Rahimia Magazine (June, 2014)
Islam is a comprehensive program to civilize and sophisticate all aspects of human life. It has offered a system of religious practices to spread balance and harmony in human life which enables human beings to remain psychologically aware and practically vigilant. This spiritual system helps an individual to face difficulties and to solve the problems of practical life with courage and commitment. It also cultivates the attributes of progress, mental maturity and broader vision in a human being.
In Islam, true spirit of these practices is to revive the relationship of an individual with his Creator and to spend all of his abilities for the betterment of mankind and progress of society while following the guidelines of Almighty. Only objective of all his efforts is to gain the appreciation and consent of Allah. The major practices of the religious curriculum devised by Islam are Namaz, Zakat, Fasting in the month of Ramzan and Hajj. It is a universal and eternal principle that every action whether good or bad bears some effect or result. In this universe, even the movement of the smallest particle is not without any reason. There is no speech or action in our life which is devoid of outcomes.
Since man is supposed to be the supreme creation of the Almighty, how can his actions be without any consequence? Similarly, how can it be so that different practices which are made obligatory by Almighty are without any purpose and result? Hence, we have to realize that these practices are of huge importance and target oriented. Holy Quran itself has highlighted that the objective of these practices is to develop certain attributes in mankind. For example, it was stated about Namaz: “Verily, Namaz prohibits from all sorts of visible and hidden wrong doings” (Surah Al-Ankboot). Moreover, Namaz teaches us to establish discipline, social equality and collectivism in society. About fasting in the month of Ramazan, it was stated: “Fasting has been made compulsory for you so that you may become God fearing [upholder of justice]” (Surah Al-Tauba). Fasting also teaches us purification of inner self, dominance of humanistic values over inhumane desires and obeying of law. Similarly, it is stated about Zakat: “It is the source of physical and spiritual cleansing and purity” (Surah Al-Tauba). It is also stated in Surah Al-Tauba at another place: “It (Zakat) is for poor, weak, servants, financial defaulters and passengers.” Other objectives of Zakat include economic justice, mutual cooperation and an automatic strategy to maintain economic equilibrium in the society. Regarding Hajj, Quran states: “Anyone who aspires to perform Hajj must abstain from abusive language, quarrel and violation of law and social contracts. (Surah Al-Tauba)” It means that a person performing Hajj shall not commit any act of damage and injury to humanity. Apart from this, Hajj teaches us the lesson of equality, international collectivism and oneness of humanity.
Although, personal results of these practices are also desirable, but the rectification and betterment of human society is the ultimate goal of Islam. Reason for preferring collectivism over individualism is the fact that disorder of society prevents even the noblest actions of an individual from being fruitful and effective.Therefore, Islam desires to see the effects of these practices on social and collective level. Shah Waliullahh as described different objectives of religious practices in his various writings. Among these objectives, he describes the development of four basic morals of humanity in the society as a major objective of religious practices. These basic morals include the mental, physical and practical cleanliness, humbleness and obedience to the supreme creator alone, dominance of values of sacrifice and collective betterment over personal desires and lastly, implementation of social, political and economic justice in the society.
Today, we have to analyze our religious practices and assess what collective betterment they have brought in the society? If we are satisfied with our religious practices and remain insensitive towards the overall disorder of the society, then we must keep in mind the eventual end of the pious and religious man of Bani- Israel who ignored his societal responsibilities and remained busy in his individualistic rituals. Due to his silence and insensitivity towards the problems of society, Allah ordered the angel of wrath to turn the whole nation upside down on that pious man so that he may be the first and foremost person to face the wrath of Almighty which was the ultimate outcome of the collective wrongdoings of the society.
Translation: Muhammad Usman, Faisalabad