• Assalamu’alaikum Warohmatullohi Wabarakatuhu...

    Bismillaahirrohmaanirrohiim ....


    I can't give solutions to all of life's problems, doubts, Or fears.

    But I can listen to you, and together we will Search for answers.


    I can't change your past with all its heartache and pain,

    Nor the future with its untold stories.

    But I can be there now when you need me to care.


    I can't keep your feet from stumbling.

    I can only offer my hand that you may grasp it and not fall.


    Your joys, triumphs, successes, and happiness are not mine;

    Yet I can share in your laughter.

    Your decisions in life are not mine to make, nor to judge;


    I can only support you, encourage you,

    And help you when you ask.

    I can't prevent you from falling away from friendship,

    From your values, from me.


    I can only pray for you, talk to you and wait for you.

    I can't give you boundaries which I have determined for you,

    But I can give you the room to change, room to grow, Room to be yourself.


    I can't keep your heart from breaking and hurting,

    But I can cry with you and help you pick up the pieces And put them back in place.

    I can't tell you who you are.


    I can only love you and be your friend.

    May Allah Make It Easy In Whatever We Do


    Islam is a way of life


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  • Assalamu’alaikum Warohmatullohi Wabarakatuhu...

    Bismillaahirrohmaanirrohiim ....


    Strangeness and the Strangers

    By Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah


    Adoptted by Ammar ibn Abdullah al-Hindi

    Based on a booklet by ibn Qayyim entitled al-Ghurbathu wa al-Ghuraba

    "Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers."

    The Meaning of "Strangeness"

    Many times in many situations the people that follow the religion of Allah feel a sense of not belonging, of being out of place, of not fitting in, and, in other words, of being strange. This feeling could occur in a gathering of non-Muslims, but, unfortunately, this feeling sometimes also occurs when one is with his fellow Muslims.

    A person sees his brothers and sisters doing acts that are contrary to Islam, or taking part in innovations that sometimes even border on kufr (apostasy), yet he feels that he does not have enough power or courage to stop them in these acts.

    Some brothers and sisters, especially if they do not have enough taqwa or Islamic knowledge, sometimes buckle under the pressure of their peers and join in these acts, knowing that this is not what Allah wants them to do. However, feeling helpless, since it seems that they are alone in their ideas and without any support to help them do what is right, they succumb to such pressures.

    These brothers and sisters, may Allah have mercy on them, should take consolation in the verses of the Qur’an and the many statements of the Prophet (saws) describing this very situation of strangeness that they feel.

    Why Have They Been Called "Strangers"?

    Allah says in the Qur’an,

    "If only there had been, in the generations preceding you, people having wisdom, prohibiting others from evil in the earth; except a few of those whom we have saved from among them." (Qur'an Hud 116).

    This verse speaks of the few people on earth, the "strangers", who prohibit mankind from evil. These are the same people the Prophet (saws) spoke about when he said, "Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings [ar. Tooba.

    This is a tree in Paradise. So the Prophet (saws) is giving the good news of Paradise to these strangers.] to the strangers." It was asked, "Who are those strangers, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied, "Those that correct the people when they become corrupt." [Reported by Abu Amr al-Dani, from the hadith of ibn Masoud. It is authentic according to al-Albani. Another narration says, "Those that correct my Sunnah which has been corrupted by the people after me."]

    In another narration he said in response to the same question, "They are a small group of people among a large evil population. Those who oppose them are more than those who follow them." [Reported by ibn Asaakir. It is authentic according to al-Albani.]

    These praiseworthy people are called strangers since they are a small minority among mankind. Thus, Muslims are strangers among mankind; the true believers are strangers among Muslims; and the scholars are strangers among the true believers. And the followers of the Sunnah, those that clear themselves from all peoples of innovation, are likewise strangers.

    In reality, however, their strangeness is only because they are the minority and it is not because their actions and beliefs are strange. This is what Allah says in surah al-Anaam,

    "And if you obey most of the people on Earth, they will lead you astray" (Qur'an al-Anaam 116).

    Allah also says,

    "And most of mankind will not believe, even if you (O Muhammad) desire it eagerly" (Qur'an Yusuf 103);

    "And truly, most of mankind are rebellious and disobedient (to Allah)." (Qur'an al-Maidah 49)

    "But nay, most of mankind are ungrateful" (Qur'an Yusuf 38).

    Therefore, Allah, the All-Knowing Creator, knows the most of mankind will not follow the truth. Instead, only a small group of people will be set apart that truly and correctly believe in Him, the strangers from among mankind.

    The strangers in belief, however, and the strangers in character and actions are in reality the majority of mankind, for they are strange to Islam and to the laws that Allah has revealed. Thus we see that there are various types of strangeness, of which some are praiseworthy, some are blameworthy and some are either praiseworthy or blameworthy. We will discuss these various categories separately below.


    The Various Types of Strangeness

    You should know, may Allah have mercy upon you, that strangeness is of three types:

    The first type of strangeness is the strangeness of the "People of Allah and the People of His Messenger" (saws), which we mentioned previously. This strangeness is a praiseworthy strangeness, as it has been praised by Allah and His Messenger (saws). Therefore, this kind of strangeness should be sought and its people must be supported. This strangeness occurs in different times, in different places, and among different peoples. These strangers, then, are the true "People of Allah" for they do not worship ought save Him, and they do not take support from any path except the path of the Prophet (saws), and they do not call to anything except that which has been brought by the Prophet (saws).

    These are the people who left mankind when they (the strangers) were in need of them the most. For, on the Day of Judgment, when all other groups will go with that which they used to worship, they will stay in their places. It will be said to them, "Will you not go as the other people have gone?" They will answer, "We had abandoned the people (in this life), and we were more in need of them then we are today, and we will wait for our Lord whom we used to worship." [Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim] Thus it is apparent that this strangeness does not cause its bearer any discontent. Rather it is a comforting strangeness, a solace to the believers. This is because he knows that his helpers are Allah, His Messenger and those who believe [This is a reference to verse 55 of surah al-Maidah], even if all of mankind left and abandoned him.

    These strangers are again described in a hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik, in which the Prophet (saws) said, "It is possible that a disheveled, dusty person, with not many belongings [Literally, "with two headdresses"], who is not noticed among the people, if he asks of Allah, Allah will fulfill his prayer." [Reported by at-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim. Al-Albani said it is authentic.] Al-Hasan al-Basri [a very famous Follower – tabi‘ - known for his piety, asceticism and knowledge] said, "A believer is a stranger in this world, he is never afraid of its humiliation, and he never competes for its glory. The people are in one situation and he is in a different situation. The people are content with him, yet he is in turmoil [Literally, "tired"] with himself." From the characteristics of these strangers that the Prophet (saws) described is the holding on to the Sunnah of the Messenger (saws), even if the people abandon it.

    They, the strangers, leave all the innovations that their people invent, even if such practices should be common among them. They also stick to tawheed, even if the people corrupt it with shirk. They do not ascribe themselves to anything besides Allah and His Prophet (saws); they do not, that is, ascribe themselves to a shaikh, tariqah, particular madhhab or a group of people. They are dedicated only to Allah, with their sincere worship of Him and Him alone, and to His Prophet (saws), by following the path that he followed. These are the people who grasp the glowing hot embers [A reference to the hadith that is to follow], even though most of mankind - nay, all of them - blame them for this. This is the meaning of the statements of the Prophet (saws) alluding to the fact that they stick to his Sunnah, even if the people corrupt it.

    Allah, all praise be to Him, sent His Prophet (saws) when mankind followed different religions, for there were those who worshipped rivers and trees, and there were those who worshipped idols, and there were Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians.

    Islam, when it first appeared among these people, was strange to them. If a person from among them accepted Islam and followed the call of Allah and His Prophet (saws), he would be shunned by his family and his tribe. He would live the life of a stranger among his people. Eventually, however, Islam spread far and wide. The Muslims became stronger and stronger, so much so that the strangers were those that did not accept the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (saws).

    But, alas, Satan deceived mankind again. People took to the ways that their forefathers, who had accepted Islam, had abandoned until, finally, Islam became strange again, just like it had started and just like the Prophet (saws) had foretold. Nay, indeed, rather the true Islam - that which the Prophet (saws) and his Companions were following [this is a reference to the reply that the Prophet (saws) gave when asked what the characteristics of the "Saved Group" were] has become even stranger to the people then when it initially appeared, even though its outward signs and external relics are well known and widespread. [This is what ibn al-Qayyim, wrote in the 8th Century of the Hijrah, wrote. Imagine our situations six centuries after him. May Allah protect us.]

    How can it not be so, when these strangers are only one group among seventy-two others [the Prophet (saws) said in an authentic hadith that this Ummah would divide into seventy-three groups, all of which would go to Hell except the one Saved Group.], each of which follows its own desires and takes its passions as gods?

    Those are the groups that base their teachings on doubts and innovations and whose sole purpose is the gratification of their own desires. Thus, the group whose goal is to achieve the pleasure of Allah by following the path of His Messenger (saws) will be the strange one among all of the other groups. This is why the true Muslims - those that adamantly cling to the Sunnah - will have the reward of fifty Companions. When the Prophet (saws) was asked about the verse,

    "O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow right guidance, no harm can come to you from those who err" (Qur'an al-Maidah 105)

    he said, "Nay indeed, order good and forbid evil until you see stinginess being obeyed, and desires being followed, and this world preferred [over the next], and each person being deluded by his own opinions. Then take care of yourself and leave the common people. For indeed, after you there will be days of patience, where patience will be like holding on to glowing embers. Whoever is able to do this will have the reward of fifty people that do like him." They asked, "O Messenger of Allah, the reward of fifty of them?" He replied, "The reward of fifty of you" [Recorded by al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud with a weak chain but it has supporting evidence. Al-Albani calls it sahih. See al-Sahiha, #957]. This reward is due to his strangeness among the people.

    So, if the believer whom Allah has blessed with wisdom and knowledge wants to tread upon this path, the path of Allah, then let him be prepared to resign himself to the life of a stranger among his people, just like his predecessors who accepted Islam were treated by the people. For indeed, he will be a stranger in his beliefs, because his people have corrupted their beliefs. He will be a stranger in his religion, due to what the people have done to it. He will be a stranger in his manner of praying, because the people are ignorant of the prayer of the Prophet (saws).

    He will be a stranger in his ordering of good and prohibiting evil, for the people have taken what is evil as good and they have abandoned what is good as evil. In short, then, he will be a stranger in all his matters of this world and the Hereafter, calling to the path of Allah and withstanding the harm of all those that go against him.

    As for the second type of strangeness, then know, O reader, that this strangeness is the blameworthy strangeness, for its people are the evil sinners, the ignorant and the arrogant of mankind. Their strangeness is due to their refusal to follow the correct and straight path of Allah. This strangeness is the strangeness of not conforming to the religion of Islam and, as such, it will remain strange even if its followers are numerous, its power is strong and its existence is widespread. These are the strangers to Allah. May Allah keep us from becoming one of them.

    The third category of strangeness is, in essence, neither praiseworthy or blameworthy. It is the strangeness that a traveller experiences when he travels to a different country, like a person who lives in a place for a short period of time, knowing that he has to move on. One aspect of this strangeness is that all of us, whether we realize it or not, are strangers in this world, for we will all go one day to our permanent abode in the Hereafter. This is the meaning of the hadith of the Prophet (saws) when he told Abdullah ibn Umar, "Live in this world as though you are a stranger or a wayfarer." Thus, this category of strangeness has the potential to become a praiseworthy strangeness if we realize the meaning of this statement of Allah’s Messenger (saws).

    We pray that Allah bless us to be Muslims, knowledgeable and pious, and that He forgive us our sins and bless us with His Mercy. Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of Honour and Power! (He is free) from what they attribute to Him And Peace be on the Messengers. And all Praise and thanks be to the Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.


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  • Assalamu’alaikum Warohmatullohi Wabarakatuhu...

    Bismillaahirrohmaanirrohiim ....

    Blessing of Health and Free Time


    By Shaykh Usaamah Khayyaat

    All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.  Peace and blessings be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.

    Fellow Muslims! Fear Allah Whose knowledge and mercy encompass all things. Thank Him for the unseen and evident blessings He bestowed upon you. Remember that He has promised the grateful that He would give him more and promised the ingrate that He would punish him severely.


