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If Allah is Free of All Needs, Why Order His Slaves to Bow?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

May 30, 2018

Question

Allah claims all of us are equal and none of us are slaves except to him. Of course, he is the all-having, he doesn't need anything, then why does he want us to revere him, love him, bow down to him. Isn't he the needy one then? So if I don't pray, he will be offended, if I don't believe he is the one true god, he will be offended so much that he will put me to torture in fire in after life, why does he need this all?

Consultant

Answer


Allah is Free of All Needs

Short Answer:  Allah doesn’t force any human to bow down to Him. Bowing to Him simply means obeying His Law. It is not a need of Allah that we should worship Him or pray to Him. The need is ours. Man has to observe a balance between his worldly life and spiritual aspirations. This is crucial for human happiness on earth. To follow the teachings of Islam is a human need, not a divine need.

______________________________________

Salam Brother,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

As I have explained in my answer to a previous question (‘Why did it take Allah several prophets and centuries to perfect the religion?’), the special status Allah has given man as His ambassador (khalifah) on earth signifies that man is a free being.

But freedom entails responsibility too as freedom doesn’t mean that man can act according to his whims and fancies.

He lives on earth as part of a community. No man can be blind to the concerns of his brother or neighbor.

People accept this as a fact, even without referring to Allah’s commandments.

The Holy Quran calls Islam a Via Media or Middle Path that goes neither to this extreme or that extreme.

This means that man as a member of a community has to strike a balance between his individual interests and social commitments.

Our Spiritual Needs

Similarly man has to observe a balance between his worldly life and spiritual aspirations.

This is crucial for human happiness on earth.

What Islam teaches in essence is nothing more than what is required for a person’s real welfare in this life and the next.

Hence to follow the teachings of Islam is a human need, not a divine need.

Allah created this world as well as man who is His ambassador on earth.

It is Allah’s Will and Plan that drives everything in the universe He created. He is Almighty, Sovereign.

But man in his limitations needs Guidance, which Allah gives him through the prophets out of His infinite Mercy.

What we understand from all this is that we humans need Allah’s Mercy as well as His Guidance.

Since Allah has prescribed for him the Rule of Mercy, He is Merciful:

“Say: “Unto whom belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth?” Say: “Unto God, who has willed upon Himself the law of grace and mercy.” (Quran 6:12)

Allah’s Choice & Will

It is His choice that He wants to bestow His Mercy on His creatures. It is in no way a need of Allah.

As you have said, Allah is the Owner of everything; and for that reason He doesn’t need anything.

Whatever He wills happens; and nothing is outside the periphery of His domain. And for that reason He is above all needs that humans can think of.

Allah doesn’t force any human to bow down to Him. And bowing to Him simply means obeying His Law.

We can willingly obey His Law or defy it. It is our privilege to follow His Law or not.

It is not a need of Allah that we should worship Him or pray to Him. The need is ours:

“And as for those who deny the truth – verily, God does not stand in need of anything in all the worlds.” (Quran 3:97).

This is all part of Allah’s scheme, so that we should strive for good and shun evil.

As humans we cannot make any progress towards good without striving.

Human Freedom

Allah could have created humans as beings that can only do good deeds or who cannot do any evil.

In this case, there would be no freedom for humans, and there is no question of anyone challenging God: They would be merely automatons or machines of flesh and blood that are programmed to necessarily move towards Paradise.

But Allah created humans as His ambassadors on earth who are creators in their own way, as they are gifted with reason and imagination and the freedom to use those faculties creatively.

Hence Allah deals with humans as reasonable beings who can discriminate between good and evil.

And as reasonable beings we are shown two roads diverging in two directions: one leading to bliss and the other leading to perdition.

We are informed of the consequences of choosing either of those two roads. We can see what is at stake and we are perfectly free to choose.

Allah emphatically says that our devotion to Him does not add the least bit to His Empire.

Neither does our defiance detract anything from His Empire.

He is Self-Sufficient, Mighty and Wise.

You ask: “So if I don’t pray, He will be offended, if I don’t believe He is the one true god, He will be offended so much that He will put me to torture in fire in after life, why does He need this all?”

Pause a little and try to understand that loving God means loving Truth, loving Goodness.

Defying God means loving Evil or following Satan the embodiment of evil.

It is only logical to say that those who strive for good must be rewarded and those who strive for evil must be punished.

Nature, history and all the philosophies of man endorse this fact.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Why Did it Take Allah Several Prophets to Perfect the Religion?

The Life-Changing Power of Prayer

Happiness Is… (Folder)

 

 




About Professor Shahul Hameed

Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.


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