مفهوم العبودية

The Concept of Submission

Delivered by Sheikh Saud ash Shuraim
Rabee ath Thaani 12, 1429 ~ April 18, 2008

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All praise be to Allah who has revealed the Book to His servant and has not placed therein any crookedness so as to warn of a severe chastisement from Him. And give glad tidings to the righteous believers who do good deeds that they shall have a good reward. [Surah Kahf: Ayaah 1-3] I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, the One True God who has no partner in worship. It is Allah who has honored the children of Adam, carried them on land and sea, provided them with good and pure things, and elevated them above many of His creatures. I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah’s servant and messenger and the best human being. He left us on the right path and only evil people deviate from this path. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Muhammad, his family, companions, and those who follow him until the Day of Judgment.

Fellow Muslims, fear Allah and know that He watches over you wherever you are. Surely, nothing in the earth or in the heavens in hidden from Allah. It is He who shaped you in the wombs of your mothers as He pleases. There is no God but Him, the Almighty, the All Wise.

Oh servants of Allah, it is Allah who created the heavens, the earth, and all that they contain by His wisdom, knowledge, and justice. It is Allah who provides the universe with human beings, jinn, animals, plants, and even inanimate objects. Allah created a universe and all things therein for one purpose only, which is to worship Him alone. It is the duty of all creation to accept the existence of Allah and to acknowledge His Sovereignty. Worshiping Allah alone means to submit to Him, to be obedient to Him, and also to follow the straight path so that His religion is established and His laws are obliged. It is the sole duty of mankind to establish the religion of Allah on earth, and this can be achieved through uttering belief in the Oneness of Allah and putting this belief into practice. Human beings can only achieve total submission to Allah if they have within themselves humility and love for Him. Submission is the core and essence of the religion. Indeed religion in Allah’s sight means submission to Him alone. Allah says “Truly, the religion with Allâh is Islâm…” [Surah Ale ‘Imraan: Ayah 19] Allah also says “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” [Surah Ale ‘Imraan: Ayah 85] Submission is the purpose of creation for Allah says “And I (Allâh) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).” [Surah Dhariyaat: Ayah 56] Allah also says “Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” [Surah Muminuun: Ayah 115]

Fellow Muslims, Allah says “Do they not look in the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all things that Allâh has created…” [Surah ‘Araaf: Ayah 185] Allah also criticizes a certain group of people who do not meditate on His creation of the universe. Allah says to such people “And how many a sign in the heavens and the earth they pass by, while they are averse therefrom, And most of them believe not in Allâh except that they attribute partners unto Him.” [Surah Yusuf: Ayah 105-106]

Oh fellow Muslims, do you not see the sky and the stars it contains and other celestial bodies Allah created just for the sake of man? Do you not see the earth, and the land, gardens, mountains, and seas it contains? After all these bounties, humans wrongfully ascribe deities to Allah and associate others with Him in worship. Glory be to Allah, the Creator of all. It is amazing that humans are given bounties and blessings and then they are ungrateful to Allah. You have been given all that you have asked of Allah. Allah says “And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allâh, never will you be able to count them. Verily! man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer..” [Surah Ibraheem: Ayah 34] Man was indeed unjust and ignorant. Woe to man! How ungrateful indeed. Man is ever so miserly. Man is exceedingly contentious. Nay, but man transgresses, considering himself as self-sufficient. Man asks when is the Day of Resurrection. Man is in great loss.

Allah also subjected to you all that is in the heavens and the earth. All is from Him. The angels praise their Lord and seek forgiveness for those on earth. Surely, He is the most Forgiving, most Merciful. Even though Allah the Almighty created everything for mankind, many turn away from him. People busy themselves with the affairs of this world and ignore the hereafter. People are busy with things which will inevitably end, while the hereafter lasts for eternity. Man prefers worldly pleasures and his desires over what Allah the Almighty has enjoined on him. This is so, despite the fact that Allah honored mankind and preferred him over all creation. Allah the Almighty bestowed upon mankind all kinds of blessings, whether hidden or apparent. He the Almighty created a physical beauty and wonder of the human body. After all these blessings, man becomes arrogant and is ignorant of Allah and transgresses against Him. Man is also ungrateful to Allah the Almighty and that is why Allah describes mankind as wrongdoers and ungrateful creatures. Mankind has been blessed with all these bounties from Allah and should be grateful to Him instead of disobeying Him.

