Obedience of the Lord

The Ahle Kitab are also guilty of polytheism in the matter of obedience, while it is only Allah Who is the Lord of all the worlds. He is the One Who created man and other creatures and bestowed form and body to them. He makes each of the creatures to reach to their perfection. From the time a child is conceived till he reaches the lap of death, in whole life span of man, Allah does not forsake him even for a moment. In the same way Allah is not careless of them in the Hereafter.

Thus man should leave his spiritual training also to the hands of the Almighty. He should not consider anyone else his Lord. He should act only on Allah’s command. He should not obey anyone in opposition to the order of Allah. He should not obey his desires, the Satan or other people if they are instigating him to disobey Allah. The Holy Quran has criticized such people.

Have you then considered him who takes his low desire for his god?[138] Surely they took Satans for guardians beside Allah.[139] Whether they are from the genre of mankind or from jinns, obeying these Satans in opposition to the commands of Allah is a kind of polytheism. The Almighty Allah had taken a covenant from the soul of man that he will not obey any Satan.

Did I not charge you, O children of Adam! That you should not serve the Satan?[140] However, 

They have taken their doctors of law and their monks for lords besides Allah, and (also) the Messiah son of Maryam and they were enjoined that they should serve one God only, there is no god but He; far from His glory be what they set up (with Him).[141] The above verse shows that one who obeys someone other than Allah in opposition to divine command or one who follows the command of someone other than Allah while this command is against Allah’s command, has actually committed polytheism.

[People who make legal things illegal and illegal things legal]

Abu Basir asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) the interpretation of the above verse (Surah Tawbah 9:31). Imam said, “Know that! By Allah they never did ask the people to worship them because if they had said so, the people would not have obeyed. But they asked them to consider prohibited things permissible for their sake and to consider the permissible things prohibited. Thus they worshipped them thoughtlessly.”[142] The following tradition of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is also mentioned in Usul al-Kafi: “One who obeys a person in contravention of divine disobedience has actually worshipped him.”

[Following the scholars of false religions is also Polytheism]

Some Muslim sects consider it obligatory to follow certain religious leaders with regard to the Islamic practical law while their leaders have prescribed prohibited and permissible without any firm proof. It is said about Abu Hanifah that he used to say, “The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said this regarding this matter but I say that…”

[Quality of the Shia Jurisprudents]

According to the Shia sect one of the qualities of a jurisprudent (Mujtahid) who can be followed in (Islamic practical law) is that he should not be a slave of his base desires and every verdict of his should be based on the Holy Quran and traditions of Ahle Bayt. The ‘Ulil-Amr’ (those who are vested with authority) are twelve, according to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.). They are the twelve Imams of Ahle Bayt. Obeying them is like obeying the Prophet. The Twelfth Imam, Imam Mahdi (a.s.), during this occultation period has made it incumbent on us to obey a Mujtahid who does not value his personal opinion in front of Allah’s command. Thus following this Mujtahid will amount to be the obedience of Imam and that in turn is obedience of Allah and His Prophet.

[Polytheism along with worship]

It is possible for Ahle Kitab and Muslims to indulge in polytheism while they worship. For example, Christians worship Isa (a.s.) as the Son of God, as God himself. In the same way the ‘Ghulat’ (extremists) consider Ali (a.s.) as the creator and sustainer of the Universe. They consider him a partner of Allah in this regard. Some Sufis worship their saint-teachers called ‘pirs’. They think that he (the pir) and Allah are one and the same. Or that Allah has incarnated Himself in their bodies. This is the same polytheism that we have discussed before.

[We should try to Understand the meaning of ‘Allah’s Slavery’]

In order to understand the different types of hidden polytheisms, we must understand the meaning of Allah’s service and who can be called the servant of Allah. Whenever a sane and intelligent person sees himself and others he understands at once that all the necessary elements of life have been provided by the Almighty. No one has anything of his own. All creatures are in need of Allah in all aspects of their life. They seek Him for fulfillment of their needs. He should know that they are the subjects of the Almighty. Allah is the Lord and Master of all creatures.

There is no one in the heavens and the earth but will come to the Beneficent God as a servant.[143]

Man should understand his nothingness. He should know that he is needy of Allah in every aspect. He is himself a beggar of the Almighty. The Almighty Allah is incomparable. All the strength and power belongs to Him. If man decides to dissociate from the Almighty even for a moment, he will find that he is destroyed. Knowing this he should remain only as the slave of Almighty. This method of expressing ones abasement before Allah and confession of ones neediness before Him is known as worship. Forget about fulfilling the rights of the bounties of Allah he cannot even thank for them sufficiently. Thus man can only devote every moment of his life to the Almighty.

[Obedience in every moment of life]

The bounties of Allah are present for us in every moment of our life. He is always our Lord and sustainer. Thus even we should serve Him alone every moment of our life. The Almighty Allah has also bestowed the favor of teaching man the way to serve Him. He did not leave humanity confused in this regard. He taught us the method of worship through the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Allah has also prohibited us to worship in the way we like. Such a thing is an innovation in religion (bida’t) and it is unlawful.

