ISL201 Islamic Studies Assignment 2 Solution Fall 2012

Concept of Worship
Allah (SWT) is our creator and He knows better about our purpose of creation. In His Holy book
Quran e Majeed; He (SWT) guides us about our purpose of creation by saying:
﴿الذاريات : ٥٦ ﴾ وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الجِْ  ن وَالْإِنسَ إِلا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me”.
So, it is proven that the basic purpose of our creation is to worship Allah (SWT).
On the other hand, when we go through the lives of Muslims; not only the common
Muslims but also the lives of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and His companions (R.A), they seem
to be involved in worldly affairs in addition to “Ibadah”. They spent most of their time in
relation with humans as parents, spouse, neighbours, and friends. They are also
involved in different professions for earning their livelihood.
You are required to:
1. Explain the true concept of Worship.
The word used by the Holy Qur’an for the worship is “Ibadah” which has a much wider sense than “worship”. In English, the word “worship” normally indicates to some specific acts or rituals meant exclusively to show one’s reverence to his Creator. But the word “ibadah’ is not restricted to such acts or rituals, rather, it embodies any act done in submission to Allah’s commands and to seek His pleasures. Therefore, many acts which seem to be mundane in nature are included in the word of ‘ `ibadah’ like earning one’s livelihood through halal (permissible) means and in order to fulfill one’s obligations towards his dependants.
“I am God, there is no other God but Me. You shall worship Me and observe the ‘Salat’ (Contact Prayer) to commemorate Me” 20:14
These sacred words, which speak of Worship and Prayer independently, indicate that these two acts are not the same. If the act of worship was primarily an act of prayer and nothing else, God would not say “worship Me” AND “observe the salat”. The word AND indicates that there is more to worship than just praying.
While as the Contact Prayer is a specific ritual decreed for specific times of the day, the act of Worship on the other hand is an uninterrupted state of the mind, body and soul. It is an exalted spiritual level of existence and invaluable nourishment for our souls. Without the act of Worship, consecrated exclusively to God alone, one is unable to attain true happiness. Our physical bodies, by merely submitting to God’s will, are in a perpetual state of worship. All our body organs and tissues are ordained to function in a meticulous pre-ordained manner designed by God and over which we have no control whatsoever. They are in a ceaseless state of submission to the will of God. However, our souls are given the freedom of choice. If our souls choose the same route as our ordained bodies, harmony will be struck between body and soul, the reward of which will be true happiness. On the other hand if our souls are rebellious, unappreciative or egoistic and elect not to worship God, we will never attain true happiness no matter how much material fortune we may posses.
The Quran, being a fully detailed book, provides the believers with the answer to the questions: Whom should we worship? Whom should we not worship? and, how should we worship?
Most believers will be quite offended by the first question. They will say ‘Of course we worship God!’ However, the Quran indicates that the human being worships what or whoever occupies his mind most of the time.
The instinct of adoration and worship of Allâh has been placed in the nature of human beings for higher ends, but it misses its object when it is confined only to mere bowing down and prostration and counting and repeating the names of God on a rosary or singing in churches for mere show. All who profess to love God, love only the images they themselves have constructed in their minds. In reality they profess God’s similarity with His creatures. The knowledge of Him demands that they profess His Incomparability.
He is Wonderful and Primary Originator of the heavens and the earth! How (and whence) can there be a son for Him, when He has no consort? He has created all things and He has perfect knowledge of everything. Such is Allâh, your Lord! There is no other, cannot be and will never be One worthy of Worship but He, the Creator of all things; therefore worship Him, for He is the Disposer of all affairs. (6:101-102)
Allâh has decreed:
“I have created the Jinn (-creation that is hidden) and the people to worship Me” (51:56)
Therefore it is best to fulfil God’s right and His decree. If we fulfil His wish as He desires, His special favour (Rahmîmiyyat) guides us to the right path and He will make us attain our wish. If we worship Him we do so for our own good (17:7). We ourselves are the recipient of the profit of worship. The worship restrains from indecency, abominable things and loathsome deeds and from all that runs counter to reason and moral and from it we obtain inspiration for good deeds (29:45). By doing so we are in fact “glorifying the coming man who has to be evolved from our inner selves.” In reciting the attributes of perfection, we keep before us a sacred cast in which we have to mould our character.
“He has decreed that you should not worship any but Him” (17:23).
The Holy Prophet of Islam said that through worship and implicit obedience to our Lord, Allâh becomes our limb and joints (Bukhârî). By deification we attain the highest morals which we will find when we study the Holy attributes of perfection.

