In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
1. Ibadat is the reason behind man’s existence:
Ibadat is the reason behind our existence on the face of the earth. If a student heads to a western country seeking a PhD, and has no other goal than that, we say to him: The reason behind your existence in that country is getting your PhD, and anything serving that purpose is permissible, while, on the other hand, anything distracting you from it is prohibited.
Once you know that the ultimate goal and reason behind your existence on earth is ibadat, you should choose from the data in your life and whatever is available in your environment that meets your goal, and this is what we call success, this what we call prosperity, and this what we call triumph. The reason for your existence is to worship Allah, in the same way as the reason for the student’s existence in that country is to seek a PhD.
When goals are clear, means get clear too, and I am sorry to say that 97 percent of the youth in the developing countries have no goals and thus lead their lives according to materialistic motivations, temptations, or merely act on impulse.
Knowing the secret and the purpose of your existence is the fundament of everything, and we have been told by the Noble Qur’an that the reason for our existence is to worship Allah Most High, and were it not for this evidence, it could have been a controversial matter. Allah Most High says:
(I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.)
[Surat Al Dhariyat, ayah 56]
2. The expansive concept of ibadat:
It is disastrous to comprehend the word ibadat in its narrowest meaning; the right way is to understand this word in full. For example, any moving vehicle is called sayyara (“car”) in the Arabic language. Allah Most High says:
(Then there came a caravan (sayyara) of travelers: they sent their water-carrier (for water), and he let down his bucket (into the well). He said: “Ah there! Good news! Here is a (fine) young man!)
[Surat Yusuf, ayah 19]
Thus, the full meaning of the word sayyara is that of any moving object. However, it has been narrowed down to “car” –a vehicle driven by a driver, with its tires, engine and fuel. Therefore, if the word ibadat is taken to mean a set of rituals such as prayers, fasting, hajj, zakat, and bearing witness only, Muslims are way too far from the reality of their Deen, because according to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace
Islam is built on five pillars….
However, Islam is one thing and the five pillars are another thing.
Pillars mean props only, but Islam, being a complete structure, comprises these props as well as other components, such as method, conduct, principles, orders, and prohibitions. This is Islam a very detailed way of life.
Believe me, dear brothers, I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that Islam comes down to 500 thousand different details involving your earning, spending, marriage, divorce, raising your children, dealing with people –those stronger than you as well as those weaker than you, and also with those like you; in your place of residence and your travels; whether rich or poor, in times of peace and of war… so it is a detailed way of life. How come, then, that Muslims shrink it to five ritual practices?
3. Deen does not belong to the mosque:
How come Islam gets reduced to prayers only? This is a disaster, and unless we properly comprehend the meaning of ibadat as a detailed method, not just a few rites or do’s and don’ts, we are far away from the reality of this Deen.
Nevertheless, the other party insists on keeping the Deen in the mosque, and you, according to them, are Muslims in the mosque but outside you are entirely on your own. You eat, drink, meet people, celebrate, fulfill your desires, and you throw parties, where the behaviour can be acceptable or not.
They say that Islam belongs to mosques and I say otherwise.
You receive the Creator’s teachings in the mosque and you reap the benefits of your attendance. Joining a learning session gives you wisdom, closeness to Allah, happiness, and security. So mosques are there to offer teaching for you to benefit from, while the real Deen is in your office, clinic, operating theatre, lawyer’s office, and on the farm: do you use carcinogen hormones? Your Deen is on your employment desk: do you put a spoke in people’s wheels to blackmail tax-paying citizens, or do you serve them?
So your Deen is at your place of work, at home, at parties; in your earning and spending; and your Deen is advice.
It is a tremendous mistake to limit it to a narrow meaning –to praying and fasting.
On one occasion the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked his noble companions who the bankrupt was.
It has been transmitted by Abu Huraira that the Prophet said:
Do you know who the bankrupt is?
The Companions said: A bankrupt is somebody who has neither money nor property.
The Prophet said: The bankrupt in my ummah is he who will come on the Day of Judgment with lots of praying, fasting and sadaqat; but who has offended a person, slandered another one,
wrongfully taken somebody’s wealth, shed somebody else’s blood, beaten up somebody else.
So Allah Most High will take away from him the rewards for his good deeds and give them to those who had been tyrannized by him.
If all his good deeds get exhausted before their due is paid,
their sins will be taken (away from them) and attributed to him,
and, consequently, he will be thrown into the Fire-Pit!
[Narrated by Muslim, Tirmidhi]
Dear brothers, worshiping and knowing Allah and His Path are the reasons behind your existence.
Here, knowing Allah implies having the knowledge that induces you to follow His Orders, to fear the Judgment Day so that you refrain from hurting any other being whatsoever, to seek with what you have been granted by Allah the Abode of the Hereafter, and to employ your money, job, time, expertise, talents, and abilities for the sake of Allah the Almighty.
Ibadat carries a very wide meaning.
The meaning of ibadat:
Dear brothers, one of the all-inclusive and comprehensive definitions of ibadat is:
voluntarily obedience, mixed with heartedly love, based on certainty, and leads to eternal happiness
1. Worship is all about obedience
he who disobeys Allah doesn’t worship Him, so in a nutshell worship equals obedience.
In Islam there is no passive admiration, such as to say: “What a great religion, it is so civilized and natural”, yet abstain from following it.
A young man fell in love with a western girl, so he asked for his father’s permission to marry her, but the latter hit the roof and threatened to disgrace him. What should he do? A month later he offered his father a solution saying: “Father, what if she converted to Islam?” The answer this time was in the affirmative and no further objections were offered by the father. The young man was beyond himself with joy and took himself to the bookshop to buy a set of books in English about Islam so that she could understand this religion and convert, helping him thus to get his father’s permission to marry her.
