WHY DID ALLAH SWT CREATE MANKIND?
From the perspective of humankind, the question “Why did God create man?” implies “For what purpose was man created?” In the final revelation (the Quran), this question is answered without any ambiguity. Humans are first informed by God that every human being is born with an innate consciousness of God. In the Qur’an, Allah said: “[Remember] when your Lord extracted from the loins of Adam’s children their descendants and made them testify [saying]: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes, we testify to it.’ [This was] in case you say on the Day of Judgment: ‘We were unaware of this.’ Or you say: ‘It was our ancestors who worshipped others besides God and we are only their descendants. Will you then destroy us for what those liars did?’ “1
The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained that when Allah created Adam, He took from him a covenant at a place called Na’maan on the 9th day2 of the 12th month. He then extracted from Adam all of his descendants who would be born until the end of the world, generation after generation, and spread them out before Him to take a covenant from them also. He spoke to them, face to face, making them bear witness that He was their Lord.3 Consequently, every human being is responsible for belief in God, which is imprinted on each and every soul. It is based on this inborn belief that Allah defined the purpose of mankind’s creation in Qur’an: “I have created the jinn4 and humankind only for My worship.”5
Thus, the essential purpose for which humankind was created is the worship of God. However, the Almighty is not in need of human worship. He did not create human beings out of a need on His part. If not a single human worshipped God, it would not diminish His glory in any way, and if all of humankind worshipped Him, it would not increase His glory in any way. God is perfect. He alone exists without any needs. All created beings have needs. Consequently, it is humankind that needs to worship God.
The Meaning of Worship
To understand why human beings need to worship God, one must first understand what is meant by the term ‘worship.’ The English term ‘worship’ comes from the Old English weorthscipe meaning ‘honor.’ Consequently, worship in the English language is defined as ‘the performance of devotional acts in honor of a deity.’6 According to this meaning, man is instructed to show gratitude to God by glorifying Him. In the Qur’an, Allah says: “Glorify the praises of your Lord.”7
In glorifying God, man chooses to be in harmony with the rest of creation which naturally glorifies its Creator. Allah addresses this phenomenon in many chapters of the Qur’an. For example, in the Qur’an, Allah states: “The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them glorify Him and there is nothing which does not glorify His praise.8 However, you do not understand their glorification.”9
However, in Arabic, the language of the final revelation, worship is called ‘ibaadah, which is closely related to the noun ‘abd, meaning ‘a slave.’ A slave is one who is expected to do whatever his master wills. Consequently, worship, according to the final revelation, means ‘obedient submission to the will of God.’ This was the essence of the message of all the prophets sent by God to mankind. For example, this understanding of worship was emphatically expressed by Prophet Jesus (the Messiah or Jesus Christ), “None of those who call me ‘Lord’ will enter the kingdom of God, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”10 It should be noted that ‘will’ in this quote means ‘what God wants human beings to do’ and not ‘what God permits humans to do,’ because nothing happens in creation without the will (permission) of God. The ‘Will of God’ is contained in the divinely revealed laws which the prophets taught their followers. Consequently, obedience to divine law is the foundation of worship. In this sense, glorification also becomes worship when humans choose to obey God’s instructions regarding His glorification.
The Need for Worship
Why do human beings need to worship and glorify God by obeying the divinely revealed laws? Because obedience to divine law is the key to success in this life and the next. The first human beings, Adam and Eve, were created in paradise and later expelled from paradise for disobeying the divine law. The only way for human beings to return to paradise is by obedience to the law. Prophet Jesus, was reported in the Gospel according to Matthew to have made obedience to the divine laws the key to paradise: Now behold, one came and said to him, “Good teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So he said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”11 Also Prophet Jesus was reported to have insisted on strict obedience to the commandments, saying, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”12
Divine laws represent guidance for humankind in all walks of life. They define right and wrong for them and offer human beings a complete system governing all of their affairs. The Creator alone knows best what is beneficial for His creation and what is not. The divine laws command and prohibit various acts and substances to protect the human spirit, the human body and human society from harm. In order for human beings to fulfill their potential by living righteous lives, they need to worship God through obedience to His commandments.
