Reclaiming Deen: Obedience Over Worship in Islam's Evolution

Whatever problem or issue is at hand; one must find out what the Book of Allah says about it. After one has done this, then one should proceed further and discuss ways to implement it. And all this takes place in the Islamic parliament or Islamic house called Masjid.

Before starting any discussion of any issue facing the Islamic state, formal prayers are offered as part of these proceedings. This is exactly like the way the recitation of the Quran is done before any Islamic function. But, now-a-days, every Islamic act has become a ritual. So is the Quran recitation. But Islam is a form of government in which obedience is done purely to the laws of Allah. This is beingمُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ — sincere in obedience to Him alone (7:29).

قُلْ أَمَرَ رَبِّي بِالْقِسْطِ وَأَقِيمُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ

(7:29) – Say: "My Sustainer has [but] enjoined the doing of what is right; and [He desires you to put your whole being into every act of obedience, and to call unto Him, sincere in your faith in Him alone. As it was He who brought you into being in the first instance, so also [unto Him] you will return."

Proceeding further we find in much clearer words:

قُلْ إِنِّي نُهِيتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ قُل لَّا أَتَّبِعُ أَهْوَاءَكُمْ قَدْ ضَلَلْتُ إِذًا وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِين

(6:56) – SAY [to the deniers of the truth]: "Behold, I have been forbidden to worship those [beings] whom you invoke instead of God."; Say: ";I do not follow your errant views -or else I should have gone astray, and should not be among those who have found the right path."

This is the same thing which Allma Iqbal in his unique style says: Only to the Unique Supreme One does Sovereignty belong and remains Graceful This is how Allama Iqbal (1877-1938) put it. As mentioned, what we say “calling Allah” really means:إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلّهِ – the right to govern only belongs to Allah; to adopt the obedience of only Allah; to follow the commands of only Allah.

At other place it says: And:إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلّهِ – the right to govern only belongs to Allah. This is the foundation of Islam. وَلَا تَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ – Be not among theمُشْرِكِين (Mushrikeen) (28:88). That is: وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ – never call upon any other authority beside Allah (28:88). And: لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ – There is no authority except Allah; He is the sole Authority who has the right to govern over human beings:

وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

(28:88) – and never call upon any other deity side by side with God. There is no deity save Him. Everything is bound to perish, save His [eternal] self. With Him rests all judgment; and unto Him shall you all be brought back.

From the above Quranic verses it clear: What is meant by calling on Allah?; what is Salaat?; what is the meaning of Masjid?; and what is Shirk? – All these different components are there to fulfill and practically implement إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلّهِ. This is then the دین (Deen). This is then true Islam. Mixing any man-made laws with Allah’s Laws is Shirk. When Islam was دین (Deen) then this was the case.

The Prophet (PBUH) first established this دین (Deen). After him the rightly-guided Caliphs (11 A.H. – 40 A.H. or 632 A.D. – 661 A.D.) continued this دین (Deen). When Islam was alive as a دین (Deen) then obedience of Allah was done purely through His commands contained in His Book, the Quran.

The difference between Deen and Religion

After this, the دین (Deen) changed into Religion [ مذہب (Mazhab)]. The basic difference between دین (Deen) and Religion is that: in Religion Allah is worshipped, not obeyed. The authority of Allah is not accepted as ruler. Allah is not accepted as Sovereign Authority. In Religion, عِبَادَت (Ibaadat) of Allah means worshipping Allah, not doing the obedience of Allah.

In Religion صلاتہ (Salaat) means prayer, a visible ritual? When the system of obedience of Allah will be established as a practical system of life then the congregational prayers will be done but that will happen under the formal banner of Allah’s obedience in order to enforce His authority in the society; and to carry out the official government duties by making the Quran as a living constitution of the Islamic state.

Worshipping Allah, and obeying Human rulers?

