Religious Obligations


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Imagine you hire a guy to take care of certain thing for you. Suppose you have 6 duties to assign him to and he agrees to do all 6. Now when he starts his day he completely forgot the duty number 5 and 6 and he thinks that there are only 4 things to do. Now he is a hard working guy and at the end of the day he completes 4 of the duties sincerely and properly. But still there are two things left which he doesn’t remember and it is possible that those two duties were the most important ones which he couldn’t do!

This article is a little effort to remind him those duties which he forgot and may be they were the most important ones to do, may Allaah SWT accept it.

Islam means total submission to Allaah SWT. When we recite the shahadah: “Ashadu An Laa Ilaaha Illallaahu Wa Ashadu Ana Muhammadan Abduhu Wa Rasooluhu” which means: “I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah and Muhammad SAWW is his servant and Messenger” then we completely by tongue and by heart accept that we are the servants of Allaah only and there can never come a thing between us and Allaah. Our worship, our obedience, our struggle, our life and death, everything is for Allaah and there is no one except Him worthy of our struggles!

Now that we know our Master, we must know what He wants us to do in this given time on earth. Keep in mind the above example of that servant guy because we don’t want anything to forget from our duties!

Imagine there is a building; and it has three floors. If we don’t have a base can we have the building still standing? Or if we don’t have the roof can it be called a building at all? So we must have everything, all three floors to have a strong building.

Islam is a building and there are five pillars to it as defined by Hadith in Sahih Bukhari, Book of Faith:

  • Shahadah (bearing witness that there is no god except Allaah)
  • Salah (Namaz/Prayers)
  • Zakah (spending from our wealth for Allaah)
  • Hajj (Pilgrimage once in lifetime)
  • Saum (Fasting every year in month of Ramadhan)

“And I (Allaah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone)”. [Surah Adh Dhariyat 51:56]

Now just think about it, Allaah never used the word Worship anywhere in Quran for the above five pillars only. These are acts of worship but they are not the only ones! Just think, don’t we know these pillars and we have them in our minds all the time? Even a small child knows them and wants to live his/her life by them. But what about the building itself when we are too much focused on the pillars only? Fulfilling these few duties out of ALL duties is enough? Do we have other duties too? What if the forgotten ones were the most important ones? But don’t worry we just got our base for the building and after making it strong we’ll move to the next floor Insha’Allaah.

So how can we strengthen our base? What are the obstacles?

The biggest obstacle is the Shetan, get rid of him first! When you first accept Islam or if you are born Muslim and you first start to Pray or Fast then you must have courage to fight with yourself. Your desires should be under your control which will really help you to fight with Shetan. Shetan can never make us do a certain act of disobedience, he only whispers and its us who act on that whisper. So controlling yourself, your nafs, is very important. And If you think about each of the pillars, the pillars themselves are there to teach us self-control for example a Prayer on time can teach us to always follow our timetable and it stops the desire to waste time or relax when you really need to get that thing done! Prayer also teaches us to prioritize things in our life because first thing is first and when you hear Adhan you leave everything and go to Mosque to pray. In your life you may get millions of opportunities to do millions of things but you must stick to what is more important to you and your family or what’s more beneficial to you and your family in this life as well as in afterlife.

Fasting again helps you control your physical desire like intend to food and sex. And if you get these two things under control you can control anything even your bad temper!

So it’s like the fire fueling itself! Once you start performing the basic acts, which are not at all the ONLY acts of worship, you start to get stronger and stronger in performing them!

Anas RA reported from the Prophet, may Allaah bless him and grant him peace, in what he reported from his Lord, the Mighty and Majestic. He said, “When the slave comes towards Me a hand-span, I go an arm-length towards him. When he comes towards Me an arm-length, I go a fathom towards him. When he comes towards Me walking, I go towards him running.” [al-Bukhari]

But it doesn’t mean that we stop struggling because the fire is fueling itself. The fire to fuel itself first has to be there. The spark must always remain there because it’s ‘when the slave comes towards me…’ only that Allaah runs towards His slave!

In order to keep yourself burning brightly you need Quran. Read Quran in your nights with beautiful voices and ponder over its meanings. Explore the deep oceans of Quran with the people who know it even a little bit. Get a good companionship, a circle of friends who would constantly remind you of your duties to your Lord! And never forget to seek refuge from Shetan with Allaah because Dua’a is the most powerful weapon of the believer!