When we look at this world and see Allah’s creation, we that man is honored and given priority over all creation as Allah chose mankind to be His representative on earth. Allah made this universe subservient to mankind, to provide him with his needs and trusted mankind to worship Allah and look after the world by enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. Allah even made some angels subservient to mankind. Some record man’s deeds, while others protect people. Some angels are entrusted to regulate the wind. One of the most important tasks angels are entrusted with is to seek forgiveness with Allah for the sins of mankind. Indeed all creation except for mankind submits to Allah and is totally obedient to Allah the Almighty. Another exception is the devils from amongst the jinn and mankind as well as certain types of animals. The Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said “Kill a certain of lizard because it used to blow on the fire in which the Prophet Ibraheem (Alayhi Salaam) was put.” [Ahmad]

Even if the creation is disobedient to Allah, it never reaches the degree to which mankind is disobedient. The peak of disobedience to Allah the Almighty were the words of Fir’awn when he said “I am your Lord, so worship me.” Another group of people say that the Prophet ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) is the son of Allah, while others believe in the Trinity. Other human beings say that they can give and take life. The people of the Prophet Musa (Alayhi Salaam) asked him to make them a god like the people had. Other people say that the Quran is made of human words and some say it is just stories of the past. Other says that Allah’s hand is restricted. Some say that the angels who are Allah’s servants are Allah’s daughters. So what about those who say Allah is poor while we are rich? The matter worsens when some people say that Islaamic law is not suitable for all times and places. There are also some secularists who say that religion and the state should be separated while others say that religion is for Allah and politics is for humans to deal with. Some people describe the religion as backward and the Islaamic punishment as barbaric and that Islaam wrongs women. Other people feel that freedom of a woman lies in removing the hijaab and living an indecent lifestyle and disobeying Allah’s laws. Such people want women to be means of seduction and a cheap commodity. They also want to see micheif spread in the Muslim communities. These are the attitudes of some people.

Let us take a look at the attitude of Shaytaan. Did Shaytaan say anything like what was mentioned? All he did was promise Allah that he would seduce and trap human beings and invite them to evil. He promised Allah that he would misguide and take them to Hell with him. Shaytaan’s big mistake was that he preferred his race over the human race. Allah the Almighty called Shaytaan to prostrate to Adam (Alayhi Salaam), but he refused, and became arrogant and disobeyed Allah. He also misguided some people by whispering to them that he knew what they do not know. He also told them that he fears Allah because he is severely in punishment.

How disobedient and arrogant man is. Allah says “…Can they expect anything but the way of the previous nations? So no change will you find in Allâh’s Sunnah (way of dealing), and no turning off will you find in Allâh’s Sunnah (way of dealing).” [Surah Fatir: Ayah 43] Allah stresses the fact that are some people are disobedient to Him and they turn away from Him and dislike to submit to His will, even though He created them and bestowed all kinds of blessings on them. In this regard Allah the Almighty says “See you not that whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and Ad-Dawâb moving (living creatures, beasts), and many of mankind prostrate themselves to Allah? But there are many (men) on whom the punishment is justified. And whomsoever Allâh disgraces, none can honour him. Verily! Allâh does what He wills.” [Surah Hajj: Ayah 18] This verse shows that many people are disobedient to Allah the Almighty and are arrogant. Allah says “And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allâh’s Path…” [Surah An’aam: Ayah 116]

Fellow Muslims, we should achieve one purpose in this life which is to feel the worship of Allah, to submit ourselves totally to Him. We should also acknowledge that some of us are negligent and disobedient to Allah the Almighty. Moreover, we should confess that we may admire ourselves, that we may do a small good deed and we may become proud of this in front of our community and we might try to show off. Mankind tries to convince himself that he is righteous and he also tries to prove this to his society. He thinks that he does not need anyone to correct or advise him. He feels he is doing his duty by performing prayer and so on. In this manner he becomes conceited. We should know all this and we should belittle our righteousness even it seems to be good so that we can be humble.

