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“O you who believe! Keep from disobedience to God...” (Al ‘Imrān 3:102)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūrah Al ‘Imrān (The Family of ‘Imrān)

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يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

O you who believe! Keep from disobedience to God in reverent piety, with all the reverence that is due to Him, and see that you do not die save as Muslims (submitted to Him exclusively). (Al ‘Imrān 3:102)

Reverent piety towards God is directly proportional to ma‘rifatullah (knowledge of God). Hence, it can be said that all our information that does not contribute to our knowledge of God is little or nothing. Likewise, discussions, debates, questions and answers that do not help one’s acquisition of or increase in one’s knowledge of God may be considered as the waste of time and speech. Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, said: “God dislikes three things for you.”[1] He mentions asking lots of questions among these three things. As examples of such meaningless questions, he cites: “God has created this and that. Then, who has created God?”[2] We have been overwhelmed with such useless and meaningless debates, and we have further been pressed with “causality” to the extent that it is as if God were powerless and everything was occurring by itself or was being made to occur by physical causes according to the “law of causality.” Diseases such as cancer and AIDS have been presented as incurable and trust in or reliance on God has been destroyed in the hearts of people. Almost everyone has been infected with this malady to a certain extent. Therefore, we should have sufficient knowledge of the Divine Being with His Attributes, Names, and Acts along with an acquired conviction of the fact that He is absolutely free from being bound by any “law,” which He Himself has created, and it is He Who creates both causes and effects. We should also have conviction that He creates without using any causes if and when He wills to do so. After having sufficient knowledge about Him, we can study all other issues correctly and properly and come to understand that one that has been created cannot be a creator, and the question such as “Who has created God?” is therefore one of the most absurd questions that can be asked.

There are signs of entering the real path of “reverent piety,” some of which are: acting in awe of Him; avoiding causing gaps between our life and our goal to acquire awe of Him and reverent piety towards Him, which loyalty to Him requires; finding in every act, speech, and thought a passage to talk about Him; and contemplating on His innumerable bounties and the ways they reach us, thus encouraging ourselves and others to thank Him. This degree of “reverent piety” (taqwa), which also means leading such a life and thus being on the way to dying as pious Muslims, is a sign of being pleased with God and His being pleased with us, a pleasure with which the Prophets and their heirs in particular have been distinguished. In order to be able to attain such degree of piety and resignation to God, the Companions of our beloved Prophet, may God be pleased them all, worshipped God so much and so profoundly that their hands and feet formed calluses, and they became exhausted from their worship. Those Companions moved along their goal unceasingly. Filling the gaps caused by the worldly life with their sincerity or purity of intention and their intention to worship Him as much and perfectly as possible, they spent their life on the horizon of: “Keep from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety as far as you can” (At-Taghābun 64:16).

[1] Bukhārī, Zakah, 53; Muslim, Akdiyah 10, 13, 14; Muwattā’, Qalam 20; Musnad Ahmad, 2/327, 360.
[2] Abū Dāwūd, Sunnah, 18; Musnad Ahmad, 2/282, 317, 331, 539; 3/102; 5/214; 6/257. See also Bukhārī, Badu’l-Khalq, 11; Muslim, Īmān, 214.