Learning our Deen (Islam)

July 31, 2007

Prophet’s(S.A.W.) saying to Ali (r.A.a): “Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Harun to Musa?”

Filed under: Hadith-Hadeeth, Intermediate — Um Abdullah M. @ 6:40 pm

Sahih al Bukhari

Volume 5, Book 59, Number 700:

Narrated Sad: Allah’s Apostle set out for Tabuk. appointing ‘Ali as his deputy (in Medina). ‘Ali said, “Do you want to leave me with the children and women?” The Prophet said, “Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Aaron (Harun) to Moses (Musa)? But there will be no prophet after me.”
Translated by some like this: (‘Your relation to me shall be like the relation of Harun to Musa…) & (You hold in relation to me the same position as Harun held in relation to Musa)

Hadith in Arabic:

عَنْ مُصْعَبِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خَرَجَ إِلَى تَبُوكَ وَاسْتَخْلَفَ عَلِيًّا فَقَالَ أَتُخَلِّفُنِي فِي الصِّبْيَانِ وَالنِّسَاءِ قَالَ أَلَا تَرْضَى أَنْ تَكُونَ مِنِّي بِمَنْزِلَةِ هَارُونَ مِنْ مُوسَى إِلَّا أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ نَبِيٌّ بَعْدِي

This hadith is not evidence of khilafah of Ali radiyallahu anhu after the death of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, because the comparison is with Haroon alayhi assalam, and Harun alayhi assalam died before Musa alayhi assalam and thus was never his successor after him.The following is an explanation by al Qurtubi -rahimahu Allah- in his tafsir (tafseer of ayah 2:30) regarding this narration:

[There is no disagreement that the Prophet -sallallahu alayhi wa sallam- didn’t mean, by (saying) “you will be to me like Harun (Aaron) to Moses” the khilafah after him, and there is no disagreement that Haroon died before Musa -alayhima assalam- … and was not a khalifah after him, for the khalifah (successor of Musa) was Yusha’ bin Noon, so if he wanted by his saying “you will be to me like Harun to Moses” the khilafah, he would have said “you will be to me like Yusha’ was to Musa“, so when he didn’t say this it proved that he didn’t want that meaning, but he wanted that “you are my deputy over my family in my life and my abscence from my family, like Harun was deputy of Musa over his people when he left to speak to his Lord.]

Other scholars of ahl assunah explained it the same, him being deputy of the Prophet -sallallahu alayhi wa sallam – over the women and children when he went to the battle of Tabuk just like Musa -alayhi assalam- left Harun -alayhi assalam- as his deputy when he went to his appointment with Allah ta’ala.

In a Shia site it says:
((To this we answer that whenever the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, left the Islamic capital, he would always appoint someone to act as his deputy. If by comparing Ali, peace be upon him, to Harun, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, had intended nothing more than the usual appointment of a deputy, restricted in his authority to Madinah for the period of the Prophet’s absence, why did he not use a similar expression for those other favored Companions he would appoint as deputy? Why did he not use the same or similar words to describe the services they rendered?))

Answer: Those sahabah might have not asked the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam to go with him and not stay behind to watch who is left behind from women, children and others, so there was no need for him to tell them that, but Ali radiyallahu anhu objected to staying behind with children and women and not go to fight with the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and he wanted to go to the battle instead, so the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said that to him, showing him that he would be to him, by staying behind watching over women and children, like Haroon was to Musa when he left him behind as a deputy over his people, and it is an honor and that he wouldn’t be less than the ones who went to fight in battle.

and here is more on the hadith:



July 28, 2007

Pillars of the Correct Ubudiyah (servitude)

Filed under: Beginner, Ibadah - worship — Um Abdullah M. @ 6:34 pm

Pillars of the Correct Ubudiyah

Ibadah centers around three pillars; love, fear and hope. Verily, Ibadah comprises of all these; love with humbleness, fear with hope. Allah says describing His believing slaves, ‘whom He will love and they will love Him.’ [Soorah al-Maida (5):54] and, ‘But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else).’ [Soorah al-Baqarah (2):165] He said describing His Messengers and Prophets, ‘Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us.’ [Soorah al-Ambiya (21): 90]

