Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:21, Part-2)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
Obedience to 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’s knowledge and wisdom as well as His other attributes are absolutely perfect. Hence, obedience to God and practicing His religion nurtures noble qualities in our personality.1 The life and legacy of divine messengers and their companions are a testimony to this fact. Conversely, those who take distance from God act against their own interest2.
The Quran has stated the importance of performing religious duties for the betterment of mankind. These tenets of Islam, such as daily prayers that restrain one from shameful and unjust deeds3, fasting during the month of Ramadan that controls ones temporal desires4, and giving to charity that develops a virtue of generosity5, provides a feature of piety and righteousness in mankind.
The preceding verses, 1-5, mentioned that only the righteous attain eternal prosperity. Therefore mankind is the true beneficiary of servitude to God. Allah is free of need and He does not require our praises and obedience.6
Mankind is a multifaceted being with very diverse needs. The religion of Islam provides the best recipe for spiritual, social and political needs of man. Amongst them, upholding justice, performing good conducts, kindness to family, promoting morality and obstructing sin are worthy of mentioning in here.7
A key to peace and harmony in a society is justice8. Justice is an important tenet of Islam that the Quran has commanded man to be just with his adversary9, and to speak the truth even if it incriminates himself, his parents or relatives.10
In conclusion, the verse recited above indicates that we should worship Allah; however Allah does not require our devotion. Those who properly worship Allah (swt), receive all the betterments of not only this world, but also in the Hereafter.
1- The Quran (2:138)
8- Sermon of Fadek, by the Nobel Lady Fatimah Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet
9- The Quran (5:8)
10- (4:135) (6:152).