The Muslim And His Lord

The Muslim And His Lord

The believer is alert

Islam requires of the Muslim, first and foremost, that he be a true and sincere believer in Allah, closely connected to Him, constantly remembering Him and putting his trust in Him, while making the effort to help himself. The Muslim should feel in the depths of his soul that he is in constant need of the help and support of Allah, no matter how much he may think he can do for himself.

The true and sincere Muslim is alert and open-minded to the magnificence of Allah’s creation. He knows that it is Almighty Allah Who is in control of the affairs of the universe and of mankind. He recognizes the signs ofHis unlimited power in every aspect of creation, and so his faith in Allah increases, he remembers Him constantly and puts his trust in Him:

“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of Night and Day – there are indeed Signs for men of understanding – men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the thought): ‘Our Lord! Not for naught have You created (all) this! Glory to You! Give us salvation from the Penalty of the Fire.’” [Qur’an 3:190-191]

Obedient to the commands of his Lord

It comes as no surprise, then, that the sincere Muslim is humbly obedient to Allah in all matters. He never transgresses the limits, and he follows Allah’s commands and guidance even when they are contrary to his own desires. The test of the Muslim’s faith lies in this following of the commands of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ in all matters, great and small, with no hesitation or reservation: 

“None of you [truly] believes until his inclination is in accordance with what I have brought.”[1]

“But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction.” [Qur’an 4:65]

It is the matter of absolute submission and complete obedience to Allah and His Messenger. Without both of these, there is no faith and no Islam. Therefore the sincere Muslim does not deviate from the guidance of Allah or ignore the commands of His Messenger, whether these concern him as an individual or those over whom he has authority and for whom he is responsible (i.e., the members of his family).

He has a sense of responsibility for those under his authority

If any member of the Muslim’s family is neglectful or failing in his or her duties towards Allah and His Messenger, then he is responsible: 

“Each of you is a shepherd, and each of you is responsible for his flock (i.e., those over whom you have authority).” [Agreed upon]

The sense of responsibility that the sincere Muslim feels when a member of his family is failing in some important regard disturbs him greatly. He cannot bear it, so he will hasten to deal with its causes despite the consequences. The only one who can ignore such a responsibility and keep quiet about it is the man whose faith is weak and whose manhood is lacking.

He accepts the will and decree of Allah

The sincere Muslim is always content to accept the will and decree of Allah, remembering the hadith:

“How amazing is the affair of the Muslim! His affairs are all good. If he experiences ease, he is grateful, and that is good for him. If he experiences hardship, he faces it with patience and perseverance, and that is also good for him.” [al-Bukhari]

The sincere Muslim is convinced that belief in the will and decree of Allah is one of the pillars of faith. Whatever befalls him in life cannot have been avoided, because Allah has decreed it. His acceptance of the divine will and decree will earn him a great reward from Allah, Who will count him as one of the successful, obedient believers.

This is why the hadith says that the Muslim’s affairs are all good. If he goes through a time of ease, he will give much thanks to his generous Lord for His bounty, and if he goes through a time of hardship he will bear it with patience and fortitude, following the commands of his Lord and accepting His will and decree. Whatever the case, it is truly good for him.

The one who turns tor Allah in repentance

The Muslim may find himself becoming neglectful and slipping from the Straight Path, so that he may commit a sin which does not befit him as a humble and vigilant believer, but he will soon remember his Lord, turn away from his error and seek forgiveness for his failings:

“Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Satan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance when lo! They see (aright)!” [Qur’an 7:201]

The heart filled with love and fear of Allah will not be overcome by negligence. It is those who ignore Allah’s commands and guidance who will be led astray. The heart of the sincere Muslim is ever eager to repent and seek forgiveness, and rejoices in obedience, guidance and the pleasure of Allah.

