Friday, May 21, 2010

Ibada in Islam (part 2)

This is a continuation of a past post, which can be found by following the link:

Ibada in Islam (part 1)


So what is this concept of slavery that we are getting at? Every other slavery is forced, but this slavery [to Allah] is willing. You walk into this slavery, you accept this slavery yourself. Even in Surat Al Fatiha He [Allah] did not say o'bodo (enslave yourselves, worship and enslave yourselves). Instead, we said

إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ
eeyaka na'bodo

We declared (we enter into the slavery and worship you only). That's essentially what we said. So now the uniqueness of Allah's mastery is that we enter into this slavery willingly, and secondly instead of being based on anything else, the primary drive of this slavery is that the master is not hated ... the master is loved. It's a different kind of slavery. What were those five conditions that I was referring to before [i.e. in the beginning of the talk on slavery]?

The first of them is actually love. To be a slave of Allah, you have to love Allah. You can't be considered a slave until you love him. And what that love goes to mean is that everything else you love must be less than the love you have for Allah, and everything else you love must be dictated by the love you have for Allah. So you cannot love your wife or your children or your family or whatever, unless that love is taba'an ... it's underneath/in submission to the love you have for Allah. That's the first condition of slavery.

The second is obedience. [la ta'aten le makhlooqen fi ma'seyat al khaliq] the messenger, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him, said. I.e.: there is no obedience to the creation while disobeying the creator. In other words, yes you have to obey other things like you have to obey your boss, you have to obey traffic laws, but none of those obedience can exist while you are in disobedience to Allah. That obedience comes first [You don’t get rewarded for the other obedience’s]. That's the second consideration of Allah's slavery. The first one was love, and the second is obedience.

The third one is sincerity. What that means is, everything that you do, you do it as a slave now. It's not "somethings" that you do as a slave. If you are a worshiper, only Sala [Muslim prayer] is for Allah while everything else is for you. But if you are a slave, what is everything for? Who is everything for? Everything is for Allah. Everything. Your job is for the sake of Allah, your family is for the sake of Allah, your worship is for the sake of Allah. Everything is for the sake of Allah. But when you just think of yourself as a worshiper you only give one part of your life to Allah, you don't give the whole thing to Allah. So Allah teaches us in the Quran

قُلۡ إِنَّ صَلَاتِى وَنُسُكِى وَمَحۡيَاىَ وَمَمَاتِى لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ
[ina salati wa nusuki wa mahaya wa mamati lillahi raab el 3almeen]
My prayer belongs to Allah (it's for his sake) My sacrifice is for his sake, my life and my death are also for his sake

You know what the means practically? It practically means that when I make career goals, when I make family goals, when I make business goals, what is my ultimate agenda? What are these things for? They are for the service of my master. It's a change of attitude. So even with most Muslims today, when we look at the ayat where Allah calls us to become his slaves, what do we reduce it to most of the time? We reduce it to worship. He [Allah] is asking for something WAY more, something huge, something tremendous, instead.

So we got three conditions so far. We got love, obedience and sincerity. Our motives are now directed by Allah, sincerely for the sake of Allah, and that's what's gonna come up in this aya.

Then two more. The next condition is trust. Tawkul. We have to have trust in our master. Btw, just a side note, these five conditions I quote from which scholar? Ibn Taymiya rahmeaho Allah [May Allah have mercy on him]. You have to have absolute trust in this master. Whatever He does, you have to trust is good for you. Whatever He gives you, it's good for you, whatever He didn't give you, He didn't give you coz it's good for you. If you got something, it's from Allah, it's a gift. If you didn't get something there's also good in that, you have to have absolute trust. Whatever may happen, whatever may occur, it is because of Allah's decree:

مَآ أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَا فِىٓ أَنفُسِكُمۡ إِلَّا فِى ڪِتَـٰبٍ۬ مِّن قَبۡلِ أَن نَّبۡرَأَهَآ
[ma asaba min musebaten fil arthi wa la fee anfosekoum illa fee ketabn min qabli an nabraa-ha lkay la taa-so ala ma fatkoum wa la tafraho ala ma atakoum]
Naught of disaster befalleth in the earth or in yourselves but it is in a Book before we bring it into being

It's simple: whatever you are given in life, you don't become sad over what you lose, you don’t become overjoyed over what you gained, everything is from Allah. Your tawakul is placed, your complete trust and reliance is placed in Allah. So this slave does not put his trust in means. You don't trust your car because it's from a reliable company, you don't trust your family! Instead, your trust in them comes from who? Your trust and your expectations come from Allah, not from your family. When you place your trust in creation you will always be disappointed. When you place your trust in Allah, nothing will disappoint you. Nothing will disappoint you. So this is trust, tawakul.

And finally, it's the terms of slavery, which is a very interesting concept. In every relationship there are terms. For example: the teacher and the student: there is a relationship. And in that relationship both parties have certain responsibilities. In a parent and child relationship, again both sides have certain responsibilities, don't they? Employer and Employee, both sides have a certain understanding. You have to come to work at this time, you have to leave at this time, you leave at 8 on this day, this is how much you will get payed. Do this, don't do this. There are terms. We understand that the terms of this slavery are not dictated by us. We understand that the terms of this slavery are dictated by Him [Allah], the Master. In other words, what does it mean to become a "good slave", that definition does not come from me. Those standards don't come from me. I cannot think of myself "I think I am a pretty good slave. I think I am doing alright" From your own assumption, you can't do that. Those standards of what makes you a slave and what makes you a rebel are dictated by Him and you have no hand in them, nor any say in them. This is the problem with most people in their relationship with God. Even though they will tell you “I love God too man. You Muslims, you love God! We love Him too! I love God too. “Well how do you please him?”Whatever my heart tells me. My heart tells me this is good, that's why I do it" That concept does not exist for us because who's dictating what's good and what's bad? Allah aza wa jal. He put the fitra in us, but what is dictated comes from the master.

These are the conditions of slavery. And this is the essence of this deen. In the end what is this guidance about: you become salve, you accept Him as master. That's the essence of Quran in the end ... that is the juice of the matter. And it is this concept that is nowadays being separated or not being understood in line with worship.


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