7 REASONS WHY GOD IS WORTHY OF WORSHIP

By Hamza Tzortzis

God makes it very clear that the purpose of our lives is to worship Him, “And I did not create the jinn (spirit world) and mankind except to worship Me.”[1] The concept of worship in the Islamic tradition is profound. Worship entails that we must know, love and obey God, as well as single out and dedicate all acts of worship to Him alone. If we want to know, love and obey something other than God the most, including direct acts of worship (like ultimate gratitude) to something other than Him, then that is our object of worship. In this sense, human beings, including those who do not believe in God, cannot not worship. However, many misdirect their worship to things other than God; something this essay aims to address.

According to the Islamic spiritual tradition, acts of worship are accepted if they fulfil two conditions. The first is that the act of worship should be done purely for the sake of God. The second is that the action itself is prescribed by the Islamic source texts: the Qur’an and the authentic Prophetic traditions. So a natural question that follows from this is: What are these acts of worship?

The acts of worship are many. Any good action that is done to please God is an act of worship. However, there are some basic acts of worship which are essential to Islamic spiritual practice. These have been summarised by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as the five pillars of Islam. They include: affirming and recognising in one’s heart that there is no deity worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad ﷺ is God’s final messenger; praying five times a day; giving the obligatory charity if one can afford to; fasting in Ramadan (the 9th month of the Islamic calendar) and performing the pilgrimage if one is able to do so. These acts of worship have profound meanings and inner dimensions. These are the basic pillars of Islam. However, in developing one’s spiritual practice one can engage in a plethora of additional spiritual activities. These include: reciting the Qur’an; remembrance of God; removing the spiritual diseases in one’s heart; voluntary charity; repentance; spiritual reflection; conveying the message of Islam to others; feeding the poor; spreading peace; taking care of animals; studying the life of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ; memorising the Qur’an; the night prayer; reflecting on natural phenomena and much more.

Since our reason for being is to worship the Divine, it is important to understand why we must dedicate all acts of worship to Him alone. In this essay I will provide 7 reasons for why we must worship God and dedicate all acts of worship to Him alone. These reasons include:

  1. God is worthy of worship by virtue of who He is.
  2. God has created and sustains everything.
  3. God provides us with innumerable favours.
  4. If we love ourselves, we must love God.
  5. God is The-Loving, and His love is the purest form of love.
  6. Worship is part of who we are.
  7. Obeying God is the most rational thing to do.

Knowing God

Before I discuss the above reasons, it is important to elaborate on what is meant by knowing God. Knowledge of God is essential to understanding why God is worthy of our worship, because we cannot worship something we are ignorant of. This is why, in the Islamic tradition, traversing a path of knowing God is a form of worship:

“So know, that there is no deity except God.”[2]

To know God means that we affirm that He is the sole creator and maintainer of everything that exists (known as Oneness of God’s Creativity). It also entails that we affirm His names and attributes in the context of recognising that they are unique and that nothing can compare to God (known as Oneness of God’s Names and Attributes). Knowledge of God also involves that we must know that He is unique in His Divinity; He alone is entitled to all acts of worship (known as Oneness of God’s Divinity). It must be noted that in Islamic theology it is critical to affirm that nothing whatsoever shares in God’s creative power and ability, names and attributes, and Divinity. All forms of anthropomorphism are completely rejected. God is transcendent and maximally perfect. He has no imperfections. The concept of oneness in the Islamic spiritual tradition is referred to as tawheed, which linguistically means to affirm oneness or to make something one or unique.

Oneness of Creativity

The oneness of God’s Creativity is to affirm and recognise that God is the sole creator, master and owner of everything that exists. God is the One who sustains, takes care of, and nourishes everything. According to the Islamic doctrine of tawheed, anyone who denies this has associated partners with God, which is polytheism (known as shirk in Islamic theology). Anyone who believes that these descriptions of God can be shared by any created thing has deified that thing. Therefore, they have associated partners with God.

Oneness of God’s Names and Attributes

The ‘oneness of God’s names and attributes’ means to describe God only by the names and attributes by which He has described Himself, which are found in the Qur’an and the Prophetic teachings (some names such as Al-Khaaliq, The-Creator, and Al-Qadeer, The-Powerful, can be affirmed by a sound rational mind). These names and attributes, such as The-Loving and The-Subtle, are affirmed but they are not comparable to creation. God’s names and attributes are perfect without any deficiency or flaw, God is maximally perfect. God’s names are described by God Himself as the most beautiful:

“The most beautiful names belong to God: so call on Him by them.”[3]

The one who compares these names and attributes to creation has committed humanisation, and therefore has associated partners with God. The one who compares any created thing to God has committed deification, which is also a form of associating partners with God.

Oneness of God’s Divinity

The oneness of God’s Divinity is that we must affirm that all acts of worship must be directed to Him alone. Someone who directs acts of worship to anything other than God, and the one who seeks reward from anything other than God in any act of worship, has associated partners with Him.

In certain contexts, some acts of worship such as the internal acts of worship, if directed to other than God, do not constitute associating partners with Him. For example, one’s love for God may be deficient and require perfecting. Associating partners with God in the context of love would involve loving something or someone instead of God or as much as God. Someone can love their their family and it would not constitute associating partners with God. If they loved their family instead of God or as much as God, then that would constitute a form of associating partners with Him.

The gravest sin

Associating partners with God is the gravest sin. The consequence of this sin is that the one who dies in such a state and has not repented dies in a state of disbelief. This will never be forgiven by God. (This applies to major forms of associating partners with God. There are lesser forms that do not lead to disbelief, such as giving charity for other than God, obeying someone instead of God and showing off one’s good deeds. However, major forms of associating partners with God such as praying to other than Him and believing other things are worthy of worship lead to disbelief):

“Indeed, God does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with God has certainly committed a tremendous sin.”[4]

However, if one associates partners with God and repents to Him and returns to the path of oneness, he or she will be forgiven, and their transgressions will be transformed into good deeds:

“And those who invoke not any other deity along with God… Except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds; for those, God will change their sins into good deeds, and God is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.”[5]

The one who has associated partners with God and has never repented, and dies in that state (and has no excuse), has essentially oppressed themselves by closing the door to God’s mercy. Their hearts have ‘eternally’ rejected God’s guidance and mercy; therefore, they have alienated themselves from the Divine. Those who reject God will plead to go back to earth to do righteousness, but their hearts have ‘eternally’ rejected:

“[For such is the state of the disbelievers], until, when death comes to one of them, he says, ‘My Lord, send me back that I might do righteousness in that which I left behind.’ No! It is only a word he is saying.”[6]

This self-imposed spiritual reality is a form of denial. The person has denied all the just and fair opportunities that God has given them to embrace His mercy and love:

“God has not wronged them, but they wronged themselves.”[7]

“This is reward for what your hands have done. And God is never unjust to His servants.”[8]

It must be noted that according to Islamic theology, if someone was not given the right message of Islam, and sought the truth, they will have an excuse and will be tested on the Day of Judgment.[9] God is The-Just and no one will be treated unjustly. This is why, when a non-Muslim has passed away, it is considered un-Islamic to pass judgment on their final abode (however, some scholars have said this may not apply to those who never sought the truth or had sufficient knowledge of Islam). No one knows what is in someone else’s heart and whether someone was given the right message in the right way. However, from a creedal and societal point of view, non-Muslims who died will be buried as non-Muslims. This does not mean that this is their final judgement. In reality, God is maximally and perfectly just and merciful, so no one will be treated unmercifully and no one will be treated unjustly.

