By: A. A. Mawdudi
The frequency and timings of the Prayers never let the object and mission of life be lost sight of in the maze of worldly activities.
Ibadah (act of worship) is an Arabic word derived from `abd (a slave) and it means submission. It portrays that God is your master and you are His slave and whatever a slave does in obedience to and for the pleasure of his master is worship.
The Islamic concept of worship is very wide. If you free your speech from filth, falsehood, malice, and abuse and speak the truth and talk goodly things and do all these only because God has so ordained to do, they constitute `ibadah, however secular they may look in semblance.
If you obey the law of God in letter and spirit in your commercial and economic affairs and abide by it in your dealings with your parents, relatives, friends, and all those who come in contact with you, then all these activities of yours are worship. If you help the poor and the destitute, give food to the hungry, and serve the ailing and the afflicted persons, and do all this not for any personal gain of yours but only to seek the pleasure of God, they are nothing short of worship. Even your economic activities, the activities you undertake to earn your living and to feed your dependants, are worship if you remain honest and truthful in them and observe the law of God.
There is a major barrier that’s blocking many Muslims from getting closer to Allah and improving their relationship with Him. This barrier is losing hope in the mercy of Allah. Sometimes people think that Allah will never forgive them because of the multitude of their sins. As a result, they slacken in performing their acts of worship and some even abandon them as they lose hope in attaining the mercy of Allah. However, Allah, The Exalted has said:
“Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.’” (Surah Az-Zumar, Ayah 53)”
What we need to understand is that no one is perfect and part of being imperfect is falling into errors, including committing sins. Because committing sins is a part of our design, that is why Allah’s most emphasized attribute is His Mercy. It is a fact that mankind will commit sins. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “All humans are sinners and the best sinners are those who repent much.” (Recorded in Abu Dawood)
It should also be noted that there are several stories in the Qur’an and Hadith about people who committed dreadful crimes and were forgiven when they repented and sought forgiveness from Allah.
So, what we must do is recognize that Allah is the Most Merciful. We cannot abandon Allah due to our sins because no one is exempt from committing sins. At the same time, we shouldn’t use Allah’s Mercy as an excuse to commit sins. However, we should always have hope in the fact that no matter what we do, or how massive our sins are, Allah will always forgive them if we turn to Him sincerely in repentance and try our best to please Him. It is because of His mercy He made us to sin so that we can turn to Him for forgiveness and get closer to Him. Hence, we should never lose hope in attaining His mercy.
Remember to repent and seek forgiveness before it is too late as we do not know the time of our departure from this world.
The Prophet (SAW) said, “Allah the Almighty said:
“O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask from Me, I shall pardon you for what you have done, and I wouldn’t care. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness almost as great as it.’” (Tirmidhi)”
By Khadija Mansaray