After she had received the books, the shrewd girl asked for four months to read them calmly, away from him, his pressure and wishes. The four months seemed four years to him, as he was counting minutes and seconds. After the fourth month was gone, he called her and was both stunned and delighted by what he had heard. She told him she would convert to Islam, which meant that his goal was achieved, but added that she would not marry him since according to what she had read he was not a Muslim.
The Almighty says:
(But after them there followed a posterity who missed prayers and followed after lusts: soon, then will they face Destruction)
[Surat Mariam, ayah 59]
2. Ibadat is voluntarily obedience
Ibadat is voluntary obedience. A powerful man is obeyed by force; yet, can we call obeying by force “worship”?
Impossible! Obedience is by choice, and this is why Allah Most High wants us to come to Him in obedience and by choice, driven by love. He says:
(Let there be no compulsion in religion)
[Surat Al Bakara, ayah 256]
(Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject)
[Surat Al Kahef, ayah 29]
(We showed him the Way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will))
[Surat Al Insan, ayah 3]
(To each is a goal to which Allah turns him; then strive together (as in a race) towards all that is good)
[Surat Al Bakara, ayah 148]
3. Ibadat is mixed with love:
If you want to ace your exam, you should be firm in organizing your time: go to sleep early, according to sunna, and wake up early to study, given that the academic achievement gets doubled in the early morning as compared with the rest of the day.
Obedience is by choice, mixed with heartfelt love, and he who loves Allah yet disobeys, never worships Him; and he who obeys Allah without love, never worships Him; so it is voluntary ibadat mixed with genuine love.
Some scholars said that worship is absolute obedience, love, and submission to Allah.
Ibadat is a voluntary act mixed with wholehearted love, based on the certitude of knowledge, leading to eternal happiness.
It has the side of knowledge, the side of conduct and the side of aesthetics.
4. Religion is about righteousness:
The conduct side is its cornerstone, as we can’t benefit from the Deen if we don’t follow Allah’s Path, and you can also say that the Deen can be epitomized in one word “righteousness’, in the same was as trade can be characterized by one word “earn”, because if you don’t earn, you cannot be considered a merchant, and if you don’t become upright, you can’t be said to be following the Deen.
There is a folkloric Islam where everything is Islamic, such as background, basis, tendency, interests, arks, ornaments, art, ambitions, education and thousands of other Islamic things, but this is one thing and Islam itself is another thing ; and it has been said:
Avoiding one speck of wrongdoing is better than performing 80 pilgrimages after the obligatory hajj
So the pivot here is “conduct”, voluntary obedience, based on the certitude of knowledge –printed in boldface, red-letter words. Thus, we concentrate on these three important concepts: voluntary obedience, mixed with sincere love, based on the certitude of knowledge.
5. the certitude of knowledge is the foundation of Ibadat:
Faith is the certitude of knowledge, and thus if the whole population of the earth, the 6 billion people that populate it, disbelieved in Allah, you wouldn’t because your faith would be in every cell of your body, and in every drop of your blood, the whole and the only kind of faith –in Allah’s Glorious Names and His Sublime Attributes, in the Hereafter, in angels, in books, in Prophets, and in bad and good fate as coming from Allah the Almighty.
Dear brothers, it is based on the certitude of knowledge, and I have never heard of a man going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning as the holder of a PhD. It takes 33 years of non-stop efforts, sleepless nights; no meetings with friends and no picnics; and going through all this is just to add the prefix Dr to one’s name, which used to be bare before.
Man sometimes thinks he is a believer, but when did he attend a session of learning? When did he buy a book? When did he read one? When did he read the Qur’an or the Sunna? When did he think of Allah’s Orders? When did he ask “why am I here in this life”? What is the secret behind my existence and its purpose? When did he meditate? When did he muse? When did he go to the mosque to attend a lecture?
Someone might say “I am a believer and my faith is stronger than yours”, but he is deeply immersed in sins and wrongdoings. Subhan-Allah! Each craft has experts and masters, but the Deen is apparently for everyone, like a common pasture, where everybody talks about it according to his point of view.
6. You are in need to be happy:
Hence, Dear brothers the knowledge preceded by certitude leads to eternal happiness.
Your need for beauty is something essential. You need to be happy, to lead a beautiful life, to connect with Allah Most High, and to be in a Garden width of the heavens and earth.
Hence, those who have chosen the earthly life over the Hereafter are motivated by their love of beauty but at the wrong time.
The place where students study isn’t luxurious. It has wooden desks, chilly ambience, lots of assignments; the teacher is talking. And this is how a learning center looks like, this is where you seek knowledge; it is a seat of learning. The places you should attend look ascetic; rather than fullness they are inclined to hunger, as the saying goes: fullness takes away quick-wittedness.
A student might desire a grand, comfortable desk, after the fashion of airplane seats which turn into beds; provided with variety of refreshments, coffee, tea, nuts, crackers, fruits, games, radio and a TV set. But this isn’t a place where you might lead comfortable and cushy life; indeed, it is a work place. It is after having received your PhD that you can have your own room, your own office with a reception desk, or a lavish bedroom and a stunning view.
We live in the abode of toil, not of hope.
We live in the abode of honoring, responsibility, and preparation for the Hereafter, where one may say: I wish I had offered in my life (more) good deeds.
