FAQ in the category of Worshipping

1 What are the benefits of worship for the individual and for the community?

1. One of the important benefits of worship is that it makes the decrees related to creed and belief settle in hearts and spirits and remain there. 

As it is known, knowledge increases, develops and becomes steady through practice and experience. It is difficult to maintain the knowledge that is not practiced and applied; they will not be very useful to man. The same thing is valid for the knowledge and decrees related to belief and creed. They become steady in man only through worship because worship, which means to fulfill the orders of Allah and to avoid His prohibitions, is like the practice and application of belief.

Abandoning worship causes the positive effect of belief on human behavior to weaken and fade away in the course of time. As the positive effect of belief on human behavior weakens, negative feelings, bad habits and harmful desires cover his realm of feeling and forces man to commit various sins and evil deeds. Therefore, belief and worship are closely interrelated. If we liken belief to a lamp, worship is like the glass of that lamp that protects it from being extinguished by the wind and that increases its light. Pointing to the role of worship to protect belief, the Prophet said, "Belief is naked; its garment is taqwa." As it is known, taqwa means to avoid the prohibitions of Allah and to keep away from harams and sins; we have mentioned above that it means worship.

2. Worship plays an important role in arranging the life of the individual because worship makes the thoughts turn toward God Almighty and places the magnificence and greatness of Allah into the minds of people. This makes a person think of the consent of Allah in everything he does and obey the divine orders and prohibitions.  

Thus, the personal life of an individual is arranged by the instructions of the religion and it is disciplined both materially and spiritually. 

3. Worship plays an important role in binding people together and ensuring peace and harmony in the community, too. Worshipping by turning to the same qiblah establishes an unbreakable loyalty and an unending relationship among Muslims. This loyalty and relationship bring about an unshakable fraternity, a serious love and sincere friendship.  

Thus, the life in the community becomes peaceful and tranquil; material and spiritual development are attained.

4. As for the effect of worship on the moral and spiritual world of man:

A believer who fulfills his worship becomes peaceful and comfortable. He becomes strong spiritually. He lives in peace and happiness throughout his life with the psychology of a person who fulfills his duty.

He will not feel stressed, bored or disappointed. He will not feel depressed and hopeless when he faces obstacles, difficulties and impossibilities; he will not lose his endurance and confidence. The inner world of a person who worships is settled and stable. Psychological storms, controversies and conflicts do not take place in him. 

5. Worship is the greatest means for personal perfection and maturity.

As it is known, man is a small and weak being in terms of his body. However, he owns a lofty spirit and a great talent. His inclinations and desires reach eternity; his feelings were not delimited when he was created. 

What elevates and widens the spirit of man, who has such a nature, is worship.

What develops his abilities and talents is worship.

What elevates his inclinations and desires is worship.

What realizes his ambitions and what renews his hopes is worship.

What ensures correct thoughts and healthy reasoning by disciplining his ideas is worship.

What controls feelings and emotions, what saves man from extremism and excessiveness is worship.  

To sum up, what makes man attain the perfection, and ethical and spiritual maturity is worship.  

2 What are the conditions for worship to be accepted by Allah?

There is only one condition for the worship to be accepted by Allah. It is sincerity. 

Sincerity is like the spirit of the worship that is performed.  Worship without sincerity is spiritless; it is only formality. It has no value in the eye of Allah. 

Sincerity in worship means to worship only because it is the order of Allah and it is a means of gaining the consent of Allah. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi expresses this issue as follows:

"Worship and servitude of God look to the Divine command and Divine pleasure. The reason for worship is the Divine command and its result is Divine pleasure. Its fruits and benefits look to the Hereafter."

If sincerity is used for a worldly interest and benefit, sincerity will disappear and that worship will be invalid; that is, it will not be accepted by Allah. 

In a hadith, the Prophet states the place of sincerity in the deeds and worship as follows:

"Doubtlessly, Allah accepts among deeds and worships only those that are performed sincerely for His own sake and consent."

3 What are the wisdoms behind performing prayers 5 times every day?

In the morning, man is in a state as if he has started a new life and has had the body vitality necessary for the daily activities to earn his living. It is Allah who gives him this vitality and who will make him successful in his efforts to earn his living. Therefore, man is bound to perform the morning prayer in order to thank Him for the bounty of health He has granted and in order to receive help from Him in his worldly efforts.

Every day, from the morning to the evening, man benefits from the bounties of life, health and mind that Allah has given him. Thanks to these bounties, he becomes successful in worldly affairs. The noon and afternoon prayers were rendered fard so that man would thank for the achievements he obtains and so that these activities would be prevented from putting the spirit into heedlessness and gloom.

The evening prayer was rendered fard so that daily activities and efforts that are about to finish as the evening approaches would be ended through a spiritual worship and so that it would be a sign of gratitude for the profits and benefits obtained that day.

After that, man will enter the realm of sleep. Before arriving at this realm, which is a sample of death and which is regarded as a period of peace and relaxation, ending the day with a sacred worship, to proceed to that realm with divine pleasure and a spiritual awakening and to beg Allah for pardoning and mercy will be a sign of a nice ending; therefore, the night prayer is performed.  

On the other hand, there are 5 different phases in the life of both people and the other beings around people: being born, growing up, stagnating, getting old and dying.  

Corresponding to those phases, our Creator ordered us to perform 5 daily prayers so that we will establish a nice balance between our material and spiritual existence and our efforts. We cannot thank Him enough because he ordered us to perform such a worship that is sacred, material and that contains so many benefits.

The wisdom behind the division of prayers into 5 times a day is not limited to what we have mentioned above.

The following explanation of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi clarifies the issue:  

"Just as the second-hand, minute-hand, hour-hand, and day-hand of a clock which tells the weeks look to one another, are examples of one another, and follow one another, so too the revolutions of day and night, which are like the seconds of this world - a vast clock of Almighty God - and the years which tell its minutes, and the stages of man's life-span which tell the hours, and the epochs of the world's life-span which tell the days look to one another, are examples of one another, are like one another, and recall one another.

For example:

The time of Fajr, the early morning: This time until sunrise resembles and calls to mind the early spring, the moment of conception in the mother's womb, and the first of the six days of the creation of the heavens and earth; it recalls the Divine acts present in them…"

4 How should we spend holy nights? What should we do in order to gain Allah's (SWT) content?

There are some important means of deserving forgiveness and intercession, earning thawabs, advancing in religion, being safe from troubles and problems and gaining Allah’s content, which can be –and necessary to be- applied in holy nights. It will be useful to remember some of them in short and with the list below in general: 

1. One should read the Quran and listen to the ones who read. There should be Quran-citing invitations held in appropriate places. The feelings of love, respect and loyalty for the words of Allah, i.e. the Quran should be renewed and strengthened.

