According to the Reading, all the revealed Scriptures stress one singular important message: that mankind is to serve no other than Him. The history of Moses is vividly described throughout the Reading. Jesus the son of Mary was sent to the same community to confirm what had been revealed to Moses.
And We gave Moses the Scripture, and made it as guidance for the Children of Israel, saying, “You shall not take other than Me as your protector.” (17:2)
The Reading tells us in various places that the Children of Israel violated their covenant (having pledged to uphold it) after they had distorted the words of God, and that many of them disregard parts of the Scripture. Moses left his people in anger after they refused to enter the Holy Land designated to them. Finally, the land was forbidden to them and they wandered in the wilderness for forty years without Moses. (5:25-26).
They created the religion of Judaism and called themselves Jews. Anyone who reads the Bible will know that they built synagogues as the houses of worship and created the priesthood system. They introduced rituals, worship and offerings as their way of life and falsely claimed that God ordained it. The Reading says the Jews say Ezra1 was the son of God, but God did not give any power to him to promote His deen. As a mercy, God sent Jesus the son of Mary to demolish the religious system created by the Children of Israel; supported him with the Holy Spirit and demonstrated many miracles to prove that God sent him. He said:-
“I come to confirm what is with you from the Torah, and to permit for you what was prohibited you, and I come to you with signs from your Lord. Therefore observe God and obey me. Indeed, God is my Lord and your Lord, therefore serve Him. And this is the right path.” (3:50-51)
They were not able to accept any messenger who came to them with commandments contrary to beliefs they had concocted for themselves. They were arrogant and rejected – and even killed – some of God’s messengers. This is the picture that emerges from their history in the Reading.
In reality, neither Moses nor Jesus required their followers to worship the Lord God. Today, the people who disagree with the Jews’ rejection of Jesus are virtually worshipping the very man whose message was to observe and serve the One God. Although Jesus was supported by few of his contemporary, they invented a religion and started a new version of priesthood system; when all that is required of them is to uphold the commandments preached by Jesus:-
Subsequent to them, we sent messengers, and then we sent Jesus the son of Mary. We gave him the Injeel, and we placed in the hearts of his followers kindness and mercy. As for the priesthood system that they invented, it was never been decreed for them. They were only required to uphold God’s commandments, but they did not uphold the commandments – as they should. Consequently, while we will grant the believers among them their due recompense, the majority of them are wicked. (57:27)
God places kindness and mercy to those who follow the teachings of Jesus and He never decreed for them any priesthood system. It is human weakness that they need to worship something, whether it is the Christians deifying Jesus or the Jews deifying themselves and their own ‘chosen’ status. Both of these perversions of truth have their cousins in the religion created by the Arab religionists, the enemies who took and twisted what the Last Prophet was given to deliver to mankind.
According to the Reading, the Jews conspired against God, Moses and Jesus because they wanted to remain in Judaism claiming that they are the chosen people. Naturally they cannot accept anyone into the Jewish fold unless they are born of a Jewish family or from the descendant of the Children of Israel. They knew Jesus was the son of Mary; the promised Messiah but they insisted to denounce him. To fulfil the need of non-Israelites – they created a fairy tale that Jesus was crucified on the cross and he was raised from the dead after three days and three nights. It was the religionists’ idea to promote Jesus had to die for the sins of others. Interestingly, the word Christians or Christianity is not found anywhere in the four books of the New Testament. Today, the people who subscribe to the religion of Christianity cannot say with certainty whether Jesus was the son of a man or the son of God or even God Himself. However, we know from the Reading the facts about this man:
Because they said, “We killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary the messenger of God.” Nay, they never killed him. They never crucified him. But they were led to believe that they had. Those who dispute in this matter are doubtful thereof. They have no real knowledge. They follow only conjecture. In truth, they never killed him. (4:157)
The followers of the Christian religion were led to believe that Jesus was killed and crucified. Anyone who reads the last chapter of all the four Gospels will discover the event leading to Jesus death creates many doubts. He was missing from the tomb after the second night; this is against what Jesus have said about the signs of his death. When confronted, all that the Christian priests can say is: ‘you must have faith’. But faith based on inconsistencies, or against logic or through rhetorical propaganda does not prove anything. It is a side-show at best and a pernicious blight on humanity at worst.
Jesus true mission was to abolish the priesthood system when he said he would destroy the temple. He was committed to carry out the mission and that was his service to God. He did not come to the world to show people how to worship God. Logically, those who claim they are the true followers of Jesus should be the ones who commit themselves to complete his job, at least detach themselves from priesthood system.
When the Reading was revealed it did not teach people how to worship God – but it clearly says ‘serve God alone‘. It is, therefore, strange – not to mention downright blasphemous – to construe ‘abd2 (ta’budu) as worship accompanied by sets of physical movements: facing a certain direction (or a statue or a wall or a stone building or image) and walking around a stone structure, and so on. These are simply pagan worship rituals, created by people to simplify what they cannot comprehend.
The ideal concept of Islam, an ‘abd is a servant who serves (na’budu) his Lord by fulfilling the prescribed covenants through his commitments. He does not fulfil his commitments by worshipping. His deeds (‘amal) are the service, or ibadah. The verb na’budu means ‘we serve’ and ibadah is noun signifying the service we render when we uphold our commitments consentingly.
And strive3 in the cause of God with true striving. He is the one who selected you without imposing hardship upon you as the deen, the principle of your father Abraham. He is the one who named you Muslims (those at peace). Thus, the Messenger will be a witness to you and you will be witness to the people. Therefore, uphold the commitments and keep them pure (Sol-laa-ta-wa-atu-zakaa) and hold fast to God. He is your protector, the best protector and the best supporter. (22:78)
This is the service that the servants of God must render to serve Him. Strive in His path with the true striving. Abraham is the common factor in all scriptures and people are expected to commit themselves they way he committed to God’s deen. In the New Testament the Jews pretended they were the seeds of Abraham but Jesus said they were lying because Abraham never worship His God. The act of fulfilling these prescribed covenants and striving to further His cause through their commitments and keeping them pure is Sol-laa-ta wa-atu-zakaa.
Therefore ya’budu is not worshipping but serving.
1 In the Old Testament Ezra was a Persian from Babylon whose main objective was to protect the interest of Artaxerxes, the king of kings of the Persian kingdom. He commissioned Ezra as the chief priest for Trans-Euphrates continent including Judah and Jerusalem. He was given full authority to create religious laws, taxes, rituals, and worships. His laws were sanctioned as sacred including death penalty for apostates, banishment, confiscation of property and imprisonment. In the New Testament Jesus condemned the teachers of the law of the Pharisees or Farsi and said, ‘unless the people denounce the Persian influence there will be no salvation for them.
2 Arab religionists insist this word means worship. But some sincere translators do translates this word as ‘serve’.
3 The religionists abuse the word Jihad (strive) Qur’an to instigate their followers to kill other people.