Quarterly: Issue No 37
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Worship is the essence of Islam, but many of its followers do not have the true understanding of it. It is for this reason that there are wide misconceptions and wrong notions about it. In simple Islamic terms, the greatest type of worship is to perform all that which Allah had made obligatory on his servants and to refrain from all that He forbade. Abu Hurayrah narrated that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: "Allah says: ‘The most beloved things with which My servant comes nearer to Me is what I have enjoined on him.’ (Al-Bukhari: Volume 8 Hadith 509).
The best acts of worship are the most pleasing to Allah in its appropriate time. Therefore the best act of worship during the presence of a guest in your house is to take care of him and not to be distracted by performing other recommended acts of worship. This is also in line with performing one's duties towards one's wife and family. The best act of worship in the night is to be occupied with Salaah, reciting the Qur'an, supplication (Du’a) and Zikr. The best act of worship during the time of the Athaan is to leave whatever recommendatory acts of worship one is doing and answer the call of the Mua'zzin (by repeating what he says). The best thing during the time of the five obligatory prayers is to exert one's efforts in their prompt performance. The best thing when the poor is in dire need of assistance is to assist him and give that preference over other voluntary acts of worship like Zikr. The best thing to do when your brother is sick or dead is to visit him or attend his funeral, and give that priority over your optional or recommendatory Salaah. And the best thing to do when you are afflicted and suffer people's harm is to be patient and not to run away from them.
However, the most wonderful aspect of the Prophet's worship is the remarkable combination of the highest level of worship and performance of his role as the head of his Ummah, maintaining an outstanding balance between the physical and spiritual life, and setting for his Ummah an excellent example. He said: "By Allah! I am the most fearful of Allah among you, yet I fast and break my fast; I do pray and sleep and I marry women. Whoever does not follow me in religion, is not from me." (Al-Bukhari: Volume 7 Hadith 1).
By defining the purpose of our creation Allah, The Exalted, says:
"And I created not the jinns and humans except that they should worship Me (alone)." (Chapter 51: Verse 56).
This verse plainly explains the purpose of our creation; that our lives should not be spent except in worshipping Allah. Prayer, fasting, giving charity, Hajj, truthfulness, trustworthiness, being dutiful to parents, supplication, reciting the Qur'an, hoping for Allah’s mercy and being afraid of his punishment are all acts of worship.
Indeed what has afflicted Muslims in the course of their long history and what is afflicting them today is a consequence of their deviation from the real concept of worship (ibaadah) and the application of the two conditions of worship which are: Sincerity and following the Path of the Messenger of Allah as he perfectly practised what Allah commanded. While abandoning sincerity leads to directing acts of worship that are solely for Allah to others besides Him; lack of following the path of our beloved Prophet leads to the appearance of various kinds of worship on which there is no permission from Allah nor recommendation from His Messenger.
However, some people restrict the concept of worship to rituals and few modes of worship only. Whereas the word worship (Ibaadah) in the above mentioned verse rightly interpreted from the teachings of Holy Qur'an and Sunnah encompasses all physical and spiritual activities and pursuits which are necessary for man's survival and progress in this world provided that these activities and pursuits are carried out strictly as ordained by Allah and His beloved Messenger. Therefore, deeds towards which one is naturally inclined become acts of worship through good intentions. The farmer in his farm, the labourer, the trader, or the practitioner of any profession is capable of turning his occupation into an act of worship, provided that he does not contaminate it with cheating, lying, tricking etc. This is the concept of worship in its widest sense.
It is possible for you to add a viable brick into the structure of this Ummah and add to your scale of good deeds. This may appear insignificant to you, but it is very weighty in the scale of Hasanaat (good deeds). The Messenger of Allah said: "Shall I tell you what is better than much prayer and sadaqah?" They said: "Yes." He said: "Mending discord between people. And beware of hatred - it strips you (of your deen)." (Muwatta: Book 47, Number 47.1.7).
Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "While a man was going on a way, he saw a thorny branch and removed it from the way and Allah became pleased by his action and forgave him for that." (Al-Bukhari: Volume 1 Hadith 624).
Doing injustice to others also destroys one's worship. The Prophet said: "The bankrupt among my Ummah is the one who comes on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, charity and fasting and yet has abused someone, slandered someone, taken someone's money illegally, shed someone's blood and beaten someone. Each of these people will be given of his good deeds (by way of compensation). If his good deeds however finishes before judgement is passed on him, parts of their (oppressed persons) sins will be thrown on him, and he will then be cast into Hell." (Muslim: Book 32 Hadith 6251).