Now that we have strengthened our base we can move on to have a second strong floor Insha’Allaah!

Secularism has crept in Muslims world and majority of Muslims doesn’t have this second floor in their buildings. Unfortunately they don’t even have a map in their minds to build this floor. They have been made so deluded that they think that Islam ends here on base and doesn’t at all have the second floor let alone the third one!

Allaah SWT ordered His beloved Prophet SAWW to:

“O Messenger (Muhammad SAW)! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message. Allah will protect you from mankind. Verily, Allah guides not the people who disbelieve.”[Surah Al Ma’eda 5:67]

And the Prophet SAWW ordered us to: “Convey from me even if one ayah (verse) for it may be that the one being informed will comprehend better that the one listening (at present).”

(Al-Bukhari)

Allaah SWT also says in Quran:

“Invite (mankind, O Muhammad SAW) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Quran) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided.”[Surah Nahl 16:125]

Also in Surah Fussilat:

“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allaah and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am of the Muslims.’”[41:33]

Prophet SAWW said: “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart [by hating it and feeling that it is wrong] – and that is the weakest of faith” (Narrated by Muslim, 49)

By now you may have understood that what this floor is about. It’s about spreading the deen, calling people back to Allaah, doing dawah to them with any means available!

Unfortunately many people nowadays says that Religion is only a private thing and should be kept in houses but this is completely opposite of what Islam teaches us. Imagine you found a well full of water in an isolated desert and you drank enough water but you don’t want to tell your fellow travellers about it. How selfish! Anas RA relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

The importance of conveying the message can be noted from the last Khutbah of Prophet SAWW:

Sermon: All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again (and people did).

Quran: “Oh Messenger, communicate whatever has been sent down to you by your Lord. If you do not do so, you will not have conveyed his message” (5:67).

Sermon: Have I conveyed the Message of Allaah to you? asked the Prophet facing towards the heavens. The audience answered in one voice, “You have, and Allaah is the witness.”

Quran: As the Messenger finished the following revelation came to him, “Today I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favors upon you and have chosen for you Islam as the way of life for you” (5:3).

Note something here that companions of Prophet SAWW would never answer his questions except that they said ‘Allaah and His messenger knows best’ but here they all said that yes you have delivered the message and Allaah is the witness. Companions knew the importance of this conveying the message and they replied in affirmative. Now Prophet SAWW can easily be a witness against us on the day of Judgment if we didn’t follow Islam or convey it to others.

Allaah says: “…and the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) be a witness over you…”[2:143]

The same Ayah in Quran also says that we Muslims would be witness over other nations too.

“Thus We have made you [true Muslims – real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his Sunnah (legal ways)], a Wasat (just) (and the best) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) be a witness over you…”[2:143]

Prophet SAWW would be witness against us because he delivered the message, he completed his obligation and according to ayah we Muslims would also be witness against those other nations to whom we conveyed the message but they didn’t believe. The point is that conveying the message is obligatory on us as a Muslims.

Just think that Prophet SAWW is the last Messenger of Allaah, there will be no messenger after him and his Quran is the last book till the last day. Now Prophet SAWW is not among us, he have lived his life and completed his obligations but the world still exist so whose responsibility is to convey the message to new born people? Will Allaah SWT not ask this question from us? Surely it is our responsibility and we will be held accountable if we neglect this duty.

To start dawah we must have base which was those five pillars because those pillars are now fueling this dawah. Its again that self-fueling thing. The pillars supports each other too and they support the building too. Here we have dawah which is supported by the pillars but also it supports itself as well as the pillars too!

“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do.”[Surah Saff 61:2-3]

Now if we are calling people to Allaah in general or to prayer or to fasting in particular then we must keep in mind that what we tell others, we must follow it too. The more and more we preach the more and more we get stronger in performing our religious duties.

Although this floor can be built on individual basis and one person can start the journey of preaching people but to do efficient dawah now at this stage we need to group up. We need the Islamic brotherhood to work together, pool in our skills and use them to help us deliver the message. Make organization IF there is not any but if there are already active organizations then work with them. If they are not working efficiently then help them or make another organization. We don’t need number of organizations but we need quality of organizations even if it’s one! Make Islamic videos, record your lectures and upload them. Organize events and invite people and teach them. Organize online Quran classes, learn Arabic and teach to others. Remember the most important thing here is that in doing all this and in all this hype don’t forget your closest ones. Your parents should be the first ones to be preached and taught. Your siblings look up to you so bring them to your side, love them, give them time and teach them Quran because you love them more than a stranger on the other side of the world!