Remembrance of God
All of the various acts of worship contained in the divine laws are designed to help humans remember God. It is natural for human beings to sometimes forget even the most important things. Humans often become so engrossed in fulfilling their material needs that they totally forget their spiritual needs. Regular prayer is ordained to organize the day of the true believer around the remembrance of God. It interweaves spiritual needs with material needs on a daily basis. The regular daily need to eat, work and sleep is linked to the daily need to renew man’s connection with God. With regard to regular prayer, Allah states in the final revelation, “Verily, I am Allah, there is no god beside Me, so worship Me and establish regular prayer for My remembrance.”13
Regarding fasting, Allah stated in the Qur’an, “O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you may become God-conscious.”14
The believers are encouraged to remember God as much as possible. Although, moderation in all spheres of life, whether material or spiritual, is generally encouraged in divine law, an exception is made regarding the remembrance of Allah. It is virtually impossible to remember God too much. Consequently, in the final revelation, Allah encourages the believers to remember Him as often as possible: “O believers! Remember Allah often.”15
Remembrance of God is stressed because sin is generally committed when God is forgotten. The forces of evil operate most freely when consciousness of God is lost. Consequently, the satanic forces seek to occupy people’s minds with irrelevant thoughts and desires to make them forget God. Once God is forgotten, people willingly join the corrupt elements. The final revelation, addresses this phenomenon in as follows: “Satan got the better of them and caused them to forget Allah. Those are the party of Satan. Truly the party of Satan are the real losers.”16
God, through Divine law, has prohibited intoxicants and gambling primarily because they cause human beings to forget God. The human mind and body easily become addicted to drugs and games of chance. Once addicted, mankind’s desire to continually be stimulated by them leads them into all forms of corruption and violence among themselves. God says in the Qur’an: “Satan’s plan is to incite enmity and hatred among you with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and regular prayer. Will you not then abstain?”17
Consequently, humankind need to remember God for their own salvation and growth. All humans have times of weakness in which they commit sins. If they have no means of remembering God, they sink deeper and deeper into corruption with every sin. However, those who follow the divine laws will be constantly reminded of God, which will give them a chance to repent and correct themselves. The final revelation accurately describes this process: “Those who, having done something shameful or having wronged their own souls, remember Allah and immediately ask forgiveness for their sins…”18
The Religion of Islaam
The most complete system of worship available to human beings today is the system found in the religion of Islam. The very name ‘Islam’ means ‘submission to the will of God.’ Although it is commonly referred to as ‘the third of the three monotheistic faiths,’ it is not a new religion at all. It is the religion brought by all of the prophets of God for mankind. Islam was the religion of Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. God addresses this issue in the Qur’an with regard to Prophet Abraham, saying: “Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was an upright Muslim who did not worship others besides God.”19
Since there is only One God, and humankind are one species, the religion which God has ordained for human beings is one. He did not prescribe one religion for the Jews, another for Indians, yet another for Europeans, etc. Human spiritual and social needs are uniform, and human nature has not changed since the first man and woman were created. Consequently, no other religion is acceptable to God besides Islam, as He clearly states in the final revelation: “Surely Allah’s religion is Islam.”20
“And whoever desires a religion besides Islaam will not have it accepted, and he will be among the losers in the hereafter.”21
Every Act Is Worship
In the Islamic system, each and every human act can be transformed into an act of worship. In fact, God commands the believers to dedicate their whole lives to Him. In the Qur’an, Allah says: “Say: ‘Surely my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.’ “22
However, for that dedication to be acceptable to Allah, each act must fulfill two basic conditions:
1- First, the act must be done sincerely for the pleasure of God and not for the recognition and praise of human beings. The believer also has to be conscious of God while doing the deed to insure that it is not something forbidden by Allah or the last Messenger (peace be upon him).
