The act of worship perceived by Islam

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The act of worship perceived by Islam

For a Muslim, the act of worship is not only restricted to rituals but also includes all activities performed in accordance with the dictates of Allah and His Messenger (SAW), write Sheikh Abdul Baqi Muhammad in this piece.

Worship, known as act of ibadah in Islam, refers to anything we do in our life to please our Creator, Allah (SWT). It refers to all activities, works, deeds, utterances, intentions, movements, among others, which reflect the will of Allah, done to seek His pleasure. Many people think that ibadah or worship is nothing more than to observe the daily prayers, to pay zakat, to fast in the month of Ramadan and to perform pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah in Makkah. Truth is, worship is not limited to only these activities. Naming ceremony, marriage, building of a house, struggling to acquire knowledge, good advice to others are all acts of ibadah if done according to Islamic regulations.

Goodness to parents and family, goodness to our neighbours and to all fellow Muslims are also important parts of ibadah.

Activities like eating, drinking, sleeping, love-making between husband and wife, affection between friends, helping the needy in cash and kind, truthfulness in words and deeds, fulfillment of promises, cleanliness are also acts of ibadah, on the condition that they are done in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammed (SAW).  A Muslim should also know that to follow the Islamic way of using the toilet for excrement, urination or bath is also a rewardable act of ibadah.

All the activities mentioned above are just few of the things we do in life. The question now is, how do we perform these essential activities in our life, considering the fact that a wise person will never embark on a non-profitable job? This is what we need to examine in our religion. This is because whatever we do in a wrong way which attracts punishment, also attracts reward if done in a right way.

Having given a general overview of worship, let us briefly examine some acts of worship with a view to reawakening us to what we ought to do and things that we should avoid in our daily activities.

Naming ceremony: There are laid down guidelines in Islam to be followed in naming our new-born babies.The question is, do we organise this in accordance with Islamic rules? Islam stipulates that two rams should be slaughtered on the seventh day of delivery for male baby and one ram for female baby. The hair of the baby should be shaved and be measured on a scale with a view to giving out the equivalent of what the hair weighs in gold or silver in charity, as stipulated by Islamic law. These have to be done if we aspire to worship Allah in celebrating the birth of our babies.

Burial service for a dead Muslim: What do we do when a Muslim dies? Is there any ceremony to be carried out after the burial involving eating, drinking and dancing? The answer is no, there is none. It is certain that we are all going to die and will be buried like we buried those who died before us. In view of this, we should carry out the burial of those who died before us in pure Islamic way, so that when it is our turn, it will be in accordance with Islamic injunctions.

One needs to ask the following pertinent questions, where do we bury a dead Muslim? Do we go to public cemeteries where Muslims and non-Muslims are being buried? Shouldn’t Muslims have their own burial ground separately from others? Is it lawful to bury a dead person in his house or in a mosque? It is imperative that we have our cemetery, which will accommodate only Muslims.

It is advisable to have among us people whose job will be to carry out burial activities in Islamic way, for which they will be paid. Such job is called in Arabic AI-Isti’ijar, meaning ‘labouring’ or ‘agency’. The duties of such a ‘labourer’ or an ‘agent’ include: ritual bath for the deceased, shrouding the corpse and prayer for the deceased if he/she died as a Muslim. A Muslim woman can also take up the job of al-isti’ijar and as such, her duties will be limited to taking care of the deceased female Muslims. It is necessary to contact the labourer or agent when there is nobody that possesses Islamic knowledge of taking care of the deceased Muslims in the area.

It must be noted here that if the deceased Muslim had before his death made known to the family the name of a particular person to give him the ritual bath of Ghusul Janazat, the family will not have any cause to change it, except if the selected person is ignorant of the duty or is not a Muslim.

Burial ceremonies are a sad event introduced by ignorant people into Islam. It is a sad development to turn the death of a relation into an occasion for people to eat, drink, dance and rejoice. The occasion is organised to take place on the eighth, 40th or 60th day of the demise of the deceased. Some people even celebrate the first, second or fifth year of the death. They kill rams, goats or as many cows as they can afford in adoration for the deceased or for the grave. Such occasion is a great punishable offence.

What Islam requires is that everyone should take care of his/her parents while they are alive; to feed them and provide them with all necessary amenities they may need. Celebration of death is foolishness.

Employment
To employ people for lawful works is allowed in Islam, while the religion forbids doing unlawful jobs. Lawful jobs for which a Muslim can be employed include: praying for people and receiving gift for it; to drive people from one place to another with the aid of different kinds of vehicles; helping pilgrims, especially the aged people, to accomplish Hajj duties in the holy land on an agreement of paying a certain amount for the agent and engaging in several lawful businesses.

Also allowed are works like: performing ritual bath for deceased Muslims; grave-digging; moving corpses to cemeteries; nursing small children; treatment of sick people; helping a dead Muslim to make up the fast of the fasting days he missed before his death, etc.

Sheikh Muhammad is the Chief Missioner, Islahudeen Nigeria Missionary Association, Iwo, Osun State.

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