Praise be to Allah S.W.T. the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful, as the believers praise Him and may He send blessings and peace upon our prophet, Muhammad Rasulullah S.A.W. and upon all of his forefathers, his brethren of prophets and messengers, his family and his companions. Worship is not simply the observation of ritualistic acts. It is a sincere kind of religious experience. In fact, it comprises of physical and spiritual expression of the human personality on a higher level of consciousness. The Al-Quran says, “Prostrate yourself in adoration and bring yourself closer (to God).” (96:19) The prophet, Muhammad Rasulullah S.A.W. was once asked, “What is the essence of ibadah?” He replied, “The worship of God as though you are seeing Him. Or, if you are not seeing Him, He is seeing you.” All acts in our daily life are considered as worship whether it is hidden or on the eyes of the public. Worship in Islam hold to a concept which looks an individual as a whole not only personal contact or relationship with God. Therefore, this is how worship is said related to akhlak (morality) and iman (faith). Allah S.W.T. instructed prophet Muhammad Rasulullah S.A.W. in Al-Quran, “Say: ‘Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. No partner hath, He: This, am I commanded and I am the first of those who how to His will.” (Surah An-Nisa’, 6:162-163) As an individual worships Allah S.W.T., he or she must take care of his or her manners in the best possible manners that one can show and practice. In other words, the combination of a loyal worship and sincere in morality or ethics are a way to gain strong faith. Islam is a simple way of life. In fact, in Islam, there is no enforcement to Muslim on worship and on how to act in public. Muslim is free to do what they want to do as long as it does not against the hukum in Islam. In seeking the pleasure of Allah S.W.T., an individual must have the right attitude in ethics and worship in order to posses a strong faith.
THE CONCEPT OF IBADAH (WORSHIP) IN ISLAM
Ibadah or worship in Islam is an all-inclusive term for all that Allah S.W.T. loves of a person, both internally, in the form of thoughts and intentions as well as externally, in the form of sayings and actions. In
other words, worship is everything that an individual intends, says or does for the pleasure of Allah S.W.T. It includes ritualistic acts, for instance, prayers, fasting, pilgrimage and charity. It also extends to beliefs, social activities and personal contributions to the welfare of society. Generally, there are two types of worship according to the concept of Islam. First kind of worship is a worship that has been prescribed at a specified time- prayers, fasting, pilgrimage and almsgiving. This form of devotions is called as the five pillars of Islam. Other than that, there are also unspecified terms of worship or ibadah which consist of zikir and fikr, meaning to remember Allah S.W.T. with feelings of fear and love. The second form of worship or ibadah aims for the mental activation of human soul so that an individual will be able to see Allah S.W.T. signs in every thing the individual across in daily life. This is the worship or ibadah which is obligatory for every Muslim throughout and individual’s life. Another important component in the concept of worship or ibadah in Islam is the realisation that Allah S.W.T. pleasure is earned through the performance of ritualistic acts as well as the morality when dealing with the situation in daily life. Islam does not think much of mere ritualistic acts when they are performed mechanically and have no influence to an individual’s inner self. “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East or the West but righteousness is to believe in Allah and the Resurrections Day, and the Angels, and the books, and the Prophets, and out of His love, spend one’s choice wealth for relatives and orphans, for the needy and the wayfarer, for beggars and for the ransom of slaves, and establish the prayers and pay the almsgiving, and to fulfil the pledges that you have made, and to patiently persevere in pain and in adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth and such are the Allah-fearing.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:171)
THE CONCEPT OF IMAN (FAITH) IN ISLAM
Allah S.W.T. the Almighty says,
“O you who have faith! Respond to God and the Messenger when He calls you to unto that which gives you life, and know that God comes in between a man and his heart, and that to Him you shall be mustered.” (Surah Al‐Anfal, 8:24) And says,
“Those who have faith, and have not confounded their faith with evildoing – to them belongs the true security, they are rightly guided.” (Surah Al-An`am, 6:82). And He says,
“But whosoever turns away from My remembrance, his shall be a life of narrowness, and on the Resurrection Day, We shall raise him blind.’ He shall say, ‘O my Lord, why have you raised me blind, and I was wont to see?’ God shall say, ‘Even so it is. Our signs came unto you, and you forgot them, and so today you are forgotten.” (Surah Ta Ha, 20:124–126), And says:
