Lesson six 629
Lesson six:
The meaning of Ibadah
Al'ibabah [Worship] means servility, submission and compliance, with utmost love and glorification.
And every act that brings (one) nearer to a deity is Ibadah.
Therefore, al-Ibadah (worship) in Islam is a comprehensive term for everything that Allah loves and is pleased with, in terms of speech and actions, inwardly and outwardly.
Ibadah is categorized into the worship of the heart, tongue, and organs.
Allah has ordered (mankind) to sincerely worship Him alone, without [associating] partners [to Him]. Allah the Most high said:
﴿هُوَ ٱلۡحَيُّ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَٱدۡعُوهُ مُخۡلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَۗ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ ٦٥﴾ [المؤمن:65].
Meaning: "He is the Ever- living; there is no deity except Him, so call upon Him, [being] sincere to Him in religion. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds". Q40: V65. And He said:
﴿قُلۡ إِنِّيٓ أُمِرۡتُ أَنۡ أَعۡبُدَ ٱللَّهَ مُخۡلِصٗا لَّهُ ٱلدِّينَ ١١﴾ [الزمر: 11].
Meaning: "Say, [O Muhammad], "Indeed, I have been commanded to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion". Q39: V11.
Allah has also ordered (mankind) to follow the prophet's guidance in Ibadah, and that all forms of Ibadah should be done inconformity with his traditions. Allah the Most high said:
﴿وَأَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلذِّكۡرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيۡهِمۡ﴾ [النحل: 44].
Meaning: "And we revealed to you the message [i.e., the Quran] that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them…" Q16: V44. And He said:
﴿وَمَآ ءَاتَىٰكُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَىٰكُمۡ عَنۡهُ فَٱنتَهُواْ﴾ [الحشر: 7].
Meaning: "And whatever the Messenger has given you- take it and whatever he has forbidden you- refrain from(it) …" (Q59:V7)
Allah –the Most high- does not accept any act of worship from anybody unless it fulfills two conditions; sincerity and concordance with the practice of the Prophet (S.A.W). A servant will not be a Muslim until he is sincere to Allah in religion, and follows the [teachings of] the Prophet (S.A.W). Therefore, whoever performs [his] Ibadah sincerely to Allah, and correctly according to the tradition of the Prophet (S.A.W) then it is [considered] correct and a righteous deed.
Allah has made it clear for us in His book that He created us to a great purpose, and that is worshiping Him alone without associating partner to Him. Allah the Exalted said:
﴿وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ ٥٦﴾ [الذاریات: 56].
Meaning: And I did not create the Jinn and Mankind except to worship Me [alone]. Q51: V56. And Allah the Most high said:
﴿وَمَآ أُمِرُوٓاْ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مُخۡلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ حُنَفَآءَ وَيُقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَيُؤۡتُواْ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَۚ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمَةِ ٥﴾ [البینة: 5].
Meaning: And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, being sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish salah [five daily prayers] and to give Zakah [alms]. And that is the correct religion. Q98: V5.
Therefore, he who shuns shirk [polytheism], become sincere to Allah in religion, and follows the Prophet's [traditions] (S.A.W), is a Muslim and has been promised admittance into paradise and salvation from Hell Fire.
Whoever performs the obligatory acts of worship and obeys Allah in what He has made obligatory, and shun what He Has made forbidden, he is among the pious and faithful servants of Allah for whom Allah decreed safety from punishment and promised great favor in this world and the hereafter.
And whoever fulfills the compulsory and supererogatory acts ,and keeps away from forbidden and detested acts, and worships Allah as though he is seeing Him, then he is among the servants of Allah who have attain the level of "Ihsan", and Allah has prepared for them higher ranks in Paradise.
With this you will understand that the things which affect the servitude of a servant to his lord –the almighty- are of three categories:
The first category is Major Shirk. That is worshiping other deity besides Allah- the almighty. So, whoever directs any act of worship to any deity besides Allah is a Mushrik [polytheist] Kafir [pagan] and neither compulsory nor supererogatory acts would be accepted from him. Like those who invoke Idols, pious people, trees, and stones in such a way that they slaughter for their sake, ask them satisfaction of needs and pushing away adversity.