Some of the Salaf have said, ‘He, who worships Allah with love alone is a Zindeeq (heretic). He, who worships Allah with hope alone, is a Murjee, and he, who worships Him with fear alone, is a Hurooree (meaning from the Khawarij). He, who worships Allah with love, fear and hope, is a Mumin Muwahhid. Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah has mentioned this is his essay, ‘al-Ubodiyah,’ and he also said, ‘Thus, the Deen of Allah is worship, obedience and submission to Him. As for Ibadah, its original meaning also denotes lowliness and submission. One says, ‘a pathway that is mu’abbad,’ i.e. it has become smoothed out because of being treaded upon. However, the Ibadah that has been enjoined (upon us) encompasses the meaning of submission along with the meaning of love. It embodies the utmost degree of submission to Allah through utmost degree of love to Him… One who submits to a person whilst possessing hatred for him is not an aabid (worshipper) of him and if he was to love someone and at the same time does not submit to him, he is likewise not an aabid of him, as is the case of a man who loves his child and friend. Consequently, only one of the two (qualities) is not sufficient as far as the Ibadah of Allah is concerned. Rather, it is necessary that Allah be the most beloved above all else to the abd (the slave) and that he holds Allah to be the greatest of all. Indeed, none other than Allah deserves total love and submission….’ [end quote] [See, Majmoo at-Tawheed an-Najdiyah, p.549]

These are the pillars of al-Ubudiyah.  Al-Allamah Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said in Nuniyyah:

‘Worship of Allah is utmost love for Him,
along with the worshipper’s submission,
these are the two axis (Qutban), upon which the orbit of Ibadah revolves.
And it does not revolve until the axis are established,
And that which causes it to turn is the command of the Messenger,
Not desires, soul or Shaytan.’

He (rahimahullah) likened the revolution of worship to be upon love and submission for the beloved, i.e. Allah, to the revolution of a celestial body upon its axis. And he mentioned that the revolution of worship is by the command of the Messenger and what he has ordered, and not desire, and what the soul orders him or the Shaytan,  because this is not worship. So, what the Messenger has ordered revolves the orbit of worship,  not innovations,  desires or blind-following of the forefathers.

Misunderstandings in defining al-Ibadah (worship)

Filed under: Beginner, Ibadah - worship — Um Abdullah M. @ 6:25 pm

Ibadah is Tawqeefiyah:  Meaning nothing can be legislated concerning it except with a proof from the Book and the Sunnah and that which is not legislated by Allah is considered a rejected innovation as the Messenger of Allah (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) said, ‘Whoever performs an action that is not ordered by us is rejected.‘ [Agreed upon] meaning the action is rejected and not accepted, rather it is written as a sin because it is disobedience and not obedience. The correct Manhaj of performing the legislated worships is moderation between being easy and lazy and harshness and extremism. Allah says to His Messenger, ‘So stand you firm and straight as you are commanded and those (your companions) who turn in repentance (unto Allah) with you, and transgress not (Allah’s legal limits).’ [Soorah Hud (11): 112]  In this noble verse, the correct Manhaj to perform worship has been mentioned, which is to adhere to moderation, without negligence or extremism, according to the legislation, ‘as you are commanded.’ Then he reinforced this by His Saying, ‘and transgress not (Allah’s legal limits).’  Transgression is to go beyond bounds due to harshness and stubbornness and this is exaggeration.  When the Messenger of Allah (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) found out that three Companions, who considered their deeds insignificant, such that one of them said, ‘I will fast and not break my fast.’ And another said, ‘I will pray and not sleep.’ And the third said, ‘I will not marry women.’ The Prophet (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) said, ‘As for me then I fast and break my fast and I marry women, so whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not from me.’ [Agreed upon]
 There are two differing groups of people regarding the issue of beliefs:

The first group fell short in their understanding of Ibadah and became lenient in performing it until they cancelled out many forms of worship, and reduced the meaning of worship to certain actions, and some rituals that are performed in the mosques. According to them worship does not stretch over the house, office, workshop, streets, neither in their dealings, politics, in seeking judgment to their dispute, nor in any other aspect of life.
Yes, the mosque has a virtue, and it is obligatory to perform five daily prayers in it, but worship envelopes all aspects of a Muslim’s life – inside the mosque and outside it.