2. One should send compliments (salawat) to the Prophet and renew his/her awareness of being one of his followers, and hope for his intercession.

3. One should perform qada and nafilah (supererogatory) prayers. If there are prayers exclusive to that night, they can be performed as well. Holy nights should be spent with prayers and with consciousness of kindness in prayers, in accordance with their essence.

4. One should meditate; “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going to? What does Allah expect from me?” are the main issues which one should contemplate, besides other important matters.

4. One should make an account and revision of her/his past and outline the plan and program of the present and the future.

5. One should repent her/his sins sincerely and should regret and turn to the Lord, considering that night as the last chance.

6. One should perform invocations (dhikr) and supplications to Allah.

7. Believers should make amends with and forgive each other, and assure their content with others.

8. Resentful and offended people should be reconciled; people should be pleased, and sorrowful faces should be given a smile.

9. One should pray for the good of himself and for other Muslim brothers and sisters mentioning their names.

10. One should ask the news of those who have got rights over himself and the necessities of moral quality of fidelity and gratefulness should be fulfilled.

11. One should visit the poor, orphans, the sick and the elderly people and please them with love, compassion, respect, gifts and charity.

12. Verses, hadiths about that night and comments of them should be read from the books about them individually or in groups.

13. Religious meetings, panels and conversations should be organized, ;advices of preachers should be listened; poems should be recited and a different feeling should be evoked in hearts with religious songs and hymns.

14. Prayers of maghrib, isha’a and fajr should be performed in groups in mosques, at holy nights.

15. Tombs of the Companions, scholars and saints should be visited and they should be pleased, and supplications should be made to Allah in the spiritual atmosphere of their tombs.

16. One should visit their dead relatives’, friends’ and ancestors’ graves, which is a requirement of faith brotherhood.

17. One should wish their elderly people, masters, parents, friends and other acquaintances blessed holy nights, by visiting them in person or by phoning, faxing and e-mailing to them.

18. If possible, one should fast the day before the holy nights.

There is not an exclusive way of praying for holy nights. Holy nights can be spent with prayers (salat), reading the Quran, supplications and other kinds of worship… Some special prayers performed at holy nights are not present in sunnah; and they are not based on a notable narration either. Nevertheless, it does not mean that “it is makrooh to perform prayers at those nights”. There are many narrations encouraging tahajjud and nafilah prayers. Of course, it is more virtuous to perform them at holy nights.” (Canan, Kutub-u Sitte, 3/289).

Moreover, it is unobjectionable to perform prayers which are said to be exclusive to holy nights additionally; it makes one earn thawabs.

5 What does worship mean? Why do we worship?

Worship means to fulfill the orders of Allah, to keep away from His prohibitions, and to act in accordance with His consent. As for the issue why we worship: 

* First of all, we worship because it is the purpose of our creation because Allah created us, human beings, so that we would know Him, believe in Him and worship Him. 

This issue is stated as follows in the Quran:

"I have only created jinn and men, that they may serve Me." (adh-Dhariyat, 56)

As believers, we act in accordance with our purpose of creation stated in the verse and try to fulfill our duty of worshipping our Creator.

* Furthermore, we worship Allah to thank Him for so many bounties he gave us. 

We thank somebody who gives us a small gift several times; if we do not thank Allah, who gives us so many bounties and gifts, by worshipping, we will definitely have shown ingratitude. We try to fulfill our duty of worship faultlessly to avoid such ingratitude. 

Allah created us out of nothing, equipped us with thousands of feelings and organs, created everything that those feelings and organs need and he gave us humanity, belief and guidance along with life.  

It is stated in the Quran that the bounties of Allah are endless and that it is impossible to count them as follows:

"If ye would count up the favors of Allah, never would ye be able to number them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (an-Nahl, 18).

What we need to do for endless bounties is to know and love God Almighty, who is the owner of those bounties, to show that we love Him by worshipping and to show Him our thanks and gratitude in return for the bounties He gives us.

* In fact, our worship and thanks are not sufficient at all for the bounties given to us in this world. As a matter of fact, Allah prepared greater bounties for us in Paradise if we believe in Him and worship Him and He promised us endless bliss in Paradise. In that case, the bounties that Allah promised us to give in the hereafter are completely His special favor, grace and grant. They are not given to us in return for our worship and thanks.

The Prophet explains this issue as follows:

"Your deeds (worship) cannot take you to Paradise. My deeds cannot take me to Paradise, either. It can be possible only through the mercy of Allah."

6 How should we spend holy nights? What should we do in order to gain Allah's (SWT) content?

There are some important means of deserving forgiveness and intercession, earning thawabs, advancing in religion, being safe from troubles and problems and gaining Allah’s content, which can be –and necessary to be- applied in holy nights. It will be useful to remember some of them in short and with the list below in general: 

1. One should read the Quran and listen to the ones who read. There should be Quran-citing invitations held in appropriate places. The feelings of love, respect and loyalty for the words of Allah, i.e. the Quran should be renewed and strengthened.

2. One should send compliments (salawat) to the Prophet and renew his/her awareness of being one of his followers, and hope for his intercession.

3. One should perform qada and nafilah (supererogatory) prayers. If there are prayers exclusive to that night, they can be performed as well. Holy nights should be spent with prayers and with consciousness of kindness in prayers, in accordance with their essence.

4. One should meditate; “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going to? What does Allah expect from me?” are the main issues which one should contemplate, besides other important matters.

5. One should make an account and revision of her/his past and outline the plan and program of the present and the future.

6. One should repent her/his sins sincerely and should regret and turn to the Lord, considering that night as the last chance.

7. One should perform invocations (dhikr) and supplications to Allah.

8. Believers should make amends with and forgive each other, and assure their content with others.

9. Resentful and offended people should be reconciled; people should be pleased, and sorrowful faces should be given a smile.

10. One should pray for the good of himself and for other Muslim brothers and sisters mentioning their names.

11. One should ask the news of those who have got rights over himself and the necessities of moral quality of fidelity and gratefulness should be fulfilled.

12. One should visit the poor, orphans, the sick and the elderly people and please them with love, compassion, respect, gifts and charity.