These [kind of people] are pagans, polytheists, withdrawn from the religion of Islam, and whoever dies among them without repentance will eternally dwell in Hell Fire. We seek refuge with Allah from that.
The second category is Minor Shirk. Among its [examples] are; Arriya'a and Assum'ah in such a way that he beautifies his acts of worship, like prayer, charity and so on for people to see or hear and praise him. Whoever does that is not sincere to Allah- the kind of sincerity which rescues from the punishment (of the hereafter). So, such a person, although has not actually worshiped other than Allah physically, but by seeking people's praise and commendation [for his acts], he has requested reward from other than Allah. Hence, he is a polytheist who has committed a minor shirk which spoils the particular act in which it occurred. The Prophet (S.A.W) said – from what he narrated from his lord- almighty-, "Almighty Allah Said, I am the One Who is most free from the need of partners. He who does a thing and associate-in it- someone else with Me, I discard him and his polytheism..'' reported by Imam Muslim from the narration of Abu Huraira [may the blessings of Allah be upon him].
And among the [examples] of minor shirk is sticking of a person's heart to worldly [materials] and making it his utmost interest in such a way that he abandons obligatory acts and commits forbidden acts. Thus, in his heart is servitude to this world. The Prophet (S.A.W) said:
«تَعِسَ عَبْدُ الدِّينَارِ وَعَبْدُ الدِّرْهَمِ وَعَبْدُ الْخَمِيصَةِ إِنْ أُعْطِيَ رَضِيَ وَإِنْ لَمْ يُعْطَ سَخِطَ تَعِسَ وَانْتَكَسَ، وَإِذَا شِيْكَ فَلاَ انْتَقَشَ» [رواه البخاريُّ من حديثِ أبي‌هُريرةَ رضي الله عنه].
Meaning: "May he be miserable, the worshiper of the dinar [Gold currency] and the worshiper of dirham [silver currency], and the worshiper of the striped silk cloak. If he is given [something] he approves but if he is not given he becomes angry. He is miserable and relapse, if he steps on a thorn let it be irremovable. Reported by Bukhari from the narration of Abu huraira.
This is an invocation from the Prophet (S.A.W) upon him with misery and relapsing, whenever he rises from a fall, he falls again, and whenever he is befallen by an affliction, he is not guided to the way out of it, and the reason behind that is his servitude to this world and his careless [attitude towards]Almighty Allah.
The Prophet (S.A.W) has explained the criterion in that where he said: If he is given anything, he is satisfied, but if not, he is discontented. So when a person makes this world his utmost aim, in such a way that he is pleased when he is given, and when he is not given he is continuously discontented with Allah’s divine decree, weary of Him and his heart is not free for Almighty Allah.
This is among the characteristics of the hypocrites as said by Allah- the Exalted- concerning them:
﴿وَمِنۡهُم مَّن يَلۡمِزُكَ فِي ٱلصَّدَقَٰتِ فَإِنۡ أُعۡطُواْ مِنۡهَا رَضُواْ وَإِن لَّمۡ يُعۡطَوۡاْ مِنۡهَآ إِذَا هُمۡ يَسۡخَطُونَ ٥٨﴾ [التوبة: 58].
Meaning: "And among them are some who criticize you concerning the [distribution of] charities. If they are given from it, they approve; but if they are not given from it, suddenly they become angry". Q9: V58.
So, whoever is of this nature, is [actually] not sincere to Allah in his acts of worship. Rather, in his heart is servitude to other than Allah – the Exalted- and the effects of this are witnessed in anyone whose heart sticks to wealth or leadership or someone he loves, to the extent that he offends Allah for his sake. Thus, there will be in his heart, slavery to that which he loves and sticks to and offends Allah for his sake. Whoever sticks to anything besides Allah is punished with it.