Due to profound wisdom, this earthly life is the abode of torsion not a place of straightness; and it is the abode of grief not of joy; and he who realizes that it should be like this will not rejoice over opulence nor lament over grief because both joy and grief are transitory. Allah Most High has created this life to be the abode of adversity, while the Hereafter He has meant to be the Final Abode, that is why He has made the grief of the earthly life to be the reason for the Hereafter’s gratification; and He made the gratification of the Hereafter to be the compensation for that grief, so He rewards to compensate.
You might lead a life of ease and comfort; and you might be delighted to buy a house, get married, or enjoy your family’s company, and it is fine as long as you are pleasing Allah in general and aiming at the right target: Oh Allah you are my Destiny and pleasing You is my delight.
Allah has bestowed on you blessings of all kinds, and it is all right to seek all kinds of comfort on one condition: they shouldn’t be your only goal in life.
The problem nowadays is that people make luxurious life their only goal, and you should ask philosophers about it, as desire turns to pain when it is your target destiny. That’s why it has been said: Take whatever you like from the earthly life and you will be granted the same (amount) of worries, because he who takes more than necessary from the earthly life is attracting, unaware of it, his death.
It was narrated by Abd Allah Ibn-Mohsen Al Khutami that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
Whoever wakes up in the morning well and able, safe within his neighborhood and in possession of his daily bread will be (feeling) as if he has won the whole world
A king asked his minister: “Who is the king?” He answered: “You, your Majesty! There is no king but you.” So the king said: “The real king is someone we don’t know and he doesn’t know us; he owns the house he dwells in, has an obedient wife, and a satisfying income; and if he knew us, he would make every effort to please us; and if we knew him, we would make every effort to embarrass him.” Therefore:
Whoever wakes up in the morning well and able, safe within his neighborhood and in possession of his daily bread will be (feeling) as if he has won the whole world
Ibadat is voluntary obedience, mixed with genuine love, based on the certitude of knowledge, leading to eternal happiness.
Dear brothers, there is heaven in the earthly life, and he who doesn’t enter it, will never enter the Heaven of the Hereafter. The evidence is in the ayah where Allah Most High says:
(And admit them to the Garden which He has announced for them)
[Surat Muhammad, ayah 6]
It is the heaven of the earthly life, and some get the taste of it; it is the Heaven of Closeness to Allah, and that’s why some poets among the scholars said:
If your ears heard our nice speech, you would cast away the garb of arrogance and come to us
If you tasted an atom-like of love, you would excuse him who loved us to death.
If you felt the breeze of our closeness to you, you would die in excitement and eagerness for us.
If you saw any of our illuminations, you would leave all creatures for our sake
Dear brothers, man inclines to beauty by nature, and happiness is the first benefit of the Deen. Hence, a believer has enough happiness in his heart for a whole town; a believer’s heart has what is enough to give security to a whole town.
Empty soul can’t be filled up with money, marriage, women, positions, or pleasures.
Only faith, which man often seeks later in his life wishing he had sought it earlier, is able to fill it.
Subdivisions of ibadat:
Dear brothers, let us move to another topic and talk about the ritual and transactional kinds of ibadat.
1- Ritual ibadat
Prayer: you stand forth reading Al Fatiha, and some verses of the Qur’an and you bow down, sit and say salam.
Fasting: you stop eating and drinking from dawn till sunset.
Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah during the first half of the month of Dhul-Hijjah): You go to Mekka, Allah’s House, you circumambulate the Ka’bah, walk between the hills of Safa and Marwa, stay at Arafat, and perform the rest of the rites of hajj.
Zakat: Giving the poor their due.
Shahadat (bearing witness): You say: I bearr witness that there is no other god but Allah.
These are ritual acts of worship.
2- Transactional ibadat:
Transactions are the broadest and the most serious parts of ibadat, and the proof for that is what the Najashee (Al Habasha’s king) asked the Muslims, led by our Master Jaafar, who migrated to him. When he asked them to tell him about Islam, Jaafar said:
O king! We were ignorant and ill-mannered. We used to worship idols, eat carrion, mistreat our neighbors, cut off kinship ties, and the strong used to tyrannize the weak. However, we have changed after a man from amongst us, well known to us on account of his noble family, truthfulness, faithfulness and chastity has been sent to us by Allah Most High. He ordered us to tell the truth, return deposits back to their owners, preserve our ties of kinship, and be kind to our neighbors. He warned us against drawing near to obscenities, lying, and appropriating the wealth of the orphan. Our people rejected him; therefore they persecuted, oppressed and tortured us. Thus, our Prophet told us to flee to Abyssinia, for the king there is known to be just and fair. Therefore, we came to your land, hoping that we would not be harmed here
3- The reality of transactional ibadat:
Transactional ibadat is based on good conduct, which begins with self-discipline and is followed by good deeds in the second place.
Transactional ibadat is righteousness (the passive part), and good deeds (the active part).
While ritual ibadat is praying, fasting and performing hajj, transactional ibadat is refraining from lying, from taking what isn’t yours, from harming others physically or mentally or by any other kind of aggression.
Transactional worship implies being honest. Period.
It is treachery to say something to a brother of yours, trying to make him believe it is true while in fact it is a lie.
A believer never lies. It was narrated by Abu Umama that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
The believer is naturally exposed to all traits except betrayal and lying
You should be truthful, and being truthful is not a grey but a black and white concept, as much as that of gold and soil (being entirely unlike), or that of one dollar and a billion dollars (being thoroughly different).
The believer is honest, straight, and spotless; he doesn’t violate other people’s integrity, always lowers his gaze; he is compassionate, fair to others, and humble.