“By the soul, and Him who shaped it, inspiring it with its lewdness and its God‐ consciousness. Prosperous is he who purifies it, and a failure is he who stunts it.” (Al-Shams, 91:7–10) The technical meaning of faith is firm belief in something real, based on evidence. Experts in this subject have defined faith as being ‘to believe with the heart and proclaim with the tongue’ some have added ‘to act with the body.’ Or, in the words of Abu `Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Salam: ‘Faith is to have sincere devotion to God with the heart, to testify this with the tongue, and to act on it with the body.’ An individual who accepts faith will enter the fold of Islam. Faith is not simply a recitation of kalimah, creed of Islam. According to the Al-Quran, it is a ma’arifah that is, realisation. Thus, realisation of truth is the door to Islam. When an individual discovers that Islam is truly God’s religion and it is the same truth and individual has been seeking all along, an individual will undergo a unique experience of realisation. This is a ma’arifah. Making any kind of discovery revolutionises an individual’s life but when this discovery is of the truth, this intellectual revolution becomes synonymous with the emergence of a new life in the individual. This kind of intellectual is not a simple event, it turns man into superman and gives and individual the greatest mission of the individual’s life. It regulates the individual’s life in such a way that no part of it remains unaffected. The individual will begin to see all of humanity as the individual’s family and the entire universe as his abode. Such discoverer becomes a maker of history rather than a product of history. This is the miracle of faith or iman. It was this faith or iman which enabled the prophet Muhammad Rasulullah S.A.W. and his companions to
produce the miraculous of all miracles. Faith or iman refers to the inner aspect of the religion and denotes a believer’s faith in the metaphysical realities of Islam. The term faith mention in both Al-Quran and a hadith of Gabriel A.S. Allah mentions, “The messenger has believed in what revealed to him front His lord and the believers. All of them believe has believed in Allah and His Angels and His Books and His Messengers.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 285)
THE CONCEPT OF AKHLAK (MORALITY) IN ISLAM
The word ‘morality’ comes from the Latin word ‘moralitas’ meaning ‘manner, character, and proper behaviour’. Morality generally refers to a code of conduct, that an individual, group or society holds as commanding, in distinguishing right from wrong. Such an ideal code of conduct is often promoted in preference to other alternatives. Islam as a comprehensive way of life encompasses a complete moral system that is an important aspect of its world-view. We live in an age where good and evil are often looked at as relative concepts. Islam however, holds that moral positions are not relative, and instead, defines a universal standard by which actions may be deemed moral or immoral. Islam’s moral system is striking in that it not only defines morality, but also guides the human race in how to achieve it, at both an individual as well as a collective level. It is to live among one’s fellow men according to the moral teachings of Islam. The essence of Islamic morality or akhlak is thus set forth and given in a hadith, “Behave with others as you would like them to behave towards you.” (Sahih Bukhari) By nature, everyone knows what sort of conduct he approves of and of what sort he disapproves. So, to follow this generally accepted moral criterion in relation to others is essentially in Islamic morality. Islam differentiates between social manners and social character. Social manners are based on the principle ‘do as they do’ but Islamic morality or akhlak is based on the formula of unilateral and unconditional positive conduct. “Do good to others even if they are not doing good to you.” (At-Tabrani) So great an importance has been attached in Islam to moral character that it has been set up as a criterion by which to judge all other Islamic virtues. If an individual is good in relation to other human beings, he or she will also serve as the evidence
that an individual also is good in relation to Allah S.W.T. According to the Al-Quran there are three sources of it, and all the three are imbedded in human nature. They are, 1. The Commanding Self (Nafs-e-Ammara) is the self, which stimulates the human being towards evil. We read in the Al-Quran,
“Yet I do not hold myself to be free from weakness, for the Commanding Self (the animal self) is surely prone to enjoin evil, except on whom my Lord has mercy.” (12:53) There are various natural and moral states of human being. According to the Al-Quran the state arising out of the human beings animal self, Nafs-e-Ammara (the Commanding Self) is the first source of morality if the weapon of reason is applied. The reasoning faculty in the human being is sufficiently well developed to analyse his behaviour critically and to perceive the immediate and remote consequences of his actions. It is the result of the critical exercise of reason that comes into play on inappropriate occasions and animal like actions, functioning as a control. This exercise of reason and control take then the hue of moral states. In other words, the foundation of good morals lies in our natural emotions and instincts, and good morals are nothing more than appropriate and controlled exercise of these naturally endowed powers and instincts. Hunger and sexuality are the basic commanding needs of humans and animals. Now if these basic commanding forces are brought under control through fasting and marriage, they become virtues. The Al-Quran has not only discussed in detail the basic human emotions and instincts, but also has gone further by investigating the underlying causes for arousal of these emotions, the need for such an arousal and has also explained how to channel and sublimate these emotion towards morality. 