Three Most Important Relationships
[The character “Arif” in the article below acts as a mentor and guide, embodying the values that the Quran aims to instil in people. Arif sheds light on some of the evident themes conveyed in each paragraph of the Quran.]
Arif had been sick for a prolonged period. As a result, the regular weekly gathering at his house had been put on hold. However, today, after a considerable time, preparations were being made to resume the gathering at his place. People were being mindful of speaking less, aware that their conversations might cause him discomfort. Nonetheless, Arif’s personality was like a wellspring of knowledge, wisdom, maturity, and guidance, always ready to bestow divine blessings in any season. Hence, today was no exception. With resolve, he addressed the attendees by posing a question, as if he had come back to life.
In your opinion, which relationship do you consider to be the most important?
A person sitting nearby expressed, “The most important relationship is that of husband and wife, which constitutes about two-thirds of our conscious life.”
Arif looked around with a questioning gaze at the others. A few individuals mentioned names such as children, parents, and others, but after some discussion, the majority reached a consensus that the initial statement was indeed correct. As silence fell over the group, Arif took the opportunity to speak up, saying:
I do not deny the importance of children, parents, and siblings in life, and I believe that they play a significant role in many situations. However, there are three relationships that remain the most important throughout a person’s life.
The people understood from Arif’s statement that he was trying to convey that the relationships of husband and wife, children and parents, and siblings are the most important, taking everyone’s opinions into account. However, Arif’s next statement was completely contrary to their expectations.
The last surah of the Noble Quran, Surah An-Nas, tells us that God is the Lord, King, and the only one worthy of worship for humanity. And these are indeed the three relationships that hold the utmost importance in a person’s life.
Upon hearing this, a gentleman objected to Arif’s statement.
“Lord,” “King,” and “God”, isn’t this a relationship that seems distant? At least, that’s how it appears at first glance.
Upon hearing his remarks, Arif smiled and said:
Actually, you are the people of the modern era, where neither slavery nor kingship is prevalent. In this era, due to atheism and widespread prevalence of material comforts, people do not sense the presence of their true higher power. They either do not worship God or do not feel the need for divinity in their daily lives. They become aware of the weather before the rain falls. Instead of praying for relief, they turn to medication for pain. They attribute everything to cause and effect. In such circumstances, the special status of divinity is no longer recognised. And when the Quran refers to God as the Lord or Master, proclaiming Him as the King and Deity, people struggle to fully comprehend the impact of these words.
On the contrary, in ancient times, a master would possess a slave in the same way you own your table, chair, or utensils. Similarly, a king would exercise complete ownership over the entire nation, and all national resources were considered his possessions. During times of war and other circumstances, people were obligated to contribute their lives and belongings to assist him in any manner he deemed fit.
Yes, that’s absolutely true. Even today, in systems where absolute monarchy exists, such practices still take place,” confirmed another person. Arif continued his statement, shaking his head:
And the Deity is that existence which surpasses the control of your body, soul, and possessions, even ruling over your heart and soul. People used to present their hearts to Him with joy. This was the perception of the Deity in ancient times.
[‘Subhan Allah”] Glory be to Allah. A voice rose from one side and said, “Sir, this fact was not clear to us in this manner before. You have revealed an important truth to us.”
Back then, if the master of a slave and the king of the subjects were good, people would lead a good life. And if they were bad, life would be very miserable.
And the Deity…? A gentleman left the question incomplete. Arif smiled and replied:
The Deity is not defined by being good or bad; rather, the Deity is the embodiment of truth and He is only the one. The Deity is the ultimate reality, while everything else is sham and false. The true Deity has the power to perform miracles for you, while a false deity cannot do anything for itself, let alone for you.
Then he returned to the original subject and began to express his thoughts out loud:
The Noble Quran informs us at its conclusion that the true and sole Master, King, and Deity of humankind is none other than Allah. He is the ultimate owner of their lives, souls, and possessions. He is their supreme ruler, and His command governs their entire existence. He is their true Deity. Fortunately, this Master, King, and Deity is immensely merciful, generous, and exalted. He shows compassion and mercy even towards the worst slaves, rebellious subjects, and unfaithful worshippers.
He is such a generous Master that He creates human beings and then bestows everything upon them. He is such a compassionate King that He takes nothing for Himself and gives everything to His subjects. He is such a rightful Deity that despite being deserving of worship in every breath, He only asks for a few obligations of worship from His servants so that, by being called loyal, people may become rightful heirs of His eternal paradise.
But sir, the issue is that I still feel these relationships to be somewhat distant.
This was the same gentleman’s voice who had asked a question a while ago. Arif looked at him and smiled, then said:
By the permission of Allah, every breath we take is granted. The beating of our hearts is subject to His will. Who else but Allah is the giver of every moment of our existence and every blessing in our lives? The one on whom our lives depend, who resides within our bodies, whose command governs all creation. And above all, who is there besides Allah, the One who grants us existence, our Creator , the only One worthy of our worship?
Now tell me, which relationship is considered close? Is it the one, the Creator who brings existence from non-existence, or the one the Mother who gives birth? Is it the one who combines the sun, sea, air, clouds, earth, and water to provide grains, or the Father who earns and brings home bread? Is it the God who creates every relationship and kinship for us, or the Husband and Wife who stay together for the fulfilment of their human needs? Is it the Deity who provides the means of life until death, or the Children who leave their parents due to desires, needs, and circumstances?
After saying this, Arif fell silent. There was silence in the gathering as well. These were all facts, but just like how God is not visible, people also fail to see these facts. People’s heads bowed down, some in acknowledgement and some in remorse. Finally, Arif concluded by saying:
The whole matter is about feelings. When a person develops feelings, then the invisible relationship with the Master, the Owner, the Lord, the King, and the Deity becomes the greatest of all. When feelings die, then apart from materialism and worldly relationships, nothing catches the attention of human beings. Living with the feelings of God is the true success. Whoever achieves this, their destiny will be blessed with every grace of the Hereafter.