In order to facilitate this transformation of mundane deeds into worship, Allah instructed the last Prophet (peace be upon him) to prescribe short prayers to be said before even the simplest of acts. The shortest prayer which may be used for any circum-stance is: bismillaah (In the name of Allah). There are, however, many other prayers prescribed for specific occasions. For example, whenever a new piece of clothing is worn, the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught his followers to say: “O Allah, thanks is due to You, for it is You who has clothed me. I ask You for its benefit and the benefit for which it was made, and seek refuge in You from its evil and the evil for which it was made.”23
2- The second condition is that the act be done in accordance with the prophetic way, called in Arabic the Sunnah. All of the prophets instructed their followers to follow their way because they were guided by God. What they taught were divinely revealed truths, and only those who followed their way and accepted the truths would inherit eternal life in paradise. It is in this context that Prophet Jesus, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, was reported in the Gospel according to John 14:6, as saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Similarly, ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood related that one day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) drew a line in the dust for them and said, “This is Allah’s path.” He then drew several lines [branching off] to the right and to the left and said, “These are the paths [of misguidance] on each of which is a devil inviting people to follow it.” He then recited the verse: “Verily, this is my path, leading straight, so follow it. And do not follow the [other] paths for they will scatter you about from Allah’s path. That is His command to you in order that you may be conscious of Allah.24″25
Thus, the only acceptable way to worship God is according to the way of the prophets. That being the case, innovation in religious affairs would be considered by God among the worst of all evils. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was reported to have said, “The worst of all affairs is innovation in religion, for every religious innovation is a cursed, misleading innovation leading to the hellfire.”26 Innovation in the religion is forbidden and unacceptable to God. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was also reported by his wife, ‘Aa’ishah, to have said, “He who innovates something in this matter of ours, that is not of it, will have it rejected.”27
It is fundamentally due to innovations that the messages of the earlier prophets were distorted and the many false religions in existence today evolved. The general rule to follow in order to avoid innovation in religion is that all forms of worship are prohibited, except those which have been specifically prescribed by God and conveyed to humans by the true messengers of God.
The Best of Creation
Those who believe in One Unique God, without partners or offspring, and do righteous deeds [according to the above-mentioned principles] become the crown of creation. That is, although humankind is not the greatest creation of Allah, they have the potential to become the best of His creation. In the final revelation, Allah states this fact as follows: “Surely, those who believe and do righteous deeds are the best of creation.”28
The Gravest Sin
To contradict the purpose of one’s creation is then the greatest evil that a human being can commit. ‘Abdullaah reported that he asked Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) which sin is the gravest in Allah’s sight and he replied, “To give Allah a partner, even though He created you.”29 Worshipping others besides God, called shirk in Arabic, is the only unforgivable sin. If a human being dies without repenting from his or her sins, Allah may forgive all their sins except shirk. In this regard, God stated: “Surely Allah will not forgive the worship of others besides Him, but He forgives sins less than that to whomever He wishes.”30
Worshipping others besides God essentially involves giving the attributes of the Creator to His creation. Each sect or religion does this in their own particular way. A small but very vocal group of people down through the ages have actually denied God’s existence.31 To justify their rejection of the Creator, they were obliged to make the illogical claim that this world has no beginning. Their claim is illogical because all of the observable parts of the world have beginnings in time, therefore it is only reasonable to expect the sum of the parts to also have a beginning. It is also only logical to assume that whatever caused the world to come into existence could not have been a part of the world nor could it have a beginning like the world. The atheist assertion that the world has no beginning means that the matter which makes up the universe is eternal. This is a statement of shirk, whereby God’s attribute of being without beginning is given to His creation. The numbers of genuine atheists have historically always been quite small because, in spite of their claims, they instinctively know that God does exist. That is, in spite of decades of communist indoctrination, the majority of Russians and Chinese continued to believe in God. The Al-mighty Creator pointed out this phenomenon, saying: “And they denied [the signs] wrongfully and arrogantly, though within themselves they were convinced of them.”32
To atheists and materialists, life has no purpose beyond the fulfillment of their desires. Consequently, their desires also become the god which they obey and submit to instead of the One True God. In the Qur’an, Allah said: “Have you seen the one who takes his desires as his god?”33
Christians gave Prophet Jesus Christ the attributes of the Creator by first making him co-eternal with God,34 then by making him a personality of God whom they titled ‘God the Son.’ Hindus, on the other hand, believe that God has become man in many ages, by incarnations called avatars, and then they divided God’s attributes between three gods, Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer.
