Fruits for the Week

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Obligations of Commitment

Now that we know the meaning of this Kalimah, I wish to draw your attention to the obligations that result from it.

What does it mean to say that Allah (swt) is the Master of everything? It means that your lives are not your property; they belong to Allah (swt). Your hands are yours, nor do your eyes, your ears or any limb of your body belong to you. The lands you plow, the animals who work for you, the wealth and goods you derive benefit from – none of these is your own. Each and everything belongs to Allah (swt), and has been given to you as a gift.

You, therefore have no basis whatsoever to make claims like ‘life is mine, the body is mine, wealth is mine’. It is absurd to claim ownership after having accepted some other being as the real owner. If you sincerely believe that Allah (swt) is the Owner of all these things, then two things automatically follow:

First, since Allah (swt) is the real owner and you are merely trustees of things owned by Him, you must use these things strictly as He has told you. If you do otherwise, you are abusing your trusteeship; this would amount to cheating Allah (swt). You have, no right, to move your hands and feet against His wish, nor to make your eyes see what He dislikes. You may not stomach anything contrary to His command. You possess no rights over lands and properties against the wish of the Master. Your wives and children, whom you assume belong to you, are yours only because they have been given to you by your Master. Even they, therefore, must be treated not as you desire but as directed by Him. If you contravene His directions, you make yourselves usurpers. Just you call people dishonest who seize other people’s belongings, you too will be dishonest if you look at the gifts of Allah (swt) as your own property, and utilize them according to your own wishes or according to the wishes of someone other than Allah (swt).

If you suffer hardship by acting according to the wish of your Master, so be it. If lives are lost, bodies are injured, families are broken or money or property is destroyed in the process, why should you be grieved? If the Owner Himself decrees the loss of His things, it is perfectly within His right. Of course, if you act against the wish of the Master and suffer hardship, you will undoubtedly be guilty because you will have damaged His property. For example, you do not own your life. If you give away your life according to your Master’s wishes you will only be rendering His due. Giving your lives while working against Him, however, would be criminal.

Second, you do no favor to your Master nor to anyone else if you spend something given by Him in His cause. You may give away anything, do any duty, or even sacrifice your lives – which to you are very dear, but you are not doing Him a favor. The most you have done is to have rendered His due for His favor done to you. Is this an achievement to boast about – to demand acclaim for? Should people be praised just because they have repaid a favor? Remember that a true Muslim never gets puffed up for spending something in his Master’s cause or for doing his duty to Him. On the contrary, he remains humble. Boasting and pride destroy good acts. Anyone who seeks praise, or does good work in order to earn praise, loses his right to receive any reward from God: “He has sought reward in this world and has already received it here.”

Our behavior

Imagine the extraordinary kindness shown to you by your Master! He asks you for things that really belong to Him and yet promises that it is a purchase He will pay you for. What unbounded generosity this is! Allah (swt) said: “God has bought from the believers their lives and their possession in return for Paradise.” (At-Taubah: 111).

Such is the kindness of your Master. Now, look at your conduct. Your re-sell things to others that were given to you by your Master and which He had bought back from you. And what a paltry price you accept for your precious things! The ‘buyers’ make you work against the wishes of the Master. You serve them as if they are your sustainers. You sell them your brains and your bodies – indeed, everything that these rebels of Allah (swt) want to buy. Can anything be more immoral than this? To sell a thing already sold is a legal and moral crime, even in this world.

Those guilty of such crimes are tried in courts for cheating and fraud. Do you think you will escape trial in the court of Allah (swt)?


by Sayyed Abul A’la Mawdudi

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