بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[It seems that everyone ran away again. I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m used to talking to myself…]
Day 6 continues from where I left off yesterday.
In this part, I’m just going to talk about the meaning of ibaadah (worship), because this is essential for understanding the purpose of life, and one must understand this point if one wishes to get closer to the Lord of the Worlds.
It seems there was some confusion about what ibaadah is so let’s do this step by step.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
7. He is the One who created us to worship Him alone.
“And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone). “ [Surah Ad-Dhaariyat (51) : 56]
What can we learn from the above ayah (verse)?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[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.
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.
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.
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.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Firstly, one can practice just about all the deeds that one does in Ramadan outside of it, so there’s no reason to limit ibaadah to Ramadan.
Secondly, we need to understand what ibaadah is.
When we refer to “ibaadah”, it means everything that Allah loves and is pleased with. It could refer to an action of the heart, the tongue or the limbs. [Fearing Allah is an example of an action of the heart.]
Here’s an article which explains the definition of ibaadah in more detail.
Our problem is that we confine ibaadah to just a few things, and that shouldn’t be the case. Any lawful (halal) act can be turned into an act of worship with the proper intention.
Thirdly, so what can we do in Ramadan?
a) Do the basic acts of ibaadah (prayer, fasting, etc) properly.
You know, we always think in terms of quantity. Let’s first try to work on the quality. That should keep us busy for a while.
b) Add the other acts that are easy for us.
Is giving charity is easy for you? Then do it.
Is reciting the Quran easy for you? Then do it.
Is doing dawah easy for you? Then do it.
Is keep good relations with your family and neighbours easy for you? Then do it.
Is feeding orphans easy for you? Then do it.
Is making iftar for the poor easy for you? Then do it.
c) Try to improve in those acts which we fall short in.
Can’t stop snarling at your mom-in-law? Hey, Ramadan is a good time to change that.
d) Try to think about the proper deed to be done in every situation.
For example, you’re late for taraweeh. Whilst rushing to the masjid, somebody in front of you slips and falls.
Do you keep rushing to the masjid? NO! Stop and help that person. That’s the right thing to do at this time. It’s okay if you’re late for taraweeh.
Another example: Suppose you’re breaking your fast in the masjid. Do you sit and recite Quran whilst some other brothers/sisters serve the food and also end up cleaning the whole mess?
No! Get up and ask them if they need any help with the serving or with the cleaning.
Another example: Your neighbour walks into the elevator with you (let’s assume that both of you are of the same gender).
Do you stare coldly at this person or try to be cordial given the fact that they have rights over you? Be cordial and ask them how they are. You might think of this as useless talk but it isn’t if you talk about halal things and you do it with the intention of keeping in touch with your neighbour.
Remember the best thing to do at a give time is the one that pleases Allah the most.
How would we know what pleases Allah the most? Well, we need to seek knowledge. That’s what knowledge ultimately is: knowing how best to worship Allah at a given time.
e) Leave evil deeds.
You know why? Because that’s also an act of ibaadah.
A few points to keep in mind:
a) Don’t compare yourself to anybody else.
If you have to compare yourself to someone who you feel is doing more than you, then please do it to motivate yourself and not to demotivate yourself.
b) Don’t follow those famous Ramadan planners.
Sorry, I can’t stand those. They make me feel depressed.
They have a long list of all the good deeds to be done in one day and after you toil away trying to do each one, you check the list and find that you still have half the list left!
Don’t get me wrong. Some of them are useful but not as your main Ramadan planner. They’re just good for some ideas on what types of ibaadah that you could do.
I think what would be better than this, is for each of us to sit down and plan what deeds we can do during Ramadan. We could add the obligatory, then the voluntary that we are good at and then the other deeds which we need to improve upon. At least this way, we won’t feel like such losers.
Another reason that I don’t like those planners is that worship then becomes a numerical thing rather than a spiritual thing.
c) The more that you do outside Ramadan, the easier it is to do more in Ramadan.
You know why? Because your soul, body and mind are already used to doing these things.
When you dump things on them out of nowhere (like in the first few days), they get exhausted because they aren’t used to doing all these things.
d) Strive to purify your intention.
