Believers around the world have certain rituals to fulfil ,these rituals are usually commands from the Divine and they become a common practice on a daily basis .The practice becomes so common that we fail to ponder on the meaning and tend to focus only on the way to perform it . For Muslims around the world it is no different than any other faith in terms of performing repetitive rituals without really knowing the significance of these instructions from Allah Almighty .For any young Muslim who is learning his first words of the Holy Quran would surely start by learning the opening chapter (Al Fatiha ),this is also applicable for new reverts as this chapter is essential for a prayer to be complete .This chapter is recited minimum 17 times a day and although it is only 7 verses and is considered among the shortest chapters in the Holy Quran but it has a significant value and meaning for Muslims .
Scholars across the globe have written volumes and volumes on only these 7 verses and each one of these volumes gives you an insight of this chapter that you have never thought of .Allah Almighty commands believers in many verses to contemplate on the meanings behind the words of the Holy Quran, while the majority of us just read these verses blindly and to prove this theory I am going to present only one word from this chapter and the ocean of meanings and massages that pour down to us from it .If you take a closer look at the second verse in the opening Chapter (Al Fatiha) we will read the following “ All praise is due to Allah the Lord of the worlds “ ,within this verse Almighty Allah has used a word which is very unique “ Rabb” and normally most of the translations of The Holy Quran translate this word into (Lord or Master ) which don’t really give a full meaning of the word .For every Lord or Master there should be a servant or slave , which brings us to two very important questions , what’s the difference between slaves and servants and are we slaves or servants of Allah?
Most of the people in today’s world might not distinguish between the two terminologies or might use them in the wrong context. A servant is the one who performs a certain task in return of a wage or a reward based on a mutual agreement with the Master ,while a slave is owned by the Master and does every single thing the Master commands with no wage in return and the slave has no power to do anything as he relies on the Master on all of his affairs .So with this we conclude that a servant has a higher status than a slave and has an advantage of choice in doing things while a slave don’t have a choice .
Going back to the question that arises in our minds on whether we are slaves or servants of Allah ,let us take this step by step .Allah Almighty is our creator , sustainer and is responsible for our protection , He and only He can give us life and take it away .He decides where we are to be born and who our parents should be , He provides us with wealth and health and for sure is the only one who answers our prayers when we ask Him, therefore we are His Slaves ,under His commands and we have to follow Him without expecting a return from Him or a reward . On the other hand we are also servants of Allah as we have a clear instruction on what we are supposed to do in this life which is indicated in many verses in the Holy Quran (Those who believe and do good deeds). Believing and doing good deeds is the description of tasks required by Allah for us to fulfil and we do get rewarded for doing these tasks .This is out of the mercy of Allah on us that we are rewarded for all the good things we do and we are even rewarded if you stop doing what He asks us to do , this can be explained in terms of He giving us good health and also provides for our substance regardless of our deeds .Almighty Allah even starts to pay us before our creation by choosing our parents for us and taking care of us when we are in our mother’s womb ,He gives us deeds in multiples beyond what we deserve which only indicates His Mercy on us . Our good deeds wipe out our bad deeds no matter how great they are without we asking for it .
Knowing this valuable information from this single word ( Rabb) is sufficient to live a life of devotion to Almighty Allah and fulfil all His commands .This will not only build a stronger relationship with our creator but it will also develop content in us that nothing is achieved in this world without the support of Allah .
By/Hatim Harith Al Abdissalaam