Islam can be summarized by the Prophet’s statement (pbuh): “So give to each that has a right its right.” Out of His Justice and Mercy, God gave rights to the creation to ensure their wellbeing. An important aspect of worshipping Him is to fulfill those rights.
The Prophet (pbuh) exemplified the role of a well-rounded servant of God. He faithfully and completely fulfilled his responsibilities and carried out the trust given to him by God. He was a supportive husband, a gentle father, an inspiring leader, a steadfast friend, a courteous neighbor, and a humble servant and Messenger of God (pbuh).
In each of his roles, he not only demonstrated his own excellence, but also imparted to his followers the importance of having balance and fulfilling the rights of others.
The Prophet’s high standards (pbuh) were also manifested in the praiseworthy traits of his noble wives and Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all). As the first generation of Muslims, most of them were converts to Islam who faced many of the same challenges you might face as a new Muslim. Their lives and experiences provide us with beautiful examples of how to successfully nurture all of our relationships: with God, ourselves, our families, our communities, our societies, and the world at large. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The religion is sincere advice.” And so, in the spirit of sincere advice, or Nasiha, this section offers practical tips for you to put into practice. Knowledge of the rights others have over us and fulfilling these rights are essential elements of success on the path.
THE RIGHTS OF GOD
God’s right over us is the most important right and it is to worship Him alone. The Prophet (pbuh) asked one of his young Companions: “O Mu'adh! Do you know God’s right over the servants and the servants’ right over God?” Mu'adh replied: “God and His Messenger know best.” The Prophet (pbuh) said: “God’s right over the servants is that they worship Him and associate nothing with Him, and the servants’ right over God is that He does not punish those who do not associate anything with Him.”
In essence, God’s rights upon His servants encompass the three components of the religion: Islam, Iman, and Ihs'an. God has a right upon us that we believe in Him with certainty and sound knowledge, negating all false conceptions of Him—this is the realm of Iman. He has a right upon our bodies that we use them to worship Him and fulfill that which He has made obligatory upon us—this is the realm of Islam. And He has a right upon our
hearts that we rely upon Him, love Him, hope in Him, and have consciousness of Him—this is the realm of Ihs'an. It is only by fulfilling God’s rights upon us that we can give everyone and everything their rights in due proportion. Fulfilling the rights of others is in fact fulfilling God’s right over us.
THE RIGHTS OF THE MESSENGER (pbuh)
God’s final Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the best of creation and the Seal of the Prophets. By virtue of his lofty rank and exalted position, he has many rights over us. Success on the path depends on our learning and fulfilling these rights.
BELIEVING IN HIM (pbuh)
First and foremost, it is the Messenger’s (pbuh) right upon us that we believe in him with certainty and affirm that he is God’s final Messenger sent to all humanity. God says: "Believe in God and His Messenger and the light which He revealed" (Qur'an 64:8).
FOLLOWING HIM (pbuh)
As our example and guide on the path of Islam, it is the Messenger’s right upon us that we follow his commands and abstain from his prohibitions. God says: "O you who believe! Obey God and His Messenger." (Qur'an 8:20). God also says: "Whoever obeys the Messenger obeys God." (Qur'an 4:80).
LOVING HIM (pbuh)
Not only is it his right that we outwardly follow his example (pbuh), but it is also his right that we love him more than anyone
else. Once a man came to the Messenger of God (pbuh) and asked: “O Messenger of God! When is the Final Hour?” The Messenger (pbuh) said: “What have you prepared for it?” The man said: “I have not prepared for it with a lot of prayer, fasting, or charity, but I love God and His Messenger.” The Messenger (pbuh) said:“You will be with the one you love.”