It’s the most difficult thing to do yet it is the most important one of them all.
It’s possible that someone who does a little deed with a pure intention (i.e. to please Allah alone) might get more reward than the one who does a whole lot of deeds but with an intention that is not very pure.
e) Try, try and keep trying.
Striving to do ibaadah is itself an ibaadah, so don’t give up, because we don’t fail when we keep trying.
We only fail when we give up.
Yes, I know. Perhaps I actually managed to befuddle you with that title. [Then again, perhaps not.]
Okay, so what is the point of the Recover Ramadan project, you ask?
Well, it’s to remind us that we always need to be striving hard to try to please Allah. That’s what we do in Ramadan and that’s what we need to do outside of it.
Too often, we forget the purpose of the salah, charity, fasting, dua, obedience to parents, good character, marriage, etc.
Yes, they are all good deeds (with the proper intention) but why are we doing them again? Ultimately, any good deed should be done as a form of worship to Allah in order to achieve His Pleasure.
Now you might say: “But a person can get married just because he/she wants to, and a person might just be good to his parents because he loves them! What’s wrong with that?”
Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, that’s not al-ihsan. What’s al-ihsan? It’s worshipping Allah as though you see Him. That’s the highest level that a Muslim can reach.
So, a muhsin (one who attains al-ihsan) would intend to get married because it is pleasing to Allah and would strive to obey his parents (in matters that are not contrary to the shariah) because that is what Allah loves. See the difference? This person performs daily life activities as a way of worshipping Allah.
Why? Because he/she always remembers the purpose of doing those deeds.
So, be sure to never forget the purpose, because if we forget the purpose, we’ll lose our way.
PS. I hope the post itself didn’t befuddle any of you.
One of my friends (you know who you are) just sent me this wonderful article.
We only have 12 days of Ramadan left so we need to squeeze them for all their worth.
Turn your Regular Activities into Acts of Worship
Beware of slacking in acts of worship during the Month of Ramadan
by Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen, may Allah have mercy upon him.
All praise is due to Allah, much blessed praise. I bear witness that no one has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone having no partners.
And I bear witness that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger. Allah sent him with the guidance and the religion of truth, aided him against his enemies and thus he vanquished them with a severe vanquishing. So all the praise is for Allah, the Lord of all that exist and may peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions and all those who follow them in goodness until the Day of Judgment.
As for what follows:
O Mankind: How many of a people wish to reach the Month of Ramadan but do not reach?!
How many of a people were thinking about fasting Ramadan but did not get the chance to fast it?!
How many a people are in their grave(s) depending upon their deeds, incapable of adding a single good deed to his good deeds or able to diminish a single evil deed from his evil deeds?!
But you, Allah has favored you to reach this virtuous month, therefore take advantage of it by doing righteous actions that draw you closer to Allah! Seize this happening with a good intention and sincerity to Allah, ‘azza wa jall, and properly following His Messenger, sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.
O Muslims! Indeed many of the people are (very) heedless in this Month. They spend their nights in senseless matters that do not contain any benefit in them. Rather, these matters could quite well be detrimental for them. They loiter around in the market places waiting for suhoor (pre-dawn meal) until when the time for suhoor comes; they eat and may even over sleep the fajr prayer. As regards their day(s), majority of them are spent sleeping. They don’t benefit from them. And this, by Allah, is (without question) bereavement. Certainly, this time period, rather this magnificent season is for gain and profit; the individual seizes this opportunity to get closer to Allah, ‘azza wa jall.
For indeed, the successful one is him who is able to turn habits into worship and the neglectful one turns his acts of worship into habits. (TN: May Allah help us!!!) The successful one has the ability to turn his regular activities into acts of worship.
[Please excuse me for the poor editing. WordPress was not behaving today.]
So why were you created? And why was I created?
Well, for the same reason.
How do we know that? Because the 2 following ayaat (verses) clarify that:
“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. ” [Surah Adh-Dhariyat (51) : 57-58]
Allah makes it very clear in the Quran that WE are the ones who need Him, not the other way around: