Islam: A Comprehensive Way of Life
All praise is due to Allah and may His choicest salutations continue to descend on our Master and Leader Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.
“I created the jinn and humankind only that they worship Me “(51:56)
We often associate worship with specific religious acts separated from our everyday activities. Worship in Islam is to live our lives with the conscious awareness of the ever presence of Allah.
Hence we can be worshipping Allah throughout the day, be it at home, the workplace or any other place. We certainly will not be fulfilling the purpose of our creation by limiting worship to the five fundamentals of Islam even though they serve as the central pillars of our faith? Worship does not only relate to the performance of salah, payment of zakat, fasting and performance of Haj? If the reason of our entire existence is to worship Allah, there has to be more to worship than fulfilling the five fundamentals of faith.
- The discharge of our five daily prayers does not take more than one hour or more than 5% of twenty four hours. How do we worship Allah in the remaining 95% of the day?
- The month of fasting equals to one month form twelve months. How do we worship Allah in the rest of the eleven months?
- Zakaat is paid once a year only by those who own the nisaab. How do we worship Allah in rest of the year?
- Likewise haj is a once in a lifetime obligation for those who have the means. How do we worship Allah for the better part of our lives?
Worship has to be all-encompassing for it to be to be the primary function of our lives, it has to be interwoven into every aspect of our daily lives… it cannot be confined to a particular time, place or occasion. By looking at the broader and more inclusive meaning of worship we do not in any way undervalue the importance of the five fundamentals which form the bedrock of Islam.
Abu Hurairah Radh-Allahu anhu narrates that the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “Whosoever relieves a believer from some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve him of grief pertaining to the Hereafter. Whosoever lessens the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the Hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter.” In this hadith Nabi Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam has connected the doing of good to fellow humans as acts of worship that attract rewards in this world and the hereafter. This means that:
You are worshipping Allah when you extend a helping hand to others: “Allah will help you for as long as you are engaged in helping others.” (Muslim)
You are worshipping Allah when you feed the poor and forge family ties: “ It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing. (2:177)
You are worshipping Allah when you fulfil the rights of others and honour your commitments:“O you who believe! Fulfil (all) obligations.” (5:1)
You are worshipping Allah when you talk respectfully – “And be moderate in your pace, and lower your voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass. (31:19)
You are worshipping Allah each time you smile and greet your fellow brother: “Do not despise any act of good even if it be meeting your brother with a smile.” (Muslim)
You are worshipping when you treat your partner with kindness and love: “The best of you are those who are best to their families and I am best to my family” (Tirmidhi)
You are worshipping Allah when your restrain your anger: “Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men; – for Allah loves those who do good” (3:134)
You are worshipping Allah when you say no to bribery and corruption: “Allah curses one who bribes (rashi) and one who takes a bribe (murtashi).” (Abu Dawud)
There are approximately 500 verses that deal with law –halal & haram – out of a total of more than six thousand verses in the Quran. The central message of the Quran is to develop a bond with Allah that creates a conscious awareness of accountability and subservience to the Beloved. Less than 10% of the Quran deals with laws – the balance deals with development of character, self- reformation, rectitude, justice, fairness, brotherhood, mercy, compassion and solidarity. The mission of Nabi Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam was to help develop the individual. He said: “I have been sent to perfect good character.” (Musnad Bazzar) He further said that: “The best among you is the one whose character is best.” (Bukhari) Islam spread to South East Asia – Indonesia Malaysia Thailand etc. when the locals observed the ethics, values, and honesty of Muslim traders who came to their shores.
Islam is an all -inclusive way of life. It regulates all our activities; individual, social, economic, political and spiritual. Humility, honesty, simplicity, equality and justice, stand as the hallmarks of a true Muslim. We are the vicegerents of Allah who live Islam not only at particular times of the day, month or year, but who live and die for the pleasure of Allah: “Say: ‘Truly, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds. No partner has He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit to His Will.” (6:162-163)
We must guard against relegating Islam to a ritualistic creed, where worship is something we do in the masjid, or in the month of Ramadhan, where Islam has no bearing on how we earn our living, how we treat others, how we conduct our social affairs and the kind of character we display.
May Allah grant us the ability to worship Him in all that we do.