Friday, October 05, 2007
‘Ibadah. We hear the word all the time. But what does it mean?
Linguistically, ‘ibadah means to show subserviance, or to be subserviant to.
From a shar’ee perspective, ‘ibadah has two meanings ;
1. The spiritual conscience of the worshipper–what constitutes worship spiritually.
2. The actions–what consitutes worship in action.
And Ibn Tamiyyah says: “‘Ibadah includes all hidden and shown actions, statements, and beliefs beloved to Allah.”
There are two types: natural and religious.
1. Natural actions are all kinds–normal stuff, things like eating, sleeping, and blinking.
2. Religious actions are performed with a religious intention, and have a specific context and culture. For example, praying salaah is a religious action of the Muslims. And religious actions have two parts: sincerity (to Allah), and conformity (to the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him).
Any natural act can become religious. All it requires is a change of intention. The majority of mankind performs natural acts with no intention of pleasing Allah. But those acts can plase Allah. Intention is the key difference. The muhsin is one who worships Allah as if he can see Him, and he turns every natural act into a religious act.
Yasir Qadhi. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Light of Guidance. University of Toronto, Toronto. March 2006.