Now at this stage you really have to manage your time very carefully. You have your studies, your family and your preaching all at the same time. Give each one of them an equal time because you’re doing it for Allaah SWT. Keep your intentions pure always. If you are pursuing a medical degree or you doing engineering or accounting you need to have an intention that this education would help you spread Allaah’s deen and you’re not doing it for fame or money but for dawah!

So here we just built our second floor Alhamdolillaah!

Moving on to the third and final floor which is supported by the other two floors is the establishment of Deen. Deen means a way of life and what benefit it will give if its not adopted by the people of this earth? It’s the ultimate experience of life on this planet and it is the only acceptable way by Allaah so it must get established in this world.

“And make your Lord Supreme”[Surah Mudathir 74:3]

“He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein. Difficult for those who associate others with Allah is that to which you invite them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him].”[Surah Shoorah 42:13]

“He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), that He may make it (Islam) superior over all religions. And All-Sufficient is Allah as a Witness.”[Surah Fath 48:28]

“Say: O people of the Book! You have nothing unless you establish the Law of the Gospels and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:68]

Notice the use of words, establish, superior. Above ayah is surely for people of the Book (Jews and Christians) but it has a message for us. It is an indirect statement for us, Muslims, that if we fail to establish our deen in its entirety than we have achieved nothing, we failed our mission.

We may pray five times a day in Mosques, we may pay Zakah, fast the month of Ramadan and perform Umrah and Hajj but if our economy is not according to Islamic laws, our society doenst have Shariah rulings, our Judiciary isn’t judging according to the Principles of Islam or our government is a secular one then are we really following Islam? Allaah SWT ordered us to follow complete Islam, and He SWT is Self Sufficient, He doesn’t need our prayers, Fastings, or Zakah. The reason they are obligatory on us is that they help us in organizing ourselves to perform a bigger mission which is establishment of Islam. When the government is following Islam and the economic system is running interest free and everything else is according to Shariah, then its very easy to practice Islam individually as well as collectively.

If we see the world today then it’s a planet of mess! Killings, wars, no food in most of the countries and too much food in some, inequality, unequal distribution of wealth, growing gap between rich and poor, insecurity, fear, and what not. The only reason for all this is that there is no justice on earth! Islam is Just, Allaah is the Most Just, and if Islam gets established on earth then there will be no war, killing or hunger in whole world. Islam’s history is full of examples where Muslims rulers did justice and even jews and Christians used to go to Muslims judges instead of their own to get justice!

A beautiful ayah of Quran reflects that how much Islam take care of the rights of others and is most just

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do.”[Surah Al Nisa 4:135]

SubhanAllaah, Allaah SWT ordering us to be Just even if its against us or our Parents or anyone else whom we love! And we are being warned that if we followed our desires and avoid justice then Allaah SWT is watching us, He knows everything and He would ask us all about it on the Day of Judgment.

There are so many incidents related to Justice in the time of Prophet SAWW and in following Khilafah. In short, whenever Islam was on top of all religions and was the rulling authority, justice prevailed and people (not only Muslims) lived happily.

So this our final floor to the building of Islam. At this point our faith in Allaah is at peak and we are real Muslims who have submitted their Will to Allaah and are living their lives according to Allaah’s Will, happily.

To recap, our first and the foremost religious obligation is that we practice faith ourselves. The second is that we should preach and spread the message to others, and the third is that we strive to establish the teachings of this message as a collective reality and politico-socio-economic system. These are the three Islamic duties that are binding on us. Now if the servant do all these task efficiently then he is successful and his Master is happy with him but if he only do one act and leaves the others or even forgot the rest, he has surely earned wrath and he should immediately ask for forgiveness and get busy to do the rest of the work!

May Allaah SWT help us in our tasks and make us among the successful people of akhirah because this life is very short. The test is a small one but the rewards are endless! May Allaah SWT make us among people of Paradise and save us from Hell Fire! Aameen.

[Points taken from a great Scholar Dr Israr Ahmed RA, May Allaah have Mercy on his soul]

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2 comments on “Religious Obligations

  1. Jazak’Allah for this beautifully detailed share. Love you for the sake of Allah, and I would actually request you to publish more, in’sha’Allah 🙂
    This is the first time I’ve been to this blog and loved it, masha’Allah.

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