In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
The Meaning of Al-Ibaadah [Worship]
Shaikh Abdul Muhsin Al-Abbaad [hafidhahullaah] said:
Al-Ibaadah [Worship]: It is a comprehensive term for everything that Allaah loves and is pleased with, including statements and deeds, apparent [i.e. physical actions of the limbs] and unapparent [beliefs concealed in the heart]. This is the best of what has been stated regarding the definition of worship.
Worship has great importance because Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] created the Khalq [Mankind and Jinn], sent the Messengers and revealed the Books in order to command them to worship Him and forbid them from worshipping others besides Him. Allaah [Glorified Be He] said: [وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ – And I (Allah) created not the Jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).” Meaning: Allaah created them in order to command them to worship Him (alone) and forbid them from disobeying Him.
Allaah [Glorified Be He] said: [وَلَقَدۡ بَعَثۡنَا فِى ڪُلِّ أُمَّةٍ۬ رَّسُولاً أَنِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱجۡتَنِبُواْ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتَۖ – And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah). [16:36]
Allaah [Glorified Be He] said: [وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِىٓ إِلَيۡهِ أَنَّهُ ۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۟ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ – And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We inspired him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah), so worship Me (Alone and none else)]. [21:25]
The Ibaadaat [acts of worship] are many types and from them are: Fear; Hope and longing; Trust and Reliance; Fervent Desire; Dread; Turning repentantly to (Allaah); Appealing for aid and assistance; Seeking deliverance and rescue; Sacrificing; Vows and other than that from the various types of worship.
The Meaning of Islaam
And from the Ibaadaat [acts of worship] are the five pillars of Islam which have been all been [mentioned] in the well-known hadeeth of Jibreel, when he asked the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] about Islaam, so he [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] replied:
أَنْ تَشْهَدَ أَنْ لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ، وَتُقِيمَ الصَّلَاةَ، وَتُؤْتِيَ الزَّكَاةَ، وَتَصُومَ رَمَضَانَ، وَتَحُجَّ الْبَيْتَ إنْ اسْتَطَعْت إلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا.
[Islam] is that you should testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah; and that you should perform the Salah; pay the Zakah; fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (i.e. the Ka’bah at Makkah) if you can find a way to it. [Saheeh Muslim. Kitaab Al-Imaan. Number 8]
It has also been transmitted in the hadeeth of Abdullaah Ibn Umar [radiyallaahu-anhumaa] that the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said:
بُنِيَ الْإِسْلَامُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ: شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ، وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ، وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَحَجِّ الْبَيْتِ، وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ
Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the Salah (prayer), paying the zakat (obligatory charity), making the hajj (pilgrimage) to the House, and fasting in Ramadhan. [Saheeh al-Bukhaari. Kitaab Al-Imaan. Hadeeth 8] [Saheeh Muslim Hadeeth 19]
Two Conditions Must Be Fulfilled Before Acts of Worship Are Accepted
Furthermore, two conditions must be fulfilled in order for an act of worship to be accepted; the first of the two conditions is that the act of worship must be done sincerely for Allaah, and secondly the act of worship must be in agreement with the Sunnah of the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam]. The act of worship has to be done sincerely for the sake of Allaah (alone) and none else is to be associated as a partner with Allaah in worship. [Likewise] the act of worship must be done in conformity with what the Messenger came with [i.e. the Qur’aan and the Sunnah].
This is what the Shahaadah (لا إله إلا الله محمدا رسول الله) necessitates; because (لا إله إلا الله) necessitates that acts of worship must be carried out sincerely for the sake of Allaah alone. And (محمدا رسول الله) necessitates that acts of worship must be carried out in conformity with what was revealed to the noble Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam]. Therefore, Allaah is not to be worshipped with bidah, newly invented matters in Religion and evil acts, for which Allaah [The Most High] has sent down no authority; rather acts of worship must be in conformity with the Sunnah of the noble Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam].