The second group overstressed in implementing worship to the extent of exaggeration; they raised the Mustahabb (recommended) actions to the level of Wajib (obligatory), and prohibited some Mubah (permissible actions), and declared deviant and mistaken those people, who disagreed with their Manhaj (way) and proved their understanding to be incorrect.And the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) and the worst of affairs are the newly invented matters.

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter

Al-Ibadah (worship in Islam) : Its Meaning and what it comprises

Filed under: Beginner, Ibadah - worship — Um Abdullah M. @ 6:21 pm

Meaning of al-Ibadah: The basic meaning of al-Ibadah is humility and submission. In the Sharee’ah, it has numerous definitions, but their meaning is one. From them are;
– It is to worship Allah in conformity to what He has ordered upon the tongues of His Messenger.
– It is utmost submission with utmost love for Allah.
– A more general meaning of al-Ibadah is that it is a comprehensive term for everything that Allah loves and is pleased with from speech and actions inwardly and outwardly.

Worship is categorized as worship of the heart, tongue and limbs. Fear, hope, love, reliance, desire, reverence are worships of the heart. Tasbeeh, Tahleel, Takbeer, thanking Him by the tongue and heart are worships of the heart and tongue. Salaat, Zakaat, Hajj are worships of the limbs and heart. There are many other worships of the heart, tongue and limbs.

It is for the purpose of Ibadah that Allah brought into existence all the creation. Allah says, ‘And I (Allah) created not the jinn and humans except they should worship Me (Alone). I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures). Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong.’ [Soorah adh-Dhariyat (51): 56]

Allah informs us (in this verse) that the wisdom behind creating the Jinn and humans is that they establish His worship. However, Allah is not in need of their worship, but they are in need of Him due to their penury before Him, so they (ought to) worship Him in compliance with His Sharee’ah.
So, he, who does not worship Allah is arrogant.
He, who worships Him and others with Him is a Mushrik (one, who associates partners with Allah).
He, who worships Him by other than what He has legislated is a Mubtadi (an innovator).
And He, who worships Him with that which He has legislated is a Mumin (believer) and Muwahhid (one who establishes Tawheed in its correct manner).

Forms of Ibadah and what it Comprises
Ibadah has many forms, and it includes all forms of outward obedience of the tongue and the limbs and inward obedience of the heart, like remembrance of Allah, Tasbeeh, Tahleel, reciting the Qur’aan, Salaat, Zakaat, Siyam, Hajj, commanding the good and forbidding the evil, doing good to the relatives, orphans, poor and travelers. Similarly, love of Allah and His Messenger, fear of Allah and returning to him, sincerity in the Deen, (Sabr) being patient with His Rule and (Radaa) being pleased with His Decree, (Tawakkul) reliance upon Him, (Rajaa) hope in His Mercy, (Khauf) fear from His punishment (are worships of the heart). Thus, Ibadah includes all the actions of a Mumin (believer), if he intends to worship Allah with them or that which aids this purpose, even his habit (qualify to come under worshipping Allah) if he intends to worship Allah with them, like sleep, food, drink, buying and selling, seeking provision and marriage. Thus, all actions if accompanied by a good intention, develop into worship and worship is thus, not limited to the known rituals.

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter


Sunnah and Bid’ah

Filed under: Beginner, Bidah (Innovation) — Um Abdullah M. @ 5:41 pm

Sunnah and Bid’ah

The Straight Path has been laid out. Our job is only to follow it, not to try to discover new paths.

