* all the article shown with date are written by my other half :)
10 September 2008
By Dr Syed Bashir Ahmad
FROM the Islamic point of view, any ignorance, however grave it may be, can be forgiven, except the ignorance of a human being about the purpose of his life, says Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi, a renowned Islamic scholar and author of Gateway to Knowledge about Islam.
The worst ignominy for this creature — the human being, who has been given the intellect and will — is when he lives incautious, eats and enjoys like cattle and does not reflect over his destiny nor becomes cognizant about his own self and about his role in this life, until the death suddenly comes about.
In view of this, it is incumbent upon every prudent human being to ask himself with all earnestness: Why have I been created? What is the purpose of my creation? To these questions from us, Allah will reply with same answers that have been mentioned in His timeless book, the Glorious Quran, that He created the human being to be His vicegerent on the earth. This fact is very clear from the story of Adam, how angels envied him for the status granted to him by Allah: “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? — whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?” He said: “I know what ye know not.” (Al-Quran: Al-Baqarah: 30)
The first thing among the prerequisites of this deputyship is that the human being should recognise his Lord very well and must worship Him comprehensively. Allah says: Allah is He Who created seven Firmaments and of the earth a similar number. Through the midst of them (all) descends His Command: that ye may know that Allah has power over all things, and that Allah comprehends, all things in (His) Knowledge. (Al-Quran: At-Talaq: )
In this Quranic verse, recognising Allah and serving Allah has been described as the purpose of the creation of the heavens and the earth. Recognising Allah means understanding His creation ie laws of nature. Serving Allah means serving the mankind. Some experts say there is no better means of understanding the Creator than science and no better means of serving humanity than technology. So going for science and technology with the intention of seeking Allah’s pleasure is in a way worship of Allah.
Allah, the Exalted, says: “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me. No Sustenance do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed Me. For Allah is He Who gives (all) Sustenance, — Lord of Power,- Steadfast (for ever).( Al-Quran: Az-Zariyat: 56-58)Anyone who ponders over this universe, wherein we live, finds everything in it existing and living for the service of others. We see that the water is for the soil, the soil is for the vegetation, the vegetation is for the animals, and the animals are for the human being. For whom then, is the human being himself? This is the puzzle.
The human being is for Allah, for knowing Him, for worshiping Him and for discharging his duties. It is not conceivable that the human being can be for anything else found on the earth. Hence worship by the human being of forces of nature, whether above him or below him, like the sun, the moon, the stars, the rivers, the animals, the trees etc, has been a reversal of the natural placement and a horrendous retrograding of his status. Naturally and logically thus the human being is for Allah the Glorified, not for anyone else other than Him; he is for the worship of Allah alone, not for the worship of any fellow human, or stone, or animal or tree, or the sun, or the moon.
And worship in its broadest terms means understanding Allah’s creation and appreciating and praising Him and carrying out His commandments which ask us to serve humanity. In Islam every lawful act done with the intention of seeking Allah’s pleasure is workship. That means, for example, working in office to earn a livelihood for your family and visiting market is a part of workship. “Did I not enjoin on you, O ye Children of Adam, that ye should not worship Satan; for that he was to you an enemy avowed?, and that ye should worship Me, (for that) this was the Straight Way?” (Al-Quran: YaSin: 60-61)
Essence of Worship
Every obedience to Allah on account of submission and humility is worship. Worship is a kind of subordination that is deserved only by the benefactor of the highest benefactions, like life, comprehension, hearing and vision. Besides its linguistic meaning — which implies highest degree of obedience and submission — adoration is also a key component of worship. It implies extreme humbleness to Allah out of deep adoration for Him.
The basis of submission to Allah is the conscious awareness about His unity and about His paramount omnipotence over all and everything in the existence. Every existing thing is His creation and is His slave; everything is in His hand, under His control and within His authority. In this perspective, the Quran states: “Whatever beings there are in the heavens and the earth do prostrate themselves to God (Acknowledging subjection), — with good-will or in spite of themselves: so do their shadows in the morning and evenings. Say: “Who is the Lord and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth?” Say: “(It is) God.”
Say: “Do ye then take (for worship) protectors other than Him, such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves?” Say: “Are the blind equal with those who see? Or the depths of darkness equal with light?” Or do they assign to God partners who have created (anything) as He has created, so that the creation seemed to them similar? Say: “God is the Creator of all things: He is the One, the Supreme and Irresistible.” (Al-Quran: Ar-Ra’d: 15-16) The basis of submission to Allah, the Almighty, is the self-consciousness about the indigence to one who possesses harm and benefit; one who controls death and life; to whom belongs the creation and the command; in whose hands is the governance of all things.
The more the human being gains the knowledge about his own self and about his Creator, the more these presentiments increase in clarity and strength. The more we seek knowledge, the more our trust in Allah increases, the more is our orientation towards Him, more is his reliance on Him, more frequent is he in resorting to Him, more natural is our servility of Him, more spontaneous we are in stretching our hands in supplication towards Him and the more we knock at His door in invocation and penitence.
On the contrary, when a human being is unconscious of his own worth and ignorant of the significance of the Creator Almighty, these presentiments do not die, but deviate and mutate and search for a deity to which the person turns, submits, and for sure, unconsciously, pursues that wrong course. The person may not call his submission to such an unconsciously sought after deity as his submission or obedience to a deity or to a god.