If any of these two conditions or both of them are not fulfilled, then indeed the act of worship will be rejected by Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic]. Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَقَدِمۡنَآ إِلَىٰ مَا عَمِلُواْ مِنۡ عَمَلٍ۬ فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُ هَبَآءً۬ مَّنثُورً – And We shall turn to whatever deeds they disbelievers, polytheists] did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust] [Soorah Al-Furqaan. Ayah 23]
And the noble Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said: [مَنْ أَحْدَثَ فِي أَمْرِنَا هَذَا مَا لَيْسَ مِنْهُ فَهُوَ رَدٌ- He who innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not of it will have it rejected [by Allah].”[Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 2697] [Saheeh Muslim. Number 1718]
And in another wording of this hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim the Prophet said: [مَنْ عَمِلَ عَمَلًا لَيْسَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرُنَا فَهُوَ رَد – He who does an act (of worship) which we have not commanded (i.e. not commanded by the Prophet), will have it rejected].
Cling to The Authentic Sunnah In Times of Differing
And he [alayhis salaatu was-salaa] said:
فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ يَعِشْ مِنْكُمْ فَسَيَرَى اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا، فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِسُنَّتِي وَسُنَّةِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ الْمَهْدِيينَ، عَضُّوا عَلَيْهَا بِالنَّوَاجِذِ، وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَمُحْدَثَاتِ الْأُمُورِ؛ فَإِنَّ كُلَّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلَالَةٌ
Verily he lives long among you will see a lot of differing, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Khulafaa ar-Rashideen [the rightly guided caliphs]. Adhere to it with your molar teeth (i.e. adhere to it firmly). And beware of newly invented matters [in the religion], for every newly invented matter [in the religion] is a bidah [innovation in the religion], and every bidah is misguidance. [Abu Dawood. Number 4607] [Tirmidhee. Number 2676]
[Also] the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] has clarified -in the hadeeth about the seventy-three sects amongst whom seventy-two sects will enter the hell fire and one sect will be saved-that the saved sect are those who adhere to the path him and his noble companions adhered to.
The Latter Part of This Ummah Will Not Be Rectified Except By Way of That Which Rectified Its Earlier Part
Imaam Maalik [rahimahullaah] said: “The latter part of this Ummah [i.e. those who will come after the Salaf] will not be rectified except by way of that which rectified it’s earlier part [i.e. the Salaf].’’ And he [rahimahullaah) said: ‘’Whoever innovates a bidah in Islaam and considers it to be something good, then indeed he has claimed that Muhammad betrayed the Risaalah (i.e. the message he was entrusted with); because Allaah said: ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ – This day, I have perfected your religion for you].
Therefore, what was not part of the religion at that time [i.e. during the time of the Messenger] cannot be part of the religion today (i.e. after his departure from this world).” [Al-Itisaam of Imaam Shaatibee 1/28]
It is not enough for a person to say: “I am going to do this act of worship even though it was not (performed by) the Prophet because my intention is pure and good.” The evidence (against this statement) is that when it reached the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) that a man amongst his noble companions slaughtered the Eed sacrifice before the Eed Salaah, he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said to him: شَاتُكَ شَاةُ لَحْمٍ– “Your (slaughtered sheep was just mutton (not a sacrifice).”[Saheeh Bukhaari. Number: 5556]; meaning: It is not considered Eed sacrifice because it was not carried out in conformity with my Sunnah. Therefore, what is in conformity with the Sunnah is that the Eed sacrifice is done after the Eed Salaah; but as for sacrificing before the Salaah, then indeed it is outside its specified time and will not be regarded as (Eed sacrifice).
Al-Haafidh said in Fat-hul Baaree (10/17): “Shaikh Abu Muhammad Bin Abu Hamzah said: This hadeeth (establishes the fact that) if an action (i.e. an act of worship) is done with a sincere intention, it is still not (considered) righteous unless it is in conformity with the legislated divine revelation.