2. The Self-Accusing Spirit (Nafs-e-Lawwama) is the second source of morality, the one judging the excellence of morals. It is the voice of the conscience which becomes loud when an act of lewdness is being done. Every human being is gifted with this voice. We read, “And I swear by (and bring to witness) the Self-accusing Soul (Nafs-e-Lawwama – the innate self reproaching spirit, at the doing of an evil deed as an evidence).” (75:2) Nafs-e-Lawwama is thus what we call the living perception of one’s psychological condition or the call of the inner voice. One aspect of getting a ruling from the voice of the conscience and from one’s heart is that when we are about to commit any action we should first imagine to apply
such an action to ourselves. If we are not adversely affected by this action and if it proves to be good and effective for us, such an action would also be beneficial and good for others. And if we cannot accept it for ourselves, then it must be assumed that it is neither appropriate for others. All those who act unfairly towards others, should put their own persons in place of others and see how they would like such an act to be perpetrated against them. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, “When wanting to decide whether something is good or bad, ask your heart and innersoles, and take it that the deed, the commission of which gives you a feeling of satisfaction to the heart and innersoles, is a virtuous deed and the deed which rankles in the heart and produces perturbation and hesitancy in the mind is a sinful deed, even though the people may tell you that it is a lawful deed.” The question that arises at this juncture is that if this Nafs-e-Lawwamah, the self accusing spirit is present in every person, and every person is endowed with a voice of the conscience, why is it that a lot of persons still commit immoral acts? The answer to this is simple. Though our conscience does raise its voice of protest and the commission of such an act, people mostly do not pay heed to it. Secondly, immorality is a poison. Repeated doses of this poison blunt or destroy the conscience. 3. Love and Faith in the All-Mighty is the third and the ultimate source of morals. Once a Muslim Sufi was asked, how can we free ourselves from unlawful prohibited things and from afflictions and find peace and tranquillity? He replied, through a firm faith in Allah, for one gets free of all weaknesses and calamities through such a faith. Faith in God is the foundation stone of the Qur’anic Code of Ethics, not only in the sense that the Divine Attributes are like milestones on the way to good morals, but also from the angle that our faith in God strengthens our heart to achieve the good and shun the evil. The “angels” of God guide such a person and he starts to live a life of peace and security, freeing himself of the filth of vice and sin. It is through this channel the human soul finds its ultimate peace and tranquillity which is called in the Al-Quran Nafs-e Mutma’innah – the Soul at Peace. “(As for the person who has been blessed with a contented and peaceful mind He will say to him,) ‘O you soul at peace! Come back to your Lord well-pleased with Him and He well-pleased with you. Enter the fold of My chosen servants, and enter the Garden made by Me.” (89:27-30) It is wrong to say that a disbelief in God
does not produce any defect or diminishing effect on one’s morals, and confirmation of the existence of God does not strengthen one’s moral powers. Among the principles proposed by the Al-Quran for faith in God is the principle of Retribution and Recompense for one’s deeds and this is an important principle in the laws of nature. A person who is merely adhering to a moral code only uses his own person or the society at his personal discretion, and by doing so he thinks that he is becoming better civilized and serving the society. He has no motivation of getting any reward. But when the Al-Quran motivates us towards higher morals, it simultaneously tells us that by adopting higher morals we not only improve and reform society, but we are also making our next life better. “Verily, those who say, “Allah is our Lord,” and then remain steadfast (and follow the straight path), the angels will descend upon them (saying), “Have no fear nor grieve rather rejoice at the glad tidings of receiving the Gardens (of Paradise) which you have been promised.” (41:30) The existence of moral forces within the human personality emanates from and is subservient to the inborn faculties of a human being and there exists a natural impulse towards morality in the human makeup. The human faculties which are inherent in human nature in its