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Ascending in the Levels of Worship: Step 18 in the Journey to Allah

(Ibn Ata’s Words of Wisdom: Part 18)

“God diversified the acts of worship for you because He knows how quickly you get bored.

And He did not permit you certain acts of worship at certain times so you do not go to extremes.

The objective is to perfect your prayers not to merely perform them. Not every performer of prayers perfects them.”

This word of wisdom is actually discussing a very important topic which is the quality of your worship. When you worship Allah (SWT) what is the quality?

Are you bored while you are worshiping Allah (SWT)? Or are you achieving the higher quality of worship, which is to establish the worship, not just to do the prayer?

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He (SWT) has ways of making us raise the quality of our worship. He diversified the acts of worship so that we raise the quality. Allah (SWT) knows the human diversity, to start with the diversity of people.

Some people are very zealous, and they really want to do things, many things, at the same time and so forth. And they want to be consistent with fasting for example, or prayers or any of the acts of worship, without taking any break. So He (SWT) enforces a break on us.

So we cannot fast every single day. There are days that we should not fast. The day of Eid for example, and the day before Eid. And it’s not right to fast Friday by itself, and so forth.

It’s not right to pray all the time. There are times when it is not recommended to pray; in the morning in the beginning of the morning all the way until noon, and before the sun sets and so forth. And these small rules are for us to take a break when people who are too zealous, and they don’t want us to stop.

And Allah (SWT) is directing us, the sheikh is saying, to an important goal here which is the quality of the prayers. Because not every prayer is at the highest quality.

There are three levels of quality that we mentioned in one of the previous steps: Islam, Iman and Ihsan. The quality of doing prayers with your body, and then the higher quality of feeling it in your heart, and then the highest quality of the excellence in prayers.

Actually in scholarship, scholars divided these three classes into humility, awe and happiness.


Humility is when you pray and you feel the humbleness that you are praying in front of Allah (SWT) and therefore you do your ruku’ and sujood and so forth and the prayer in the right way.


Awe is a kind of fear, that is the higher level of prayers, the higher level of khushu’, or humility.

The higher level is to have some sort of a fear from Allah’s greatness (SWT) and His power and so forth. And that awe will make your prayer a better prayer.


Yet, there is a third level, which is happiness, or al farah bil salah, when you pray and you are happy that you are praying. And actually this applies to everything. It applies when you fast just with your body, or when you fast with an awe that Allah (SWT) is allowing you to fast. Or when you fast and you are happy with your fasting and you are totally content with your fasting

These three levels, we ask Allah (SWT) to take us through so that we pray at the highest quality of prayers, In-Shaa-Allah.

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