People who have heard the message of Islam in a sound and correct way will have to account for their denial. However, whoever dies without having heard the message of Islam, or heard it in a distorted form, will be given an opportunity to accept the truth. Echoing the principles from the various verses of the Qur’an and the Prophetic traditions, Al-Ghazali summarises this nuanced approach. He argues that people who never heard the message of Islam will have an excuse: “In fact, I would say that, God willing, most of the Byzantine Christians and the Turks of this age will be included in God’s mercy. I’m referring here to those who live in the farthest regions of Byzantium and Anatolia who have not come into contact with the message… They are excused.”[10]

Al-Ghazali also argues that the people who heard negative things of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his message will also be excused: “These people knew the name ‘Muhammad’, but nothing of his character or his qualities. Instead, all they heard since childhood is that a liar and imposter called ‘Muhammad’ claimed to be a prophet… This party, in my opinion, is like the first party. For even though they’ve heard his name, they heard the opposite of what his true qualities were. And this does not provide enough incentive for them to investigate [his true status].”[11]

The true teachings of Islam are a barrier to extremism. In my view, all forms of extremism are based on an ‘ideological hardness’ that hardens people’s hearts. What I mean by this is that people adopt non-negotiable, binary and negative assumptions about the world and other people. This makes one group of people ‘otherize’ another. Otherization is not simply labelling people as belonging to other groups. This is natural and part of modern society. Otherization usually happens when one group describes another group in a negative way and maintains that each member is the same. This hardens people’s hearts and prevents them from positively engaging with other people who seem to be different. Islam does not otherize people. It does not assert that everyone who is not a Muslim is ultimately doomed or evil. The Qur’an makes it quite clear that people constituting other groups “are not all alike[12] and describes some of them as “upright”[13] The Qur’an also applies this concept to believers too; some are righteous and some are not. Nevertheless, Islam teaches that every human being must be treated with mercy, compassion and fairness.

7 Reasons why God is worthy of worship

# 1 God is worthy of worship by virtue of who He is

The best place to start is to understand who God is. God, by definition, is the One who is entitled to our worship; it is a necessary fact of His own existence. The Qur’an repeatedly highlights this fact about God,

“Indeed, I am God. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.”[14]

Since God is the only Being whose right is our worship, then all of our acts of worship should be directed to Him alone.

In the Islamic tradition, God is considered a maximally perfect Being. He possesses all the perfect names and attributes to the highest degree possible. For example, in Islamic theology, God is described as the The-Loving, and this means that His love is the most perfect and greatest love possible. It is because of these names and attributes that God must be worshipped. We always praise people for their abilities, kindness, knowledge and wisdom. However, God’s power, kindness, knowledge and wisdom are to the highest degree possible with no deficiency or flaw. Therefore, He is worthy of the most extensive form of praise, and praising God is a form of worship. In this light, God is worthy of worship by virtue of who He is.

God is also the only One entitled to our supplications and prayers. He knows best what is good for us, and He wants what is good for us. Such a Being with these attributes must be prayed to, and be asked assistance of. God is worthy of our worship because there is something about God that makes Him so. He is the Being with the most perfect names and attributes.

An important point regarding worshipping God is that it is His right, even if we are not recipients of any type of comfort. If we were to live a life full of suffering, God must still be worshipped. Worshipping God is not dependent on some kind of reciprocal relationship; He gives us life, and we worship Him in return. Do not misunderstand what I am saying here: God showers us with many blessings (as I will discuss below); however, He is worshipped because of who He is and not necessarily how He decides—via His boundless wisdom—to distribute His bounty.

We praise people due to their sporting skill, eloquence, strength or any other attribute. We do so even though they do not benefit us in any direct way. Similarly, God deserves extensive praise by virtue of His perfect names and attributes, and not as a result of how He decided to manifest them in our lives. If we can praise people who have limited and flawed attributes, what does it mean on how we must praise God whose names and attributes have no deficiency or flaw?

# 2 God has created and also sustains everything

There is something in your life that you receive freely, yet you do not earn it and do not own it. There is no good reason to believe that you deserve it either. This thing is this moment, and the next moment, and all of the moments of your existence. You do not earn these moments, so what can you possibly do to earn another instant in your life? This is exactly why in popular culture we call it a gift: the gift of life. If you knew that you had 10 hours left to live and in order to live another 3 days you had to give away all of your wealth, you would immediately do so. That’s why we all consider it to be so precious. You do not own these moments because you do not have the capacity to bring anything into existence; you cannot even create a fly. You do not deserve another moment of your existence because it is not yours; you do not have the ability to produce life, even for a second. Therefore, nothing that you do can be deserving of something that you can never acquire by yourself.

In light of these basic truths, you must always be in a state of gratitude, because you always receive something that you neither earn, nor own, nor deserve. These moments of our existence are from God alone, therefore we must be thankful to God, and acknowledge that all gratitude belongs to Him alone. Gratitude is a key aspect of worship.

God has created everything; He continually sustains the entire cosmos and provides for us out of His bounty. The Qur’an continually repeats this concept in various ways, which evokes a sense of gratitude and awe in the heart of the listener or reader:

“It is He who created for you all of that which is on the Earth.”[15]

“Do they indeed ascribe to Him as partners things that can create nothing but are themselves created?”[16]

“O mankind, remember the favour of God upon you. Is there any creator other than God who provides for you from the heaven and Earth? There is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded?”[17]

Therefore, everything we use in our daily lives, and all of the essential things that we require to survive, are due to God. It follows then that His is all gratitude. Since God created everything that exists, He is the owner and master of everything, including us. Hence, we must be in a sense of awe and gratitude to Him. Since God is our Master, we must be His servants. To deny this is not only rejecting reality, but it is the height of ingratitude, arrogance and thanklessness.