The belief is a set of rules of good conduct:
I have been sent by Allah to be an educator, I have been sent to perfect noble conduct
Believing is giving not taking, so the right way is to give not to take.
The reality of transactional ibadat is to be righteous, honest, faithful, virtous, fair, humble, patient, and compassionate
I have been sent by Allah to perfect noble conduct
Faith is behaviour, so it follows that he who excels in behaviour, excels in faith.
While our master Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, was doing i’tikaf (staying in the mosque for worship) in the Prophet’s mosque in Ramadan, he met a gloomy man so he said to him: Why are you sad and tired? The man replied: Yes, O Prophet’s cousin! I am sad. Someone has a right over me, but by Allah, I cannot fulfill it. Ibn Abbas said: Would like me to talk to that person? When the man replied affirmatively, Ibn Abbas started to leave the mosque immediately. Another man shouted behind him: Have you forgotten that you are in i’tikaf? Ibn Abbas answered: No, but I heard from the owner of this grave (pointing at the Prophet’s grave) that:
The reward for whoever watches over the needs of a brother of his and takes care of them is greater than that for fasting for a month and staying in i’tikaf in my mosque
4- Ritual ibadat won’t be useful to us unless transactions have been righteous:
The most serious part of this lecture is that ritual ibadat won’t be accepted unless one’s transactions followed the Right Path, and people always ask for evidence, without which things would be controversial.
It has been narrated by Thawban that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
Know that some people from my ummah will come on the Day of Judgment with good deeds as (big as) the white mountains of Tihama, but Allah will make them scattered dust.” Thawban said: O Messenger of Allah! Describe them to us, so that we may not be one of them unknowingly! He said: They will be your brothers, and from your people, and they will take from the night as you do (meaning offering prayers, etc.), but they are a people who, when they were alone with the prohibitions of Allah, violated them
Ritual ibadat has the highest degree.
Hence, dear brothers, the whole Deen comes down to one word, which is “righteousness” and unless you follow the Right Path, the Deen will turn into a tradition, an earthly product, general education, folklore, customs and habits.
The prophet PBUH said:
Whoever does not give up lying and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his giving up his food and drink
And some of those who fast gain nothing but hunger and thirst.
One might perform hajj in Mekka paying with unlawful money, and say with other hujjaj (pilgrims):
Ever at Your service, O Allah! Ever at Your service! Ever at Your Service!” But he will be called out: “La labbayk wa la saadyak!” (Your hajj is not accepted!)
(Say: Spend (for the Cause) willingly or unwillingly: not from you will it be accepted: for ye are indeed a people rebellious and wicked)
[Surat Al Tauba, ayah 53]
5. Bearing witness:
The Prophet said:
Whoever said: There is no god but Allah, with whatever it takes, enters Heaven. They asked: And what does it take? He answered: Avoiding what Allah has prohibited them to do
So ritual ibadat, including prayers, fasting, hajj and zakat, will not be accepted by Allah unless we follow the Right Path in transactional ibadat.
(Say: “Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life. While they thought that they were acquiring good by their works)
[Surat Al Kahef, ayahs 103-104]
Another concept of Ibadat:
We have practices in worship considered as a common denominator amongst us, for instance we should all perform prayers (Salat) the first ritual worship and as said: there is no good in a religion without prayer the pillar of this religion, and he who performs it builds this religion and he who leaves it destroys this religion.
Prayer tops all acts which bring you to Allah, and it is the best of acts of obedience, in addition it is the believer’s ascension to the Lord of heavens and earth.
We all share performing this worship (Salat) and it is the common denominator amongst us.
We all fast, we all pay our Zakat when our money reaches the curium, and we all perform Haj when one of us is rich and capable.
Nevertheless, there are ways of worship
first- Knowing your identity is an act of worship:
Knowing your identity is to know who you are, and that every human has a social role to play.
1. The worship of the rich is to spend his money righteously:
If you were rich, the first act of worship for you would be to spend on the poor, and you should remember that you were only bestowed that money by Allah to spend it for His sake and to gain happiness in this life and in the hereafter by spending it.
The evidence for that is a Hadith narrated by AbduAllah Ibn-Omar may Allah be pleased with them both, he said I heard the Prophet PBUH saying:
There shall be no envy but (emulate) two: the person whom Allâh has given wealth and the power to spend it in the service of Truth, and the person whom Allâh has granted knowledge of things and he judges by it and teaches it (to others)
If the believer was rich he should know for sure that Allah bestowed him this money to help him in entering heaven.
Honorable brothers, there are a lot of examples in life, and rich people have the potential to reach the highest ranks in heaven because the power of money is the backbone of life.
The merchant who earns his money in lawful ways and spends it on Muslims’ interests is with prophets and the sincere in Allah’s consideration, because just as I can persuade you with my ideas, I can gainyour heart with my money.
So the first act of worship for the rich is spending on the poor.
With their money they bridge the gap, bring people together, wipe tears off orphans’ faces, help youth getting married, fix homes of the poor, feed hungry people, and support orphans, so with their money they are gaining hearts.
Allah the Almighty said:
(But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this World)
[Surat Al Kasas, ayah 77]
The ayah is very clear.
The money issue is very serious because man could slip and be a servant of the money and his soul will get infected by money the same way the body is infected with a harmful disease:
(And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls; they are the ones that achieve prosperity)
[Surat Al Taghbun, ayah 16]
Stinginess is a disease and the stingy person, dear brothers, lives poor and dies rich, for that it was narrated in ancient books that the soul of the dead person hovers over the casket saying: Oh my family, Oh my kids, don’t let the earthy life distract you as it did to me, I collected my money lawfully and unlawfully, and I spent it in Halal ways (religiously permitted) and in Haram ways (religiously forbidden) so as a result you will enjoy my money and I will pay the price of collecting it.
