1:5 How can I make my daily chores count as worship?
Is worship limited to the five pillars? Or can daily actions also count as worship?
How understanding one ayah can change the value of ordinary deeds.
You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help. (1:5)
Once we have praised Allah Almighty and recognised that He is the source of everything we have, we turn to Him in worship and need. There is an emphasis on the fact we worship Allah exclusively inherent in the structure of the sentence: ‘You alone do we worship, from You alone do we seek help.’ The alternative construction would be ‘na’buduka’, we worship You, but this does not imply that we could not also worship others, whilst ‘Iyyaka na’budu’ is literally: ‘You we worship (and none other than You).’ Allah Almighty is reinforcing tawheed (His oneness).
Worshipping Allah Almighty is not limited to the five pillars. Everything we do becomes a form of worship with the right knowledge and correct intention. Even going to work and looking after our children, relaxing or meeting friends can count. We worship Allah Almighty through our words, thoughts, actions and ‘tafakkur’ (reflection), which is a commonly forgotten form of worship. Allah Almighty asks us over and over again in the Qur’an, ‘Afala tatafakkarun?’ For example, in Surah Al An’aam:
‘Do you not reflect?’ (6:50)
The core of this ayah is, therefore, tawheed. It links belief in the Oneness of Allah Almighty with the purity of our ibadah and all our actions through worshipping Him alone.
Regarding iyyaka nasta’een, we are asking Allah Almighty alone for His help. We may receive assistance through other means, such as through people, but who has enabled them to help us? It is none other than Allah Almighty. We should be grateful to people, however, when we feel indebted to others for doing this for us without connecting this favour back to Allah Almighty, this is wrong.
Taking the example of medicine, we should believe that the cure is from Allah Almighty and know that He could cure us without any medicine. The medicine is just a means to achieving the cure, while the true cure and help derive from Allah Almighty. We are dealing with the means, with cause and effect, but He Almighty is the ultimate Cause, the Creator of the means, supporting us and facilitating our affairs.
How and whom can we ask for help? Can we ask the Prophet (peace be on him)? In his lifetime, it was acceptable to address him as ‘Ya Rasoolallah!’ meaning ‘Oh Messenger of Allah!’ Tawassul refers to the concept of seeking intercession and help through the Prophet (peace upon him) both in his lifetime and after his death. We can use whatever is authentic about tawassul.
Tawassul was practiced during the lifetime of our blessed Prophet (peace be on him). Following his death, there was disagreement regarding its permissibility. To believe that the Prophet (peace be on him) can influence a situation because of his supernatural power is incorrect. However, to consider that, due to his status (maqam), Allah Almighty will amplify His mercy towards you is acceptable. Sadly, there are two extremes in the practice of tawwasul. There are those who will make tawassul through the awliyaa (friends of Allah Almighty) and even ask at graves, which may constitute shirk, for we ask from none other than Allah Almighty. The other extreme is those who have even replaced the tahiyyatus salah with ‘As salamu ‘ala an nabiyyi’ instead of the authentically narrated ‘As salamu ‘alayka ya ayyuha an nabiyyu.’ We should not take risks with our ibadah. In this dunya, we must seek tawassul through the limits prescribed by Allah Almighty and through the love Allah Almighty has for our blessed Prophet (peace be upon him). We do not believe that anyone has the power to influence our lives but Allah Almighty.
When we worship Allah Almighty with sincerity and follow His commands with obedience, He gives us the guidance that we seek and through it the remedy for all our problems. If we work hard, co-operate with each other and connect with Allah Almighty we can change the mind set of younger generations. And it is possible that we can change the course of history, bringing hope in our troubled world.
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