Since God created us, our very existence is solely dependent on Him. We are not self-sufficient, even if some of us are deluded in thinking that we are. Whether we live a life of luxury and ease or poverty and hardship, we are ultimately dependent on God. Nothing in this universe is possible without Him and whatever happens is due to His will. Our success in business and the great things that we may achieve are ultimately because of God. He created the causes in the universe that we use to achieve success, and if He does not will our success it will never happen. Understanding our ultimate dependency on God should evoke an immense sense of gratitude and humility in our hearts. Humbling ourselves before God and thanking Him is a form of worship. One of the biggest barriers to Divine guidance and mercy is the delusion of self-sufficiency, which is ultimately based on ego and arrogance. The Qur’an makes this point clear:

“But man exceeds all bounds when he thinks he is self-sufficient.”[18]

“There is the one who is miserly, and is self-satisfied, who denies goodness—We shall smooth his way towards hardship and his wealth will not help him as he falls. Our part is to provide guidance.”[19]

# 3 God provides us with innumerable favours

“And if you should [try to] count the favours of God, you could not enumerate them. Indeed mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.”[20]

We should be eternally grateful to God because we could never thank Him for His blessings. The heart is an appropriate example to illustrate this point. The human heart beats around 100,000 times a day, which is approximately 37,000,000 times a year. If we were to live up to the age of 75, the number of heartbeats would reach 2,759,400,000. How many of us have even counted that number of heartbeats? No one ever has. It is actually impossible to count that many heartbeats. Firstly, for the first few years of your life you cannot count. Already there’s a few years of backlog. Secondly, you cannot count your heartbeats while you are sleeping. To be able to count a lifetime’s worth of heartbeats, you would have had to start counting each heartbeat from the day you were born and while you were asleep. This would interfere with your ability to live a normal life, as you would always be counting every time your heart started a new beat. As a practical matter it is impossible. However, every heartbeat is precious to us. Anyone of us would sacrifice a mountain of gold to ensure that our hearts function properly to keep us alive. Yet we forget and deny the One who created our hearts and enables them to function. This illustration forces us to conclude that we must be grateful to God, and gratitude is a form of worship. The above discussion just refers to heartbeats, so imagine the gratitude we must express for all the other blessings God has given us. From this perspective anything other than a heartbeat is a bonus. God has given us favours we cannot enumerate, and if we could count them we would have to thank Him for the ability to do so.

# 4 If we love ourselves, we must love God

Loving God is a fundamental aspect of worship. There are many types of love and one of these includes self-love. This occurs due to the desire to prolong our existence, feel pleasure and avoid pain, as well as the need to satisfy our human needs and motivations. We all have this natural love for ourselves because we want to be happy and content. The psychologist Erich Fromm argued that loving oneself is not a form of arrogance or egocentricity. Rather, self-love is about caring, taking responsibility and having respect for ourselves. This type of love is necessary in order to love others. If we cannot love ourselves, how then can we love other people? There is nothing closer to us than our own selves; if we cannot care for and respect ourselves, how then can we care for and respect others? Loving ourselves is a form of ‘self-empathy’. We connect with our own feelings, thoughts and aspirations. If we cannot connect with our own selves, how then can we empathise and connect with others? Eric Fromm echoes this idea by saying that love “implies that respect for one’s own integrity and uniqueness, love for an understanding of one’s own self, cannot be separated from respect and love and understanding for another individual.”[21]

If a person’s love for himself is necessary, this should lead him to love the One who made him. Why? Because God created the physical causes and means for human beings to achieve happiness and pleasure, and avoid pain. God has freely given us every precious moment of our existence, yet we do not earn or own these moments. The great theologian Al-Ghazali aptly explains that if we love ourselves we must love God:

“Therefore, if man’s love for himself be necessary, then his love for Him through whom, first his coming-to-be, and second, his continuance in his essential being with all his inward and outward traits, his substance and his accidents, occur must also be necessary. Whoever is so besotted by his fleshy appetites as to lack this love neglects his Lord and Creator. He possesses no authentic knowledge of Him; his gaze is limited to his cravings and to things of sense.”[22]

# 5 God is The-Loving, and His love is the purest form of love

God is The-Loving. He has the purest form of love. This should make anyone want to love Him, and loving Him is a key part of worship. Imagine if I were to tell you that there was this person who was the most loving person ever, and that no other love could match his love; wouldn’t that instil a strong desire to get to know this person, and eventually love him too? God’s love is the purest and most intense form of love; therefore, any sane person would want to love him too.

Given that the English word for love encompasses a range of meanings, the best way to elaborate on the Islamic conception of God’s love is to look into the actual Qur’anic terms used to describe Divine love: His mercy (rahmah), His special mercy (raheem) and His special love (muwadda). By understanding these terms and how they relate to the Divine nature, our hearts will learn to love God.

Mercy

It is said that another word for love is mercy. One of God’s names is The-Merciful; the Arabic word used is Ar-Rahmaan. This English translation does not fully represent the depth and intensity that the meaning of this word carries. The name Ar-Rahmaan has three major connotations: the first is that God’s mercy is an intense mercy; the second is that His mercy is an immediate mercy; and the third is a mercy so powerful that nothing can stop it. God’s mercy encompasses all things and He prefers guidance for people. In God’s book, the Qur’an, He says,

“…but My mercy encompasses all things….”[23]

“It is the Lord of Mercy who taught the Qur’an.”[24]

In the above verse, God says He is The-Merciful, which can be understood as the “Lord of Mercy”, and that He taught the Qur’an. This is a linguistic indication to highlight that the Qur’an was revealed as a manifestation of God’s mercy. In other words, the Qur’an is like one big love-letter to humanity. As with true love, the one who loves wants good for the beloved, and warns them of pitfalls and obstacles, and shows them the way to happiness. The Qur’an is no different: it calls out to humanity, and it also warns and expresses glad tidings.

Special Mercy

Connected to Ar-Rahmaan is Ar-Raheem. These names share the same root as the previous, which comes from the Arabic word for womb. The difference in meaning however is significant. Ar-Raheem refers to a special mercy for those who want to embrace it. Whoever chooses to accept God’s guidance has essentially accepted His special mercy. This special mercy is for the believers and it is manifested in paradise; unending, blissful peace with God.

Special Love

According to the Qur’an, God is The-Loving. The Arabic name is Al-Wadood. This refers to a special love that is apparent. It comes from the word wud, which means expressing love through the act of giving: “And He is the Forgiving, The Loving.”[25]

God’s love transcends all of the different types of love. His love is greater than all worldly forms of love. For example, a mother’s love, although selfless, is based on her internal need to love her child. It completes her, and through her sacrifices she feels whole and fulfilled. God is an independent Being who is self-sufficient and perfect; He does not require anything. God’s love is not based on a need or want; it is therefore the purest form of love, because He gains absolutely nothing from loving us.

