"Do not call onto any beings other than Allah. These are capable of neither benefit nor harm. To do so is therefore guilty of wrongdoing. When Allah inverts you with an affliction, none can remove it except Him." The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 10, Verse 106-107
"Seek your livelihood from Him and worship Him alone." The Holy Qur'an,Chapter 29,Verse 17
"Who is more foolish than he who prays to other beings than Allah, to beings who are ever impotent to answer his prayer?" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 46, Verse 5"
"Is He not Allah Who answers the appeal of the needy when he calls upon Him and removes the deed?" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 27, Verse 62
"Do not call onto any beings other than Allah. These are capable of neither benefit nor harm." The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 10, Verse 106
Tawheed (Monotheism) comes natural to a Human Being
Firstly: The Prophet's (pbuh) saying that he related from his Lord: "I created all my servants upon the true Religion (upon Tawhîd, free from Shirk). Then the devils came to them and led them astray from their true Religion. They made unlawful to people that which I had made lawful for them, and they commanded them to associate in worship with Me, that which I had sent down no authority." Related by Muslim (8/159) and Ahmad (4/162)
Secondly: The Prophet's (pbuh) saying that "Every child is born upon the Fitrah (Al-Fitr: means to begin and create, and Al-Fitrah is the condition resulting from it. The meaning is that mankind were born upon a disposition and a nature which is ready to accept the true Religion. So if he were to be left upon this, then he would continue upon it. However, those who deviate from this do so due to following human weaknesses and blind following of others ... " ) but his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Magian. It is like the way an animal gives birth to a natural offspring. have you noticed any born mutilated, before you mutilate them."
So how Big a Crime is Shirk ?
Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur'an that all Sins can be forgiven by Him except the Sin of Shirk (Setting up partners in worship with Him). Shirk is the gravest of Sins.
Verily, Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom He pleases other sins than that , The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 4, Verse 116.
Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the wrongdoers, there are no helpers .The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 5, Verse 72.
All Good deeds done by a Person are nullified if he commits Shirk.
As Allah says: “And if you commit Shirk, We will surely cancel out your good deeds and you will indeed be from the losers.” The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 39,Verse 65
"Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him." The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 17,Verse 23
We may conclude here that Polytheism/Idolatry is a most heinous sin.
Allah the Almighty has said,"False worship (shirk) is indeed the highest wrongdoing." The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 31,Verse 13
The one who commits Shirk will never be granted forgiveness and never enter Paradise if he has not renounced polytheism/idolatry before his death."... Whoever joins other gods with Allah, He will forbid him the Garden..." The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 5, Verse 72.
Shirk And Its Kinds
1. The first kind of Shirk is the Greater Shirk, which means either to worship other than Allah, or to make partners with Allah in something that is specifically His. For example, to take someone as His partner in worship, obedience, love, fear, supplication, and seeking help.
When one associates partners with Allah - regardless of who that partner is, such as a man, animal, plant, or inanimate object - one has perpertrated the Greater Shirk, examples of which are as follows:
- To supplicate to that partner as one supplicates to Allah.
- To love that partner as one loves Allah.
- To hope from that partner as one hopes from Allah
- To submit oneself in obedience to thay partner as one submits in obedience to Allah
- To fear that partner as one fears Allah.
- To seek someone's judgement instead of the judgement of Allah's Shariah.
Allah Almighty says: "Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship."
Of course, the Greater Shirk is the worst and most severe kind of Shirk; indeed, it is the greatest sin with Allah, for Allah does not accept any deed from its perpetrator, regardless of how pious he may be otherwise.
If one dies, associating partners with Allah, Allah will not forgive him, for He says: "Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin."
Whoever dies upon this form of Shirk is from the dwellers of the Hellfire, for the Prophet (s) said: "Whoever dies and he is calling upon other than Allah as a rival then he enters the Hellfire." (Recorded by Al-Bukhairi and Muslim form Ibn Masud).
In another Hadith, the Prophet (s) said, "Whoever meets Allah without assciating any partners with Him enters Paradise. Whoever meets Him, associating any partner with Him enters the Hellfire." (Recorded by Muslim, from Jabir).
The Muslim, therefore, worships and invokes only Allah, and submits only to Him. For Allah Almighty says: "Say: "Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of all that exists. He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims."