Divine glorification and worship of God do not mean the singing of hymns. That is but a lip gratitude which would not please even an average person. To please God is really to work out our own evolution and to bring to realization what our Creator has placed in us. In this lies our whole success and our worship of God. The worship of God means to fulfil the requirement of His names. It is impossible to think of a better system and guide of morals then that carved on the lives by the said attributes. The concept of His attributes has much to do with the mould of our character and civilization. Albert Ellis flatly states “Religion is neurosis” and Alva Edison writes, “It is a damned fake, all bunk,” similarly C. L. Martin says, “What are we to do with religion? Simply throw it out as a useless historic curiosity.” But if we need some type of consistent, coherent value system that will give us a sense of order, structure and purpose in life, and we certainly need a set of principles, (Dr. Clarence L. Martin, “God is a Verb”, 1989, p. 1), then bring us a coherent value system and mode of character better than what the Holy Qur’an tells us in the following words:
“Assume the attributes of Allâh, and who is fairer and better than Allâh in attribution? We are His worshippers ever” (2:138)
Let the moralists and religious minded persons on one side and the people of culture and progress on the other contemplate on these attributes and see if they can find a better code of life.

2. Narrate the actions and deeds which are included in Worship.

Concept of Worship in Islam

The concept of worship in Islam is misunderstood by many people including some Muslims. Worship is commonly taken to mean performing ritualistic acts such as prayers, fasting, charity, etc. This limited understanding of worship is only one part Or the
meaning Or worship in Islam. That is why the traditional definition Or worship in Islam is a
comprehensive definition that includes almost everything in any individual’s activities. The
definition goes something like this: “Worship is an all inclusive term for all that God loves of external and internal sayings and actions of a person.” In other words, worship is everything one says or does for the pleasure Or Allah. This, of course, include spirituals as well as beliefs, social activities, and personal contributions to the welfare of one’s fellow human-beings.

Islam looks at the individual as a whole. He is required to submit himself completely to Allah, as the Qur�an instructed the prophet Muhammad to do: “Say (O Muhammad) my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death belong to Allah; He has no partner and I am ordered to be among those who submit, i.e.; Muslims.” The natural result of this submission is that all one’s activities should conform to the instructions of the one to whom the person is submitting. Islam being a way of life, requires that its followers model their life according to its teachings in every aspect, religious or otherwise. This might sound strange to some people who think of religion as a personal relation between the individual and God, having no impact on one’s activities outside rituals.

As a matter of fact Islam does not think much of mere rituals when they are performed mechanically and have no influence on one’s inner life. The Qur�an addresses the believers and their neighbors from among the people of the Book who were arguing with them about the change of the direction of Qibla in the following verse:

It is not righteousness that you turn your faces
toward the East or the West, but righteous is he
who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the
angels and the Book and the prophets, and gives
his beloved money to the relatives and the
orphans and the needy and for the ransoming Of
the captives and who observes prayer and pays
the poor-due; and those who fulfill their
promises when they have made one, and the
patient in poverty and affliction and the
steadfast in time of war; it is those who have
proved truthful and it is those who are the God-
fearing. (2:177)

The deeds in the above verse are the deeds of righteousness and they are only a part of worship. The prophet told us about faith, which is the basis of worship, that it “is made up of sixty and some branches: the highest of which is the belief in the Oneness of Allah, i.e., there is no God but Allah and the lowest in the scale of worship is removing obstacles and dirt from people’s way.”

Decent work is considered in Islam a type of worship. The prophet said: “Whoever finds himself at the nightfall tired of his work, God will forgive his sins.” Seeking knowledge is one of the highest types of worship. The prophet told his companions that “seeking knowledge is a (religious) duty on every Muslim.” In another saying he said:” Seeking knowledge for one hour is better than praying for seventy years. “Social courtesy and cooperation are part of worship when done for the sake of Allah as the prophet told us: “Receiving your friend with a smile is a type of charity, helping a person to load his animal is a charity and putting some water in your neighbor’s bucket is a charity.”

It is worth noting that even performing one’s duties is considered a sort of worship. I he prophet told us that whatever one spends for his family is a type of
charity: he will be rewarded for it if he acquires it through legal means. Kindness to the members of one’s family is an act of worship as when one puts a piece of food in his spouse’s mouth as the prophet informed us. Not only this but even the acts we enjoy doing very much. when they are performed according to the instructions of the prophet, they are considered as acts of worship. The prophet told his companions that they will be rewarded even for having sexual intercourse with their wives. The companions were astonished and asked: “How are we going to be rewarded for doing something we enjoy very much?” The prophet asked them: “suppose you satisfy your desires illegally, don’t you think that you will be punished for that?�’ They replied, “yes.” “So” he said. ‘ by satisfying it legally with your wives you are rewarded for it.” This means they are acts of worship.

Thus Islam does not consider sex a dirty thing that one should avoid. It is dirty and sin only when it is satisfied outside marital life.

