“And they were not enjoined anything except that they should serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience, upright, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, and that is the right religion.”(al-Bayyinah: 5)
By Husain Zakariyya Yawale.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time.
Indeed our existence cannot be a mere coincidence or even a rare accident. We can never be what we are today without per don just as our Creator couldn’t have created us without purpose!
The Qur’an tells us that the Jinns and humans are created for the purpose of worshipping Allah. He says:
“And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should serve Me. I do not desire from them any sustenance and I do not desire that they should feed Me.”(al-Zariyat: 56 & 57)
It is in the actualization of this lofty reason that He took it upon His Mercy to send various Messengers and Prophets to teach, guide and lead men from darkness to light, and ignorance to knowledge.
That means Allah has conventional modes of being worshipped from time immemorial until eternity. That means also that nobody has any jurisdiction to concoct any verbal, action or thought as modes of worship that have no sanction from God the Almighty!
Liars, therefore, will emerge at various times and spaces to claim veneration and divinity to the extent of posing as representatives of God either in Mosques, Churches or Synagogues.
Islam has from its inception put to rest any guess work in all private, family and public affairs in the name of worshipping Allah. Islam has commanded us to seek knowledge through reading, observation and questioning. Through questioning where your personal effort to discover new facts became incapacitated, you ask men above you knowledge who are grounded in knowledge. Allah says:
“…And above every one possessed of knowledge is the All-knowing one.”(Yusuf: 74)
Thus, it’s Allah alone Who has the absolute franchise of knowledge. Thus today’s teacher was yesterday’s pupil.
Search of knowledge is therefore the eternal right of all human beings; none has more right above another.
The Qur’an says:
“Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is Most Honorable, Who taught (to write) with the pen. Taught man what he knew not.
“…So ask the followers of the Reminder if you do not know”(al-Nahl: 43)
Also Allah says:
“And of men and beasts and cattle are various species of it likewise; those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah; surely Allah is Mighty, Forgiving.”(al-Fatir: 28)
All Messengers and Prophets were taught by Allah through Angel Jibrael during the era of inspiration; to the Muslims the period has expired and terminated with the demise of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Thus, for someone to appear presently and claim prophethood or receiving inspiration from Allah, such a person must not only be condemned and castigated but be also be considered as an apostate!
The Islamic jurisprudence has set four very important and indispensable principles which must be imbibed and assimilated by all and sundry in every aspect of their worships and submissions to Allah. My today’s discourse which I intend to discuss in some details, by the leave of Allah, consists of the following; knowledge, taste, accomplishment and sincerity.
1. Knowledge: knowledge is the bedrock and backbone of every aspect of human endeavours. It is also the chief difference between humans and other animals. That is why seeking or acquiring it is more pertinent when it affects worshipping Allah. This is because no one can postulate or propose for Allah what He should like, accept and reward as constituent of His devotion. Allah is far above the reasoning and preposition of any creation. The Roman philosophers over stepped their human boundaries when they claimed that they were able through their contemplation, reflection and meditations attained what the Prophets were inspired with by Allah to His various Prophets and Messengers! This dishonest claim suggested not only the dispensability of revelations, but the superfluous of all Holy Books and their bearers! This position is a testimony of exaggeration unprecedented in the art of concoctions and fabrications.
In fact, man has not been entrusted or burdened by Allah throughout time to formulate or design how He should be worshipped, adored or venerated in any measure. What he has been ordained was to seek for the knowledge already revealed by Allah to the Prophets of their times, just the Muslims were only burden to seek the knowledge brought by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Henceforth, this process also has put to rest the claims of anyone of having new knowledge in sphere of ibadat, let alone those contradictory to the revelation and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). That means all knowledge essential to form the basis of worshipping Him must as a matter of condition come from the last Prophet’s teachings which he bequeathed to his companions alone.
In Islam one must be 100% sure of what he or she is saying and doing in all aspects of ibadats such as Salah, Fasting, Hajj, Zakat, Jihad, Tauhid and all supplications and adorations of Allah. Supposition or postulation is not accepted as an act of worship or rewarded by Allah even if perchance exists resemblance of a sort. There is no excuse in accepting ignorance as an excuss regarding ibadats in all their ramifications. Allah says:
“And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.”(al-Isra’: 36)
In fact, ignorance was not and will not be accepted by law as an excuse for conjecturing anything in the rights of Allah or His Prophet. In Islam, accepting one’s ignorance before venturing into any act of worship in an attempt to worship Allah correctly is a commendable act. I want to know, has never been despised or constitute a taste of repine by the knowledgeable men throughout times and spaces. Teachers love their inquisitive students more than the passive ones. This is because the more one asks, the more one knows, and by extension the more one becomes knowledgeable and experienced.
The main essence of seeking knowledge is to instill confidence and self-assurance in all that we say and do at any giving moment. The underlining factor is that whatever you cannot teach to others confidently is a clear manifestation of incompetency and fumblingness due to lack of the correct knowledge or experience to pass on.
2. Taste: This principle consists of the feeling of pleasure, enjoyment and looking forward to doing the same over and over. The fact that you correctly know an aspect of ibadat and your engagement in any of it does not fulfill the basic criteria of its acceptability by Allah; you must continuously like what you are doing or saying in all circumstances; before, during and after. As soon as you perceive any of its aspect as a burden, liability or straining, that aspect stands rejected, repulsed and rebuffed by Allah! In fact, Allah is more concerned with your state of mind than your mere appearance, utterances or ations. A popular tradition of the Apostle of Allah expatiates better, thus:
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds.”(Muslim)
Thus, the outer characteristic of man does form the basis or condition of one’s acceptance of his or her deeds by Allah. Allah’s knowledge surpasses the apparent of any act of ibadats!
So, your liking of all that you say or do in the name of ibadats in the open should be the same in hidden. You should remember that no one can deceive Allah by his or her outward appearances. It is men that are easily deceived by external displays or utterances. That was why when the village Arabs pronounced openly their state of faith in Allah; He quickly rejected their declaration thus:
“The dwellers of the desert say: We believe. Say: You do not believe but say, We submit; and faith has not yet entered into your hearts; and if you obey Allah and His Apostle, He will not diminish aught of your deeds; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Apostle then they doubt not and struggle hard with their wealth and their lives in the way of Allah; they are the truthful ones.”(al-Hujrat: 15 & 16)
Allah in a quick response denied their outer claims in these two verses. Therefore, all outward and external display of spirituality, holiness or saintliness, will never enjoy the patronage of Allah unless and until the inner ward conforms to the outer ward!
In essence therefore, your knowledge of ibadats alone, cannot qualify you for of Allah to accept deeds, if your love for what you know does not measure the level set by Allah! Thus, the knowledge you possess must match the attributes needed in your hearts towards both your hidden and apparent deeds. But, these two conditions are still not sufficient to win the face of Allah in the course of your ibadats.