Of those things that invalidate one's worship is filthy words uttered by some people without thinking of its consequences. The Prophet said: "A servant (of Allah) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-fire." (Al-Bukhari: Volume 8 Hadith 485).
In short, under the light of above mentioned Qur'anic verse and Ahadith of our beloved Prophet, any act done merely to seek the pleasure of Allah under the guidance of His beloved Messenger Muhammad (Sallahu Alayhi Wasallam) will be deemed worship, and this is the real concept of Ibaadah.
IN HONOUR OF ALLAH'S MESSENGER
“Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse.” (Chapter 3: Verse 118)
The Muslim Ummah is once again reminded about the overwhelming growth of anti-Islamic sentiments that exist in the West. This time round, it is the Danish press that has opted to test the threshold of Muslim sentiments by the recent caricatures of our beloved Prophet in a mass daily newspaper. Undoubtedly their action reveals a centuries old hatred and intolerance towards Muslims and Islam. As a result protests have sparked off on a global scale and they do not seem anywhere close to abating.
With Danish media (supported by leaders who choose to make a further mockery by audaciously claiming that it is Muslims leading the way, it wasn’t long before the old guard joined them around the table: Norwegian, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch media were among the first (joined later by South African media) to stand by their European counterparts in defence of a highly cherished European value – FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
If the West truly believes in freedom of expression for all, then they should apply it consistently and not prostitute it. If the Danish newspapers have the right to mock the Prophet (SAW), then by the same criteria of free speech, they should accept the right of the Muslims to express and call for the execution of those responsible. Before anyone moans about incitement to violence, they should remember that there would be no incitement, if there was no provocation. Why focus on the effect, instead of the cause? Indeed, why do you start a fight by throwing a punch and then complain that you got kicked in the groin in retaliation?
The reality of so-called free speech is this: the West wants to award themselves with a full license to abuse Islam and Muslims, whilst curbing Muslim responses. This is why when Muslims in the UK tried to invoke blasphemy laws on Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, they were told the law only applies to Christians! This is why the very mention of “holocaust” or “Jews” would have one facing the anti-Semitism brigades. Would the editors responsible smear their pages with anti-Semitic graffiti? Or commission drawings maligning the Pope, by depicting him, say, in compromising sexual positions?
This incident cannot be viewed in isolation for this is the latest in a series of attacks on Islam. When little nations like Denmark pluck up the courage to have a go at Islam, then this is reflective of the levels to which Muslims have empowered the Kuffaar – by neglecting to purify our beliefs, preferring weakness over strength and division over unity and supporting their legal system (Democracy) instead of working for the Shari’ah. The results are glaringly evident.
Whilst Christians do not have a problem with depicting Prophets (AS) in every form possible, we do. Thus there is a clear message that these godless, secular-liberal fundamentalists should take heed of: Muslims will not tolerate, under any circumstances, attacks and insults on Allah, His Messenger (SAW), the Qur’an and the believers. In undertaking this most ignorant and dangerous position, the European leaders and media outlets might have overlooked the fact that along with their “free speech” comes certain responsibilities. Ignoring these would not only be counter-productive, but rather downright stupidity (as has clearly been the case). Any adult that makes a decision has to accept the consequences thereof, good or bad. These leaders and media outlets are no different.
They ought to be fully aware that when they slap a Muslim, they should expect a slap in return and not a “thank you sir” as has become the mantra of the dictators over our own lands. Although we are a very tolerant people, let them not make the grave error of confusing this tolerance for weakness. We will not tolerate any abuse of that which is sacred to us no matter who the perpetrators might be. We fear none but Allah for unto Him is our return (and their’s too).
OUR DEEDS AND WORDS ARE RECORDED
In many lectures by the Ulama, you must have heard that Man is exposed to being tested, and Almighty Allah has also emphatically said this in many places in the Noble Qur'an of Islam:
"that He may test you, which of you is best in deed." (Chapter 68 Verse 2). And also, "Certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and natural products (fruits)." (Chapter 2 Verse 155). And also, “Do people think that they would be left alone because they say, "We believe" and that they will not be tested?" (Chapter 29: Verse 2)
These (and many other) examples are conveying this truth to sincere-hearted Muslims, so that they may understand that at all times and everywhere, in these struggles of ups and downs of life, they are under the control of (Mu'akkileen) guardians. These guardians are recording all their motions, words and deeds without the least negligence. They are called Kiram-ul-Katibeen (kind and honourable guardians Angels for recording). This is emphasized in explicit verses of the Noble Qur'an. What then is a monotheist Muslim believer (Mu’min) required to do?
