Khalid Zaheer
“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i
MORE Q/A

Why do we need to submit to God ?

Question:
I understand the concept of thanking God for blessings. I believe we should thank God not just for prayers answered, but for everyday blessings in our lives that we may take for granted, such as the food we eat, the people in our lives, etc. I think that it's presumptive of a person to accept a gift from God, something for which someone has prayed, and not say "thank you" when that blessing has been realized.

However, I still ask why we need to bow before God, or submit to him. If we are sincerely grateful for our many blessings and sincerely thank God for them, why must we also submit? Also, in my mind there are many good people who do much great work in the world who don't submit to God. Isn't that
also enough? Isn't there praise and thanks enough for God when a person is, say, giving his or her life in an effort to help others who are less economically fortunate?
I look forward to our discussion of this issue and thank you sincerely for you effort and time in helping me to understand the great religion and beliefs of Islam.

Response:
What we learn from the Qur'an is the fact that God expects two things from humans:
i) that we be good humans and
ii) that we be good followers of His revealed message.
Both are from God and there is no conflict between the two. In fact, in the revealed message, God strongly emphasises the need to follow the moral law. While the moral appreciation in humans has been declared a 'light', the revealed law which asks for submission has been declared 'light upon light' in the Qur'an.

If an individual is performing morally well and he receives God's revelation, he is very likely to appreciate and embrace it because it originated from the same source as his moral law. However, if the divine revelation is being poorly presented there is every possibility that good people may not find affinity for it.

In other words, the moral light must normally get attracted towards the divine light. It is in the nature of good morality to look for more of it from God. Like an individual with good appetite looks for good food, a morally good person looks for more of the same light. If it is not happening, one of the two has gone corrupted.

During the times of the prophets the divine light is so bright that the moral light cannot miss it. During other times if the two are not converging, it is either the fault of the poor presentation of the divine message or the corruption in moral light that is causing the two not to come together.

Because the people who deny the prophets during their lifetime have no excuse to do so for they are guilty of denying the truth knowingly, they are called Kafir which is an expression for the condemned deniers of truth. Unfortunately, many Muslims call their non-Muslim brothers and sisters Kafir which reflects either ignorance or arrogance on their part. Their task was only to politely and intelligently inform them about God's message. Now that they are not doing it, it is for the just God to decide as which of the two groups is to be blamed for the fact that two lights are not converging.

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