13. Verses, hadiths about that night and comments of them should be read from the books about them individually or in groups.

14. Religious meetings, panels and conversations should be organized, ;advices of preachers should be listened; poems should be recited and a different feeling should be evoked in hearts with religious songs and hymns.

15. Prayers of maghrib, isha’a and fajr should be performed in groups in mosques, at holy nights.

16. Tombs of the Companions, scholars and saints should be visited and they should be pleased, and supplications should be made to Allah in the spiritual atmosphere of their tombs.

17. One should visit their dead relatives’, friends’ and ancestors’ graves, which is a requirement of faith brotherhood.

18. One should wish their elderly people, masters, parents, friends and other acquaintances blessed holy nights, by visiting them in person or by phoning, faxing and e-mailing to them.

19. If possible, one should fast the day before the holy nights.

There is not an exclusive way of praying for holy nights. Holy nights can be spent with prayers (salat), reading the Quran, supplications and other kinds of worship… Some special prayers performed at holy nights are not present in sunnah; and they are not based on a notable narration either. Nevertheless, it does not mean that “it is makrooh to perform prayers at those nights”. There are many narrations encouraging tahajjud and nafilah prayers. Of course, it is more virtuous to perform them at holy nights.” (Canan, Kutub-u Sitte, 3/289).

Moreover, it is unobjectionable to perform prayers which are said to be exclusive to holy nights additionally; it makes one earn thawabs.

7 When worship is mentioned, commands like performing prayers and fasting come to the mind. Does worship include only prayers and fasting?

No. Worship does not consist of the orders of the religion like daily prayers and fasting only. Everything, every act, word, deed, view and intention in accordance with the consent of Allah are regarded as worship. Both to obey the orders of Allah and to avoid His prohibitions are equally regarded as worship. Therefore, it is possible to divide worship into two:

1. Righteous deeds, 2. Taqwa.

Righteous deeds means to fulfill the orders of Allah like daily prayers, fasting, etc.

Taqwa means to avoid the things that Allah prohibits like alcohol, gambling and fornication.

8 Why do we worship in Arabic language? Why not in our own language?

When considered first, it seems more sensible for a believer to worship his Sustainer in his own language. But when contemplated throughly, there appears different outcomes:

First of all we need to make a distinction between prayer and prescribed prayer (salah). In prayers, a believer presents his needs and wishes to his Sustainer in any language he wants. This is a personal matter and has to do with a servant’s presenting his own needs and wishes to his Creator directly without a means. In prayer, everybody can ask Allah for anything in supplication in his own language.

The prescribed prayer is quite different from that. In the prescribed prayer, all Muslims regardless of languages and races gather together as if to form a single body and worship Him collectively. In this worship, like hearts, the language also needs to be in unison. What is more, worship must be performed in the way how Allah (SWT) ordered and how His Messenger (PBUH) described to.

If Islam were the religion of a particular region, race, or nation, no doubt only the language of this region, race, or nation could be used. But there are Muslims who live in various places of the world, of various races, and speaks different languages. In order for them to perform prescribed prayers and to say prayers in the same language, they need to be in agreement in the language of worship.

In international congresses and meetings, people speak an international language which everbody may understand rather than their own languages.

Another aspect of the issue is that: No translation can ever replace the original form. The Quran is the word of Allah (SWT) and has been revealed in the Arabic language. Just as the creatures that come from the attribute of Power of Allah cannot be imitated, so too the Holy Qur’an cannot be imitated either, which comes from His attribute of Speech. And the translation of the Qur’an is not exactly the Qur’an Itself. That each letter yields at leats ten merits is a Divine bounty to servants in exchange of repeating the words of Allah (SWT). For the translation of the Qur’an is no more the words of Allah (SWT), this significance disappears there. Man receives merits of not reading the Qur’an but of learning some things in terms of knowledge in the Qur’an.

Most of the words in prescribed prayers have also passed to our daily language. Most of Muslims know what Allah-u Akbar (Allah is most great), hamd (glorification to Allah), Rabb-ul Alemin (Allah of all beings), Ahad (The One), Samed (The Only) mean.         

Although we learn by heart some foreign words such as inflation, deflation, economy, foreign exchange, could we ever be justified in not learning a few words which are vital for worship?

9 How appropriate is it to say, "Allah will forgive" and not to worship?

Worshipping is a kind of thanking the Lord in return for the boons He gives us. Man should be conscious of it whether Paradise and Hell exist or not.

The reason why we perform worshipping is that it is Allah's order. We should not worship in order to go to Paradise or to escape from Hell.

Every believer knows that he performs prayers for Allah. He stands in the presence of his Lord five times a day.

The following statement of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi will clarify the issue:  

"I neither care for Paradise nor fear Hell."

To know that Allah's order is superior to everything will place the love of worshipping in our hearts.

Allah states the following in the Quran:

"I have only created jinn and men, that they may serve Me."(adh-Dhariyat, 51/56)

Every deed has a purpose. The reason why this universe was created and arranged is to give humans and jinn the duty of "worshipping Allah". Everybody who has consciousness and will needs to know and worship Allah. This is, so to speak, the divine purpose for the creation of things by Allah.

Worshipping means to fulfill the orders of God Almighty and to represent the responsibilities of being a slave of Allah. Servitude is interpreted as having the consciousness of a slave.

The religious meaning of worshipping is fulfilling the orders of Allah through a sincere intention, expecting to get rewards and thinking about being close to Allah. When we use the word worshipping, we mean both worshipping and being close to Allah. If we think of the fact that jinn and humans were created only to worship Allah, we can say that worshipping means obeying and fulfilling all of the orders Allah.  

According to a widespread belief among people, worshipping consists of only prayers, fasting, zakah and hajj. Such a belief is sound but to restrict the scope of worshipping in terms of form and number will cause fruitlessness in terms of understanding. In fact, five principles that are regarded as the pillars of Islam can be accepted as a summary and basic principles of worshipping. When we expand them and take the other forms of worshipping into consideration, we will see that the whole religion of Islam appears.

Worshipping, which consists of man's turning toward Allah with all of his self, feelings, all of his inner and outer faculties, mental faculties, head and tongue, is a systematic way of acting. It is not possible to interpret worshipping as 'adoring/idolizing' since it encompasses all of the meanings above. Adoring and idolizing consist of a simple orientation and deeds done without a system that lacks real consciousness and intention. Idolaters' bowing down before some deities except Allah, living and non-living beings that they accept as mediators between themselves and Allah, adoring some objects can be called adoring and idolizing but not worshipping. For, worshipping is peculiar to Allah Almighty. Yes, only Him can we worship.

