Salam Alaykum everyone!
So far, we have discussed the importance of our relationship with Allah and ways of strengthening our relationship with Him, no matter what stage. Today, we aim to focus on one of the techniques that consolidates our bonding - that is worship.
Why do we need to worship?
Is worship prayer?
Do animals, birds and plants worship Allah?
I do not know how to pray, is it too late?
Too many resources online and offline, how do I know which one to follow?
I do know how to pray but I just don't see the point of praying?
I do pray but I don't know why?
I pray but I do not know how to make wudhu?
I don't have time to pray.
These are examples of common questions, feelings and perceptions that people undergo in today's day and time. Worshiping Allah itself is a course and I aim to discuss it simply for everyone to contemplate, understand and remind.
So...what is worship?
Worship means the submission to Allah and the Arabic term for it is Ibadah. It is performing the five pillars of Islam and acts of goodness for His sake with love.
The five pillars of Islam are the fundamental beliefs that structure our lives into practice:
(1) Shahadah "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God"
(2) Prayer (salah)
(3) alms (zakat)
(4) Fasting (sawm) during the month of Ramadan.
(5) Performing Hajj (pilgrimage).
The chemical bonding between the purpose of our existence and worship itself has strong intramolecular forces because Allah (The Most High) said:
“And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)”
[Quran, 51 : 56]
The beauty of worship is indescribable. It is felt and experienced.
We tend to make an effort and strive to do good, what better is than making the same effort or even more when praying to Allah?
“Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides”
Why should we worship Allah?
Allah is asking us to worship and the reasoning behind this can be found in Surah Baqarah.
Three key points can be found in verse 21, Allah says:
"O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous"
1) "He is our Lord (Rabb)" - He is worthy of worship.
2) "He created you and those before you"- He created everything and we should show gratefulness and contentment.
3) "So that we become righteous" This refers to achieving taqwa (piety) which makes our mission purposeful to help ourselves, families and community itself.
Later on, in verse 24 and 25 in the same Surah, Allah has given us two eternal consequences where one hand we need to strive and motivate to go to Jannah and the other hand, to protect us from Hell-fire as the fourth reason:
"But if you do not - and you will never be able to - then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers. And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, "This is what we were provided with before." And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally."
[Quran, 2: 24 - 25]
Therefore everyone, worshiping Allah is a form of remembering Allah, controlling our desires and keeping away from sins. Every time we perform ablution it is cleansing to spiritually uplift us.
There is also an element of time management where we need to pray at the prescribed times.
When praying in congregation, it creates clarity that we are all striving for a purpose and promotes unity just as experiencing in Friday Prayers and Hajj wherein the latter there is a sign of equality regardless of status and race.
Did you know that making dua (supplication) is also worship?
When we ask Allah for help. Guidance. Success. Forgiveness. Good health. Protection from evil and illness within depths of our hearts.
When we thank Him for the blessings He has provided.
Every muscle and bone you move is because of Him.
The shelter over your head.
The food on your table.
The teachers, books and technology that surrounds us to enrich our learning.
Please thank Him.
The knowledge you have would not have been provided without Him. His intervention. His invention of a brain to think. His invention of the eyes to visualize and discover. His invention of an ear to listen to those who are more knowledgeable than us.
Worshiping Allah energizes your physical, mental and spiritual health.
Al-Noman ibn Bashir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Dua is worship.” Then he recited the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.’ Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.” [Ghaafir 40:60].
[Ahmad and al-Bukhari]
Your heart must speak, close your eyes if you need to, develop that bonding and relying on Him alone making dua.
Why the heart?
The heart is the door to your soul - once your mind, heart and soul are interconnected well, the goodness will flow in our actions.
Our heart can hold love and also fear.
The heart may pump blood but within a spiritual context, we should remember Him to develop a sound heart.
Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“In the body is a piece of flesh that if it is healthy, the whole body is healthy, and if it is corrupted, the whole body becomes corrupted. It is the heart.” [Al-Bukhari]
How to pray?
In order for us to pray, we need to make the intention to make ablution (Wudhu) so we are purified before performing the prayer at the prescribed times.
There are so many resources online and offline and one tends to not know whom to follow. Rest assured. With all due respect, it is not your "favourite" shaykh, it is not your "favourite" influencer/blogger, it is not your "favourite" mosque, its not even your family nor friends. Its simply two things:
It has been reported by Malik (may Allah have mercy upon him) that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who said:
“I have left you with two matters which will never lead you astray, as long as you hold to them: the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of his Prophet.”
I, once upon a time, was in that loop of what resources to read and who to follow. I listened to people of knowledge, researched, and Allah sent people along my way to help me. I also had people who judged me easily but what kept me going was striving hard to learn, adapt and share.
