We often repeat statements like: "pleasing God alone," or "seeking God alone." However, since we're not immune to Satan, who is desperate to claim us all (7:16-17), most of us fall into idol worship in one way or another and seeking & pleasing God alone, sometimes, becomes simple lip service. We need to keep reevaluating our stands, actions, and utterances, and never, for a moment, take our guidance or knowledge for granted. This should help us remain true to our word at all times and ensure that we not only mean what we say but act upon it.
How to please God alone is precisely detailed in Quran. Those who intend to seek God's pleasure can not pursue that without taking His words seriously, and following His truth with no compromise or hesitation. They exhort others to do the same. This is the ONLY valid proof that they are truly after God's approval. Following any words or commands authorized by other than God invalidates their intentions and would automatically lead to their loss of God's love.
[5:35] O you who believe, you shall reverence GOD and seek the ways and means to Him, and strive in His cause, that you may succeed.
[94:7] Whenever possible you shall strive.
[94:8] Seeking only your Lord. [103:2] The human being is utterly lost.
[103:3] Except those who believe and lead a righteous life, and exhort one another to uphold the truth, and exhort one another to be steadfast.
[13:20] They are the ones who fulfill their pledge to GOD, and do not violate the covenant.
[13:21] They join what GOD has commanded to be joined, reverence their Lord, and fear the dreadful reckoning.
[13:22] They steadfastly persevere in seeking their Lord, observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), spend from our provisions to them secretly and publicly, and counter evil with good. These have deserved the best abode.
[2:26] ....He misleads many thereby, and guides many thereby. But He never misleads thereby except the wicked,
[2:27] who violate GOD's covenant after pledging to uphold it, sever what GOD has commanded to be joined, and commit evil. These are the losers.
Believe For Your Own Good [39:7] If you disbelieve, GOD does not need anyone. But He dislikes to see His servants make the wrong decision. If you decide to be appreciative, He is pleased for you. No soul bears the sins of any other soul. Ultimately, to your Lord is your return, then He will inform you of everything you had done. He is fully aware of the innermost thoughts.
[17:15] Whoever is guided, is guided for his own good, and whoever goes astray does so to his own detriment. No sinner will bear the sins of anyone else. We never punish without first sending a messenger.
We are so vulnerable to losing focus and seeking the pleasure of other idols. We always have to implore God and seek refuge in Him from Satan and his endless idol list. Those who are sincere will find their only recourse in choosing and following the ultimate truth in Quran. Those who get tricked by his schemes or get intimidated by the glamor and illusion of his idols are only pleasing Satan. Quran reminds us of these disastrous idols, and tells us how easy it is to live in deception while thinking that we are pleasing God alone (18:103-105):
- Among the popular idols are the dead saints, imams/scholars, prophets, or messengers. Over the years, multitudes of humans have been utterly misled by idolizing them and all the while thinking they are pleasing God. The following verses are powerful reminders for us to stop idolizing fallible humans instead of God:
The Greatest Criterion [39:45] When GOD ALONE is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion. But when others are mentioned beside Him, they become satisfied.
Upholding the Teachings of Religious Leaders,
Instead of God's Teachings [9:31] They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords,* instead of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners.
[3:79] Never would a human being whom GOD blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, "Idolize me beside GOD." Instead, (he would say), "Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone," according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn.
On The Day Of Resurrection [5:116] GOD will say, "O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to the people, `Make me and my mother idols beside GOD?' " He will say, "Be You glorified. I could not utter what was not right. Had I said it, You already would have known it. You know my thoughts, and I do not know Your thoughts. You know all the secrets.
- Personal opinions could be destructive to our souls if we idolize them. We are pleasing ourselves rather than God when we place our opinions on top of God's teachings:
[30:29] Indeed, the transgressors have followed their own opinions, without knowledge. Who then can guide those who have been sent astray by GOD? No one can ever help them.
- Our emotions towards certain people or material things in our lives distract us sometimes from pleasing God alone. Our personal wishes to please those people or to keep up with the material gains of this life should never come in the way of our strife to apply and live by the word of God.
