Insights on 10 reasons why Allah is deserving of worship, related topics and answers to relevant questions. These insights summarise various parts of our forthcoming course:

The Way of Abraham: 10 Reasons Why Allah is the Only Deity Deserving of Worship

We believe this is the most neglected and the most important topic for Muslims and non-Muslims to understand and internalise.

10 Reasons Why Allah is the Only Deity Deserving of Worship

Why is worshipping Allah important?

Worshiping Allah is the purpose of our lives. It leads to guidance, and happiness in this life and the next. It is an expression of a timeless, absolute truth and it is the call of all the Prophets.

Worshiping Allah is who we are; it is ingrained in our natural disposition:

The Prophetic Call:

“We surely sent a messenger to every community, saying, ‘Worship Allah and shun false gods.’”- The Qur’an 16:36

Our Purpose:

“I did not create jinn and humans except to worship Me.” - The Qur’an 51:56


“It is those who have faith, and do not mix their faith with idolatry, who will be secure, and it is they who are rightly guided.” - The Qur’an 6:82

Timeless, Absolute Truth:

“So, know that there is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Allah.” - The Qur’an 47:19


The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever says there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah sincerely, he will be admitted into Paradise.” - al-Du’ā’ li-Ṭabarāni, Sahih


“So [Prophet] as a man of pure faith, stand firm and true in your devotion to the religion. This is the natural disposition God instilled in mankind - there is no altering God’s creation - and this is the right religion, though most people do not realise it.” - The Qur’an 30:30


“There is no happiness for the hearts nor any complete delight except in the love of Allah, The Most High, and in drawing near to Him with that which He loves, and love of Allah cannot be afforded except by turning away from everything that is beloved other than Him, and this is the reality of ‘there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah’ – and it is the way of Abraham, Allah’s chosen and beloved friend – upon whom be peace, and the rest of the Prophets and Messengers.” - 14th century scholar, Ibn Taymiyyah

What is worship?

Linguistically worship (‘ibādah) comes from ‘abadah meaning subservience and subjugation.

The scholars have explained worship to mean perfect and maximal love and submission.

From this we can explain ‘ibādah as:

1. Loving Allah the most:

“Even so, there are some who choose to worship others besides Allah as rivals to Him, loving them with the love due to Allah, but the believers have greater love for Allah." Qur’an 2:165

2. Unconditional submission (including obedience, humbleness, and positive fear of Allah):

“For whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, and fears Allah and is mindful of Him, then it is they who will ˹truly˺ triumph." Qur’an 24:52

“O believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and do not let your deeds be in vain.” Qur’an 47:33

“On the Day their faces are ˹constantly˺ flipped in the Fire, they will cry, ‘Oh! If only we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger!’” Qur’an 33:66

3. Directing all acts of worship to Allah alone (including the actions of the heart and the limbs):

“You ˹alone˺ we worship and You ˹alone˺ we ask for help.” Qur’an 1:5

Statements from the scholars:

“Worship unites two principles: The extremity of love with the extremity of humbleness and submissiveness. So whoever you loved but were not submissive to, you are not a worshipper of him, and whoever you were submissive to without (showing) love, you are not a worshipper (of him) until you are (both) loving and submissive.” Ibn al-Qayyim, Madārij as-Sālikīn 1/74

“A term that combines the perfection of love for Allah, in its greatest level, and the perfection of humbleness, in its greatest level. For love devoid of humbleness and humbleness devoid of love is not considered worship, rather worship is what combines between the perfection of both matters.” Ibn Taymiyyah, Minhāj us-Sunnah 3/290

What is tawheed?

Tawheed linguistically means ‘to affirm oneness’ or ‘to make something one or unique’. The scholars of Islam have provided useful categories to help us understand the Oneness of Allah. These categories can be inferred from the first chapter of the Qur’an, which is considered a summary of the whole Qur’an, Surah Al-Fatiha (also known as Umm al-Kitaab; Mother of the Book):

Oneness of Allah’s Creativity - “Praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the Worlds” Qur’an 1:2:

This is to affirm and recognise that Allah is uniquely one and the sole creator, master, fashioner, sustainer and owner of everything that exists. According to tawheed, anyone who denies this has associated partners with Allah, which is polytheism or associationism (known as shirk; to be expanded on in #4). Anyone who believes that these descriptions of Allah can be shared by any created thing has deified that thing. Therefore, they have also associated partners with Allah.

Oneness of Allah’s Names and Attributes - “The Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy” Qur’an 1:3:

This means to describe Allah only by the names and attributes by which He has described Himself, which are found in the Qur’an and the Prophetic teachings (some names such as Al-Khaaliq, The-Creator, and Al-Qadeer, The-Powerful, can be affirmed by a sound rational mind). The meaning of these names and attributes are affirmed but they are not comparable to creation. Allah’s names and attributes are maximally perfect; they do not have any deficiency or flaw.

The one who compares these names and attributes to creation has committed humanisation or anthropomorphism, and has committed shirk. The one who compares any created thing to Allah has committed deification, which is also shirk.

Oneness of Allah’s Divinity - “It is You we worship; it is You we ask for help” Qur’an 1:5:

This means we must affirm that all acts of worship, the internal and external actions, must be directed to Allah alone. Someone who directs acts of worship to anything other than Allah, and the one who seeks reward from anything other than Allah in any act of worship, has committed shirk. The consequences of shirk and its major and minor forms will be explained in #4.

What is shirk?

Summarising day #3's discussion on shirk

Associating partners with Allah (or associationism), referred to as shirk, is the gravest sin. It involves rejecting Allah’s exclusive unicity and denying He is the sole creator, master, fashioner, sustainer and owner of all existence. Shirk encompasses the belief that these descriptions of Allah, and any of His names & attributes, can be shared by any created entity, thus attributing divine qualities to them.

Shirk also involves equating anything with Allah or His names and attributes, directing acts of worship towards anything other than Him, and seeking reward from other than Allah in any act of worship.

Major, minor shirk and their consequences

There are major and minor forms of shirk. Major shirk such as praying to other than Allah and believing other ‘deities’ are worthy of worship leads to disbelief. Minor shirk, although a great sin, does not lead to disbelief. This includes giving charity for other than Allah and showing off one’s good deeds (riyā’; ostentation).

