Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Verse 208..........Part 2
You who believe, enter wholeheartedly into submission to God and do not follow in Satan’s footsteps, for he is your sworn enemy. (Chapter 2: Verse 208)
Why submit to God? That seems to be a key question. Perhaps a more fitting question: Is there any person who is superior to you in every single way that he or she deserves to be followed? Do you have more to offer so people would follow you? We answer that in the laws of subordination, the subordinate has to be convinced that whoever he or she is following has far superior abilities, both physical and mental. But human beings can never have absolute superiority. Each one of us is talented in his or her way, and we all need one another to survive and thrive. Thus, the only logical answer is for all human beings to follow a power that is truly above them all. When every one of us believes and submits to God, we enter into peace and end all contradictions between powers. I am not subjected to you, and you are not subjected to me; you and I both surrender to a higher power. More importantly, the force you and I willingly follow does not need us. In other words, when God legislates, it is for our benefit and not His, so there is no exploitation or abuse.
Human legislators take into account their own interests when they set laws. The communist legislators set laws that serve them and antagonize other governing systems such as capitalism. Likewise, the capitalist legislator set laws to serve the elites and allow exploitation of resources. The only legislator that does not benefit from the laws He sets is God Almighty.
He says: ‘enter wholeheartedly into submission to God.’ In essence, Allah is issuing two invitations. First He is inviting all humanity to enter into Islam. Second, He is inviting the believers to embrace faith in its entirety without picking and choosing what they like and dislike. There is one common reason behind these two invitations: if we do not enter into Islam completely, then those who commit themselves to faith suffer from the actions of those who do not. A righteous person who does not lie or steal from others makes life easy for all those around him or her; while a corrupt person who lies and steals makes life miserable for those around him or her. Thus, in order for the entire society to be upright and live in happiness, every person must be committed to God’s teachings. People who do not understand this fact often misinterpret some verses from the Quran. Let’s take this verse as an example. God says:
O you who believe! Your responsibility is your selves. Those who go astray can do you no harm if you yourselves are guided. To God is the return of all of you, and He will make you understand all that you were doing. (05:105)
Contrary to what some people think, part of your own guidance and part of your faith is to invite others to join Islam. It is in your best interest for all those around you to become God conscious. If you commit yourself to God’s teachings, then the fruits of your faith and ethics would be enjoyed by those around you. People would trust working with you because you do not lie or cheat. People would listen to you because you are honest and so on. The opposite is also true; a person who does not commit him or herself to higher Islamic values may become a source of corruption and misery in society. So it is in your interest to bear the burden of inviting others to enter into Islam. Don’t say: "this will be a waste of my time. I am only responsible for myself” No, keep in mind that inviting others to faith will guarantee you opportunities in life, and will protect you and your family from the evils of disbelief.
Every time you recite the first chapter of the Quran ‘Al-Fatiha’ in your prayers, you say: “You alone we worship, and you alone we ask for help, Guide us to the straight path. The path of those whom You have blessed, not the way of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray. (1:5-7) In essence, you are asking God to help guide you and all humanity to the straight path of Islam so life can be enjoyed by all. This is the true meaning behind the verse: ‘enter wholeheartedly into submission to God.’
As for the verse: ‘O you who believe! Your responsibility is your selves. Those who go astray can do you no harm if you yourselves are guided,‘ it means, that you will not bear the burden of the sins of others after you give good advice and sincerely direct them to the straight path.