passions. It gave people warning. When the Holy
Qur'an enlightened the people, it stated: "You are alive when you
Allah. This is not possible without shahadat (martyrdom) and without
war." You thinkers of Islamic countries should pay close attention.
we want to live, we have no alternative but fighting. The Holy Qur'an
invites us to the factor conducive to existence. It states: "If you
rise, you are alive. If you sit still, you are dead." If you rise,
are alive in all conditions. If you are martyred, you are alive before
Allah. If you are victorious, you are alive before Allah. Even if you
pass away naturally in the middle of your course, you are alive.
Martyrdom is not the only thing that gives life to man. Victory also
revives man before Allah. Death for the cause of battle revives man as
well. Most of us have passed the period of youth and such is the world
as we have seen. If a man wants to become a corpse, he must choose his
own way because, "One should not be like a decomposed corpse among
relatives... and so he should endeavour for good deeds". These
statements have been made by the Eloquent Speaker, `Ali (AS). He has
stated that some people become inanimate like corpses. If a man is in
majority or in minority,
he should think and choose the way. If he wants to become like a
corpse, the way is open to him. If he wants to become revived, he
should rise up.
Martyrdom is not the only thing that revives an Ummah (nation).
"And reckon not those who are killed in Allah's way as dead; nay,
are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord (3:168)."
Not only a martyr, but also one who strives in Allah's way is alive.
A man, admitted to visit the Holy Prophet (SA), said: "I am a man
willing to strive hard in the way of Allah." The Holy Prophet (SA)
stated: "Then strive hard in Allah's way. Now that you are endowed
such zeal and willingness to fight against oppression, do so. If you
are killed, you are alive and are provided sustenance from Allah. And
surely your reward is with Allah. And if you return from the battle
victoriously, you will be cleansed from any sins before Allah."
He stated: "Rise up. If you are killed, you are alive. If you pass
while on the way before reaching the battlefield, you are still alive.
And if you return from Jihad (holy war against unbelievers)
victoriously, you are still alive. In all three cases, you are moving
The first part of the statement made by the Holy Prophet (SA) saying:
"If you are killed, you are alive and are provided sustenance from
Allah" is taken from the very famous Qur'anic verse which states:
"And reckon not those who are killed in Allah's way as dead; nay,
are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord (3:168)."
The second part: "And surely your reward is with Allah" is
taken from the following Qur'anic verse:
... and whoever goes forth from his house to Allah and His Apostle, and
then death overtakes him, his reward is indeed with Allah...
If death overtakes a man on his way toward battle, his reward will
still be with Allah. Revival is the main reward given by Allah. "And
you return from battle victoriously, you will be cleansed from any sins
This is not important. To reach Allah is of significance. One may go
for tawbah (repentance) and one goes for tawbah against sins is like
someone for whom there is no sin as if he is newly born.
Repentance frees man from imperfection, but it does not enable him to
meet Allah. Repentance -means exercising a restraint against the
ill-deeds of the post, ie, cleansing oneself of sins. But a man who
rises against an oppressor not only cleanses himself of imperfection
but also attains perfection. "He is the successful." Religion
man to existence which is not feasible without tawhid. The Holy Qur'an
reiterates and resolves all these scientific and practical doubts.
But what is the fruit of the blessed tree of existence? The fear and
hope of a monotheist are governed on the basis of monotheism. He fears
Allah, but he does not fear aught but Him. A man who is not a
monotheist either does not fear anything at all, like the impetuous men
of the Eastern Bloc, or fears from both Allah and other than Allah as
is the case with hermits. Such a man is not a monotheist either in fear
or in hope. A man might despair of everything:
"... And despair not of Allah's mercy; surely none despairs of
mercy except the unbelieving people (12:87)."
He either despairs of everything or becomes hopeful of everything. He
is a polytheist both in hope and in fear. An atheist may impetuously
rise against and overthrow a tyrant, but he will not maintain- justice,
for he has no dependence. This is why the Holy Qur'an has praised the
prophets for these two positive and negative qualities. Man should be a
monotheist even in fear, that is to say, he must fear Allah only, but
he must not fear other than Allah at all:
"Those who deliver the messages of Allah and fear Him, and do not
anyone but Allah.. (33:39)."
This negative statement has been made in this case. The statement:
"They do not associate aught with Him," also has a negative
That is to say, it does not endorse polytheism at all. Thus they are
monotheist both in fear and in hope.
When speaking to the combatants, the Almighty Allah states: "And be
weak-hearted in pursuit of the enemy... (4:104)"; for "...If you
pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain...
(4:104)." If a place is being bombed here, there is under bomb attack
as well. If your people are wounded, their people are wounded too. If
your men are killed, their men are also killed. Both sides suffer pain
and hardship equally, be they atheists or monotheists. But according to
the following Qur'anic verse: "...And you hope from Allah what they
not hope (4:104)"; the monotheist possesses something that an atheist
does not do. You have something to rely on, but upon what source can
the atheists rely? They only rely on their weapons. When they are
disarmed, they despair. But you rely upon Allah, Who is Eternal.