His main concern is the pleasure of his Lord

The sincere Muslim seeks to earn the pleasure of Allah in everything that he does. He is not concerned with seeking the approval of others, and indeed he may incur the wrath and hatred of people in the course of his efforts to win divine favour, as the Prophet ﷺ said:

“Whoever seeks the pleasure of Allah at the risk of displeasing the people, Allah will take care of him and protect him from them. But whoever seeks the pleasure of the people at the risk of angering Allah, Allah will abandon him to the care of the people.”[2]

Consequently, he measures all his deeds against his desire to attain the pleasure of Allah, and will retain or discard any practice accordingly. Thus the Muslim will have appropriate standards, and the Straight Path will be clearly signposted for him. He will avoid falling into ridiculous contradictions whereby he obeys Allah in one matter and disobeys Him in another, or he regards something as halal one year and haram the next. There is no room for contradictions as long as the standards are correct and the principles are sound.

One often notices people who pray devotedly in the mosque, then when one sees them in the marketplace, they are dealing with riba (usury or interest), or if one sees them in the home, the street, the school or the neighbourhood, it is apparent that they are not applying the laws of Allah to their own selves, their wives, their children or any of those under their care. These people are afflicted by a severe misunderstanding of the reality of Islam, this holistic religion that in all affairs directs the Muslim towards a greater purpose, namely the pleasure of Allah, may He be glorified. This greater purpose leads the Muslim to measure all his deeds against the standards laid down by Allah. So these people would appear to be “semi-Muslims”: they are Muslims in name only. This split personality is one of the greatest dangers that Muslims are currently facing. 

He regularly performs the duties and good deeds required by Islam

The sincere Muslim performs all obligatory deeds and adheres to the pillars of Islam, completely and devotedly. He does not slacken, do it halfheartedly or seek excuses not to do it. So he establishes prayer, performing each of the five daily prayers on time, for prayer is the pillar of the faith – whoever establishes prayer establishes faith, and whoever neglects prayer destroys the faith.[3]

Prayer is the best of deeds, as is made clear in the hadith narrated by Ibn Mas’ud (RA) in which he said: 

“I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ: ‘What deed is most loved by Allah?’ He said, ‘To offer each prayer as soon as it is due.’ I asked him, ‘Then what?’ He said, ‘Treating one’s parents with honour and respect.’ I asked him, ‘Then what?’ He said, ‘Jihad for the sake of Allah.”‘ [Agreed upon]

Prayer is so important because it is a direct link between the servant and his Lord, in which he distances himself from the concerns of daily life and focuses himself entirely on his Lord, asking Him for help, guidance and perseverance to continue along the Straight Path. So it is hardly surprising that prayer is considered to be the best of deeds, because it is the source from which the believer may replenish his taqwa and the spring in whose pure water he may cleanse himself of his sins.

Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: 

“I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say: ‘What would you think if there were a river running by the door of any of you, and he bathed in it five times every day, would any trace of dirt be left on him?’ The people said, ‘There would be no trace of dirt on him.’ He said: ‘This is like the five daily prayers, through which Allah erases sin.”‘ [Agreed upon]

Jabir (RA) said:

“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘The five daily prayers are like a deep river flowing by the door of any of you, in which he bathes five times each day.'” [Muslim]

Ibn Mas’ ud (RA) said:

“A man kissed a woman, then he came to the Prophet ﷺ and told him what he had done. Then Allah revealed the ayah: ‘And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night: for those things that are good remove those that are evil . . .’ [Hud 11:114]. The man said, ‘Does it apply to me?’ The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘It applies to all of my ummah:” [Agreed upon]

Abu Hurayrah (RA) said:

“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: The five daily prayers, from Friday to Friday, are an expiation for the sins committed in the time between prayers, so long as no major sins (kaba’ir) are committed.”’ [Muslim]

‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (RA) said: 

“I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ saying: There is no Muslim man who, when the times for prayer comes, performs wudu properly, concentrates on his prayer and bows correctly, but the prayer will be an expiation for the sins committed prior to it, so long as no major sin has been committed. This is the case until the end of time.’” [Muslim]

The ahadith and reports that extol the virtues of prayer and describe its importance and benefits are many. It is not possible to quote all of them here.

