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Lesson Forty: Obstacles to Obedience ( Part II )
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Obstacles to Obedience.
Intention and Obedience

Last but not least, to obey, serve and worship Allah (S.W.A) is a duty we owe ourselves. Let us consider man as one of our articles of convenience, for example, a car. If mankind serves, worships and obeys Allah (S.W.A), he/she is like a well-maintained, comfortable and running car. If otherwise, disobedient – fornicates, uses foul language, drinks alcohol, rushes headlong into all that is forbidden; not serving – miserly, cruel and rude, wasteful, unhelpful; and not worshiping – no salah, no fasting, no prayer for help (du’a), no praising Allah (S.W.A)(dhikr )– the saying subhannalah, alhmdullillah wa laillaha illahllah Allahu Akbar)­, then man is like a broken down car rusting in a junkyard. If cars were to speak, I think they would have very much-preferred running for their owners to rusting in a cold junkyard – unprotected from acid rain. To serve, to obey and to worship Allah (S.W.A) must be something we do with our hearts lovingly. It is what makes us human. It is what makes us feel whole. To obey, to serve and to worship Allah (S.W.A) is to steer our lives in the natural right direction; hence it is stress free. It must become our preoccupation and a basis in all our actions. We must never flinch in that our duty for it is what justifies our humanity - making us the greatest of all creation – Allah (S.W.A)’s deputies on earth. Any act of kindness, love, or care, one to another and to all life done with the intention of serving , worshiping,or obeying Allah (S.W.A) counts as a good deed and its immediate reward is to make us feel great inside. The act may be as simple as watering a plant; it will still enhance the good feeling within us. This is so because goodness is food for the soul within us. The soul is naturally inclined to obedience, service and worship of its creator. On the contrary, acts of disobedience or evil deeds make the soul or us feel guilty; this is so because the soul understands that it has steered off course; took a wrong turn. When we do good, the soul is satisfied and happy, so it blossoms and grows. Also when we worship Allah (S.W.A) it is still a source of pride and happiness to the soul. Knowing that it has performed the five compulsory prayers of the day, fills the soul with satisfaction, and satisfaction is sold happiness. Note: To be able to reap these rewards, we must serve, obey and worship Allah (S.W.A) in a certain way. When we worship, we must not do it ritualistically. We must do it with our souls such as good singers and good dancers do. We must understand what we are saying, mean it, believe in it;  let it flow through our souls; not only think about it in our heads; and then address it to the one worshipped – Allah (S.W.A). Any behavior or action that we exhibit or do that supports continuity of life on earth, is good for the soul, but if done with the intention to obey, serve and worship Allah (S.W.A), it will earn the soul eternal life of happiness. Some people have done so well for humanity that they are remembered for all ages and all times. Allah (S.W.A) confirms:

“I have only created jinns and men that they serve me ( 51:56)

No sustenance do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed me (51:57).

For Allah is He who gives sustenance – Lord of power – steadfast (51:58)”

Those who have faith and do righteous things – they are the best of creatures (98:7)

Those who reject (faith) among the people of the book and among the polytheists, will be in hellfire, to dwell therein; they are the worst of creatures (98:6)

You have heard of great people, yeah? Every one of them is made by the deeds of obedience, worship and service to Allah (S.W.A) in one way or another. A point to remember, though, is that if we fail in our duty to our creator, His junkyard or dustbin or garbage disposal, whatever you may call it, is an incinerator. In His own words:

“But those who disobey Allah, and his messenger, and transgress his limits will be admitted to a fire, to abide therein: and they shall have a humiliating punishment (4:14)”

Allah (S.W.A) advises us that if we cannot obey, serve or worship Him out of love for Him, then at least we must do so out of fear for his incinerator.

“They shall have layers of fire above them and layers below them: with this does Allah warn off His servants: ‘ Oh my servants! Then fear you Me! (39:16).”

 Serving, Obeying and worshiping Allah (S.W.A) elevate us to what truly makes us special persons. It is a feeling - a comforting good feeling; a feeling of contentment with life.  Allah (S.W.A) speaks:

Is the man who follows the good pleasure of Allah like the man who draws on himself the wrath of Allah, and whose abode is in hell? – an woeful refuge (3:162)

They are in varying degrees in the sight of Allah, and Allah sees well all that they do (3:163)

It is a rare occurrence that a man or woman who serves God commits suicide (being a faithful servant Allah (S.W.A), he/she is spared from fear, dispair and grief0 . My dear friends, it is all up to us. If we want to feel like princess and princesses at all times, we must endeavor to obey, serve and worship Allah (S.W.A). People mistakenly feel that to be royalty is the greatest thing of all; it comes with power, honor, enjoyment and happiness – wrong! Truly, what makes people royalty; feel like royalty, is their effort to serve God, worship Him and obey Him. No matter how materially/socially successful we may be, when we do things short of obedience to Allah (S.W.A), we feel like paupers at heart -
 at one time or another. Think about it, “What can make the rich miserable and addicted to stimulants and in some cases commit suicide, and the paupers merry?” You will find that the misery of the rich and the happiness of the pauper are the result of the effort made by the two to obey, serve and worship their creator. My dear friends, to serve Allah (S.W.A) is only natural and a necessity to human life just as breathing, eating and sleeping. Allah (S.W.A) reassures us that His aim for our creation was and still is for us to serve, to worship and to obey Him. It is never His aim to punish us. Allah (S.W.A) speaks: 

What can Allah gain by your punishment if you are grateful and you believe? Nay, it is Allah that recognizes all good, and knows all things (4:147).”

Although it is not Allah (S.W.A)'s desire to punish us, if we become rebels and deviate from His religion,He will not hesitate to get rid of us.Do not even think that Allah (S.W.A) will miss us or will lose when He dumps us in His incinerator; no, not really. When we disobey Him, the loss is completely our own.  How many times do we miss our dumped useless property, especially, that which has been difficult to use? Even when we sometimes miss an article that has become useless', getting a replacement normally closes the memory of the old. Consider these verses:

“Say: ‘Travel through the earth and see how Allah did originate creation; so will Allah create a later creation: for Allah has power over all things (29:20)

He punishes whom he pleases and he grants mercy to whom he pleases and towards him will be your return (29:21).

Not on earth nor in heaven will you be able (to flee) to frustrate (Allah’s plan), nor have you besides Allah, any protector or helper (29:22).”

My friends, we are at the receiving end as regards Allah (S.W.A)’s duty. There is no compromise here; it is an 'either or' kind of situation. Either we choose Him and we obey, serve and worship Him, or we choose His incinerator and we live by our own mandates, desires and passions - the choice is ours, but choose carefully with good understanding of the situation! Safety is to obey Allah (S.W.A), serve Him, worship Him and then ask Him for the grace to keep us focussed on His duty.