Before we get in to the subject we should know "Islam" means - One who submits to the will of Allâh (SWT), and follow his Messenger Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
Allâh's Apostle (s) said, "If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected." (Sahih Al-Bukari) V-3 H-861.
Associating partners with Allâh (SWT) is the foremost Sin in Islam. The foremost major sin in the sight of Allâh (SWT) is "Shirk" - One who associates partner with God. Thus he becomes musrikeen, or polytheist. It is said in the Qur’ân , the polytheist is going to dwell in Hell forever, Allâh (SWT) will never cleansed their sin, nor will He forgive them.
Riyaa: Hidden Shirk
Riyaa is to perform acts which are pleasing to Allah with the intention of pleasing other than Allah.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said "Should I not inform you of that which i fear for you even more than the dangers of Dajjal? It is the hidden Shirk; A person stands to pray, and he beautifies his prayer because he sees the people looking at him." Sunan Ibn Majah Vol 2, 3389
Causes of Riyaa
The primary cause is a weakness in Iman. A person weak in his Iman will prefer the admiration of people over the pleasure of Allah.
In a hadith of the first three people thrown into the hellfire; the scholar (who taught for fame), the martyr (who fought for fame), and the charitable person (who did so that people would call him generous). All three acts even though being amongst some of the most pleasing ones to Allah are not accepted since these people desired the pleasure of people over the pleasure of Allah.
The dislike of criticism is another reason for Riyaa. Either the person neglects a command of Allah to avoid criticism from his peers or he obeys certain commands of Allah (swt) since people will criticise him if he does not do it.
Another reason is greed for possessions. If a person for example is jealous of a position of a certain person in society, he will try every possible means to attain the same position which leads him to spending his time putting on a show for other people so that they admire him.
Some scholars advised: "Remove the causes of riyaa from yourself by considering the opinion of people as important to you as animals and small children. Do not differentiate in your worship between the presence of people or their absence, or between their knowledge of your actions and their ignorance. Rather be conscious of the infinite knowledge of Allah alone."
Ways to avoid Riyaa
1) Increasing knowledge of Islam
2) Dua (Supplication). The Prophet (pbuh) taught the specific dua for riyaa: "Allahumma inna na-oothu bika an-nushrika bika shay'an na'lamuhu, wa nastagfiruka limaa laa na'lamuh." "O Allah, we seek refuge in you from committing shirk knowingly, and ask your forgiveness for (the shirk that we may commit unknowingly)".
3) Reflecting upon Heaven and Hell
4) Hiding one's good deeds
5) Reflection upon oneself's shortcomings
6) Accompanying the pious
7) Knowledge of Riyaa
The belief that dead awliyaa' ("saints") can fulfil one's needs or help at times of distress, and calling upon them for aid.
Allaah says : "And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him . . ." [al-Israa' 17:23]
Similarly, they call upon dead Prophets, righteous people and others to intercede for them or to rescue them from some calamity, but Allaah says :
"Is not He (better than your gods) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations? Is there any ilaah (god) with Allaah? . . ." [al-Naml 27:62]
Some of them have adopted the habit of mentioning the name of a shaykh or wali ("saint") when they stand up, or sit down, or stumble, or encounter problems or distress, so they might say "O Muhammad!" or "O 'Ali!" or "O Husayn!" or "O Badawi!" or "O Jeelaani!" or "O Shaadhili!" or "O Rifaa'i!" - or they may call upon al-'Aydaroos or Sayyidah Zaynab or Ibn 'Alwaan.
Allaah says : "Verily those whom you call upon besides Allaah are slaves like you . . ." [al-A'raf 7:194]
Some of those who worship graves walk around them as if in Tawaaf, and acknowledge their corners, or touch them, kiss them, wipe their faces with their dust, prostrate towards them when they see them, or stand before them in fear and humility, praying for whatever they need of healing from some disease, or for a child, or for help with some difficulty. Sometimes they call upon the occupant of the grave, saying "O my master, I have come to you from far away, so do not let me down."
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever dies calling on someone else as a rival to Allaah, will enter Hell." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 8/176).
