|Islam gives the Oneness of God a living dimension. "There is only One God" is not an ontological statement, but it is a living experience, for it means that man should not surrender to any form and should discern truth from illusion. To bear the Oneness of God is to struggle from within to get rid of all the constraints that pull him down and tie him up to false deities. False deities could be anything belonging to the temporal realm: traditions, ideas, hopes, desires, etc. Surrender to Allah (and that is what the meaning of the word Islam) means in its deepest sense that man is completely free. Within this context, he would be committed to Him alone, but not to any other authority.|
In Islam, man is guided to surrender to the Lord and to behave from the perspective of being a tool in the hand of Almighty. Every action in a Muslims life should be devoted to Allah. He would start any thing "in the Name of God". When he eats, cooks, enters a new place, starts his work, etc. Man's daily life, in Islamic teaching, should be an expression of loyalty to God alone.
Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship
of his Lord, admit no one as partner.
Islam shows that indulgence in earthly life might result in forgetting the real source of life. A person indulged in earthly life is described as kafir "ungrateful". There is a direct relationship between kufr "ungratefulness to God" and unfaithfulness. When man ignores that all he has is given to him from Allah, that will reflect on his behavior. He would indulge in limited earthly goals, forgetting about his real mission. Responding to earthly temptations, as such he limits his rewards.
Your wealth and your children are only a temptation, whereas Allah! With him is an immense reward (HQ: 64: 15)
Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline; or the dwellings in which ye delight - are dearer to you than Allah, Or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause - then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious. (HQ: 9: 24)
Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? "Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life. While they thought that they were acquiring good by their works. They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him. Vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any Weight.(HQ: 18: 103-105)
To remind oneself of the Origin of everything is the key concept that can protect man from indulgence and absorption in false life. Therefore the first phrase in the first Surah in Koran:
"Praise to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds" Thanking God would be reflected in serving, supporting, and helping others.
Islamic teachings, therefore, highlight the link between "faith" or "being devoted to God" and all activities of man in earthly life. Man's qualification for sustaining a fruitful spiritual life is accomplished here on earth. To be devoted to God implies responsibility for not wasting one's capabilities in vain. Intelligence, reasonability, creativity, physical health, spiritual powers, talents, money and all other potentials are pointed to as a "responsibility". As God's vicegerent, man is responsible for directing all of them for the sake of Allah.
Islamic Teachings also consider "work" a holy process because it symbolizes man's conformity with his devotion to God. When man is too lazy to work, or works with no sense of perfection, he falls short of fulfilling his divine mission.
So, Islam makes it very clear that man is here on earth for a sublime mission: learning to view earthly life a chance for gaining spiritual maturity that prepares him for continuing his life in the Afterlife.
"Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides,
and contemplate the creation in the heavens and the earth, "Our Lord! not for naught
hast thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the Penalty of the
From that perspective Prophet Muhammad's tradition stresses that a "Servant of God" or a "faithful believer" is he who seeks knowledge, wisdom, and science and makes use of them in serving others. Some of his sayings are:
A faithful believer searches for wisdom wherever it might be
When any one goes out of his home seeking knowledge, he in on the Way of Allah until he returns home.
Knowledgeable people are inheritors of Prophets
In Islam, man is warned of his "lower self" and is guided to link himself with the Divine within. He has to adhere to his true nature fitra. Fitra is man's genuine nature permeated by divinity when Allah purifies the soul. Man is susceptible to lose his fitra when he submits to the lower self. Prophet Muhammad, therefore, draws peoples attention to where they should start in their greatest struggle al-jihadal-akbar. Acknowledging the limitation of the self is important to repent to Allah. One should struggle against the self jihadul nafs in order that it would be transformed into "self-reproaching spirit; (eschew Evil)".(HQ: 75: 2)
Prophet Muhammad says:
The self is certainly prone to evil, unless my lord do bestow His Mercy: but
surely my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
When man refrains from handling life in a way that restricts the influence of the lower self, he is considered as zalem unjust. Zalem literally means the one who goes beyond limits or does not put things in their right place. In Koran zalem and zulm have great arrays of meaning. They point to those who commit injustice to themselves by not attaching themselves to the Supreme Power and consequently allowing their lower self to be given free hand:
And who does more injustice than one to whom are recited the Signs of his Lord,
and who then turns away therefrom? Verily from those who transgress We shall exact (due)
Those who do unjust deeds hurt themselves in the first place. Stealing, committing adultery, performing crimes, lying, cheating, plundering, being cruel to parents, fault finding and the like, are aggressive and unjust actions. By committing any of those acts, man defiles his fitra and kills the divine part within, and is hence he the greatest loser. While, on the other hand, giving oneself its due Haq is to relate oneself to the truth, and to get the divine part enlivened.
Refinement of the self leads to the love of people, and to having the right orientation towards the whole world. In Islam man is part of a whole, in the sense that man is not isolated from his fellow men, from nature, from the cosmos, or from God. This affiliation puts him in his right place within the universe and frees him from selfishness, fear, and arrogance. Prophet Muhammad assures,
Any of you is not a believer (in God) unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
Repel (Evil) with what is better (Love): then your enemy will become as it were thy friend and intimate!"(HQ: 41: 34) (Our translation)
Unconditional love, in Islam is the core of all morality. Good morals imply that man himself is transformed into -or aspires to be- a manifestation of Divine Love. That is the ultimate Goal of life. It needs the support of a divine source. Prophet Muhammad, therefore, points to his Holy Mission saying:
I came to fulfil good morals.
God addresses Prophet Muhammad in Koran saying that he has"an exalted standard of morals" (HQ:68:4)
Good morals are an integral part of the Path to spiritual freedom and the attainment of real life. The Prophet says,
"A believer reaches by his good morals (such a high spiritual refinement as) if he spends his whole life fasting all days and praying all nights".