In this light, how can we not love the One who is more loving than anything we can imagine? The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “God is more affectionate to His servants than a mother to her children.”[26]

If God is the most loving, and His love is greater than the greatest worldly love we have experienced, this should instil in us a deeper love for God. Significantly, this should make us want to love Him by being one of His servants. Al-Ghazali aptly said, “For those endowed with insight there is in reality no object of love but God, nor does anyone but He deserve love.”[27]

From a spiritual perspective, God’s love is the greatest blessing anyone can ever achieve, as it is a source of internal tranquillity, serenity, and eternal bliss in the hereafter. Not loving God is not only a form of ingratitude, but the greatest form of hate. Not loving the One who is the source of love is a rejection of that which enables love to occur and fill our hearts.

God does not force His special love on us. Although, by His mercy, He lovingly gives us every moment of our lives, to fully embrace God’s love and be recipients of His special love, one must enter into a relationship with Him. It is as if God’s love is waiting for us to embrace it. However, we have closed the door and put up the shutters. We have kept the door shut by denying, ignoring and rejecting God. If God were to force His special love on us, love would lose all meaning. We have the choice: to follow the right path and thereby gain God’s special love, or reject His guidance and face the spiritual consequences.

The most loving Being wants to love you, but in order for you to embrace that love, and for it to be meaningful, you have to choose to love Him and follow the path that leads to His love. This path is the Prophetic path of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

“Say, [O Muhammad]: ‘If you love God, then follow me, [so] God will love you and forgive your sins. And God is Forgiving and Merciful’.”[28]

# 6 Worship is part of who we are

God is worthy of our worship because worship is part of who we are. Just like our need to eat, drink and breathe, worship is an innate tendency. From this perspective, we are natural-born worshippers, because that is who we are and it is our Divinely given purpose. Worshipping God is a logical necessity, just as when we say a car is red. It is red because we have defined that colour as red; it is red by definition. Likewise, we are worshippers by definition, because God defined and made us that way: “I did not create the Jinn [spirit world], nor mankind, except to worship Me.”[29]

Even people who do not believe in God, including those who reject the fact that He is entitled to worship, manifest signs of adoration, reverence and devotion. If you do not worship God, you’ll still end up worshipping something. From an Islamic perspective, the object that you love and revere the most, including whatever you attribute ultimate power to and believe you are ultimately dependent on, is essentially your object of worship. For many people, this can include an ideology, a leader, a family member, and even your own self. In other words, many people idolise these things. Polytheism or idolatry is not just about praying to or bowing down in front of an object.

God is rooted in our innermost nature, and when God commands us to worship Him it is actually a mercy and act of love. It is as if every human being has a hole in his or her heart. This hole is not physical, it is spiritual, and it needs to be filled to achieve spiritual tranquillity. We attempt to fill this hole with a new job, a holiday, a new house, a new car, a hobby, travel or taking up a popular self-help course. However, every time we fill our hearts with these things, a new hole appears. We are never truly satisfied, and after a while we seek something else to fill the spiritual void. Yet, once we fill our hearts with the love of God, the hole remains permanently closed. Thus, we feel at peace and experience a tranquillity that can never be put into words, and a serenity that is undisturbed by calamity.

# 7 Obeying God is the most rational thing to do

“[A]nd obey God and the Prophet[30] so that you may be given mercy.”[31]

When I travel by plane, I usually hear the pilot announce—via the inflight audio system—to fasten our seat belts due to oncoming turbulence. My typical response involves sitting down, fastening my belt and hoping (and praying) for the best. The reason I obey the pilot’s command is that I understand he is the authority concerning the plane, how it works and the effects of turbulence. My obedience is a result of using my rational faculties. Only an arrogant person would disobey a valid authority. Would any of us take seriously a seven-year-old telling us that our maths professor does not know how to teach calculus?

In a similar light, disobeying God is foolish and unfounded. Obeying God, even if we do not know the full wisdom behind some of His commands, is the most rational thing to do. God’s commands are based on His boundless knowledge and wisdom. He is the ultimate authority. To deny this authority is like a two-year-old child scribbling on a piece of paper and claiming that he is more eloquent than Shakespeare. (Actually, it is worse.)

This does not mean that we suspend our minds when obeying God. We are told by God Himself to use our reason. However, once we have established what God has said, then that should result in obedience.

Obeying God entails that one should fear Him. A believer should fear God if he wants to be in a state of servitude and obedience. This fear, however, is not the type of fear that is associated with being scared of an enemy or an evil force. God wants good for us. Rather, this fear is associated with skin-shivering awe, loss, love and unhappiness. We fear God from the perspective of fearing losing His love and good pleasure.[32]

The reasons I have provided above may raise some questions. These include: Does God need our worship? Why did He create us to worship Him?. To summarise, God is independent and everything depends on Him. He does not need anything. Worshipping God is for us, not for Him. Also, God creating us to worship Him was inevitable. His perfect names and attributes were going to manifest themselves. An artist inevitably produces art work because he has the attribute of being artistic. By greater reason, God would inevitably create us to worship Him because He is the One worthy of worship. This inevitability is not based on need but rather a manifestation of God’s names and attributes.

A Note on the Essence of Worship

In the Islamic tradition, a key act of worship is supplication (known as dua in Islamic theology). The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ taught that supplication is “the essence of worship”[33]. Supplications are to God alone, because only He can help us when we ask for help for something that we need or want. Supplicating to anything other than God is an act of polytheism, because the person is asking for something from an entity that does not have the ability to provide or fulfil that request. For example, if someone were to ask a stone idol to grant them twin girls, it would be an act of polytheism because they are supplicating to an entity that has no power to fulfil that request. This does not mean, however, that asking someone who has the ability to assist you for help is polytheism. It would only be polytheism if one were to believe that God was not the ultimate creator of their ability to help you. Supplicating to God is part of making our worship pure, and the way we supplicate to Him should be with humility. God says: “Invoke your Lord with humility”[34] and “So invoke God making your worship pure for Him”[35].

The free slave 

From an existential perspective, worshipping God is true liberation. If worship entails loving and obeying God the most, then in reality many of us also have other gods in our lives. Many of us want to love and obey our own egos and desires the most. We think we are always right, we never want to be wrong, and we always want to impose ourselves on others. From this perspective, we are enslaved to ourselves. The Qur’an points out such a debased spiritual state and describes the one who considers his desires, passions and whims as his god, to be worse than an animal: “Think of the man who has taken his own passion as a god: are you to be his guardian? Do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are just like cattle—no, they are further from the path.”[36]

From self-worship, sometimes we move to worship various forms of social pressures, ideas, norms and cultures. They become our point of reference, we start to love them, want to know more about them, and are led to ‘obey’ them. Examples abound; take, for instance, materialism. We have become preoccupied with money and material belongings. Obviously, to want money and possessions is not necessarily a bad thing, but we have allowed our pursuit to define who we are. Our time and efforts are devoted to the accumulation of wealth, making the false notion of material success the primary focus in our lives. From this perspective, material things start to control us, and lead us to serve the culture of avid materialism rather than serving God. I appreciate that this does not apply to everyone, but this form of excessive materialism is very common.