By Khalid Baig

Once some Jewish scholars said to Sayyidna Umar bin Khattab, Radi-Allahu unhu, “The Qur’an contains a verse that if it had been revealed to us, we would have designated a day to celebrate its revelation.” Upon enquiry they mentioned the verse: “This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Al-Maida 5:3] “Yes, I know, the time and place when it was revealed,” he replied.

Indeed it was a historic day. It was the day of Arafa during the farewell Hajj of Prophet Muhammad Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. This verse announced the completion of a historic process that had started with the coming to earth of Sayyidna Adam, alayhi salam. Allah sent His guidance with him and informed him that in the generations to come there would be additional messengers. The process continued through the 124,000 prophets who were sent to different lands at different times. It culminated with the coming of the Last Messenger, Muhammad Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. He received revelations over a twenty-three year period. Then during the Farewell Hajj, on the plain of Arafat, in the presence of nearly 150,000 companions, this verse announced that it was all done!

The full significance of this message must never escape us. Islam is unlike all previous revealed religions in one crucial respect. All of them came with expiration dates. Islam has none. The Guidance from Allah had been completed. The religion had been perfected. There would be no new message, no new prophet, no new Shariah, and no new command until the Last Day! The Straight Path has been laid out. Our job is only to follow it, not to try to discover new paths. In Jumuah khutbahs this Ummah has been repeating the hadith: “I warn you of the newly invented matters (in the religion), and every newly invented matter is bid’ah, and every bid’ah is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.” (an-Nasaa’ee)

In Islamic terminology, Sunnah and Bid’ah are antonyms. Sunnah literally means path, and it is the path shown to us by the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. This includes the Shariah teachings derived from Qur’an, Hadith, the consensus of the companions, and the ijtehad of the qualified imams. Bid’ah means adding or changing articles of faith or religious practices. It can take many forms. One may change the occasion of a prescribed act, thereby extending it to occasions for which it was not meant. One may add restrictions on a desired act that the Shariah had not imposed. One may change the style or form of such an act. One may start doing something collectively that was to be performed individually. Or one may change the Shariah status of an act from permissible to mandatory. Of course, one may also add a ritual where none existed. These are all forms of bid’ah. They are all forbidden.

Bid’ah is like fake currency that tries to drive out the good currency. By design it has the appearance of a virtuous religious act. But it lies outside the Shariah. So do its sources, which, in a great number of cases can be traced to non-Islamic influence from surrounding communities with which Muslim communities historically came into contact. Hence the telltale signs that set it apart from Sunnah. First, bid’ahs normally vary from region to region— and over time— revealing their local, non-Islamic source. This is unlike the genuine religious practices that maintain the same form everywhere. No matter where he comes from, a follower of, say, Hanafi Fiqh, will be offering salat in exactly the same way, right down to the minutest detail – like when to raise the index finger. In contrast, the bid’ah practices surrounding, marriage or death in the Indo-Pak subcontinent vary from those in Arabia or Africa.

Second, the bid’ah practices are largely transmitted through oral tradition. Many of these have a pseudo-legal, ritualistic framework of their own, but one would be hard pressed to find it in the standard legal texts! Rather it lives in the folklore. Example: consider the practice of shaking hands after finishing the salat. Open the chapter on salat in your fiqh book. It lists all the steps, in great detail, involved in offering salat. Does it mention the handshake as well? No. The handshake comes from folklore, not from an authentic text, a clue that it may be a bid’ah, which it is. Similarly consider the rituals normally performed upon the death of a person. Again the fiqh books describe in great detail how the funeral and burial should be done. But do they also mention that on the third day (or the tenth or the fortieth), a gathering should be arranged where participants should recite the Qur’an for the benefit of the deceased and after which they should be served with dinner? Again the answer is no. Again the reason is that all of these common practices are not part of the Shariah. They are an addition or bid’ah.

One factor that helps the propagation of bid’ahs is the attitude that treats religion as hobby rather than as the serious business of submitting to the command of Allah A. Pure submission may be “boring.” It demands sacrifice. Bid’ahs are fun. On top of that they “promise” reward in the Hereafter. This makes the bid’ah more deadly than ordinary sins. From an act we know to be a sin, we can repent. But how can one repent from a wrong that he considers to be right?

