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July 16, 2011

Ibaadah, Ibaadah and Ibaadah

by Umm Muawiyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[First, here’s yesterday’s post on what ibaadah is.]

I wrote the same word three times, you say?

Not really. Same word, different meaning.

1) Ibaadah

This is what one does when he sleepwalks through his prayers, focuses only on starving whilst fasting, goes through Hajj as though it were a bunch of rites, recites the Quran without understanding it or pondering over it.

So, his ibaadah becomes an aadaah (a habit).

He don’t get what he is supposed to get from them, which is worshipping Allah, fearing Him, hoping in His Mercy, etc.

2) Ibaadah

This is when one does the prayer properly and feels some khushoo (humility), fasting is not solely about starving, Hajj is performed as it should be, etc

However, this ibaadah is only confined to its time. The person does not turn his other acts into an ibaadah.

So, the one who does ibaadah has separated his life into two parts: ibaadah and non-ibaadah.

3) Ibaadah

The one who does this does all the acts as they were meant to be done (just like the person mentioned in the previous post).

However, this person goes one step further: he doesn’t limit ibaadah to prayers, fasting, etc, rather he strives to turn all his activities into ibaadah.

So, this person’s life revolves around ibaadah, because he knows that he was only created for this purpose.

“And I (Allah) did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me (Alone).” [Surah Adh-Dhariyaat (51) : 56]

Unlike the previous person, he also understand the true meaning of ibaadah: it is everything that Allah loves and is pleased with. So this person will even view giving candy to the neighbour’s kids as an ibaadah.

Who are these three people?

Well, many of the scholars have mentioned that there are three levels of Islam:

So you have: a) Muslim b) Mumin c) Muhsin

[Note: There are two meanings to the word “Muslim”. All three of these groups are Muslims i.e. they have submitted to Allah. When we use “Muslim” in the context of these three groups, we mean the lowest group.]

A Muslim is the one who has tawheed (worshipping Allah alone) in his heart but he falls short in fulfilling some obligatory duties and is thus sinful.

A Mumin is at a higher level than the Muslim. He has completed his tawheed and he does what he has to do i.e. he does not fall short.

A Muhsin is at a higher level than the Mumin. He has perfected his tawheed.

When Jibreel asked the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) what Al-Ihsan was, he replied:

” أن تعبد الله كأنك تراه . فإن لم تكن تراه ، فإنه يراك “

“That you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, for though you don’t see Him, He, verily, sees you.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 1]

[You may read the full hadeeth here. This hadeeth is called the Hadeeth of Jibreel and it’s my favourite hadeeth. I even taught an entire course on it.]

So, this is what a Muhsin does: he worships Allah as though he sees Him, which is why he does not differentiate between ibaadah and non-ibaadah, because to him everything is ibaadah.

Allah has mentioned all three categories in the Quran:

“Then we caused to inherit the Book those We have chosen of Our servants; and among them is he who wrongs himself, and among them is he who is moderate, and among them is he who is foremost in good deeds by permission of Allah . That [inheritance] is what is the great bounty.” [Surah Al-Faatir (35) : 32]

So what do we do: ibaadah, ibaadah or ibaadah?

Let’s try to make our lives about ibaadah, or at least ibaadah, but not ibaadah.

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