The devout Muslim tries to pray in the first jama’ah in the mosque whenever he can, because the Prophet ﷺ told us that “prayer offered in congregation (jama’ah) is twenty-seven times better than prayer offered individually.” [Agreed upon]

The Prophet ﷺ said that the Muslim, “if he performs wudu’ properly, then goes out with the sole intention of going to pray in the mosque, then for each step he takes, his status in Paradise will be raised by one degree, and one of his sins will be forgiven.[4]

When he prays, as long as he remains in his place of prayer and his wudu does not become invalidated, the angels will continue to pray for him: ‘O Allah, bless him, O Allah, have mercy on him.’ He is regarded as being in a state of prayer so long as he is waiting for the prayer.” [Agreed upon]

The Prophet ﷺ spoke of the promise of Paradise for the one who is keen to pray in congregation in the mosque morning and evening:

“Allah will prepare a place in Paradise for the one who goes to the mosque in the morning or in the evening, each time he goes to the mosque.” [Agreed upon]

Consequently, the Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with them, were always eager to attend prayers in congregation. Referring to this, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (RA) said:

“Whoever aspires to meet Allah as a Muslim, let him uphold the habit of attending prayers whenever the call to prayer is given. Allah has shown your Prophet ﷺ the way of guidance, and these prayers (in the mosque) are part of that way. If you pray in your homes like this man who stayed in his home, then you have abandoned the sunnah of your Prophet, and if you have abandoned the sunnah of your Prophet, then you have gone astray. There was a time when the only type of person who would stay at home at the time of prayer was the one who was known to be a hypocrite. At that time, a man would be brought supported[5] by two others, until he stood in the row of worshippers.” [Muslim]

The Prophet ﷺ was so concerned that people should attend the congregational prayers in the mosque that he wanted to burn down the houses of those who failed to join the congregation:

“By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I wanted to give orders that wood should be gathered and brought to me, then I would have ordered the call , to prayer to be given, and would have appointed a man to lead the prayer, then I would have gone to the ones who were absent from the congregation and burnt their houses down around them.” [Agreed upon]

It comes as no surprise, then, to learn of Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab, who in thirty years never saw the back of another man in the mosque, because he was always in the first row before the adhan (call to prayer). There are many such examples in the history of Islam.

Distance was no object for the Sahabah, who would attend the mosque whenever they heard the call to prayer, no matter how far their homes were from the mosque The congregational prayer was so dear to them that they would even rejoice in the distance between their homes and the mosque, because each step they took to reach it would be recorded among the good deeds for which they would be rewarded.

Ubayy ibn Kaib (RA) said: 

“There was a man of the Ansar whose house was farther from the mosque than anyone else I knew, but he never missed a prayer! Someone asked him, ‘Why do you not buy a donkey to ride when it is dark or it is very hot?’ He said, ‘I would not like my house to be next to the mosque, because I want my walking to the mosque then back home to my family to be recorded among my good deeds.’ The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ” Allah has given all of that to you as a reward.'” [Muslim]

The Prophet ﷺ advised those Sahabah whose homes were far from the mosques not to move to houses that were nearer. He reassured them that their efforts to reach the mosque would be recorded among their good deeds, and that their many steps would not go to waste. Jabir (RA) said:

“Some areas around the mosque became vacant, so Banu Salimah wanted to move there. When the Prophet ﷺ heard about it, he told them, ‘I have heard that you want to move near the mosque.’ They said, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah, that is what we wanted to do.’ He said, O Banu Salimah, stay where you are, so that your efforts to reach the mosque will be recorded among your good deeds.’ They said, “We would not like to have moved.’” [Muslim][6]

Abu Musa (RA) said:

“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: The one who will receive the greatest reward for his prayer is the one who has come the farthest distance, and the one who waits to pray with the imam will receive a greater reward than the one who prays, then goes to sleep.” [Agreed upon]

Believers are particularly encouraged, in several ahadith, to attend the congregational prayers in the morning and in the evening. The Prophet ﷺ explained that there is a great reward for those who attend the mosque for these two prayers (fajr and ‘isha). It will suffice here to quote just two of these reports: 

