“Certainly Allah has created the creation for his worship but it is not possible for anyone to worship Allah in the right way that would please Him, except by knowing our Lord, and knowing his names and attributes, and understanding His religion and His laws, and the knowledge of His reward and punishment.”
These are the opening words of the preface to “Fiqh-ul-Qulub”- the encyclopaedia of understanding hearts. What is most touching about this extraordinary book is that I found in it exactly what I was looking for… simple answers to complex questions!!
For example it would take chapters and chapters to define success and its components and then to describe the obstacles and the reasons why we cannot overcome those. But in this book you can see right from the start… that just in a few simple words the author has stated not only our goal of life but has also identified the obstacles that stand in the way… such that the solution seems to shine out even without him saying so.
Worship of Allah leads to success…
It should be pleasing to our Lord…
By Knowing our Lord
By knowing and understanding:
who is Allah?
What are His names?
What are his attributes/Qualities
What is Islam and its laws?
What are the rewards and punishments?
But don’t we already know all of this? After all we do know that Allah is the one who created us and it is a duty on us to worship him… so we bow down to him five times a day… so what more do we need? This is the common train of thought in which we mistakenly think of worship as a set of rituals which we force down our throats like a bitter medicine which we “have to” take. And that is why even when our bodies are standing and prostrating, our hearts keep wandering in their own thoughts in which they are “involved”.
Our Bodies worship Allah but our heart remains indifferent. That is why it is not affected by whatever we recite with our tongue… isn’t it a common experience that we don’t even know what we are reciting? Even if we know the meaning we don’t remember what we are saying to Allah…
If this is the case then how can the heart be attached to Allah?
And if it is not attached neither affected by the pure words of Quran or salah then how can it change for the better?
And when the heart remains aloof and untouched then it cannot infuse any improvement in our overall character and behaviour. This goal of character development can only be achieved by attaching our hearts to Allah by thinking and contemplating on His amazing powers and attributes.
For this we need to have knowledge… not just information but the knowledge of the heart… Like for example you know there is a person called so and so and he works in such and such office and he lives in that city and his income is this much and so on… this is a partial knowledge in which we cannot hope to have any love or fear for that person. We might even recognize his face but we cannot have any feeling for him because we have never spent any time with him. So we don’t know what makes him happy or what angers him and so on. We cannot have any place in our heart for someone whom we don’t love nor fear. So if we have to take his orders it will be just a kind of compulsion which our heart will not accept. There will be no pleasure in his obedience… and so there will be no pleasure on his side as well.
This is what happens to us when we worship without feeling… the heart remains deprived of Allah’s love and so it seeks love from things that don’t really satisfy its need… and so our worship becomes just a part time job… and we forget that it was supposed to be our goal… our success. And so this mechanical worship does not give us the character of a true believer.
Solution: Open the heart and make it the chief participant in acts of worship. Read about Allah… Think about Allah… be conscious of Him and remember that even if you forget him, he never forgets you… not even for a moment!