We were raised to understand that we are slaves to God and that God created us to worship Him and fear Him. We always heard phrases such as ‘the fear of God’ or that such and such ‘does not fear God’, meaning that he is a bad person.The nature of a Muslim’s relationship with God is one of fear, awe, submission and servitude, not a relationship of affection, love and obedience. A Muslim obeys God because he fears Him and obeys Him not because He loves Him or because He believes that His commands and prohibitions are beneficial to him while he lives.
BY AMR AMIR
WE HAVE BEEN PROGRAMMED since childhood to fear this God, and His mercy to is depicted as a favour and a generosity from Him. It is as if we are criminals or sinners, and He, out of the intensity of His compassion and mercy, forgives us and – if He so wishes – does not torture us! He is, in this depiction, not much different from a warlord or a gang leader. You are to approach Him and pay Him the tribute of your time, your life, your money, and almost everything, so that He may forgive you for a crime you did not commit, number you as one of his servants and resolve to spare you His torturing.
It is a highly toxic relationship, and one based on intimidation. Most people pray, fast, or avoid doing things that are forbidden, not because they want to get close to this God so much as they want to assuage Him so that He does not torment them in the Hereafter. I see this as the first and most frequent reason given by those who invite people to ‘preserve their faith’; the main argument they use to motivate people to pray is God’s punishment and salvation in the Hereafter from His torment. They thus continually use the vocabulary of intimidation, such as the ‘torment of the grave’, ‘fire’, ‘demons’, and the like, all of them terroristic methods upon which they have built their religion. There is virtually no other means used to motivate people to religious acts than intimidation – as if deep down inside them they realize that there are elements that are illogical that no natural person would wish to do.
I wonder what merciful, wise or loving God would want His relationship with His creation to be like this?
I wonder what merciful, wise or loving God would want His relationship with His creation to be like this: a one-sided toxic relationship built on dread and fear? Why do we pray for escape from God’s punishment, sadism and brutality instead of praying for closeness and love for God? Why, in order to motivate people to pray to this God, should we be have to be threatened with portentous things that will happen to us? If worship is what we were created for, why do we not pray instinctively, from ourselves for example, for our basic human needs such as eating and drinking, instead of all these other tactics employed to persuade people to worship this God?
It is here that the purpose for which this God is claimed to have created us – to worship Him – collapses. If this were the most important thing, we would give it priority over eating, drinking and everything else. Alternatively the claims made for His purpose is that having created us, we might not consider prayer to be important enough and might potentially neglect it – so He tortures people grievously for neglecting it – all of which indicates His brutality sadism, and actual desire to torture His creatures, since it appears that He enjoys this sort of thing.
Why are we ‘Slaves of God’ and not ‘Children of God’?
Why are we ‘Slaves of God’ and not ‘Children of God’, for example? Why is this term –which carries a negative connotation – turned into something lofty: a slavery to God? Does God actually need slaves? I recall that in religious studies in school we learnt about slavery to this God and how it constitutes ‘freedom’. I then wondered how slavery could be freedom. After a while, it became clear to me that the slavery to this man in disguise is the worst kind of slavery that there is. The largest slave trader in the history of this mankind, a God perceived like this, is something that does not exist. Yet until now, billions of people are enslaved by texts invented by men who lived centuries ago and who attributed them to this hidden God. They have made people proud to be these despised slaves, people who do not think or use their minds and who blindly follow what is claimed to be written by this perception of God.
If a Muslim hears people saying, “We are the Children of God,” he will be taken aback and seek God’s forgiveness saying: “What is this blasphemy that you speak of?” How can God have children? He is outraged because he believes that God is a being who has slaves and not sons. He is amazed at these ‘disbelievers’ who apparently aggrandize themselves by describing themselves as ‘God’s Children’ instead of His slaves. It is as if he is saying: ‘how dare you consider that God respects us and treats us as His children?’
In this thinking, the relationship between man and God is a relationship of contempt, fear, awe and servitude, one whose goal is either to torture you or forgive you, and thereby admit you to the paradise of wide-eyed virgins, wine, milk and fowl. There is no lofty purpose here, just very simple goals invented by people with limited vision and capacities for reflection.
This God we were created to worship differs little from a mafia boss or a drug baron. You are actually begging him and pleading with Him and submitting to Him, all in return for His pardon from torturing you. You pay Him your life, your whole lifetime, your blood, your wealth and everything, so that He will forgive you for something you did not commit.