The one who commits major shirk and dies without repenting is never forgiven. This does not apply to the Muslim who commits minor shirk; either they are forgiven and enter paradise through Allah’s mercy or punished in hell for a limited time and purified, subsequently entering paradise.

“Allah does not forgive the joining of partners with Him: anything less than that He forgives to whoever He will.” Quran 4:48

However, if someone commits any form of shirk and sincerely repents to Allah before leaving this world, and returns to the path of tawheed, they will be forgiven:

“And those who invoke not any other deity along with Allah… Except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Quran 25: 68 & 70

Those who commit major shirk, never repent and die in that state (and have no valid excuse; a topic to be unpacked during the course), have oppressed themselves. They have committed ‘spiritual’ self-harm by rejecting all the just and fair opportunities that Allah has given them to embrace His mercy and love:

“Allah has not wronged them, but they wronged themselves.” Quran 3:117

“And Allah is never unjust to His servants.” Quran 8:51

They have alienated themselves from Allah. Those who reject Allah will plead to go back to earth to do righteousness, but their hearts have ‘eternally’ rejected Allah’s guidance and mercy:

“When death comes to one of them, he cries, ‘My Lord, let me return so as to make amends for the things I neglected.’ Never! This will not go beyond his words: a barrier stands behind such people until the very Day they are resurrected." Quran 23:99-100

Why is shirk the greatest sin?

Shirk is the greatest sin because it is:

A crime against reality: Rejecting Allah, by denying Him or not acknowledging Him, is a rejection of The Truth (Al-Haqq) and the basis of reality. Rejecting or denying the basis of reality logically renders reality as meaningless, including good and evil.

The greatest ingratitude: Not worshipping the One that everything depends upon, and the One who gives us life all of the benefits and blessings we experience is the peak of ingratitude.

The worst evil: Rejecting Allah is rejecting Al-Barr (The Greatest Benefactor), the source of all goodness. It is a rejection of the foundation that makes objective value and morals possible. It is also a rejection of the reference for what is truly good and evil.

The greatest injustice: Worshiping Allah is His right, therefore not worshipping Him is the greatest injustice. Since Allah is perfect and eternal, as He is the foundation of all of our rights, not worshipping Allah is tantamount to rejecting everyone's rights and more.

A rejection of who you are and your purpose: Rejecting and not worshipping Allah is not fulfilling your purpose and denying your innate disposition. It is a form of self-rejection.

Reason 1: Allah's deserves worship because of who He is

We praise people due to their sporting skill, eloquence, strength or any other attribute. We do so even though they are limited and do not benefit us in any direct way.

In fact, in many cases we are compelled to do so.

Similarly, Allah deserves extensive praise by virtue of His perfect names and attributes.

If we can praise people who have limited and flawed attributes that do not sustain us, what does it mean on how we must praise Allah whose names and attributes have no deficiency or flaw, are maximally perfect and are responsible for our continued existence?

It is because of these names and attributes that Allah deserves extensive praise, and praising Allah is a form of worship. Therefore, Allah deserves worship because of who He is.

“All praise is for Allah—Lord of all worlds.” Qur’an 1:2

Allah is the only One entitled to our supplications and prayers. Allah is absolutely independent, everything depends on Him. He knows best what is good for us and He wants what is good for us.

Such a Being with these attributes must be prayed to and be asked assistance of. Nothing happens without His will.

Significantly, worshipping Allah is His right and it is an expression of the fundamental truth: Allah is the only deity that deserves worship. Therefore, worshipping Allah is an expression of that truth and a fulfilment of His right.

Even if we are not recipients of any type of comfort, Allah must still be worshipped. Worshipping Allah is not dependent on some kind of reciprocal relationship; He gives us life, and we worship Him in return.

If the whole universe and whatever is within it did not exist, Allah is still the only deity deserving of worship.

Do not misunderstand the previous point. Allah showers us with many blessings (as we will discuss in forthcoming posts); however, He is worshipped because of who He is and not necessarily on how He decides—via His boundless wisdom—to distribute His bounty.

Reasons 2 & 3: Allah's gift of life & Allah innumerable blessings

Reason 2: Allah’s Gift of Life

If we had 10 hours left to live and in order to live another 3 days we had to give away all of our wealth, we would immediately do so. That’s why we consider life to be so precious and unmerited. We don’t own the moments of our existence because we don’t have the capacity to bring our lives into being. We don’t deserve these moments because they’re not ours; we don’t have the ability to produce life.

There’s nothing that we can do that can be deserving of something that we can never acquire.

Since we receive the priceless gift of life at every moment of our existence that we do not earn, own nor deserve, how should it make us feel? We must be grateful, but to whom? Considering these moments are from Allah alone, we must be grateful to Him. Gratitude and expressions of gratitude, such as prayer, are key aspects of worship.

Allah has created everything; He continually sustains the entire cosmos and provides for us out of His bounty. The Qur’an continually repeats this concept in various ways, which evokes a sense of gratitude and awe in the heart of the listener or reader:

“It is He who created for you all of that which is on the Earth.” Qur’an 2:29

“Do they indeed ascribe to Him as partners things that can create nothing but are themselves created?” Qur’an 7:191-194

“O mankind, remember the favour of God upon you. Is there any creator other than God who provides for you from the heaven and Earth? There is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded?” Qur’an 35:3

Therefore, everything we use in our daily lives, and all of the essential things that we require to survive, are due to Allah. It follows then that His is all gratitude. Since Allah created everything that exists, He is the owner and master of everything, including us. Hence, we must be in a state of awe, love and gratitude to Him. Allah is our Master, we must be His servants. To deny this is not only rejecting reality, but it is the height of ingratitude, arrogance and thanklessness.

Since Allah created us, our very existence is solely dependent on Him. We are not self-sufficient, even if some of us are deluded in thinking that we are. Whether we live a life of luxury and ease or poverty and hardship, we are ultimately dependent on Allah.

Nothing in this universe is possible without Him and whatever happens is due to His will. Our success in business and the great things that we may achieve are ultimately because of Allah. He created the causes in the universe that we use to achieve success, and if He does not will our success it will never happen.