Servitude Exists in the Nature of Man

Religion is seen all the time and everywhere in the history of humanity no matter what it is called, how it is and how it is described. Religion has some common properties. They are belief, worshipping and community. That is, religion is a fact of man and community. Religion exists wherever man exists. However, religion is not only a belief or a system of beliefs. Worshipping is a very important and inseparable property of the religion.

Yes, servitude exists in the nature of man. When Allah created man, He created him with a nature suitable for being a servant of Allah. However, man often used this nature in bad and wrong ways. He transformed the beings like stones, trees, stars, the moon and the sun, which cannot be worshipped and which are weak creatures of Allah, into partners of Allah. When man could not find the real God, he invented some so-called gods and surrendered to them, which is a deviation from his natural state.    

Belief consists of proclaiming Islam through the tongue and confirming it through the heart. However, it is necessary to strengthen and support belief by deeds in order to get the desired result. Some people's words like, "what matters is the cleanliness of the heart; worshipping is not so important" serves to destroy the indications (principles) of the religion.

Human life becomes significant as the duty of worshipping Allah is fulfilled. The deeds of worshipping that Allah orders us to perform serve to maintain our humane feelings and improve them. Man consists of both a body and a spirit; so, harmonious improvement and balanced development necessitate that man show attention toward and take care of both aspects of his personality equally. 

According to the Quran, all beings worship. This fact is expressed as follows in the Quran:

"…There not a thing but celebrates His praise..." (al-Isra, 17/44)

The Quran also states that lengthening and shortening is a kind of worshipping peculiar to shadow. Prostration is a deed of worshipping by plants and their branches. Stars, mountains, birds, animals and many more creatures worship Lord in a way peculiar to them. Even the thunder glorifies Allah by praising Him.

Man, who has a distinguished place in the universe and who is equipped with the mind, thought and superior abilities, was created for a lofty purpose.This purpose is to know Allah and to worship Him.

Benefits of Worshipping:

Worshipping is performed only to fulfill the order of Allah and to attain His consent. The worshipping that is accepted by Allah is the worshipping that is performed sincerely, without having any interests in mind.  

Sincerity is regarded as the spirit of worshipping. Worshipping without sincerity is something without a spirit. It has no value in the eye of Allah. Sincerity in worshipping means to perform it just because it is the order of Allah and it serves to attain the consent of Allah.

If a deed of worshipping is performed for a worldly benefit and advantage, its sincerity disappears and that deed of worshipping becomes invalid; that is, it is not accepted by Allah. However, it is certain that there are many wisdoms and material and spiritual benefits for us in the orders of our Lord.

Just as our body needs food so too does our spirit need food. The most important food of the spirit is a strong belief and worshipping. Worshipping serves to strengthen our belief and develop us ethically. The fruit of the tree of belief that is fed by worshipping is high ethics.

The light of belief shines in the heart of a person who keeps worshipping. Fear of Allah and the feeling of responsibility settle in his heart. Thanks to worshipping, our inner body becomes free of bad ideas and our outer body becomes free of the impurity of sins. Besides, when a Muslims performs financial worshipping (like giving alms), he is loved by others. 

We need to eat and drink as long as we live; similarly, we need worshipping and spiritual food until we die. Allah states the following in the Quran:

"And serve thy Lord until there come unto thee the Hour that is Certain." (al-Hijr, 15/99)

Thanks to worshipping, a believer gets rid of the material bonds of the world and elevates spiritually; the bright way of the land of bliss opens for him after the obstacles are removed.

Worshipping, which is the indication of our belief and the food of our spirit, strengthens our belief and makes us mature believers with ethics and merits by freeing our inner bodies from bad thoughts and our outer bodies from the impurity of sins. Thus, it becomes a means of making us attain peace in the world, save from punishment in the hereafter and have an eternal and happy life in Paradise, which is the land of endless bliss.    

The other benefits of worshipping for the individual and society are as follows:

1. Knowledge and decrees about belief and creed settle in man only through worshipping.

2. Worshipping plays an important role in the arrangement of individual life. 

3. Worshipping plays an important role in binding individuals together and ensuring peace and harmony in society.

4. Worshipping has a positive effect on man's moral life and spiritual realm.

5. Worshipping is the greatest means of attaining personal perfection and maturity.

In addition, worshipping leads to happiness in the world and the hereafter along with being a high relation and an honorable bond between the Creator and His slaves. Fire and melting pot cause the gold in the soil to be distinguished; similarly, the world and worshipping help man attain Paradise. Yes, since man cannot change the road opened by wisdom, he needs to fulfill this very difficult and holy duty truly to deserve Paradise. In other words, the only way to deserve Paradise is worshipping and being a slave of Allah. For, worshipping makes man pure and liable for Paradise.

Form of Worshipping

No being in the universe was created without any purpose; no living being was left without a guide. Allah, who does not leave ants without a prince, bees without a queen, fish and birds without a guide, will definitely not leave human beings without prophets.  Human beings can find Allah by looking at the incidents taking place in the universe and using their minds but they cannot know the purpose of their creation, where they come from and there they are going to and the forms of worshipping without prophets. Therefore, they do not perform worshipping randomly or without a system but based on a system and rules that they learn from their prophets; they present their respect and worshipping to God with awe and reverence.  

Yes, worshipping means belief in Allah and knowledge about His divine personality, the arrangement and formulation of the things that need to be done with the love and admiration coming from this knowledge through the indication and guidance of God Almighty in accordance with His orders. That is, it is necessary to act and worship as it is required under the guidance of the Lord's clear verses and in the light of the lights emitted by the Prophet (pbuh) so as not to do anything wrong or inappropriate.

What are essential in man's relationship with his Lord are meaning, essence and spirit. However, what convey them are words, forms and molds. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to those words and molds. Those forms should convey the essential meanings. Therefore, it cannot be said that molds and forms have no meaning. 

It is necessary to be balanced, moderate and to act in accordance with the criteria imposed by Allah while worshipping Him along with intention. The Messenger of Allah said,

"There are so many people standing while performing prayers that what they earn by it is nothing but tiredness; there are so many people who perform fasting that what they earn by it is nothing but hunger and thirst."