The most regretful person in the hereafter is a man whose heirs enter heaven because of his money (they use it in religiously permitted ways) but he himself enters hell (because he collected and spent it in religiously forbidden ways).
So the first act of worship of the rich is spending on the poor, Allah said:
(And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction)
[Surat Al Bakara, ayah 195]
The most delicate meanings of this ayah is: don’t contribute to your own destruction by not spending on the poor, and there are countless other examples
2. The act of worship for the powerful is to stand by the weak:
Who are you? If you are powerful and strong, then your first act of worship is to carry out rightness and be fair to the aggrieved.
You should take from the powerful and give to the weak, from the rich and give to the poor, and from the tyrant and give to the tyrannized.
You can issue an order by a mere signature, for that powerful people are pleased when they are pointed at as “VIP” (very important person), but it is knee rattling if only they knew the meaning of this word “VIP”:
(Therefore, by thy Lord, We will, of a surety, call them to account, For all their deeds)
[Surat Al Hijr, ayahs 92-93]
Hence, it was said: hold yourselves accountable before Allah Does to you.
Power is responsibility
Honorable brothers, man’s social class or position could be high because of money, but that could happen by knowledge too.
The higher the class that man has, the more options he would have for good deeds.
3. A woman’s act of worship is in serving her husband and children
If you were a woman then your act of worship is to look after your husband and children, better yet, you and all women should know that being a good wife to your husband equals Jihad (fighting ) in Allah’s cause.
I always mention this example: a woman prayed Tahajud (after midnight prayer), shed tears in Salat (prayer), showed reverence in her heart, and melted by Allah’s love but she has five kids, and at 6 AM she got tired and asked her kids to manage their matters, of course there was no food on the table, the house was cold, some of her kids didn’t write their homework, some of them had dirty clothes on, some clothes needed mending, and they all headed to school. One of them didn’t write his homework, the second was given a notice because of his clothes, and the third had oil on his books because of the unwrapped sandwich he prepared, in general they were all insulted.
I would rather say here: If this woman woke up half an hour before sun rise and brought warmth to the room, prepared the kids’ sandwiches, helped them with their homework, looked after their clothes and back bags, and showed them to the door until they took the school bus, she would be a million times closer to Allah, because the first woman was a worshiper, while the second one worshiped Allah by carrying out her true mission.
The prophet PBUH said:
Any woman who stayed at home to look after her children is with me in heaven, I am the first to hold the heaven’s door handle, but a woman struggles to hold it first, so I said: Gabriel, who is she? He said: she is a woman whose husband died and left her children, and she refused to marry again for their sake, and she was struggling to enter heaven before the prophet PBUH
This is the identity act of worship, hence as a sincere devotee you should worship Allah as you were meant to.
Second- Conditions that determine the act of worship:
There is what is called conditional acts of worship, for example if someone’s father got sick, and he used to attend Islamic learning sessions, what is the priority here? Is it to stay with his father to look after him and his needs and cheer him up or leave him and neglect him and head to the other act of worship?
The answer is no! Here we have a conditional act of worship which has proiority over any other practices except for the obligatory acts (pillars.)
You are obliged to look after your father, so the first act of worship for one who has a sick father is to look after him, for one who has a visitor is to treat him with hospitality, for one who has a son about to be examined is to prepare a suitable environment for study, for one who has a daughter at the age of marriage is to find her the suitable husband, and for one who has a young son with all the temptations surrounding him is to help him getting married.
There is a delicate meaning here.
Talking about conditional acts of worship, we should say that there are a lot of painful examples when one doesn’t know the priorities, like in case of a sick father some would perform a less rewarded worship than looking after his father, Allah won’t accept a voluntary worship which led to neglect a mandatory one.
So the usual typical father is he who looks after his kids, and I know a brave man who sold his house in the classiest neighborhood in Damascus and prefered to live in the suburb and with the money he got, he bought five houses
So this is what is called conditional act of worship.
Third-Time is an act of worship:
What does it mean: time is an act of worship?
fajr (dawn) / subh (morning) prayer for example, this is a time of prayer not a time of calcutions or washing cars, it is time of worship, reciting quran, praying, and dhikr (the remembrance of Allah), and it was narrated by Aisha may Allah be pleased with her, that the prophet PBUH said:
If they only knew what they contain (Isha’a prayers as well as Fajr prayers), they would come even if they had to crawl
Time act of worship is to give everything what it deserves, and there are actions for Allah in the night which is not accepted to be done in the day, and there are actions for Allah in the day that are not accepted to be done in the night.
The Prophet PBUH saw a young man reciting Quran or may be worshiping during working hours so he asked him:
Who feeds you? He answered: my brother, he said: he is better worshiper than you are
[Narrated as hadith]
Pay attention, this is a working time and your brother is better worshiper than you because he is earning a lawful living and spending it on his family.
There are actions for Allah in the night that are not accepted to be done in the day, and there are actions for Allah in the day that are not accepted to be done at night.
Purposes of Ibadat:
The important question is, why did Allah enjoined us to worship and obey Him, despite the fact that he does not need us? If someone worships Him, He does not get any benefit, and if someone turns away from Him, it does not cause Him any harm. Neither praise increases His Dominion, nor does ingratitude decrease it. We are in constant need of Allah, but Allah is the One Free of all needs. Verily, He is the Compassionate, the Bounteous, the Beneficent, and the Merciful. He does not enjoin on us except that which guarantees happiness and prosperity for us.
