Fruits for the Week

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Allah (swt) said in the Qur’an:” Wherever you turn there is the face of Allah.” (2: 115), and:” We are nearer to Him than his jugular vain.” (50: 16).

A Muslim should always be fully conscious of Allah. He should be aware that Allah is very near and dear to him and that He is always with him.

The basis of a Muslim’s admirable character is the consciousness of Allah from which good deeds emanates. Allah (swt) said:” Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him.” (49: 13). Thus, if you are deeply conscious of Allah, you would not fail to build up your attitude, conduct and character as desired by Islam.

We must realize that nothing lasts. We too cannot live forever. We are Allah’s property and we must return to Him. Allah mentioned in the Qur’an:” To Allah belongs whatever in the Heavens and whatever is on the earth. And to Allah is all affairs returned.” (3: 109). For this reason, we are taught to say:” Verily, my prayer and my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allah, Lord of the world.” (6: 162). Therefore, the Muslim must make sure that all his actions are Islamic in nature so as to please Allah.

Actions that please Allah include not only the daily shalat and the Ramadhan fast but also other actions like working in the halal way, engaging in life-long learning, helping the poor and needy, maintaining inter-religious and inter-racial peace and harmony in the country, contributing to the prosperity and progress of the country, and so on. All actions that are halal please Allah and they come under the all-encompassing term known as ibadah or Islamic worship.

Thus, the term ‘worship’ has a unique meaning in Islam. To worship Allah means to adore Him and to adore Him means to follow His guidance. In other words, ‘worship’ or ibadah refers to the five pillars of Islam, namely, the shahadah, the shalat, the zakat, the siyam and the hajj as well as any and every action entered into for righteous living. Any action undertaken for the fulfilment of life on earth is ibadah.

Hence, to pursue vocational training is ibadah, to pursue a university degree is ibadah, to work as an engineer or a clerk or a labourer is ibadah, to help a kitten that has fallen into a drain is ibadah, to strive to build up conduct and character is ibadah. Thus, in this sense, ibadah is the business and substance of life as well as the sustenance and growth of discipline, society, culture and civilization.             

Actions must be properly undertaken in the Islamic way for them to be an ibadah. Only when you do things in the halal (Islamically permissible) way would your actions be considered as worship. Money earned through gambling, prostitution, pimping, selling of liquor, drugs, etc, are haram, and hence they do not constitute worship because these actions bring harm to the respective individuals as well as other people in the society. Ibadah, in Islam, is a complete package of living that has to be lived for Allah and conducted in compliance with Allah’s rule for the good of the country and all mankind.

The harmonious development of the spiritual, intellectual and physical well-being should be the aim of every Muslim. He cannot afford to neglect any of them if he wants to be righteous, because all these three aspects of life are gifts of Allah and should together have a harmonious place in the program of the life of the Muslim.

The Islamic prayer, rightly called shalat, is performed for the remembrance of Allah is a major element in the worship of Allah. It is performed not only during difficult and hard times but daily, five times a day at appointed periods of the day. It is followed by a du’a seeking Allah’s help and blessing in giving him guidance, wisdom and the strength to face the challenges of life. 

The shalat does not constitute asking for Allah’s help and favour only during bad times. In Islam, the shalat is an everyday undertaking just like eating food at regular time. Indeed the shalat is food for the soul. The shalat is performed even right up to his dying day as long as he is able to perform it, when and in whatever position he is able to, even sitting or lying down on his bed.

The shalat is a pillar of Islam and is the most important spiritual activity of a Muslim’s life, indeed a foremost duty of a Muslim.      (To be continued)

by Shaik A. Kadir