    Allah endows His servants with many blessings as He says,“And if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily! Man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate).”(Ibraaheem 14:34) 


    In the midst of these abundant blessings are two favour's in which may people are deluded. The Messenger of Allah mentioned them when he said, “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing righteous deeds.” (Al-Bukhaaree)

    Many are those whom Allah blessed with hearing, seeing and power and youthfulness and yet they fail to use these blessings to seek Allah’s pleasure and His abode of Honour, and they fail to use them in what can bring about happiness in this world and the Hereafter. They forgot that the bane of blessing is removal.

    There are many healthy people who are later weighed down by diseases that lead them to early old age and prevent them from enjoying what they desire.

    There are others who spent their youthful days in forbidden things and desires; they did not seek the pleasure of their Lord or put forth good deeds by which they can attain happiness when they meet Him. Theirs is a loss upon loss and regret upon regret. This is because they wasted the opportunities provided for them.

    Brethren in faith! Free time is also a blessing that Allah bestows upon His servants. So if Allah blesses someone with free time and he does not show the gratitude for this blessing through deeds that can elevate him, bring prosperity to his society or strengthen his nation but instead of that, spends it in fun and pastime and sinful words and deeds thereby wasting that precious time, such a person is in a serious and irrevocable loss.

    It is in the light of this that the Prophetic admonition came thus, “Seize the opportunity of five things before five things come to you: Your life before your death, your health before your illness, your free time before your time of occupation, your youthfulness before your old age and your time of wealth before your time of poverty.”


    One of the most beautiful and the most successful means of using free time is the habit of some wise people, who, during the end of session holidays, spend their time in things that benefit them physically and intellectually and in righteous deeds and in enjoying pleasant lawful things. They do not spend their holidays in keeping awake during nights engaging in gossips and rumours and spreading lies that lead to evil consequences, roaming about in market places causing disturbance and bothering believing men and women or watching useless and immoral satellite programs that are abhorrent to Allah

    To these righteous people, holidays are not an opportunity to sleep for most hours of the day and as a result stay away from congregational prayers or abandon useful activities or give free reign to indolence. Rather, they regard holidays as reinforcement in competition in righteous deeds and to an opportunity to enjoy pleasant lawful things. This is because they understand the great responsibility of standing before the One Who endowed them with these blessings on the Day of Resurrection. This is a responsibility that the Prophet referred to in his saying, “The feet of man will not slip on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked of five things: of his life as to how he spent it; his youth as to how he used it; his wealth as to where he got it and how he spent it; and of his knowledge as to what he did with it.”

    They also realise the greatness of the responsibility that is upon fathers, mothers and teachers as regards managing our youths’ free times, teaching them on how to use their time in the most fruitful way and making them the best youth ever evolved for mankind.

    Above all, they certainly realise that the path of gratitude that they take leads to more blessings. For, Allah says,

    “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily My Punishment is indeed severe.”

    (Ibraaheem 14:7)

    The responsibility of parents towards their sons and daughters should not be neglected at any time. The Messenger of Allah said, “Every one of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. The ruler who has authority over people, is a guardian and is responsible for them, a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them; a woman is a guardian of her husband's house and children and is responsible for them; a slave is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for it; so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges.” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)

    It is therefore incumbent upon every Muslim who hears this Prophetic declaration not to shirk his responsibility towards those who are under his guardianship. Holiday is not an occasion for overlooking children’s behaviours under the excuse of allowing them to have fun. Holiday should not be made a pretext to give children free rein to do whatever they like. It should rather be an avenue for giving them greater care.

    In fact, during the holiday season the children need more of wise and judicious supervision and continuous follow-up. This is because; there are many dangers that are threatening our youth and they are more exposed to hazards.

    Dear brethren! Fear Allah and emulate the successful and righteous servants of Allah Follow their path in giving thanks to Allah for His uncountable blessings on you. Show gratitude to Him in order to avert calamities and as a way of fulfilling your responsibilities to Him, and always remember him.


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  • Assalamu’alaikum Warohmatullohi Wabarakatuhu...

    Bismillaahirrohmaanirrohiim ....


    Perfecting Moral Integrity

     By Shaykh Salman al-`Awdah

    Among the Prophet's (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) authentic supplications are:

    "O Allah, guide me to good character, none guides to good character but You...." [Recorded by Muslim]

     "O Allah, I seek refuge in you from bad character, deeds, and desires." [Recorded by Tirmidhi.]

