The Right of Allah (SWT): Commentary on Imam Sajjad’s (A.S) Treaties of Right
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
فأَمَّا حَقُّ اللهِ الأَكْبَرُ فَإنَّكَ تَعْبُدُهُ لا تُشْرِكُ بهِ شَيْئاً، فَإذَا فَعَلْتَ ذَلِكَ بإخلاصٍ جَعَلَ لَكَ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ أَنْ يَكفِيَكَ أَمْرَ الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَيَحْفَظَ لَكَ مَا تُحِبُّ مِنْهَما
The Right of Allah (SWT)
The most significant right of God against human beings is that they worship God without associating anything with the Almighty. If people worship God with sincerity (Ikhlas), Allah (SWT) will fulfill their needs in this world and the Hereafter; and He preserves for them what they love.
Allah (SWT) is the Creator and the Lord of the universe, and the whole universe is indebted to God for its existence. Hence, Allah’s (SWT) right against us is the most significant one, and Imam Sajjad (AS) recounts it before mentioning the rights of others.
The Imam (AS) mentions three points:
- Allah’s (SWT) right against us is worshipping God and not considering a partner for God.
- The worship of Allah (SWT) is efficacious if it is done with sincerity and devotion.
- Allah (SWT) will suffice for the affairs of the servant who has worshipped God with sincerity and devotion.
An explanation of these points are as follows:
Allah (SWT) is the creator and the Lord of the universe. God manages and oversees the affairs of the creatures. God has blessed us with immense bounties and blessings, which the human beings are unable to count . Hence, we praise and glorify Allah (SWT) and appreciate God for infinite bounties and favors.
Allah (SWT) is the perfect being with the best names and attributes . Worshipping God brings us closer to God, and closeness to God instill noble traits in our character : Worshipping Allah (SWT) is intertwined with our nature ; God’s worship brings to our focus the purpose of our creation . The Quran emphasizes that those who fail to worship Allah (SWT) lose their sense of purpose in the universe .
Most Americans (90%) believe in some higher power, with 56% professing faith in God as described in the Bible. Another 33% believe in another type of higher power or spiritual force. Only 1 in 10 Americans say they do not believe in God or a higher power of any kind. Anyhow, those who fail to worship Allah (SWT) forget their purpose of existence in the universe .
The Imam (AS) stated that we should worship Allah (SWT) without polytheism. According to jurists and theologians, polytheism in worship is of two types:
- To worship idols or creatures such as the moon, sun, and stars instead of Allah (SWT). This type of polytheism was prevalent at the rise of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.
- To worship as a means of showing off to others, which is deemed hypocrisy in worship.
Prophet (PBUH) said:
من صلّى مراعاةً للنّاس فهوَ مُشرك ومَنْ زكى مراعاةً للناس فهو مشرك… ولا يتقبل الله عزّ وجلّ عمل مراء
Whoever prays or gives zakat hypocritically is a polytheist, and Allah (SWT) does not accept the act of a polytheist.
We should refrain from any ill intentions in worship, such as showing off. It is an unrealistic expectation that Allah (SWT) would accept a deed that has been done for the sake of others. The Quran does not allow the polytheists to maintain places of worship; this duty is preserved only for believers. One might ask why polytheists were forbidden from taking care of Masjid Al-Haram, which is an otherwise honorable action.
The reason was given that the intentions of the polytheists were tainted. They wanted to maintain the Masjid either for their own idols or for the sake of showing off. In the third part of his speech, the Imam (AS) says, Allah (SWT) will suffice in both worlds for the servant who worships God sincerely with devotion and renounces anything other than God. The Quran clearly states “Allah (SWT) who is the (continual) Provider, the firm Possessor of Strength.”
The text is based on “Commentary on Imam al-Sajjad’s (AS) Treaties of Right” by Grand Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani.
Verse of the Quran cited in the text
﴾١٨﴿وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
16:18 And if you should count the favors of Allah (SWT), you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah (SWT) is Forgiving and Merciful.
وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ ۚ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ ﴾ ١٨٠﴿
7:180 And to Allah (SWT) belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning God’s names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.
١٣٨﴾ صِبْغَةَ اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ صِبْغَةً ۖ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ عَابِدُونَ ﴿
2:138 (We take our) color from Allah (SWT), and who is better than Allah (SWT) at coloring. We are God’s worshippers.
﴾١٩٠ ﴿إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَٰذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ ﴾١٩١﴿
3:190 Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.
3:191 Who remember Allah (SWT) while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.
﴾١٩ ﴿وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
59:19 And be not like those who forgot Allah (SWT), so God made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.
مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يَعْمُرُوا مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ شَاهِدِينَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِم بِالْكُفْرِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ وَفِي النَّارِ هُمْ خَالِدُونَ﴿١٧﴾
﴾ ١٨ ﴿إِنَّمَا يَعْمُرُ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَلَمْ يَخْشَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ ۖ فَعَسَىٰ أُولَٰئِكَ أَن يَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِينَ
9:18 It is not for the polytheists to maintain the mosques of Allah (SWT) [while] witnessing against themselves with disbelief. [For] those, their deeds have become worthless, and in the Fire they will abide eternally.
9:20 The Mosques of Allah (SWT) are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day and establish prayer and give Zakah and do not fear except Allah (SWT), for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided.
﴾٥٨ ﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ
51:58 Indeed, it is Allah (SWT) who is the (continual) Provider, the firm Possessor of Strength.
 An-Nahl, 16:18
 Al-A’araf 7:180
 Al-Baqrah 2:138
 Ref: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/25/key-findings-about-americans-belief-in-god/
 Aal-e-Imran 3:190-194
 Al-Hashr 59:19
 Al-Hashr 59:19
 (Tafsir Noor al-Thaqalayn , Vol.3, P. 314)
 At-Tawbah 9:17
 At-Tawbah 9:18
 Adh-Dhariyat 51:58