(1) ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (RA) said: “I heard the Prophet ﷺ say: ‘Whoever prays isha in congregation, it is as if he stayed up half the night in prayer, and whoever prayed fajr in congregation, it is as if he spent the entire night in prayer.”‘ [Muslim] 

(2) Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: ‘The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “No prayer is a greater burden on the munafiqin (hypocrites) than fajr and ‘isha. If they knew how much (blessing and reward) there is in them, they would come even if they had to crawl.'” [Agreed upon] 

The devout Muslim who is keen to succeed in the Hereafter will not hesitate to perform as many nafil (supererogatory) deeds as he can, night and day, because performing many nafil deeds brings the servant closer to his Lord, and includes him among those who receive His divine help, as is referred to in the hadih qudsi. 

” . . My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that so will love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it.” [al-Bukhari]

Because of Allah’s love for His servants, the person will be loved by the inhabitants of heaven and earth, as is described in a report narrated by Abu Hurayrah, in which the Prophet ﷺ said: 

“When Allah loves one of His servants, he calls Jibril and tells him: ‘I love so-and-so, so love him.’ Then Jibril will love him, and will proclaim to the inhabitants of heaven: ‘Allah loves so-and-so, so love him.’ So the inhabitants of heaven will love him too, and he will be well accepted by the inhabitants of the earth. If Allah hates one of His servants, He calls Jibril and tells him: ‘l hate so and-so, so hate him.’ Then Jibril will hate him and will proclaim to the inhabitants of heaven, ‘Allah hates so-and-so, so hate him.’ Then the inhabitants of heaven will hate him, and he will also be detested by the inhabitants of the earth.” [Muslim]

 The Prophet ﷺ used to stay up at night in prayer, standing until his feet were swollen. ‘A’ishah (RA) asked him: “Why are you doing this, O Messenger of Allah, when Allah has forgiven all your sins, past and future?” He replied, “Should I not be a grateful servant?” [al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The true Muslim tries to perform all his prayers perfectly. It is not merely the matter of going through the motions when the heart is empty and the mind is wandering. 

When he has completed his prayer, the Muslim does not rush straight back into the hustle and bustle of daily life. Instead, he seeks forgiveness from Allah, and praises and glorifies Him in the manner prescribed in the sunnah. Then he turns to Almighty Allah in humble supplication, asking Him to guide him and to grant him the goodness of this world and the next. Thus, prayer plays its role in the purification of the heart and soul. For these reasons, the Prophet ﷺ used to say: “The source of my deepest satisfaction is prayer.”[7]

Those who pray sincerely and humbly are under the care and protection of Allah, so they do not fear when evil approaches, neither do they become miserly when something good befalls them: 

“Truly man was created very impatient – fretful when evil touches him: and niggardly when good reaches him – Not so those devoted to Prayer …” [Qur’an 70: 1 9-22]

The true Muslim also pays zakat, if he has enough wealth. He calculates the amount due, precisely and honestly, and pays it in a manner that is in accordance with the requirements of Islam. Even if he has to pay thousands or millions in zakat he would never think of an excuse not to do so.

This is because zakat is a clearly-defined financial obligation that is also an act of worship. The sincere Muslim cannot afford to fail in this duty, which is prescribed by the shari’ah. The Muslim who hesitates to pay it is lacking in his religion and has a miserly and twisted attitude. It suffices to note that it is permitted to fight the one who withholds payment of zakat, even to the point of killing him, until or unless he fulfils his obligation. The words of Abu Bakr (RA) concerning the apostates[8] echo down the centuries to us, reminding us of the connection that Islam makes between “religious” and “worldly” affairs: “I will fight whoever separates salat from zakat” This declaration of Abu Bakr indicates that he had a sound understanding of the nature of this comprehensive, holistic religion, and of the close connection between salat and zakat, as he had seen the ayat of the Qur’an revealed one after the other and emphasizing the connection between salat and zakat.