Essentially, if we are not worshipping God, we are still worshipping something else. This can be our own egos and desires, or ephemeral things like material possessions. In the Islamic tradition, worshipping God defines who we are, as it is part of our nature. If we forget God, and start to worship things that are not worthy of worship, we will slowly forget our own selves: “And be not like those who forgot God, so He made them forget themselves.”[37]

Our understanding of who we are is dependent on our relationship with God, which is shaped by our servitude and worship. In this sense, when we worship God we are freed from submission to other ‘gods’, whether ourselves or things that we own or desire.

The Qur’an presents us with a profound analogy: “God puts forward this illustration: can a man who has for his masters several partners at odds with each other be considered equal to a man devoted wholly to one master? All praise belongs to God, though most of them do not know.”[38]

God is essentially telling us that if we do not worship God, we end up worshipping something else. These things enslave us and they become our masters. The Qur’anic analogy is teaching us that without God, we have many ‘masters’ and they all want something from us. They are all ‘at odds with each other’, and we end up in a state of misery, confusion and unhappiness. However, God, who knows everything, including our own selves, and who has more mercy than anyone else, is telling us that He is our master, and that only by worshipping Him alone will we truly free ourselves from the shackles of the things we have taken as replacements for Him.

To conclude this essay, lovingly worshipping God and peacefully submitting to Him frees you from the degraded worship of the ephemeral world and the lustful submission to the carnal and egotistical realities of the human condition. The following lines of poetry by the Poet of the East, Muhammad Iqbal, eloquently summarises this point:

“This one prostration which you deem too exacting liberates you from a thousand prostrations.”[39]

References

[1] The Qur’an, Chapter 51, Verse 56.

[2] The Qur’an, Chapter 47, Verse 19.

[3] The Qur’an, Chapter 7, Verse 180.

[4] The Qur’an, Chapter 4, Verse 48.

[5] The Qur’an, Chapter 25, Verses 68 and 70.

[6] The Qur’an, Chapter 23, Verses 99 and 100.

[7] The Qur’an, Chapter 3, Verse 117.

[8] The Qur’an, Chapter 8, Verse 51.

[9] This is based on the following authentic tradition narrated by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban: “There are four (who will protest) to God on the Day of Resurrection: the deaf man who never heard anything, the insane man, the very old man, and the man who died during the fatrah(the interval between the time of  Jesus (upon whom be peace) and the time of Muhammad ﷺ. The deaf man will say, ‘O Lord, Islam came but I never heard anything.’ The insane man will say, ‘O Lord, Islam came but the children ran after me and threw stones at me.’ The very old man will say, ‘O Lord, Islam came but I did not understand anything.’ The man who died during the fatrah will say, ‘O Lord, no Messenger from You came to me.’ He will accept their promises of obedience, then word will be sent to them to enter the Fire. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if they enter it, it will be cool and safe for them.” There are other hadiths and verses of the Qur’an that indicate that God will not allow anyone to enter hell until people have been given the correct message of Islam.

[10] Al-Ghazali, M. A. (1993) Fayasl al-Tafriqa Bayn al-Islam wa-l-Zandaqa. Edited by M. Bejou. Damascus, p. 84. An online copy is available at: http://ghazali.org/books/fiysal-bejou.pdf [Accessed 21st November 2016].

[11] Ibid.

[12] The Qur’an, Chapter 3, Verse 113. This verse refers to the ‘people of the book’. However, the principle applies to all groups of people.

[13] Ibid.

[14] The Qur’an, Chapter, 20, Verse 14.

[15] The Qur’an, Chapter 2, Verse 29.

[16] The Qur’an, Chapter 7, Verses 191 to 194.

[17] The Qur’an, Chapter 35, Verse 3.

[18] The Qur’an, Chapter 96, Verses 6 and 7.

[19] The Qur’an, Chapter 92, Verses 8 to 12.

[20] The Qur’an, Chapter 14, Verse 34.

[21] Fromm, E. (1956). The Art of Loving. New York: Harper & Row, pp. 58-59.

[22] Al-Ghazali. (2011) Al-Ghazali on Love, Longing, Intimacy & Contentment. Translated with an introduction and notes by Eric Ormsby. Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, p. 25.

[23] The Qur’an, Chapter 7, Verse 156.

[24] The Qur’an, Chapter 55, Verses 1 and 2.

[25] The Qur’an, Chapter 85, Verse 14.

[26] Narrated by Abu Dawud.

[27] Al-Ghazali. (2011) Al-Ghazali on Love, Longing, Intimacy & Contentment, p. 23.

[28] The Qur’an, Chapter 3, Verse 31.

[29] The Qur’an, Chapter 51, Verse 56.

[30] Obedience to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as a result of obeying God, as He commands us to do so.

[31] The Qur’an, Chapter 3, Verse 132.

[32] Al-Ghazali. (2011) Al-Ghazali on Love, Longing, Intimacy & Contentment, pp. 120-121.

[33] Narrated by Bukhari.

[34] The Qur’an, Chapter 7, Verse 55.

[35] The Qur’an, Chapter 40, Verse 1.

[36] The Qur’an, Chapter 25, Verses 43 and 44.

[37] The Qur’an, Chapter 59, Verse 19.

[38] The Qur’an, Chapter 39, Verse 29.

Cited in Riffat, H. (1968) The Main Philosophical Idea in the Writings of Muhammad Iqbal (1877 – 1938). Durham theses, Durham University. Available at: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/7986/2/7986_4984-vol2.PDF?UkUDh:CyT [Accessed 6th October 2016].

Jama`at, Groups, Means and Objectives

[By Umar Rumi]

It’s generally the Sunnah of Allah Ta`ala that people, nations, countries, cities, dynasties, turuq, jama`at, quickly raise to importance to then fall into oblivion even more quickly.

Just as a few examples, modern Greece and Southern Italy struggle with ignorance and poverty and lost any glitter of the few millennias old Magna Graecia; Inca and Maya empires only left some indios in jungles and villages…
Banu Isra’il had been greatly favoured by Allah above any other people (including through raising among them numerous Anbiya’ and Rusul), but their disobedience earnt His curses.

One would be gullible not to recognize the same pattern in our more recent Islamic history: we see how cities such as Timbuktu, Granada, Baghdad, Samarqand raised as great centers of knowledge, and then fell into oblivion, raised to the ground or even got lost to kuffar’s rule.

Dynasties ruling half the world got similarly humiliated a few centuries later, his successors exiled or killed.

The same is true for any tariqah, jama`ah, tanzim, Islamic society, group, organization; be it Tablighi Jama`ah, Hizbut Tahrir, Ikhwan Muslimun, this or that tariqah or their branches: we constantly see the sincerity of their founders/Mashaykh (notwithstanding the mistakes already present from the beginning in the case of HT and Ikhwanis) being gradually contaminated with the idiotic partisanship, Hazrat-worship attitude of ignorant but enthusiastical followers that confuse the means for the objective.

What was conceived as *one instrument among others* for preaching the word of Allah, raising it, implementing His Deen and system, becomes – in the mind of such fanatics – *the* only work of Dern, the very synonym of da`wah/khilafah/
tazkiyyah in themselves – according to the respective field of the Deen where this or that group focuses its efforts.

Further, the whole of Deen is reduced to that specific field an organization/jama`ah group is involved in; thus:

-ikhwanis will bend fiqh and `aqidah to their pragmatist politically-oriented reformism;

-HTs will consider their specific ijtihad as the only possible way to achieve the due imperative political objectives our Ummah should indeed strive for, and will obsess on the political system while falling short of their personal practice and spirituality, even to the point of falling to the extreme of seeing the political field as the very objective of our Deen;

-extreme latter-day tablighis will retire to a very specific form of da`wah, exclusive to other Muslims and conceived as the only possible form of da`wah and effort fi-sabilillah, abstain from anything political, and even denouncing whoever purse `ilm or tazkiyyah outside their syllabus;

-not-moderate fanatic turuq will similarly confine to a section of the Deen and uniquely devote to it, while at the same time disrespecting and putting down any other tariqah or even other Mashaykh of the same tariqah, pressuring other people to take bay`ah with their own Shaykh and giving da`wah to their jama`ah/tariqah, rather than calling people to Allah *through* it.

Etc etc..

And thus, whoever doesn’t take part in that specific effort, whoever doesn’t affiliate with that specific jama`ah, whoever doesn’t take bay`ah with that specific tariqah, is treated as a sinner outcast whose salvation is at serious risk.

What was born and conceived as an instrument to call people to Allah, becomes the objective itself to whom people get called to, for the nafsani satisfaction and greed of corrupter ignorants who can’t tell the means from the objective.

Just think about the difference between the sincere, incendiary da`wah of the Mashaykh founders of turuq and callers to Allah , and the corrupted culture of money-hoarding, uniformed hereditary sajjada nasheen overlooking hotspots of ghaflah, laghw and even drug trafficking and prostitution!.. And hence reflect and ponder: are you focusing your gaze on the Called, or the caller?..

May Allah grant us all a balanced moderate approach and preserve us from partisanship and fanaticism to any specific group/jama`ah!

May Allah grant us understanding of the width of our Din and grant us tawfiq to appreciate and support the multiplicity of the “sectors” of our Din (`ilm, da`wah, siyasah, tazkiyyah, etc) and to give to each its due without becoming monomaniacal obsessors on just a single facet to the detriment of others.

May Allah keep our gazes focused on His worship and satisfaction, and not on rusum, means, instruments, outer forms and methods.. For indeed, His choosing and then finishing this or that dynasty/geographical area/jama`ah/
group etc is also a way to call us to the worship of ﺍﻟﺤﻲ ﺍﻟﻘﻴﻮﻡ above any emotional attachment to forms and instruments.

 

“Modern Western” Education???

[By Hasan Mahfooz]

Would a liberal send their children to an Islamic school taught by Muslim teachers using an Islamic curriculum? Why do Muslims send their children to a school that teaches the opposite of what they believe? Muslims would never send their children to an RSS shakha or a Christian school but many Muslim parents have no problem with the typical private/public school. Why?

The reason is that falsity of and disagreements with Christian and Hindu beliefs/worldview are clear to us and we want to protect our children from them. On the contrary, most of us consider secular-liberalism and modern education (and schools) to be ideologically neutral, which is not true.
The reality is that the education that is imparted in most schools today is based on certain philosophies, pre-suppositions and concepts. Those toxic concepts such as naturalism, progress, utility maximization, freedom, etc. are taught for more than 15 years to credulous impressionable children, permanently distorting the way they view the world. I will touch on a few of the numerous concepts that the modern “education” imparts us.

Naturalism peddled through different subjects and especially science makes us believe that the physical world is all that exists, and all phenomenon can and must be explained through physical causes only. This blatantly undermines the belief in the supernatural and, thus, weakens imaan, which by definition is on the ghayb, the unseen, the supernatural.

History promotes the idea of progress: mankind as a whole is progressing and becoming more rational, moral and advanced over time, pushing the idea of “the newer the better”. This gives a false impression that the moderns are more advanced, moral and rational than the previous people and, thus, Islam of the 7th century is outdated and needs revision.

Economics promotes the idea that self-interested rational man, homo economicus, is in a state of competition due to a scarcity of resources and, thus, he tries to maximize his pleasure (utility) from consumption of goods and services. This strikes at the root of compassion, selflessness, sacrifice and caring for the rights of others that Islam stresses so much.

Many other such toxic ideas incongruous to Islam are taught to students through different subjects over the school life. In the absence of hard work by parents to counter the influence of such toxic ideas, it is not surprising to find a Muslim after decades of schooling (brain-washing) become a naturalist, secular, careerist, progressive, etc.

We need to think seriously about what we are studying and imparting to our successive generations. May Allah rectify our affairs.

VIDEOS AND DIGITAL PICTURES – DAARUL ULOOM DEOBAND’S FATWA

Pictography & Videography of Living Beings or any other Unlawful & Sinful Ways for the Propagation of the Deen Are Not Permissible

BY

DAARUL IFTA-DAARUL ULOOM DEOBAND

Question (Number 166010)

What do the respected Mutiyaan say regarding those individuals who are involved in refuting the firqah baatilah (deviated sects, e.g. Qadiyaanis, Parwezis, Shakeelis, Raafzis, Ghair-Muqallids, etc.) by conveying their message to the people in the form of videos.

Since the masses do not pay much attention to audio forms, the message which needs to be conveyed to the Ummah does not reach them. Therefore, they take the aid of such videos in which animate pictures appear.

Is it permissible to make videos (of living beings) for such purposes?

Answer

In the name of ALLAAH, The Most Merciful, The Ever Merciful

In Islam videography and pictography of humans or any living being are haraam (prohibited/impermissible), along with it being accursed (mal-oon). The Ahaadeeth are replete with severe warnings for pictography. For details please refer to the work of Mufti Shafee’ (rahmatullaahi ‘alaih) titled “Tasweer ke Shar’i Ahkaam”.

