The meaning of this: `There is nothing which has the right to be worshipped except Allaah (alone) and Muhammad is His Messenger."
Muslims believe that this Universe, by necessity, has a Creator. It is hard for a person`s common sense to encompass that the Universe with all its order and regulation is a product of mere chance. One of the scholars of Islaam, known as Abu Haneefah (d. 150H) once debated some atheists. He asked them: "What do you say about someone who tells you that he had seen a loaded ship without a captain and a crew amidst a strong storm, but sailing well towards a safe harbour [ thereby saving itself]? Do you intelligently accept this?" They said: "Our reasoning cannot accept this". Abu Haneefah then commented: "If your reasoning does not accept the story of a ship without a leading crew, then how do you accept a whole universe with all its varied conditions and complex nature running without a Creator in full charge?" So the atheists were dumbfounded and came to believe in Allaah. Allaah says in the Qur`aan:
Verily, in the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, and in the alternation of the night and day, and the ships that sail through the sea with that which is of benefit to human-kind, and the rain which Allaah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving (living) creatures of all kinds that He scatters therein, and in the changes in the direction of the winds, and the clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, are indeed Aayaat (proofs, signs, evidences) for a people of understanding [Baqarah 2:164]
Thus, Muslims believe in the existence of Allaah, that He is the Originator and Creator of the Universe. And it follows therefore, that Muslims hold that the universe and everything within it has a definite purpose. As Allaah has said:
I have not created Men and Jinn except that they may worship Me [Dhaariyaat 51:56]
In this one short sentence, Allaah has explained clearly to human-kind the purpose of their existence, something, for which philosophers, scientists and intellectuals have never been able, in the duration of human-kind`s existence, to provide a conclusive and unanimous answer. Worship, here, is a comprehensive term, covering every single aspect of life, whether related to one`s personal life, or related to the others.
It is also possible for there to exist other `gods` because the definition of a `god` in Islaam, is something that is adored or worshipped or given obedience, or which is the centre of people`s emotions - such as love, fear, hope, reliance, trust etc. Therefore, many things can become `gods` and can be made into `gods` by people. Such things include: money, status, power, leaders, parents, idols, music, pop-stars, drugs and other created things. People make these things into `gods` because they believe that these things can give them whatever they want, that they can find true satisfaction in these things, as well as honour and power. So once they have decided that their goal in life is money, or drugs, or status - they have made it their `god` i.e. that thing they believe can provide them with satisfaction and freedom from anxiety. And all the actions that they perform in order to get these things or which will lead them to these things is their form of `worship` of these `gods`. Allaah has said:
And they have taken (for worship), besides Allaah, other gods, that they might give them honour, power and glory [Maryam 19:81]
This is why Allaah has forbidden the worship of other things since in that lies the greatest humiliation and subjugation: The enslavement and worship of man (or material things), by man. One of the generals of the Muslim army, in the earliest times of Islaam, in approaching a certain district said to its people: "We have come to liberate whomsoever Allaah wills from among His Servants, from the worship of men by men to the worship of the Lord of all Men."