What is basic information about ibadat?
The definition of ‘ibadah is; submission, obedience, worship and bowing to will or authority. In context ‘ibadah means; Fulfilling God’s commands and orders for His sake, and avoiding his restrictions for His sake.
‘Ibadat, in terms of how they are done, are divided into three groups:
- Physically done ‘ibadat: Such as fasting, prayer and reciting Qur’an etc
- Financially done ‘ibadat: Such as zakat, sadaqah, sacrifice (of animals)
- Both physical and financial ‘ibadat: Such as hajj, ‘umrah or jihad.
I. The aim of ‘ibadat
- ‘Ibadah is following Allah’s commands: The aim of ‘ibadah is to carry out Allah’s command; as ‘ibadah has been placed down by The Almighty. It is the obligation of His servants to follow His orders.. This is the reason for creation.
- ‘Ibadah leads to Paradise: A Muslim hopes to be rewarded with Paradise for his ‘ibadat and good deeds, and be protected from the Hellfire. To achieve this goal, a Muslim carries out the ‘ibadat commanded by Allah.
- ‘Ibadah leads to gaining Allah’s pleasure: The real aim of ‘ibadah should be to gain Allah’s pleasure. The following verse of the Qur’an highlights this issue: “Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah , Lord of the worlds.” Gaining Allah’s pleasure is done by doing ‘ibadah for His sake only. Doing ‘ibadah to seek attention, show off or for other purposes is, in fact, a form of shirk. A person must perform ‘ibadat solely to seek Allah’s pleasure and be rewarded in the Hereafter. Thus, he performs his ‘ibadah in the proper manner.
II. The benefits of ‘ibadat
- ‘Ibadah strengthens one’s faith: ‘Ibadah protects, strengthens and enhances a person’s faith (iman). It constantly reminds the person of Allah, thus a person who is frequently reminded of Allah will maintain a more firm faith in Him. Furthermore, one proves his faith in Allah by worshipping Him.
- ‘Ibadah beautifies a person’s character and enchances nobility: Mankind is the most superior creature created by Allah. However, for humans to maintain their great value and nobility, they are required to believe in Allah and worship Him. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) talks about the fact that worship enhances the believer’s spiritual merit: “Prostrate abundantly (worship). Thus as you prostrate, every prostration leads to your elevation by Allah.”
A person’s worth does not only increase in the presence of Allah, but it also enhances among the people. A person who fulfils his religious obligations becomes a respected person in society. This is because such a person will not harm others, he will treat others with love, mercy and respect; and act with justice towards others. Thus, he will be respected by others. Even people who do not carry out their religious obligations will respect and value such a person.
- ‘Ibadah has a positive impact on the human psychology: Worshipping God makes a human experience internal serenity. Every act of worship has a positive impact on our psychology. For example; prayer (salat) calms and soothes the soul. After completion; it gives the feeling of satisfaction and comfort that the obligation has been fulfilled. Prayer instills righteousness and goodness in a person; it teaches discipline and self-restraint.
- Physical ‘ibadat help maintain a healthy body: For example; wudu’ and ghusl help maintain a clean and hygienic body. By praying five times a day, whereby the praying person carries out movement, an active body is maintained. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) has said: “Observe the fast, so that you may be healthy.” Thus, we know that fasting provides benefits to the human health. With fasting; the organs such as the stomach and liver take a break. The fasting body rests and the stored extra fat is broken down.
- ‘Ibadah makes a person punctual and organized: The time, manner and conditions of worship acts have all been specified in the Qur’an and Sunnah. For example; the five daily prayers are to be performed at their prescribed times; not at random times. A person who prays is more organized with his daily tasks and programs; he makes plans accordingly whereby he fits prayer and his tasks into his schedule, thus he or she is well planned. The fard siyam (fasting) is done only during the month of Ramadan. Likewise, the season for Hajj is preordained. Thus, these examples have shown us that ‘ibadat is carried out according to specific times and principles, whereby they teach the worshipper many skills such as discipline, punctuality and how to be organized.
- ‘Ibadah distances a Muslim from evil: Worshipping Allah leads to good character and enhances the ability of self-control. The verse “…Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing…” highlights this very point. A person who stands before the presence of Allah frequently, will indeed be more God-conscious and God-fearing during the day, and will distance himself from sin.
Like prayer, fasting also protects a person from evil. As the Prophet (p.b.u.h) has said: “Fasting is a shield (against sins and wrongdoing).” This is because fasting is not only refraining from food and drink, it includes refraining from bad conduct and evil. Additionally, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) has expressed: “Whoever does not quit lying and dealing with lies, Allah does not require his refraining from eating or drinking.” This hadith shows us that fasting in Islam is not just about avoiding food and drinks but it is in fact avoiding bad behaviour. A person who acknowledges the real aim of fasting, will certainly avoid ill habits and evil actions.
A believer is aware that every action on this earth will be accounted for in the next world, so he lives by this principle and aims to please Allah.