Understanding our ultimate dependency on Allah should evoke an immense sense of gratitude and humility in our hearts. Humbling ourselves before Allah and thanking Him is a form of worship. One of the biggest barriers to Divine guidance and mercy is the delusion of self-sufficiency, which is ultimately based on ego and arrogance. The Qur’an makes this point clear:

“But man exceeds all bounds when he thinks he is self-sufficient.” Qur’an: 96:6-7

“There is the one who is miserly, and is self-satisfied, who denies goodness—We shall smooth his way towards hardship and his wealth will not help him as he falls. Our part is to provide guidance.” Qur’an 92:8-12

Reason 3: Allah’s Innumerable Blessings

“And He has granted you all that you asked Him for. If you tried to count Allah’s blessings, you would never be able to number them. Indeed humankind is truly unfair, ˹totally˺ ungrateful.” Quran 14:34

We should be eternally grateful to Allah because we could never thank Him for His blessings. The heartbeat is a good example. Each heartbeat is a priceless blessing. It is one of the physical causes Allah uses to keep us alive. If we were told we had 1000 heartbeats remaining, but in order to get another 10,000 we had to give away all of our wealth, we would not hesitate to do so. So here is the Quranic challenge. Try to count each heartbeat we have had in our lives so far. It is practically impossible. For the first few years of our lives and whilst we were sleeping we couldn’t count. There are years of backlog. Now let us try and say ‘alhamdulillah’ / ‘all praise and gratitude belong to Allah’ every time we have had a heartbeat. The same applies. It is impossible. So the Qur’an is accurate; we cannot enumerate Allah’s blessings, and we cannot be truly grateful for each and every one of them.

Every heartbeat is precious to us. Anyone of us would sacrifice a mountain of gold to ensure that our hearts function properly to keep us alive. Yet we forget and deny the One who created our hearts and enables them to function. This illustration forces us to conclude that we must be grateful to Allah, and gratitude is a form of worship. The above discussion just refers to heartbeats, so imagine the gratitude we must express for all the other blessings Allah has given us. From this perspective anything other than a heartbeat is a bonus. Allah has given us favours we cannot enumerate.

Allah is unquestionably Al-Barr, The Beneficent or The Greatest Benefactor.

“Indeed, it is He who is the Beneficent, the Merciful." Qur’an 52:28

Allah is indeed Al-Kareem, The Most Generous.

“O humanity! What has emboldened you against your Lord, the Most Generous." Qur’an 82:6

Reason 4: Allah is The Most Loving

Imagine if I were to tell you that there was this person living on your street who was the most loving person ever, and that no other love could match their love. Wouldn’t that instill a strong desire to get to know this person, experience that love and eventually love them in some way too?

Now consider Allah’s love.

Amongst Allah’s beautiful names, many of which refelct the qualities of love, is Al-Wadud, The-Loving. It comes from the word wud, which means expressing love through the act of giving:

“And He is the Forgiving, The Loving.” Qur’an 85:14

Allah’s love is the purest, greatest and most perfect form of love. His love is greater than all worldly forms of love. For example, a mother’s love, although selfless, is based on her internal need to love her child. It completes her, and through her love driven sacrifices she feels fulfilled. Allah is absolutely independent and self-sufficient. Allah’s love is not based on a need or want; it is the purest form of love. He gains absolutely nothing from loving us, yet He loves. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

“Allah is more affectionate to His servants than a mother to her children.” [Abu Dawud]

This should make any sane person to want to love Allah the most, and loving Him the most is a key part of worship. In fact, not loving Allah the most is not only a form of ingratitude, but the greatest form of hate. Not loving the One who is the source of love is a rejection of that which enables love to occur and fill our hearts.

“Still there are some who take others as Allah’s equal—they love them as they should love Allah—but the ˹true˺ believers love Allah even more.” Qur'an 2:165

In this light, how can we not love the One who is maximally and perfectly loving, who’s love is greater than anything we have ever experienced or can imagine?

This should make us want to love Allah the most. A key way of ensuring we do is to get to know Allah. The more we know Allah the more we love Him. For Al-Ghazali, loving Allah is the greatest form of cognition and the fruit of knowledge:

“For those endowed with insight there is in reality no object of love but God, nor does anyone but He deserve love.”

Reasons 5 & 6: Self love & spiritual fulfilment

Reason 5: Self Love

Self-love occurs due to the desire to prolong our existence, feel pleasure, avoid pain, and the need to satisfy our human needs and motivations. We all have this natural love for ourselves and it is not a form of arrogance or narcissism. Self-love is about caring, taking responsibility and having respect for ourselves.

This type of love is necessary in order to love others. If we cannot love ourselves, how then can we love other people? There is nothing closer to us than our own selves; if we cannot care for and respect ourselves, how then can we care for and respect others? Loving ourselves is a form of ‘self-empathy’. We connect with our own feelings, thoughts and aspirations. If we cannot connect with our own selves, how then can we empathise and connect with others?

Psychologist Eric Fromm echoes this idea by saying that love “implies that respect for one’s own integrity and uniqueness, love for an understanding of one’s own self, cannot be separated from respect and love and understanding for another individual.”

If a person’s love for himself is necessary, this should lead him to love Allah, the One who created him. The reasons are simple: Allah created the physical causes and means to achieve our happiness, pleasure and to avoid pain. He is the One who wants and knows what is good for us. Allah is the One who has provided the optimal guidance for us to achieve the objectives of self-love. 11th century scholar, Al-Ghazali aptly explains that if we love ourselves we must love Allah:

“Therefore, if man’s love for himself be necessary, then his love for Him through whom, first his coming-to-be, and second, his continuance in his essential being with all his inward and outward traits, his substance and his accidents, occur must also be necessary. Whoever is so besotted by his fleshy appetites as to lack this love neglects his Lord and Creator. He possesses no authentic knowledge of Him; his gaze is limited to his cravings and to things of sense.”

Reason 6: Spiritual fulfilment

When something fulfills or completes a person they have an affinity for it. For example, our right arms complete us in some way. If we were to lose our arms, we would feel incomplete for a while. We could say that we love our arms in some way due to their utility and it completing our physical bodies. However, our right arms are not who we are. If we were to lose both arms, it would not change the essence of our inner nature or our core identity.

To be is to be related. We discover ourselves through our relationships. Our greatest relationship is the one we have with Allah. We are created to worship Him, it is our purpose in life.

“I did not create jinn and humans except to worship Me.” Qur’an 51:56

Through worshipping Allah we know who we really are, it completes us. When we forget Allah, we forget our own selves.

