– Freelance Writer – USA
As stated previously (in Part 1), human beings have more tendencies to do evil than good; this includes setting up rivals with their own Creator. They commit crimes against humanity, including themselves and many make no distinction between lawful and unlawful acts when it comes to satisfying their own desires. So, where would they turn to for guidance, except to the one who created them and knows their vices, good and evil tendencies?
So, worshiping God is not an act that He Himself needs, but one that humans need in order to stay on the straight path. This is only if they acknowledge that there is a Creator, there are rules to follow and there are rewards and punishments in this world and the Hereafter.
Therefore, any act that is in accordance to God’s commands is an act of worship and any act to the contrary is following one’s own ideas and desires as well as being influenced by the whispers of Satan. If one does not believe in Satan, then he may fall into the category of the unsure about the existence of God. The Creator of mankind has clearly stated the position Satan takes in misguiding mankind and has clearly explained his origin in heaven, his expulsion from there and his avowing to misguide mankind. Thus the just God sent prophets throughout ages to warn against Satan and guide mankind to the straight path.
God’s asking us to worship Him is merely meaning to stay on the straight path so that we would succeed in this life and the Hereafter.
There are those who would mention that many people who followed no religion, yet they were good-doers, charitable, did much humanitarian services and gave much and toiled much for the good of mankind. Yet, they did not follow any religion or even believed in God. It would be impossible that they would go to Hell.
The answer to that is also easy. If anyone believes in God and does not associate any partners with him, then they have their reward not only in this world, but in the Hereafter as well.
So whoever does righteous good deeds while he is a believer (in the Oneness of Allah), his efforts will not be rejected. Verily! We record it in his Book of deeds. (Al-Anbiya’ 21: 94)
But those who do not believe in God, yet do good deeds, they are rewarded in this world, in terms of honor and respect they receive from their fellow human beings and rewarded by God, but they will have no portion of the reward in the Hereafter because they rejected or ignored the very essence of divine attribute, which is His existence and His unity.
Also, throughout ages, there have been many good doers with outstanding achievements for humanity, but their moral conduct was not according to that which was set by God. For example, a benevolent kind of person meets a person of opposite sex and engages in sexual activities with such person in the most loving manner. Yet, God ordered humanity, saying: You shall not commit adultery or fornication. This person may have offered millions for good causes, but by the virtue of doing prohibited acts, he may have cancelled any reward for his good deeds.
This person may also engage in drinking, parties, casual drug use and some perverted actions while he/she has a very good heart and good intention and maintains a charitable nature. If God does not exist in his consciousness, all he is getting for his good deeds is some recognition from people and perhaps some reward from God, but surely, he would face his sinful acts in the Day of Judgment and none of his good deeds would intercede for his doom to Hell.
God makes clear the fate of the wrong doers and their being distinct from the believers. It is crucial to realize that in order for a deed to be accepted, it has to meet the standard God has set for humanity. God says:
Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in this world (i.e. they will keep on worshiping Allah Alone and none else), and in the Hereafter. And Allah will cause the wrongdoers to stray, and Allah does as He wills. (Ibrahim 14: 27)
Not only believing, but doing righteous deeds prescribed by God, go hand in hand and are required for full reward.
Whoever works righteousness – whether male or female – while being a true believer verily, to him We will give a good life, and We shall certainly reward them in proportion to the best of what they used to do. (An-Nahl 16: 97)
There are also Muslims who are good doers, but have turned away from their religion. God warns:
…and whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever. (Al-Baqarah 2: 217)
It is interesting to note that some of these Muslims who had no foundation in the religion, simply fell into the plot of western mass media in tarnishing the image of Muslims and use same propagandas to justify their own dismay with Islam.
So many are in haste to point out acts of terrorism, suicide bombings and attack on civilians as a means to show that the religion of Islam is violent and controlling. Same person when asked: “Did you ever think about how many millions of Muslims have been mercilessly slaughtered in unjust wars; villages razed to the ground killing most its inhabitants, mainly women and children, by drone attacks; people forced out of their home and lands in the most inhumane ways and at the same time, the silence of the so called democratic nations, as the world watches these acts of terror committed against these humans?”. They would have no answer. They don’t take the time to reflect that terrorism was cultivated through violent acts of war and genocides against nations. Yet they are hasty to condemn Islam and Muslim for what they see as acts of injustice.
It is crucial to emphasize the importance of correct knowledge of the religion, followed by action engulfed by strong faith. All of these elements are necessary for a true seeker to achieve success in this world and the Hereafter.
The newcomer to the religion may think that they are just beginning to gain knowledge and their faith and actions have some ways to go. They are correct in this thought. But, the first step is the desire to know the truth, followed by gaining knowledge; putting knowledge to work by acting upon it; and finally developing faith by stages.
Desire is the driving force for forward movement. As the person advances in this life’s journey, love, fear and hope in the Creator are developed which are important elements of building faith. Action and faith intermingle as the knowledge increases and, at some stage, the believer is unaware of what comes before the other. The person’s entire being would be immersed in the light of belief, joy, obedience and ecstasy—the kind that does not involve drugs, but pure faith.
So, why is this so easy for a believer to achieve and such a burden for the doubtful mind? The answer is not too difficult to guess. For the doubtful, blame the religion to justify wrong actions.