Indeed, even if our worship reaches a great degree, there is a large difference between our worship of Allah and the submission of other creations like the angels, animals, and inanimate objects which perfectly submit to Allah the Almighty. There are some examples to show the huge difference between us and other creations. One example is of the hoopoe bird of Prophet Sulaimaan (Alayhi Salaam). Allah the Almighty implanted in the bird the creed of the Oneness and the ability to criticize others who associate partners in worship to Him. When the hoopoe bird hovered over the people of the Queen Sheba, it found that the people there were prostrating to the sun. It then rejected this practice and knew this was wrong because it contradicted the principle of the Oneness of Allah. For this reason the hoopoe went to the Prophet Sulaimaan (Alayhi Salaam) and reported everything to him. It acknowledged the Oneness of Allah and Allah says about this “I found her and her people worshiping the sun instead of Allâh, and Shaytaan has made their deeds fair-seeming to them, and has barred them from (Allâh’s) Way, so they have no guidance, so they do not worship (prostrate themselves before) Allâh, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal, none has the right to be worshiped but He, the Lord of the Supreme Throne!” [Surah Naml: Ayaah 24-26]

We find some examples in some inanimate objects. Allah implanted in some objects anger when His laws are breeched. The Prophet of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was sitting with his companions (Radiallahu Anhum) and a funeral passed by and he (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “The deceased may be one of two; it may be that he is comforted and finds relief or it may be that the people find relief when he dies because of the evil he used to commit.” The companions asked “Who is the one who is comforted and who is the one whom people will be relieved when he dies?” The Prophet of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied “When the believer dies he will be comforted because he will receive Allah’s mercy, while when the evil person dies the people as well as the animals and plants will be relieved of him.” [Saheeh Bukhari]

Fellow Muslims, take note of how trees, plants, and animals are harmed by the evil of evildoers and what they do in the earth, how they spread mischief and corruption. Indeed when human beings commit evil this does not only effect the other people, it also effects nature at large. Even animals feel joy and happiness when they see the children of Adam obeying Allah and doing righteous deeds. They are happy and ask Allah to forgive the people. They also ask Allah to bestow His blessing on them. Listen to the narration of the Prophet (Salallahi Alayhi Wasallam) where he says “Allah’s angels, the ants in its nests, even the whale in the depths of the sea ask Allah to send his blessing on the one who teaches people all that is good and beneficial.” [Tirmidhi]

Indeed animals and all creatures fear the day of Judgment. They are afraid of events yet to take place on that day. The Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “Every creature will be watchful on Fridays because they are expecting the establishment of the day of Judgment.” [Ahmad] It was also narrated in the hadeeth that the rooster holds itself in submission to Allah. The rooster invites to success and all that is good. The Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “Do not insult the rooster because it calls people to go to prayer.” [Ahmad and Abu Dawud] The Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) also said, “Every Arabian horse will be allowed to supplicate to Allah every dawn for its owner. It will say Oh Allah, bless me for this owner and make me one of his best property.” [Ahmad] The Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said that Allah will accept the supplication of this horse.