“And be not like those who forgot Allāh, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.” Qur’an 59:19

We are also natural born worshippers. Worship is part of our innate nature. However, we either worship Allah or other ‘deities’ who are unworthy of worship.

“Allah puts forward this illustration: can a man who has for his masters several partners at odds with each other be considered equal to a man devoted wholly to one master? All praise belongs to Allah, though most of them do not know.” Qur’an 39:29

“So [Prophet] as a man of pure faith, stand firm and true in your devotion to the religion. This is the natural disposition Allah instilled in mankind- there is no altering Allah’s creation- and this is the right religion, though most people do not realize it.” Qur’an 30:30

“No child is born but that he is upon natural instinct. His parents make him a Jew, or a Christian, or Magian.” Bukhari and Muslim

Since worshipping Allah reveals who we truly are, fulfils our purpose in life, is part of our nature and it completes us, then we must love Allah. If we love our arms due to their usefulness and completing our physical bodies, then what about loving Allah who fulfills us in the most deepest and profound way?

Reasons 7 & 8: Other People's blessings & loving beauty

Reason #7: Allah provides blessings to others

As discussed in reasons #2 and #3, Allah is Al-Barr, The Greatest Benefactor or The Source of All Goodness.

Allah gives us the priceless, undeserved gifts of every moment of our existence. We do not own these moments and there is nothing that we can do to earn them. We also cannot enumerate the priceless blessings He freely provides to us such as our heartbeats.

This evokes love for Allah and love is a key aspect of worship.

Similarly Allah also provides invaluable blessings and gifts to others, not just to ourselves. When we hear of true stories, past or present, about a great king or humanitarian that provided innumerable benefits, bounties and facilities for people, we start to increase an affinity for them. As their giving increases and remains consistent over time this affinity turns into a form of love.

Allah is the The Greatest Benefactor and He is the reason for all of these stories of benevolence, kindness and charity. As we reflect on these stories, our affinity will increase for Allah, eventually turning into love, because He is the source and enabler of all virtue, compassion and rectitude.

Reason #8: Loving beauty

Whether it is a mesmerising sunset, a solar eclipse, our beloved spouses or a colourful bed of flowers, it is without a doubt that we all love beauty, in particular natural beauty.

Allah is not only the source and creator of this beauty, He is beautiful. Nothing can compare to Allah’s beauty, His beauty is beyond our imagination.

The more we reflect on natural beauty, understand they are manifestations of Allah’s beautiful names and attributes, and realise that Allah’s beauty is infinitely more beautiful than what the mind can conceive, it should evoke an even greater love for Allah.

If we have love for lesser beautiful things, then what about the love we must have for the One who is the most beautiful and the creator of all beauty?

“Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty.” Al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ 6906. Sahih (authentic)

Reasons 9 & 10: Unconditional obedience & affinity for our Creator

Reason #9: Unconditional obedience

“And obey Allah and the Prophet so that you may be given mercy.” Quran 3:132

When we visit the doctor we inform them of our symptoms, and if there is nothing that suggests we need a second opinion, we inevitably — even though many of us do not have medical knowledge — obey their medical instructions to ensure we recover. The reason we follow the doctor’s instructions is because we know, through the use of our rational faculties, that they are an authority on how to treat our symptoms and the cause of our ailment.

By greater reason, unconditionally obeying Allah, even if we do not know or understand the full wisdom behind some of His commands, is the most rational thing to do. Allah’s commands are based on His boundless knowledge and wisdom. He is Al-Aleem, The Knowing, Al-Hakeem, The Wise. He has the picture we just have a pixel; He is the ultimate authority. To deny this is worse than a two-year-old child scribbling on a piece of paper and claiming that he is more eloquent than Shakespeare.

Unconditionally obeying Allah is rational and part of worship. Disobeying Allah is foolish and unfounded.

Reason #10: An affinity for our Creator

There is an inevitable and natural affinity for our family or places we belong to. For example, we love our siblings because they are our siblings and not just because we may love their company or personalities. Consider this thought experiment. Imagine you had a friend who was identical to your sibling and you had exactly the same experiences and time spent with them. You would still love your sibling more than this friend because there is something about their natural connection to you that has intrinsic value.

Now think about Allah.

If we have a natural and inevitable love for our siblings, parents and places we belong to, then what about the love we must have for Allah who created us, our siblings, our parents and the places we belong to?

Not only is worshipping Allah part of our innate nature (and loving Allah is a key aspect of worship), He is the One who brought us into being and fashioned us from a spirit that He created directly. Allah continues to nurture us and He is the One we ultimately belong to.

“Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we will ˹all˺ return.” Quran 2:156

“So when I have fashioned him and had a spirit of My Own ˹creation˺ breathed into him.” Quran 15:29

Our natural connection to Allah has more intrinsic value than any natural affinity we can imagine. Therefore, it is Allah that is deserving of our utmost love.

Does Allah need worship & why did He create us to worship Him?

Does Allah need worship & why did He create us to worship Him?

This common question arises due to a misunderstanding of Allah’s nature.. The Qur’an and the Prophetic traditions clearly explain that Allah is transcendent, absolutely independent and free of any need.

“Indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.” Qur’an 29:6

“Allah—the Sustainer ˹needed by all˺.” Qur’an 112:2

Allah does not need us to worship Him at all. He gains nothing from our worship, and our lack of it takes nothing away from Allah. We worship Allah because—through His wisdom and mercy— created us that way. Allah made worship good and beneficial for us, from both a worldly and spiritual perspective.

Why did Allah create us to worship Him?

A question that follows the first is, “Why did Allah create us to worship Him?”

Allah is Al-Barr, The Source of All Good or The Greatest Benefactor. Allah’s actions are maximally good and wise. In addition, Allah loves good. As discussed in reason #1, Allah is deserving of worship by virtue of who He is; it is a necessary fact of His own existence. Allah deserving of worship is an eternal and ultimate truth. It is also the greatest good (shirk, as previously discussed, is the greatest evil). Allah created us to worship Him because Allah loves good and wants good for us. Since worshipping Allah is the greatest good it is obvious Allah would want us to worship Him. This, however, does not imply that Allah needs us to worship Him. Remember, Allah is deserving of worship, and worship is the greatest good, because of who He is and not due to any need.

