Following God and freedom
The axis of the prophets’ call is to obey and worship God and not follow the taghut. God says:
(وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ…)
“Certainly We raised an apostle in every nation [to preach:] ‘Worship Allah, and keep away from the Rebel’…”1
Given this, it cannot be accepted that Islam is based on non-obedience to others including God. Essentially, any religion that calls upon us to disobey God is false. As indicated earlier, the essence of the prophets’ call is absolute obedience to God from whom entire creation emanates and who is the Beginning, the End and Real Master—
“Indeed we belong to Allah, and to Him do we indeed return.”2
Now, once we recognize God as the Real Master of the universe and ourselves, how can it be accepted that He has no right to give orders and issue decrees to us? Is ownership other than that the owner can use his property in whatever way he likes? Therefore, it is inadmissible to claim that we have accepted Islam yet we have not subjected ourselves to the bond of servitude to God; for, absolute freedom is condemned by both religion and the intellect. Islam and religion are proclaimers of freedom. This is freedom from worship, and obedience of the taghuts and other than God, and not a deliverance from obedience to God. Man is created free and autonomous but he is legislatively and legally bound to follow God. He has the right to freely choose to obey or disobey God. Essentially, in the world of creation the seal of servitude is put on every phenomenon. Intrinsically, no creature exists without the mark of servitude to God:
(تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ وَإِن مِن شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدَهِ وَلَـكِن لا تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ…)
“The seven heavens glorify Him, and the earth [too], and whatever is in them. There is not a thing but celebrates His praise, but you do not understand their glorification.”3
In connection with the servitude and worship of creatures, God also says:
(أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالطَّيْرُ صَافَّاتٍ كُلٌّ قَدْ عَلِمَ صَلَاتَهُ وَتَسْبِيحَهُ…)
“Have you not regarded that Allah is glorified by everyone in the heavens and the earth, and the birds spreading their wings. Each knows his prayer and glorification.”4
Yet, due to the possession of reason and intellect, man has been created free and autonomous. God, the Exalted, has shown him the way to guidance or misguidance, but he is free in choosing his way. Almighty Allah says:
(إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا)
“Indeed We have guided him to the way, be he grateful or ungrateful.”5
He has to take into account the purpose and philosophy of his creation and know that he has to engage in servitude and submission to God. The legislative law of God does not permit him to move along the path of obedience to Satan and other than God. Man has to worship God and perform his duties to Him because God has created him for such a purpose:
( وَ ما خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَ الإِْنْسَ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُونِ )
“I did not create the jinn and humans except that they may worship Me.”6
Now, since worship of God is harmonious with the system of creation, discharging of divine duties, acting upon one’s obligation and responsibility toward Him and being thankful to the All-merciful Creator who gives us life and endows us out of His grace and favor with wellbeing and innumerable blessings is necessary—just as God says in the tongue of Hadrat Ibrahim (Abraham) (‘a):
( الَّذِي خَلَقَنِي فَهُوَ يَهْدِينِ. وَ الَّذِي هُوَ يُطْعِمُنِي وَ يَسْقِينِ. وَ إِذا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ. وَ الَّذِي يُمِيتُنِي ثُمَّ يُحْيِينِ )
“(It is God) who created me, and it is He who guides me, and provides me with food and drink, and when I get sick, it is He who cures me; who will make me die, then He will bring me to life”7
How can we afford to refuse to follow Him. Is it fair and righteous for us to say that modern man does not believe in duty and obedience and is only interested in his rights? Does Islam accept this logic? Undoubtedly, such thinking is devoid of rationality and far from humanity, let alone having an Islamic basis.
Muhammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi Written by
Mansoor L. Limba Translated by
- Surah an-Nahl 16:36.
- Surah al-Baqarah 2:156.
- Surah al-Isra’ (or Bani Isra’il) 17:44.
- Surah an-Nur 24:41.
- Surah al-Insan (or, ad-Dahr) 76:3.
- Surah adh-Dhariyat 51:56.
- Surah ash-Shu‘ara’ 26:78-81.