Allah, the Creator of everything within you and around you, possesses infinite might. Our Lord created us and commands us to obey Him and to conduct ourselves correctly as described in the Qur'an. Everything our Lord demands from us is worship. Fasting, praying, being grateful to Allah, being steadfast, and engaging in good deeds are a few of these acts of worship.
But the majority of people, despite being aware of their responsibilities, do not want to accept this. Because of their sinful arrogance they find it difficult to be obedient to Allah. They do not want to listen to Allah's words since they consider themselves very important. Declining to accept that Allah created them, they dare to rebel against Him. Although it is Allah Who gave them their hearts, ears, their health, and, in brief, everything on this earth, they do not feel grateful to Him for all these favours.
But these people will feel great regret. Being ungrateful and arrogant will cost them a troublesome life in this world and deep regret in the hereafter. The ingratitude (kufr) they display in this world will entail the fires of Hell.
Every person who does not want to suffer regret and be one of those who will enter the Fire must be grateful to Allah. Allah wants us to be grateful to Him and to pray and to worship Him in return for all the blessings He has given us. So, when you see these beautiful and perfect blessings surrounding you-which could never have come into existence by themselves-you must remember Allah and feel thankful to Him. Do not be one of those who fail to notice and appreciate any of the blessings they are given.
In the Qur'an, Allah commands us to practice forms of worship other than feeling grateful to Him. Performing the prayer five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan, paying the zakat (wealth tax) and making the hajj (making the pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime) if one is able are other forms of worship Allah demands from us.
Praying five times a day and establishing the prayer in our lives, in our families and in our communities help us regularly to remember our weaknesses as slaves before Allah. It is an act of worship to be fulfilled at certain times. Allah informs us in the Qur'an that this form of worship helps us abstain from the wicked deeds with which Allah is displeased.
Fasting is also a form of worship commanded in the Qur'an. During the month of Ramadan, Allah demands that we not eat and drink in the daytime. Fulfilling this worship, we show steadfastness while going without food and drink for a certain period of time.
Paying the zakat, on the other hand, is giving a portion of one's wealth to the poor and needy and others who may receive it. As with other forms of worship, fulfilling this is very important because avoidance of meanness, and showing self-sacrifice are character traits that please Allah. This aside, paying the zakat improves co-operation between people and matures the human spirit.
Supplication is a Way to Draw Closer to Allah
Allah attaches great importance to supplication. Allah relates the importance of supplication in the verse stating: "Say: 'What has My Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him? ….' " (Surat al-Furqan: 77) As this verse suggests, a person's value before Allah depends on his prayer. That is because a person who prays asks for what he needs from Allah alone. Allah is the Owner of everything.
Allah creates everything we need. Take, for example, the food that is essential for human life. Allah creates vegetables, fruit, chickens, cows and so on. Allah creates your parents and all the people around you. Allah, the All-Mighty, endows people with the bodies, intelligence, knowledge, strength, health and the opportunities they enjoy.
As mentioned earlier, Allah creates all these as blessings for us. We owe the food we eat to Allah. Similarly, we owe the ability to eat this food to Allah. Think of this for a moment! How would you be able to chew your food without your teeth? How would you digest it without your stomach? Would the existence of food have any meaning if we did not have digestive systems?
You are nourished by Allah's will. Because it is Allah Who gives all blessings to us, it is Allah to Whom we must pray when we want something to happen or to obtain something. Consequently, we must ask for everything from our Lord.
An example will allow you to understand this matter better:
You press a button to turn on the light. Can you say that the button creates the light? Of course, you cannot. The button is only a means, as are the cables transmitting the electricity. In this world, Allah creates causes for every effect. He created water. In dams this water is run through massive turbines, and so electricity is produced. Cables transmit electricity and finally the bulb transforms electricity into light. But the fact is that it is Allah Who creates light. If Allah willed it, He could create electricity without these causes. But our Lord wants us to use our intelligence, to think, to consider what Allah has created and, in this way, to come to faith.
You turn the tap on when you want water. But can you say that it is the pipes or the tap that cause water to come into existence? Just as in the case of the button, the tap is only a means, not the cause.
This is the outlook we must adopt, and it also explains why we need to pray to Allah. That is because Allah creates everything.
A list of reasons why we need to thank Allah and pray to Him would fill millions of volumes of books. That is why the existence of people around you who do not attach importance to these must never dissuade you. Their failure to employ their intelligence and their avoidance of thought and reflection draw them into great error.
Allah informs us of the end awaiting these people. Our reward or punishment in the hereafter depends on how we conduct ourselves in this world and whether we strive to draw closer to Allah. Every person will be recompensed for his deeds in the hereafter.
- How Can We Supplicate?
Thinking of Allah's might and grandeur, feeling awe of Him and praying humbly and secretly are essential for supplication. Allah informs us how to pray in the Qur'an.
Call on your Lord humbly and secretly. He does not love those who overstep the limits. (Surat al-A'raf: 55)
Supplication cannot be limited to certain places or time. We can think of Allah and pray to Him at any moment. Allah commands as follows in the Qur'an:
Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Surah Al 'Imran: 191)
Remember Me-I will remember you. Give thanks to Me and do not be ungrateful. You who have faith! Seek help in steadfastness and prayer. Allah is with the steadfast. (Surat al-Baqara: 152-153)
Allah provides us with examples of supplications in the Qur'an. Some of the prayers of the prophets and believers are related as follows:
He [i.e., Nuh] said, "My Lord, I seek refuge with You from asking You for anything about which I have no knowledge. If You do not forgive me and have mercy on me, I will be among the lost." (Surah Hud: 47)
And when Ibrahim built the foundations of the House with Isma'il: "Our Lord, accept this from us! You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. Our Lord, make us both Muslims submitted to You, and our descendants a Muslim community submitted to You. Show us our rites of worship and turn towards us. You are the Ever-Returning, the Most Merciful. Our Lord, raise up among them a Messenger from them to recite Your Signs to them and teach them the Book and Wisdom and purify them. You are the Almighty, the All-Wise." (Surat al-Baqara: 127-129)
[Yusuf said:] "My Lord, You have granted power to me on earth and taught me the true meaning of events. Originator of the heavens and earth, You are my Friend in this world and the Next. So take me as a Muslim at my death and join me to the people who are true." (Surah Yusuf: 101)
[Sulayman said:] "…My Lord, keep me thankful for the blessing You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and keep me acting rightly, pleasing You, and admit me, by Your mercy, among Your slaves who are true." (Surat an-Naml: 19)
Say, "O Allah! Master of the Kingdom! You give sovereignty to whomever You will You take sovereignty from whomever You will. You exalt whomever You will You abase whomever You will. All good is in Your hands. You have power over all things." (Surah Al 'Imran: 26)
He [i.e., Musa] said, "O Lord, expand my breast for me and make my task easy for me Loosen the knot in my tongue so that they will understand my words. Assign me a helper from my family, my brother Harun. Strengthen my back by him and let him share in my task, so that we can glorify You much and remember You much, for You are watching us." (Surah Ta Ha: 25-35)
Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire. Our Lord, those You cast into the Fire, You have indeed disgraced. The wrongdoers will have no helpers. Our Lord, we heard a caller calling us to faith: 'Have faith in your Lord!' and we had faith. Our Lord, forgive us our wrong actions, erase our bad actions from us and take us back to You with those who are truly good. Our Lord, give us what You promised us through Your Messengers, and do not disgrace us on the Day of Rising. You do not break Your promise."
Their Lord responds to them: "I will not let the deeds of any doer among you go to waste, male or female-you are both the same in that respect…" (Surah Al 'Imran: 191-195)