An interesting answer to this question refers to life being a test. Allah creating rational creatures who would be tested to freely choose to worship Him and do good, some to the point of becoming exalted in virtue like the prophets, and then being given eternal life in the presence of Allah, to pass an eternity of intimate love and companionship, is the greatest story ever told. Since Allah is Al-Barr and loves good, it is clear why He would make this story a reality. In other words, our existence and living out this great story is a manifestation of Allah’s names and attributes.

Another way of answering this question is to understand that our knowledge is fragmentary and finite, so we will never be able to fathom the totality of Allah’s wisdom. If we comprehended all of Allah’s wisdom, it would mean our wisdom is comparable to Allah’s. This is impossible and such a notion is shirk. Hence, the very fact that there may be no answer to this question indicates the transcendence of Allah’s knowledge and wisdom. It is important to note that not being able to answer this question does not in any way undermine the truth of tawheed or that Allah is the only Deity deserving of worship. In summary, Allah created us to worship Him due to His eternal wisdom, we just cannot comprehend why.

A practical way of looking at this question is explained in the following illustration. Imagine you were on the edge of a cliff and someone pushed you into the ocean below. This water is infested with sharks. However, the one who pushed you gave you a waterproof map and an oxygen tank to be able to navigate via safe areas in order to reach a beautiful tropical island where you will stay forever in bliss. If you were intelligent, you would use the map and reach the safety of the island. However, being stuck on the question Why did you throw me in here? will probably mean you are eaten by the sharks. For the Muslim, the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions are the map and the oxygen tank. They tell us how to navigate the path of life safely. We have to know, love and obey Allah, and dedicate all acts of worship to Him alone. Fundamentally we have the choice of harming our own self by ignoring this message, or embracing the love and mercy of Allah by accepting it.

How can a Loving God send people to hell?

How can a loving God send people to hell?

The correct question in the context of Islamic theology is: Why does someone choose hell over a loving Lord? This post will explain why.

“This is for what your hands have done. And Allah is never unjust to [His] creation.”[1]

A detractor of what has been mentioned so far in this series may say, ‘You say that we should love Allah because He is the Benefactor of all humanity, but clearly this is not the case – He throws the disbelievers in Hell! How can you love anybody who would put somebody into a fire for all eternity?’

This objection is more broadly referred to as ‘The Problem of Hell’ by theologians. Considering that it represents a common rejoinder by atheists and a frequent doubt in the minds of less knowledgeable Muslims, it requires addressing and dismantling so that Muslims will be able to approach Allah with complete confidence in His status as a maximally loving, benevolent Lord.

The first thing to point out is that the question itself is flawed – it does not reflect an accurate understanding of Islamic theology. This question, ‘How can a loving God send people to Hell?’ is flawed because it assumes that Allah bears sole responsibility for people going to Hell, when in fact, it is the decisions people make that lead them to their own destruction. A better question to ask in the context of Islamic theology, would be, ‘Why would anybody choose Hell over a Loving Lord?’.

Allah expressly states that He does not desire His servants to go astray: He has created us to be His servants, not to spend our lives in futile rebellion against Him. He seeks intimacy and closeness with all of His human servants and does not desire them to suffer the consequences of evil. This is clarified in a verse in Sūrah al-Zumar, in which Allah states:

“If you disbelieve, then Allah is truly not in need of you, nor does He approve of disbelief from His servants. But if you become grateful, He will appreciate that from you. No soul burdened with sin will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you of what you used to do. He certainly knows best what is in the heart.”[2]

Exegetes commenting on this verse have explained that Allah ultimately wants and desires His servants to be guided – their disbelief is not something He approves or is pleased with. He desires us to enter the Gardens of Paradise, where we may dwell in perpetual closeness with Him and look upon the glory of His Face. Abū Suʿūd, the first Shaykh al-Islām of the Ottoman Empire and a masterful exegete of the Qur’an writes in his tafsīr that Allah desires this not for His own sake – He does not gain anything from the gratitude and obedience of His servants – but for the sake of humanity. He yearns for them to be grateful because it is the cause of their ultimate success and happiness in this world and the next.[3] Allah truly and sincerely has a loving-mercy (rahmah) for each one of His servants and seeks the best for them, and although they may eventually spurn and reject that love, He is still overjoyed whenever they take a step towards Him. This is expressed in the following Hadith collected in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim:

Anas reported: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘Allah is more delighted at the repentance of His servant than one of you who lost his riding animal on a journey in a barren land while it carries his food and drink. He loses all hope as he comes to a tree to lie down in its shade, despairing over his animal, but suddenly he finds it standing over him. He takes hold of its reins and then he greatly rejoices, saying: ‘O Allah, You are my servant and I am your Lord!’ He makes a mistake due to his great joy.”[4]

This happiness of Allah does not come from a place of neediness or dependency on His servants – He is entirely free of need of His servants, and their belief is only to their benefit. As such, this Hadith instead indicates the overwhelming desire Allah has to guide His servants to Him. However, part of what makes humanity human is that we have the freedom to choose between obedience and disobedience. If we did not have the ability to disobey, we would be no different from the Angels. Sūrah al-Aḥzāb describes how all of creation was offered an amānah (trust), but only humanity accepted.[5] The early exegete Abū al-Muẓaffar al-Samʿānī collected a number of opinions from the Salaf (pious predecessors) as to what this trust entailed: according to Ibn ʿAbbās, it was the obligations of Islam, while according to al-Ḍaḥḥāk, it was obedience to Allah, and according to Ibn Masʿūd, it was performance of the ṣalāh.[6] All these aforementioned narrations have in common that man was responsible for willingly submitting to Allah and placing his Lord over his desires. This is what distinguishes us from animals and allows us to grow closer to Allah than any other creation.