[9:24] Proclaim: "If your parents, your children, your siblings, your spouses, your family, the money you have earned, a business you worry about, and the homes you cherish are more beloved to you than GOD and His messenger,** and the striving in His cause, then just wait until GOD brings His judgment." GOD does not guide the wicked people.
Obeying our loved ones or taking them as allies if they don't follow the truth from God, is deviation from the straight path and is not in any way pleasing to God.
[9:23] O you who believe, do not ally yourselves even with your parents and your siblings, if they prefer disbelieving over believing. Those among you who ally themselves with them are transgressing.
[58:22] You will not find people who believe in GOD and the Last Day befriending those who oppose GOD and His messenger, even if they were their parents, or their children, or their siblings, or their tribe. For these, He decrees faith into their hearts, and supports them with inspiration from Him, and admits them into gardens with flowing streams wherein they abide forever. GOD is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. These are the party of GOD. Most assuredly, GOD's party are the winners.
- Seeking unity or dignity with those who compromise, discredit, or underestimate the infallible truth in the Arabic Quran is very hypocritical and is not in any way pleasing to God:
[4:138] Inform the hypocrites that they have incurred painful retribution.
[4:139] They are the ones who ally themselves with disbelievers instead of believers. Are they seeking dignity with them? All dignity belongs with GOD alone.
[63:8] They say, "If we go back to the city, the powerful therein will evict the weak (and we will be victimized)." (They should know that) all dignity belongs to GOD and His messenger, and the believers. However, the hypocrites do not know.
- Concealment of the truth in exchange for any kind of gain is cheating our souls and will not result in pleasing God. This kind of gain is nothing but an illusion. If the gain is peace, it's imaginary peace. If the gain is unity, it is not the unity that God calls for, but a Satanic one. If the gain is material things, it is temporary, and nil compared to the eternal loss of our souls. Twisting or hiding the truth has been a successful tool of the devil, and history will keep repeating itself because the enemy has been the same one.
[2:79] Therefore, woe to those who distort the scripture with their own hands, then say, "This is what GOD has revealed," seeking a cheap material gain. Woe to them for such distortion, and woe to them for their illicit gains.
[2:174] Those who conceal GOD's revelations in the scripture, in exchange for a cheap material gain, eat but fire into their bellies. GOD will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them. They have incurred a painful retribution.
[2:159] Those who conceal our revelations and guidance, after proclaiming them for the people in the scripture, are condemned by GOD; they are condemned by all the condemners.
[3:187] GOD took a covenant from those who received the scripture: "You shall proclaim it to the people, and never conceal it." But they disregarded it behind their backs, and traded it away for a cheap price. What a miserable trade.
- Caring to cure our bleeding egos rather than pleasing God blocks our minds and our eyesight from what God has permitted or prohibited. We lose common sense and logic to promote our own insanity, nonsense, or transgressions. How is this pleasing God alone?
[2:206] When he is told, "Observe GOD," he becomes arrogantly indignant. Consequently, his only destiny is Hell; what a miserable abode.
[2:207] Then there are those who dedicate their lives to serving GOD; GOD is compassionate towards such worshipers.
Kill Your Ego [2:54] Recall that Moses said to his people, "O my people, you have wronged your souls by worshiping the calf. You must repent to your Creator. You shall kill your egos. This is better for you in the sight of your Creator." He did redeem you. He is the Redeemer, Most Merciful.
- Any fear we experience while we're striving for the truth is from Satan, intended to weaken our trust in God and divert our efforts of pleasing Him alone. Fear makes us seek the approval and pleasure of others instead of God and messes up our priorities. The result is that we lose what we have once achieved - God's love, dignity, and support. We become unworthy of all of that.
Fear: The Devil's Tool [3:175] It is the devil's system to instill fear into his subjects. Do not fear them and fear Me instead, if you are believers.
God willing, we all defeat Satan and nullify his schemes, daily, in order to sense, pursue, and uphold the ultimate truth in Quran. This is the ONLY way to please God alone.
[27:19] .... "My Lord, direct me to be appreciative of the blessings You have bestowed upon me and my parents, and to do the righteous works that please You. Admit me by Your mercy into the company of Your righteous servants."
Peaceful Friday, salaam, and God bless.