In a Nutshell
In the present materialistic world we live in, religion is not a fab thing. It is just another identity of a person along with his, or her, name and country of origin. Perhaps, because we as humans find it very difficult to submit to the rules and regulations of our Creator, although for any rule implemented by the government, under threat of imposing fine for violation, we are quick to follow.
If we were to know what we are missing on disobeying Allah (swt), we would do it even if we had to crawl to achieve it. But it is the wisdom of Allah (swt) that He has kept certain truths invisible to us, and the only motivation one could have, to submit to his Creator, is to develop the awe combined with extreme love towards Him, and this is what is called Taqwa in Islamic terminology.
It is the fear of displeasing our gracious Lord. It is an invisible feeling present in the heart, and a very personal thing between the Creator and the created.
When Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) asked Ubayy bin Ka’b(ra) to explain the concept of Taqwa, he said it is like walking through the thorny bushes, trying to save oneself from being pricked by the thorns, meaning skillfully moving out of the situation without disobeying or displeasing Allah (swt).
Perhaps, it was this awe which inspired our souls and psyche to unanimously pledge to worship one God, and acknowledge the existence of one true God, even before we came into this world.
Yes, each one of us did take the oath in front of Allah (swt), promising Him our servitude, when we were in our pre-natal form. However, this pure nature of the soul is subdued when humans choose to deviate into the wrong path, and start worshipping the Falsehood.
The timeless message through the Prophets and Messengers was primarily a recall of the pre-natal pledge, which we all took. In a nutshell, the message we often turn away from, displeasing our Creator, calls us to do the following:
- Do not set up other deities along with Allah (swt), the one true God. This exclusive obeisance is physically represented by the Muslim’s need to be true to the five pillars of Islam.
- Show kindness to parents.
- Give in charity to the poor and needy. Start with those who are related to you first.
- Do not be miserly, and yet do not be extravagant in your spending.
- Have complete trust in Allah (swt). He is the one who provides unto whom He wills.
- He is ever-knowing and seeing of His servants.
- Do not kill your own children for fear of poverty. It is Allah (swt) who provides for you and for them.
- Do not go near adultery (this means every immodest act is forbidden, including dressing up immodestly).
- Do not kill each other, unless it is done legally through an authority, for a just cause.
- Do not cheat an orphan by usurping his wealth.
- Give full measure, this means: do not cheat others: either financially or morally by talking bad about others behind their back. Fulfil the rights of others on you – family, employer, employee, neighbours, etc.
If these rules are not acceptable to us, then what is?