But in reality bid’ahs are a tremendous burden. Islamic teachings are simple and easy and life would be much simpler if all bid’ahs were removed from it. When a person dies, Islam teaches that others should be providing food to the bereaved family. Bid’ah requires the exact opposite, that the bereaved should feed all the visitors―a widespread practice in the Muslim communities in Asia. Other bid’ahs are also like that. A burden. And the burden in the Hereafter will be much bigger, for “every bid’ah is in the Fire.”

See more on what bid’ah in Islam is in (Bidah – Innovation) category,  you will find the list of categories on your right side.

July 23, 2007

Cursing is prohibited

Filed under: Beginner, General — Um Abdullah M. @ 1:47 pm

Muslims should neither curse nor imprecate each other with words such as, ‘May the Curse of Allah be upon you,’ or ‘I wish you to burn in Hell-fire,’ etc.
Narrated Samurah Ibn Jundub (radhi allahu anhu), ‘Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘Do not curse one another, invoking curse of Allah or Wrath of Allah or the fire of Hell.’ [Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhee]

To curse a Muslim is akin to killing him. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘Cursing a believer is like murdering him.’ [Agreed upon]The act of cursing is such that one who does it can himself become a recipient of it.

Narrated Abu Darda (radhi allahu anhu), ‘Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘When a person curses (La’nah; to ask that something be deprived of Allah’s Mercy) somebody or something, the curse goes up to the heaven and the gates of the heaven are closed. Then it comes down to the earth and its gates are closed. Then it turns right and left, and if it does not find an entrance to go anywhere, it returns to the person or thing that was cursed, if he or it deserves to be cursed; otherwise, it returns to the person, who uttered it.’ [Abu Dawood] Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) also warned, ‘Those who frequently resort to cursing would neither be accepted as witnesses nor as intercessors on the Day of Resurrection.’ [Saheeh Muslim]

It is not allowed to curse, disgrace or humiliate even a sinner because in doing so, one helps the Shaytan, who is avowed to disgrace and humiliate Muslims before Allah. Narrated Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu), ‘A drunkard was brought to the Prophet (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam). He (r) said, ‘Give him a beating.’ Then some beat him with their hands, some with their shoes, and some with (a folded) piece of cloth. When he left, someone said to him, ‘May Allah disgrace you!‘ The Prophet (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘Do not help Shaytan overcome him by uttering such words.’ [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

Moreover, it is incorrect to curse a sinner because perhaps, the person may have sought Istagfar (seek forgiveness for one’s sins) and Allah, the All-Forgiving, may have forgiven the person for his transgression. It is related in Saheeh Muslim that during the time of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam), when a woman was being punished for the sin of adultery, her blood spurted upon Khalid Ibn Waleed (radhi allahu anhu), who swore at her. Thereupon, the Prophet (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘Khalid, be gentle. By Him, in Whose Hand is my life, she has made such a repentance that even if a wrongful tax collector were to repent, he would have been forgiven.’ He (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) then prayed over her and she was buried. Therefore, the right conduct would be to pray for his or her guidance and refrain from any critique, cursing or humiliation.

Even the deceased Muslims should not be censured or condemned for their wrongdoings, for, they have reached their end and they are receiving the return of their deeds in the Hereafter. Aa’isha (radhi allahu anha) narrated, ‘The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘Do not abuse the dead, because they have attained that which they had forwarded (i.e., their deeds, good or bad).’ [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

Taunting is prohibited
Taunting is to insult, reproach mockingly or disgrace someone, for e.g. with reference to his lineage, appearance or shortcoming. Narrated Ibn Mas’ood (radhi allahu anhu), ‘Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘A true believer is not involved in taunting, or frequently cursing or in indecency or abusing.” [At-Tirmidhee]
Abusing is prohibited
Narrated Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu), ‘Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘When two persons indulge in abusing each other, the beginner will be the sinner, so long, as the oppressed does not transgress the limits.’ [Saheeh Muslim]
This Hadeeth tells us that if a Muslim abuses another and says unfair things about him and in return, the recipient also abuses him and says unfair things to the same extent, then the entire burden of the sin of abusing lies upon the person who initiated the quarrel. However, if the one, who is wronged, exceeds the limits in revenge, then he will also be guilty to the degree of his excess. Thus, even though, revenge is permissible, it is better to forgive and be patient