inner aspect as opposed to the outer and physical aspect are denoted by the word Khulq. Khulq is the term which describes that habitual and firm disposition in a human by virtue from which moral actions flow spontaneously and effortlessly. All the moral principles that exist are nothing else but a manifestation of natural human emotions and nature is the source of them all. A person becomes laudable only when his natural faculties and personal disposition take on a moral hue through training. If such actions are good and laudable when judged by common sense and the Law, such a disposition is called a virtuous disposition, and if such actions are bad and condemnable, such a disposition is called an evil disposition (Ahya Al-Alum by Imam Ghazali). “Thus the source of all morals is within the nature of a human being – his disposition and his various natural states. If human faculties are the source of morals, and sometimes we see immoral actions emanating from human beings, are we to understand that some of these emotions and faculties are evil in themselves? The Al-Quran has answered this question in the negative, telling us that the headwaters of human birth are not mudded, nor is sin and immoral behaviour an intrinsic part of his
nature. The human being is simple and pure by nature. Its true nature is endowed with guidance and Divine inspiration; he has been created in the finest make and endowed with righteousness: We have surely created the human being in the finest make and the best proportions (with enormous capabilities for an all round advancement through the process of evolution). Then (according to Our law of cause and consequence) We degrade him to as the lowest of the low (if he does evil deeds). Different, however, is the case of those who believe and do deeds of righteousness. There awaits them a never ending reward.” (94:3-6) “Thus, the evil in the human beings is something which evolves later as a consequence of their training.” (94:5) Similarly The Holy Prophet is reported to have said,
“No infant is born except with an inborn sense of natural goodness, and then his parents make him into a Jew, Christian or a Muslim.” (Sahih Bukhari). “In other words, a human being is born innocent and unblemished in his nature.” (94:4), and he does not enter this world carrying a load of original sin. Those who think that a human being is sinful by birth have erred. Similarly it is a wrong assumption that a human being is the product of some earlier life and his present birth is an outcome of some previous birth, and that he is caught up in the ramifications of his actions in some previous existence, as is believed by some. That is why in the Al-Quran there is no mention of ‘original sin’, ‘atonement’ or ‘transmigration of soul’ as these are the products of human fantasy with no evidence at all for their support. It must be understood that there is a difference of quality and quantity of natural powers in various individuals. There is a difference between emotional origins and practical manifestations of emotions and these differences give rise to a vast sea of moral values, and this sea has been enclosed in the small canvas of Qur’anic moral code.
THE HIKMAH OF INTERCONNECTION BETWEEN IMAN IBADAH AND AKHLAK The relationship between faith and worship will result a maintained and stabilised worship that will ensure the faith in an individual’s heart thicken and stronger. Meanwhile, the relationship between worship and morality is the complete way of life in Islam as they maintain good behaviour and manners where ever they are and whatever they do, in the same
time maintaining a good worship or ibadah to Allah S.W.T. by following the five pillars of Islam and also the Sunnah of our prophet Muhammad Rasulullah S.A.W. Therefore, the connection between faith, worship and morality are closely consistent and if one is lost then it is incomplete. Imagine it like a house wall as faith, pillar of a house as worship and roof as morality. If one feature is gone, the house will be incomplete or in other words will crash down.
Praise be to Allah S.W.T. the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful, as the believers praise Him and may He send blessings and peace upon our prophet, Muhammad Rasulullah S.A.W. and upon all of his forefathers, his brethren of prophets and messengers, his family and his companions. Worship, faith and morality is connected to each other as they are the basis in Islam for seeking the pleasure from Allah S.W.T. Worship is all acts in our daily life regardless of its status, hidden or on the eyes of the public. Faith is to have sincere devotion to Allah S.W.T. with the heart, to testify this with the tongue, and to act on it with the body while morality or akhlak can be defined as the manners or good behaviour in our daily life. These three components are important things in the completion of an individual’s human soul need to seek pleasure from Allah S.W.T. To conclude, an individual must perform the ritualistic acts to Allah S.W.T. not only by personal means but consider to represent the individual’s whole life to Allah S.W.T. as well as practicing good behaviour or manners in daily life to ensure the possession of stronger faith.
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