Even the ants constitutes a great nation that glorifies Allah and remembers Him even though they are so small. About ants Allah says “Till, when they came to the valley of the ants, one of the ants said: “O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Sulaimân and his hosts should crush you, while they perceive not.” [Surah Naml: Ayah 18] The Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “There was an ant that bit a prophet, then this prophet ordered that the whole nest be burned. Allah then revealed to him Why do you burn great entire nation who glorifies Allah?” [Saheeh Bukhari] Listen to what Allah says about the trees, “And the herbs (or stars) and the trees both prostrate themselves.” [Surah Rahmaan: Ayah 6] The Prophet (Salallahu ALayhi Wasallam) said “When a person who performs Hajj or ‘Umrah does talbiya everything in the universe on his left and right including trees, stones, and rock will make talbiya along with him.” The Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) also said that near the day of Judgment there will be a great war between the Muslims and disbelievers, and even the trees and stones will express their anger, and speak out to the Muslims saying there is a disbeliever behind me.

Look at the creation we have talked about today and then think about the mountains. Think about how the mountains glorify Allah and submit themselves to Him. The mountains fear Allah and fall down in awe of Him when others associate partners with Him in worship. Allah says “Whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the earth is split asunder, and the mountains fall in ruins, That they ascribe a son to the Most Gracious. But it is not suitable for the Most Gracious that He should beget a son.” [Surah Maryam: Ayaah 90-92] Mountains felt awe when ordered to establish the trust of Allah’s religion on earth! Also remember the mountains on which Musa (Alayhi Salaam) spoke to Allah the Almighty. When Musa (Alayhi Salaam) asked Allah to let him see Him, Allah told him to look at the mountains. Musa (Alayhi Salaam) fell unconscious when the mountain fell down. When Musa (Alayhi Salaam) got up, he declared his total faith in Allah the Almighty. Regarding this story Allah says “…So when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Mûsa fell down unconscious…” [Surah ‘Araaf: Ayah 143] These are mountains which consist of rocks and stones, nevertheless they fear Allah. Allah says about the mountains “Had We sent down this Qur’ân on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rendt asunder by the fear of Allâh. Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect.” [Surah Hashr: Ayah 21]

It is amazing to see a human being which is just a piece of flesh and yet he is harder than rock and stone and his heart is harder than the hardest rock. How can human beings listen to Allah’s words and then turn away and become arrogant? Turning their backs on those words as if they had not listened to anything. Allah says “Have they not traveled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear? Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.” [Surah Hajj: Ayah 46]

Fellows Muslims, I ask Allah to bless you and me with the noble Quran and to benefit us from what it includes of clear signs and judicious speech. This is what I say and I ask Allah forgiveness for me, you, and all the Muslims. So ask Him to forgive you and seek His protection from Shaytaan, indeed He is the Most Merciful, Oft Forgiving.

Praise be to Allah for His beneficence and then to Him for His support and favors. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, the One God who has no partner. Exalted is His standing! I also testify that our Prophet Muhammad is His servant and messenger. May the abundant peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his household, and companions.

Fellow Muslims, before the mission of the Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam), a wolf gave an amazing speech to a shepard saying that sustenance is from Allah the Almighty. This wolf also ordered the shepard to fear Allah and said that he knows about the mission of the Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam). It is narrated in the hadith that a wolf attacked a goat and took it. Then the shepard ran after it to get the goat back. The wolf told the shepard to fear Allah saying how can you take provisions which Allah gave me? The shepard could not believe his ears because the wolf spoke to him. The wolf said to the shepard let me tell you something else that will cause you to be even more amazed. I feel like I am watching Muhammad (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in Madeenah telling his people about the past nations. The companions (Radiallahu Anhum) wondered in amazement that a wolf could speak and the Prophet of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasalaam) said, “I believe it, and so do Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.

Oh Muslims, know that Allah has commanded you to convey peace and blessings on His prophet.  Allah says: “Allâh and His angels send Salât on the Prophet. O you who believe! Send your Salât on him, and greet him with the Islâmic way of greeting.” [Surah Ahzaab: Ayah 56]

Oh Allah, confer your peace and blessings on our Prophet Muhammad, and be pleased with his four rightly guided khulafa, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, Uthmaan, and ‘Ali who judged according to truth and justice, and all of his companions, and all of us with them out of Your Forgiveness, Beneficence, and Mercy. Indeed You are the Most Merciful….

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