His arrogance and pride has often led man to behave as an oppressor and a tyrant. Some men have been so carried away by their own self-importance that they have even claimed divinity. Pharaoh (Fir‘aun), the ruler of Egypt, was among those who announced:
“I am your supreme Lord.”
With his sense of greatness and pride, Fir‘aun subjugated the Israelites and made their lives wretched and miserable.
But is man really as strong and great as his ego tells him? The Qur’ân tells us the reality of man’s nature.
“Allah is He Who created you in (a state of) weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave (you) weakness and grey hair. He creates what He wills. And it is He Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful (i.e. Able to do all things).” (30:54)
Weakness in the beginning and weakness in the end: this is the essence of man. He is so weak and helpless at birth that his entire existence depends on his parents and family. If he were to be abandoned in these crucial first years, he could not survive on his own. He needs a gentle and loving hand, not only in his infancy but in his childhood and even in the teenage years.
As this child enters the years of youth and independence, he begins to take control of his own life. He looks with pride at his strong physique, his handsome features and his many talents. He begins to despise those of lesser abilities, even scorning those parents who exhausted their own health to nurture him. He becomes unjust and cruel, using his strength and vigour to dominate others. He thinks he is a master, free to act as he wills. But does this youth, these good looks and this strength last for ever? Only in a few decades he begins to lose his strength. His health begins to deteriorate, grey hair covers his head and slowly, his youth is replaced by old age. This transformation from young to old is slow, but it is there. The seconds of time are ticking away mercilessly, taking every young person towards their old age. The young dictator will one day be as feeble and weak as the day he was born. But this time there will be no parents to nurture him; if, as is often the case, he is rejected by his own family, his future will be a desolate one in some old persons home.
“Weakness in the beginning, weakness in the end.” The message is clear: the real Master is Allah. He Alone is Mighty, He Alone is Great.
He Alone is never tired, never needs rest, is never dependent upon anyone.
Allahu Akbar — Allah is the Greatest.
With this message clear in his mind, man realizes that he should show his humility to the Almighty Lord, the One Who created him. And what can be a better way to show ones humility than to stand like a slave before Him; to bow and prostrate to Him; to raise hands in supplication to Him.
Prayer is not a burden forced upon man but is the inner cry of every soul. A cry of each heart to recognise its Creator. It is but a small token of gratitude for all the innumerable bounties bestowed upon mankind by the Creator.
In our everyday lives, we smile and say a warm thank-you to the small acts of kindness which others do for us. So what about thanking Allah, Who in His infinite Mercy has provided for every single one of our needs. Just observe the beauty and perfection of the earth around you, and fall down in gratitude to your Lord.