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter

July 7, 2007

Ayah-Verse “And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allah…”

Filed under: Beginner, Quran — Um Abdullah M. @ 9:58 am

Allah [may He be Glorified] said:

And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allâh (He is the ruling Judge). (And say O Muhammad (peace be upon him) to these polytheists:) Such is Allâh, my Lord in Whom I put my trust, and to Him I turn (in all of my affairs and) in repentance.” (42:10)


And in whatsoever you differ” i.e. anything of the basics of religion and its subsidiaries in which you differ.

The decision thereof is with Allah” i.e. everything should be referred to the Book of Allah and to the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him). Whatever their judgement may be, it should be accepted to the exclusion of any other judgement.

Such is Allah, my Lord” i.e. He is the Lord Who created mankind, provided them with sustenance and disposes of all affairs. He is also the One Who decides for His slaves by means of His legislation that covers all of their affairs.

This verse is an obvious evidence that the consensus of the Ummah on any thing is a valid proof that should be applied, because Allah [may He be Glorified] did not command us to return to His Book except when there is a difference regarding anything. Whatever the Ummah agreed upon should therefore be adopted because the entire Ummah cannot agree on an error or on something that contradicts the rulings of the Book of Allah or the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him).

In Whom I put my trust” i.e. he (peace be upon him) and every Muslim should depend on Allah, believing that He Alone is the One that can bring about any good or prevent any harm.

And to Him I turn in repentance” i.e. he (peace be upon him) and every Muslim should turn to Allah with their hearts and bodies obeying and worshipping Him Alone.

Thus, reliance and repentance are two great principles, which are often mentioned in the Book of Allah, because if they gather in a person he will result in his perfection. Otherwise, he will be imperfect and inefficient. Allah [may He be Glorified] said: “You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).” (1:5) He also said: “So worship Him (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)).” (11:123) and put your trust in Him”.

See Tafsir Ibn Sa’di, p.699. (Al-Luwaihiq Edition).

July 2, 2007

The Concept of Worship in Islam (2)

Filed under: Ibadah - worship, Intermediate — Um Abdullah M. @ 6:34 pm

By Amjad Ibn Muhammad Rafiq.
The University of Essex Islamic Society
The Messenger of God, peace be upon him, said: “The right of God upon His servants is that they should worship Him (alone) and not associate anything with Him” [Reported by Bukhaaree and Muslim].

Almighty God created us that we may worship Him alone and not associate anything with Him. God has said: “I did not create Jinn and Men except that they may worship me” [Qur’an 51:56]. So what is this worship, what are its types and conditions and how should it be performed?

Worship is a collective term for everything which God loves and is pleased with from among the words and actions, such as supplication, prayer and having patience. Almighty God says (in the Qur’an): “Say: Verily my prayer, my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are all for God the Lord of the Worlds” [Qur’an 6:162], and the Prophet, peace be upon him, said “God the Exalted said: My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved by me than the obligatory actions which I have imposed upon him” [Reported by Bukhaaree].

The types of worship are many and include supplication, fear, hope, reliance, love of obedience to God, hatred of disobedience to Him, remorse, repentance, seeking aid from Him, vowing, sacrificing, bowing, prostrating and other things beside these.

Thus the first thing which a Muslim acknowledges is that he has been created for worship and must know of its form and types. The second thing the Muslim should realize is that a necessary condition of worship is sincerity. Almighty God the Exalted said: “So whoever hopes for the meeting with His Lord let him work deeds of righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of His Lord” [Qur’an 18:110], and the Messenger, peace be upon him, said: “Indeed God does not look at your faces nor your wealth but He looks at your hearts and your actions.” Also there is the Hadeeth Qudsee where the Messenger, peace be upon him, said that God said: “I am so Self-Sufficient that I am in no need of having partners. Thus, whoever does an action for someone else’s sake as well as Mine, will have that action rejected by Me to him whom he associated with Me” [Reported by Muslim].

