Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Verses 131 & 132
Verses 131 & 132
When his Lord said to him, "Submit", he said "I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds." (Chapter 2: Verse 131)
It is worth noting that God did not say to Abraham ‘submit to me’ nor ‘submit to your Lord’ rather He, almighty, only said 'Submit.' This is because submission is to God alone and no one else. Thus, Abraham understood and said in response: ‘I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds.’ Abraham knew that he was not alone in the universe, and he understood that by submitting to God's will, he becomes in harmony with the entire creation around him. The heavens and the earth, and everything in between follows God's will. Thus, if you choose to follow your Lord's teachings, you become aligned in tranquillity with the entire universe. This is truly the pinnacle of wisdom and sound judgement because when submit to Allah, you entrust your affairs to the All Wise who knows you best, the Possessor of all strength who does not treat unjustly, the All-Competent whose power never ceases, the Almighty whom no one can overcome, and the Provider of every provision and blessing.
Since the time of Adam, the only true religion in the sight of God is submitting one’s will to Him. How do you surrender your will to God? It is when you make your life choices, and exercise your freewill in accordance to God's teachings. When you speak, you speak the truth because God likes the truth; and when you work, you do your job to perfection because God does not like cheating people out of their trust and money. Allah wants you to make these choices out of love and thought for Him. When Allah calls on you to give part of your wealth to the poor, you rush to do so knowing that in God’s command is your best interest in this world and the next. Allah, after all, does not gain from, nor is He harmed by your actions. Submission is most symbolized by placing your forehead on the ground during the act of prostration in prayer.
Sadly, those who entrust their affairs to someone other than God are relying on a power that is likely to weaken or change. How many rich people have you seen go broke overnight? How many celebrities have you seen fall from grace because of one scandal? A powerful person helping you today may not be here tomorrow. Allah described the person who turns away from the Lord, and entrusts others with his or her affairs as one making a fool of him or herself as the following verse shows:
And who turns away from Abraham's religion except who made himself a fool?
In the next verse of 'The Cow', we see that Abraham (peace be upon him) followed God's path but did not stop there. He wanted all his children and grandchildren to enjoy the same blessing. God says:
And Abraham and commanded his sons to do the same, as did Jacob: ‘My sons, God has chosen your religion for you, so make sure you do not die unless in the state of submission’ (Chapter 2: Verse 132)
The verb 'commanded' is translated from the Arabic origin ‘Wassa.’ 'Wasseya' are the instructions a person gives to his or her loved ones at the end of life. These last wishes are the essence of a person's life experience; the most honest and beneficial advise to his or her loved ones. These words -usually spoken when death approaches with certainty- revolve around what you want your loved ones to remember and adhere to. God says:
Or were you witnesses when the death came to Jacob, when he said to his sons and daughters :"What will you worship after me?" They said: "We will worship your God, and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac, the One God, and to Him do we submit."(02:133)
A person -whether a believer or not- loves his children most. We do not want anyone to be better than us in this world except our own children. We want them to inherit all the good we can give and more. Abraham instructed his children and Jacob instructed his children with the most valuable advice: ‘‘My sons, God has chosen your religion for you, so make sure you do not die unless in the state of submission’ Note that the instructions were not from Abraham himself nor Jacob's own, rather they were from Allah. Both Abraham and Jacob (peace be upon them) directed their children towards what God had chosen for them.
Let's look deeper into the instruction: 'so make sure you do not die unless in the state of submission.’ Logically, you should only ask someone to do something within his or her ability. Likewise, you should only ask someone not to do something if it is within his or her ability to avoid it. So, is it logical for Jacob to ask his children to die in a certain state? Can you ask someone to only die while in submission to God? No you cannot because no one can choose his or her moment of death. Death can overtake you at any time, in any place without notice. What Prophet Jacob meant to tell his children was: do not leave your faith even for a single moment, regardless of the circumstances. This is the only way to assure that you meet your lord in the state of devotion.
Allah conceals the time of your death, its place and cause, so that you prepare yourself for it regardless of your age, health, place or time. A poet once said:
If you are destined to be cured, then any medicine is helpful,
but if you are not to be cured, then the medicine might be what kills you