Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:21, Part-1)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
A True Servant of God
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ﴿٢١﴾
Translation: O people! Worship your Lord who created you and those before you, so that you may guard (against evil).
Commentary: God called mankind to worship (serve) Him and obey His command. Since obedience to God prevents man from committing evil and wickedness.
The Arabic word of “oAAbudoo” (اعْبُدُوا) originates from the word “Abid” (عبد) which means servant or slave, and implies worship (serve) God and obey His command.
In Quran we are given the title of “servant of God” 1 (عبد الله). The word “servant” does not have a negative connotation in here. Rather it emphasizes that God is our Lord, He provides for our needs, and cares for our wellbeing.
In addition of being a term of affection towards mankind, it is also the title of nobility for devout individuals. Prophet Mohammad2, Prophet Isa3, and other divine messengers are given the title “Servant of God”.
The Quran describes the difference between performing an act for the Love of God versus the Love of Dunya4 (temporal world). Those who sincerely love God view the life of the world as a means to get closer to the Lord. Hence, every deed they performed is worship of God. This is the true meaning of servitude to God.
I will conclude with a phrase from the supplication of Munajat of Shabaniyah, by Imam Sajad, which depicts an image of a true servant of God:
My Lord, enlighten my heart with Your Majestic Glory, so that I may know You alone and be away from others. And I will be fearful and conscious of you, O the Lord of Majesty and Honor. May Allah send His blessing on Mohammad, His Messenger, and on his pure progeny and exalt them very much.
1- The Quran [3:15]