بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم

CONCEPT OF WORSHIP

CONCEPT OF WORSHIP

Shaikh Abdul Baree Ath-Thubaytee

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says in His Holy Book, Quraan:

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِۦ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسۡلِمُونَ (102)

“O you who believe! Fear Allah, as He should be feared, and let not yourself die save as Muslims.” (Aale ‘Imraan 3:102)

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) certainly has no need of His creatures and their acts of worship. Their obedience does not avail Him of any benefit nor does their disobedient harm Him. Human being by nature either worships Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) or worships any other thing. He either worships Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) or worships wealth, desires, lusts, evils among men and jinn or any other thing he can think of. It then shows here that, worshipping only Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) means freeing oneself from worshipping other deities besides Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) knowingly or unknowingly. For the heart cannot be reformed, have bliss and tranquility except through worshipping Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) alone and returning to Him in repentance.

If man has all the enjoyments of this life, he cannot have peace of mind. There will always be in him an inherent need for his Lord. And it is only through worshipping Him that he can have real happiness and peace of mind. He is always in need of the real meaning of the verse:

إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ (5)

“You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help.” (Al-Faatihah 1:5)

If man has all the pleasures of this world and has not yet had the pleasure of worshipping Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), he has got nothing but pains and loss. And he will not be freed from the torments of this world except through loving Allah (Subhaanahu WaTa’aalaa) sincerely and making Him his object of hope. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) then will be dearer to him than all other things and everything that he loves will be for the sake of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) alone.

One of the elders of Ummah used to say: “Whoever wants to have eternal happiness should always be a sincere worshipper of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).”

The Almighty Allah (Subhaanahu WaTa’aalaa) has greatly facilitated acts of worship. He opened many doors of good deeds. Burden of offering Salaah (Prayers) is little in comparison to its many rewards. Salaah are to be observed five times in day but they are fifty in the scale of good deeds. They are distributed at different times during day and night so that weak-minded people will not feel bored. Offering Salaah with the Jamaa’ah (Congregation) is twenty-seven times greater in reward than the one offered alone. All the Nafl (Supererogatory) Salaah made along with the obligatory ones earn for one a house in Jannah (Paradise). Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) accepts the charity made with a sincere intention and from lawful earnings with His right Hand. He develops it for its owner so much so that an equivalent of a fruit in charity becomes as big as a huge mountain in reward.

It is a manifestation of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Mercy that He diversifies ways of doing good deeds for His servants. For the concept of worship in Islam includes all deeds done with good intention, to seek the pleasure of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and to avert His forbidden things.

Widening the concept of worship aims at directing people to righteous deeds. This makes people help one another. Had ritual acts been the only means to earn rewards, many people would have stopped doing righteous deeds.

Every humanitarian work — genuine and Islamically legitimate — is regarded as act worship in Islam if the intention is good. Worship does not include abandoning the role in family and society and confining oneself in the Masjid only. Acts of worship are ordained in Islam as practical aspects of belief. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:

لَّيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمۡ قِبَلَ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلۡبِرَّ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِ وَٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ وَٱلۡكِتَٰبِ وَٱلنَّبِيِّ‍ۧنَ وَءَاتَى ٱلۡمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِۦ ذَوِي ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَٰكِينَ وَٱبۡنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَٱلسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِي ٱلرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَى ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱلۡمُوفُونَ بِعَهۡدِهِمۡ إِذَا عَٰهَدُواْۖ وَٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ فِي ٱلۡبَأۡسَآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ وَحِينَ ٱلۡبَأۡسِۗ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُواْۖ وَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُتَّقُونَ (177)

“Righteousness is not (merely) that you turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteousness is that one believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and gives wealth, despite (his) love for it, to relatives, and to orphans, the helpless, the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and (spends) in (freeing) slaves and observes the Salaah and pays Zakaah and (the act of) those who fulfill their covenant when they enter into a covenant, and, of course, those who are patient in hardship and suffering and when in battle! Those are the ones who are truthful, and those are the Allah-fearing.” (al-Baqarah 2:177)

Every aspect of our life becomes worship, if done for the sake of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and on the pattern prescribed by the Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam). The work we do is act of worship, if these two conditions are fulfilled. On this basis, when a man goes out of his house to fend for his family, he is doing an act of worship. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) said: “When a Muslim spends something for his family seeking there from a reward from Allah , what he spends is a charity.” (Muslim)

Seeking for knowledge is an act of worship and even an obligation. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaahu Alaihe Wa Sallam) said: “Seeking for knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” (Ibne Maajah)

Being kind to the parents is an act of worship. The Prophet (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) told the man who came to him to make the allegiance of Hijrah and Jihad: “Do you have parents?”

The man answered: “Yes, both of them.”

The Prophet (SallAllaahu Alaihe Wa Sallam) then said: “And you are seeking for reward from Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)?”

The man said: “Yes.”

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) then said: "Go back to your parents and take good care of them.” (Muslim)

Being kind to the kith and the kin is also an act of worship. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) said: "The bond of kinship hangs on the Throne of Allah and says: ‘Let Allah have mercy on him who keeps me and let Allah cuts down him who cuts me.” (Muslim)

Cleaning pathways from harmful things is an act of worship. The Prophet (SallAllaahu Alaihe Wa Sallam) said: "There was on a pathway a branch of a tree that harmed people. A man removed it and on that account entered Jannah for that.” (Ibne Maajah)

Meeting your brethren with a smiling face is also an act of worship. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) said: "Do not underestimate any good deed even if it be meeting your brother with a smiling face.” (Muslim)

Imam An-Nawawee said: "This means that ordinary lawful things become acts of worship if the intention is good.”

Worshipping Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) covers all spheres of life. Doing a section of worship and neglecting others is wrong and contravenes the way of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam).

Hadhrat Anas bin Maalik, whom the Prophet (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) accepted to serve him on request of Hadhrat Anas’ mother, said that a group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) to know how the Prophet (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) worshipped. When they were told of that, they considered the Prophet’s worship too little and they said: "Who are we to be compared to the Messenger of Allah whose past and future sins have been forgiven.”

Then one of them said: "I will offer Salaah throughout the night forever.”

The other said: "I will keep Sawm (Fast) throughout the year and will not break this (fasting practice for a day).”

The third said: "I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever.”

Allah’s Apostle came to them and said: "Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah! I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I keep Sawm and sometimes not, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my Sunnah (Tradition) in religion is not from me (not one of my followers).” (Bukhari)

So, hold tenaciously unto the good that you have earned by doing more righteous deeds.

Among the signs of an accepted good deed is that one’s spiritual condition should be better after doing that good deed. Some scholars said: “The reward of good deed is to do another good deed after it and the reward of an evil deed is to do another evil deed after it.”

Good deeds attract one another and evil deeds attract one another.

Doing good deeds continuously indicates good relationship between one’s heart and Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and this gives one strength and steadfastness. Some scholars regard this effect as one of the reasons for ordainment of Azkaar.

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) loves being consistent in good deeds. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says in a Qudsee Hadeeth: “And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nafl deeds till I love him.” (Bukhari)

It is therefore, of Sunnah to be consistent in doing righteous deeds. Hadhrat‘ Ayeshah narrated that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) always established any good deed that he did. When he slept in the night or he was sick, he would observe in its place twelve Rak‘aah (Units of Salaah) during the day.” (Muslim)