is valid until heaven and earth passes away
MUSLIMS BELIEVE that God is very much in control of His creation. This is expressed in the following verse of the Qur’an (ayat al-Kursi):
“God – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His chair extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.” (2:255)
Muslims cannot, therefore, accept an evolutionary view of religion wherein God must step in to change the rules because mankind turned out to be sinful. God created all things. The mountains and trees, oceans and stars are all Muslims because, by nature, they submit to the will of God. In our creation, we were given a trust: freewill. We were given the ability to be righteous or sinful by choice. This was part of God’s plan; it was no accident of creation.
“Verily did We offer the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they refused to bear it and feared it; but man undertook to carry it. Truly was he unjust and ignorant.” (Qur’an 33:72)
Unlike mountains and trees, indeed unlike our cells, blood vessels and lungs, we (the cognitive part of ourselves) must choose whether to worship our Creator or not. A mountain cannot sin because it does not have freewill, but mankind can because God has granted us this trust for a time. This trust, however, was not granted so that we may run riot on the earth doing as we please, whilst the rest of creation worships its Creator. We too are asked to worship our Lord, to be obedient to Him. This is the purpose of our creation. Our creation has purpose.
God proposed a way of life for mankind. The Qur’an holds that every single Prophet of God was a Muslim. This is because, in justice, the religion since the beginning of time has been one. For all people, the way of life ordained by God has been belief in Him, accompanied by righteous action. Simply recognising God is not sufficient. Rather, we are asked to say, “We hear and obey. Forgive us, O our Lord! To You is the final journey’s end.” (Qur’an 2:285) Our recognition of God must be accompanied by submission to His commands and by striving to please Him. This was the message of all the Messengers of God.
Worship is not merely the performance of religious rituals. In fact it refers to obedience to God, when one’s actions and intentions are motivated by a recognition of His greatness. The following account explains this:
Once, ‘Adiyy bin Hatim entered while the Prophet was reciting a verse from the Qur’an: “They took their scholars and monks as lords other than Allah, and [also] the Messiah, Son of Mary. And they were not ordered except to worship one God…” ‘Adiyy (who had been a Christian), said, “O Messenger of Allah, they did not worship them.” The Prophet replied, “Did they not tell them that the prohibited was lawful and that the lawful was prohibited and they followed them in that?” When ‘Adiyy admitted, “Yes,” the Prophet stated, “That was their worship of them.” (Umm Muhammad, 1994, Realities of Faith, p.85)
Our lifetime is minute, if we consider the age of the universe in which we live. We are not here to stay. This is just a passing stage. Often when people talk about the hereafter, it sounds as if it is an afterthought; something granted us to remove the sorrow of death. For the Muslim, however, the hereafter is the aim, the destination he or she is working towards. The Muslim recognises that this period of creation is just a passing stage, in which we are given the opportunity to worship our Lord as He asks us to and to accumulate good deeds. In the Qur’an:
“Blessed is He in whose hand is Dominion, and He has power over all things – the One who has created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deeds.” (67:1-2)
When this life is over, we shall face the Day of Judgement, and we will be judged. The Law remains valid for all people at all times, until the heavens and earth pass away, because by our obedience or disobedience to it we are tested and judged.
I would like to add that, from my own perspective, there is a great blessing and mercy in the Law. It truly grants freedom. I will write something about this later, God willing.