“…those who establish regular prayer and regular charity . . . ” [Qur’an 5:55] 

“And be steadfast in prayer: practise regular charity.” [Qur’an 2:43] 

“. . . [those who] . . . establish regular prayers and regular charity …” [Qur’an 2:277]

The true Muslim fasts in Ramadan with the sincere intention of earning reward, and with his heart full of faith: “Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven ” [Agreed upon] He knows that the obligation to fast includes guarding his tongue, his sight, and all of his other faculties, so as to avoid committing any error which may invalidate his fast or cancel out his reward:

“When any of you is fasting, he should not utter foul words or raise his voice in anger. If then anyone provokes or fights him, he should say, ‘I am observing a fast.'” [Agreed upon] 

“Whoever does not give up false speech and evil actions, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” [al-Bukhari]

The fasting Muslim is constantly aware that this is a month unlike any other: it is the month of fasting for the sake of Allah, and the reward of Allah, the Bountiful and Munificent, is greater and vaster than anyone could ever imagine:

 “The reward for every good deed of the sons of Adam will be multiplied anywhere between ten and seven hundred times. Allah said: ‘Except for fasting, because it is for Me and I Myself will give recompense for it. He gives up his food and his passion for Me.’ For the one who fasts, there are two times of rejoicing, one when he breaks his fast, and one when he meets his Lord. Verily the smell that comes from the mouth of one who is fasting is more pleasing to Allah than the scent of musk.” [Muslim]

So the smart Muslim takes care to make the most of this blessed month. He fills its days with fasting, prayer, reading Quran, charity and other good works, and fills its nights with prayers, (tahajjud and du’a):

“Whoever spends the night in prayer during Ramadan out of faith and hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Agreed upon]

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to strive to do more good deeds during this month than at other times, and especially during the last ten days of it ‘A’ishah (RA) said: 

“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to strive during Ramadan, and especially the last ten days of it, more than he used to at other times.” [Muslim]

‘A’ishah (RA) also said: 

“When the last ten days of Ramadan began, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would stay up for the whole night, wake his family up, strive extra hard, and abstain from marital relations.” [Agreed upon]

The Prophet ﷺ ordered Muslims to seek laylat al-qadr and encouraged them to spend this night in prayer: “Seek laylat al-qadr during the last ten days of Ramadan.” [Agreed upon]

“Seek laylat al-qadr in the odd-numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” [al-Bukhari] 

“Whoever spends the night of laylat al-qadr in prayer and worship out of faith and hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Agreed upon] 

So this blessed month is a time that is purely for worship. The serious-minded Muslim has no time to spend on chatting and idle pursuits throughout the night. He should not be among those who while away the night until dawn approaches, whereupon they have something to eat and fall into a deep sleep, and even miss the fajr prayer!

The Muslim who truly understands his religion does not stay up late after he comes home from praying tarawih, because he knows that in a few short hours’ time, he will have to get up again to pray qiywn al-layl and eat suhur (pre-dawn meal) before he goes out to the mosque to pray fajr. 

The Prophet ﷺ commanded Muslims to eat suhur, because there is much goodness in it. He said: 

“Eat suhur, for in suhur there is blessing.” [Agreed upon] 

This is because getting up for suhur reminds one to pray qiyam al-layl, and motivates one to go out to the mosque to pray fajr in congregation, in addition to the fact that it helps people to fast and that it is the sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ that he also taught to his Sahabah. Zayd ibn Thabit (RA) said: 

“We ate suhur with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, then we got up to pray.” Someone asked, “How much time was there between the two?” He said, “Fifty ayat (i.e., the time it would take to recite fifty ayat) ” [Agreed upon]

The devout Muslim does not neglect nafil fasts at times other than Ramadan, such as the day of Arafah, and the ninth and tenth days of Muharram. Fasting on these days is among the good deeds which can wipe out one’s sins, as the Prophet ﷺ explained. Abu Qutadah (RA) said:

“The Prophet ﷺ was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, and he said: ‘It is an expiation for the sins of the previous year and the current year.'” [Muslim] 

Ibn ‘Abbas said:

 “The Prophet ﷺ fasted on the day of ‘Ashura (the tenth day of Muharram) and commanded others to fast on this day too.” [Agreed upon] 

