How do Plants, Animals & Insects Worship Allah? What Happens to them
in the Hereafter?
A question that sometimes arises in the thinking person is the concept of worship and Hereafter for animals and insects.
The answer requires us to draw on from several areas of Quranic wisdom. First of all, Allah, the Creator of all living things, informs us that He has created everything on earth only to serve us human beings:
"It was He who created all that is on the earth for you, then turned to the sky and made the seven heavens; it is He who has knowledge of all things. " (Qur'an 2:29)
The words "for you" tells us that plants, insects, animals and all things we see, are there for only one reason - to serve us. How?
1) Human beings are at the top of the food chain. Plants, insects, and animals offer energy flow from the sun to us for our survival and provide a balance in the ecosystem. For instance, we drink milk, eat chicken, lamb and beef.
2) Animals such as horses, camels and donkeys provide transportation for humans.
3) We use their skin for clothing and other items of living.
4) Perhaps, most importantly, their design and artwork are a sign unto mankind of Allah's existence and become a means of testing who sees Allah's obvious existence.
The Qur'an does not indicate anywhere that animals are held accountable for their actions as human beings are. The whole Qur'an is an admonition for human beings who can choose to rebel against Allah, or serve Him. In other words, humans are created to serve Allah and everything in nature are made for humans for their needs. Therefore, creatures in nature are not made for the purpose of testing in the Hereafter.
The Qur'an however states that everything in nature 'submits / prostrates' to Allah. How can that be if only humans worship Allah? The key to understanding this verse lies in realising the fact that the application of the term 'worship', varies depending on what or who it is applied to. In the Qur'an, one is worshipping Allah when he or it is living in accordance with his or its purpose in creation. For us humans, it means obeying all the dictates of the Qur'an which include, prayer, fasting, honesty, justice etc. For animals and insects however, it is to survive and live, being a predator or a pray, serving our needs. They are worshipping Allah, just by being who they are, they live within the bounds of the purpose of their creation. For example, a tree which stays in the same place all day, photosynthesises and releases oxygen is worshipping Allah, purely because that is the only reason why it was created. The reason we humans were created is also for worship, but for us it include rituals of worship and to follow the morality and obligations He placed upon us in the Qur'an. Therefore, everything in nature is always worshipping Allah. But do all human beings?
Thus Allah states:
"Do you not realise that everything in the heavens and earth prostrates/submits to Allah: the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, and the animals? So do many human beings, though for many others punishment is well deserved. Anyone disgraced by Allah will have no one to honour him: Allah does whatever He wills. " (Qur'an 22:18)
The moon, the stars, the mountains all submit to Allah because they are doing exactly what Allah ordained them to do. Very interestingly, Allah stops short of including all mankind, rather the verse changes its expression and reads "So do many human beings, though for many others punishment is well deserved." An important aspect indeed, because among mankind there are believers and disbelievers. Disbelievers and hypocrites among human are the only creatures on earth who do not submit to Allah, in other words they are the only creatures on earth who do not live with the purpose of their creation. The believers, the mountains, sun, moon, animals and plants all do by living in harmony with their purpose in creation i.e. they all worship.
Though the Qur'an does not explicitly state what happens to other creatures when they die, we have sensible evidence to believe that they do not experience the same afterlife as us. This is because they all live on earth already submitted to Allah and are not under a test. They exist for our purpose, and our purpose is to realise Allah has created them and all things to test us if we see His existence, and devote ourselves to Him.
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