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Do we have any obligations towards the Creator?

Do we have any obligations towards the Creator?

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Published by Yousuf M Islam
The article explores the role of the heart in belief and our obligations towards the Creator.
The article explores the role of the heart in belief and our obligations towards the Creator.

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Published by: Yousuf M Islam on Mar 01, 2012
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03/04/2012

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Article appeared Friday, March 2nd, 2012 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (218)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

How can one demonstrate that he/she believes? Before looking at physical demonstration of belief, we need to first look at the heart and the mind of a believer. Why? The root or foundation of belief lies in the heart as explained by the Bible. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” [Proverbs 3:5, NIV] {1} Being created, the mind or understanding of a believer should work out that appropriate knowledge comes from the Creator. Logically, He knows what is best. So the mind of a believer turns for guidance on all matters to the Creator. Also, the heart would naturally not want to displease the Creator. As a test, can a person personally determine whether or not he/she believes? The most recent Revelation, the Qur’an, provides a self-test. A believer is one “…whose heart finds satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” [13.28] What satisfaction? When the heart of a believer trusts the Creator, it finds peace, comfort and contentment. How can the heart please the Creator? The Qur’an reports and confirms what Prophet Moses (pbuh) announced: “And remember! Your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): "If you are grateful I will add more (favors) on you; but if you show ingratitude truly My punishment is terrible indeed." And Moses said: "If you show ingratitude you and all on earth together – yet is Allah free of all wants worthy of all Praise.” [14.7 – 14.8] The Creator does not need anything from man. It is man who needs everything from the Creator. However, as our Creator has given us intelligence and a free-will, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not he/she is grateful for the gift of life, the opportunity to use intelligence and exercise free-will, the opportunity to enjoy being alive and be a celebrity. A believer would want to be grateful and follow commandments to get the best out of the life given. Following commandments to please the Creator is a physical demonstration of belief. What commandments does one need to follow? Sura Al-Maida or Chapter 5 of the Qur’an commands the following:

5.1 “O you who believe! Fulfill (all) obligations. Lawful to you (for food) are all four-footed animals with the exceptions named: but animals of the chase are forbidden while you are in the Sacred Precincts or in pilgrim garb: for Allah does command according to His Will and Plan.”
Man’s first obligation is to his/her Maker – this obligation is gratefulness felt from deep within the heart. The second obligation is to maintain the sanctity of the places of pilgrimage as well as demonstration of respectful behavior while in pilgrim’s attire. The third obligation is regarding the slaughtering of animals. While not in the vicinity of the places of pilgrimage, permitted animals may only be slaughtered. As slaughter involves taking life, it may only be done while acknowledging the Provider of life.

5.2 “O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah nor of the Sacred Month nor of the animals brought for sacrifice nor the garlands that mark out such animals nor the people resorting to the Sacred House seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when you are clear of the Sacred

Precincts and of pilgrim garb you may hunt and let not the hatred of some people in (once) shutting you out of the Sacred Mosque lead you to transgression (and hostility). Help one another in righteousness and piety but help not one another in sin and malice: fear Allah: for Allah is strict in punishment.”
The fourth obligation is helping each other in demonstrating piety and delivering justice. This may be achieved through mutual discussion on how to please the Creator and implementing right alternatives and decisions.

5.3 “Forbidden to you are: dead meat, blood, the meat of swine and that on which has been invoked the name of other than Allah that which has been killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a headlong fall or by being gored to death; that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless you are able to slaughter it (in due time); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is a sin. This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of religion? Yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any forced by hunger with no inclination to transgression Allah is indeed Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.”
As our Creator is the owner of life and provider of provision, the method of slaughter, type of meat (as in earlier Revelations {2}) as well as division of meat is specified. The division should be equitable and not decided by lottery.

5.4 “They ask you what is lawful to them (as food): say: Lawful to you are (all) things good and pure: and what you have taught your trained hunting animals (to catch) in the manner directed to you by Allah; eat what they catch for you but pronounce the name of Allah over it: and fear Allah; for Allah is swift in taking account.”
No name, other than that of the Creator, the Originator of all life, and no method of slaughter other than that permitted can be followed. As the Provider of sustenance, our Creator asks: “Why should you not eat of (meats) on which Allah's name has been pronounced when He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you except under compulsion of necessity? But many do mislead (men) by their appetites unchecked by knowledge...” [6.119] Not pronouncing the name of the Creator is showing disrespect to the Creator. Those who recommend or “approve” of methods other than that permitted during slaughter do so without knowledge and are classified as “pagans”. “Eat not of (meats) on which Allah's name has not been pronounced (during slaughter): that would be impiety. But the evil ones ever inspire their friends to contend with you; if you were to obey them you would indeed be pagans.” [6.121] -----{Notes}: {1} http://bible.cc/proverbs/3-5.htm {2} For example, see Deuteronomy 14:8, Leviticus 22:8 and Leviticus 7:24.

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