The Qur'an emerged in contestation with a polytheistic culture, and affirming God's unity (tawhid) is its most fundamental tenet. A characteristic feature of the Qur'an is that its urging of faith in God is accompanied by an argument, which is a straightforward argument from design.17 In numerous passages, the Qur'an argues for the existence, unity and grace of God, for example in the many ''Signs'' verses:
Another of His signs is the way He created spouses of your own kind for you to find repose with one another - He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect. Another of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, the diversity of your languages and colours. There truly are signs in this for those who know. (30:21-2)
Say [Prophet]: ''Who provides for you from the sky and the earth? Who controls hearing and sight? Who brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living, and who governs all things?'' They are sure to say: ''God.'' Then say: ''So why do you not take heed of Him?'' (10:31)
It is He who sends down water from the sky. With it We produce the shoots of each plant, then bring greenery from it, and from that We bring out grains, one riding on the other in close-packed rows. From the date-palm come clusters of low-hanging dates, and there are gardens of vines, olives and pomegranates, alike yet different -watch their fruits as they grow and ripen! In all this there are signs for those who would believe. (6:99)
Other inductive arguments:
If there had been in the heavens or earth any gods but Him, both heavens and earth would be in ruins. (21:23)
Nor is there any god beside Him - if there were, each god would have taken his creation aside and tried to overcome the others. (23:9i)
Say [Prophet]: ''Consider those you pray to other than God: show me which bit of the earth they created or which share of the heavens they own; bring me a previous scripture or some vestige of divine knowledge, if what you say is true. (46:4)
Believing in or calling on any deity other than God is termed shirk (partnership), which is the only unforgivable sin (4:116), unless one repents (25:68-70). It is God that should be worshipped: ''there is no god but God'' (47:19). This mode of expression is the most categorical possible in Arabic grammar. All gods are denied, with the exception of God Himself.
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