Love of God
Shirk also occurs when human beings love, trust or fear the creation more than Allah. In the last revelation, God said: “There are among men those who worship others besides Allah as equals to Him. They love them as only Allah should be loved. But those who believe have a stronger love for Allah.”35
When these and other similar emotions are directed more strongly to the creation, they cause human beings to disobey God in a effort to please other humans. However, only Allah deserves a complete human emotional commitment, for it is He alone who should be loved and feared over all creation. Anas ibn Maalik narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever possesses [the following] three characteristics has tasted the sweetness of faith: he who loves Allah and His Messenger above all else; he who loves another human being for Allah’s sake alone; and he who hates to return to disbelief after Allah has rescued him as he hates to be thrown into a fire.”36
INTERMEDIATION BETWEEN ALLAH AND THE CREATION
By Shaykh: Muhammad Bin Jameel Zainoo
The subject of intermediation between Allaah and the creation is an extremely important one. Unfortunately, many of the Muslims are ignorant of it. A result of this is that we have forbidden ourselves the help of Allaah and being strengthened by Him, something which He promised us, should we seek refuge in Him (alone) and follow his command.
Allaah the Exalted said: And it is a duty upon Us to help the Believers [Rum 30:47]
If you aid Allaah He will aid you and establish your feet firmly (upon the earth) [Muhammad 47:7]
And to Allaah, His Messenger and the Believers belongs the Honour [Munaafiqoon 63:8]
Mankind can be divided into three groups in terms of their understanding of how intermediation exists between Allaah and His creation.
THE FIRST: Those who reject that Allaah sent the Messenger (sas) as an intermediary to teach the Sharee’ah (Allaah’s right to be worshipped alone, His commands and prohibitions and all the ways and means Allaah has legislated to help mankind achieve their purpose on this earth) and claim that this Sharee’ah is for the common people, naming it the External Knowledge. They depend upon opinions and dotings for their form of worship and have given it the name Internal Knowledge. They also call it Kashf (sudden enlightenment). In reality however, these are nothing but whisperings of Shaytaan and the satanic means and ways which are in opposition to the simplest pillar of Islaam! Their well known saying in this regard is: My heart informed me about my Lord.
