This week we are going to begin a short series of articles about one of the traditional sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. In the second part we will focus on the great need humankind has for God, while, acknowledging that God has no need for us, our prayers or our remembrance of Him. He is All Powerful, All Mighty. However before we can understand this infallible truth we must be clear about the sources of knowledge in Islam and understand them. This understanding means we are able to discuss immense and important topics in a comprehensive way. Knowledge in Islam is derived from the Quran and from the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad, known as the Sunnah.
The Quran sometimes called the Holy Quran or the Noble Quran is the divine scripture or sacred text of the religion of Islam. Muslims believe it is the literal word of God as revealed to God’s final messenger, Muhammad. This web site contains several articles about the Quran for those who would like more in-depth information. The Sunnah refers to three things; the actions, statements and tacit approvals of Prophet Muhammad.. It is derived from the oral traditions, known as hadith.
Amongst all the thousands of hadith, are some that belong in a special category. They are known as Hadith Qudsi. They are sayings that Prophet Muhammad attributes to God. They are God’s message to humankind but in the words of Prophet Muhammad. There are more than 100 Hadith Qudsi and they usually deal with spiritual or ethical subjects. One of the most beautiful and comprehensive of the hadith Qudsi is the following saying. Transmitted to us from God to Prophet Muhammad and then down through the generations by an authentic and reliable chain of narrators.
"'O My slaves, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. O My slaves, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you. O My slaves, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you. O My slaves, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you. O My slaves, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you. O My slaves, you will not harm Me nor will you benefit Me. O My slaves, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything. O My slaves, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything. O My slaves, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more than a needle decreases the sea if put into it. O My slaves, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him who finds good praise Allah and let him who finds other than that blame no one but himself.'"
God emphasizes justice, and Islam condemns and prohibits all forms of injustice and oppression. God, the Almighty, is the Most Just; it is from Him that all justice emanates. God has made oppression unlawful for Himself and His promise is true: many verses in Quran testify to this.
"Your Lord is not unjust at all to His slaves." (Quran 41:46)
"And God wills no injustice to the world." (Quran 3:108)
"Surely God wrongs not even of the weight of an atom." (Quran 4:40)
God has also made oppression of any kind unlawful for humankind. Islam tells us that there are three kinds of oppression or injustice. The first is injustice towards God that is associating partners with Him. The second is injustice towards ourselves, that is committing sins and the third is being unjust towards others (humankind or other creatures). Islam is more than a religion it is a code of practice. Following Islam means that the rights bestowed on humankind by God are respected and upheld. Islam seeks justice for all creatures, great, and small.
"We sent Our Messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Measure in order to establish justice among the people…" (Quran 57:25)
In this Hadith Qudsi God begins by stressing the importance of justice. He condemns oppression and makes it quite clear that oppression is not from the tenants of Islam nor is it tolerated by the believers. However, He does not stop there, He then goes on to say that all of humankind are misguided except for those whom He (God) has chosen to guide. He asks that whenever we seek guidance we seek it from Him, for it can be obtained from no other place.
Without guidance, we are lost, continually searching for solace. It is God’s most precious gift. Knowing this and understanding the concepts of justice and forgiveness inherent in Islam enriches and completes us. Knowing that our purpose is to worship God liberates us. Guidance enables a person to accept and be grateful for the blessings that God bestows every second of every day. Humankind depends on God; God however has no need for humankind. This comprehensive hadith gives us a clear understanding of our need for God. Next week we will discuss this topic and learn that nothing happens except by the permission of God.
 Saheeh Muslim, Ibn Majah & At Tirmidhi
Last week we discussed a beautiful Hadith Qudsi, and learned that this type of hadith belong in a special category. These sayings are God’s message to humankind in the words of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, and deal predominantly in ethical and spiritual matters. “All of you are misguided except those whom I guide...all of you are hungry except those whom I have fed...” Without God, we are nothing, without God in our lives and our hearts we are lost, alone and vulnerable. Humans need God.
God, on the other hand does not need us. He is the Al Mighty, the Most High, and the Most Powerful. Whatever good we do does not benefit or affect God in any way neither does the bad we do. God does not need anything from us. He is the Self Sufficient Master Whom all creatures need – As Samad.
“He is Allah (God), (the) One. Allah-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks). He begets not, nor was He begotten; And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” (Quran 112)
The hadith we are focusing on (which was mentioned in the first part of this series) explains that Islam is a religion concerned with justice, and a religion that condemns oppression of any kind. God then reminds us that everything we have is from Him. When we are hungry God feeds us, when we are naked He clothes us, and when we sin He, the Most Wise, the Most Just, forgives us.
God covers us in His mercy, but at the same time, He reminds us that our strength is from Him alone. Any good we do is for our own benefit and any sins we commit are to our own detriment. Our behavior does not benefit Him in any way. God is completely independent from His creation. If all humans were to ask for something from God and if every request was fulfilled it would not decrease His Kingdom, His Power or His Strength in any way.
Every day in our prayers we ask God to guide us on the straight path, the path that leads directly to His Mercy and Forgiveness. At least seventeen times a day Muslims repeat the words of the opening chapter of the Quran. We ask for God’s guidance, acknowledge that we worship Him alone and seek help from Him alone.
“All the praises and thanks be to God, the Lord of mankind, jinn and all that exists. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection). You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help. Guide us to the Straight Path. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger nor of those who went astray” (Quran 1:1-7)
This hadith Qudsi God reminds us in a most beautiful and sublime way that all power and strength is from Him alone.
We are able to move and function, eat, drink, and breathe; all our bodily functions and systems work with precise timing. Our hearts beat and our blood circulates. All these functions depend entirely on the will of God. If any stop working, no one can return it to normal except by the will of God.
God is the One who provides all sustenance. Imagine all the work that goes into having a piece of toast for breakfast. The bread, the toaster, the butter, and the electricity and so on, all did not magically appear. The butter was churned, the toaster manufactured, the wheat was harvested, and turned into flour, and the bread was baked, wrapped and delivered. As we spread the butter on the toast we need to remember that none of these simple, yet necessary, tasks could have occurred without the permission or the power of God.
God is the Creator of everything and He has no needs. He does not need our obedience, and our disobedience does not harm Him. He does not need to reward us if we obey Him, he has chosen to because of His generosity. Quran tells us that we were created to worship God, but this does not mean He needs our worship; no, on the contrary, we are the ones who need to worship God. It is in the remembrance of God that our hearts find rest.
“..and I (God) did not create the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).” (Quran 51:56)
“Verily, in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest.” (Quran 13:28)
“All of you are misguided except those whom I guide...” this is a beautiful and comprehensive saying from the traditions of Prophet Muhammad. It emphasises God’s love for humankind, but it also reminds us that we should be grateful for that love. We can search for comfort and peace anywhere in this world but we will never find it until we search for it in our relationship with God.
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