Some of them shave their heads at the graves, and some have books with titles like Manaasik Hajj al-Mashaahid ("The Rituals of Pilgrimage to Shrines"), mashaahid or shrines referring to graves or tombs of awliyaa'. Some of them believe that the awliyaa' are running the affairs of the universe and that they have the power to benefit or harm.
Allaah says : "And if Allaah touches you with hurt, there is none who can remove it but He; and if He intends any good for you, there is no one who can repel His Favour . . ." [Yoonus 10:107]
'Aa'ishah (R.A) and 'Abd-Allâh ibn 'Abbaas (R.A.) said: "When (death) approached the Messenger of Allâh (PBUH) he started to cover his face with a cloak of his. When he became distressed he lifted it from his face, Prophet (PBUH) said: "May Allâh curse the Jews and the Christians, for they have taken the graves of their Prophets as places of worship." (Sahih Al-Bukari 414, Muslim).
Prophet (PBUH) said: "Do not sit on graves and do not pray facing them." (Muslim H-972)
Narrator Abu Marthad Al-Ghanawi.Jundub Ibn 'Abdullaah al-Bajalee said that he heard Prophet (PBUH) said: five days before he died: "Verily those before you took the graves of their Prophets and righteous people as places of worship, so do not take the graves as places of worship. Indeed I forbid you from this!" (Muslim 2/67-68)
Abu Hurayrah (R.A) says that the Messenger of Allâh (PBUH) said: "O Allâh, do not turn my grave into an idol. May the curse of Allâh be upon those who take the graves of their Prophets as places of worship" (Ahmad H-7352)
It is also shirk to make a vow to any other than Allaah, as is done by those who vow to bring candles or lights for the occupants of the graves.
He despised the injustices he saw within Makkan society, and as a young man helped form an alliance, "Hilf al-Fudhoul," to help preserve the rights of the poor and oppressed. He was troubled by the abundance of idols and senseless acts of paganism dominating his people. A staggering 360 idols were housed in Makkah, and they were called upon daily by most residents of the city. For someone of deep moral character, it must have been a confusing and difficult place to live. Muhammad (PBUH) used to go for days at a time into hills around Makkah to meditate.
It was during one of these times in cave in Mount Hiraa, that God sent his first revelation to Muhammad (PBUH). Muhammad (PBUH) was now the final Messenger of God, and would be used to deliver the universal message to all humankind. The Archangel Gabriel came to Muhammad (PBUH) and commanded, "Read!" Muhammad, terrified, replied, "I'm not a reader," for he could neither read nor write, as literacy, where he lived, was rare. The angel took hold of him, squeezed him with incredible force, released him and repeated the command: Read! Muhammad repeated himself and once again the angel squeezed him until Muhammad (PBUH) thought he could bear it no longer. After the third time, Muhammad (PBUH) felt the intense ringing of bells and heard Gabriel recite the literal word of God. Words so powerful that it felt like they were inscribed on his heart: "Read: In the name of your Lord Who created, Created humankind from something that clings (zygote to the uterus), Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous." [96: 1-3]
He (PBUH) ran from the cave in terror, trying to escape the intense and frightening experience. But everywhere he looked on the horizon, he saw Gabriel; he could not escape it; he had already been chosen.Over a period of 23 years, the revelations continued to come. The verses make up the Noble Qur'an, and Muhammad (PBUH) and the believers committed them to memory.
The thriving city of Makkah saw Muhammad (PBUH) as a grave threat; their strong economy depended upon the commerce of tribes that came to pay homage to the many idols housed in Makkah. The Makkan chiefs, upon seeing Islam spread, summoned Muhammad (PBUH) and offered him any amount of wealth or power he wanted, in exchange for him to halt his preaching. To this offer, which was delivered by his own uncle, Muhammad's (PBUH) reply was swift: "If they placed the sun in my right hand, and the moon in my left, I would not abandon this path I am on". For teaching the concept of one God and obedience to His law, Muhammad (PBUH) was mocked, beaten and cast out by his own people, who refused to abandon the idols and blood sacrifices surrounding the religions of their forefathers.
When he visited the city of Ta'if, the people sent their children to hurl stones at him. The people of Makkah once draped the intestines of a camel upon his blessed shoulders while he was prostrating in prayer, then doubled over in laughter at their cruel prank. The Makkan's seized several believers, men and women, torturing and even killing them, and several attempts were made on Muhammad's (PBUH) life.
