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Worship & Remembrance: Why it Matters

(Part 2)

What is the importance of worship and remembrance?

Why not just be spiritual?

I love Allah. Why do I have to pray, fast, read Quran, etc.?

Just loving Allah should be enough, right?

Every time I hear a Muslim say that they are not religious but they are spiritual, I really have no clue what they mean.

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Having spirituality without the guidance of the Quran and the sunnah is like having a car but refusing to drive on the road. The spiritual person is often someone who rejects acts of worship and religious guidance in favor of “doing what feels right” to them. So why not? Why not just do what feels good?

Spirituality, or feeling close to our creator, can only come through doing what Allah- our creator- has prescribed for us. How can we feel spiritual without feeling close to our originator? And how can we feel close to our originator if we reject what He has prescribed for us?

Spirituality without Worship?

Often times when Muslims (or anyone) reject Allah’s guidance, they begin to worship their own desires. There are many things in this life that “feel right”, but lead us down a dangerous path.

Getting intoxicated, gambling and committing adultery all feel great… at the time that the person does them, but the worship of a good feeling will lead down very destructive paths.

Rejecting what Allah has told us in favor of what we like in order to get closer to Allah, is a kind of faulty logic known as misguidance.

When has ignoring the object of one’s love ever brought someone closer to the object of their love?

It’s probably safe to say never.

So how then do we think ignoring Allah’s instructions will bring us closer to Allah?

Even if you call ignoring instructions/guidance “love”, it doesn’t make it love.

Thinking you know better, is in fact called disrespect.

Why We Were Created

To understand why acts of worship and remembrance are important to our human experience, we have to look to our originator for answers. And He tells us clearly that we were only created to remember and worship Him.

{I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me.} (Quran 51: 56)

If we think of it in terms of employment, it will be something most people will understand. If you are hired to design a machine, but instead of doing your purpose at work, you spend your time on the clock drawing pictures of flowers.

When time for evaluation comes, no one in their right mind would expect to get a good evaluation. In fact, when the flower drawings are turned into the boss instead of the machine design, it is likely that you will not be rewarded for not doing your function.

Our relationship with Allah is a lot like that of employer/employee. We have a purpose to worship and remember Him. If we don’t fulfill our purpose, we will not be rewarded for not fulfilling our purpose. Simple.

The Distracted Human Being

Human beings are distracted and forgetful creatures.

Our child asking a question might make us forget where we put our keys. Our phone buzzing makes us forget what we just read. The noise outside makes us forget where we were in our train of thoughts.

Even in our faith, we become distracted and forgetful. And these distractions in faith always come from the glitter of this world. It is a powerful beguilement. And the more we are distracted by the life of this world the more we forget about the hereafter. The more we forget about our purpose, our worship, and our remembrance.

But since we cannot just completely ignore the world, cause you know, we live in it, Allah has taught us how to override our nature of becoming distracted and forgetful. He gave us perfect instructions on how to stay close to Him through prayer, hajj, fasting, testifying our faith, giving in charity, making du’a and dhikr, reading Quran and following the Prophet (peace be upon him) and so on.

Staying close to our worship and remembrance means becoming more spiritual, getting closer to Allah, and fulfilling our purpose. Allah tells us:

{…And establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater} (29: 45)

Worship and Remembrance Are Paths to Peace

Allah is not in need of our worship. Our worship is for us. To give us peace. To put us on a path to success. Allah tells us:

{Verily, in remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.} (13:28)

{And Allah summons to the abode of peace, and leads whom He will to a straight path.} (10: 25)

Yasmin Mogahed writes: “If we are not near to God, who is the source of peace, we can never ever attain peace. […] obviously in this life this is not a physical nearness. Rather, this is a nearness of our heart, of our soul to Allah, exalted is He… And that heart, not the physical organ, is the part of the human being that connects to God in this life before the next life.”

This nearness that Yasmin writes about, that we learn about from the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, can only be accomplished through worship and remembrance of Allah, our originator, the owner of peace.

(From Discovering Islam archive)

About Theresa Corbin
Theresa Corbin is the author of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book and co-author of The New Muslim’s Field Guide. Corbin is a French-creole American and Muslimah who converted in 2001. She holds a BA in English Lit and is a writer, editor, and graphic artist who focuses on themes of conversion to Islam, Islamophobia, women's issues, and bridging gaps between peoples of different faiths and cultures. She is a regular contributor for and Al Jumuah magazine. Her work has also been featured on CNN and Washington Post, among other publications. Visit her blog, islamwich, where she discusses the intersection of culture and religion.