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The Foundations of Ibadah
  Worshipping Allaah out of Love, Fear and Hope
Source: Ad-Dawah ilalLaah Magazine
Article ID : IBD010006  [35177]  
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One of the most beautiful this about the concept of worship in Islaam is the truly unique way in which it incorporates the feelings of love, fear and hope within the hearts of the worshippers of Allah. Understanding how to combine these three qualities into the worship ('ibaadah) of Allah is one of the most essential things that every Muslim must grasp, ,not least because every sect which has drifted from the Straight Path has strayed in this aspect of worship. The deviation of the other Religions in this regards is clear for all to see: "God is Love! Jesus is Love!" say the Christians, denying the fact that God should be feared too. As for the Jews, then their hearts are filled only with hope - hope in the belief that the Fire will not touch them since they are the "Promised People".

In Islaam however, no worship is complete without the presence of all three qualities: LOVE of Allah, Hope in His Mercy and FEAR of His Punishment. Contemplate the opening Soorah of the Qur'aan - Sooratul Faatihah - and you will see for yourself.

Aaayah 1: "All Praise [and Thanks] are for Allah, Rabb of all the worlds."

In this opening aayah (verse) of the Qur'aan, we have LOVE of Allah and every time we recite this aayah we are testifying to our love for Allah. How is that you ask? IT is because in this aayah, we are acknowledging that Allah is our Rabb and the Rabb of all the worlds. Rabb is usually translated as 'the Lord', but this translation does not do justification to this name of Allah and all the meanings that this name carries. In reality Rabb means that Allah is the Creator of everything; He sustains and nourishes everything; He gives life and death; anything good which we have is from Him; everything is dependent on Him and nothing can happen unless He wills it. Furthermore, for the Muslim He - the Rabb - is the One who has guided us to the Truth and given us good morals and manners.

Thuis when we testify that Allah is out Rabb, then we are acknowledging that He is the One who has given us so many blessings - so many that is we tried to enumerate His blessings upon us, we could not count them. So how could we not love Him? After all, we know that when someone gives us even a small gift or shows even a small act of kindness towards us, then we develop so much love for them on account of that - so imagine then the love we should[1] have for our Rabb who has given us everything: nice families, shelter, security, food, health, and above all, Guidance to Islaam and the Sunnah. We should be overwhelming in our love for Him and thank Him and say: "All Praises [and Thanks] are for Allah, Rabbil-'aalameen."

Aayah 2: "The Rahman [Merciful] and the Raheem [Mercy-Giving]."

In the first aayah of Sooratul-Faatihah, Allah mentioned that He was ar-Rabb. In the next aayah two more of His beautiful names are mentioned: ar-Rahmaan and ar-Raheem. Ar-Rahman means that He is the Most Merciful, that is, His Nature or His Essence is Merciful. Ar-Raheem means that He is the Giver of Mercy, in other words, His actions are full of Mercy and He shows Mercy to His creation.[2]

When we mention these two names of Allah, then we have HOPE. Since He has described Himself as so full of Mercy then we have hope that He will forgive out sins, and no matter how numerous out sins may be, we should never lose this hope, because Allah has told us: "O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah verily Allah forgives all sins [except shirk]. Truly He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Mercy-Giving." [az-Zumar (39):53].

The need to have FEAR in our worship is shown by the next aayah of Sooratul-Faatihah:

Aayah 3: "King/Master of the Day of Judegment."

When we recite this aayah we are reminding ourselves of the Day of Judgement - that awful Day, when we shall all stand before Allah, naked, uncircumcised and barefooted. Some will be sweating so much that it will go seventy arm-length into the earth. People will appear drunk though they are no. On this Day, every person will stand before Allah and account for his sins, knowing that not even the smallest action which he did is hidden from Allah:

"So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom shall see it." [az-Zalzalah (99):7-8].

So when we recite this third aayah of Sooratul-Faatihah, we remind ourselves of this Judgement and accountability and that should bring about in us a sense of fear - that maybe out evil actions will be too great and we will be responsible for it - may Allah protect us from such a fate.

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