One strong distinguishing aspect of Islam (properly called Al-Islam) is the Muslims non-wavering belief that man can never be G_d in any form, nor can G_d be man. Allah made mankind to serve Him; with G_d as the sole Creator, the sole manager of all life and death; and the sole merciful redeemer.
“Al-Hamdulillah” is a common Arabic phrase recited by Muslims that translates, “The Praise is due to Allah (G_d).” A similar saying among Christians is “Praise the Lord.”
The Muslim displays a sense and stature of humility when they say “Al-Hamdulillah,” often reflecting on the many blessings G_d has bestowed upon them as He lifted them above the shortcomings of their previous oppressed lives. This is a special praise reserved only for Allah.
One reoccurring form of oppression that burdens our human family is rooted in one man – or nation/society – wanting another human being to praise them as their superior; as their “lord.” Often this artificial abusive superiority is promoted through racial images wherein one race promotes their skin color over other skin colors, even to the point of purporting the “Lord” in their particular racial characteristics.
Another expression of oppression is the promoting of one sex as “weaker” or “inferior” to the other. Traditionally males have promoted such ideas – forgetting that the role of female and male are mutually supportive-opposites. It is very important for Muslim women to learn how Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) elevated the status of all women for all times.
Prophet Muhammed’s last major address spoke directly on several important points of equality. In part he said, “Oh, people! It is true that you have certain rights with regard to women, but they also have rights over you.” Additionally he said, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”
All the praise is due to Allah (G_d): not to humans. Allah is above all human limitations or descriptions. Man was created from a state of weakness and returns to a state of weakness; therefore, our worship must be given to the One who created man, then developed man’s life into strength and finally back to feebleness of body and mind.
No prophet of G_d ever asked humankind to praise them. Not even the angels or Holy Spirit ever asked mankind to praise them; however, each of these special men and entities instructed us to praise only G_d. Even Jesus the Christ (Peace be upon him) never asked to be praised or raised higher that G_d in importance. The Holy chapter 5: verse 116 states, And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say).
The Bible quotes Jesus sharing the same message in John 1:16-17. “…My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me; if any man’s will is to do his will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory…”
The greatest freedom will always be the freedom to serve and worship our Creator without any interference from political or religious leaders. A freedom where all the praise is only for Allah (G_d): not to men.
By Imam Michael Saahir
May 29, 2014