A believer ought to be always careful and attentive of all his deeds and words. Therefore, he should create for himself such pictures with excellent secret reports to be photographed and recorded that in the Hereafter, in the Presence of the Almighty Lordly Being and all of mankind, he would not be ashamed of his deeds and words committed in this transient life.
Therefore, it is necessary that all of us be very careful in dealing with our worldly affairs whether verbal or practical. In summary, in all minor and major matters, he should actively play his role similar to a movie actor, where the movie actor knows, with all his intelligence and understanding, that all his appearances are being photographed and will be watched by the viewers worldwide. By perceiving this truth, we ought to accomplish our affairs in this world with full sincerity and excellent ambition. It must also be filled with special affection for pleasing Almighty Allah alone in such a way as we would astonish most of the observers and viewers in a movie. Similarly, it is necessary for believers to be fully alert in stabilizing the status of their deeds and words. They ought to strive, to the best of their ability, to organize their deeds and words with the required honesty, sincerity and devotion. It should be understood that the movie of the movie actors are watched by human beings here. However, the movie of life period of each individual, filmed and decorated with good and evil deeds, is being and will be watched by our Great Creator, in this world as well as on the Day of Resurrection, for the purpose of account taking.
The world has four seasons. They are manifested to us by passing through days and nights. These nights and days are also preparing, with the permission of Almighty Allah, their fixed and prescribed products bound by time and location, for our lives movies to be filmed. They are carrying “unknowingly” with themselves the invariable activities of mankind and revolving operations for the purpose of proving the ultimate good and evil reports of human beings.
It is only Man on the planet of earth whose words and deeds, voices and jests are being recorded in Special Recorders of his appointed Guardians who are placed on his right and left shoulders. In the Hereafter, this will be given to him as his “Record of Deeds”, so that he may receive corresponding rewards or punishments. Almighty Allah says that it will be said to him:
"Read your Book (of Record of Deeds). You yourself are sufficient as a reckoner against you this Day." (Chapter 17: Verse 14)
The writers of deeds Kiram-ul-Katibeen are similar to tape-recorder apparatus which records the sentences, or words, but do not know their meanings. The difference being merely that in a tape-recorder the good and evil about the talker's sentences are not known, but in that “Record of Deeds” they are separated in such a way that the goodness are written by the Guardian Angel on the right shoulder, and the evils by the one on the left shoulder.
How is this separation of deeds or words done of a person for distinguishing the good and evil deeds in this “Record of Deeds”?
While recording a word or deed, if a Bright Light emanated from one’s heart due to his statement or deed, it means that the word or deed is good. However, if the light is not emanated, then that word or deed is corrupt and evil. Allah knows best!
While recording words in a tape-reorder, some kind of ebb and flow appears, due to the various acts and words. In the recording of our deeds and words, such ebbs and flows are caused by the radiation of the Heart's Compassion (Light of Faith—Noor of Imaan). We can say that such acts are better than all other deeds. This is what Almighty Allah has mentioned in His Kalaam as Sincerity in Deeds.
"Surely, the Deen (i.e. the worship and obedience) is for Allah only.” (Chapter 39: Verse 3)
While accomplishing whatsoever good deeds or words, its line is definitely connected to “Nucleus of Monotheism” of the “Heart” or the “Centre of Faith”. The more sincerity increases in it, i.e. it is carried out purely for sake of Almighty Allah proportionally, Angels by observing it will, by the permission of Allah, double and multiply the reward. Of course, at the end, Almighty Allah will multiply it further at He wishes. Who can stop Him?
Sometimes it happens that Satan by using the opportunity brings corrupt excitements under the name of sincerity in deeds, and makes the person sentimental. Finally, it results in that good deed either not to be accomplished, or accomplished but with discontentment. This circumstance causes harm to the Light of the doer's action. For instance, in good deeds, the person may act out of grudge or jealousy. Or sometimes, some people's negligence, forces him, in the form of competition, to accomplish that good deed. He needs to be careful for it to be fulfilled purely for the sake of Allah. Otherwise, through the weapon of hypocrisy or jealousy, Satan converts it to poison and get it rejected.
O Allah! We are all dependent upon Your Mercy. Enshroud us all with Your Mercy (Rahmah) and grant us all forgiveness (Maghfirah) of the evils we have committed.
Your forgiveness (Maghfirah) is far wider (comprehensive, greater) than our sins, and we rely on Your Mercy more than on our deeds. So be merciful to us. O our Most Merciful Allah!
Requesting your humble du'aas!
I request your humble du'aas.
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN