Tuesday, May 28

Spiritually Ritual

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).

[Surat Adh-Dhāriyāt 51:56] 

It's the most common verse that we hear day in day out from the sermons in radios, talks and everything else. It's the evidential scriptural proof of our meaning of life, our creation and our purpose (not accounting the verse in al-Baqarah: 30). Yet, how many of us actually understand and grasp the importance of this 'meaning of life' that we do everyday?

The beauty of Islam is that our concept of worship is not narrowed down and constricted to only specific acts of worship like attending mass, or prayer or abstaining oneself from something but it is so broad that our entire life from the moment we wake up to the the time we wake up again is an act of worship; all with one important condition: everything is for Allah.

But I'm not to discuss the matter but instead on our specific act of worship that is unique to any other belief: salaah. 
It's known in many names: solat, salaah, solah, namaz, etc. but it's agreed as the most important part of any Muslim's life.
It's so important that it's described as the very identity of a Muslim as stated in a hadith:

Jabir bin Abdullah says: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam) saying this: The difference between a man (Muslim) and shirk and kufr is the abandoning of salaah.
(Sahih Muslim: Kitab ul Iman: Book 001, Number 0147)

So, due to this restriction, most Muslims perform their salaah so that they can be Muslims. But the spirit of salaah itself, the grand meeting of a servant with his Master is lost. It's only a ritual, not a necessity. The importance of doing salaah in the best condition, at the best time and place with the best quality is neglected and turned a blind-eye at. I'm not saying I have done all these and the quality of my salaah is tip top but far, far, far away from that. I'm still working on it. 

Today, some see salaah as a part of a routine. 
Here's what an answer of what salaah is would be from someone who does salaah ritually:
"It's supposed to be done five times a day, in a certain period of time of their respective times and I'm supposed to do salaah because I'm a Muslim or I'll go to Hell or something, like get a beating from my parents, that is, if they cared."

The very function of salaah in providing spirtitual strength and purpose has degraded. Here's a common simple analogy that can be brought up from most motivation books called the Asyran Temple:

There was a temple somewhere called the Asyran Temple. Monks live there to worship and meditate in the temple everyday. Among them is the head monk and it is he who leads the worship. Everyday, when he went for worship to the biggest idol in the temple, his favourite cat would bother him. Rolling on his feet, rubbing and purring for attention. So to solve this problem, every time he went for worship, he would tie the cat to a pole. 

Days turn to months and to years and so the head monk died, but his cat didn't. His successor continued his act of tying the cat to a pole every time to worship the biggest idol because he didn't know the previous head monk's purpose of tying the cat in the first place.

Then it was the cat's turn to die. Believing it was part of the ritual, the head monk replaced the cat and continued to tie the cat to a pole when it was time for worship.

After 20 years, the ritual went on and on. By that time, it was believed in that religion that in order to do worship, a cat must be tied to a pole by the head monk prior to worship and they did not change it believing it must be done de facto without knowing its purpose.

The analogy is simple enough to be understood and doesn't need further explanation.
Now, the question is whether we have become like the monk or would we change and learn what does it mean to worship Allah the Almighty.

Sunday, April 14

When One Ends...

Today will be marked on the calendar of memories.
To many of my own year's batch, our foundation studies have ended. It's now or never. Where will we end up? 
Like so many, our end was a tearful occasion, the happiness of ending one part of our lives eclipsed by separation, not knowing when else will we end up together. 

Volume by volumes of memories were created, good or bad. It'll be something to be remembered by.
All of these is because of the friendships we fostered, the bond that we smelted, stronger than steel yet as colourful as a rainbow. 
That said friendship isn't something simple. It's one of the very purpose of creation.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ 
 O mankind! we have created You from a male and a female, and made You into nations and tribes, that You may know one another. Verily, the Most honourable of You with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqûn Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware
[Al-Hujurat 49:13]

"People who love each other for Allah, those who visit each other for Allah, those who spend for each other in the path of Allah, those who keep in touch with each other for Allah, they are who are deserving of my love (Allah)." 
(Riwayat Ahmad)

Allah has put the status of friendship so highly to the point it can be called a garden of ajr. We're actually having fun when all the while Allah is showering His love and mercy upon us. Isn't that awesome?
Allah has just one prerequisite to that easy ajr. Love for Him. 

When we feel longing to those we call our friends, our companions, partners in battle. Is it because we feel satisfaction? We feel closer to Allah? We long to do what Allah loves together, in congregation, united and set to achieve one goal. Then well done. You have found the friend that will bring ourselves to Jannah.

What we feel as the end is only when we make is as the end. When we cherish the memories, keep in contact, trade stories then the end is only in the end in perspective of time, but it was never the end in a true and complete sense. They're still in our hearts. So don't despair. Allah will never let His Servants down. Pray to Him that the friendship we hold dearly is held strong against the winds of time. The best of du'a is the Rabitah du'a:

"Fairwell is all I can say, a prayer is that all I can give. But know that, if I was a given a chance, I would never let time pass to end this very moment when you my friend, my companion, my comrade in the mission for Allah and His Jannah, was all that I long for.  "

Tuesday, February 12

To Walk and Find

It's a short quickie but here goes:

A Sufi story illustrates why we can't just imitate someone else's journey; we need to know who we are in order to know how assertive or passive to be: 
''A man walking through the forest saw a fox that had lost its legs, he wondered how it lived. Then he saw a tiger come up with game in its mouth. The tiger ate its fill and left the rest of the meat for the fox. 
The next day God fed the fox by means of the same tiger. The man began to wonder at God's greatness and said to himself, ''I to shall just rest in a corner with full trust in the Lord and he will provide me with all I need.'' 
He did this for many days but nothing happened, and he was almost at death's door when he heard a voice say, ''O you who are in the path of error, open your eyes to the truth! Stop imitating the disable fox and follow the example of the tiger." "

Quoted in ''The Wisdom to Know The Difference: When To Make A Change and When To Let Go'' by Eileen Flanagan.