    "O Allah, You perfectly created me, so perfect my character." [Recorded by Ahmad]

    "O Allah, I seek refuge in you from disability and laziness; from cowardice and avarice; from decrepitude and harshness; from negligence and impoverishment from lowness and humiliation. And I seek refuge in You from poverty and disbelief; from sinfulness, disunity and hypocrisy; from notability and riyaa' [show]..." [Recorded by Hakim]

    Perfecting Moral Integrity

    Morality occupies one of the greatest positions in Islam, so great that the Prophet (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) said, "I have only been sent to perfect moral integrity.” [Ahmad, Malik, Bazaar, Haithami and Ibn `Abd al Barr authenticated it. From Abu Hurairah.]. As if he (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) restricted the duty with which he was commissioned to this matter alone...

    If we look at morality as a transaction between the servant and Allah, and between people, then the matter becomes clear. This is the whole religion. How do you deal with the Creator? How do you worship Him, profess belief in His oneness, and avoid His wrath? How do you deal with created beings including the angels, the Prophets, the righteous, the close relatives who posses the rights of love and affection? Including also the different categories of shayateen, kufaar, sinners, hypocrites. Those who we hate for Allah's sake, such as the kufaar, or those who we partially hate such as the sinners who at the onset believe in Allah and His Messengers.

    If we understand morality with an exclusive meaning, a transaction with the people only, then the hadeeth demonstrates the greatness of genuine morality, and its high position in the religion.

    Therefore, it its like the hadeeth, "Hajj is 'Arafah." [Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nisaa’ee, Ibn Majah, Darimy and others. All upon 'Abd al-Rahmaan bin Yahmir al-Dayliy.] And the hadeeth, "The religion is sincere advice." [Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Nisaa'ee from a hadeeth complete with Darimy.] That is not that the whole of Hajj is restricted to `Arafah, nor the whole religion restricted to sincere advice.

    But it signifies that standing on `Arafah is the greatest of the pillars of Hajj, and that sincere advice holds a lofty position in the religion.

    Therefore, in this hadeeth, there is no uncertainty of these two meanings, and both of them emphasize the greatness of morality in Islam.


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  • Assalamu’alaikum Warohmatullohi Wabarakatuhu...

    Bismillaahirrohmaanirrohiim ....


    The Partnership between Body and Soul

     Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

    The dualism between the body and soul is very clearly evident in the physical world. The body is subservient and the soul is in charge; however both are indispensable. It is just that the soul is the master while the body is the obedient servant.

    People have a habit of letting themselves become fully absorbed in fulfilling their physical needs to the utter disregard of their spiritual ones, which are rarely so much as contemplated.

    We need only look at the vast number of institutions that exist to deal with the material aspects of our lives compared to the paucity of those that focus n the needs of the soul – the mosque being one of those.

    The body has its rights and its demands upon us. However what worth does the body have without the soul? It is a mere corpse, no matter how powerfully or beautifully it is constructed. If the soul departs from it, it becomes a wasted husk. Its beauty can only be realized in partnership with the soul.

    If we look to apply this concept within an Islamic context, we immediately notice that our four primary acts of worship – prayer , fasting, Zakâh, and Hajj – and indeed all forms of worship, require the participation of both the body and soul.

    However, the regrettable thing that beset the People of the Scripture – the followers of Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them both) – as well as many of the followers of Muhammad (peace be upon him) – is that of being overly concerned with outward appearances at the expense of substance. There is more concern about bodily actions than there is with the soul. Concern for the outward aspects of worship is something good (though at times it can get out of hand), but such concern should not result in the inner meaning of our worship being forgotten.

    The physical aspects of our prayers are our standing, bowing, sitting, and prostrating. These are bodily motions. These are the aspects of prayer that most Muslims learn and commit to memory, and may Allah be praised. These are the matters that they generally ask about, sometimes in great detail.

    The spiritual aspects of prayer are our devotion, humility, and submission to Allah in full sincerity and devotion. It entails our recognition of Allah’s greatness and divinity that inspires us with a sense of reverence and awe.