That is, the heart needs to turn to Allah. Zakah or sadaqah given without thinking of Him is nothing but wasting, and as the Quran puts it, becoming friends with Satan. To enjoin what is good and to forbid what is evil without having Him as a purpose in one's mind means to do dialectic and to deceive people by being engaged in demagoguery. Jihad without having Him as a purpose means show off, and wasting wealth and time. That is, the purpose of the spirit of worshipping needs to be the Creator; the servant needs to turn toward the Creator and worship Him.

In Islam, the scope of worshipping is wide. In Islam, worshipping does not consist of performing prayers and dhikr only. Every deed that is done in order to attain the consent of the Lord and to fulfill His orders is regarded as worshipping. For instance, a person can transform eating and drinking into worshipping as follows: If a person intends to eat, drink and travel by finding it sufficient to eat halal food and drink halal beverages, avoiding haram and fulfilling the orders of Allah, his deeds will be regarded as worshipping. A person who eats and drinks with this intention and becomes strong becomes the addressee of the following hadith of the Prophet (pbuh):

"A strong (due to worshipping properly) believer is better than a weak believer and he is more beloved in the eye of Allah." (Muslim, Qadar, 34; Ibn Majah, Muqaddima, 10; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 2:366)

When the deeds that the soul likes and takes pleasure from are done with such sincere intentions, they are regarded as worshipping and become means of getting thawabs (rewards). The servant takes pleasure from what he does and feels happy but he approaches Allah with every deed that he does because his intention is to attain the consent of Allah. Acting upon this fact, the fiqh scholars say, "A righteous intention transforms habitual deeds into worshipping."

Worshipping is classified as follows based on will, determination, intention and sincerity:

a. Worshipping performed with the desire of Paradise.

b. Worshipping performed due to the fear of Hell. 

c.Worshipping performed with the feeling of awe, fear of Allah and love.

d. Worshipping performed as a necessity of the relationship of the Lord and the slave,  the Creator and the creature.

No matter how it is performed, worshipping (servitude) is the color of man's honor and the greatest rank granted to him. There is no rank and position higher than worshipping (servitude).

The Privilege of the Religion of Islam in Worshipping

According to some religions, worshipping means to leave all of the pleasures of the world aside and live in seclusion (like the life of monks and nuns living in a monastery). In another religion, worshipping can be performed only in some special places of their temples. According to some other religions, worshipping can be performed only under the under the leadership of some clergymen. The people cannot worship alone and in congregation without the guidance of the clergymen.  

In Islam, worshipping is free from intermediaries between Allah and His slaves. Man can apply to his Lord directly. In Islam, the clergy are not intermediaries between Allah and His slaves; the belief that worshipping can be accepted only through the mediation of the clergy only does not exist in Islam. In the eye of Allah, scholars, the clergy and ordinary people are equal in terms of worshipping. Superiority is based on taqwa (fear of Allah).  

Islam has freed worshipping from the hands of the intermediaries and from the obligation of being performed in certain places. Every place, whether it is a mosque, a ship in the middle of the sea or a house, is suitable for worshipping as long as they are clean. Man can contact Allah by worshipping anywhere. The Messenger of Allah stated the following:

"The earth was made a mosque and a cleaner for me." (Bukhari, Tayammum, 1; Muslim, Masajid, 3)

That is, a person can perform prayers anywhere and he can use the earth (soil) to make tayammum instead of wudu and ghusl when there is no water.

The Relationship between Belief and Deeds

The principles that need to be believed in Islam do not consist of some abstract ideas only. The principles that need to be believed in Islam are some vital values that need to be done, thought, believed, internalized and used in order to reach Allah with submission.  These vital values become deepened by meditation and dhikr, are fed by worshipping; deeds and manners are also included in this framework so that individual and human thoughts will not affect them. Thus, a believer is in a relationship with the circle of belief all the time and he turns around the main axis of belief.    

According to Ahl as-Sunnah, worshipping is not a part of belief. Deeds are not a part of belief. This principle is a general decree. That is, if a man does not do any deeds and does not worship at all, he will not exit belief. However, it is necessary for him not to deny any worshipping and accept that all kinds of worshipping are true.

As it is seen, there is a difference between believing and doing. However, this is the last boundary. In fact, there is a close relationship between belief and deeds. A person can be treated as a Muslim based on his worshipping only. As it is known, the application of some decrees among the Muslims who live in a community is based on the lifestyles of individuals since the religion decides based on the outward appearance. A person who does not show any signs of being a Muslim will definitely not be treated as a Muslim. Besides, the real benefit of worshipping is to protect and improve the belief that exists. For, belief consists ofproclaiming Islam through the tongue and confirming it through the heart. It is a source of infinite power and strength. However, it is necessary to strengthen and support belief with deeds in order to obtain the fruits and results that are desired. Therefore, the following statement of some people means nothing but demolishing the signs and principles of the religion: "The cleanliness of the heart and intentions are important in religion. Worshipping like prayers and fasting are not so important; there is no harm in abandoning them." For, if this idea is accepted, any denier can claim that he is a distinguished believer.

Besides, though some people who lived in this age and who vulgarized the issue said, "My heart is clean and I believe in Allah" without worshipping, everybody saw that they fell into Hell. Yes, belief needs to be strengthened by prayers, hajj, jihad and other types of worshipping. 

Only worshipping can transform decrees related to creed and belief into faculties by strengthening and maintaining them. Yes, if decrees related to belief, which are involved with conscience and mind, are not trained and strengthened by worshipping, which consists of fulfilling Allah's orders and keeping away from what He prohibits, its results and effects will be weak. The current situation of the Islamic world is evidence for it.  

It is necessary for a believer to strengthen his belief with deeds sooner or later.

Islam has two aspects: belief and deeds. They are indispensible parts of Islam. Belief, or creed as it is mentioned in the Islamic literature, means to believe in all of the things in the system of Islam like Allah, Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), the Quran and the hereafter in a way that excludes the opposite possibilities. 

As for deeds, or as the Quran puts it "amal salih (righteous deeds)", that is, complete, flawless, impeccable deeds, it is the second important element of Islam after belief.For instance, worshipping is an indispensible part of it.

Since man cannot change the road opened by wisdom, he needs to fulfill this very difficult and holy duty truly to deserve Paradise. In other words, the only way to deserve Paradise is worshipping and being a slave of Allah. For, worshipping makes man pure and liable for Paradise.