They ridicule the scholars of the Sharee’ah and criticise them because they claim they take their knowledge ‘from the dead’. As for themselves, they claim to take their knowledge (directly) with good tidings (i.e. they receive revelation) from the Ever-Living and Self-Sustaining. As a result of this they have put many to trial and have led them astray. They commit such actions which are in complete opposition to the Sharee’ah and which are can be found in their books, that the scholars have declared them to be disbelievers and also declared their blood to be lawful due to their apostasy; being ignorant or feigning ignorance of the first pillar principle of the Sharee’ah which is that whoever worships Allaah by something other than what was revealed to Muhammad is a Kaafir without a doubt, due to the saying of Allaah the Exalted:
But no by your Lord! They do not believe until they make you judge in all their disputes and then find no resistance in their souls to what you decide and offer their fullest submission [Nisaa 4:65]
As such, Shaytaan has made their actions alluring to them by corrupting their knowledge and extinguishing its light. As a result they travel in darkness upon darkness and resort to their desires and imaginations worshipping Allaah by them. They are those whom Allaah has described in the Qur’aan: Say: Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works? They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter): Vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any weight. [Kahf 18:103-105]
This group has also been divided into a number of factions each of them disagreeing and fighting with another due to their being far from the Straight Path, the Path of those whom Allaah has favored, not of those upon whom is His anger nor of those who go astray. All of these groups are in the Fire like the Messenger (sas) mentioned: Ummah will split into 73 groups Seventy two will be in the Fire and one in Paradise: (the one) which is upon what I and my companions are upon. Reported by Abu Daawood, Tirmidhee and Nasaa’ee with an authentic chain of narration from Abu Hurai¨thesalafi
THE SECOND: Then there are others who exaggerate in this intermediation. This particular understanding is one of error. They have made it carry a meaning which, in reality, it does not. They have taken the physical essence of the Messenger (sas) and others from among the prophets and righteous as intermediaries believing that Allaah the Exalted will not accept any action from His servants unless they approach Him through these intermediaries. Exalted is Allaah from what they say. They have described Allaah – and refuge is sought from Allaah – with something He refuses to be described with. It is the oppressive kings of this world who place barriers at their own doors so that none can enter (and converse with them or request from them) except he who has some sort of intermediary between himself and the king.
Where is this belief in the speech of Allaah: When My servants ask You concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way [Baqarah 2:186]
This noble verse indicates that the one and only intermediary for coming closer to Allaah the Exalted is correct and true Eemaan in Him, then worshipping Him by what He has commanded. This verse has placed the righteous action as being above Eemaan so as to make mankind aware of the significance of correct and righteous action and that it is a necessary condition for attaining success with Allaah’s happiness and entering into His Paradise.
Allaah the Exalted has mentioned Waseelah (the means of getting closer to Him) in the Quran intending by it acts of obedience. This is the one intermediary which will bring you closer to Him, open up for you the doors of His Mercy and enter you into His Paradise.
O you who believe! Fear Allaah and seek the means of approach to Him and strive in His path in order that you may succeed [Maa’ida 5:35]
Allaah has mocked the unmindful ignorants who have taken the righteous servants of Allaah as intermediaries while these servants themselves are in need of the means of approach to Allaah. This the obedience which will bring them closer to Allaah. There is no other path for attaining closeness to Him besides it just like Allaah the Exalted has mentioned: Those whom they call upon do desire (for themselves) means of access to their Lord, – even those who are nearest: they hope for His Mercy and fear His Wrath: for the Wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of. [Israa 17:57]
It is sad that out of neglecting the correct and righteous actions and committing sins, these unmindful people have been enticed into depending upon such intermediaries. This is what has caused the failure of those Muslims who have forgotten or affected ignorance of the speech of Allaah to His Messenger (sas) who is the leader of all the sons of Aadam: Say: I have no control of benefit or harm over myself [A’raaf 7:188]
and also the saying of the Messenger (sas) to his daughter, the myrtle of his heart: “O Faatimah!… I can avail you nothing from Allaah.” and his (sas) saying: “When a man dies his actions cease except for three: recurring charity, knowledge which he imparted and a son which supplicates for him.”
If there had not been in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah proof of the impermissibility of seeking nearness to Allaah through the prophets and the righteous except that of Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab when he requested his uncle, Al-‘Abbaas, to supplicate for the Muslims and abandoned Tawassul through the Messenger (sas), it would be enough as a refutation against this group. How excellent is what Imaam Abu Haneefah said (rh): And I detest that Allaah should be asked (for something) except by Allaah (i.e. directly) is as occurs in Durr ul-Mukhtaar and other books of the Hanafees.
