In the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world fast during the day and perform extended prayers at night to become closer to Allah (swt). This is in contrast to the many societies Muslims reside in which are dominated by materialism and self-interest as a means to seek tranquillity in their lives.
How is it that Muslims refrain from food and drink for up to 22 hours a day depending on which country they live in? The answer is simply that they are answering the command from the Creator. Allah (swt) says:
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” [Al-Baqarah : 183].
Other verses similar to this highlight the greatness of fasting and other acts of worship such as praying five times a day, paying zakat – an annual compulsory tax, and sadaqah – voluntary charity. Muslims carry out these acts with no hesitation to worship and please the creator of man, life and the universe.
In addition to this, the code of conduct for Muslims in society is the same criterion i.e. halal and haram based on the Islamic Shariah and not their personal whims and desires.
Islam teaches Muslims that private and public actions are guided by piety and result in behaviours of fairness, justness and respect towards other people – irrespective of race, religion or status.
This is in huge contrast to the wider non-Islamic societies whose concepts and criterion are on a secular godless basis, where wealth is seen to be the backbone of success and finding a partner to fall in love with is the height of happiness.
Secular societies have produced the following codes of conduct for people: self-benefit, individualism and seeking as much pleasure in this worldly temporal life to the detriment of others.
This leads to known problems at a societal level: such as wealth inequality with visible gaps between the rich and poor, racism and gender inequality, where women are still campaigning for equal rights in pay and are still used as objects in various industries.
Secular societies have resulted in the biggest casualty mankind has witnessed. For example, the breakup of the family which is the most basic unit of a community and wider society is on the verge of collapse.
Crimes such as murder, theft, fraud and knife crime are at an all-time high. Prisons are overpopulated so much that many criminals are handed fines and given community service orders rather than prison.
As if this is not bad enough, there are also no conceptual anchors to deal with the loss of jobs, family members or suffering from illnesses. Is it really then of any wonder, why mental health is so common and depression is at an all-time high?
It is a part of human nature to worship and sanctify a creator and to seek guidance on how to live life in the best possible way. For Muslims, this is done by worshipping the creator who is All-Perfect, Majestic and All-Powerful. Islam teaches mankind how to deal with problems in life such as loss of life of loved ones, poverty or suffering an illness.
In doing so, Muslims are taught to be understanding and patient and ultimately to prepare for the hereafter as this life is a test from the Creator. This framework acts as the backbone of a Muslim’s life through which life’s problems are dealt with.
The need to worship and follow something greater than oneself has existed since the dawn of mankind. This has been demonstrated by worshipping stars, nature, animals, people or a creator. In the present era it can be seen how sports personalities, actors and musicians – amongst others – are revered by people to the extent they almost worship them by following their actions, looks and lifestyles.
Even scientists, atheists and agnostics look up to something and aspire to be like someone which is a part of the innate nature to worship something greater than one’s self.
The Islamic aqeedah is a rational aqeedah that answers the most fundamental issues of man’s existence, thereby leaving no emptiness nor a false sense of fulfilment, leading to a society which is desperately seeking something.
Allah (swt) says,
“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state – the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah’s creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know.” [Ar-Rum : 30].
Hence, the regulation of this instinct must be based upon the correct rational belief, otherwise people will worship and magnify that which does not deserve worship and sanctification.
Allah (swt) says,
“They are not but [mere] names you have named them – you and your forefathers – for which Allah has sent down no authority. They follow not except assumption and what [their] souls desire, and there has already come to them from their Lord guidance.” [An-Najm : 23].