Abu Qutadah (RA) said: 

“The Prophet ﷺ was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura and he said: ‘It is an expiation for the sins of the previous year.’” [Muslim] 

Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) said:

 “The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘If I am still alive next year, I will fast on the ninth day (of Muharram). [Muslim] 

Fasting for six days of Shawwal (the Islamic month immediately following Ramadan) is similarly encouraged, as the Prophet ﷺ said:

 “Whoever fasted Ramadan then followed it with six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime [Muslim] 

It is also recommended to fast for three days of each month, concerning which Abu Hurayrah (RA) said:

“My dearest friend (i.e., the Prophet ﷺ) advised me to do three things: to fast for three days of each month, to pray two rak’ahs of duha prayer, and never to sleep until I pray witr.” [Agreed upon]

 Abu’l-Darda’ (RA) said: “My beloved friend ﷺ advised me to do three things that I will never give up as long as I live: to fast three days of each month, to pray duha, and not to sleep until I have prayed witr.” [Muslim]

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As (RA) said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘Fasting for three days each month is like fasting for an entire lifetime.”‘ [Agreed upon]

Some reports describe these days as being the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth of the month, which are called al-ayyam al-bid (white days); other reports state that the Prophet ﷺ used to fast on three unspecified days of each month. 

Mu’adhah al-‘Adawiyyah said: 

“I asked ‘A’ishah (RA), ‘Did the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to fast three days in each month?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ I asked her, ‘In which part of the month did he used to fast?’ She said, ‘He did not mind in which part of the month he would fast.'” [Muslim] 

The conscientious Muslim intends to go on Hajj to the House of Allah when he is able to do so. Before he sets out on his journey to the Holy Places, he studies the rules of Hajj in great detail, examining all its major and minor aspects, so that when he performs the rites of Hajj, his Hajj will be complete and correct. He fully understands the wisdom behind this great religious duty and feels his soul filled with the faith and joy of Islam. After completing Hajj successfully, he will return to his family and his country as free of sin as the day he was born, and filled with the awareness of the greatness of this religion that has gathered the nations of the earth around the House of Allah in a great international conference the like of which the world witnesses at no other time, where despite the differences in skin colour, nationality and language, the pilgrims are united in their response to the call of Allah and in their glorification and worship of Him, the One Almighty God.

He is a true servant of Allah

The Muslim firmly believes that his sole purpose in life is to serve his Lord: 

“I have only created jinns and men, that they may serve Me.” [Qur’an 5 1 :56] 

Serving and worshipping Allah may be accomplished through every deed of man that is aimed at building a civilization establishing the authority of Allah on earth and living according to His commandments. The awareness that he is a servant of Allah is deeply rooted in the heart of the Muslim, and is the starting-point for all his deeds, through which he seeks to earn the pleasure of Allah. So every deed a Muslim does may be as much an act of worship as the rituals of his religion, so long as his intention is to do these deeds for the sake of Allah.

The most important act of worship that Muslims can perform is to strive to establish the rule of Allah on earth, and to follow the way of life that He has prescribed, so that Islam will govern the life of the individual, the family, the community and the nation.

The sincere Muslim will feel that his worship is lacking if he does not strive to achieve the purpose for which Allah created jinn and men, namely promoting the supremacy of the authority of Allah on earth, which is the only way in which mankind can truly worship Allah:

“I have only created jinns and men, that they may serve Me.” [Qur’an 51:56]

This is the only way in which the true meaning of “la ilaha ill-Allah Muhammad rusul-Allah” may be implemented in this life. 