If we move from the definition of worship to talk about its noble ends and purposes, we can find the following facts.
1- Ibadat is hourishment for the soul:
Worship is nourishment for the soul, just like food and drink are for the body. The human being is not merely a material physical body, which we see and feel, but rather a spiritual essence by virtue of which he has become the best of all creatures. Such spiritual essence derives its life and happiness from man’s being conscious of Allah, Most Gracious and turning to Him with love and devotion. But it loses its life and happiness by man’s being heedless of the Lord, Most Merciful, and turning away from Him. To this effect, Allah, Almighty says,
(Truly he succeeds that purifies it (i.e. his soul), And he fails that corrupts it)
There is something in the human heart that makes it always feel the need for Allah, something that is deeply rooted therein and nothing in the whole world can replace it except a good relationship with the Lord of all existence. And this is the essence of worship.
2. True servitude to Allah is the means for real freedom:
True servitude to Allah is the means for real freedom; and sincere servitude to Him is the essence of freedom and the way to real sovereignty, because it rids the heart of servitude to other fellow humans and liberates it from submission or humiliation to false deities that enslave mankind most badly and unjustly. This is because man is naturally pre-disposed to feel that he is in constant need of a Lord, a God, to Whom he feels attached, whose Good Pleasure he seeks, with Whom he takes refuge, whose Protection and Help he seeks. This is because man has been originally created weak in order to feel needy; and his weakness and need bring him happiness. Had he been created strong, he would have felt self-sufficient and, hence, incur wretchedness and misery by his strength and self-sufficiency. Moreover, if such a God were not Allah, the One and Only, man would inevitably get confused by worshipping different numerous gods and deities, of humans and non-humans, of those who can or cannot see, of those who have or do not have, minds, of those who exist in reality or are mere illusions. It has been rightly said:
He who refuses to worship Allah must inevitably worship someone or something else that enslaves and humiliates him
Man will never be safe from being enslaved and humiliated by others unless he takes Allah, Creator of the heavens and earth, Lord of all worlds, for a God and Protector, worshipping none but Him, seeking help and protection from none but Him, and putting his trust in none but Him. He feels happy with that which pleases Allah, Alone, hates that which He, Alone, hates or makes unlawful, befriends only His righteous friends, and antagonizes only His enemies. He loves only for the sake of Allah; and he hates only for the sake of Allah. He gives only for the sake of Allah; and he withholds only for His sake. The more sincere and faithful in his worship to Allah he is, the more perfect is his servitude to Him and the lesser need he has of others than Him. The more perfect his servitude to Allah is, the more liberated from arrogance and polytheism man will be.
3- Ibadat is meant to be divine trial for mankind:
One of the purposes of worship is that it is meant to be a kind of Divine Trial for man. That is because the life of this world, whether short or long, is not the ultimate goal, neither it is the final end. It is the lower and perishing life, which Allah wants us to use in order to prepare ourselves for the higher everlasting life. Allah’s Divine Wisdom necessitates the existence of two controversial kinds of elements in a human being: those that provide him with spiritual exaltation, and, hence, honor and dignity, such as the mind and will, on the one hand, and those that cause him to fall down to the lowest of the low, such as instinct and lust, on the other. Moreover, all Divine Favors and Blessings that Allah bestows upon mankind, such as wealth, beauty, power, intelligence …etc., are neutral, i.e. can be elements of man’s both exaltation or degradation, sources of both happiness and wretchedness, and reasons for admittance into Paradise or Hell-Fire. In other words, instincts and lusts have been imbedded in man, but at the same time he has been given a mind and a will. His Lord, Allah, Most Gracious, All-Wise, has designed a special system (i.e. the religion of Islamic Monotheism) for him and bidden him to stick to it and adhere to its commands and enjoinments. Man is absolutely free to make his own choices either to use his mind and will, stick to Allah’s System, and, hence, attain happiness in the present world and the world to come, or to be easy prey to his lusts and instincts, turn away from Allah’s System, and, therefore, reap wretchedness and misery in both Abodes. To this effect, Allah, All-Mighty, All-Wise, says,
(That which is on earth we have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them as to which of them are best in conduct)
He, Most Merciful, also says,
(Verily, We created man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: so We gave him (the gifts) of Hearing and Sight)
4- Worship is Allah’s Right upon His slaves:
Worship is Allah’s Right upon His slaves. Narrated Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Mu`adh bin Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him): I was riding behind the Prophet (PBUH) when he (PBUH) said,
“O Mu`adh! Do you know what is the right of Allah upon His slaves?”
I said: “Allah and His Messenger know better.” The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said,
“Allah’s Right upon His slaves is that they should worship Him, Alone, and associate nothing with Him”
In a Divine Hadith, Allah, All-High, says,
The Jinn, human beings and I are in a great issue. I create, but they worship others than Me. I provide sustenance, but they thank others than Me
In another Divine Hadith on the authority of Ali bin Abu Talib, He also says,
My Favors and Blessings are going down to the slaves but their evil [deeds] are coming up. I show love to them by My Favors and Blessings although I do not need them, and they make themselves hateful to me by their sins although they need me much more than any thing else’.
It is by no means strange or unacceptable that Allah, Alone, should have the right to be worshipped by Hs slaves. What is strange and unaccepted is that we should not worship Him or worship others than Him, and, hence, give the right to those who are not its real owners! We had not been a thing to remember when He, All-Mighty, Most Gracious, brought us to life, honored us, made us in the best stature and most beautiful form, taught us eloquent speech, endued us with clever minds and wisdom, and subjected other creatures for us.