When the concept of worship was accepted, then the entire concept of life came from there. That is, worshipping God but doing the obedience of anyone else. Adopt the obedience of humans and worship God. Muslims are satisfied that they are not doing idol worship; that they are not مشرک (Mushrik).

The system of صلاتہ (Salaat) that was to establish Allah’s system in the world has been reduced to worshipping where all the discussions are done around visible rituals; of movements; of how to prostrate; and how to stand and how to sit. It is never mentioned what is the purpose of doing all this? Why are we doing these things?

The reason is clear why the proponents of Religion do not mention the goal and purpose of these things: Because then, Allah’s only obedience will come into focus. Because then, only Allah’s authority to rule human affairs will have to be accepted. And, because then, all other human authorities will have to be rejected. In Religion, the مسجد (Masjid) has been reduced to a place of only worship. Daawat-il-Allah has been reduced to “calling Allah” without understanding what this means.

Worshipping instead of establishing the system of صلاتہ (Salaat)

The Quran said: وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاةَ – Establish the system of Salaat. We see that wherever وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاةَ comes in the Quran, traditional translation says: Establish prayer. And, now with the advent of TV and Internet, there are advertisements and announcements about it. But no one understands what really is meant by the term “Establish Salaat”?

What was “to establish Salaat” in which obedience was to be done to Allah’s laws has turned into worshipping imaginary God. Now, the “system of Salaat” is not established but it is “ read as worship”; now the Masjid is no longer the center of Allah’s rule but a place of worship; now it is no longer the Islamic secretariat and parliament to discuss and find ways to enforce Allah’s commands but only a place for “worshipping”; now inviting people to Allah’s message has been turned into simply uttering “O Allah”; and now uttering any other name with “O” is declared Shirk and source of contentious debates and fights among different sects. No wonder our situation has become so bad!

وَأَنَّهُ لَمَّا قَامَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ يَدْعُوهُ كَادُوا يَكُونُونَ عَلَيْهِ لِبَدًا

(72:19) – Yet [thus it is] that whenever a servant of God stands up in prayer to Him, they [who are bent on denying the truth] would gladly overwhelm him with their crowds. And thus it is that whenever a servant of Allah, His messenger, stands up to say that the right to rule only belongs to Allah.

Allah, the absolute Sovereign, now only an object of worship

So, now, the concept of Allah as absolute Sovereign has changed into only an object of worship. No sooner than this happened that all the system underneath it changed as well; and then the entire Deen metastasized into Religion.

Now, Allah remained neither Sovereign, nor His عِبَادَت (Ibaadat) remained His obedience; neither did remain the system of Salaat (in which obedience is done only to Allah) nor did Masjid remain the center of government. دَعَا (which was to return to Allah’s commands) became calling Him simply using “O”. Nothing remained of the original Deen. All this was due to proper concept of Allah and when this changed, everything changed.

A Western thinker was correct in saying that if “you tell me what kind of object of worship a particular people have chosen; then I will tell you all about their culture and civilization, about their social structure and economic system?”

Western thinkers have deep insights. From the point of view of religion, just with this change in the concept of Allah, everything of Muslims –their history; their entire life; their civilization; their culture; their entire economic system – that is, literally everything changed. Now, if we try to change anything underneath – let alone reforming the system which is a monumental task – then there is so much opposition for something as basic as trying to explain the correct meaning of Quranic verses.

One is showered with fatwas of kufr and blasphemy by the religionists. The opponents of this are right in a way, because, if Allah’s concept remains only as an object of worship, then everything remains as it is (as status quo). But if the concept of Allah is changed into absolute Sovereign, into absolute Ruler, into absolute Decider: then nothing of the status quo fits into this.

At any rate, most, who consider Allah as only an object of worship would not be able to even understand this concept of Allah. As a matter of fact, this is quite understandable: This worship of God has been taught to them since their childhood. This is what they find written in books since thousand years. They read the Quran only for earning rewards and for forgiveness of the dead. There is no relationship with the Quran in their practical life.

  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Highlights
  Topics: Allah, Quran

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