We often hear of the creed of Islam as La ilaha illa Allah (“no god but the One God”). Far more than merely stating that there is one God, the healing of the Prophetic message is the transformation from having a heart fractured by the pursuit of every external and internal idol to arriving at a state of wholeness through devotion to the One God.
Ultimately, the bold claim of the Prophetic tradition is that there is a path to God—or rather, multiple paths—and it goes right through humanity. In other words, there is no way of being right with God without first and also being right with humanity, starting with “the least of these.”
Ultimately, the message of the Prophet weaves together theology, ethics, and spirituality. Faith in God compels us to begin with service to the downtrodden and marginalized in society: the poor, the lonely, the sick, the elderly, the children, the ostracized, the widows, the immigrants.
Faith in God is not so much a doctrine that we hold in our head, but a light that shines on all without distinction, a water that always starts on high and gravitates towards the lowly, nurturing all along the way.
The love of God, embodied and re-presented through service to humanity, crushes that ultimate and most invisible idol, the ego, leaving nothing in its place but the very presence of God.
It is our ego that insists “mine, mine”, and sees ourselves as cut off from grace, cut off from one another, cut off from the cosmos, and cut off from God.
And the remedy for the ego is love, that fire of alchemy that through service to humanity transforms and uplifts what’s base in our spirits to what’s golden and luminous.
Taken in this way, Tawhid (Unity) means not merely the oneness of God, but that we must become whole inside our own selves, and we must strive for unity in the human community. If we are fractured in our own hearts, it becomes all but impossible to have unity in the human community, or to truly detect the unity of creation, the oneness of God.
In this path, justice and love are intrinsically related: justice means simply standing against all that blocks the flows of love towards the totality of humanity, no matter where and when, by whom and to whom.
In the beginning there was God and there was none other.
In the end there will be God and none other.
It is now, as it was then, and as it shall be—through love.
Once love has transformed that ego, there will be God, and none other than God.
La ilaha illa Allah.
There is no god, but the One God.
But the One God.