By Sikandar Azam
The Qur’ān speaks and speaks like nothing else. It addresses humans in groups as well as mankind as a whole. It is so because the very subject of the Book of God is man. A study of the Book makes it clear that God revealed it just to guide man to the Straight Way, the way away from all sorts of falsehood, the way treading which man can achieve success both here in this world and in the Hereafter.
In the Qur’ān, we see Surah al-Baqarah, as it starts opening the doors of success to man, talking of three kinds of man. One kind of man consists of those who respond to the call of God, believe in it and shape their life accordingly; the second kind of people reject the Divine Call outright as if they do not have eyes and ears to sift the right from the wrong; while the third kind of man is of those who are hypocrites, who say to believers that they are from among them but in fact, known for certain only to God, is that they want to sail on two boats. This discussion goes on from the very beginning till Ayat 20 of the Surah. Then in Ayat 21 onwards, the Qur’ān addresses mankind as a whole, exhorting people to open their mind to seek the way of success. This discussion goes on with mirrorlike clarity presenting arguments, one after another.
While inviting people to serve God alone i.e. without setting any partner with Him, the first argument the Qur’ān presents is that God is the Creator. That is, when God is the Creator, who else deserves our worship? The Qur’ān says very plainly but magnificently: “O mankind, worship your Lord who has created you and those who lived before you, so that you may become God-fearing.” (2:21)
But God is the Creator not only of the people of present time and of those who lived earlier. He is the Creator of the entire universe, a glimpse of which He shows in the very next Ayat: “He made the earth a couch for you, and the heavens a ceiling. He sent down water from the sky to bring forth fruits for your sustenance. Do not, then, knowingly set up equals to God.” (2:22)
God is the sole Creator of every thing and every being, the sole Sustainer and Provider of all that is in
the heavens and the earth – and the beauty is that He has created everything ‘for you’; then He alone must be worshipped. And the purpose of man’s worship of God is also defined here: that is, just to make man God-fearing. Thus, the need is that we study the Qur’ān with open mind for our own sake.