    Is there any relationship between our concern for the physical aspects of prayer and our concern for the spiritual? Indeed, there is. When we carry out the outward aspects of prayer, we are, without doubt, obeying our Lord and fulfilling His command by upholding one of the pillars of our faith.

    At the same time, should not we know why our Lord, in His infinite wisdom, commands us to offer prayers at fixed times in a prescribed manner? Should we not wonder about the effects that these prayers should have on our persons and our lives?

    The same can be said for fasting. Why do we fast? Surely Allah does not need our fasts.

    Allah says: “O humanity! You are in need of Allah and He is free of all wants, worthy of praise.” [Sûrah Fâtir: 15]

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever does not leave off false speech and evil deeds, then Allah has no need of his leaving off his food and drink.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1903)]

    We know that Allah has no need for us to leave off eating and drinking in any case, even when we abstain from false words and false deeds.

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, conveying to us the words of his Lord: “O my servants! If the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you came together as the heart of the most pious man among you, it would not increase my dominion in the least. O my servants! If the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you came together as the heart of the most sinful man among you. It would not diminish my dominion in the least.” [Sahîh Muslim (2577)]

    Surely fasting was not prescribed to punish us and make us suffer from hunger and thirst.

    Indeed not, for Allah says: “What can Allah gain by your punishment if you are thankful and you believe, and Allah is grateful and all-knowing.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 147]

    The Prophet (peace be upon him), during the pilgrimage, saw an old man being supported on both sides by his two sons. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: “What is the matter with him?”

    They said: “He had taken an oath to walk.”

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is in no need of this man’s punishing of himself.” Then he ordered the man to ride. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1865) and Sahîh Muslim (1646)]

    Was fasting, then, prescribed for us to attain blessings and rewards?

    Without doubt, Allah bestows immense rewards upon his servants for their fasts. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts in faith seeking reward, all of his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (38) and Sahîh Muslim(716)]

    However, the rewards and blessings that we receive for of fasts, our prayers, and our charity are Allah’s reward to us to encourage us to do these good deeds.

    The question remains: Why do we fast? Why do we get such a great reward for doing so? Why do we pray and embark upon the pilgrimage?

    As I see it, we do so for two purposes:

    The first is to develop our faith and build our moral character on a basis of piety and certainty. Allah says about fasting: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that perhaps you may guard against evil.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 183]

    About prayer, Allah says: “Indeed prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds.” [Sûrah al-`Ankabût: 45]

    About the Hajj, He says: “And let there be no obscenity, wickedness, or wrangling in the Hajj.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 197]


    Allah says about paying Zakâh: “Take alms of their wealth, wherewith you may cleanse them and purify them.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 103]

    This meaning can be seen in all acts of worship. They all seek to build a person’s character and perfect his moral conduct, his beliefs, and his faith. Our worship aims to cleanse and renew our hearts, making them free from base qualities like deception, avarice, rancor, and unbridled lust.

    The second purpose of our worship is to reform the relationship between the person and others. By developing a person’s character and cultivating within him certain values, a person’s worship results in his safeguarding the rights of others on every possible level of interaction.

    This includes the relationship between husband and wife, parent and child, and likewise between neighbors and between the governed and the one who governs them. Even the rights of animals and the environment are safeguarded in this way. Islam brings with it values governing a Muslim’s conduct towards everything that surrounds him.

    All the acts of worship that were prescribed to humanity n the previous manifestations of the religion and in Islam are part of a single program designed to fulfill these two purposes: to build the individual and to develop his relationship with others.

    What meaning does fasting have for a person who merely eschews food and drink and other pleasures that are lawful under normal circumstances, only to engage in forbidden acts like speaking falsehood and mistreating others? How much worse is it to engage in unlawful things in the month of Ramadan, and possibly even during the day while fasting? How is it for such a person who lives a dual life, his worship completely divorced from his everyday life, having no effect on his dealings with others?

    We have a right to ask ourselves in earnest: When will our worship change from being merely an outward act into a reality that is rich in meaning and that carries with it a deep and noble purpose? When will our worship start to affect our personalities, building us into people of integrity who fulfill their duties, recognize their own shortcomings, and work to improve themselves before rushing to judge others?

    Only then will our worship take on its full meaning.


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