Empowering, Proper Planning, Deen of Practice
Issue 493 » September 5, 2008 - Ramadan 5, 1429
Al-Ankabut (The Spider)
Chapter 29: Verse 45
If we look deep into our daily lives and diagnose the causes of our spiritual, social and psychological illnesses, we will realize that probably something as uplifting, revolutionary, and empowering as Salah is missing.
If we realize the potential role of Prayer in changing our lives and as a constant source of hope, we would regret missing even a single Salah.
Today we have indeed come to treat the Prayer (Salah) as something insignificant in our lives. Very often we hear our elders say, "I will start praying when the time comes." Others, specially the younger Muslims, do not find much comfort, and joy in their Prayers. Due to our treatment of Prayer as a burden, our love and passion for the Prayer has vanished. Our hearts have become hardened, and we have become a depressed and defeated people. As a result, many are searching for 'cures and remedies' to the distress in our lives, through any means available, but are unable to find any because they have ignored the greatest medicine - Salah!
Remember, Salah is an obligation. Whether your heart is attentive or not, it must be performed. You cannot give up Prayer because to you it appears useless. There is punishment for a Prayer not performed. It will be a witness against you rather than a witness for you on the Day of Judgment. Don't give up the obligation but try to infuse it with the purpose it seeks to serve - remembrance of Allah.
"Salah: The State of Mind" - Young Muslims Publications
The Prophet (peace be upon him) showed us the importance of planning. He was meticulous in his planning, and in that way, he taught those around him how important it is to plan one's course of action.
One good example of this was how he planned his emigration from Mecca to Madinah. He decided on the route he was going to take, set a date for his departure, and he made sure to have a reliable guide and sufficient provisions. He arranged the matter with Abu Bakr, and made sure that they could leave from Mecca undetected.
All of this planning, and all of the precautions that the Prophet (peace be upon him) took, did not contradict with his utmost reliance upon Allah in any way. This is because a Muslim is supposed to take all the lawful and practical steps available and then place all of his or her trust in Allah to bring about the desired results. That is the true meaning of relying on Allah.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked whether it is better to tie up one's camel or trust in Allah to keep it from running off, the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: "Tie up the camel and trust in Allah." [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2517)]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) had the utmost faith in Allah, but this never prevented him from planning sensibly for what he wanted to achieve. This is a lesson for those who wish to disseminate the message of Islam to others. It is vital to have a well-thought-out program before embarking upon this noble work. In doing so, we are following our Prophet's example.
"The Importance of Planning & Persistence" - Muhammad b. Lutfî al-Sabbâgh
Deen of Practice
Islam is a Deen of practice and Muslims, being obedient slaves of Allah, must be practical people. Their focus must be on practising Islamic teaching rather than on theorizing or on amassing knowledge. This does not mean that a Muslim should be ignorant; far from it. Muslims are obliged to learn, and they will be held accountable for this obligation. But the learning must be for practising, not to gain knowledge for its own sake. As soon as they learn, whatever they learn, they must immediately put it into practice. If this means changing their lifestyle, they must make those changes immediately instead of waiting until they have acquired all knowledge. By the same token, the knowledge they acquire must be relevant to their current circumstances and their current responsibilities so that whatever is learned can be immediately put into action. That is why the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to learn a few points, put them into practice, then learn more and put them into practice and continue that way all their life.
Learning and practicing are parallel processes that continue throughout life. In fact, there is no concept of knowledge without corresponding practice in Islam. Religious knowledge that is not put into practice right away is considered loss of knowledge.
"Islam: Adopting its Paradigms" - Ayub A. Hamid, pp. 69, 70