After 13 years of harsh conditions in Makkah, including a social and economic boycott in which Makkans were forbidden to meet, marry, or trade with the Muslim minority, Muhammad (PBUH) immigrated to the welcoming city of Yathrib,some four hundred kilometers to the north of Makkah. The city adopted the name "Madinah," and is still known today with the same name. Muhammad (PBUH) was made head of state and in a matter of years established an advanced and just political, legal, economic and social system.His years of Prophet-hood were at many times tumultuous, but he knew his patience and perseverance was not in vain and would not go unnoticed. He had the ever-present consciousness that" Allah," or God, was All-seeing, All-knowing.
The character of the Messenger of Allah
So, what was his (s) character (like)? Aa’isha (r), the Mother of the Believers, answers (this question) saying: “His character was the Qur’an.”
He was a living example of the Qur’an (in his behaviour) only consuming that which the Qur’an made lawful, avoiding (completely) whatever the Qur’an declared unlawful, and always acting in accordance with its rules of refinement and good conduct (etiquette).
Anas ibn Maalik (r) said: “I was in the service of the Messenger of Allah for 10 years and he (s ) never said to me so much as “uff” [a word of displeasure]. He never reprimanded me for any action (of misbehaviour) of mine asking: ‘Why did you do that?’
Aa’isha (r) said: “He (s) never ever used his hand to hit a servant, nor any of his wives, or anything (for that matter), except in the case of Jihad in the Way of Allah.”
Jaabir ibn Abdullah (r) said: “The Prophet (s) was never asked about anything and then refused (the request).”
On the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I gave the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) a Burdah’ (type of clothing) as a gift; he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam ) took it, being in need of it. He wore it, upon which a man saw him wearing it and said: O Messenger of Allah: ‘O how beautiful this is – give it to me to wear.’ So, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: yes [and gave it to the man].”
He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was pleasant and kind in his relations with his wives. He used to say: “The best of you is the best of you to your family (wives) and I am the best of you to my family (wives).”
When he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was at home, he was in the service of his family, i.e he used to help his wives and treat them with kindness. Whenever he shook a man’s hand, he would not let his hand loose, until that man let his hand loose first.
He wouldn’t turn his face from anyone until the person first turned away from him. He was very kind and compassionate even with small children.
Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) had a younger brother who owned a small bird (like a sparrow); its name was ‘an-nughair’. He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to play with the small child by saying to him “O Abaa Umair, what has an-nughair done.”
This is the ‘Akhlaaq’ (moral character/standard) of Islam, represented in the personality of the Prophet of Islam. So, where do you stand – in comparison to/in light of the Standards of Morality and Character of the religion of Islam?
In accordance to your answer (response) you will have judged your level on the stairway (standard) of perfection of Imaan (Faith). You will have known the weightiest of your deeds in the Scales. You will have known the degree of your nearness in paradise to the Prophet of Islam (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) – if Allah Wills for you to be of the People of Paradise, by His Bounty and Mercy.
The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “The one who will be sitting nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection, will be the best of you in character.”
IMPORTANCE AND BENEFITS OF TAWHEED
Tawheed is the essence of Islam and the mainspring of its strength. All other laws, beliefs and commands of Islam stand firm on this foundation. Take it away, and there is nothing left of Islam.
Tawheed is the call of all the prophets to their people. And verily We have sent among every nation a Messenger proclaiming Worship Allah Alone and avoid all false deities. (Qur’an 16:36)
Tawheed is the only reason for the world’s creation. And I created not the Jinns and Men except that they should worship Me. (Qur’an 51:56) By declaring sincere belief in Tawheed, a disbeliever will become a Muslim. Conversely, a Muslim will become a disbeliever (kaafir) if he rejects any aspect of it.