In addition to this He has made worship easy for us (the Muslims). The physical worship is that in 24 hours we have to perform only seventeen units of Prayer. We have to fast only one month every year. We have to perform Hajj only once in our lifetime (if we are capable). We have to pay some religious taxes like Khums and Zakat, which are easy too. The Almighty Allah has prescribed great rewards for this little worship. He has made only the fulfillment of obligatory acts to be sufficient for one to gain nearness to Him. The recommended acts and supererogatory prayers will only increase this proximity and enhance the grades of the believer. However, the necessary condition for the correctness of worship acts is that they should be only for the nearness of Allah.

And (do) not join anyone in the service of his Lord.[144]

Thus a worship act, whether obligatory or recommended, should not be for the creatures to see and to earn their praises. Even if along with the service of Allah we aim to achieve these things, it is prohibited and is a greater sin.

[He should not serve anyone else] 

If man forgets to perform some worship acts on time, Allah will forgive this carelessness, as the activity that had diverted him from prayer was not prohibited. Or in those moments he had not worshipped anything else. He should not have worshipped Satan. He should not have given preference to his selfish desires over the commands of Allah. The same conditions apply for prayers on time, even if for example, he prays correct prayer at the time of Zuhr (Noon). At least he will not be eligible for punishment of omitting prayer. But Allah shall not accept such prayers because, he does not say the truth when he recites: “I serve You alone.” One who serves one person at one time and another at other times cannot be a sincere servant of Allah. The prayers of this person will not raise his status. It does not increase proximity to Allah. Allah accepts the worship of only those who fear Allah all the time.

Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil).[145] Maulana Rumi says,

The mother of all idols is the idol of your self. Because all those idols are snakes and it is the python.[146]

[Worshipping the Desires] 

A Muslim recites “iyyaka Nabudo” (I worship You alone), ten times every 24 hours. However, he spends a major part of those 24 hours in the worship of his self, his desires and Satan etc. He remains a slave of carnal desires and satanic hopes. He is prepared to be humiliated for worldly wealth. That is, he even becomes a slave of money. He betrays trusts and does not fulfill the rights of others. So much so, that for money he is prepared to sell his religion also. That is why the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said, “The slave of Dirhams and Dinars (material wealth) will be destroyed.” The king summoned a wise man. When he came to the king he did not fulfill the rituals of respecting the king. “You have not shown respect to me,” complained the king. The wise man said, “That is because I am the ruler of that of which you are the slave. You are the slave of your wealth and position. While I do not give importance to these things.”

History is replete with examples where people have even sold their religion for wealth. As an example we mention the story of Qazi Shurah of Kufa. When Ibne Ziyad ordered Qazi Shurah to issue a verdict (fatwa) for the killing of Imam Husain (a.s.) he was not initially prepared to do it. Ibne Ziyad insisted and Qazi Shurah banged his ink well on his head and began to bleed. In this condition he asked, “How is it possible for me to issue such a verdict?” 

During the night Ibne Ziyad dispatched to his house huge quantities of gold and valuables in numerous sacks. The next day he himself came to the royal palace and said, “I gave it a deep thought last night. As a result I have understood that fighting against Husain is obligatory, because he has revolted against Yazid, the caliph of this time and intends to spread mischief.” It is written in the book Jawahirul Kalam, that, “Seven hundred million dirhams were collected annually in the treasury of Kufa. Nothing had been taken out of it since the time of Muawiyah till the time Imam Husain (a.s.) turned towards Kerbala. Whatever wealth had accumulated during those years in the Kufa treasury was distributed among the Yazidite forces by Ibne Ziyad.”

In the same way Samra bin Jundab is considered to be a companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Muawiyah said to him, “Go to the pulpit and announce that you heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) say that following verse:

And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah.[147] was revealed in praise of Ibne Muljim the killer of Ali (a.s.). (While it was actually revealed for Ali Ibne Abi Talib). And also say, that the verse: 

And among men is he whose speech about the life of this world causes you to wonder, and he calls on Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the most violent of adversaries.[148] was revealed for Ali (a.s.), in return of which I shall pay you a thousand Dirhams.” Samra did not agree but he relented when Muawiyah offered him two thousand. He at once went to the pulpit and uttered such false things. How apt are the following couplets:

O wealth! I do not know how lucky you were born. In your love the son becomes the enemy of his mother. You are the beloved of kings and rich people. The king gets satisfaction from you and the army gets décor. Even the pious do not turn towards the prayer niche without thinking about you. And the sermonizer does not step on the pulpit without your love. A person forgets Allah even as he is busy in prayers. The appetite for wealth is in his heart. Though he utters: “Thee Alone we worship” actually he is attached to something else. Such a servant is in fact a polytheist. Rather he is a real Satan. He shall get degradation in the Hereafter and Hell fire. How nicely Sayyid Bahrul Uloom has described this:

“When you are busy only in prayers you must not be distracted by polytheism, lie or following a habit etc. You should not be such and you should not do any of such acts. You should not utter something regarding which you will have to regret. You are such that at the time of prayer also you become a slave of your desires![149]

[Slave of many masters and Slave of One Master]

The Holy Quran says, Allah sets forth an example: There is a slave in whom are (several) partners differing with one another, and there is another slave wholly owned by one man. Are the two alike in condition? (All) praise is due to Allah. Nay! Most of them do not know.[150] Obviously when a person is a slave of numerous self desires, satanic instigations and he pleads with so many people, how can we expect to live in peace. While the slave of only Allah experiences utmost peace and comfort. Since you have got a single heart you must choose only one lover.[151]