Deeds of worshipping are in a way like the blockage of the issues related to creed and in another like faculties that improve them. For, if worshipping is not performed and if religion is kept in the conscience only by acting upon a common view today, deviation and destruction - God forbid - and consequently losing the worldly and otherworldly life will be inevitable. Yes, man can be protected from various deviations and his belief can be maintained only through worshipping.    

Mancan believe in Allah as a result of scientific research but it will be a theoretical belief. It can be transformed into real belief and elevated to the desired level only through worshipping. From this point of view, it can be said that it is always possible for a person who has not made worshipping a part of his nature and who has not deepened in it to deviate and go astray. Acting upon this fact, we can say that those who say, "I believe in Allah but I drink alcohol or I cannot perform prayers" lack one of the bonds that protect them. Yes, if those people are sincere in their words, they need to support their belief with deeds and be loyal slaves at the door of God Almighty with their deeds of worshipping so that they will be real believers.

Consequently, it can be said that worshipping is necessary for belief to remain fresh in the hearts and not to wither. Belief can remain new without withering only through worshipping. Otherwise, it is unknown whether the belief of a person who does not worship can last until he dies.

10 What are the signs showing that our worship is accepted?

There is no definite decree regarding the issue. However, there are some signs of it. They are as follows: a person sees himself away from sins; he feels that the joy in his heart lessens; he feels the power of Allah Almighty on everything that he looks at; he approaches good people and moves away from bad people; he regards very few worldly things as a lot and a lot of deeds for the hereafter as very few; he keeps his heart busy with what Allah rendered fard; he controls his tongue; he always thinks; he always regrets about the bad things he did.

A person who performs worshipping as much as he can should not think about whether his worshipping is accepted or not; he should think about his duties.

11 Can thawabs (rewards) be eliminated like sins?

There are some cases in which rewards are eliminated. For instance,

"Backbiting and being jealous of others eliminate good deeds. Beware being jealous of others. Know it very well that jealousy eliminates good deeds just as fire eliminates wood." (Hadith, Mishkat)

“Belief and jealousy do not exist together in the heart of a person.”(Nasai, Jihad, 8)

“Jealousy eliminates good deeds just as fire eliminates wood.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 44; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 22)

12 Is there sajdah ash-shukr (thanking)? How is it performed?

Shukr (thanking) means to know the one who gives boons and to praise him. Sajdah ash-shukr is a sajdah performed by turning toward the qiblah and uttering takbir like sajdah at-tilawah due to attaining a boon or being saved from a trouble or misfortune.  

According to a narration from Abu Bakra,

"Hz. Prophet (pbuh) would prostrate whenever he received some good news or when he was given a glad tiding."

Sajdah ash-shukr is mustahab. However, it is makruh to perform it after a prayer. For, those who do not know what it is about may think that it is a part of the prayer. All kinds of permissible deeds that can lead people to misunderstand become makruh.

It is necessary forsajdah ash-shukr to be performed outside makruh times. (Ibn Abidin, Raddul-Muhtar, Egypt n.d., I, 344, 731;ash-Shurunbulali, az-Zubab, p. 85 ff.)

13 Why do we say tasbihat 33 times? What are the narrations regarding the issue?

There are keys that fit material locks; some secrets that are like spiritual locks have some appropriate keys that fit them. 

If you do not use the key that fits the lock, you cannot be successful. For instance, your email account has a password.If you type in a wrong password, you cannot access your mailbox. A certain number of tasbihat or salawat needs to be said for some divine secrets to be revealed. If this number is ignored deliberately, it is impossible to attain that divine secret. However, if someone says tasbihat a wrong number of times by mistake, the mercy of Allah Almighty will accept it. It is something different. 

How to do tasbihat and what duas (supplications) and tasbihat to read were determined by the Prophet (pbuh) himself. According to a narration from Thawban, when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) finished a prayer (salah), he would ask for forgiveness (istighfar) by saying , “Astaghfirullah”.1 It is possible to say this istighfar as follows: “Astaghfirullaha’l-azima’l-karima’lladhi la ilaha illa hu, al-hayya’l-qayyuma wa atubu ilayh”.

After fard and sunnah prayers are performed, first ayat al-kursiyy, the chapters of al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq and an-Nas are read; after that, “Subhanallah” is said 33 times, “Alhamdulillah” 33 times and “Allahu Akbar” 33 times. Then, “La ilaha illallahu wahdahu...” is read and dua (prayer) is done.  

In hadith and fiqh books, blowing onto the prayer beads or one's body after reading ayat al-kursiyy is not mentioned. However, before the Messenger of Allah went to bed, he would read the chapters mentioned above and blow into his palms. Then, he would wipe the parts of the body that he could reach with his palms. However, something like that is not in question while saying tasbihat.   

As it is known, tasbihat after prayers are usually counted by prayer beads. Thus, the probability of saying more or fewer words of dhikr is eliminated. However, prayer beads were not used during the Era of Bliss. The Prophet (pbuh) counted dhikr words by using the knuckles of his right hand. 2 He did not prohibit those who used pebbles and date seeds to count dhikr words from using them.

Hz. Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, who is one of the ten Companions who were given the glad tiding of being a person of Paradise, said he went together with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to a woman. They saw the women making dhikr using the date seeds or pebbles in front of her but the Messenger of Allah did not interfere.3

This attitude of the Prophet (pbuh) is included in "sunnah taqriri", which is a type of sunnah. It shows that he regarded this deed appropriate. On the other hand, it is narrated that Hz. Abu Hurayra made knots on a string and used it (Abu Nuaym, Hilya I/383) that Abu Safiyya, who was a muhajir, used seeds (Isaba IV/109; Ibn Sa’d VII/60) and that Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas used pebbles to make dhikr  (Ibn Sa’d III/143)

The prayer beads used today became common only in the fifth century of the Migration.

Abdullah bin Amr said,

“I saw the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) count dhikr words by using the knuckles of his right hand.”4

It is more virtuous to count dhikr words by using the hands if one can count them correctly. However, those who wish may use 33 or 99 prayer beads. There is no difference between holding the prayer beads above or below the level of the navel.

As for the number of the dhikr words to be said, there are various narrations regarding the issue. Some of them say the number of times dhikr words are to be said is 11 while others say it is 25; yet others say it is 10. 5 However, the hadiths stating that the number of the dhikr words to be said is 33 are more than the others. Hadith and fiqh scholars like Qadi Iyad preferred these narrations and regarded it appropriate to act accordingly.