By Tawheed we achieve salvation from Eternal punishment in the Hereafter, right guidance in this world, and forgiveness for sins. Allah states in the Qur’an: Verily Allah does not forgive associating partners with Him (shirk) however He forgives all other sins as He pleases. (Qur’an 4:48). The Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: The worshipper’s right on Allah is that He will not punish those who worship none besides Him [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Whoever fulfils Tawheed will be admitted to the Garden (Al-Jannah) in the Hereafter. The Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has stated: Verily Allah has promised that whosoever does not commit shirk shall enter Al-Jannah (the Garden in the Heaven). [Al-Bukhari)]
It is the reason for solving peoples’ sadness because true happiness will be achieved if persons realise Tawheed within their heart. They will also never feel psychologically enslaved even if physically captive.
It is the only reason for Allah’s pleasure and rewards. In another aayah (verse) in the Qur’an Allah says: If you reject faith then know that Allah is in no need of you and He does not accept disbelief from His slaves. (Qur’an 39:7)
Disbelief is nothing but a manifestation of shirk which is the opposite of Tawheed. The acceptance of all of one’s religious deeds is based upon Tawheed. Allah states: Whoever accepts a religion other than Islam it shall be rejected by Allah and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers. (Qur’an 3:85).
Islam is nothing if not an embodiment of the belief in Tawheed. Tawheed prevents man from eternally remaining in the Hellfire. The Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) stated in an authentic report: Whoever dies and has so much as a mustard seed of faith in his heart shall enter Al-Jannah.
TAWHEED HAS THREE ASPECTS
(A) Oneness of the Lordship of Allah; Tawheed ar Ruboobiyyath : To believe that there is only one Lord for all the universe, Who is the Creator, Organizer, Planner, Sustainer and the Giver of security, etc., and that is Allah.
(B) Oneness of the Worship of Allah; Tawheed al Uloohiyyath : To believe that none has the right to be worshipped (e.g.praying, invoking, asking for help from the unseen, swearing, offering sacrifice, giving charity, fasting, pilgrimage) but Allah.
(C) Oneness of the Names and the Qualities of Allah; Tawheed al Asma was Sifat : To believe that :
(i) We must not name or quality Allah except with what He or His Messenger (s) has named or qualified Him.
(ii) None can be named or qualified with the Names or Qualifications of Allah; e.g. Al Kareem.
(iii) We must believe in all the qualities of Allah which Allah has stated in His Book (the Qur’an) or mentioned through His Messenger (Muhammad [s]) without changing their meaning or ignoring them completely or twisting the meanings or likening them (giving resemblance) to any of the created things, e.g. Allah is prevent over His Throne as mentioned in the Qur’an (V 20:5) :-
‘The Most Gracious (Allah) rose over the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty)’, over the seventh heaven; and He comes down over the first (nearest) heaven to us on the day of ‘Arafah’ (Hajj, i.e. the 9th of Dul Hijja), and also during the last third part of the night as mentioned by the Prophet (s), but He is with us by His Knowledge, not His Personal-Self (it is not as some people think that Allah is present everywhere—here, there and even inside the breasts of men).
Also Allah says: ‘There is nothing like unto Him and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer’ (V. 42:11). This holy Verse proves the quality of hearing and the quality of sight for Allah without likening them (or giving resemblance) to any of the created things and likewise He also says : ‘To one whom I have created with Both My Hands’ (V.38:75); and He also says: ‘The Hand of Allah is over their hands’ (V.48:10).
This confirms two Hands for Allah, but there is no similarity for them. This is the belief of all true believers, and was the belief of all the Prophets of Allah, from Nooh, Ibrahim, Moosa and Eesa (a) till the last of the Prophets, Muhammad (s).
These three aspects of Tawheed are included in the meaning of Laa ilaaha illallaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah).
It is also essential to follow Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad (s) and it is a part of Tawheed al Uloohiyyah.
This is included in the meaning, ‘I testify that Muhammad (s) is Allah’s Messenger.’ and this means, ‘None has the right to be followed after Allah’s Book (the Qur’an), but Allah’s Messenger (s).’.
Allah says: ‘And whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)’ (V.59:7). And also Allah says: "Say [O Muhammad (s) to mankind], “If you (really) love Allah then follow me [i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’an ansdthe Sunnah (legal ways of Prophet (s)], Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins” (V. 3:31).
