Worshipping Allah (SWT)
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
Allah (SWT) has defined and determined the purpose of man’s creation. It is to serve and worship Him as mentioned in Aayah 56 of Surah Adh-Dhaariyaat, which says: “I created jinn and mankind to worship Me.” Whoever understands the purpose of creation and commits his life to worship Allah (SWT), he is bound to succeed in here and the Hereafter. And the one who is forgetful and disregards this purpose, he fails and is doomed. The truth is that worship and submission do immense good to mankind and its neglect and disregard hurts him real bad. Worship purifies the self and nourishes the spirit. Man’s perfection and grace doesn’t lie in physical appearance or material well being, but it pertains to the spirit. The spirit feeds on purity and piety and scales greater heights through remembrance, worship and glorification of Allah (SWT).
Haafiz ibn-e-Taimiyah (RehmA) has written that the heart gets nourishment through dependence on Allah (SWT), in worshipping Him, and in putting total trust in Him for seeking His help. The reformation, purification, pleasure and contentment of the heart lies in total commitment to sincere worship. If one has all worldly pleasures but lacks contentment, life would be miserable. On the other hand if heart has tasted Iman, then nothing can match or equal that unique intoxication and that is an antidote to all worries and miseries. The more you drink at the fountain of love, the thirstier you get, and you drink more and more; and this cycle goes on and on. Contentment thus achieved is beyond man’s perception. The lover’s heart and soul submit in unison: “It is You (Allah SWT) we worship; it is You we ask for help.”
Haafiz Ibne Qayyim (RehmA) says that the heart’s only object of love is its Creator. The real pleasure, contentment, and satisfaction come only through the remembrance of Allah (SWT).
Imaam Raazi (RehmA) explains that whoever understands the benefit of worship, it becomes easy and smooth for him, and a little slackness makes him restless. The lover’s only wish is to get closer to the beloved, and worship is the only means that is there to over come distances. The pleasure in making efforts to get closer to Allah (SWT) cannot be explained, but can be experienced. The heart, the tongue, and the eyes enjoy reading and remembering Allah (SWT), and thus the human body as a whole worships the Creator to fulfill the purpose of creation. The act of worship is a sacred trust and when the trustee guards the trust, the One Who had entrusted the trust guards the trustee and looks after his needs. A companion of Prophet (SAW) relates a story of a simple village folk, who leaving his camel outside entered the Mosque to pray. To the envy of those who were present, he prayed earnestly and whole heartedly. Perfection was visible in his worship. When he came out of the Mosque, he saw his camel missing. The villager addressed Allah (SWT) and said: “I have done justice with the trust (have prayed and worshipped), what happened to my camel which I had entrusted to You Ya Allah?” People saw that a stranger came along with the lost camel and handed the animal over to him. Prophet (SAW) once advised Ibne Abbas (RA):
“You guard Allah (SWT); Allah (SWT) will be your guard.” It meant that worship has been entrusted to man as a duty and in return Allah (SWT) rewards the worshipper and looks after his needs and safeguards him.
This is also true that concentration and whole hearted devotion in prayers bestow upon man a holistic peace and eternal contentment. Once Imam Abu Hanifah (RehmA) was praying, a snake fell from the thatched roof, but he didn’t feel its presence. (Tafseer-e-Kabir). This shows his absorption in prayers. Worshiping and praying is not simply a ritual, or a soul-less repetitious act, but it is a conscious, mental, spiritual, physical act, it is your presence before Allah and you are in Allah’s audience. When taken seriously, as it ought to be taken, the worshipper succeeds in pleasing Allah (SWT). A strange feeling of closeness is felt and a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment over takes the worshipper and peace descends upon his entire self. It is said that Prophet (SAW) used to wait for the timings of prayer as a thirsty waits to for a cold drink. He (SAW) used to say to Bilal (RA): “Ya Bilal call Takbeer and provide me comfort.” According to Ummul Momineen Aa’yesha (RAnha) Prophet (SAW) used to detach himself with every thing material at the time of prayers. Nothing could come in between him and prayers.
Under difficult circumstances and in pain and suffering, Allah (SWT) remembrance gives peace and comfort. Allah (SWT) addresses Prophet (SAW) as such in Aayah 97-99 of Surah Al-Hijr.
“We are well aware that your heart is weighed down by what they (mushrikeen and kaafireen) say. Celebrate the glory of your Lord and be among those who bow down to Him: Worship your Lord until what is certain comes to you.”
Under favorable circumstances, worship is a proclamation of Allah’s greatness and total sovereignty. Allah (SWT) says in Surah An-Nasr.
“When Allah’s help comes and He opens up your way [Prophet (SAW)], when you see people embracing Allah’s faith in crowds, celebrate the praise of your Lord and ask His forgiveness: He is always ready to accept repentance.”
The essence of my talk today is that worship is an elixir which nourishes sprit, purifies and enlightens the heart, and is the only source of peace and contentment. Let us make conscious efforts to improve the quality of our worship and prayers. Start it not from today but right from this prayer. Prophet (SAW) advised us to make this supplication for seeking Allah’s help:
“Allah humma aa innee ala zikrika wa shukrika wa husn-i-ibaadatik”.
Its close translation would be: Ya Allah help me in your remembrance, and in thanking You, and in the beauty (of perfection) in praying You. Aamin!