Sahaabah Scolded Those Who Initiated Bidah In The Religion
Also that which will shed more light on this affair is when Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood came to a people who had gathered in the Masjid, and each of them had a number of stones/pebbles; and there was one man amongst them saying: ‘Say ‘Subhaanallaah’ a hundred times; say ‘Laa-ilaaha Il-lal laah’ a hundred times; say ‘Allaahu Akbar’ a hundred times. So they repeated. Then Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood approached them and said: “What is this that you are doing?” They said: “O Abu Abdurrahman! These are pebbles to count the number of times we say Allahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha Illal laah and Subhaanallaah.” He said: “Count your sins and I assure you that you are not going to lose anything of your hasanaat. O Ummah of Muhammad, how quick is your destruction! These are the Companions of your Prophet present in great numbers; these are his clothes not worn out yet, and his pots are not broken yet. I swear by the One (i.e. Allaah) in Whose Hands my soul is, either you are following a religion that is better than the Religion of Muhammad or you are opening a door of misguidance.” They said: “O Abu Abdurrahman! We swear by Allaaah that we intend nothing other than good.’’ He said: How many people want good but never reach it! [Sunan Ad-Daarimee 1/68-69] [Also recorded by Imaam Albaanee in As-silsilah As-Saheehah. Number 2005]
Fruits of Ibaadaat [Acts of Worship] and Taqwaa
As for the (good) outcomes of the Ibaadaat (acts of worship), then from them are: Relaxation of the heart; Peace of mind; Enlargement of one’s provision; a state of well-being, repose and tranquillity. Indeed there are many verses in the Qur’aan and a number of narrations in the Sunnah regarding these (good) outcomes, and that fear of Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) and righteous actions leads to happiness in this life and the next. Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) said: [وَلَوۡ أَنَّ أَهۡلَ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱتَّقَوۡاْ لَفَتَحۡنَا عَلَيۡہِم بَرَكَـٰتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ – And if the people of the towns had believed and had the Taqwa (piety), certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth. [7:96]
Indeed, this noble ayah mentions both worship and its (good) outcomes in the life of a Muslim, and that whoever fears Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) and believes in Him, then indeed Allaah (The Most High) will reward him and give him provision in the life of this world. Allaah will open for him blessings from the heavens and the earth– by way of rain from the sky and vegetation and treasures from the earth.
Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) said about the people of the Scripture:
[وَلَوۡ أَنَّہُمۡ أَقَامُواْ ٱلتَّوۡرَٮٰةَ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡہِم مِّن رَّبِّہِمۡ لَأَڪَلُواْ مِن فَوۡقِهِمۡ وَمِن تَحۡتِ أَرۡجُلِهِمۚ]
And if only they had acted according to the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), and what has (now) been sent down to them from their Lord (the Qur’an), they would surely have gotten provision from above them and from underneath their feet.” [5:66] Meaning: The provision Allaah would have bestowed upon them by way rain from the sky, and also from beneath their feet by way of that which Allaah causes to grow in the earth, such as plants and crops; and also the treasures which Allaah causes to come out from the earth.
So, that which has been mentioned in these two verses [7:96 and 5:66] about the people of the towns and the people of the scripture is related to reward in this worldly life a worldly for (the one who) believes in Allaah and fears Him. And with regards to the reward in the afterlife for the believers and those who fear Allaah, then indeed Allaah has mentioned it in His statement:
[وَلَوۡ أَنَّ أَهۡلَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبِ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱتَّقَوۡاْ لَڪَفَّرۡنَا عَنۡہُمۡ سَيِّـَٔاتِہِمۡ وَلَأَدۡخَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ جَنَّـٰتِ ٱلنَّعِيمِ ]
And if only the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) had believed (in Muhammad) and warded off evil (sin, ascribing partners to Allah) and had become Al-Muttaqun (pious), We would indeed have blotted out their sins and admitted them to Gardens of pleasure (in Paradise). ‘’ [5:65]
Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) said: [يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَقُولُواْ قَوۡلاً۬ سَدِيدً۬ا ] O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth]. [33:70] This (Ayah 33:70) indicates to an act of worship (i.e. fear of Allaah and being truthful in speech); then Allaah mentioned its (good) effects, saying: [يُصۡلِحۡ لَكُمۡ أَعۡمَـٰلَكُمۡ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡ ذُنُوبَكُمۡۗ وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ فَقَدۡ فَازَ فَوۡزًا عَظِيمًا]‘’He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger) he has indeed achieved a great achievement.’’ [33:71]
Indeed being directed towards righteous and correct actions and forgiven one’s sins in the afterlife are (good) outcomes of Ibaadah (worship). So this noble ayah mentions both the (good) outcomes of the Ibaadaat (acts of worship) in this worldly life and the afterlife-in this worldly life Allaah will direct the person towards righteous and good actions and enables him to reach good, truth and correctness in all his affairs; so that he follows the path of Allaah upon clear sightedness. And in the afterlife, Allaah will forgive him his sins and wipe away his evil deeds.