The late Kulayni (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that in one of
the battlefronts, the Holy Prophet (SA) kept aloof from his army and
began to rest atop a mountain slope.
A man from among the enemy came to him and, while drawing his sword,
asked: "Who is your saviour?" He then told the Holy prophet
that you are under the mercy of my sharp and polished sword and now
that you do not have your army with you, who will save you?" The Holy
Prophet (SA) replied: "Allah. Although the sharp edge of your sword
within an inch of my head, according to the verse: "... know that
intervenes between man and his heart... (8:14)."
No sooner had the Holy Prophet (SA) said this that the man sneered,
raised his sword, and lowered it, but he fell down in the meantime. The
Holy Prophet (SA) rose, took the man's sword, and stated: "Who is
saviour (now)? I relied upon the power of the Unseen. (Allah). What
power do you rely on?" The man told the Holy Prophet (SA): "I
take the best." The Holy Prophet(SA) stated: "Get up, for I have
So in hope, a monotheist relies upon Allah and believes in monotheism.
In fear, too, he is a monotheist. Thus a man who does not believe in
monotheism is an atheist both in fear and in hope. He is also an
atheist while having an inopportune feeling of security, for "... But
none feels secure from Allah's plan except the people who shall perish
(7:99)." He who fears nothing is an atheist. He who looks upon all
causes and means from the viewpoint of weapons and weaponry and who
feels he is in authority is an atheist: "...And the evil plans shall
not beset any save the authors of it... (35:43)."
Existence, therefore, is the most sublime right of man. Existence is
not feasible without tawhid and without monotheistic thinking. Neither
skepticism nor passion can bar the way to the adoption of a
But who are the guardians of this blessed tree? Who must nourish this
tree? The fact that, in our tradition, the pure statement of "There
no god but Allah" is taken as a strong fortress and that imamate,
guidance, leadership, guardianship, and the supervision of a
monotheistic ummah (nation) are brought up as fortresses is not because
there are two strong fortifications in Islam, namely, tawhid and
imamate. This is not compatible with tawhid, that is to say, the
guardian of that fortress is the very imamate. The
executor or the implementor of the rights of that fortress is the very
imamate. From the very beginning until the end of their lives whenever
they spoke, the Holy Prophet and all Imams (AS) stated: "We are the
fortified. We are the way toward tawhid." A statement handed down
the Holy Prophet (SA) noted that: "There is no god but Allah" is
fortress of Allah; but the love for divine guardians and the infallible
ones is a fortification that makes this fortress what it is." The
following statement is made by the Eloquent Speaker, `Ali ibn Abi Talib
"There is no god but Allah" is the fortress of Allah and I am
A group of people visited the fifth imam, Muhammad Baqir (AS) and said:
"Has the hadith `There is no god but Allah is a fortress' been
from the Messenger of Allah?" The Imam replied: `Yes, truly it is
when they left, the Imam (AS) said: `Call them back. There is a
complementary statement to this.' When they came back, the Imam(AS)
`There is no god but Allah entails conditions and I am one of its
The famous hadith of Silsilat al-Dhahab of Imam Rida (AS) is also
proverbial among all. That is to say, if the outlooks and tendencies of
people are governed by monotheism, they demand an enforcer, an imam, a
guardian, and a governor. A religion requires a representative both to
carry out religious principles and to lead a group of people;
otherwise, religion would have been and would still be a series of
scribbles on the faces of white papers. That which guards this vital
right and that which serves as the enforcer of human rights is the very
imamate, leadership, and guidance. Thus the Almighty Allah has
considered imamate as complementary and supplementary to religion and
as a blessing. So long as man is not religiously exemplary and so long
as he is himself not a perfect monotheist, the monotheism which is the
vital and the most important right of human societies will not be duly
given to mankind. Using the verse, "... and he will prosper indeed
day who overcomes (20:64)." The righteous men of the world were
introduced as mischief-makers:
"... And that he will make mischief to appear in the land
Using this same statement, they said: "These people will change your
religion." Consequently, existence which is the most important right
man becomes clear. Also the various levels of existence will be
reiterated. It also becomes clear that this very existence is the
product of monotheism, for the Holy Qur'an considers a polytheist as
dead and states:
"That it may warn him who would have life, and (that) the word may
prove true against the unbelievers (36:70)."
The following analogy can be drawn between one who is an unbeliever and
the one who is alive. That is to say, man is either alive or an
unbeliever. It means that he is either alive or dead.
By the following Qur'anic verse:: "That it may warn him who would
life, and (that) the word may prove true against the unbelievers
The Almighty Allah did not order the prophets and particularly the last
prophet to warn only the believers and those who are alive, rather from
the beginning He stated:
"... And warn thereby a vehemently contentious people (19:97)."
Allah ordered them to warn and threaten those who are contentious,
adversary, and quarrel some. Admonition is aimed at contentious people,
but such people do not profit from this warning. He who profits from
this admonition is the living man.
The Holy Qur'an states:
"That it may warn him who would have life... (36:70)."
It also states:
"... And warn thereby a vehemently contentious people (19:97)."
But it states: "You are only a warner to him who would fear it
(79:45)"; because the living profit from it while those who are dead
not profit from it.