The Arabic word "Islam" means the submission or surrender of one's will to the only true god worthy of worship "Allah" and anyone who does so is termed a "Muslim", The word also implies "peace" which is the natural consequence of total submission to the will of Allah. Hence, it was not a new religion brought by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Arabia in the seventh century, but only the true religion of Allah re-expressed in its final form.Islam is the religion which was given to Adam, the first man and the first prophet of Allah, and it was the religion of all the prophets sent by Allah to mankind. The name of God's religion lslam was not decided upon by later generations of man. It was chosen by Allah Himself and clearly mentioned in His final revelation to man.
In the final book of divine revelation, the Qur'aan, Allah states the following: "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion". (Soorah Al-Maa'idah 5:3) "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah (God) never will It be accepted of Him" (Soorah Aal'imraan 3:85)"Abraham was not a Jew nor Christian; but an upright Muslim." (Soorah Aal'imraan 3:67)
Nowhere in the Bible will you find Allah saying to Prophet Moses' people or their descendants that their religion is Judaism, nor to the followers of Christ that their religion is Christianity. In fact, Christ was not even his name, nor was it Jesus! The name "Christ" comes from the Greek word Christos which means the annointed. That is, Christ is a Greek translation of the Hebrew title "Messiah". The name "Jesus" on the other hand, is a latinized version of the Hebrew name Esau.For simplicity's sake, I will however continue to refer to Prophet Esau (PBUH) as Jesus. As for his religion, it was what he called his followers to. Like the prophets before him, he called the people to surrender their will to the will of Allah; (which is Islam) and he warned them to stay away from the false gods of human imagination.According to the New Testament, he taught his followers to pray as follows: "Yours will be done on earth as it is in Heaven".
THE MESSAGE OF ISLAM
Since the total submission of one's will to Allah represents the essence of worship, the basic message of Allah's divine religion, Islam is the worship of Allah alone and the avoidance of worship directed to any person, place or thing other than Allah.Since everything other than Allah, the Creator of all things, is Allah's creation; it may be said that Islam, in essence calls man away from the worship of creation and invites him to worship only its Creator. He is the only one deserving man's worship as it is only by His will that prayers are answered. If man prays to a tree and his prayers are answered, it was not the tree which answered his prayers but Allah who allowed the circumstances prayed for to take place. One might say, "That is obvious," however, to tree-worshippers it might not be. Similarly, prayers to Jesus, Buddha, or Krishna, to Saint Christopher, or Saint Jude or even to Muhammad, are not answered by them but are answered by Allah. Jesus did nottell his followers to worship him but to worship Allah.
As the Qur'aan states: "And behold Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary Did you say to men, Worship me and my mother as gods besides Allah He will say-"Glory to you I could never say what I had no right (to say')" (Soorah Al-Maa'idah 116). Nor did he worship himself when he worshipped but rather he worshipped Allah. This basic principle is enshrined in the opening chapter of the Qur'aan, known asSoorah Al-Faatihah, verse 4: "You alone do we worship and from you alone do we seek help". Elsewhere, in the final book of revelation, the Qur'aan, Allah also said: "And your Lord says: "Call on Me and I will answer your(prayer)." (Soorah Mu'min 40:60) It is worth noting that the basic message of Islam is that Allah and His creation are distinctly different entities. Neither is Allah His creation or a part of it, nor is His creation Him or a part of Him.
This might seem obvious, but, man's worship of creation instead of the Creator is to a large degree based on ignorance of this concept. It is the belief that the essence of Allah is everywhere in His creation or that His divine being is or was present in some aspects of His creation, which has provided justification for the worship of creation though such worship maybecalled the worship of Allah through his creation. How ever, the message of Islam as brought by the prophets of Allah is to worship only Allah and to avoid the worship of his creation either directly or indirectly. In the Our'aan Allah clearlystates: "For We assuredly sent amongst every people a prophet,(with the command) worship meand avoid false gods " (Soorsh Al-Nahl 16:36).
When the idol worshipper is questioned as to why he or she bows down to idols created by men, the invariable reply is that they are not actually worshipping the stone image, but Allah who is present within it. They claim that the stone idol is only a focal point for Allah's essence and is not in itself Allah! One who has accepted the concept of the presence of God's being within His creation in any way will be obliged to accept this argument of idolatry. Whereas, one who understands the basic message of Islam and its implications would never concede to idolatry no matter how it is rationalized. Those who have claimed divinity for themselves down through the ages have often based their claims on the mistaken belief that Allah is present in man.