Another vital condition of worship is that it is correct and therefore acceptable to God. Our Worship of God should be as He and His Messenger, peace be upon him, have commanded us. Almighty God says: “O you who believe! Obey God and obey the Messenger and do not let your actions become nullified” [Qur’an 47:33], and the Messenger, peace be upon him, has said: “Whoever does an action which we have not commanded will have it rejected” [Reported by Muslim]. And he, peace be upon him, also said: “Whoever does an action in a way different from ours will have it rejected” [Reported by Abu Daawood – Saheeh].

Fudayl ibn Ayyaad, a taabi’ee (i.e. a member of the second generation of Muslims), said regarding the verse: ” . . . that He may test you, which of you is best in deeds . . . ” [Qur’an 11:7], “The most sincere and the most correct“, so those who were around him said: “And what is the most sincere and the most correct?” He replied: “Action, if it is correct but not sincere will not be accepted and action, if it is sincere but not correct will not be accepted until it is both sincere and correct. Sincere means that nothing but the Face of God is sought and correct means that it is in conformity with the Sunnah.”

So these are two necessary conditions for our worship to be acceptable to God. God has also commanded us: “So call upon Him (out of) Fear and Hope” [Qur’an 6:56], and the Messenger, peace be upon him, used to supplicate: “I ask God for Paradise and I seek refuge in Him from the Fire”. [Reported by Abu Daawood – Saheeh].

A fourth point is that our worship should be in between hoping for God’s Mercy and reward and fearing His punishment. Some of the Salaf (i.e. pious predecessors of the first three generations of Muslims) used to say: “Whoever worships God with Love only is indeed a Zindeeq (i.e. a heretic) and whoever worships Him with Hope only is indeed a Murji’ (i.e. one who believes that sins impart no harm to a persons faith) and whoever worships Him with Fear only is indeed a Harooree (i.e. one of those believe that sins take a person out of Islam), but whoever worships Him with Love, Fear and Hope is indeed a believing Muwahhid (i.e. one who believes and actualizes the Unity (Tawheed) of God).

Another characteristic of our worship is being aware of the presence of God, that His knowledge is with us and He sees and hears us. This point is called Ihsaan – purity. Almighty God says: “The One Who sees you when you stand up for the prayer and when you move amongst those who prostrate themselves” [Qur’an 26:218], and also in the hadeeth of Gabriel (Arabic: Jibreel) when he said to the Messenger, peace be upon him: Ihsaan is that you worship God as if you see Him and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you” [Reported by Muslim].

So these are five points concerning our worship, namely:
1. Acknowledgement that it is the purpose of our existence;
2. Extreme sincerity in fulfilling that purpose;
3. Correctness of our worship by conducting it in the manner of the Sunnah of the Messenger, peace be upon him;
4. Worshipping God by combining Love, Fear and Hope;
5. Accompanying all of that with Ihsaan – a keen awareness of God. The example of the one who learns these five points concerning the worship of his Lord and builds all of his actions upon them and the one who does not and is careless about his worship is like the example God has given: “Which then is best? He who lays the foundation of his house upon Taqwa (i.e. God-consciousness) and His Good Pleasure, or he who lays the foundation of his house upon an undetermined brink of a precipice ready to crumble down, so that it crumbles down with him into the Fire of Hell?” [Qur’an 9:108].

So respected Brothers and Sisters, let’s not be careless and make our actions vain like Almighty God has mentioned regarding some people: “And We shall turn to whatever actions they did and turn them into scattered dust” [Qur’an 25:23], but rather let us become cautious and send something foreword for the Day of Judgement, the Day when we will be in great need for good actions – that is our sincere and correct worship.

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