On the authority of Mu’aadh bin Jabal, a companion of the Prophet Muhammed who said: “I was riding with the Prophet, sitting behind him, when he said to me, “O Mu’aadh! Do you know what is Allah’s right over His slaves, and what is the slave’s right over Allah?”. I said, “Allah and His Messenger know Best”. He said, “The Right of Allah over the slaves is that they should worship Him alone [1] and not associate anything with Him [2], while the right of the slaves over Allah is that He will not punish (on the Day of Judgment) whoever does not associate with Him.” [Collected by al-Bukhari, Muslim, at-Tirmidhi, Ahmed & Ibn Majah]

The Creation Of Mankind
Glorified be Allah, who created man (Adam) and caused one of the noble souls (Ruh) to enter him [Soorah al-Hijr (15):29] and made mankind into nations and tribes, that they may know one another. Verily the most honorable of them in the Sight Allah is the believer who has at-Taqwa (i.e. the Qualities of piety, righteousness, and the fear of Allah; that keeps him away from all kinds of sin and evil deeds) [Soorah al-Hujarat (49):13].

The Recognition Of Allah
The question would arise: … How can all the people around the world be expected to believe in the One True God, given their varying backgrounds, societies, and cultures?

For people to be held responsible for worshipping the One True God, they all need to have access to knowledge of Him.

The Qur’an teaches us that all human beings have the recognition of Allah imprinted on their souls as part of their very nature with which they are created. This natural in-born inclination to worship Allah alone is called in Arabic as the `Fitrah’. If the child was justified alone, it would grow up aware of Allah in His Unity, but all children are affected by the pressure of their environment, whether directly or indirectly The Prophet Muhammed reported that Allah
said: “I created man in the right religion, but the devils (Shaitaan ) made him go astray.” [Reported in Sahih Muslim, vol.4, p.1488, no.6853]

The Prophet also said: “Every child is born in the state of Fitrah (i.e. a Muslim), then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian.” [Reported in Sahih al-Bukhari, vol.8, no.597 and Muslim, vol.4, no.6423]

The religion the child follows is one of custom and upbringing and Allah does not hold it to account or punish it for this religion. But when the child matures in youth and clear proofs of the falsehood of man-made religions are brought to it, the adult must now follow the religion of knowledge and reason. The Shaytaan (devils) try to make
evil pleasing to him and encourage him to stray away from the straight path. The person must now live in the midst of a struggle between his Fitrah and his lower desires in order to find the right path. If he chooses his Fitrah, Allah will help him overcome his desires even though he may have to go through a lot of trials and struggles, as Allah says: “Surely We (Allah) will test you with fear, hunger, loss of wealth, and life and fruits of your work, so give glad tidings to those who are patient.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 155]

Because of all the powerful forces fighting against the Fitrah, Allah chose certain righteous men and revealed to them clearly the right path. These men whom we call Prophets were sent to help our fitrah defeat its enemies, and Allah says: “Verily We (Allah) have sent every nation a messenger saying `Worship Allah alone and avoid the Taghoot (false gods)” [Soorah al-Nahl (16): 36]

All the truth and good practices today came from the teachings of the past Prophets.

Born Muslims
Those who are fortunate enough to have been born in Muslim families must be aware that all such `Muslims’ are not automatically guaranteed paradise, because the Prophet warned that a large portion of Muslims will stray away from the teachings of Islam; and the Sunnah would be replaced by innovations (Bidah), as mentioned in the following Hadeeths:-

Hadeeth 1: “I have been given the Qur’an and it’s equal (the Sunnah) with it.” [Reported by Abu-Dawood (Eng. translation), vol.3, no.4587, at-Tirmidhi, al-Haakim & Ahmed]

Let me not find any of you, while resting on his couch, that order of mine is mentioned in front of him, either a command of mine or a prohibition, he says: `I do not know! Whatever we find in the Book of Allah (the Qur’an) we follow (otherwise we do not)”. [Reported by Abu Dawood (Eng. translation),vol.3, no.4588, at- Tirmidhi, ibn Majah, Ahmed]

Hadeeth 2: “You will follow the practices of your predecessors, inch by inch and yard by yard; so that if they were to enter a lizard’s hole, you would also follow them.” When the Prophet was asked if he meant the Jews and Christians, he replied “If not them, who else?” [Reported in Sahih al-Bukhari, vol.9, no.422 & Sahih Muslim, vol.4, no.6448]

Hadeeth 3: “The Last Hour will not come until some groups of my nation attach themselves to the polytheists and some of my people worship idols.” [Reported by Abu Dawood (Eng. translation), vol 3, no.4239; Ibn Majah and at-Tirmidhi]