They merely had to assert that although Allah according to their false beliefs, is in all of us, He is more present in them than in the rest of us. Hence, they claim, we should submit our will to them and worship them as they are either God in person or God concentrated within the person. Similarly, those who have asserted the godhood of others after their passing have found fertile ground among those who accept the false belief of God's presence in man. One who has grasped the basic message of Islam and its implications could never agree to worship another human being under any circumstances. God's religion in essence is a clear call to the worship of the Creator and the rejection of creation-worship in any form. This is the meaning of the motto of Islam: "Laa Elaaha lllallaah" (There is no god but Allah) Its repetition automatically brings one within the fold of Islam and sincere belief in it guarantees one Paradise.Thus, the final Prophet of Islam (s) is reported to have said, "Any one who says: There is no god but Allah and dies holding that (belief) will enter paradise".(Reported by Abu Dharr and collected by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim). It consists in the submission to Allah as one God, yielding to Him by obeying His commandments, and the denial of polytheism and polytheists.
THE MESSAGE OF FALSE RELIGION
There are so many sects, cults, religions, philosophies, and movements in the world, all of which claim to be the right way or the only true path to Allah. How can one determine which one is correct or if, in fact, all are correct? The method by which the answer can be found is to clear away the superficial differences in the teachings of the various claimants to the ultimate truth, and identify the central object of worship to which they call, directly or indirectly. False religions all have in common one basic concept with regards to Allah. They either claim that all men are gods or that specific men were Allah or that nature is Allah or that Allah is a figment of man's imagination.
Thus, it may be stated that the basic message of false religion is that Allah may be worshipped in the form of His creation. False religion invites man to the worship of creation by calling the creation or some aspect of it God. For example, prophet Jesus invited his followers to worship Allah but those who claim to be his followers today call people to worship Jesus, claiming that he was Allah!Buddha was a reformer who introduced a number of humanistic principles to the religion of India. He did not claim to be God nor did he suggest to his followers that he be an object of worship. Yet, today most Buddhists who are to be found outside of India have taken him to be God and prostrate to idols made in their perception of his likeness.By using the principle of identifying the object of worship, false religion becomes very obvious and the contrived nature of their origin clear. As God said in the Qur'aan: "That which you worship besides Him are only names you and your forefathers have invented for which Allah has sent down no authority".
The command belongs only to Allah: "He has commanded that you only worship Him; that is the right religion, but most men do not understand ". (Soorah Yoosuf 12:40)It may be argued that all religions teach good things so why should it matter which one we follow. The reply is that all false religions teach the greatest evil, the worship of creation. Creation-worship is the greatest sin that man can commit because it contradicts the very purpose of his creation. Man was created to worship Allah alone as Allah has explicitly stated in the Qur'aan: "I have only created Jlnns and men, that they may worship me" (Soorah Zaareeyaat 51:56) Consequently, the worship of creation, which is the essence of idolatry, is the only unforgivable sin. One who dies in this state of idolatry has sealed his fate in the next life. This is not an opinion, but a revealed fact stated by Allah in his final revelation to man:"Verily Allah will not forgive the joining of partners with Him, but He may forgive (sins) less than that for whom so ever He wishes" (Soorah An- Nisaa 4:48 and 116).
THE UNIVERSALITY OF ISLAM
Since the consequences of false religion are so grave, the true religion of Allah must be universally understandable and attainable, not confined to any people, place or time. There can not be conditions like baptism, belief in a man, as a saviour etc., for a believer to enter paradise. Within the central principle of Islam and in its definition, (the surrender of one's will to God) lies the roots of lslam's universality. Whenever man comes to the realization that Allah is one and distinct from His creation, and submits himself to Allah, he becomes a Muslim in body and spirit and is eligible for paradise.
Thus, anyone at anytime in the most remote region of the world can become a Muslim, a follower of God's religion, Islam, by merely rejecting the worship of creation and by turning to Allah (God) alone-It should be noted however, that the recognition of and submission to Allah requires that one chooses between right and wrong and such a choice implies accountability. Man will be held responsible for his choices, and, as such, he should try his utmost to do good and avoid evil. The ultimate good being the worship of Allah alone and the ultimate evil being the worship of His creation along with or instead of Allah.
