In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
After belief in Allaah, the major acts of worship in Islam are the prayer, zakat, fasting Ramadan and pilgrimage to the Sacred House. Contemplate these great acts of worship, their lofty and great benefits, and what they necessitate with regards to striving to please Allaah and attain success by gaining Allaah’s reward in this life and the next.
Contemplate what is in the prayer of sincere devotion to Allaah, completely turning to Allaah, praising Allaah, supplicating and submission to Allaah. And with regards its relationship with the sound belief in Allaah, it is like the attention and water that is given to an orchard, because were it not for the repetition of prayer during the day and night, the tree of faith would withered away, but instead it is renewed and increased based on servitude to Allaah through the prayer. Look at what prayer contains of preoccupation with remembrance of Allaah – The One greater than everything- and prevents a person from indecency and evil doing. (see appendix a)
Look at the ruling of Zakat and what it contains of honourable manners, such as benevolence, generosity, gratitude to Allaah for what He has bestowed on a person of favours, kind treatment towards the people, fulfilment of the welfare of the needy from it, distanced from meanness, protection of wealth against physical harm as well as the harm that afflicts a person due to sin, because indeed Zakat fulfils the needs of the destitute and needy, and it is utilised to support Jihaad and the affairs of social welfare, which Muslims cannot do without. It is utilised to remove the burden of poverty and the burden experienced by poor people, a means of firm belief in Allaah’s recompense, hope for Allaah’s reward and affirmation of Allaah’s promises. (see appendix b)
And in fasting is training for the souls to leave the things that are beloved to them (for a limited time period) out of love for Allaah, seeking to attain Allaah’s love and good pleasure, train the souls and accustom them to the strength of determination and patience. Fasting strengthens sincerity to Allaah and enables one to give precedence to love of Allaah over what the soul loves, so this is why – besides all the other deeds that have been assigned specific rewards- fasting receives a special reward from Allaah. (see appendix c)
As for what is related to pilgrimage, such as spending money, enduring hardships, exposure to (possible) harms and difficulties out of seeking Allaah’s Pleasure, paying close attention to Allaah, humbling oneself to Allaah at the Kabah and its sacred surroundings, performing different acts of worship connected to those rites, which Allaah has legislated for His servants and are to be performed at the kabah, and what this includes such as exalting Allaah, complete humility in Allaah’s presence, remembering the affair of the Prophets, the Messengers, the righteous and sincere people, strengthening one’s faith by way of their example and being greatly attached to them through love, the acquaintance between Muslims during hajj, striving for (sound) unity and agreement in their personal and general welfare, which cannot be enumerated, this is of the greatest virtues of the religion and one of the loftiest benefits attained by the believers. And what is mentioned above is just a notification and a brief discourse. (see appendix d) (Ref 1)
Appendix a: Al-Allaamah Abdul Muhsin Al-Abbaad [may Allaah preserve him] said: The prayer is a pillar of the Religion and it prevents a person from lewd and evil acts. It attaches a person to Allaah and if a person strictly observes the five daily prayers in the mosques together with the Muslims, he will strengthen his relationship with Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic), because he remains in a constant state of attachment to Allaah-day and night. He prays the compulsory five daily prayers for the sake of Allaah and also the optional prayers and Allaah will reward him for all those deeds. It also distances him from lewd and evil deeds because whenever he has an urge to disobey Allaah and to do evil deeds, he recalls the reason for performing the prayer and being constant in its performance; (and the reason behind this is that) he performs the prayer out of a desire to receive reward from Allaah and fearing Allaah’s punishment because performance of the prayer prevents him from lewd and evil acts; so he becomes distanced from evil. Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) said:
[إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ تَنۡهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَٱلۡمُنكَرِۗ-Verily, As-Salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha’ (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed, etc.). [Surah Al-Ankabut. Aayah 45]
Appendix b: Al-Allaamah Abdul Muhsin Al-Abbaad [may Allaah preserve him] said: the good outcomes of Zakaat are tremendous indeed. It is a means of purifying the soul from miserliness and greed. It is a means of purifying one’s wealth so that it is made to grow and increase, and it also fulfils the objective of what is called ‘Social Security’ at present.
So when the rich give Zakaat from their wealth to the poor and needy, then indeed their needs are fulfilled and they also receive nourishment as a result of this obligation of Zakaat Payment, which Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) has obligated to be taken from the wealth of the wealthy. It has been reported in the hadeeth of Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal (radiyallaahu-anhu) that the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”And if they offer their Salaat (five daily prayers), tell them that Allah has enjoined on them Zakat of their properties and it is to be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor among them.”
The payment of Zakaat has a great benefit for the wealthy people because it purifies their souls and makes their wealth grow, and they are rewarded by Allaah for showing kindness to their Muslim brethren-those who are poor and find themselves in a state of neediness and hardship; so by way of this charity their needs are fulfilled and their destitution ceases.
Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) has obligated that Zakaat is to be taken from the wealth of the wealthy people in a manner that will benefit the poor and the needy, but at the same time the wealthy people are not harmed. The Zakaat is a small amount taken from abundant wealth, which Allaah has bestowed upon the people. Allaah has obligated the payment of that small portion, which does not affect the wealthy people when they give it, but it also benefits the poor and needy-those who are deprived and do not have any wealth.
And from the good outcomes of charity and kindness towards the poor and needy is that which has been narrated by Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu-anhu) that the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said, “While a person was in the wilderness, he heard a voice from the cloud (commanding it thus), ‘Irrigate the garden of so and so’. (After that the clouds slunk aside and poured water on a stony ground. It filled a channel amongst the channels of that land and that person followed that water and he found a person standing in the garden busy in changing the course of water with the help of a hatchet. He said to him, ‘O servant of Allah! What is your name?’ He said, ‘So and so”. And it was that very name which he had heard from the clouds. Then he said to him, ‘O servant of Allah! Why do you ask me my name?’ He said, ‘I heard a voice from the clouds of which came the downpour, saying, ‘Water the garden of so and so, (with a mention) of your name. What do you do (for the favour) shown to you by Allah in this matter?’ He said, ‘Now as you state so; I look at what yield I get from it, then I give one-third as charity out of it and I and my family eat one-third of it and one-third I return to it as investment'”. [Saheeh Muslim. Hadeeth Number 2984]
Read Rules of Zakat by Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him]: https://abukhadeejah.com/zakah-zakat-what-is-it-paid-on-and-how-to-calculate-it/
Appendix c: Al-Allaamah Abdul Muhsin Al-Abbaad [may Allaah preserve him] said: As for fasting, its good outcomes are tremendous because it is a protection. Imaam Bukhaari and Imaam Muslim reported the hadeeth: “Fasting is a shield”. It is shield of protection against the hell fire in the afterlife and it is a protection against disobedience (to Allaah and His Messenger). Fasting weakens the desires of a person; so it restrains the whims of a person and acts as barrier against the dangerous and forbidden deeds he might commit due to engagement in enjoyment (i.e. enjoyment that may exceed the limits impose by Allaah and His Messenger). Indeed the soul may engage- due to such enjoyment- in affairs whose end results are unpraiseworthy in this worldly and the hereafter; so because of this the Prophet (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Paradise is surrounded by hardships and the hell fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions”.
The path to paradise requires that a person exercises patience in order to abstain from disobedience and the path to the hell fire is surrounded by all (forbidden) desires. If a person distances himself from those forbidden desires, he [or she] will be safe; but if a person engages in such forbidden desires he [or she] will fall into what Allaah has forbidden. This forbidden enjoyment will be one that quickly fades away, but its end results will be grief, regret and humiliation in this life and the next. It has been reported in a hadeeth narrated by Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu anhu) that the prophet (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam) said: “O young people! Whoever among you is able to marry, should marry, and whoever is not able to marry, is recommended to observe Sawm (fast) as fasting will diminish his sexual power”.
Therefore, the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) made it clear that if a person is able to get married, he should hasten to do so in order to remain chaste and enables another person (i.e. wife) to remain chaste; but if he is not able, he should devote himself to this Prophetic remedy which the Noble Messenger directed him to, and that is fasting. And that is because it is a safeguard and a protection for a person against falling into disobedience. In summary: This is a Noble Prophetic guidance given by the Noble Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) to the youth-that they should get marriage if they are able to do so; but if not, they should restrain their desires through fasting.
As for the fasting of the wealthy people, it reminds them of hunger pangs; so they reflect upon the blessings Allaah has bestowed on them because they have Muslim brothers (and sisters) who suffer from hunger pangs (even) without fasting. And that is because they cannot find something (i.e. food) to do away with extreme hunger. So this reflection becomes a drive (or motive) for them (i.e. the wealthy) to show kindness towards the poor and to spend on the destitute and needy.
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Righteousness of the heart and its steadfastness upon the path leading to Allaah’s [good pleasure etc] depends on its complete devotion to Allaah [The Most High]. The heart will not be put in order except by turning completely to Allaah [in obedience, submission etc]; but excess food and drink, excess intermingling with the people, excess speech and sleep are among [those things] that increase the heart in decay, distracts it in every way and severs it from its path of [obedience] to Allaah [The Most High] – either weakening or hindering it, or stopping it [from this goal]. Therefore, Allaah’s Mercy necessitates that fasting is legislated for the [believing] servants in order to [divert them] from excess food and drink, and rid the heart of the intrusions of desires, which hinders it from its path [of obedience] to Allaah. Allaah legislated [fasting] in accordance with what is of benefit for the servant, so that the servant is benefited in his worldly life and afterlife – neither hindering him from what will bring about well-being for him in this life nor in the afterlife. [Zaadul Ma’aad’ Vol 2, page 39 with annotations by Imaam Abdul Bin Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz & Checking of the Ahaadeeth by Imaam Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on both of them)]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: The fasting person is the one whose limbs abstain from sins; his tongue (abstains) from lying, lewdness and false speech; his stomach (abstains) from food and drink and his private parts (abstain) from obscenity. When he speaks, he does not speak with what harms his fasting and when he acts he does not do what corrupts his fasting. All his speech comes out useful and righteous.