Hadeeth 4: “The Last Hour will not come until women from the daws tribe wiggle their buttocks (as they  ircumambulate) around the temple of the idol al-Khalasha.” [Reported by al-Bukhari, vol.9, no.232 & Muslim, vol.4, no.6944]

Hadeeth 5: “There will be among my followers those who will make allowable (Halal) fornication and adultery, the wearing of Silk (for men), taking intoxicants and musical instruments (Ma’aazif)….Allah will destroy them during the night and let the mountain fall on them.” [Collected in al-Bukhari, vol.7, no.494 (b)]

All those mentioned in the Hadeeths above will have Muslim names and will consider themselves Muslims, but it will be of no benefit to them on the Day of Judgment. This is because ……….

They ignored the teachings of the Last Messenger Muhammed (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and altered the Religion according to their convenience. Have you not seen the one who takes his desires as his god? [Soorah al-Furqan (25): 43]

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and render not vain your deeds.” [Soorah Muhammed (47): 33]

“Say (O Muhammed to mankind): if you (really love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive your sins.” [Soorah al-Imran (3): 31]

They seek help in other than Allah “Most of them claim to believe in Allah but they really commit Shirk.” [Soorah Yusuf (12): 106]
and: “And your Lord says: `Call on Me, I will answer your prayers.” [Soorah Ghafir (40): 60]

“When my slaves ask you (O Muhammed) about me tell them `Verily I am close, I listen to the prayer of everyone who calls on me.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 186]

“And invoke not besides Allah, any that neither can profit you nor harm you, but if you do so you shall certainly be one of the disbelievers.” [Soorah Hud (11): 106]

“Those on whom you call besides Allah are only slaves (mortals) like yourselves.” [Soorah al-A’raaf (7): 194]

Some Muslims have turned the Qur’an into a good luck charm which they hang on chains around their necks, in their cars, or have placed them in beautifully decorated cases to be kept in the house along with the other pieces of furniture; while our Prophet Muhammed said that the purpose of the Qur’an is to …… “Read the Qur’an and Apply it.” [Musnad Ahmed ibn Hambal]

“Verily this Qur’an guides to that which is most just and right and gives glad tidings to the Believers, who do deeds of righteousness, and they shall have a great reward.” [Soorah al-Israa’ (17): 9]

But alas, some so-called Muslims will even refuse guidance from the Qur’an: “And the Messenger (Muhammed) will say `O my Lord! Verily my people deserted this Qur’an (by neither listening to it nor acting according to its Laws).”  Soorah al-Furqan (25): 30]

Remember You Pledge To Allah
Let us give a thought as to whether we are simply Muslims by chance or Muslims by choice. Is Islam what our parents, tribe or country did (or does), or is it what the Qur’an teaches and what the Prophet Muhammed and his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them all) did.

In the seventh chapter of the Qur’an-Soorah al-Araaf, Allah explains that when He created Adam, He caused all of Adam’s descendants to come into existence and He took a pledge from them…….. `Am I not your Lord?, to which they all replied `Yes, we testify to it.” [Soorah al-A’raaf (7): 172]

Allah then explained why He had all of mankind bear witness that He is the Creator and the Only True God, worthy of worship; “That was in case you (mankind) should say on the Day of Resurrection, we were unaware of all this.” [Soorah al-A’raaf (7): 172]

“It was also in case you should say, `Certainly it was our ancestors who made partners (with Allah) and we are only their descendants; will you then destroy us for what those liars did.” [Soorah al- A’raaf (7): 173]

Therefore the pledge with Allah can only be fulfilled by a Muslim by choice and by the practical application of the principles of Islam in our lives.

“Say truly, my prayer, my sacrifice, my life, and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” [Soorah al-An’aam (6): 162]

May Allah, the Merciful keep us on the right path to which He has guided us and bestows on us His blessings and mercy, for indeed whoever Allah guides……no one can misguide. “None has the right to be worshipped but you, O Allah. Truly I have been on the wrong-doers.” [Soorah al-Anbiyaa (21): 87]

May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be on the Prophet Muhammed, his Family, his Companions, and on all those who follow the path of guidance until the Last Day

Foot Notes
[1] i.e. to establish Tawheed…” the belief that Allah is One, without partner or associate in His Dominion and Actions; without similitude in His Essence and Attributes (Asmaa’ was-Sifaat) and without rival in His divinity and in worship.” -There is none equal or comparable unto Him. [Soorah al-Ikhlas:4]

[2] meaning in Arabic `Shirk’……” directing any form of worship to anyone or anything besides Allah believing that others besides Allah have the power to harm or benefit.