Quranic Reflection No. 436. Āyat 2:208 – Submission to Allah ‘azaa wajall.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً
Yā ayyuhalladhīna āmanū-dhulū fis-silmi kāffa
O you who have faith! Enter all together into submission whole heartedly
(Sūrat al-Baqarah, No 2, Āyat 208)

The invitation in this verse is for believers to enter completely into submission. The word ‘silm’ can mean Islam, or submission to the Creator. It can also refer to inner peace and safety that is the result of submission. The word ‘kāffatan’ is to emphasize that the entrance should be all together and fully. It is not a partial or conditional submission. The command is addressed to the individual as well as to the group. All should submit to the orders of the Lord. When human beings submit to the Creator, the society that is formed is at peace. There is harmony between individuals based on common faith and belief in the Hereafter. Thus, the command is to submit all together.

The foundation of the message of Islam is submission to the will of Allah ‘azaa wajall. The Quran says: Say, ‘Indeed it is the guidance of Allah which is [true] guidance. And we have been commanded to submit to the Lord of all the worlds (Q 6:71). Submission is not derogatory for the human being. It is with the understanding that we are servants of God, not free to do what our desires want. We have been created and are responsible and accountable for our actions. A person who truly believes that he has a Creator is convinced of the necessity to obey the Creator. He cannot set himself up to choose his path according to his own views. Submission and obedience to God is the fruit of true faith. Many verses of the Quran link faith to submission. In Sūratal-Ahzāb Allah (swt) says: A faithful man or woman may not have any option in their matter, when Allah and His Apostle have decided on a matter (Q 33:36) and in Sūratal-Nūr: The response of the believers, when they are invited to Allah and His Messenger that he may judge between them, is only to say: We hear and we obey; and these it is that are the successful (Q 24:51).

To submit to God, to obey His commands and accept His decree is to entrust yourself to Him. It means to know that He is the Greatest and most Wise, that He knows all that we do not know. That He is worthy of instructing us what to do for our own best interests. The Prophet (s) explains this: O servants of Allah, you are like the patients and the Lord of the world is like the doctor. The recovery of the patient lies in what the doctor teachers him and plans for him, not what the patient desires and demands. So submit to the order of Allah, you will be successful (Majma’ al-Warram, v.2, p.117).

Submission to God is an honor for the human being. It is submission to the Creator, not to created beings who are just as helpless and dependent on the Creator. People submit to the demands and expectations of others without realizing the folly of submitting to those who are intrinsically just as weak as they are. Imam Zaynul ‘Ābidīn explains how all human beings are alike in their dependency and helplessness. He says: O God, I showed sincerity by cutting myself off from everything but You. I approached You with my whole self, I averted my face from everyone who needs Your support, I ceased to ask from any who cannot do without Your bounty. I saw that the needy who seeks from the needy is foolish in his opinion, and misguided in his intellect (Du’ā 28, Sahīfa Sajjādiyya).

As we commemorate the great sacrifice of Imam al-Husayn (a) and his companions in Karbala, let this verse remind you of the need to submit completely to God. Obey Him in all matters and accept His plan for you. It will give you a lot of inner peace and you will appreciate Imam Husayn’s statement: ‘Ridham bi-qadhāihi wataslīman li-amrih,’ i.e. I am pleased with whatever He has decreed (for me), and I submit to His command.

Sources: ‘Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; http://ahlolbait.com/article/4641/