In fact, worship is a kind of surrender and submission that none deserves except the Benefactor, Allah, Who bestowed upon us such marvelous Favors and Blessings as life, provision, and guidance. In this sense, no creature deserves to be offered the least worship. In other words, worship is Allah’s Right upon His slaves.
5- Worship also denotes seeking Paradise and deliverance from Hell-Fire:
Worship also denotes seeking Paradise and deliverance from Hell-Fire. It does not matter for the worshipper, neither does it diminish the value of his worship if it be in pursuit of Allah’s Reward and for fear of His Punishment. Allah, Most Gracious, described the elite of His creatures: the Messengers, Prophets, veracious and pious people that they hope for His Mercy and fear His Torment. If it were not required, Allah, the Almighty, would not have described His Paradise for believers and ornamented it for them, and He, Most Gracious, would not have told them details thereof which their minds could understand. Similarly, He would not have described the Fire for them, and told them details which their minds could comprehend.
In fact, Paradise is not merely a place full of delightful trees, fruits, food, drink, Hour-il-‘Een (female companions with beautiful big lustrous eyes), rivers and palaces. Nay! It is rather a place of Utmost Bliss, most importantly looking at Allah’s Holy Countenance, listening to His Talk, being near to Him and enjoying His Good Pleasure. Allah Almighty says,
(Some faces, that Day, will beam (in brightness and beauty); looking towards their Lord)
[75; 22, 23]
(But the Greatest Bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allah)
6- Worship that a believer offers to his Lord is a kind of noble morals:
mbolizes fidelity and faithfulness to Allah, the Almighty, thankfulness for His Favors and Blessings, respect and glorification for the One Who is worthy of all respect and glorification, which are all manifestations of noble manners as all people of wisdom confirm. That is why Allah, Exalted and Glorified, describes the obedient and submissive believers:
(Such are the people of truth’ [ii; 177], ‘Those are the truthful’ [49; 49] ‘And of Abraham who fulfilled his engagements’)
This is because the highest stages of truthfulness is one’s being truthful to Allah, thankful to Him for His Favors, and faithful to Him by serving His creatures. The excellent character and manners of a true believer are considered a kind of worship to his Lord. A true believer’s character and manners are divinely guided. They are motivated by firm belief in Allah, Most Gracious, and hope for His Paradise. Their purpose is His Good Pleasure and Generous Reward.
A true believer says the truth, fulfills the trust, keeps his covenants, carries out his pledges, helps the needy and the weak, has mercy upon the young and respects the old, and is firm and steadfast in case of pain, suffering, adversity, and distress:
(We feed you for the sake of Allah, Alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks)
The noble character and good manners of a true believer are a kind of worship in the sense that his criteria whereby he distinguishes virtue from vice are derived from Allah’s Religion and Commands. In fact, man’s own conscience is not at all infallible away from Divine Guidance; and so numerous are the individuals and communities whose conscience accepts evil and vicious deeds. Away from heavenly Guidance human mind is by no means safe from error and stray, because it is confined by environment and material circumstances and is influenced by man’s desires and caprices. Moreover, traditions are by no means stable or reliable because they are subject to change by place and time. Moral standards of a true believer stem from the Infallible Secure Divine Source, into Which no vanity or falsehood could ever creep, namely Allah, All-Mighty, All-Wise, Lord of all worlds, Who never goes astray or forgets, Who is never influenced by whims or desires, or is unjust. In other words, the moral standards and criteria of a true believer are derived from Allah’s Perfect Divine Judgment:
(and who is better in Judgment than Allah, for a people who believe?!)
7- Worship is the only means the development of man’s conscience:
Worship is the only means for the proper development of man’s conscience. It is the only source of good manners that do not emerge from materialistic values or interests nor are influenced thereby. This is because Allah, Most Gracious, is the Fountain of Good, Truth, and Beauty. Through his worship to his Lord, All-Wise, and consciousness of Him, man derives his noble character and good manners from such worship and consciousness, which are positively proportional with his straightness, rectitude, truthfulness, sincerity, and righteous work. In other words, the most conscious of the Lord from among mankind are the most pious, rightly guided and best mannered. In this context, Allah, All-Mighty, says,
(And you (O Muhammad (PBUH) (stand) on an exalted standard of character)
And He, Most Gracious, also says,
(Therefore, by your Lord, we will, of a surety, call them to account, for all their deeds)
Thus, evaluation of man is by no means authentic and truthful without taking into consideration his worship, religious commitment and devotion to the Lord, Most Merciful, and His Religion. And this is exactly what the Holy Prophet, (PBUH), predicted and warned of. He, (PBUH), said,
A time will come when people will say about a person: ‘How prudent he is! How handsome he is! And how intelligent he is!’ Whereas in his heart there will be no grain of Faith
[Bukhari, by Huziafah]
Requirements for ibadat:
1- No one but Allah deserves to be worshipped:
No one but Allah, Alone, deserves to be worshipped. And in fact, the Oneness of Allah and His worship are the purport of all Divine Revealed Messages. Allah, Almighty says,
(We did not send a Messenger before you (O Muhammad!) but We inspired him saying: that there is no god but I; therefore worship and serve Me)
Moreover, the secret behind greatness of the religion of Islam is manifested, despite the profusion of its teachings, in its permanent constitution, i.e. the Noble Koran. And the secret of this constitution is imbedded in the Fatiha (the mother of the Noble Koran, and the seven most repeated Verses). And the secret of Fatiha can be summarized in this noble verse:
(You, Alone, do we worship, and You, Alone, do we ask for help)
i.e. we do not worship any one but You, and we do not seek help from anyone but You. This is because worship is a kind of submission that no one deserves except the Benefactor. Therefore, Polytheism is a disgrace that does not befit man’s dignity as a human being. It is most humiliating and disgraceful for man to worship things that have been subjugated for him such as stone, loam, the sun, the moon, jinn and even other human beings! How come that man prostrates himself to such creatures, which are subjected to him and utilized in his favor and service?! How come that he prostrates himself to them while the holy angels prostrated themselves to him, by the Command of Allah, greeting and welcoming him?!
