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For the Believer, Worship Never Stops
Between Formalized Worship and Total Devotion
In our recent classes on Mālikī Fiqh, we’ve been learning about the ḥukm/aḥkām (ruling[s]) of Islām that necessitate a believer to either do a thing or ensure the absence of something: establish prayer; pork is forbidden for you to consume. One necessitates an action that brings something into existence (i.e., the prayer) while the other ensures that it never manifests (i.e., pork is never consumed). But is that all there is? Just black-and-white worship/non-worship? As we saw, the ever-insightful 8th Century Tunisian scholar, Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muḥammad bin ‘Abd Allāh bin Rāshid al-Bakrī al-Qafaṣī wrote in his work on Mālikī Fiqh, Lubāb al-Lubāb,
والمباح هو ما لا يحمد فاعله, ولا يذم تاركه, فإن نوى بفعله وجه الله تعالى, كمن وَطِئ زوجته ليحصّنها, وليستدلّ بكمال تلك اللذة على كمال قدرة الله, أثيب, وكذلك إذا أكل قصدا ليتقوى على العبادة.
The permissible (mubāḥ) is that for which the doer is not praised, nor is the one who abstains from it blamed. If someone intends by their action to turn towards Allāh, Exalted is He, such as one who has intercourse with his wife to guard her chastity, and to infer from the perfection of that pleasure the perfection of Allāh’s power, he is rewarded. Similarly, such is the case for one who eats or drinks with the intention of gaining strength for worship.
al-Qafaṣī’s point here is that even for those acts for which there is no ruling/hukm to instigate that action of the believer, for positive or negative, there is still an opportunity to seek out Allāh, first and foremost, and to seek His pleasure, secondarily, so long as the niyyah/نيّة (intention) is present and pure. In other words, worship is not only acts in the positive (establish prayer/أقيموا الصلاة) but rather worship continues and is ever-present in the heart of the believer even when the Almighty prohibits him or her to formally pray (ṣalāh). And so here is our #everdayarabic phrase:
رَغْمَ أَنَّ الشَّمْسَ قَدِ ارْتَفَعَتْ، وَوَقَفَ الْمُؤْمِنُ صَلَاتَهُ، تَسْتَمِرُّ عِبَادَتُهُ بِطَاعَةِ اللَّهِ فِي عَدَمِ الصَّلَاةِ أَثْنَاءَ شُرُوقِ الشَّمْسِ.
Even though the sun had risen, and the believer ended his prayer, his worship continues by obeying God in not praying during the sunrise.
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