In the explanations of the hadiths regarding the issue, some information is given about the wisdom behind those numbers. For instance, Imam Ayni states the following regarding the issue:

“The reason why the number of dhikr is advised to be 33 is this: When it is multiplied by three, the product is ninety-nine. When a person makes dhikr 99 times, he is regarded to have mentioned Allah with His ninety-nine names.”

As for the issue whether those who glorified or praised Allah more or fewer times than the numbers stated in the hadiths will gain the rewards promised there, some scholars say the extra numbers will not eliminate the rewards while others say, “if dhikr is deliberately made more or fewer times than the number stated in the hadiths, the promised rewards will not be obtained. For, these numbers have a wisdom and particularity; if the number is decreased or increased, the wisdom and particularity will disappear.

Therefore, it is necessary to try to say tasbihat no fewer than 33 times; if a person says them more than 33 times, he does not have to worry that the reward and wisdom will disappear. For, it is mustahab to utter tasbihat in ruku' and sajdah from 3 to 7 times. What is meant to say and advise here is to say 3 times but it is mustahab and permissible to say 5 and 7 times, too.

It is possible to perform tasbihat after prayers alone or in congregation.

After the prayers performed in congregation, these tasbihat and duas are done together in congregation with the participation of the muezzin, which is better in terms of virtue and more appropriate.

As for the issue whether it exists in sunnah to do tasbihat in congregation, the Messenger of Allah always encouraged dhikr, dua and worshipping in congregation; when he saw his Companions talking, making dhikr and worshipping in congregation, he would be pleased and sometimes give them glad tidings. 

According to the narration of Hz. Muawiya,

The Prophet (pbuh) once saw some of his Companions sitting in the form of a circle. He approached them and asked,

“Why did you come here and sit like this?”

They said, “We sat here in order to mention Allah, who granted us a religion like Islam and who tested us through this way, and to praise Him.”

The Prophet asked them again. After receiving an answer with a vow from them, the Prophet said,

“Do not think that I made you vow to blame you. However, Jibril came to me and told me that Allah, who is Mighty and Glorious, was proud of you in the presence of the angels.”6

As it is seen, the Prophet praised the believers who came together and made dhikr and tasbih in an occasion though it was not after a prayer. Tasbihat after prayer was not made in congregation during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) but beginning from the time of mujtahid imams, it was accepted in principle that it would be better to do tasbihat in congregation so that everybody who prayed would do it easily and that they would not be deprived of the reward of dhikr.  

After the prayers performed in congregation, it is mustahab for the congregation to change their places and perform the sunnah prayer and do tasbihat in a different place in the mosque. According to a narration mentioned in Ibn Abidin, it is said to be sunnah to do so. Breaking the ranks after the prayers is in question for all five daily prayers. No difference is in question for the morning and afternoon prayers.

The reason why the ranks are broken after the fard prayer is not to cause the people who came to mosque late to think that the fard prayer is still being performed. It is mustahab to perform sunnah prayers by changing one's place after the prayers that are performed in congregation. It is narrated that the prayer rugs and the ground will witness for those who perform prayers. Therefore, the more a person prostrates, the more places will witness for him. For, in the hereafter, all of the beings are conscious and they will speak when Allah wishes.

If it is not possible to perform the sunnah prayer and dua in a different place, there are also views stating that it is permissible to complete them in the same place. 7

References:

1. Muslim, Musafirin: 135.
2. Tirmidhi, Daawat: 25.
3. Abu Dawud, Witr; 24.
4. Tirmidhi, Daawat: 24.

5. Nasai, Sahw:91-96.
6. Muslim, Dhikr: 40.
7. al-Imam Alauddin al-Qasani. Badaiu’s-Sanai. (Beirut: Daru’l-Kitabi’l-Arabi, 1402-1982), 1:160; Ibni Abidin, 1:356.

(see Mehmed PAKSU, İbadet Hayatımız)

14 Is rain prayer (dua) done so that it will rain?

Rain salah and rain dua are kinds of worshipping. Lack of rain is the time of that worshipping. That worshipping and dua are not done to bring rain. If it is done only with that intention, it will not be accepted since it is not sincere.

When the sun sets, it is the time of the evening (maghrib) prayer; solar eclipse and lunar eclipse are the time of kusuf and khusuf prayers.That is, the night and the day are veiled by divine signs, declaring the greatness of Allah; so, Allah Almighty invites His slaves to perform a kind of worshipping. That prayer is not performed so that the moon or the sun will appear again (it is definite by astronomic calculations when the eclipse will take place and how long it will last). Similarly, lack of rain is the time for rain prayer. Allah Almighty calls His slaves to perform salah and dua at that time. Lack of rain becomes the time for that worshipping. The aim of that worshipping is not rain. From this point of view, it is necessary not to see lack of rain as absolute  punishment. (1)

Man, who needs rain and who is too weak to bring it, takes refuge in Allah being conscious of the fact that this need can be met only by Allah. Allah's consent is sought in the prayer of rain like all other kinds of worshipping. After worshipping, people pray to Allah in order to be relieved of the misfortune of lack of rain and ask His help.

Although the apparent outcome of the rain prayer is rain, the real and most beneficial outcome and the sweetest fruit of it as follows: Everybody understands from this situation that the one that gives their sustenance is not their father, house, shop, etc but a Being who meets their needs, gives their food, uses the big clouds like sponges and the earth like a field. Furthermore, a small child who is used to begging his mother when he is hungry will understand, with his small mind, during the prayer of rain the big meaning that a Being who manages this world like a house gives my sustenance and that of these children's and our mothers', and feeds us. If He does not give us food, others will not be of any use. Then, he thinks, we need to beg Him and becomes a fully believing child. (2)

Since lack of rain is the time of worshipping, it is necessary to continue worshipping until this time ends. That is, the time for rain prayer, which is performed at the time of lack of rain, will end when it starts to rain. Therefore, this prayer should not be abandoned after performing it once or twice; it is necessary to continue performing prayers it until it rains.

Footnotes:

(1) Badiuzzaman, Sözler Yirmiüçüncü Söz (Words, Twenty-Third Word)
(2) Emirdağ Lahikası-I, 14. Mektup.

15 Will you explain the order of prayer, fasting, zakah and hajj being rendered fard?

Prayer was rendered fard on the night of Miraj (Ascension), about one and a half years before the Migration as five times a day. It is stated that prayers were performed two times a day before Miraj. Then, it was increased to five times in Miraj.