This fact is expressed in the final revelation as follows: "Verily those who believe, those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures), the Christians and the Sabians any who believe In Allah and the last day, and work righteousness hall have their reward with their Lord;They will not be overcome by fear nor grief" (Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:62)."If only they had stood by the law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There Is from among them a party on the right course; but many of them follow a course that Is evil." (Soorah Al-.Maa'idah 5:66).
RECOGNITION OF ALLAH
The question which arises here is, "How can all people be expected to believe in Allah given their varying- backgrounds, societies and cultures? For people to be responsible for worshipping Allah they all have to have access to knowledge of Allah. The final revelation teaches that all mankind have the recognition of Allah imprinted on their souls, a part of their very nature with which they are created.In Soorah Al-A'raaf, Verses 172-173; Allah explained that when He created Adam, He caused all of Adam's descendants to come into existence and took a pledge from them saying, Am I not your Lord? To which they all replied, " Yes, we testify to It:'
Allah then explained why He had all of mankind bear witness that He is their creator and only true God worthy of worship. He said, "That was In case you (mankind) should say on the day of Resurrection, "Verily we were unaware of all this." That is to say, we had no idea that You Allah, were our God. No one told us that we were only supposed to worship You alone. Allah went on to explain That it was also In case you should say, "Certainly It was our ancestors who made partners (With Allah) and we are only their descendants; will You then destroy us for what those liars did?" Thus, every child is born with a natural belief in Allah and an inborn inclination to worship Him alone called in Arabic the "Fitrah".If the child were left alone, he would worship Allah in his own way, but all children are affected by those things around them, seen or unseen.
The Prophet (s) reported that Allah said, "I created my servants in the right religion but devils made them go astray". The Prophet (s) also said, "Each child is born in a state of "Fitrah", then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian, the way an animal gives birth to a normal offspring. Have you noticed any that were born mutilated?" (Collected by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim). So, just as the child submits to the physical laws which Allah has put in nature, his soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allah is his Lord and Creator. But, his parents try to make him follow their own way and the child is not strong enough in the early stages of his life to resist or oppose the will of his parents. The religion which the child follows at this stage is one of custom and upbringing and Allah does not hold him to account or punish him for this religion.
Throughout people's lives from childhood until the time they die, signs are shown to them in all regions of the earth and in their own souls, until it becomes clear that there is only one true God (Allah). If the people are honest with themselves, reject their false gods and seek Allah, the way will be made easy for them but if they continually reject Allah's signs and continue to worship creation, the more difficult it will be for them to escape. For example, in the South Eastern region of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, South America, a primitive tribe erected a new hut to house their main idol Skwatch, representing the supreme God of all creation.
The homage to the God, and while he was in prostration to what he had been taught was his Creator and Sustainer, a mangy old flea-ridden dog walked into the hut, The young man looked up in time to see the dog lift its hind leg and pass urine on the idol. Outraged, the youth chased the dog out of the temple, but when his rage died down he realized that the idol could not be the Lordof the universe. Allah must be elsewhere. he now had a choice to act on his knowledge and seek Allah, or to dishonestly go along with the false beliefs of his tribe. As strange as it may seem, that was a sign from Allah for that young man. It contained within it divine guidance that what he was worshipping was false.
Prophets were sent, as was earlier mentioned, to every nation and tribe to support man's natural belief in Allah and man's inborn inclination to worship Him as well as to reinforce the divine truth in the daily signs revealed by Allah. Although, in most cases, much of the prophets' teachings became distorted, portions remained which point out right and wrong. For example, the ten commandments of the Torah, their confirmation in the Gospels and the existence of laws against murder, stealing and adultery in most societies. Consequently, every soul will be held to account for its belief in Allah and its acceptance of the religion of Islam; the total submission to the will of Allah.We pray to Allah, the exalted, to keep us on the right path to which He has guided us, and to bestow on us a blessing from Him, He is indeed the Most Merciful. Praise and gratitude be to Allah,the Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be on prophet Muhammed, his Family, his companions, and those who rightly follow them.