Also Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) said:
[وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجۡعَل لَّهُ ۥ مَخۡرَجً۬ا ]
[وَيَرۡزُقۡهُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَحۡتَسِبُۚ ]
And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. [65:2-3]
This noble ayah establishes the fact that fear of Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic)–and that is to worship Him (alone without partners); fulfil His commandments and keep away from what He has forbidden– will remove a person from critical and difficult situations. Also Allaah provides for the one who obeys and fears Him from sources he never could imagine.
Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) said:
[وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجۡعَل لَّهُ ۥ مِنۡ أَمۡرِهِۦ يُسۡرً۬ا ]
‘’And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him.’’ [65:4]
Indeed, from the (good) outcomes of fearing Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) is that Allaah will make a person’s affairs easy. Allaah will facilitate for him the paths towards good and opens for him paths that leads to happiness in this life and the afterlife.
Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) said: [وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يُكَفِّرۡ عَنۡهُ سَيِّـَٔاتِهِۦ وَيُعۡظِمۡ لَهُ ۥۤ أَجۡرًا -And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will remit his sins from him, and will enlarge his reward]. [65:5] This is related to the rewards in the hereafter that comes about as a result of one’s fear of Allaah (Glorified Be He)
Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) said:
[يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِن تَتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ يَجۡعَل لَّكُمۡ فُرۡقَانً۬ا وَيُكَفِّرۡ عَنڪُمۡ سَيِّـَٔاتِكُمۡ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ ذُو ٱلۡفَضۡلِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ ]
‘’O you who believe! If you obey and fear Allah, He will grant you Furqan a criterion [(to judge between right and wrong), or (Makhraj, i.e. making a way for you to get out from every difficulty)], and will expiate for you your sins, and forgive you, and Allah is the Owner of the Great Bounty.’’ [8:29]
This noble ayah shows the fact that the one who fears Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic), acts in obedience to Allaah and His Messenger, then indeed Allaah will grant him a criterion to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and he will follow the path of Allaah upon clear sightedness and guidance in this worldly life. And in the afterlife Allaah will reward him by wiping away his evil deeds and forgive him his sins.
Also, Allaah (The Most High) stated in the last part of the ayah that discusses the ettiquettes to be employed in dealing with loans and debts: [وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَۖ وَيُعَلِّمُڪُمُ ٱللَّهُۗ-So be afraid of Allah; and Allah teaches you].[2:282]
And Allaah stated in the story of Nooh (alayhis-salaam) and his people:
فَقُلۡتُ ٱسۡتَغۡفِرُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ غَفَّارً۬ا
يُرۡسِلِ ٱلسَّمَآءَ عَلَيۡكُم مِّدۡرَارً۬ا
وَيُمۡدِدۡكُم بِأَمۡوَٲلٍ۬ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجۡعَل لَّكُمۡ جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ وَيَجۡعَل لَّكُمۡ أَنۡہَـٰرً۬ا
“I (Nooh) said (to them): ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord; Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance; And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.’ [71-10-12]
The affairs mentioned in the above verses are (good) outcomes of Ibaadah (worship); because the act of worship mentioned here is [الْإِسْتِغْفَار –to seek forgiveness] and its (good) outcome is that Allaah will send down rain upon them in abundance; give them an increase in wealth and children, and bestow on them gardens and rivers.
Also, similar to this above ayah is what Allaah mentioned about Hud (alayhis-salaam) and his people (i.e. a command Allaah commanded Prophet Hud to convey to his people):
[وَيَـٰقَوۡمِ ٱسۡتَغۡفِرُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ يُرۡسِلِ ٱلسَّمَآءَ عَلَيۡڪُم مِّدۡرَارً۬ا وَيَزِدۡڪُمۡ قُوَّةً إِلَىٰ قُوَّتِكُمۡ]
“And O my people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him, He will send you (from the sky) abundant rain, and add strength to your strength.’’ [11:52]
Also, similar to this is what Allaah stated about His Prophet Muhammad (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and the people (i.e. a command Allaah commanded Prophet Muhammad to convey to the people): [وَأَنِ ٱسۡتَغۡفِرُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ يُمَتِّعۡكُم مَّتَـٰعًا حَسَنًا إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍ۬ مُّسَمًّ۬ى وَيُؤۡتِ كُلَّ ذِى فَضۡلٍ۬ فَضۡلَهُ ۥۖ – Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace (i.e. the one who helps and serves needy and deserving, physically and with his wealth, and even with good words) [11:3]
Allaah (The Most High) said:[مَنۡ عَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا مِّن ذَڪَرٍ أَوۡ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤۡمِنٌ۬ فَلَنُحۡيِيَنَّهُ ۥ حَيَوٰةً۬ طَيِّبَةً۬ۖ وَلَنَجۡزِيَنَّهُمۡ أَجۡرَهُم بِأَحۡسَنِ مَا ڪَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ-Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter).[16:97]
In this noble ayah is established the fact that Eemaan and righteous action leads to a good and happy–a life filled with fear of Allaah and obedience to Him, and obedience to Allaah’s Messenger, as well as abundant reward for a person in the afterlife.
