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Why do we do Things the Way we do Them? – Sunnah

by | Sep 19, 2021

Unfortunately, I hear more and more Muslims say: “Why should I pray five times a day if Allah knows what’s in your heart?” or the classic: “It is the intention that counts.” It is true that it is the intention that counts; the first Hadith in most Hadith books is

“The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention…”

Sahih Bukhari and Muslim

Allah’s judgment is based on this. However, your belief is based on

Ašhadu ʾan lā ʾilāha ʾilla -llāhu, wa-ʾašhadu ʾanna muḥammadan rasūlu -llāh”

Which, loosely translated to English, is

“I witness that there is no god but Allah, and I witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”

These are not just two conjunctions that are said to enter Islam. The ramifications of uttering these words must be understood and are not to be taken lightly. The first part “Ašhadu ʾan lā ʾilāha ʾilla -llāhu” is the reason why you do things: for the sake of Allah (i.e. His satisfaction). That is the intention part.

However, good intentions don’t always turn out so good if they are not sustained with righteous and rightful conduct. That is why the “wa-ʾašhadu ʾanna muḥammadan rasūlu -llāh” comes next. This gives you the way to do things; you follow the guidance of the prophet Muhammad in all of your actions. Both go hand in hand.

Still not convinced… Let’s put religion aside and make a simple parallel between intention and action with school, for instance. Every single university student would say: “I want to finish with an A average!” Well, that covers the intention part of it. Now, how are you going to reach that goal? Is it by partying late, binge-watching on weekends, sleeping in for class… or would it be more like handing in your work on time, studying hard, showing up in class… This is not to say that you wouldn’t have a little fun on the way, but your goal would be achieved by the means put in.

That is exactly the same mindset towards Islam. This religion is a way of life that sticks with you every second of your waken life. With that said, don’t think that all this is easy and comes simply like second nature. Standing up against injustice, giving your acquired wealth, fasting in the summer, washing for prayers on a cold winter day, getting up before sunrise to pray… It is not the easiest path, but it is the right one.

On this last note of prayer, the Tabi’i (the generation after the Sahaba) Thabit Al-Bunani said:

“I struggled with my night prayer for 20 years, then I enjoyed it for 20 years.”

Often, when something is difficult at first, and you push through, you often find meaning in it and also fulfillment. By the way, what is meant by night prayer is not the last compulsory prayer of the day; what he meant was Qiyam Al-Layl (waking up voluntarily in the middle of the night to worship Allah in prayer).

Well, I guess we still have time for one more knock by skeptics: “Why is it five obligatory prayers? Why do we say grace 33 times? Why is…” We could start explaining rationally that these totals instill a routine and are a reminder in number and in time. You could say Subhana Allah 24 times, but it is only on the 25th that you really give attention and focus on it. As for prayers, the prophet (ppuh) encouraged Muslims to do more than just the five compulsory daily prayers. Why? Because we are flawed humans. When you start to pray, your mind can literally wander the world before settling down to concentrate on adoring The Creator of Heavens and Earth. For that reason, the prophet (ppuh) mentioned this:

“A man returns after saying his prayer while a tenth part of his prayer, or a ninth part, or an eighth part, or a seventh part, or a sixth part, or a fifth part, or a third part, or half of it, is recorded for him.”

Sunan Abi Dawud, Book 2, Hadith 789.

Imagine, the most attentive Muslim in prayer comes out with half of his prayer in deed. Personally, I’m not surprised, I just hope I fit somewhere in that range.

To make a long story short, all this is a test to recompense diligent effort through exemplary conduct. You do your work the right way, you get a reward. That’s it, that’s all! There is nothing complicated about it, and there doesn’t have to be anything complicated about it. Most things in life that are rewarding are simple but involve effort, so why would it be any different in regards to faith and the hereafter?

Is there Anything Bad in the Quran? – Existential Questions

Is there Anything Bad in the Quran? – Existential Questions

When I mean bad, I mean something that everyone will agree to as fundamentally wrong. I don’t mean what is acceptable to modern standards, but fundamentally evil. Not only there is no evil within what is ordained, but it can only be depicted as righteous and good when looked at as a whole. Here are some Islamic principles that are listed in the Quran:

Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.”

And do not approach the orphan’s property except in a way that is best until he reaches maturity. And give full measure and weight in justice. We do not charge any soul except [with that within] its capacity. And when you testify, be just, even if [it concerns] a near relative. And the covenant of Allah fulfill. This has He instructed you that you may remember.

And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous.

Surah Al-Anam (6 – 151-153)

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

Surah An-Nahl (16 – 90)

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.

And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.”

Your Lord is most knowing of what is within yourselves. If you should be righteous [in intention] – then indeed He is ever, to the often returning [to Him], Forgiving.

And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully.

Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.

And if you [must] turn away from the needy awaiting mercy from your Lord which you expect, then speak to them a gentle word.

And do not make your hand [as] chained to your neck or extend it completely and [thereby] become blamed and insolvent.

Indeed, your Lord extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. Indeed He is ever, concerning His servants, Acquainted and Seeing.

And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.

And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.

And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly – We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life. Indeed, he has been supported [by the law].

And do not approach the property of an orphan, except in the way that is best, until he reaches maturity. And fulfill [every] commitment. Indeed, the commitment is ever [that about which one will be] questioned.

And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even balance. That is the best [way] and best in result.

And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned.

And do not walk upon the earth exultantly. Indeed, you will never tear the earth [apart], and you will never reach the mountains in height.

All that – its evil is ever, in the sight of your Lord, detested.

That is from what your Lord has revealed to you, [O Muhammad], of wisdom. And, [O mankind], do not make [as equal] with Allah another deity, lest you be thrown into Hell, blamed and banished.

Surah Al-Isra (17 – 23-39)

Most of the accusations come from people who do not agree with the standard of morality or virtue that is ordained in Islam. For instance, the Hijab for women; not being allowed to have a sip of wine or not even having a girlfriend… These practices have become customary in “modern” civilizations, yet they are considered illicit in Islam. Society is always faced with dumbing down standards and laws to curtail the desires of the majority. But the fundamental question remains; what makes it right now but made it wrong before (and vice versa)? This type of thinking induces decadence. Virtues and morals become trivial, unattainable utopias, unrealistic… mockeries.

This was the same discourse used by the people of Lot thousands of years ago when they wanted him and his family out of their city.

But the answer of his people was only that they said, “Evict them from your city! Indeed, they are men who keep themselves pure.”

Surah Al-Aaraf (7 – 82)

Wow! Accused of being too pure… It’s like someone who says: “Ah! He gets on my nerves because he is too polite.” or: “look at her; she thinks she is so superior! She doesn’t even want to dress like us.” and the classic: “Look at that geek; he thinks that his A+ is going to stop him from that face pounding.” What is it that makes that person’s conduct wrong in the first place; what did he do to deserve this reprimand? Is it high self-esteem (or lack of it)? Is it because a person is different (where his difference is not accepted)? Is it because of jealousy (or more likely envy)?

It is sad to see that we have reached a point where righteous conduct is ridiculed and marginalized. Someone who gives his seat on the bus is looked at awkwardly; a student who says Mam and Sir is called a suck-up; a 16-year-old virgin is made fun of. But, as we have seen, this attitude has been present for millennia, all depending on the context and stage in which a society is to be found.

But in the end…

And it will be said to those who feared Allah, “What did your Lord send down?” They will say, “[That which is] good.” For those who do good in this world is good; and the home of the Hereafter is better. And how excellent is the home of the righteous –

Surah An-Nahl (16 – 30)


the process of belief