Free Will

While this awesome responsibility may indeed lead man to the heights of spiritual closeness and ultimately to Paradise, this is no guarantee, and there is a heavy risk entailed by accepting this amānah. ‘Those who seek Paradise’, writes the famed British-Muslim convert Charles Le Gai Eaton, ‘walk a tightrope over hell; the greater the prize, the greater the risk.’[7] Free will gives us a profound opportunity to surpass the Angels in sincere devotion to Allah. However, it also represents the possibility of becoming more heedless than the beasts of the Earth. Chimpanzees and hippopotamuses may do disgusting things, but they lack the intellect to do otherwise – a human being who has been given a heart and a mind to recognise the truth of Islam yet chooses to follow his desires in place of them is far more reprehensible. We must recognise the awful reality of kufr for what it is. Kufr is not merely an innocent state of not knowing about Islam – it is the wilful rejection of the truth and the purposeful decision to remain in heedlessness rather than bear witness to the bayyināt [evidences] that Allah has revealed. This is true both of committed atheists and those who associate partners with Allah, as the Qur’an declares, “The truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Indeed, falsehood is bound to vanish.”[8] If somebody is sincere in pursuit of truth, and comes to Allah with humility, he or she will be shown the proof of Islam’s veracity, for the truth has been established.

Accordingly, to reject this truth by associating partners with Allah or disbelieving in Him is the gravest of all sins with the gravest of consequences. As previously discussed in this series, nothing can compare to the magnitude of disobedience represented by shirk. While it outwardly represents a negation of Allah, in truth, He can never be negated. C.S. Lewis, although he was a Christian, accurately observed that “a man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”[9] Shirk instead represents the very negation of our own human purpose – to be the vicegerents of Allah who live in submission to Him. “Hell,” writes Gai Eaton, “is the reply to the rim that makes itself the centre, or to the multitude which usurps the Glory of Unity; it is the reply of Reality to the ego which wants to be absolute.”[10] Unless repented for before the hour of one’s death, this absolute rejection can never be forgiven by Allah. However, in His Mercy, He does not hold us to the same standard for acts of ‘lesser shirk’, such as showing off one’s good deeds or putting worldly authority before the Divine Authority. Moreover, His Mercy is so vast that while we would close our hearts to the possibility of forgiving a murderer or a rapacious burglar, He is ever-awaiting the repentance of even those who commit this most heinous of sins, eager to forgive them and transform their transgressions into good deeds, as indicated by the following passage from Sūrah al-Furqān:

“They are those who do not invoke any other god besides Allah, nor take a human life—made sacred by Allah—except with legal right, nor commit fornication. And whoever does any of this will face the penalty. Their punishment will be multiplied on the Day of Judgment, and they will remain in it forever, in disgrace. As for those who repent, believe, and do good deeds, they are the ones whose evil deeds Allah will change into good deeds. For Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”[11]

Because of this, those who meet their Lord as disbelievers have not only rejected Allah in a momentary, temporal sense. They have eternally rejected Him, such that if they were to be given life for countless aeons, they would still not accept Islam. They have closed the doors of God’s mercy, choosing alienation from the Divine in favour of closeness. As such, on the Day of Judgement, the disbelievers, desperate to save themselves from the horrors they were given premonitions of in the grave, will ask Allah to return them to the world so that they might believe and do righteous deeds. Their pleas will be rejected, however, as the following verses indicate:

“If only you could see when they will be detained before the Fire! They will cry, ‘Oh! If only we could be sent back, we would never deny the signs of our Lord and we would be of the believers.’ But no! [They only say this] because the truth they used to hide will become all too clear to them. Even if they were to be sent back, they would certainly revert to what they were forbidden. Indeed, they are liars!”[12]

These verses indicate that Allah, the Knower of every possible reality, sees deep into the hearts of His servants and knows well when their hearts have become so corrupt that they would never accept His guidance. The closing of their hearts is not a failing on His part, as He sent countless opportunities for guidance throughout His servants’ lives. They, however, chose the path of darkness over the path of light, denying every last just and fair opportunity their Lord gave them to embrace His Mercy and Love. Allah speaks of the denizens of Hell in Sūrah Āl ʿImrān, stating that He “never wronged them, but they wronged themselves.”[13] Likewise, in the verse of Sūrah al-Anfāl quoted at the beginning of this chapter, Allah declares that He does not oppress His servants – if they meet a dreadful end, it is only a result of their own choices.

Ultimately, love would be rendered meaningless if it were forced. If we were absolutely compelled to love Allah to the extent that not a single soul disbelieved, it would be like having a gun put to our head and being forced to give charity. There would be no sincerity in such a deed, no love whatsoever. True love only comes with absolute freedom of choice, which humanity alone enjoys. We should also not fall into the mistake of thinking that because Allah punishes some of His servants, we should not hope to meet Him in the Next Life. There is nobody who would ever treat us better on that day than our Lord. The great scholar Sufyān al-Thawrī, who was one of the earliest exegetes of the Qur’an and a scholarly giant, famously stated, ‘If I were to choose between God and my mother to judge me on the Day of Judgement, I would choose God.’[14] He is the Most Loving and Gentle in this life and the life to come; no one will treat us better than Him.

The Islamic Paradigm of Justice and Mercy

While a complete treatment of the ‘Problem of Hell’ is outside the scope of this post, it is worth answering one further potential objection: ‘Why does Allah have to punish disbelievers at all? Could He not just forgive them or at least let them out of Hell after some time?’

The simple answer is that Allah is not only perfectly loving, He is The Just. The punishment fits the crime. As mentioned in our discussion on shirk, associating partners with Allah and denying Him is the gravest sin and most heinous crime. The idea of punishment is not controversial. Even the most liberal of detractors appreciate that actions have consequences both in social and legal contexts. The issue therefore is not the idea of punishment, but its severity and length. The duration and intensity of punishment is dependent on the nature of the crime. Eternal hell fits the crime of shirk. Detractors will argue that the punishment is too intense and lengthy. However, this is because they do not acknowledge the severity of shirk. (Please refer to our discussion on why shirk is the gravest sin and crime in the relevant previous post). In summary, hell is a manifestation of Allah’s maximal and perfect justice.