The questions I asked myself at that time is the same question I am going to ask you.
What is it that you want in life?
What are your mission and vision?
Once you define these terms in your life, you can then place the jigsaw pieces into its position.
One of my teachers told me one day, Hafsa, please be careful with some hadiths on websites, and the advice she gave me, is the same I give to you too.
She advised me to utilise this website for authenticity as it is regulated.
Islam Q and A.
Therefore, not every website you find on the internet is authentic.
There are a few websites I recommend you visit to learn how to pray and make wudhu and I ams sure there are others too mashaAllah!
Al Kauthar Institute - they have organised a on-demand course with audio lessons on how to pray and there is a free e-book where you can listen within your own time and learn.
iERA (Islamic Education and Research Academy)
You may not be a new Muslim, but you are developing a new YOU.
Do not regret that you didn't pray, it is better to make the intention to learn and pray now than never at all.
Take it steady.
A human did not walk straight away, it had to crawl and eventually learn how to walk.
Similarly, take it steady start with one and once it is a routine, increase the number until you get a habit of praying.
5 prayers per day are nothing especially when Allah has given us countless blessings and even more, when we thank Him.
At times we become lazy, become too busy to perform our prayers because we listen to the waswasah (whispers from the Shaytan).
....Only YOU can stop the Shaytan from controlling you.
Why ruin your relationship with your Lord over a devil?
Is it really worth it?
Allah says in the Quran:
“Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from Salah. So, will you not then abstain?”
Did you know that originally we were supposed to pray 50 times but Muhammad (peace be upon him) pleaded to Allah to reduce it on the night of Miraj?
So imagine praying 50 times a day whilst doing all your aims and duties throughout the day?
Allah is Merciful.
Abu Dharr narrated that Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“The roof of my house was split open when I was in Makkah, and Jibril (peace be upon him) came down and split open my chest and washed it with Zamzam water. Then he brought a golden vessel filled with wisdom and faith and poured it into my chest, then he sealed it. Then he took me by the hand and ascended with me into the lowest heaven. When I reached the lowest heaven Jibril said to the gatekeeper, ‘Open up!’ He said, ‘Who is this?’ He said, ‘Jibril.’ He said, ‘Is there anyone with you?’ He said, ‘Yes, Muhammad (peace be upon him) is with me.’ He said, ‘Has his mission begun?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ And when it was opened we went up into the lowest heaven. Then Allah enjoined upon my ummah fifty prayers, and I came back until I passed by Musa who said, ‘What has Allah enjoined upon your ummah?’ I said, ‘He has enjoined fifty prayers.’ He said, ‘Go back to your Lord, for your ummah will not be able to bear that.’ So I went back and He reduced it. Then I came back to Musa and said, ‘He has reduced it.’ He said, ‘Go back to your Lord, for your ummah will not be able to bear that.’ So I went back and He reduced it further. Then I came back to Musa and said, ‘He has reduced it further.’ He said, ‘Go back to your Lord, for your ummah will not be able to bear that.’ So I went back and He said, ‘(The prayers) are five but (the reward) is fifty. The Sentence that comes from Me cannot be changed [Quran, 50:29].’ Then I went back to Musa and he said, ‘Go back to your Lord.’ But I said, ‘I feel shy before my Lord.’…”
How do animals and birds pray? I have never seen them make sujood?
Allah has created everything to serve us (humanity) whilst we serve Him.
"It was He who created all that is on the earth for you, then turned to the sky and made the seven heavens; it is He who has knowledge of all things. " [Quran, 2:29]
However, we all collectively worship Allah by being who they are. However, they won't be tested like us, and we will be accounted for the way we treat them and all human nature around us.
A seed can grow into a plant and provide us with vegetables, fruits and herbs. Trees can also shade us from the sun. The ability to produce food using photosynthesis is a form of worship.
"Do you not realise that everything in the heavens and earth prostrates/submits to Allah: the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, and the animals? So do many human beings, though for many others punishment is well deserved. Anyone disgraced by Allah will have no one to honour him: Allah does whatever He wills. " [Quran. 22:18]
Have you ever heard a bird tweet in the morning and evening?
Just like how Allah mentioned:
“glorify your Lord morning and evening.”
“See you not that it is God Whose praises all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds with wings outspread. Each knows its own prayer and praise.” [Quran, 24:41]
Ultimately, worshiping Allah is not only about prayer but other acts of worship and it can strengthen the chemical bonding between us and Allah. Next week inshaAllah, we will cover our last sub-topic where we will discuss about repentance and how it influences our relationship with Allah. We will also release Topic 2 schedule inshaAllah.