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Muslim seeking the pleasure and mercy of Allah, Most High... Sunnah style!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

You Alone Do We Worship

Bismillahi ar-Rahman ar-Raheem. All praise, indeed, belongs to Allah. As such, we should praise Him, seek His Help and beseech His Forgiveness. Seek refuge in Allah from the evil within this world, ourselves and the evil resulting from our deeds. Whomever Allah guides, there is none that can misguide. Whomever Allah allows to be lead astray, none can guide. I bare witness and testify that there is no God, diety, object or entity worthy of worship except Allah. And I bare witness and testify that Muhammad is the servant and final Messenger of Allah.

"And remind, for the reminder benefits the believers. I have not created the jinn and mankind except to worship Me." -Qur'an 51:56

The absolute perfect (Al Quddus), exalted (Al Aliyy), highest and greatest (Al Kabir) is the Creator (Al Khaliq) and Fashioner of all Forms (Al Musawwir), Allah, subhana wa ta'ala (pure is He, without partners and Exalted). The only one (Al Ahad) deserving of praise (Al Hamid) and the only one worthy of worship.

As Muslims, we are well aware (or atleast should be) that Allah hasn't created us but for one noble purpose and that is to worship Him. Allah has also bestowed us the faculty of thought; inclining us to be inquistive. As such, we cannot resist to question: "why should we worship Allah?" It, of course, ties back to the first clause of the first Kalima: "la ilaha ill Allah" meaning "there is nothing (and no one) worthy of worship but Allah". The operative word of the aforementioned is "worthy". For certainly there are other objects, people and things that are worshipped, venerated or regarded as only Allah should be regarded in this world. But Allah, the Lord and Creator of the heavens, earth and all else is the only one WORTHY of worship. Every prophet of Allah, from Adam, Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Issa (Jesus) to Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all, was called to summon people to the right path; to the obedience and worship of Allah and Allah alone.

"For We assuredly raised in every nation a messenger (prophet, warner) with the command: 'Serve Allah and shun false gods', of the people were some whom Allah guided and some on whom error was inevitably established. So travel through the earth and see what was the fate of those who denied the Truth." -Qur'an 16:36

For those whose strife is a journey unto the right path, have firm enough understanding that it is not through anything or anyone, no intercessor, no intermediary, that we worship our Lord. Regardless to how beautiful or alluring an object or design, it has no power except what Allah permits. Regardless to how wise, knowledgable, successful, pious or devout a prophet, imam, priest, saint, man or woman is or once was, remember, Allah is the source of all knowledge (Al Alim), the source of all truth (Al Haqq), and no one has acquired in intellect, honor or prestige except what Allah allowed. There is nothing that occurs outside of His Will or with
out His Leave. And so to Him, Allah, do we owe all praise and worship DIRECTLY. Shameful is it to think that your Lord is not compassionate (Ar Ra'uf) enough, loving (Al Wadud) enough, forgiving (Al Ghafur) or caring (Al Barr) enough to accept your worship, your prayers, your supplications (du'a) and pleas for forgiveness directly.

"O My servants who have trangressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins. Lo! He is Oft-Forgivng, Most Merciful." -Qur'an 39:53

In having the proper concept of Allah, thereby we can enjoin the proper worship of Allah. We realize continual worship and continual remembrance of Allah, the transitoriness and triviality of this world and the concernment of the Hereafter go hand in hand. With the correct awareness, wors
hip works to keep one in line and is a means to purifying our very souls. We accrue blessings and shall, in'sha'Allah, be rewarded for our sincere devotion and implication.

Allah has designed us such that our comprehension must (eventually) advance beyond "because God said so." The question, then arises, in acknowledging Allah is worthy of worship, what makes Him so? Why is He worthy of our worship, our servitude?

Commonly, one might respond in listing the literally countless good, favors, blessings and wonders He has done. These are all indeed reasons to venerate our Lord, but anything Allah has done is but a secondary reason deserving Him of any worship. Primarily, we (should) worship Allah because of Who He is, not for what He does. Our worship certainly isn't for His benefit. Allah will be Allah with or without our servitude. Every attribute, every quality I've mentioned and those I haven't will remain regardless. He Was before we were and shall eternally (As-Samad) remain. It is the worshipper who benefits, not Allah. And there was no better worshipper of Allah than His final messenger, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam, who has left with us his example, his footsteps. Wise are those to follow if it is the pleasure of their Lord they seek.

Islam is so extraordinary, so beautiful in that it enables the Muslim to convert the most trivial and commonplace of actions into an act of worship. By merely preposing the right intention can we make reading, working, speaking, playing, eating, walking and even sleeping constitute as worship. Activities like raising properly and feeding your family is serving Allah, being that He has commanded we do so. This includes playtime with our children, caring and looking after our parents, intimacy with our spouses. ANY act we set forth that benefits, aides, assist and/or prepares us in fulfilling our most noble purpose can be worship itself; so long as we acknowledge it before engaging the act. And, of course, avoid those fruitless acts which will hender or distract us from the reason of our existence.

I pray all my brothers and sisters in Islam realize the religion, or more appropriately, the way (deen) of God is not merely a matter of "do this but don't do that". Islam is not merely tradition, there are blessings involved in not only enjoining the rights but even moreso in understanding why we should do them. Allah, in the Qur'an, urges us in a so many places to think and use reason. Never should we hesistate to take that advice and inquire and investigate so that we might constantly excel in faith (iman), wisdom (hikma) and the conciousness of Allah (taqwaa). Bare in mind that each desire, effort and step towards learning about Allah and His Way is an act of worship. And in knowing the reasons and blessings behind each splash and wipe of our wudu, our salah, our sujood, our every prostration, our du'a, our zakat, our hajj, our smile, it is practically impossible to do any of the like with the same attitude or mindset we had prior to knowing.

