Back to the Basics

Ahmer Ali
Whenever a person lacks motivation or the desire to do any amount of productive work and laziness overcomes that person, usually it is a weakness in their practice of the basic principles of Islam. So essentially, it is upon us to find out what these principles are and what they should mean to us and how they should define our lives. What is to follow are some basics in Islam that we all should be aware of and it is a perfect opportunity to review or correct any practices which may be missing in our lives, insha Allah.

Often we long for the spiritual power and strength that the companions and the early generation of Muslims were known to have but without us having to do much work to achieve that level. We want to just wake up one day and have this drive instilled in us magically somehow. What we fail to realize is that their success did not come from their numbers but from their intellectual comprehension of Allah.

The key is Tauhid (Oneness of God), understanding Allah and being conscious of Allah's supreme presence. It may be a simple concept, yet it is a very powerful and profound statement. But Tauhid has increasingly been ignored, even though there has been a huge influx of lectures, high-level conferences and workshops.

Let us look back to the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and we realize that 13 years out of the 23 years of his Prophetic mission were spent developing this very concept of Tauhid among the people of the Arabian subcontinent. This is an exasperating number, yet we totally ignore this most important concept. After all, Tauhid is the first pillar of Islam and therefore one of the most important aspects of Islam by far, initially. For it was known that, one who did not truly and correctly understand Allah, could not, truly and correctly serve Allah.

There is much to understand but it is essential to know whether we understand this concept of Tauhid or we just say we do. To believe in Allah and know that Allah is our creator is not enough! Even the pagan Arabs in Pre-Islamic times knew this fact. What Tauhid entails is that we obey Allah, and acknowledge that He is the only one worthy of worship. That we obey Allah out of fear and love and hence work hard to avoid displeasing Allah. And we fear only Allah and seek all help from Him.

So we must first educate ourselves about Tauhid, this is the most important first step in changing our lives, and to begin understanding the attached implications of the kalima. By knowing whom we obey and serve, we can definitely increase the productivity in our lives insha Allah.

Once we know and understand whom we worship, then there is the actual process of worshipping our Creator and the Creator of the heavens and the Earth and everything that exists today. This is where Salah comes into play. If we are no longer motivated in our lives and we are stagnating then we must question ourselves, what may be causing this? Are we praying the 5 daily Salah? Are we praying in the proper and prescribed way? Is our prayer even benefiting us?

Without this connection to our lord our lives will remain dull and stagnant. By establishing Salah, this worship helps to open up our hearts and drives off Satan and all that accompanies such as laziness. Salah gets us on a schedule, as there are certain times for specific prayers. Praying Salah requires dedication that we get up out of our warm beds to make Wudhu and perform Salah in the early hours. This same dedication will then further pass into our lives and make any and all work for Allah productive. We must establish Salah to be successful. Further readings are available at http://www.youngmuslims.ca/publications/salat.pdf which gives a few tips on improving our Salah.

Ahmer Ali is a contributing writer to youngmuslims.ca
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