Tawhid, therefore, is intended for revival. If a person is not a
believer and a monotheist, he is indeed dead. His death is considered
as the death of humanity, although he may lead an animal or a plant
life. The factor which safeguards existence is the issue of imamate and
guardianship. For this reason, all prophets and Imams (AS) have said
that the leadership of a monotheist is the protector of human rights.
The Almighty Allah reiterates wisdom in the case of Ibrahim (AS) and
states: "Do not keep aloof from this policy, else you will charge
yourself with folly." Although all instructive discussions of Ibrahim
are based on reason, Allah explains Ibrahim's rectitude in terms of his
breaking idols. Then Allah states that when the right way is determined
and when the one who leads to the right way is specified, he who keeps
aloof from them is insane. When you study the case of Ibrahim (AS) and
when he explains how he broke the idols with his axe, you will find out
that the following verse serves as a starting point for his action:
"And certainly We gave to Ibrahim his rectitude before, and We knew
fully well (21:51)."
Then Ibrahim (AS) broke the idols as stated hereunder:
"So he broke them into pieces, except the chief of them...
These monotheistic reasonings are brought up as a sign of the kingdom
of the heavens and the earth:
"And thus did We show 1brahim the kingdom of the heavens and
The Almighty Allah also mentions the following reasoning: "...I do
love the setting ones (6:77)." When the issue of taking up an axe and
breaking idols is raised, rectitude serves as the starting point:
"And certainly We gave to Ibrahim his rectitude, and We knew
Then Allah explains how Ibrahim broke the idols into pieces. Then He
sums up the whole thing in Surah Baqarah:
"And who forsakes the religion of Ibrahim but he who makes
If a person is detached from rectitude, he commits foolishness. If a
person separates himself from the one who is rightly directed, he
becomes a fool. If we want to attain an eternal life, we have no
alternative but to resort to sacrifice and devotion and to recognize
ourselves in terms of our responsibilities.
In the end, while appreciating and thanking all of you honourable
guests, I will relate this valuable hadith from the Messenger (SA) of
Allah. Unless we are true men of knowledge and unless we regain our
life, it will be impossible for us to be the heirs of the prophets. Now
the hadith: "Once the Holy Prophet (SA) was passing by as a
An insane man fainted and fell down.
The people gathered around him. The Holy Prophet (SA) asked, `what is
going on?' The people replied: `He is an insane around whom we have
gathered.' The Holy Prophet (SA) stated: `He is sick but not insane.'
The people asked the Holy Prophet (SA): `Then who is insane?' The Holy
Prophet (SA) replied: `He who buys the world in exchange for the world
Hereafter is insane'. This man is sick." With this, wisdom is
illuminated. After knowing it, the duty of people in overthrowing the
system ruled by tyrants becomes clear. The duty of men in establishing
a government based on justice and equity will also become evident.
This is the secret why many jurisprudential texts insist on offering
the key positions of Islam to people who possess absolute wisdom. Quite
often it is said that wisdom alone is sufficient. It is said that the
salats (prayers) are obligatory for a wise person. Likewise sawms
(fasting) and paying the zakat (statutary 2.5% charity on certain
items) are also obligatory for a wise person. An insane is not obliged
to perform these religious duties. But who should be entrusted with the
key positions of Islam? Who should be charged with the duty of
judgment? The answer to this has been specified in a section of our
jurisprudential texts: "Rely upon a judge who is possessed with an
absolute wisdom." That is where the secret lies.
They said: "Entrust the key positions to intelligent and upright
who will not expose themselves to the fire." The language of the
is one that states: "Whoever calls the people to commit sins calls
to the Fire indeed. He should fight against the Fire and prepare
himself to stand against it."
The Holy Qur'an has stated the following to combatant men:
"Do you know who you are going to fight with? You are going to fight
against the Fire."
It has also stated: "And we made them Imams, who call to the Fire...
(28:41)." This is not stated figuratively. That is to say, calling
toward sins ends up in the Fire. This is the mere truth. These are:
"The fuel of the fire, like the striving of the people of Fir'awn."
Holy Qur'an stated:
The Imams of unbelief are the fire. They call the people to the fire
and burn up your life. Try to put out these fires."
Consequently, if a person wants to maintain a key position and put out
the fire, he should be possessed with an absolute wisdom.
We hope that the Almighty Allah will revive our hearts with the
knowledge of tawhid. May the Almighty Allah grant His rewards in this
world and the world Hereafter to those honourable persons in charge of
holding this conference, for the pains that they have taken and would
continue to take. May Allah favour all of us with the blessing of being
grateful to the pure bloods of our dear martyrs and to the
self-sacrifice of our dear PWS, those missing-in-action, and the
We pray to the Almighty Allah, for the sake of His absolute blessing,
to safeguard the honourable and great Leader of the Islamic Revolution
from any harm, under the protection of His guardian. We ask Allah to
extend this Islamic Revolution to the re-appearance of the Imam al-`Asr
(the Guardian of the Time), Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for
Human Rights in Islam
Papers Presented at the 5th Islamic Though Conference, Tehran
Man's Success Through Tawhid, by Jawadi Amuli