The Duty of Man towards Allah (Cognizance of Allah)
By: Allamah Syed Muhammad Husain Tabataba'i
Our duty towards the Almighty Allah is the most important duty of all and we must perform it with a pure heart and a sincere intention. It is the first and foremost duty of man to know his Creator. Since the Almighty Allah is the source of existence of every creature and the originator of every existing phenomenon, the cognizance and knowledge of His pure Entity also illuminates every realistic person. Being inattentive to this moral reality is total ignorance, lack of insight, and irresponsibility. Whoever pays no attention to cognizance of Allah, he consequently puts out the light of his own conscience and thus will have no way of attaining the real human happiness.
As we see, those who refrain from cognizance of Allah and pay no heed to this reality in their lives are completely away from the human spiritualities and have no logic other than the logic of grazing animals and beasts.
The Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur'an: "Therefore turn aside from him who turns his back upon Our reminder and does not desire anything but this world's life. That is their goal of knowledge... (53:29-30)."
Certainly, it should be pinpointed that the cognizance of Allah is necessary and natural for man who is a realistic being endowed with the instinct of reasoning, for man, with his Allah-given commonsense, notices the signs of the Presence of Allah and His Knowledge and Might wherever he looks in the world of creation. Thus, the cognizance of Allah does not mean that man should bring it into existence for himself, rather it means that the man should not disregard this obvious reality which cannot be covered by any curtain, giving a positive response to his conscience which invites him to Allah and eliminating any doubt from his mind by following this philosophy.
The Worship of Allah
After cognizance of Allah, our second duty is the worship of Allah. This is because, while recognizing the truth, this reality becomes clear that happiness and prosperity, which are our only objectives, will be attained by implementing and executing the program which the Almighty Allah has specified for our lives and has communicated to us through His messengers. Therefore, obeying Allah's orders and serving him are the only duties of man compared to which other duties seem insignificant and trivial.
The Almighty Allah states: "And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him...(17:23)."
The Almighty Allah also states: "Did I not charge you, O children of Adam! that you should not serve the Shaytan? Surely he is your open enemy. And that you should serve Me; this is the right way (36:60-61)."
Thus it is our duty to recognize the status of our servitude and needs and to keep in mind the infinite Grandeur and Greatness of Allah. We must consider that Allah knows and sees our deeds in every respect and we must obey His commands. It is our obligation not to serve any but Allah and not to obey anyone else except the Holy Prophet (S) and the A'immat al-Huda (infallible Imams of Guidance) whom we are commanded to obey by the order of Allah.
The Almighty Allah states: "O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you...(4:59)."
Surely, due to the obedience of Allah and the authorities of religion, we should actually maintain a great respect for anything attributed to Allah. We must respect the holy name of Allah and the names of the leaders of religion. We must endeavor for the honor of the Divine Book (the Holy Qur'an), the honored Ka'bah, and the holy mosques and the holy shrines of the leaders of religion, as the Almighty Allah states: "...and whoever respects the signs of Allah, this surely is (the outcome) of the piety of hearts (22:32)."