The third category is Committing sins by doing some things that are forbidden, or by neglecting some obligations. Whenever a servant offends his Lord there will be decrease in his servitude to Allah –the exalted.
And the most perfect of servants in servitude to Allah, is the one who is straightforward on Allah's commands. Allah –the Most high- said:
﴿إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ قَالُواْ رَبُّنَا ٱللَّهُ ثُمَّ ٱسۡتَقَٰمُواْ فَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ ١٣ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا جَزَآءَۢ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ ١٤﴾ [الأحقاف:13-14].
Meaning: "Indeed, those who have said, our Lord is Allah," and then remain on a right course- there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. Those are the companions of Paradise, abiding eternally therein as reward for what they used to do". Q46: V13and 14. And Allah –the Exalted said:
﴿إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ قَالُواْ رَبُّنَا ٱللَّهُ ثُمَّ ٱسۡتَقَٰمُواْ تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُواْ وَلَا تَحۡزَنُواْ وَأَبۡشِرُواْ بِٱلۡجَنَّةِ ٱلَّتِي كُنتُمۡ تُوعَدُونَ ٣٠ نَحۡنُ أَوۡلِيَآؤُكُمۡ فِي ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَفِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِۖ وَلَكُمۡ فِيهَا مَا تَشۡتَهِيٓ أَنفُسُكُمۡ وَلَكُمۡ فِيهَا مَا تَدَّعُونَ ٣١ نُزُلٗا مِّنۡ غَفُورٖ رَّحِيمٖ ٣٢ وَمَنۡ أَحۡسَنُ قَوۡلٗا مِّمَّن دَعَآ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَٰلِحٗا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ ٣٣﴾ [فصلت: 30-33].
Meaning: "Indeed, those who have said, our Lord is Allah," and then remain on a right course- the angels will descend upon them, [saying],"Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised (30) We [angels] were your allies in worldly life and [are so] in the Hereafter. And you will have therein whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you request [or wish] (31) As accommodation from a[Lord who is] Forgiving and merciful (32) And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and do righteousness and says, "Indeed I am of the Muslims (33). Q41: V30-33.
The servitude of the heart is [based on] three great things: They are: love, fear and hope. It is obligatory upon a servant to be sincere to Allah in these great acts of worship Thus, he loves Allah with the most magnificent [kind of] love, and does not associate any partner to Allah among His creatures in this utmost love. As Allah- the Most high- said:
﴿وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَشَدُّ حُبّٗا لِّلَّهِ﴾ [البقرة: 165].
Meaning:" But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah". Q2: V165.
And he fears the anger of Allah and His punishment such that he abstains from offending Allah as a result of his fear for Allah. And he hopes for Allah's mercy, forgiveness, favor and charity.
Whoever becomes so, does not despair of relief from Allah, and does not feel secure from the plan of Allah. Rather, he remains in a state of combination between hope and fear as Allah- the Exalted- ordered His servants in His sayings:
﴿وَٱدۡعُوهُ خَوۡفٗا وَطَمَعًاۚ إِنَّ رَحۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِ قَرِيبٞ مِّنَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ ٥٦﴾ [الأعراف:56].
Meaning: "And invoke Him in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good". Q7: V56.
So, invocation here includes du'aamas'ala [I.e, supplications of request] and du,aa ibada [i.e., supplications of worship]
And the servant's love for his Lord will push him towards getting closer to Him, yearning to meet Him, feeling pleasure in remembering Him, and it will cause him to love what Allah loves and hate what He hates. Thus, he will fulfill the worship of Alwalaa wa-Albaraa [i.e, Loyalty and Enmity] as a result of his sincere love for Allah-The Most High.
And his fear of Allah will make him abstain from doing the unlawful and neglecting obligatory duties. Hence, he will be of the pious servants of Allah who avoided the causes of Allah's anger and punishment, as a result of their fear of Him.
And his hope in Allah will motivate him to do good things because of what he hopes from its great reward and the pleasure of Allah's blessings for the obedient servants.