The main message of Islam is to worship the Creator, and not the creation. It’s the same teaching taught by all the prophets sent to mankind. When humans are left alone they are influenced by the society. For some societies the king became the god. In the Quran, Allah says:
فَقَالَ أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَ[Quran: 79:24]
And said, “I am your most exalted lord.”
In other societies, the dead became gods. Grave worship is something many societies all around the world practiced, and still practice to this day, such as in Japan.
In other societies the plants and animals became gods. Like among Native Americans, and Hindus in India.
In all of these examples so far, god is still something beyond yourself. It’s the king, it’s the plants and animals, or it’s the dead. But now in the modern era, your god has become yourself.
The saying goes, do whatever you like so long as you don’t hurt anyone. Which means, you decide what’s best for you, rather than some external force deciding that. And in modern times, this is what’s considered freedom. Being free to do whatever you want.
You might wonder, “how is doing whatever you want the same as being your own god?” It’s a very good question. In Islam worship is not just bowing down to someone or something. Worship is obeying and following as well. If you obey nobody but yourself, you’re essentially worshiping yourself, in which case you have made yourself your own god (object of worship).
Does that mean when you obey your parents, you’ve made your parents your god? Not necessarily. As Muslims we obey Allah first. It’s like a hiearchy, with Allah at the very top. So long as everyone else does not command you to do something that goes against Allah’s command, then obeying their orders does not make them an object of worship. By obeying them, you are obeying Allah. But if they command you towards evil, which goes against Allah’s commands, then by obeying them you have disobeyed Allah. In which case your obedience to the creation has become worship.
أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ[Quran: 45:23]
Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire
In today’s time nobody wants to obey anyone else. They want to be completely independent. Which means the obedience they should be giving to Allah, is now directed solely towards themselves. They have neglected all of Allah’s commands, and thus have decided to worship themselves. Anything they decide to do, even if it matches the teachings of Islam, would still be self worship, because they’re not following the commands of Islam, but rather following their own commands which may or may not be in line with the teachings of Islam.
So what we have to be careful of, as Muslims, is following our desires. Some of us try to mold or change Islam to suit our own thoughts and actions. Rather than making Allah supreme, we have made our own logic and reasoning supreme. But how can our minds, which Allah created, be more wise and knowledgeable than the All Knowing?
May Allah guide us and our children to the most correct conduct. That’s why it’s extremely important we invest in producing material that reminds ourselves and children of the reality of life. For sure none of us only listen, watch, or read purely Islamic content. Sometimes we are interested in TV shows, YouTube videos, novels, or articles and so on. But if we could create content that could cater to all those interests but still be produced by true Muslims, then insha Allah we could protect ourselves from losing sight of our ultimate and only real purpose. To worship Allah alone.
Help me to make more Islamic material for our ummah. Check out my books for Muslim children! Jazaka Allahu khayran!