In fact, Islam has closed all ways conducive to Polytheism. Imam Ahmad and Bukhari, in his book “Al-Adab Al-Mufrad” narrated on authority of Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that a man said to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), “What Allah and you will.” The Prophet (PBUH) said,
Do you make me a partner of Allah?! Say: What Allah, Alone, wills
Narrated At-Tabarani that at the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), there was a hypocrite who used to do a lot of harm to Muslims; so some of the people said, ‘let us go to the Prophet (PBUH) to seek help from him against this hypocrite’. The Prophet (PBUH) said,
Help should not be sought from me, it should be sought only from Allah, the Almighty
2- There are no mediators between Allah and His creatures:
There are no mediators between Allah and His creatures in the way that ignorant people wrongly believe.
A Muslim’s belief in Allah is based on two facts: that He, All-High, is above all his slaves in highness, subjugation, authority, and disposal. Nothing is the like of Him. Nothing governs Him. Nothing can happen in His Kingdom but what He wills.
He is Irresistible. He is ever watching His salves. He is the All-Wise, the All-Aware of all things. There is nothing the like of Him, and He is the One That hears and sees (all things). All creatures are under His Dominion; they can do neither good nor harm to themselves or others, nor can they give life or cause to die.
Despite His Greatness and Highness, He is close to His creatures. He is with them wherever they might be, when they are alone or with others. He listens, watches, guards, and guides. He gives any one who asks him, and responds to anyone who calls upon Him. He, All-Mighty, is close to His slaves despite his Highness, and High despite his Closeness. Allah, the Almighty, has combined His Highness and Greatness with His Closeness and Nearness in one verse, Allah Almighty said:
(It is He Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, and is moreover firmly established on the Throne (of authority). He knows what enters within the earth and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from the heaven and what mounts up to it. And He is with you wherever you may be. And Allah sees well all that you do)
Allah, the Almighty, is far above having mediators between Himself and His creatures, to tell him about things that He does not know and direct His Will to do things that He does not want to do.
He is far more Generous and Merciful than leaving His Divine Mercy and Paradise to some from among His salves to distribute and allot them according to their own desires. To Him, Alone, do belong Creation and Command; to Him, Alone, does belong the Dominion of all things; it is up to Him, Alone, to punish or to forgive; and He, Alone, is Powerful over all things.
3- Only sincere Ibadat is accepted by Allah:
The kind of worship and prayer that Allah, All-Mighty, accepts is not mere meaningless murmurs and gestures, but rather meaningful, purposeful and faithful acts of devotion accompanied by sincere submission and truthful veneration.
There was a man among us who proposed to a woman called Umm Qays. She refused to get married to him until he migrated to Medina; so he migrated to Medina and got married to her. We used to call him ‘the Emigrant of Umm Qays
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) also said,
The deeds are (judged) according to intentions, and a person will get rewarded according to his intention. So, whoever emigrates for Allah and His Messenger, his emigration will be (considered) for Allah and His Messenger; and whoever emigrates for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration will be (considered) for what he has emigrated for
O Allah! We take refuge with You from saying any thing which pleases You, seeking the pleasure of anyone but You!
4- Ibadat should be as Allah wanted them to be:
It is not enough for a Muslim to seek only Allah by his worship and to turn to none but Him in prayer and devotion. Worship of Allah must be done according to the method He has legislated and the way He is content with.
Allah Almighty said,
(Say: I am but a man like yourself, (but) the revelation has come to me, that your God (Allah) is only One God: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner)
Omar Bin Al-Khattab used to supplicate, “O Allah! Make all my work righteous! Let it be only for the sake of You! And let it be not shared by others (with You).”
the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), says,
If anyone introduces into our matter (i.e. Religion of Islam) anything which does not belong threto, it (i.e. his innovation) is rejected. And if anyone does work that does not belong to our matter (i.e. Religion of Islam), it is rejected
Therefore, Allah, Alone, is the Legislator; the Prophet (PBUH) is a mere communicator; and we should be strict adherents, for all Good lies in following and adherence. To this effect, Allah, the Almighty, says,
(Whosoever follows my guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall into misery)
In his first sermon that he delivered upon the Holy Prophet’s death, the first rightly guided Caliph Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said,
I am only a follower; I am not an innovator
A full description of the believer character:
We recite in Quran the following Ayah in which the believer character was described:
(Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness. And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood, and all that Allah has forbidden). And those who pay the Zakat . And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts) Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame; But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors; Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat (all the duties which Allah has ordained, honesty, moral responsibility and trusts etc.) and to their covenants; And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours). These are indeed the inheritors. Who shall inherit the Firdaus (Paradise). They shall dwell therein forever.)
Pay attention dear brother how Allah considered offering salat with all solemnity and ful submissiveness as the first of believers’ character, and the last one is to strictly guard their Salawat, He also described them as Zakat payers which is one of the other virtues which a believer has, not to mention turning away from Al-Laghw, chastity, honesty and faithfulness.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds
Prepared by: Noora Al Sharabi
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