When embracing Islam, a revert is made to recite the shahaadah – his declaration of faith. By reciting these words, he declares, “I testify that there is none worthy of worship but Allah, and that Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is His slave and Rasul.”

This declaration is not merely his introduction to Islam, but for him and for every other Muslim, it is a fundamental and foundational realization and admission that every single one of us is nothing more than the slave of Allah Ta‘ala.

As His slaves, we belong to Him. We have no rights besides the rights which He has given to us, and we have no freedom beyond the freedom that He has allowed us. At every moment, we rely and depend on Him for everything. We are completely dependent upon His mercy and kindness. However, being Most Benevolent and Merciful, He has promised us that if we are obedient, loyal and faithful slaves in this world, then He will reward us with the eternal bliss of Jannah.

On the contrary, the disbelievers, at every moment, revolt and rebel against Allah Ta‘ala. They do not wish to be His slaves, and hence, they spend their lives seeking ‘freedom’ and ‘rights’. Therefore, when we examine the ‘freedoms’ and ‘rights’ that they are advocating for, we find that in most cases the ‘freedom’ they desire is the freedom to sin, and the ‘right’ they aspire for is the ‘right’ to indulge in wrong.

Instead of campaigning to feed the poor children who are starving in the world, they campaign to give children the ‘right’ to change their gender. Instead of rallying to save children who are suffering in war-torn countries or ghettos and slums, they rally to kill innocent, unborn babies via abortion. They decry the high rate of teenage, out of wedlock pregnancies, and the high rate of rape and STD’s, but at the same time, they celebrate the legalization of prostitution as a ‘win’ for democracy. They condemn the damage wrought on society by drugs, but they simultaneously push for marijuana and other drugs to be legalized.

In the blessed hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned, “The dunya (i.e. this world) is the prison of a believer, and the paradise of a disbeliever.” (Saheeh Muslim #7417) In other words, a believer, being the slave of Allah Ta‘ala, lives a life of obedience to His Master, bound by the restrictions of the sharee‘ah, while a disbeliever seeks to make this world his paradise – an abode of everlasting enjoyment without any restrictions.

But this ‘ideal’ of the disbeliever is a complete fallacy, as it is impossible for one to live in the world without any restrictions, and without being subject to any authority. For example, a Muslim submits to Allah Ta‘ala and the sharee‘ah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) at the time of nikaah and talaaq (divorce), but a disbeliever will be made to submit to the ruling of a manmade constitution. A Muslim will ensure that Islam governs his dealings and finances, but a disbeliever will submit and surrender his freedom to the banks and the riba (interest) based finance system. Accordingly, if he does not pay his monthly installments with riba, his property or vehicle will be repossessed. Therefore, come what may, he must continue to slog and pay the bank even after having paid more than double the value to them. Is this not a form of slavery to the banks?

In essence, the disbelievers have merely swopped and substituted one form of slavery for another. Instead of submitting themselves as the slaves of Allah Ta‘ala, they become enslaved to their governments, the banks and their own haraam desires – all of which are agents of Shaitaan.

The difference is that Allah Ta‘ala is Most Kind and Loving, and hence submitting as a slave to Him earns the reward of eternal enjoyment in paradise. On the other hand, Shaitaan is most mean, hateful and evil, and thus submitting to his way earns one eternal anguish in his abode – the hellfire.

It is for this reason that when the Sahaabi, Sayyiduna Rib‘ee bin ‘Aamir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), presented Islam before Rustam, the Persian ruler, he said to him, “Allah Ta‘ala has sent us to take out, whomsoever He wishes from the slavery of other slaves to the slavery of Allah Ta‘ala.” (Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah vol. 7, pg. 181)

Therefore, we must remember at all times that we are nothing more than slaves. We have no right to question the decree of Allah Ta‘ala, criticize the laws of the sharee‘ah or exercise our intellect against the sunnah. Our role is to unquestioningly listen and unhesitatingly obey. We will not seek ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’ that oppose the sharee‘ah, as this is an act of rebellion against our Master. Rather, we will submit ourselves with the firm belief that Allah Ta‘ala has promised His faithful slaves the reward of Jannah.