Worship Him Alone Commentary By Adil Salahi
The Prophet, peace be upon him, often made concise statements that were far-reaching in significance. He was not given to verbosity. On the contrary, he always referred to broad subjects in the most precise and concise of manners. The Prophet, peace be upon him, refers to this as he says, “I have been gifted with comprehensive speech.” When we consider his Hadith from the point of view of literary merits and scope of expression, we find that his description is clearly accurate.On one occasion, he summed up the relationship between God and mankind in two short statements. Consider the following Hadith reported by Mu’ath ibn Jabal, a famous companion of the Prophet: “I was behind the Prophet, peace be upon him, on his mount when he said to me, ‘Mu’ath!’ I said: ‘I am at your service.’ He repeated this address three times and I replied in the same manner. He then said: ‘Do you know what right mankind owe to God? That they worship Him alone, associating no partners with Him.’ He traveled on for a while and then said to me: ‘Mu’ath!’ I said: ‘I am at your service.’ He said: ‘Do you know what people earn from God by right if they do that? That He would not put them to any suffering’.” [Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Al-Tirmithi and Abu Dawood]
This Hadith outlines in a most precise manner the essence of faith and what people merit if they truly believe. The fact that the Prophet, peace be upon him, addressed Mu’ath, who was one of the most learned companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, three times before saying anything about what he wanted to say served to make the addressee most attentive. It was clear that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was preoccupied with something of great importance. Hence, his companion was awaiting his communication with much interest. When the Prophet, peace be upon him, spoke, he certainly gave a highly important message, putting it in the clearest of terms. He stated something owed by all people to God, and described it as a right belonging to God Almighty. Moreover, the Prophet, peace be upon him, did not wait for his companion to say whether he knew the answer to his question; he gave the answer immediately. “People must worship God alone, associating no partners with Him.”
This is the basic and most fundamental principle of faith, which admits of no compromise whatsoever. A person may either believe in God’s oneness, or he may not. If he believes that all Godhead belongs to God alone, he must guard against any trace of polytheism, in any shape or form. The Prophet’s statement suggests that when people fulfill this condition, they meet the basic requirement of faith.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, left his companion to contemplate his statement for a while before he put to him another question. This time he asks whether he knows the result that people could expect. Again the Prophet, peace be upon him, describes this as a right which is owing to people for their fulfillment of their basic requirement. This right is that God would not punish them.