The Rose of Tawhid
(Image: The Rose of the Prophet, Turkish miniature, 1708)
“This concept of Tawheed, which is so central to Islam, does not mean a theological principle that there is one god. It is actually a verb meaning to make one, that is, to integrate, to bring to unity that which is fragmented.” –Mahmoud Mostafa
I imagine tawhid as a seed, planted in the heart of the Prophet Muhammad—a point of oneness unfolding out from his heart, working to integrate all else consciously into that unity.
It’s said that the entire Qur’an is contained in Surah Fatiha (the opening chapter of the Book); that the entire Fatiha is held within the Bismillah (the opening words, “In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful”); that the whole Bismillah is present within the Arabic letter ba; and that the whole ba itself is contained within the dot that forms the base of the letter. All of revelation held within a single point.
It is also said that creation itself is the cosmic Qur’an, the cosmic Book of Revelation, constantly speaking the Names of God.
Modern-day science tells us that the universe has unfolded from a single point, an infinitely dense singularity that exploded out from the Heart of God some fourteen billion years ago.
Perhaps we can see tawhid, unity, working itself out, unfolding itself, through the unfolding of creation, the unfolding of our planet, the unfolding of our species as we become ever more conscious of our unity; as unity becomes ever more conscious of itself through us.
The tawhidic seed, that original single point—itself present at every point of existence—was planted in the heart of the Prophet Muhammad. It refracted and unfolded itself through that humblest of hearts as the words of Revelation, as the graceful movements of salaat, as a tender kiss on the forehead of a daughter or grandson, as the fierce and sometimes bloody struggle for justice.
Yes, the unfolding of tawhid can be peaceful, violent, gentle, fierce. It is, in truth, everything. But it moves, always, towards the ever-deepening expression of truth, justice, mercy, and conscious unity-in-love.
The same seed has been planted in the heart of every messenger of every sacred tradition, refracting itself through the light of every time and culture. It is present in movements deemed both “secular” and “sacred,” and in every body of knowledge. It unfolds and refines itself through the great saints of every lineage, and continues its work even now through you and through me.
Tawhid. Oneness striving for increasing, evermore conscious oneness.
The Qur’an says that God created us all from a single soul. All of existence held within a single point. A seed planted in a heart; a heart planted in the soil of a people, of humanity. A single rose blossoming.
A garden in the rose.
One fragrance, one scent, one essence.
The whole journey just for this.