By Jenna Evans
Oh mankind! Worship your Lord, who created you and those who were before you so that you may become pious. (Al-Baqarah 2:21)
When we hear the command to worship Allah (Exalted be He) in the Qur’an, what comes to mind?
Most likely we think of completing the five daily prayers, fasting during the month of Ramadan, or sharing a portion of our wealth with the poor. Although these acts are considered the foundations for faith – the pillars (arkan) of Islam – they comprise only one aspect of worship.
Worship, or `ibadah in Arabic, is an inclusive term for all that Allah loves. In other words, worship consists of everything one says or does for the pleasure of Allah, whether it is abiding by the required rituals, living by the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him), or perfecting our behavior.
Allah created us to worship Him and developed the religion of Islam as a “complete way of life” with rules and recommendations to govern our spiritual, physical, emotional, and social lives; these facts, clearly outlined in the Qur’an, suggest that a constant state of worship is not an unreachable ideal, but a rational possibility.
But when faced with the demands of school, work, and family, and desires to socialize and pursue hobbies, how can we engage in the ongoing worship Allah asks of us?
Part of the answer lies in the following seven words: Intention elevates deeds from habit to worship.
The Prophet emphasized the importance of our intentions when he said:
By explicitly changing our attitude from a bitter “I have to do this” to a positive “I want to do this for Allah” many of our habitual tasks can in fact become acts of worship.
The Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet set out specifics on morals and manners that can aid us in achieving a constant state of worship. Each of the following personal and social acts has the potential to draw us closer to our Creator:
– Modesty in dress and behaviour
– Grooming and cleanliness
– Eating and drinking
– Using the bathroom
– Going to work
– Keeping in touch with loved ones
– Exchanging gifts
– Respecting elders
– Kindness to animals
Many of us attend to these everyday tasks with little forethought, ignoring the numerous opportunities to earn reward.
Instead, take note of that which Allah loves, and use the power of intention to remain in a state of worship. As Khurram Murad states in the book “In the Early Hours”:
“Let there be no territories carved up and no frontiers set up in serving Him….Let nothing motivate us but an intense longing to please our Lord in the next world, and let that expectation give a decisive shape to our life here.”
Source: Sisters Magazine