What is Islam?
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
The month of Dhul Hijja has a special association with the name of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), whose life teaches us total submission to the commands of Allah (SWT). In today’s sermon, I will throw some light on this subject.
There are two words: Habit and Worship. Habit means an act so frequently repeated in our individual and social life as to become relatively fixed in character and almost automatic in performance like eating, drinking, sleeping, waking up, and meeting with relatives and friends etc. Worship means to practice these same habits in accordance with the Sunnah of Prophet (SAW). Going to the Masjid and engaging in recitation of the Holy Qur’an is worship. Doing things at home as done by Prophet (SAW) is worship. The only difference is that of the intention. If someone keeps himself thirsty and hungry from dawn to dusk, it doesn’t mean anything, but if this act is followed by an intention, he then gets the reward of fasting. According to Prophet (SAW) if someone begins an act with “Bismillah” and concludes it with “Alhamdulillahi Katheerun”, all his former and later sins are forgiven. Intention makes us win both the worlds. Islam wants to make all our worldly acts as practices of Deen. As per another tradition doing miswaak [cleaning the teeth] doesn’t only clean the mouth, but it also pleases Allah (SWT). Prophet (SAW) used to do miswaak more often, like at the time of Tahajjud, and other prayers, after having seen his companions, and before going to bed. He (SAW) looked at the miswaak even while he was at his death bed.
A youth while returning after asking the well being of Sayyidina Umar Farooq (RA) was called back. Sayyidina Umar (RA) told him: “My brother, raise your dress above your ankles as it will keep the dress clean and will also please Allah (SWT).
According to Sahih Muslim Allah (SWT) wouldn’t cast a kind glance on a person who keeps his dress below the ankles as it reflects pride, which warrants Allah (SWT)’s displeasure. Islamic Shari’ah makes certain sins as acts of worship. For example telling a lie is a sin, but if spoken to avoid a fitnah, or to bring peace, it becomes an act of worship. Worship in other words is to carry out an order, to submit to a command, to act in accordance with the will of Allah (SWT). Praying is a worship, but not at forbidden times, fasting is a worship, but not on the day of Eid. Qur’an forbids walking arrogantly as per Aayah 37 of Surah Bani Isra’il, which reads: “Do not strut arrogantly about the earth: you cannot break it open, nor match the mountain in height.”
Man is a slave of Allah, his gait should reflect humility of a slave, but where Allah (SWT) has commanded to walk arrogantly with popped up chest, called Ramal in Arabic is in the first 3 circumambulation at the time of Hajj. The same gait which is forbidden at other times becomes an act of worship by the command of Allah at another occasion.
Islam leads us to a path where every single act can become an act of worship provided it is backed by an intention and is meant to please Allah (SWT). Worship without an intention is a ritual of no significance. Truth behind submitting to the command of Allah
(SWT) is that we have only One Master, Who has created us and to Whom we shall return. He has no partner or partners. He is unique, sovereign, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient and His Law is Supreme. Worshipping Him has been taught to us by His last and final Messenger, the one who lived Qur’an, the one who translated Qur’an into action, the one who practiced it and the one who is called the walking Qur’an. Following his habits turns our daily acts and habits into worship. If someone with utmost sincerity performs 6 rak’aas of Dhuhr instead of four, his prayers wouldn’t be accepted, because that is not what Prophet (SAW) did. If some one breaks the fast at Isha and not Maghrib, then his fast is invalid, because that is not what has been taught by Prophet (SAW).
It is a great blessing of Allah (SWT) that we have been born in the Ummah of Prophet (SAW). He has left for us complete and total guidance about every single issue or problem we come or may come across in life. His (SAW)’s life and Shari’ah encompasses all that happens or may happen in life from the time Allah (SWT) completed His Deen on him to the Last Day.
Islam is the name of earnestly and sincerely following what has been commanded by Allah (SWT) and which is reflected in the day to day life of our beloved Prophet (SAW). Imaam Maalik (RehmA) said: “The reform of this Ummah’s last phase will be through the same method which was applied in the first phase.” Companions of Prophet (SAW) were taught and trained by none but Prophet (SAW) himself. Key to their success lied in total submission and adherence to what Prophet (SAW) said or did. Allah (SWT) says in Aayah 208 of Surah Al-Baqarah: “You, who believe, enter whole heartedly into submission to Allah and do not follow in Satan’s footsteps, for he is your sworn enemy.”
For non believers, Aayahs 162-163 of the same Surah say: “They will remain in the state of rejection: their punishment will not be lightened, nor will they be reprieved. Your Rub is the One Rub: there is no Allah except Him, the Lord of the Mercy, the Giver of Mercy.”
The success and salvation of the Millat-e-Ibrahimi, or the followers of Sayyidina Ibrahim (AS) lies in following the footsteps of Prophet (SAW), and that is why he (SAW) was commissioned as a final Prophet as mentioned in Aayah 78 of Surah Al-Hajj:
“Strive hard for Allah as is His due: He has chosen you and placed no hardship in your religion, the faith of your forefather Ibrahim. Allah has called you Muslims – both in the past and in this [Message] – so that the Messenger can bear witness about you and so that you can bear witness about other people. So keep up the prayer, give the prescribed alms, and seek refuge in Allah: He is your Protector – an excellent Protector and an excellent Helper.”
The key to success in here and the Hereafter lies in a total commitment to Allah’s Deen and complete adherence to the method shown to us by Prophet (SAW). Let us make efforts to commit ourselves to the Faith, we claim we follow. We supplicate to Allah (SWT) to enable us to succeed in our efforts. Aamin!