As we are moving deeper into the cyber age, it is becoming harder to manage our daily commitments and keep up with family and social obligations. When we read in our religious texts that the sole purpose of life is to worship Allah we wonder who will pay our mortgages and put food on the table in the evening if we all start going to churches, mosques and temples daily to worship God and do nothing else. It is a very legitimate question and demands an answer.
If you take a bird eye view of human activity over a long period, it falls into two main categories: 1) making a living to pay for one’s individual or collective needs and 2) establishing a peaceful environment to sleep, eat, rest and wind down.
Making a living includes acquisition of tools such as knowledge, education, training and skills learning. It also includes the various means of earning whether through, job, business, profession, investment or self employment. Establishing a peaceful environment means creating conditions for human safety, comfort, social relationships and staying happy and entertained. While earning dominates the first category, eating dominates the second.
All functions of society, whether at the level of government or civil society networks, are about making societies safe, healthy, educated, informed, regulated and well provided for human and social needs. When these basic necessities are attained to a certain level, human beings indulge in fine dining, sports, arts, entertainment, communication and holiday travel. These constitute expressions of human satisfaction manifested in different activities. Clusters of these activities in different parts of the world have formed civilisations and given humanity its evolutionary history and rich heritage.
So where do we fit the worship of Allah in this secular view of the world? Allah’s word is clear. He says: “I did not create the Jinn [spirit world] and humans except to worship Me.” [Al-Quran: Chapter 51, Verse 56].
The answer can be found in asking a related question: what is worship? Worship is both the formal act of establishing five time prayer, giving zakat, fasting, pilgrimage and establishing peace, as well as informal acts of good deeds such as nurturing relationships, helping the poor, serving humanity protecting the environment and following the laws of nature. Informal worship is also remembrance of Allah in every activity, whether it is making a living or indulging in eating and entertainment. Allah says that every soul who is born on earth is provided with Rizq (provisions). Man does not create Rizq, he simply finds it. Allah also says in Chapter 20, Verse 124 that whosoever does not remember his Lord, Allah makes his living a hardship. Islam has introduced a concept of Halal in earning and spending. If our daily commitments are kept within the Halal (permissible) parameters of Islam, then every activity listed in our calendars will become worship. Allah says: “Behold, my prayer, and (all] my acts of worship, and my living and my dying are for God [alone], the Sustainer of all the worlds, (Chapter 6: Verse 162].
Imagine how kind Allah is to His slaves. He has allowed us to count our business, our jobs and our self employment as worship and He has given us the concession to also count our eating, social interaction, travel and sleep as worship, provided these are in line with His divine guidance.
Together with Allah’s constant remembrance in our hearts and with regular worship, our busy lives can still be in sync with His command that Allah has created Jinns and humans only to worship Him. SubhanAllah.