Likewise his actions are of the status of that scent that is smelled by the one who sits with the seller of musk, and likewise the one who sits with the fasting person is benefited by sitting with him and is saved from false speech, lies, evil deeds and oppression. This is the legislated fasting and not merely abstaining from food and drink. And it is (reported) in the authentic hadeeth: ”Whoever does not give up lying speech (false statements) and acting on those lies and evil actions etc., Allaah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.” [Sharh Al-Waabilus Sayyib page 31 by Imaam Abdul-Azeez Bin Baaz (may Allaah have mercy upon him)]
Appendix d: Al-Allaamah Abdul Muhsin Al-Abbaad [may Allaah preserve him] said: As for hajj, it is a great act of worship. Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) made it an obligation upon His slaves at least once in a lifetime. Hajj includes acts of worship related to wealth and physical actions. It has good outcomes and praiseworthy end results in the life of a person. The Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam) said: “(The performance of) Umrah is expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous one. And the reward of Al-Hajj Al-Mabroor (the one accepted by Allaah) is nothing but Paradise”.
Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu-anhu) said that the Messenger of Allaah (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam) was asked about the best of deeds, so he replied, “To believe in Allaah and His Messenger”. The questioner then asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied, “To participate in Jihaad”. The questioner again asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied, “’To perform Hajj Mabroor (which is accepted by Allaah…)”.
Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu-anhu) also narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever performs Hajj for Allaah’s sake only and does not have sexual relations with his wife and does not do evil or sins; then he will return (after hajj, free from sins) as if he was born anew”.
A ‘Hajj Mabroor’ (the one accepted by Allaah) is the hajj a person performs in conformity with the Sunnah of the Noble Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam), and the sign of a ‘Hajj Mabroor’ is that a person becomes better than what he was before hajj. So if a person’s evil state of affairs changes to a good state, or changes from a good state to a state even better than that, then this is a clear sign that his hajj is Mabroor [accepted by Allaah].
Hajj and Umrah include acts of worship, such as Tawaaf, which is not performed in any other place besides its designated place (i.e. around the Kabah). Tawaaf is an act of worship, which Allaah has specified to be carried out around the Baitul Ateeq [i.e. The Ancient House (the Haram)]. So when a person reaches Makkah, he [or she] performs Tawaaf around the Baitul Ateeq. He [or she] seeks nearness to Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) with an act of worship (i.e. Tawaaf) which one could not have been able to perform except in Makkah. That is because Tawaaf cannot be done except around the Noble Kabah. So this reminds a person and makes him [or her] aware of the fact that Tawaaf performed in any other place in the earth is not legislated by Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic). Therefore, it is not permissible to make Tawaaf around any tomb or any other place in the earth besides the Noble Kabah.
Also, this is the case with kissing and indicating with one’s hand towards the Black Stone and the Yemini Corner; for indeed Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) did not legislate for the Muslims to seek closeness to Him by kissing any other stone or indicating with one’s hand towards it except in those two places (i.e. the Black Stone and the Yemeni corner). And because of this when Umar Ibnul Khattaab (radiyallaahu anhu) approached the Black Stone, he kissed it and then said: “No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither harm (anyone) nor benefit anyone. Had I not seen Allaah’s Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) kissing you, I would not have kissed you”.
Also from the good outcomes of Hajj and Umrah is that when the one in Ihraam removes his normal clothing and wears the Ihram, which is worn by both the poor and the rich, it reminds him of the cloth he will be shrouded with when he dies; so he prepares himself for righteous actions and that is the best of all provision for the hereafter, as Allaah (The Most High) said: [وَتَزَوَّدُواْ فَإِنَّ خَيۡرَ ٱلزَّادِ ٱلتَّقۡوَىٰۚ -And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness, etc.)’’ [2:197]
Also from the good outcomes of Hajj is the gathering of the pilgrims at Arafah, which is a reminder of the gathering of the people on the Day of Judgement; so this (i.e. standing at Arafah) becomes a drive (or motive) for a person to prepare himself for that standing on the Day of Judgement by performing righteous deeds.
Also during Hajj the Muslims from the East and West regions of the earth get to meet one another; so they co-operate with one another and advise one another. They get to know the state of affairs of one another; so they share happiness and joy with one another, just as a person would share the pain that befalls his brother and then guides him towards what is obligatory to do regarding that. So they all co-operate upon righteousness and piety just as Allaah (Glorified Be He) commanded them.
Indeed, these great acts of worship legislated by Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic)- upon which His Religion of Islamic Monotheism is founded- have good outcomes in the life of a Muslim in this worldly life and the afterlife. [An Excerpt from أثر العبادات في حياة المسلم pages: 4-31. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 1: Ad-Durra Al-Mukhtasar Fee Mahaasin Deen Al-Islaamiy. pages 13-16. slightly paraphrased]