With this clear understanding of the reality of worship in Islam, the Muslim cannot but be a man with a mission in this life, a mission aimed at establishing the rule of Allah alone, in all aspects of life. His Islam cannot be complete unless he shoulders the responsibility’ for fulfilling this mission and devotes concerted, sincere efforts to that end. It is this mission that gives the Muslim a true sense of belonging to Islam, and that is the only thing that will make him join the ranks of the believing, striving Muslims and give meaning to his life, as befits his role as a khalfah on this earth, one whom Allah has preferred over most of His creation:

“We have honoured the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of Our Creation …” [Qur’an 17:70]

No wonder that the sincere Muslim joyfully embraces this mission and eagerly devotes all his resources – his time, his energy and his wealth – to fulfilling it. It is the distinguishing characteristic of his life, for it entitles him to draw closer to Allah. Without it, his life has no meaning, and there is no guarantee of earning the pleasure of Allah except by devoting ongoing efforts to accomplishing this mission. Striving to establish the rule of Allah on earth is the greatest form of worship that the Muslim can undertake, for it brings him closer to Allah and affords him the means of earning His pleasure. So the Muslim continually strives to make this goal a reality. He gives allegiance to no other cause, carries no banner except that of Islam, and adheres only to the principles of this religion. 

He reads Qur’an often 

In order to reach such a high level, the Muslim must always place himself in the shade of the Glorious Qur’an, rejoicing in its refreshing guidance and allowing it to point him in the direction of righteousness. He reads Qur’an often with an attitude of humility and seeking to understand its meaning. He sets aside regular times for reading, which he never misses: these are times which he devotes solely to reading the words of his Lord. He lets the true meaning of the Qur’an flow through his soul, cleansing and purifying it, and increasing his wisdom, faith and sense of security:

 “… For without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” [Qur’an 13:28] 

The Muslim remembers the beautiful image of the one who reads Qur’an as portrayed so vividly and eloquently by the Prophet ﷺ, so that he fills his days and nights with recitation of the Holy Book and rejoices in its blessed meanings. The Prophet ﷺ said:

‘The likeness of the believer who reads the Qur’an is like a citron, whose smell is pleasant and whose taste is pleasant; the likeness of a believer who does not read the Qur’an is like a date, which has no smell, but its taste is sweet; the likeness of the hypocrite who reads the Qur’an is like a fragrant flower which has a pleasant scent but its taste is bitter; and the likeness of the hypocrite who does not read the Qur’an is like a colocynth (bitter-apple), which has no smell and its taste is bitter. “ [Agreed upon] 

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Read the Qur’an, for it will come forward on the Day of Resurrection to intercede for its readers.” [Muslim] 

And he ﷺ said: “One who reads the Qur’an fluently is with the honourable pious scribes,[9] and one who reads the Qur’an and struggles to read it even though it is difficult for him, will receive a double reward.” [Agreed upon]

Can any Muslim then ignore the Qur’an and fail to read it and reflect upon its meanings? 

In conclusion, therefore, the true Muslim’s responsibility towards his Lord is to have deep, sincere faith, to do constant good work, and continually to seek His pleasure, to be a true servant to Him, and to fulfil the purpose of his existence as Allah has defined it:

“I have only created jinns and men, that they may serve Me.” [Qur’an 51:56]

[The Ideal Muslim by Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi, p.7-26]


[1] Al-Nawaw’s Forty Hadith, Hadith No. 41 (p. 124).

[2] ‘Reported by al-Tirmidhi, al-Qada’i and Ibn ‘ Asakir. Its isnad is hasan.

[3] See Ihya’ ‘ulum al-dh, 1/147

[4] For this reason, Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) used to take short strides when he went to the mosque, in order to to increase the number of steps he took, so that his reward would be increased accordingly.

[5] This is referring to physical weakness or sickness, which did not prevent a person from attending the prayer in the mosque.

[6] Al-Bukhai reported a similar account from Anas.

[7] Reported by Ahmad and al-Nisa’i, with a Hasan isnJJ.

[8] Apostates: following the death of the Prophet ﷺ, numerous Arabian tribes who had embraced Islam renounced the faith and rebelled. In particular, they refused to pay zakat, although it was one of the central duties of the religion they had sworn to follow Abu Bakr, as khalifah, was responsible for bringing them back into Islam, and restoring order and stability to the Islamic state.

[9] i.e., the angels who record the deeds of man. The meaning is that one who is well-versed in Qur’an will enjoy such a high status in the Hereafter that he will be in the exalted company of these pious scribes.

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