It is clear, from the previous discussion that the concept of worship in Islam is a comprehensive concept that includes all the positive activities of the individual. This of course is in agreement with the all inclusive nature of Islam as a way of life It regulates the human life on all levels: the individual, the social, the economic, the political and the spiritual. That is why Islam provides guidance to the smallest details of one’s life on all these levels. Thus following these details is following Islamic instructions in that specific area. It is a very encouraging element when one realizes that all his activities are considered by God as acts of worship. This should lead The individual lo seek Allah’s pleasure in his actions and always try to do them in the best possible manner whether he is watched by his superiors or he is alone. There is always the permanent supervisor, who knows everything namely. Allah.

Discussing The non-ritual worship in Islam first does not mean under evaluating the importance or the ritual ones. Actually ritual worships, if performed in true spirit, elevate man morally and spiritually and enable him to carry on his activities in all walks of life according to the Guidance of God. Among ritual worships, Salah (ritual prayer) occupies the key position for two reasons. Firstly, it is the distinctive mark of a believer. Secondly, it prevents an individual from all sorts of abominations and vices by providing him chances of direct communion with his Creator five times a day, wherein he renews his covenant with God and seeks His guidance again
and again “You alone we worship and to You alone we turn for help. Guide us to the straight path” (i:4-5). Actually Salah is the first practical manifestation of Faith and also the foremost of the basic conditions for the success of the believers:
successful indeed are the believers who are
humble in their prayers. (23:1-2)

The same fact has been emphasized by the prophet (PBUH) in a different way. He says:

�Those who offer their Salah with great care and
punctuality, will find it a light, a proof of their
Faith and cause of their salvation on the Day
of Judgment.�

After Salah Zakah (poor-due) is an important pillar of Islam. In the Qur�an Salah and Zakah mostly have been mentioned together. Like Salah, Zakah is a manifestation of faith that affirms that God IS The sole owner of everything in the universe, and what men hold is a trust in their hand over which (God made them trustees to discharge it as He has laid down:

Believe in Allah and His messenger and spend of
hat over which He made you trustees (57:7)

In this respect Zakah is an act of devotion which, like prayer, brings the believer nearer to his Lord.

Apart from this, Zakah is a means of redistribution of wealth in a way that reduces differences between classes and groups. It makes a fair contribution to social stability. By purging the soul of the rich from selfishness and the soul of the poor from envy and resentment against society, it stops up the channels leading to class hatred and makes it possible for the springs of brotherhood and solidarity to gush forth. Such stability is not merely based on the personal
feelings of the rich: it stands on a firmly established right which, if the rich denied it, would be exacted by force, if necessary.

Siyam (fasting during the day time of the month of Ram) is anothepillar of Islam. The main function of fasting is to make the Muslim pure from “within” as other aspects of Shariah make him pure from “without.” By such purity he responds to what is true and good and shuns what is false and evil. This is what we can perceive in the Quranic Verse:
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as
it was prescribed for those before you, that you may
gain piety.” (2:183)
In an authentic tradition, the prophet reported Allah as saying: “He suspends eating, drinking, and gratification of his sexual passion for My sake.” Thus his reward is going to be
according to God’s great bounty.

Fasting, then, awakens the conscience of the individual and gives it scope for exercise in a joint experience for all society at the same time, thus adding further strength to each individual.
Moreover, fasting offers a compulsory rest to the over-worked human machine for the duration of
one full month. Similarly fasting reminds an individual of those who are deprived of life necessities throughout the year or throughout life. It makes him realize the suffering of others, the less fortunate brothers in Islam, and thus promotes in him a sense of sympathy and kindness to them.

Lastly, we come to Al-Hajj (pilgrimage to the House of God in Makka). This very important pillar of Islam, manifests a unique unity, dispelling all kinds of differences. Muslims from all corners of the world, wearing the same dress, respond to the call of Hajj in one voice and language: LABBAIK ALLA H U M MA LABBAI K ( Here I am at your service O Lord!). In Hajj there is an exercise of strict self- discipline and control where not only sacred things are revered. but even the life of plants and birds is made inviolable so that everything lives in safety:
“And he that venerates the sacred things of God, it shall be better for him with his Lord “(22:31)), “And he that venerates the way marks of God, it surely is from devotion of the heart.” (22:32)

Pilgrimage gives an opportunity to all Muslims from all groups, classes, organizations, and
governments from all over the Muslim world to meet annually in a great congress. The time and venue of this congress has been set by their one God. Invitation to attend is open to every Muslim. No one has the power to bar anyone. Every Muslim who attends is guaranteed full safety and freedom as long as he himself does not violate its safety.

Thus, worship in Islam, whether ritual or non-ritual, trains the individual in such a way that he loves his Creator most and thereby gains an unyielding will and spirit to wipe out all evil and oppression from the human society and make the word of God dominant in the world.