Accordingly, in the light of the Fataawaa and explanations of the Akaabir (Senior) ‘Ulamaa of Deoband, the ruling of digital pictures is the same as that of hand-drawn pictures i.e. The Nusoos of the Sharee’ah include both kind of pictures. The Ahlul-ilm (Ulama) are duty-bound to discharge the obligation of Tableegh of the Deen only within the confines and boundaries of the Sharee’ah, not beyond that. In other words for the Tableegh of the Deen the Ahlul-ilm (Ulama) are obliged to use only such methods and ways which are lawful and permissible. The Ahlul-ilm are in executing their obligation of Tableegh are not obliged to utilize any unlawful and sinful ways.

Moreover it is not at all permissible to propagate the Deen by means of unlawful and impermissible ways and methods because by transgressing (violating/breaking) the laws of the Deen it will be the propagation of something other than the Deen. (It will be the propagation of transgression and sin which will bring in its wake deviation thus inviting Divine Wrath – Translator). Likewise the ways of spreading Islam and the ways of spreading kufr (disbelief) and dhalaal (deviation) differ, hence the use of impermissible methods is in completely contradiction of the teachings, ethos and spirit of Islam. It is for this reason that every Jamaa’at (Group) of Ahlul-Haqq since the very first era (of Islam) abstained from using any impermissible (unlawful) ways for the Tableegh of the Deen.

Hence utilising the means of pictography and videography of humans or any living beings for the Tableegh of the Deen will not be permissible. And ALLAH Ta’aala knows best.

(Translated from Urdu)

Refuting the Deviant Assim al-Hakeem about the Hanafi View of Delaying Salaat al-Fajr

The timing of the morning prayer (fajr) according to the Hanafi school. A certain Jahil “Shaykh” named Assim al-Hakeem said during his program on Huda tv and his disgraced Q&A Site:

“In the Hanafi Madh-hab, they tend to delay the fajr until it is a little bit light before sunrise of course… This is against the majority of the scholars and this is against the sunna of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).”

This “Shaykh” declared the Hanafi practice, in no uncertain terms, as contrary to the Sunnah. But, what evidence do the Hanafis use for this practice?

I checked out the most basic of the Hanafi books such as al-Ikthiar (volume 1 page 44) and I found that the Hanafi scholars based their view on ahadith narrated by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Al-Tabarani and Imam Ahmad.

If you look at Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, you will see chapter 117 called “Narrations about delaying the fajr until it starts to get lighter ( ﺑﺎﻟﻔﺠﺮ ﺍﺍﻟﺴﻔﺎﺭ ﻓﻲ ﺟﺎﺀ ﻣﺎ ﺑﺎﺏ .“(al-Tirmidhi narrates a hadith (number 154) on the authority of Rabi’ bin Khadeej who said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “Delay the fajr towards the end of its time [when it starts to get lighter] for there is more reward”.

Al-Tirmidhi goes on to say that this hadith was also narrated by Shu’ba and [Sufyaan] al-Thawri from Muhammed bin Ishaaq. It is also narrated by Muhammed bin Ajlaan on the authority of Aasim bin ‘Umar bin Qatada. There are also other ahadith regarding this subject from Abu Barza Al-Aslami, Jaabir and Bilal. al-Tirmidhi said this is a fair and authentic hadith (haadha hadithun hasanun saheeh). 

Imaam Anwar Shah Kashmiri has more to say on this subject in his commentary on Jami’ al-Tirmidhy called “Al-Urf al-Shadhy” on page 177 of volume 1. It can be found here.

In addition, Al-Hafidh al-Suyuti al-Shafi’i included the above hadith of al-Tirmidhi among the mutawatir hadith (unanimously authentic) in his booklet called “Al-Azhaar al-Mutanathira fi al-ahadith al-mutawatira” as was recorded by the author of I’ila al-Sunan volume 2 page 24. His brilliant research can be found here.

In summary, the Hanafi scholars’ point of view is based on multiple narrations (see Nasb al-Raya of Hafidh al-Zaylai volume 1 pages 304-313 for more details.):

1. Hadith of Rabi’ bin Khadeej narrated by al-Tirmidhy. He declared it a fair and authentic hadith (haadha hadithun hasanun saheeh). Al-Hafidh al-Zaylai, Al-Muhaqqiq al-Kamal bin Al-Humaam agreed with al-Tirmidhy. Al-Hafidz Al-Suyuti declared this hadith mutawatir (unanimously authentic).

2. Al-Nasa’i narrated a hadith similar in meaning and he did not comment on its authenticity. Al-Hafidh Al-Zaylai declared the chain authentic (I’ila al-Sunnan volume 2 page 24-25)

Now, how can someone declare a practice based on a mutawatir (unanimously authentic) and a saheeh (authentic) hadith (not to mention the rest of the evidence) to be against the sunnah? Even if the “Shaykh” believes that hadith is not mutawatir but only authentic (saheeh), I still cannot fathom how a “Shaykh” would dismiss all of the above evidence and label the Hanafi practice as “contrary to sunnah.” Just like his teacher, this Shaykh never even bothered to glance over the Hanafi books before he gave his fatwa. One wonders if these people really believe it themselves wholeheartedly when they say they are following the daleel (evidence). How can someone claim they are following the daleel when time and time again we see that they do not collect all the evidence in a given subject before they make up their minds? They are either delusional or dishonest. I cannot think of a third possibility, can you?

(The from a book of Dr. Sadi Kose).

Is Islam the Reason the Muslim World Is “Backwards”? Latin America Begs to Differ

By Daniel Haqiqatjou

The perennial question: Why does the Muslim world “lag behind”?

The perennial answer: Because of Islam!

We expect this kind of analysis from the likes of Orientalists, neoconservatives, and Barack Obama. But unfortunately, some Muslims also share such sentiments. From the beginning of the colonial period, self-hating Muslims have agreed with their colonial masters that Islam is the problem and the only way forward is to shed Islam.

Of course, the self-hating Muslims don’t come out and say, “Islam is the problem,” literally. They will, instead, say things like, “Islam needs to reform,” or, “We need to revisit classical fiqh and apply new ijtihad as needed,” or, “Classical scholarship had misogynistic elements.”

This is the not-so-subtle approach of Muslim modernists, who oftentimes will be classically trained themselves and will wear all the trappings of traditional scholars. Not all modernists wear suits and ties, like Adnan Ibrahim.

By wielding religious authority and using religious language, these modernists are better able to influence the average Muslim, who generally has a deep respect for ulama and sacred knowledge. The colonial powers, of course, recognized this and took advantage by deputizing some of these scholars to advocate for European Interests. This dynamic is still used in full force to this day.

Now let’s think more deeply about this question of “lagging behind.”

Who stands to benefit when Muslims view their bad economic position in the world as a function of their own religious tradition?

Well, if that question is too difficult, let’s look at other regions of the world that are lagging behind.

In the news recently is Venezuela.

