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Quality of Ibadah vs Quantity

Shakirah Hunter

As Ramadhan approaches, we often find ourselves rushing to complete khatam upon khatam and we find that we are focused on the end result only. Whilst there is much benefit and reward in completing many recitations of the Qur’an, we can sometimes lose our spirituality and deeper connection to the words of Allah Ta’ala by rushing through the motions of our Ibadah rather than finding a true joy in the words of Allah.

The object of the recitation of the Qur’an as well as standing up in prayer is to achieve a sense of realization that Allah is constantly watching us, and we develop a deeper awareness and connection to Him.  The connection of the heart to our recitation, our physical prayer and in every act of ibadah is in essence the ruh of ibadah (the very soul of worship).

Ibn Qayyim (ra) has explained: “The actions of the heart are the foundation of the actions of the limbs of the body and the limbs follows the heart”.

وقال ابن القيم رحمه الله تعالى: “أَعْمَالُ الْقُلُوبِ أَصْلٌ لِعَمَلِ الْجَوَارِحِ، وَأَعْمَالُ الْجَوَارِحِ تَبَعٌ”
The joy of ibadah comes when the heart is attached to the act of ibadah. You will find yourself rushing to complete your salah, or eager to complete your allocated recitation for the day so that you know you have ticked it off your list and ‘completed’ it. In our rush of life, we lose the essence of worship and that is to find the very soul of our lives within each act of worship.

When we look at the Taraweeh salaah, we often rush to complete the twenty rak’ats so that we feel happy to have performed them. Yet many a time as we rush to complete it our joy of reciting the Qur’an within our salaah is lost. The literal meaning of Taraweeh is to ‘rest’, indicating to us that this is a salaah that should overtake our night with rest periods in between. There should be no haste to just complete and tick off a box.

To understand the true spirituality of Ibadah, we look at the example of a family. A mother and a father both have obligatory responsibilities to their families. A mother has to ensure that her home is running smoothly whilst her husband is grounded in his responsibility to provide for his family. These are fundamentals – yet we find that love often overtakes them, and they do so much more. They buy more than they ‘have to’, they provide with more food and treats even though they are not forced to. It is the deep connection and love that they have for their children that drives them to do more. To be more attentive to every need and to express that love in better ways.

Now when we take this example into consideration – we as believers have certain obligatory acts that make up the fundamentals of our relationship with Allah Ta’ala. We may begin with the obligatory acts – but as we develop a deeper awareness of Allah and a meaningful connection to Him then we begin to find pleasure in worshipping him ‘more’ , we find contentment in lengthening our sacrifices and elongating every meeting with Allah Ta’ala. We begin to look for little excuses to speak to Allah Ta’ala and find a deep contentment in not only physically moving our bodies but in reality connecting to Allah in every movement.

” والمراقبة هي التعبد باسمه الرقيب، الحفيظ، العليم، السميع، البصير، فمن عقل هذه الأسماء، وتعبد بمقتضاها: حصلت له المراقبة

To find this true mindfulness of Allah withing every act of Ibadah- we should focus on the following names of Allah Ta’ala:

  1. Allah is Ar- Raqeeb – we are aware that Allah is watchful over us
  2. Allah is Al Hafeez- IN every moment He is protective over us
  3. Allah is Al- Aleem – Allah is all knowledgeable of every moment and difficulty in our lives
  4. Allah is As samee’ – In every condition He is hearing our every sigh and every plea.
  5. Allah is Al- Baseer – Allah sees us.

 

It is incorporating these words whilst we worship Allah that we slowly begin to create a deeper attachment and relationship with Allah Ta’ala. Our focus should be to spend more time with the words of Allah and not necessarily a more rushed time .

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