For example, adult kids are hasty to condemn religion as well as their parents for restrictions that are/were put on them. They love freedom. Once they leave the parents’ supervision, in most cases, they take their freedom into their own hands. One may see horrendous consequences of such actions. Yes, such individuals would hardly acknowledge that the restrictions would have saved them much of lost time, decency, integrity and honor. Such elements are no longer important as the faculty of judgment has turned from following God’s laws to one’s own desires and whims. Grieving parents can live only with hope of change in their kids’ outlook in life and their return to their Creator as well as their realization of their need for the one who gave them life and all that they possess.
Some such adults would claim that their so called new life includes many activities that are prohibited in the religion and the two would not mix. If the desire to return to God is not there, there would be no reason to give up their fun activities. No motivation = no return to religion = possible blame on religion to justify their lifestyle. This includes adults of any age as well.
For the reluctant mind, no reason will work to bring him back to the religion. Yet, deep inside, every human knows their own wrong actions. To cover it up, there must be someone or something to blame. Better yet, why not blame religion? There is certainly plenty of evidence to justify this claim for the one who needs it.
A wise person however, would realize that no blame on anyone, anything or any system will avail him on the Day of Judgment against God’s decree.
God says in the Qur’an what can be translated as:
Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his own self. And whoever goes astray, then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden… (Al-Isra’ 17: 15)
God also says:
Whosoever does righteous good deed it is for (the benefit of) his own self, and whosoever does evil, it is against his own self, and your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) slaves. (Fussilat 41: 46)
He also says:
And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden, and if one heavily laden calls another to (bear) his load, nothing of it will be lifted even though he be near of kin… (Fatir 35: 18),
Would anyone with a fair sense of judgment deny the justice of God? Would blaming of any kind avail the person from facing his own reckoning in the Hereafter? Of course NOT! The responsibility of any person is exclusively his, since he has free will, choice and sanity, he is able to distinguish between good and evil.
Only it is by realizing this mind-awakening thought can a human being begin to take responsibility for his morality, conduct and belief – not according to his whims, but according to the divine wisdom and decree.
Such awareness brings about the feeling of accountability before God and keeps him from false hope by putting his trust in others to help him. He would realize the warning of God,
So today (Day of Judgment) none of you can profit or harm one another. (Saba’ 34: 42)
And also the number of negligent and carefree people will not reduce the burden of his responsibility, so it is not a valid excuse for one to join them in this life.
A person with even a weak faith, would tremble, if he really pondered upon these warnings from the Creator of mankind and the universe.
God says, what can be translated as:
And everyone of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection (without any helper, or protector or defender). (Maryam 19: 95)
So, those individuals who avoid the advice of parents and sincere friends to return to God and the religion should realize that this chance of getting help or listening to advice is only available in this world. There will be a day when a soul which has a heavy load of sins would look for a close person to help, but it will be turned down. God says:
…No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. Then unto your Lord is your return… (Al-An`am 6: 164)
He also says:
O mankind! Be afraid of your Lord (by keeping your duty to Him and avoiding all evil), and fear a Day when no father can avail aught for his son, or a son avail aught for his father. Verily, the Promise of Allah is true, let not then this (worldly) present life deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah. (Luqman 31: 33)
Neither your relatives nor your children will benefit you on the Day of Resurrection (against Allah). He will judge between you. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do. (Al-Mumtahanah 60: 3)
In that great day everyone is busy to save himself without paying attention to anybody else; as what God says in the Qur’an, what can be translated as:
(Remember) the Day when every person will come up pleading for himself, and everyone will be paid in full for what he did and they will not be dealt with unjustly. (An-Nahl 16: 111)
A sincere truth seeker would think twice to justify ungodly actions when he realizes that not one will avail him in “the horrifying” day. He would look at those whom he befriends and develop close relationship with. Will they save him on that Day?
Though they shall be made to see one another, the Mujrim (Criminal, Sinner) would desire to ransom himself from the punishment of that Day by his children. And his wife and his brother, And his kindred who sheltered him, And all that are in the earth, so that it might save him. By no means! Verily, it will be the Fire of Hell!… (Al-Ma`arij 70: 11-5),
Hopefully, it may be clear by now that religion has a purpose and that is to guide and warn people to the correct way, so as to not face the severe punishment on the Day of Judgment and instead enter the ever-lasing paradise. Individual responsibility is the key to such success and no blame on others will avail the skeptic. He is given free choice and he would choose as per his own freewill.
So, dear reader take heed about your judgment, thoughts, decisions and the path you take, as God swears in the Qur’an what can be translated as:
Nay, and by the moon, And by the night when it withdraws, And by the dawn when it brightens, Verily, it is but one of the greatest calamities. A warning to mankind, To any of you that chooses to go forward (by doing righteous deeds), or to remain behind (by committing sins), Every person is beheld (accountable) on his own deeds. (Al-Mudathir 74: 32-8)
Courtesy www.onislam.net with slight modifications.
Raya Shokatfard has been a journalist, Islamic lecturer, propagator and consular in US and Egypt for many years and former Editor in Chief for Reading Islam Website. She holds M.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication and an M.S.D. in TV Journalism. Islamic documentary production has been her latest interest. She can be reached at: [email protected]