THE THIRD: Amongst the Muslims are those who understand intermediation between Allaah and His creation to be the Messengership, which consists of knowledge, education and training. They have comprehended its great importance and the extent of mankind’s need for it. So they hurry towards the Messenger (sas) taking him as the greatest intermediary and means of approach for obtaining the Sharee’ah and seeking light (i.e. guidance) with the light of revelation. They study, together, the Messenger’ Seerah and his Sunnah just as they study the Qur’aan, their motto being the call of Allaah the Exalted: There hath come to you from Allaah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book,- by which Allaah guides all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leadeth them out of darkness, by His will, unto the light,- guideth them to a path that is straight. [Maaidah 5:17-18]
This group is the saved one which has been mentioned in the previous hadeeth and which has been given the glad tidings of Paradise.
It is unfortunate that the way of this group is full of harm. This is because the correct form of Islaam has become strange and the majority of Muslims have become distant from it and have turned to innovations and opinions.
The Messenger (sas) has informed us that the correct Deen is like a stranger to the people when he said: Indeed Islaam began as a stranger and shall return as a stranger just as it began, so Toobaa (a tree in Paradise) for the strangers. [Reported by Muslim from Abu Hurairah]. And in the narration of Imaam Ahmad and Ibn Maajah: It was then said: O Messenger of Allaah, who are the strangers? He replied: Those looked down upon in every tribe. And in the narration of Tirmidhee: So Toobaa for the strangers, those who rectify what the people have corrupted of my Sunnah. And also in the authentic narration of Imaam Ahmad the Messenger (sas) after being questioned as to who the strangers were, said: Righteous people amidst a majority of evil people. Those who disobey them are greater than those who obey them.
This group strives for the ways of correction and reform and carries the torch of revival so that the Muslims awaken and return to the correct form of Islaam. Let us say to those who turn away, to their own ruin, what Allaah has said to their equals: “No reason have we why we should not put our trust on Allaah. Indeed He Has guided us to the Ways we (follow). We shall certainly bear with patience all the hurt you may cause us. For those who put their trust should put their trust on Allaah” [Ibraaheem 14:12]
1. Ibn al-Qayyim said: He (Shaikhul Islam) said: And as for what many of the people of imaginations and foolishness say: Haddathanee qalbi an Rabbi (My heart informed me of my Lord) then it is correct that his heart informed him. However from whom? His Shaytaan or from His Lord? When he says: My heart informed me about my Lord he is ascribing this informing to someone about whom he does not know whether he actually informed him or not. And this is a lie. He said (Shaikhul- Islam): And the muhaddath of this Ummah (i.e. Umar ibn Al-Khattab) [referring to the hadeeth in Bukhaaree: Indeed in the nations before you there were muhaddathoon (people who were spoken to) and if there was one in this Ummah it would be Umar Ibn al-Khattab] never used to say this and this saying [my heart informed me of my Lord] was never uttered by him on a single day. Allaah protected him from saying that. In fact his scribe wrote one day: This is what Allaah showed to the Ameer ul-Mumineen, Umar ibn al-Khattab. So he (Umar said: No, erase it and write: This is what Umar ibn al-Khattab saw. If it is correct it is from Allaah and if it is wrong then it is from Umar and Allaah and His Messenger are free from it. And he said: I speak about it with my opinion. If it is correct it is from Allaah and if it is wrong it is from me and Shaytaan. So this the saying of al-Muhaddath (i.e. Umar) who has the testification of the Messenger (sas) and you will see the Ittihaadi (believing in the Divine Union) and the Hulooli (believing in the inclusion of Allaah in His creation or parts of His creation) and the licentious unrestrained strayer giving rise to forgery saying: My heart has informed me about My Lord.
So look at these two sayings (that of Umar and that of those claiming to receive knowledge of Allaah direct, from their hearts) and these two grades, those who say both these sayings (i.e. Umar and those making this claim) and these two states (that of Umar and of those besides him) and give every owner of a right his due right and do not make the counterfeit/imposter and the sincere the one and the same thing. Madaarij us-Saalikeen (1/64)