by Abubakar Haruna
Tawhid is a fundamental concept in Islamic psychology that refers to the oneness of Allah and the belief that everything in the universe is connected to Allah (SWT). Tawhid is derived from the Arabic word “wahid” which means one. It is one of the central concepts of Islamic theology, philosophy and it is essential to understanding the Islamic views globally.
According to Ibn al-Arabi, a prominent Islamic philosopher and mystic, “Tawhid is the recognition that there is only one reality, which is the reality of Allah (SWT) and that all other realities are dependent on Allah and ultimately return to Allah” (Ibn al-Arabi, 1996, p. 24). This means that everything in the universe is connected to Allah and that Allah is the source of all meaning and purpose.
In Islamic psychology, tawhid is closely linked to the concept of fitrah which refers to the innate disposition of the human soul towards recognising the oneness of Allah.
In the Quran Allah says, “So direct your face toward the religion inclining to truth. (Adhere to) the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created (all) people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion but most of the people do not know” (Quran 30:30).
In addition to its spiritual significance, tawhid also has practical implications for human behaviour in psychology. According to Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, human beings have an innate desire for unity and wholeness which he called the “oceanic feeling.” This desire for unity is consistent with the Islamic concept of tawhid which emphasises the interconnectedness of all things in the universe.
A study that explores the importance of Tawhid in Islamic psychology is “Islamic Approach to Psychology” by Abdul Rashid and Subhi (2011). They state that tawhid is central to Islamic psychology as it provides a framework for understanding the interconnectedness of all things, including the relationship between the individual and Allah. This perspective can help individuals to develop a greater sense of responsibility for their actions and promote self-reflection which is an essential aspect in Islamic psychology.
Another study that highlights the significance of tawhid in Islamic psychology is “Tawhidic Approach to Psychology, an Analysis of Some Contemporary Muslim Scholars” by Haslina, Hussain, Yakub & Yusoff (2015). These authors argue that tawhid is not only a theological concept but also has practical applications in Islamic psychology. Tawhid can help individuals to overcome negative thinking patterns and develop a more positive outlook in life promoting psychological well-being. For example, when a person truly believes in the oneness of Allah (SWT), they understand that everything is under His control, which can reduce feelings of anxiety and worry. This belief can help a person place their trust in Allah (SWT) and His plan, even if they don’t understand it fully. Negative self-talk can be damaging to a person’s mental health. Tawhid encourages a person to have positive and self-affirming beliefs about themselves because they understand that they are a creation of Allah (SWT) and that he has given them unique talents and abilities.
Tawhid helps Muslims to develop a strong sense of submission and surrender to Allah which is believed to lead to inner peace and contentment. It also serves as a guiding principle for how Muslims should live their lives as they are encouraged to align their thoughts, words, and actions with the will of Allah.
Furthermore, Tawhid is believed to be essential for spiritual growth and development in Islam. By constantly reminding themselves of the greatness and oneness of Allah, Muslims are able to cultivate a deeper connection with him and strive to live in a way that is pleasing to him.
In addition to its role in spiritual development, tawhid is also believed to have a number of other benefits in Islamic psychology such as it encourages humility. For example, by constantly reminding themselves of the greatness and oneness of God, Muslims are encouraged to develop a sense of humility and recognize their own smallness and limitations.
Tawhid helps Muslims to see difficulties and challenges as opportunities for growth and to develop a sense of resilience in the face of adversity. It also helps one increase self-control by submitting to the will of Allah and striving to live according to his teachings, Muslims are able to develop self-control and resist temptation.
Tawhid is believed to have a positive impact on mental well-being, as it encourages a sense of inner peace and contentment and helps to reduce anxiety and stress. Here are some ways in which Tawhid encourages inner peace:
Tawhid teaches that there is only one true Allah and that he is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Believing in this fundamental truth provides a sense of security, peace and knowing that there is a higher power in control.
Tawhid encourages Muslims to place their trust in Allah to believe that he is always there to guide and protect them. This trust can help individuals feel a sense of calm, peace and even in difficult circumstances.
Tawhid also emphasises the importance of submitting to Allah’s will. This means accepting that Allah is in control of everything and that his plans may not always align with our own. By surrendering to Allah’s will, individuals can let go of anxiety, stress, and find inner peace.
Tawhid teaches that Allah is merciful and forgiving and encourages Muslims to seek His forgiveness. By recognizing their own shortcomings and seeking forgiveness, individuals can let go of negative emotions and find peace within themselves.
Tawhid encourages Muslims to establish a deep connection with Allah through prayer, reading the Quran, and performing good deeds. This connection can provide a sense of peace and purpose, knowing that they are fulfilling their purpose and pleasing Allah.
By submitting to the will of Allah and striving to live according to his teachings, Muslims are encouraged to develop positive relationships with others and treat them with kindness and compassion.
Abdul Rashid, F., & Subhi, N. (2011). Islamic approach to psychology: Contributions of early Muslim scholars. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, 10(3), 280-286.
Wan Hussain, W. H., & Mohd Yusoff, M. Y. @ Z. (2015). Tawhidic approach to psychology: An analysis of some contemporary Muslim scholars. Journal of Education and Learning, 9(4), 325-334.
Ibn al-Arabi. (1996). The Bezels of Wisdom. Paulist Press.