Why do countries like Venezuela lag behind? According to Western liberal commentators, like the NYTimes and, recently, Donald Trump, the answer is simple:

THAT MR. MADURO [PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA] MUST GO HAS BEEN OBVIOUS FOR SOME TIME. SINCE HE SUCCEEDED THE LEFTIST STRONGMAN HUGO CHÁVEZ IN 2013, HIS MISMANAGEMENT, CRONYISM AND CORRUPTION, EXACERBATED BY THE DROP IN THE PRICE OF OIL, VENEZUELA’S DOMINANT SOURCE OF REVENUE, HAVE BROUGHT THE COUNTRY TO RUIN. HYPERINFLATION HAS RENDERED WAGES VIRTUALLY WORTHLESS, PEOPLE ARE DYING OF STARVATION AND LACK OF MEDICAL CARE, AND MILLIONS HAVE FLED TO NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES.

See? Western powers only have the best interests of Venezuela’s people at heart. These poor Venezuelans are starving to death! They have no medicine! They’re experiencing hyperinflation! WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING! We have to support “regime change”! Perhaps, we need to invade! That is the only humanitarian option at this point!

Of course, no mention of the fact that the starvation, the lack of medicine, the hyperinflation, etc., are the direct result of years of sanctions on Venezuela. Gee, isn’t it amazing how when you put severe economic sanctions on a country, that country will suffer economically? Then, conveniently, you can blame whatever political faction you want to get rid of for the economic hardship in order to justify supporting a military coup or even a ground invasion. This is the circular reasoning the NYTimes and other Western media outlets trot out without a shred of self-awareness.

Poor Venezuela is not the only victim of this tactic. Many other Latin American countries have been brought to their knees by way of American “humanitarianism.” America, the savior of the world, has to save these backwards countries from their own incompetence. It’s the only way.

TruthDig reports:

A SURVEY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES ARCHIVES SHOWS THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD HAS SUPPORTED 10 OUT OF 12 AMERICAN-BACKED COUPS IN LATIN AMERICA, WITH TWO EDITORIALS—THOSE INVOLVING THE 1983 GRENADA INVASION AND THE 2009 HONDURAS COUP—RANGING FROM AMBIGUOUS TO RELUCTANT OPPOSITION.

THE REASON THE CIA AND U.S. MILITARY AND ITS CORPORATE PARTISANS HISTORICALLY TARGET GOVERNMENTS IN LATIN AMERICA IS BECAUSE THOSE GOVERNMENTS ARE HOSTILE TO U.S. CAPITAL AND STRATEGIC INTERESTS, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE UNDEMOCRATIC. SO WHILE THE POINTS THE TIMES MAKES ABOUT ILLIBERALISM MAY SOMETIMES BE TRUE, THEY’RE MOSTLY A NON SEQUITUR WHEN ANALYZING THE REALITY OF WHAT’S UNFOLDING.

So, in short, this is how America does things. First priority is American economic interests. Who is going to play ball? Who is going to let America and American corporations have their way and enjoy the world’s economic resources for pennies on the dollar? Most countries will quickly open their doors because who doesn’t love America?

But of course, there will always be the troublemakers who just can’t get with the program. So what does America do? Impose crippling sanctions. Brutal sanctions that end up starving the population to death. Who can forget Madeleine Albright saying 500,000 Iraqi children starving to death was “worth it”?

Then, the American media dutifully reports on the human misery and says, “See! These poor people are dying! We have to do something for those poor starving children!”

Of course, the human misery that is suffered due to the tyranny of American-friendly dictators is not commented upon or seen as a reason for action.

So, the Muslim world is not unique in its “backwardness.” Not at all. Many regions outside of North America and Western Europe are economically stunted in the same way. So why does Islam get all the blame? Why does the Islamic tradition and traditional Islamic scholarship get the blame? Why does Muslim male authority get the blame? This makes no sense.

We have to recognize what is really happening. A hostage situation. All these countries have the gun to their heads. After a while, Stockholm Syndrome sets in (i.e., a psychological phenomenon where the hostage starts to feel affection and affinity for the kidnapper).

Whenever someone starts running his mouth about the Muslim world lagging behind and how that is a function of Islam, just point him to all these other non-Muslim countries. What explains their plight? Is it just that a handful of countries in the West figured out the magic formula for not starving to death and wallowing in squalor and the other 90% of the world’s population is utterly clueless? Is that what the NYTimes and Donald Trump want us to believe?

Or is there something else at play?

FLEEING FROM ALL TYPES OF SINS AND GIVING PRACTICAL EXPRESSION TO ILM

By Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng

DEPRIVED OF THE SUPPLICATIONS OF THE ANGELS

Hakeemul Ummah Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi Sahib رحمه الله has mentioned that a severe consequence of disobedience is where one is prevented from having the Malā’ikah (angels) ask for his forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله. It is stated in the Kalaamullāh:

“Those who bear the Arsh, and those around it proclaim the praise of their Lord, and believe in Him, and they ask forgiveness for those who believe; ‘O Lord, You embrace everything in mercy and knowledge. Therefore forgive those who have repented, and follow Your way, and guard them against the torment of Hell.'” [Surah Al-Mu’min: 8]

Hazrat Thaanwi رحمه الله has stressed that we notice how clearly this verse states that the Malā’ikah (angels) ask forgiveness of their Lord for the Muslims who follow the way laid out for them by Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله the Most High. How will it be possible for the one who refuses to travel that way to receive this blessing?

Can we really afford to be deprived? May Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله guide us towards submission and save us from obstinacy.

THE SALF-E-SAALIHEEN

The Salf-e-Saaliheen did not restrict themselves to academic discourses. They would derive practical benefit from the Qur’aan and Ahaadith. On the other hand, those of later times indulged more in academic exposition of theories. For example, according to the Hadith, Allah Ta’ala descends to the first heaven in the last portion of the night. On the basis of this Hadith the Salf-e-Saaliheen engaged more in worship during this time of the night. They did not indulge in theoretical discussion regarding this Hadith. They were not concerned with the manner of Divine Descent. They did not ask: ‘Since Allah is not a physical body, how does he descend?’ They were not concerned with theories and abstract  arguments.

SILENCE IS NO EXCUSE

Hakeemul Ummah Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi Sahib رحمه الله has mentioned that some people are outwardly pious, practising on virtuous deeds and abstaining from sins. However, despite their piety, they associate with the transgressors and participate in their acts of disobedience. They feebly justify their stance with the argument of trying to avoid disunity with family and friends.

There are others who do not participate in acts of transgression but do not have a detestation for the evil acts which they observe. They live together with the disobedient people in the manner of dissolved sugar (as sugar dissolves in water). They do not abstain from the evil of the transgressors nor do they express any detestation for the violations of Shariah.

For people of piety and learning, to maintain silence in the face of transgression is sinful because they do not object to the commission of sins.