In fact Allah treating righteous people the same as wicked people is a violation of justice and renders moral good and evil as eschatologically meaningless. The Qur’an makes this clear:

“Or should We treat those who believe and do good like those who make mischief throughout the land? Or should We treat the righteous like the wicked?”[15]

Another perspective to address this detraction is to remember the fundamental purpose of our lives: to worship Allah. To be a servant of His is the only possible reason anything can exist at all, and even those who disbelieve and deny Him until the Day of Judgement nevertheless serve Him. The Qur’an reveals that everybody in creation has submitted to Allah:

“Do they desire a way other than Allah’s – knowing that all those in the heavens and the earth submit to His Will, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him they will be returned?”[16]

The Qur’an likewise informs us that “there is none in the heavens or the earth who will not return to the Most Compassionate in full submission.”[17] These passages indicate that, regardless of whether one follows the path of obedience that leads to Paradise or the path of rebellion that leads to perdition, all of humanity ultimately fulfils their purpose of being servants in submission to their Lord. The difference between those who enter Paradise and those who enter the Fire is that the former category demonstrates Allah’s names of Beauty, Gentleness, and Mercy. At the same time, those who are punished showcase the Divine Rigour. Our choice is not to glorify Allah or mock Him – no matter what we do, we will ultimately glorify Him. We are only given the choice to do so by becoming recipients of His Love and Mercy or His Justice and Retribution. Either way, the Glory of God is not diminished by the actions of His servants. Let us not forget that the purpose of existence is not for human beings to have a good time but to demonstrate the Greatness of Allah’s Names and Attributes.[18]

In relation to this idea that kufr may actually highlight God’s Perfection, consider this: if there were to be no Hell whatsoever, no punishment of the sinners nor retribution for the injustices of the worldly life, His names of Majesty would not be manifest. Hell makes known the names al-Muntaqim, the Avenger, al-ʿAdl, the Just, and al-Qahhār, the Subduer. The Last Judgement, however terrifying to witness, will nevertheless serve as the ultimate proof that Allah truly is Mālik al-Mulk, the King of all Dominion. As Muslims, we do not divide Allah into a pleasant and unpleasant deity as the Zoroastrians do – we accept both the Names of Majesty with reverence and the Names of Beauty with adoration. Our Prophet ﷺ has reassured us that Allah’s Mercy ultimately prevails over His Wrath,[19] and the Qur’an repeatedly states that the believers will neither fear nor grieve on the day they meet their Lord.[20]

Furthermore, it is essential to recognise that our theology does not necessarily prescribe a simplistic, black-and-white eschatology wherein everybody who ostensibly appears Muslim is necessarily saved, and everybody who does not have the funeral prayer performed over them is doomed. Rather, the Islamic tradition is replete with nuanced theological discussions concerning the fate of non-Muslims. An authentic narration reported by both Imam Aḥmad and Ibn Ḥibbān t makes it exceedingly clear that those who meet their Lord without sufficient knowledge of Islam are given another test, as the primary test of this worldly life did not apply to them. The narration in question reads:

Al-Aswad ibn Sari’ reported: The Prophet ﷺ said, “There are four kinds of people on the Day of Resurrection: a deaf man who cannot hear anything, a mad man, a senile man, and a man who died in the period before Islam. The deaf man will say: O Lord, Islam came and I could not hear anything. The madman will say: O Lord, Islam came and the children threw filth at me. The senile man will say: O Lord, Islam came and I could not understand anything. The man who died before Islam will say: O Lord, there was no messenger from You who came to me. Allah will make them promise to obey Him. Then, He will command them to enter the fire. By the one in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if they enter the fire, it will become cool and peaceful.”[21]

While those who heard the message of Islam in a pure and undistorted manner, clearly understanding the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah, and nevertheless reject it will find themselves held to account for their purposeful denial of the truth, matters are somewhat more complicated when a person dies outside of Islam without having fully heard the message. This Hadith demonstrates that while somebody could be legally considered a kāfir in the sense that they did not believe in Islam and they would be buried as non-Muslims, ultimately, Allah’s Justice necessitates that their fate is decided in a manner that reflects the guidance they received during this worldly life. Allah is maximally Merciful and perfectly Just, so those with a legitimate excuse for their lack of faith will be given a second chance. This is not some fringe opinion or modern interpretation of theology but is found throughout the discussions of Muslim theologians throughout the centuries. The term fatrah (the period before Islam) is not limited to those born before Islam in these discussions but rather encompasses anybody who is genuinely unaware of the truth of Islam.[22]

Perhaps one of the most intriguing discussions concerning this topic can again be found in the writings of our oft-quoted Imam al-Ghazālī, who discussed extensively the possible fate of non-Muslims in the life to come. He argued that those who did not hear the message of Islam would be excused for their disbelief. He believed that those living in the farthest reaches of the Byzantine Empire and the Turks who had not yet heard the call of Islam would ultimately be excused for their ignorance.[23] Moreover, even those who had heard about Islam, yet only heard about it in a distorted form in which the character of the Prophet g is derided and his true message is covered up entirely, are to be considered as living within the fatrah. Imam al-Ghazālī writes:

,b>These people knew the name ‘Muhammad’, but nothing of his character or his qualities. Instead, all they heard since childhood is that a liar and imposter called ‘Muhammad’ claimed to be a prophet… This party, in my opinion, is like the first party. For even though they’ve heard his name, they heard the opposite of what his true qualities were. And this does not provide enough incentive for them to investigate [his true status].[24]

Considering this, it is apparent that our religion is not one of black-and-white, non-negotiable, and self-righteous divisions between believers and non-believers. While certain extremist groups have indeed championed this approach, the ‘ideological hardness’ they represent is a reflection of the modern tendency to ‘otherize’ unfamiliar groups while rigidly clinging to their personal sense of identity. This otherizing goes far beyond simply acknowledging that people belong to different groups and instead occurs when people begin to view another group through the negative lens of sū’ al-ẓann (namely, ill-thinking) and believe that every member of that group is equally wicked. Ultimately, the process of otherization results in the hardening of hearts and the death of empathy, rendering positive engagement with other people nearly impossible. Authentic Islam, as conveyed through the classical tradition, does not otherize people. It does not assert that everybody who is not a Muslim is irrevocably damned or evil. The Qur’an speaks of the People of the Book as being “not all alike” and even describes some of them as “upright”,[25] and this principle can be extended to the believers and indeed all humanity: some people have righteous traits; some do not. Nevertheless, Islam teaches that every human should be treated with mercy, compassion, and fairness. Considering this, and considering the incomprehensibly vast Mercy and Justice of Allah , let us thus trust in the Love and Mercy of our Lord and perform acts of obedience to display our love for Him, calling humanity to the path of Islam in the most wise and gentle of ways.

[1] Qur’an 8:51.

[2] Qur’an 39:7.

[3] Abū Suʿūd al-ʿAmādī, Irshād al-ʿAql al-Salīm ilā Mazāyā al-Kitāb al-Karīm (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, n.d.), vol. 7, p. 244.