Iyyāka na'budu wa iyyāka nasta'īn

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Springing Into Action

As-salaamu 'alaikum Rahmatullahi wa-Barakathu.
May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of our Creator and Lord be upon you all. Tis the season of Spring and this year I'm fortunate enough to suffer through the associated allergies. It wasn't until moving in this particular area, 3 years ago, that I've experienced anything remotely resembling of an allergic reaction. It must be something in the air around these parts. Thankfully, my symptoms have gradually degenerated from severe to mild; my eyes were swollen, moist and precipitating. I would want to communicate verbally, but it seemed anytime I'd open my mouth it was either to cough or sneeze. In fact, the language I involuntarily spoke for nearly a week was Cough-n-sneeze. And my throat. Ya Allah. It felt like I had just inhaled two woolly scarves bind together by a lumpy knot. Or worse yet, that mercilessly scratchy tan Mammothus hide my grandmother would dare toss over me while staying the night at her house when I was little. I'm left now to deal only with the watery, itchy eyes, sniffling and a very occasional sneeze fest.

I was ecstatic over my wife having the whole entire Monday through Thursday off last week. We went out and discussed our Deen, our family, investment plans, things to be grateful over, things to be disappointed over, things we can obtain by certain durations and so-forth over a cup... well... cups of coffee. We gone out to get flowers and plants to embellish the side and backyard of our home with. We planted them together. We embraced and enjoyed each other's company as though we wouldn't have the same luxury the succeeding week as this would indeed be the case.

This luxury or situation, I realized, was but a microcosm of the whole picture. That this world, like our lives, are more transitory than we know. And we must strive to make the best of every moment. Even during relaxation should we not do so unless in a state of Islam, in a state of remembering Allah, in a state of challenging ourselves and thereby reaffirming why we are here and why we are Muslim. Our optimism depends heavily on our intending, our planning and finally, our acting. No soul is exempt from trials, from mistakes, from sadness, from success, from happiness. No soul is immune to devastation or surprise.

"On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns..."

A believer should never mistake any trial as a misfortune or a curse. Every trial and even those easily ignored, quickly pass instances where it seems "nothing happened", is indeed a blessing. We should be thankful, give praise and move along with Allah constantly in mind.

"Pray: "Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have Mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; HELP US AGAINST THOSE WHO STAND AGAINST FAITH." -Qur'an 2:286

Along with the springing plantlife, the springing allergies, the springing romantic interactions, have my vision and will also sprung up to the truth that my aspirations, whether microscopic, short term, long term, gargantuan or hardly significant, all require action. Don't get me wrong. I've always had a firm grasp on this concept, but this reality sets in deeper with the surpassing of every growth-inducing experience, every testing circumstance, every achievement, every trial, every fitnah. With each passing year. Each passing month. Each passing day, hour, minute, second, moment and glimpse my understanding excels to a new altitude that anything I desire done or avoided demands my effort.

Among the most basic of principles. Probably the only principle that remains with every human from the instant they picked up on it. A principle that is best growing as rapid or even more rapidly than we ourselves are growing. A principle, as is the case for all knowledge, that is best acted on. Which if a person has no reason or sees no benefit in pursuing something, they will have no motivation. It all depends on what the individual values that will boost them forward. The less a person believes and the less a person values anything, the more apathetic and spiritually defunct a person becomes.

For some, time is money. And for this reason do they move any muscle at all.

"These are the people who buy the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter..." -Qur'an 2:86

For me, and certainly any pious Muslim, time is a term of chances we have to worship Allah (and ask His Forgiveness). Stop me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Islam is the most God-centered faith on the face of this planet. Everything we do is to be in the name of God (
Bismillah), and if there is an endeavour or act we have in mind we feel the least ashamed to do in God's Name, we are encouraged to think twice or avoid it altogether.

Perhaps in my next journal I will focus on how everything the Muslim does, whether praying/performing salat, prostrating, making dua/supplication, bathing, communicating, eating, going to work, going to school, playing at the park, posting a blog, even sleeping constitutes as an act of worship, in'sha'Allah. But the reason I bring this up now, and how it is relevant, is that action is vital to achieve any means. And what better way to act than as an act of worship to achieve the ultimate goal in the Hereafter?

Doing for the sake of God is not restricted to getting done those activities which we loathe. For God's sake and in God's Name we can do practically anything that is intellectually, emotionally, physically or spiritually profitable. And we do so by patterning our ways after the examples of the prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam) and those who were around him, his companions. Neither the prophet (saws) nor his companions retreated from their society to a distant, remote land to practice Islam. On the contrary. They remained in their society. They all shopped, married, had families with children, had homes, had jobs and so forth all while exercising Islam to the most integral extent.

Some get by doing as the phrase, "keep your eyes on the prize", suggest. But by focusing only on the end result, really there are no holds bar, you could pretty much achieve any ends at the expense of loved ones and innocents. However, when it comes to the phrase, "remember Allah", you are engaged to achieve any desired end, but through regulated means. And surely, we can overcome anything through the remembrance of Allah, knowing every joy and every trial we're presented with is for a reason. Whether we, at the moment, understand that reason or not.

"Does mankind think they will be left alone on saying, 'We believe', and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false." -Qur'an 29:2-3

So before handling any issue or engaging in anything the Muslim should always remember Allah. This will benefit us more in this life over anything else and most certainly, the Hereafter.