The Divine Rights
Rights vary from one to another according to values of favors. A friend has his own familiar rights that are a degree lower than these of the affectionate brother who joins the tie of relation to the tie of kindness. The right of the brother, in a like fashion, comes after that of parents, because of their superior favors to sons.
Through such standard, we can realize the grand value of the divine rights that excel any other rights, because God is the grandest Benefactor Who created man and has conferred upon him with innumerable varieties of graces:
“Have you not seen that Allah has made all that is in the heavens and the earth, subservient to you (human beings), and has extended and perfected for you His apparent and unseen bounties? (31:20).”
“Had you wanted to count the bounties of Allah, you would not have been able to do it. (14:34)”
Anyhow, we now have to refer to some of these infinite rights that come after the belief in God, His Oneness, His having the attributes of perfection, and His being too far above everything that does not befit Him.
Imam as-Sajjad (a) said:
“The greatest of Allah’s right against you is that you should worship Him and should avoid associating anything with Him. If you have applied this sincerely, Allah will grant you the characteristic that He will save your needs of this worldly life and your life to come and will keep for you that whichever you desire from the both1.”
Semantically, worship is the utmost servility and submission. On that account, except the Grandest Benefactor God, no one deserves to be worshipped. Terminologically, worship is to carry out the orders diligently.
As a proof on the greatness of worship that leave prominent effects on man’s life is that God has made it the grand purpose beyond the creation:
“We have created jinn and human beings only that they might worship Me. I do not expect to receive any sustenance from them or that they should feed Me. It is Allah Who is the Sustainer and the Lord of invincible strength (51:56-8).”
Undoubtedly, God is completely Self-Sufficient as He dispenses with the worship of His creatures neither the obedience of the pious serves Him nor does the disobedience of the defiant harm Him. He has imposed worship upon the creatures for their own interests so that they will benefit by the traits and advantages of worship, which is one of the strongest incentives that concentrate the beliefs and build up faith in the spirits since it reminds of God and His rewards and warns against His punishment and reminds of the Prophet (S).
The concepts of faith fade away in the mentality of the servant who neglects, and, subsequently, forgets worship of His Lord. Belief is the large tree whose blooming shadows cover all Muslims. Worship is the factor that protects and supplies that tree with elements of growth. It is the strongest factor that achieves balance between the spiritual and material powers that pull man back and forth.
Man, however, cannot attain pleasure unless these two elements are equal. To prove this, we say that the prevalence of the material elements on man causes him to be slaved by false authorities of materiality and to be inclined towards selfishness, egotism all for achieving his material desires. Such being the case, it is necessary to rein the defiance of materiality by strengthening the spiritual aspects and supplying man with mental energies guarding against evils and guiding to righteousness. Through its spiritual rays and incessant reminding of God, worship can achieve the previously mentioned necessities.
Worship, after all, is a test examining the dimensions of faith, which is a hidden secret that nothing can divulge except rites of worship.
Because worship requires suffering of efforts, the fulfillment of its rites has become a sign of firmness of faith. To neglect such rites, on the other hand, has become a sign of frailty of faith. Prayer, for example, is indeed a difficult task, but not for the submissive to God. Fasting requires self-control against desires of food and sex. The hajj requires expenditure and suffering of efforts. The Zakat is to give from the wealth that you love and maintain. Jihad is to sacrifice oneself for the sake of the duty. All these are difficult missions.
Obedience stands for submitting to God and carrying out all His instructions. It is an honorable trait that brings about pleasure:
“One who obeys Allah and His Messenger will certainly achieve a great success. (33:71)”
“Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to the gardens wherein streams flow. Allah will make whoever turns away suffer a painful torment (48:17).”
Imam al-Hasan (a) said: “If you seek power without the need for a clan and dignity without the need of authority, you should leave the humility of the disobedience to Allah to the honor of the obedience to Him.”
Thankfulness is to appreciate the graces and use them in fields satisfying the benefactor. It is an ideal trait that is blessed by reason and law and necessitated by conscience. For the All-benefactor Whose graces are innumerable and favors are infinite, gratitude should be expressed more meaningfully:
“Remember when your Lord said to you, 'If you give thanks, I shall give you greater (favors), but if you deny the Truth, know that My retribution is severe’ (14:7).”
The Prophet (S) said: “Verily, he who serves food and thanks Allah for so will be rewarded as same as those who fast just for gaining the rewards of Allah, and he who is cured and thanks Allah for curing him will be rewarded as same as the diseased who is steadfast against that disease for the sake of Allah, and he who gives alms and thanks Allah for so will be rewarded as same as him who is deprived of sustenance, but he shows patience for the sake of Allah2.”
Trust in God is to rely upon Him and commend all affairs to Him by diverting from anyone or anything else:
“If Allah is your helper, no one can defeat you. However, if He abandons you, who would help you? The true believers trust in Allah. (3:160)”
“Allah is Sufficient for the needs of whoever trusts in Him. (65:3)”