As for the narrations found in the Sunnah regarding the good outcomes of the Ibaadaat (i.e. acts of worship) in the life of a Muslim, there is that great and precious advice of the noble Prophet (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam) which he gave to Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu anhuma), saying:
[احْفَظْ اللَّهَ يَحْفَظْكَ احْفَظْ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَكَ – Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him before you.’’ This hadeeth was reported by Imaam Tirmidhee (number 2516) and he graded it Hasan Saheeh. And in another wording of this hadeeth reported by Imaam Ahmad (Number 2803), the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said to Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu-anhumaa): [احفظ الله تجده أمامك ، تعرف إلى الله في الرخاء يعرفك في الشدة– Be Mindful of Allaah, and you will find Him in front of you. Acknowledge Allaah in times of ease and prosperity, and He will acknowledge you in times of hardship.’’ This is the 19th hadeeth amongst the 40 ahaadeeth of Imaam An-Nawawi [rahimahullaah]
(Imaam) Ibn Rajab (rahimahullaah) made some precious comments on this hadeeth in Jaami-ul Uloom Wal Hikam; he said: The protection of Allaah for His slave occurs in two ways: (a) Protection of the person’s body, wealth, children and family; and (b) protection of his religion, so that he is safeguarded from those doubts that lead to misguidance and from forbidden desires, and thus he finds himself in a state of uprightness and steadfastness in his religious and worldly affairs. This is Allaah’s Protection for the one who is mindful of Him—the one who remains within the limits imposed by Allaah-by fulfilling Allaah’s commandments and keeping away from what Allaah has forbidden. Allaah rewards this person due to him being mindful of Allaah and reward is given in accordance with one’s actions. Indeed the statement of the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam): [يَحْفَظْكَ‘’He (Allaah) will protect you] is a reward from the good outcomes that are obtained as a result of righteous action, and reward is given in accordance with a person’s actions.
And as for the statement of the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam): [احْفَظْ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَكَ- Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him before you]; meaning: you will find Allaah in front of you- Allaah will guard and protect you, and He will protect you from every evil.
And as for the statement of the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam): [تعرف إلى الله في الرخاء يعرفك في الشدة- Acknowledge Allaah in times of ease and prosperity, and He will acknowledge you in times of hardship]; meaning: if you remain upon obedience to Allaah and His Messenger in times of ease and well-being, then indeed Allaah will reward you by protecting you during times of severe hardship and during critical situations.
