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Allah is Exceedingly Benevolent

Sep 16, 2022

Allah loves that His servants devote their lives to Him in worship and obedience because this worship is of benefit to them. And as the Prophet ﷺ said:
لَلَّهُ أَشَدُّ فَرَحًا بِتَوْبَةِ عَبْدِهِ مِنْ أَحَدِكُمْ إِذَا اسْتَيْقَظَ عَلَى بَعِيرِهِ قَدْ أَضَلَّهُ بِأَرْضِ فَلاَةٍ
Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His servant than if one of you gets up and he finds his camel missing in a waterless desert (and then he accidentally finds it). [Muslim 2747]

But if there is no harm nor benefit to Him, then what makes Allah request this of us? Allah Himself directly answers this question by saying:
مَّا يَفْعَلُ ٱللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ إِن شَكَرْتُمْ وَءَامَنتُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ شَاكِرًا عَلِيمًا
“What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing” [an-Nisa 4: 147].

It is because Allah is ash-Shakur, the Most Appreciative, who gives without measure and appreciates the smallest effort. It is because Allah is ar-Rahman, the Infinitely Merciful, who is more compassionate to, and protective of, His servants than any mother is with her new-born baby. It is because Allah is al-Karim, the Most Generous, who loves giving and forgiving even those who spend a lifetime getting and forgetting. He loves to see His servants prosper, and hence He loves to see them worship Him in order to achieve that prosperity.

So having understood that our worship is not for Allah, rather it is for ourselves, so that we may draw closer to him and live our lives in His total obedience and servitude, we will now over the next few days look at the benefits of worship.

Ibadah is Liberating
Human beings are specifically designed to invest their lives in serving a purpose. Being purposeful is an inescapable facet of our functionality as it is hardwired in our fiṭra — call it our metaphysical DNA. However, the purpose that we serve can be Allah, or it can be our carnal desires, egos, or social pressures. Serving the One True Allah protects us from psycho-spiritual mayhem — from being torn apart by trying to simultaneously serve countless contending forces in our lives. Allah (the Most High), says, “Allah presents an example:
ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا رَّجُلًا فِيهِ شُرَكَآءُ مُتَشَـٰكِسُونَ وَرَجُلًا سَلَمًا لِّرَجُلٍ هَلْ يَسْتَوِيَانِ مَثَلًا ۚ ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Allah cites you a parable – there is a slave man who is shared by many masters, each pulling this man to himself (like the man who worships other deities along with Allah), and there is another slave man who entirely belongs to one master (like the man who worships Allah Alone) – are the two alike in comparison? Praise be to Allah! But most of them do not know. [az-Zumar 39: 29].

It is from this perspective that worship of and servitude to Allah, liberates humanity from being subjugated and shackled by inferior pursuits.

When people devote their lives to their Creator, they feel empowered by worshipping the only One Who deserves worship. Surrendering one’s heart and limbs to Almighty Allah represents the pinnacle of honour while surrendering to the merciless and powerless creation is demeaning. Embracing a lifestyle of being captivated by Allah is, therefore, the truest form of liberation, for it ultimately serves a person’s greatest needs and interests; allowing oneself to become the captive of anything else is voluntarily condemning oneself to slave-dungeons.

Among the socially privileged around us, it is not difficult to observe how much more miserable the prisoners of riches and celebrity are compared to those of a relatively more minimalist lifestyle. Studies show that hedonistic populations who perceive life as carrying little meaning save carnal pursuits — despite access to them — are the most likely to end their own lives. This class suffers from a uniquely pitiful dilemma: although they have access to everything money can buy, they find themselves neither happy with their riches nor capable of relinquishing them.

Why is that?
Simply put, it is because they believe their happiness is dependent on these material goods. As for the devotees of Allah, they only serve Allah; they enjoy the pleasures of the material world within bounds but are not enslaved by them.

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