[4] Muslim al-Nīsābūrī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 4, p. 104 (no. 2747).

[5] Qur’an 8:72.

[6] Abū al-Muẓaffar al-Samʿānī, Tafsīr al-Samʿānī (Riyadh: Dār al-Waṭan, 1997), vol. 4, p. 311.

[7] Charles Le Gai Eaton, Islam and the Destiny of Man (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985), p. 58.

[8] Qur’an 17:81.

[9] C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Macmillan Paperbacks, 1967), p. 23.

[10] Charles Le Gai Eaton, “What We Are and Where We Are,” Studies in Comparative Religion 8, no. 3 (1974): p. 167.

[11] Quran 25: 68-70.

[12] Qur’an 6:27-28

[13] Qur’an 3:117

[14] Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī al-Ḥārithī, Qūt al-Qulūb fī Muʿāmalah al-Maḥbūb (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 2005), vol. 1, p. 357.

[15] Qur’an 38:38

[16] Qur’an 3:83

[17] Qur’an 19:93

[18] Ṣadr al-Sharīʿah al-Aṣghar discusses this in relation to the assertion that it is morally repugnant for Allah to misguide people. See: Ṣadr al-Sharīʿah, Taʿdīl al-ʿUlūm, vol. 1, p. 392.

[19] Muslim al-Nīsābūrī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 4, p. 107 (no. 2751).

[20] Qur’an 2”262; 3: 170; 10:62.

[21] Ibn Ḥanbal, Musnad Aḥmad, vol. 26, p. 228 (no. 16301).

[22] Abdal Hakim Murad, “The Last Trump Card: Islam and the Supersession of Other Faiths,” Studies in Interreligious Dialogue 9 (1992): 149.

[23] Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, al-Fayṣal al-Tafrīqah bayna al-Islām wa al-Zandaqah (Damascus: Muhammad Bejou, 1999), p. 84.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Qur’an 3:113.

Everyone worships a 'deity'

Everyone worships a ‘deity’

Human beings cannot not worship. If we are not worshipping Allah, we are still worshipping something else. You do not need to believe in God, or have a religion, to worship. As mentioned in one of the first posts in this series, worship entails loving Allah the most, unconditionally obeying Him and directing all acts of worship—the internal and external actions—to Allah alone. From this we can create a universal formula. The object or thing that we love the most, obey or refer to the most, and the object or thing that we express gratitutde or praise to the most is our deity; our object of worship.

Allah refers to worshipping other ‘gods’ or ‘deities’ in various places in the Qur’an:

“Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire? Then would you be responsible for him?” Qur’an 25:43

“They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allāh, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.” Qur’an 9:31

These ‘deities’ can be our own egos and desires, or ephemeral things like material possessions. Not only do some of us self-worship, we also worship various forms of social pressures, ideas, norms and cultures. They become our point of reference, we start to love them the most and are led to ‘obey’ them unconditionally.

We should ask ourselves the following questions: what do I love the most? What do I obey or refer to the most? What do I express ultimate gratitutde or extensive prauise towards the most? The answer to these questions is our object of worship. The object or thing may change over time, there may even be a many things on our list of love, obedience and gratitude. We usually have a hierarchy of competing things, nevertheless there will always be something that we love and obey the most, and something that we express ultimate gratitutde or extensive praise to.

Take extreme nationalism as an example. Some people love their nation more than anything, to the degree that it breaks the ties of natural love or affection between family members and other human beings. They also obey the dictates of their nationalist ideology or nationalist thinkers. Some people do this unconditionally, blindly and intensely. They also express ultimate gratitude to their nation, more than anything else that deserves gratitude. At times they will misplace this gratitude, giving thanks to the nation when in reality it is due to something else. Some will also extensively praise their nation, relevant figures heads and leaders more than anything else that is worthy of praise. For these people, nationalism becomes their object of worship.

Allah presents a profound illustration that shows we either worship the One deserving of worship or other ‘deities’ that are undeserving and unworthy of worship:

“Allah sets forth the parable of a slave owned by several quarrelsome masters, and a slave owned by only one master. Are they equal in condition? Praise be to Allah! In fact, most of them do not know.” Qur’an 39:29

If we are not worshipping Allah we end up worshipping something else. These things enslave us and they become our masters. The Qur’anic illustration is teaching us that without Allah, we have many ‘masters’ and they all want something from us. They are all ‘at odds with each other’, and we end up in a state of misery, confusion and unhappiness. However, Allah, who knows everything, including our own selves, and who has more mercy than anyone else, is telling us that He is our master, and that only by worshipping Him alone will we truly free ourselves from the shackles of the things we have taken as replacements for Him.

As discussed in this series, Allah is the only One deserving of worship. From an existential perspective, worshipping Allah is true liberation. Worshipping Allah liberates us from the ephemeral nature of worshipping things not deserving of worship. The word for soul in Arabic use in the Qur’an is rūh. The linguistic root of this word also means mercy, bounty and to rest.[1] From this perspective our souls can only find mercy, abundance and ease in worshiping Allah, otherwise our souls become enslaved to the false deities that are undeserving of our humble adoration.

To conclude, humbly adoring and worshipping Allah and peacefully submitting to Him frees us from the degraded worship of the ephemeral world and the lustful submission to the carnal and egotistical realities of the human condition. The following lines of poetry by the Poet of the East, Muhammad Iqbal, eloquently summarises this point:

“This one prostration which you deem too exacting liberates you from a thousand prostrations.”[2]

[1] Badawi, Esaid M., and Abdel Haleem, Muhammad. (2008) Arabic-English Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage. Brill: Leiden, p. 387.

[2] Cited in Riffat, H. (1968) The Main Philosophical Idea in the Writings of Muhammad Iqbal (1877 – 1938). Durham theses, Durham University. Available at:

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Hamza Andreas Tzortzis is the founder and CEO of Sapience Institute. He is the author of the best-selling book: “The Divine Reality: God, Islam and The Mirage of Atheism”, which has been translated into over 10 languages. He has co-authored “Unveiling Tyranny: The Genocide in Gaza & False Zionist Narratives on Palestine”. Hamza has an MRes, MA and a PgCert in Philosophy from the University of London. He is currently pursuing his PhD on the Qur’ān and its verses pertaining to nature. He has studied Islamic Thought and Theology under qualified scholars.

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