And what will shed more light on this is the story of the three people who were walking, so rain began to fall and they had to enter a cave in a mountain. A big rock rolled over and blocked the mouth of the cave and they were unable to come out; so it seemed as if they were in a grave whilst being alive. Then they reminded one another and remembered what will remove them from that severe hardship, and that was to recall some righteous actions they performed for the Sake of Allaah in times of ease and so that they can utilise those righteous actions as a means of Tawassul (i.e. to invoke Allaah with the best deed they performed in the past). So one of them invoked Allaah whilst mentioning the kind treatment he showed to his parents; the second invoked Allaah whilst mentioning his abandoning fornication for the sake of Allaah even though he was able to do so; and the third invoked Allaah whilst mentioning the incident when he fulfilled the rights of an employee who departed before collecting his wages. All of them invoked Allaah whilst mentioning a righteous action they had performed in times of ease, so Allaah caused the rock to move away and they came out of the cave. [Ref1]
[Ref 1]: Here is the text of the hadeeth about those three men: Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: The Prophet said, “While three persons were walking, rain began to fall and they had to enter a cave in a mountain. A big rock rolled over and blocked the mouth of the cave. They said to each other, ‘Invoke Allah with the best deed you have performed (so Allah might remove the rock)’. One of them said, ‘O Allah! My parents were old and I used to go out to graze (my animals). On my return I would milk (the animals) and take the milk in a vessel to my parents to drink. After they had drunk from it, I would give it to my children, family and wife. One day I was delayed and on my return I found my parents sleeping, and I disliked to wake them up. The children were crying at my feet (because of hunger). That state of affairs continued till it was dawn. O Allah! If You regard that I did it for Your sake, then remove this rock so that we may see the sky.’ So, the rock was moved a bit. The second said, ‘O Allah! You know that I was in love with a cousin of mine, like the deepest love a man may have for a woman, and she told me that I would not get my desire fulfilled unless I paid her one-hundred Dinars (gold pieces). So, I struggled for it till I gathered the desired amount, and when I sat in between her legs, she told me to be afraid of Allah, and asked me not to deflower her except rightfully (by marriage). So, I got up and left her. O Allah! If You regard that I did if for Your sake, kindly remove this rock.’ So, two-thirds of the rock was removed. Then the third man said, ‘O Allah! No doubt You know that once I employed a worker for one Faraq (three Sa’s) of millet, and when I wanted to pay him, he refused to take it, so I sowed it and from its yield I bought cows and a shepherd. After a time that man came and demanded his money. I said to him: Go to those cows and the shepherd and take them for they are for you. He asked me whether I was joking with him. I told him that I was not joking with him, and all that belonged to him. O Allah! If You regard that I did it sincerely for Your sake, then please remove the rock.’ So, the rock was removed completely from the mouth of the cave.” [See Saheeh Bukhaari. (Number: 2215)] and Saheeh Muslim (Number 2743)]
Salaah, Zakaat, Sawm and Hajj:
Also Salaah, Zakaat, Fasting and Hajj are acts of worship and each of them has good outcomes in the life of a Muslim. 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.)” [29:45]
Also 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.” [Ref2]
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: 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. And he said to him: Servant of Allah, why do you ask me my name? He said: I heard a voice from the clouds of which It is 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 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.’’ And in another narration of this same hadeeth, he said: I earmark one-third for the poor, the needy and the wayfarer. [Ref 3]
References: [Ref 2] Here is the full text of the hadeeth: Narrated Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu-anhumaa): When the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) send Mu’aadh to Yemen, he said to him, ‘’You are going to nation from the people of the Scripture, so let the first thing to which you will invite them is they should testify to the Tawheed of Allaah [i.e. Laa ilaaha Il-lal laah (None has the right to be worshipped except Allaah)]. If they accept that, tell them that Allaah has enjoined on them, five obligatory congregational Salaat (prayers) to be offered in one day and one night. 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. And if they agree to that, then take from them Zakaat, but avoid the best property of the people.’’ [Saheeh al-Bukhaari (The Book of Tawheed) Vol 9. Hadeeth Number: 7372. Daarus Salaam Print]
[Ref 3] [Saheeh Muslim: Kitaab Az-Zudh War-Riqaaq. Hadeeth Number 2984. Chapter: Charity to the Masaakeen]
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.” [Ref 4] 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.”[Ref 5]
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.”[Ref 6]
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. References: [Ref 4] Bukhaari No1894 and Muslim No: 1151. [Ref 5]Muslim No: 2822 and Bukhaari No: 6487] [Ref 6] Bukhaari No: 5065
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.”[Ref 7]
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…)” [Ref 8]
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.”[Ref 9]
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.’’ [Ref 10]
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.
Shaikh Abdul Muhsin (may Allaah preserve and protect him) ended by asking Allaah to guide all of us to that which Allaah loves, and that Allaah includes us among those who listen to admonition and follow the best of it; and that Allaah includes us among those who are guided and guiding others. Then the Shaikh (may Allaah protect and preserve him) sent the salutations upon the Prophet, his family and companions.
[An Excerpt from أثر العبادات في حياة المسلم pages: 4-31: slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 7] Bukhaari. Number 1773 and Muslim. Number 1349
[Ref 8]Bukhaari Number: 26 and Muslim Number 83
[Ref 9]Bukhaari Number: 1521 and Muslim 1350
[Ref 10] Bukhaari. 1597 and Muslim 1270