Ramadan fasting was rendered fard one month after the qiblah was changed as the Kaaba, 18 months after the Migration of the Prophet (pbuh) to Madinah, in the month of Shaban.

Zakah was rendered fard in the second year of the Migration, after Ramadan fasting was rendered fard and giving fitrah was rendered wajib.

Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, was rendered fard in the ninth year of the Migration.

Accordingly, the order is as follows: prayer, fasting, zakah and hajj.

16 How can we avoid Looking at Harams? What is the Sin of Watching Haram things?

Allah Almighty says, "Nor come nigh to adultery!" in verse 32 of the chapter al-Isra. Acting upon the phrase ‘nor come nigh (near)’, Islamic scholars stated that all of the acts that could lead a person to adultery were forbidden. Looking at obscene pictures or videos can be regarded in this category. Therefore, it is not permissible to look at those kinds of pictures.

As one of our scholars says, all of the sins and moral deteriorations start with the look at obscene things; it develops with the insistence on the looks and then it turns into actual sin. Besides, the eyes take the pictures of the things they look at and store them in the archives of images. No matter where man goes and where he is, those pictures are in front of his eyes in the realm of the imagination.

It is not permissible to look since lustful feelings arouse from such looking.

“Moreover, the Qur'an compassionately commands women to wear a veil of modesty, so that they will be treated with respect and those mines of compassion will not be abased beneath the feet of low desires, and will not become like worthless goods for the excitement of lust. However, civilization has drawn women out of their homes, rent their veils, and corrupted mankind.” (The Words, p. 381)

One of the reasons that cause the corruption of the society is, as it is expressed above, the women’s going out of their homes and being incorporated in the community immoderately and becoming unimportant things although they are beings deserving respect. Thus, the women lost their self-respect and caused the members of the community to corrupt.

The duty of the Muslim becomes heavier and he needs to act more meticulously in order to preserve his belief in a time when obscenity prevails and when modesty and chastity are not given any importance. In our community, there is almost no place that women have not entered today. They are abundant in the shops, markets, ships, state offices, etc. Under these circumstances, a Muslim cannot leave the community and live in seclusion. However, he has to obey some principles due to his belief.

The relationship of a man with a non-mahram woman and the relationship of a woman with a non-mahram man are limited and subject to certain criteria. Our Lord commands believing men and women as follows:

“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty...”(Surah an Nur, 24/30-31)

In those verses, believing men are definitely ordered not to look at non-mahram women and believing women are ordered not to look at non-mahram men.

What is the limit and content of that forbidden look?

The phrase “lower their gaze” in the verse does not mean to shut their eyes, bend their heads and walk like that. Besides, it is not possible to walk like that. A person naturally sees a man and a woman and looks at him or her. However, what is meant here is to look at the opposite sex with lust and having sexual feelings. The criterion for the look of lust is to look continuously, several times. We find out about that criterion from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He said the following to Hazrat Ali regarding the issue:

“O Ali! Do not turn round to look! The first look is all right but you have no right for the second look.”(Abu Dawud, Nikah: 43; Tirmidhi, Adab: 28)

When one sees someone from the opposite sex, one must not look at continuously but turn his/her head. Thus, one does not approach the limit of the look of lust. Generally, the door to fornication is opened through looks. Then, the other doors open one another. Thus, by preventing the looks, the door to fornication can be closed.

Fakhruddin Razi, reports the following sentence from the Torah:

“The look at haram sows the seed of lust in the heart. And lust causes deep sorrow in man.”

Each seed of sin that falls into the heart endangers the spiritual life of man if it finds an appropriate ground and germinates. As Dhunnun Misri, a great spiritualist (sufist) says, “To close the eyes to sins is the best way of protection.”

Our Prophet explains the state of a Muslim who tries to protect himself from haram as follows:

“If the beauty of a woman catches the eyes of a Muslim and he turns his eyes away from her, Allah Almighty grants that Muslim a kind of worshipping whose pleasure he will feel in his heart.”(Musnad, V/264)

As it is known, the parts of the body of a man that is haram (forbidden) to show to other men and non-mahram women are the parts between his navel and knees according to the opinion of the most of the scholars. The parts of the body of a woman that is haram to show non-mahram men are all of her body except her hands and face.

Accordingly, it is permissible for a woman to look at the parts of the body of a man except the parts between his navel and knees without lust and repetition. It is also permissible for a man to look at the hands and face of a woman without lust. However, if a man or woman looks at the above-mentioned parts with sexual pleasure, then it becomes forbidden.

A man can look at non-mahram woman in business life and in some obligatory situations. Fakhruddin Razi, the writer of at-Tafsir al-Kabir, lists those obligatory situations as follows in the interpretation of above-mentioned verse:

*A man can look at the face and hands of a woman he wants to marry. As a matter of fact, once, a man went to the Prophet and said he wanted to marry an Ansar woman, while Abu Hurayra was with the Prophet. Our Prophet asked him, “Did you look at that woman?” The man said, “No!..” Then, our Prophet said, “Go and look at her because there is something in the eyes of Ansar.” (Muslim, Nikah: 74)

In this regard, it is also mentioned that even a look of lust is permissible.

* In the court, it is permissible for the judge and the witnesses to look at a woman in order to identify and recognize her. Here, to do away with injustice and to realize justice is in question. (at-Tafsir al-Kabir, XXIII: 203)

The following sentences are present in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:

“It is permissible to look at the hands and face of a woman if a man feels free from sedition and lust.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5: 329)

In the book al-Muhadhdhab, the following is stated: “If it is obligatory, a tradesman can look at the open face of a woman. If he does not have a bad intention, he will not be responsible before Allah.” (al-Muhadhdhab, II: 34)

17 Can we say the prayers that we know while we have no cover on our heads, when we do not have wudu and while we are doing something?

1. It is permissible to say prayers when one does not have wudu and when her head is not covered. 

2. We can say prayers silently while we are working or walking.

18 What is the best dhikr in the eye of Allah?

The best dhikr means to believe in Allah, to mention Him and to remember Him.

Mentioning: remembering, memorizing, recalling. The words used for praising and praying are also called dhikr. Some scholars defined dhikr as all kinds of deeds that gain man thawabs.

The Quran calls prayer (salah), which is the most comprehensive worshipping, dhikr. A believer who performs prayers mentions Allah. This dhikr starts with wudu. A person who makes preparations with the consciousness of going into the presence of Allah in the way that His beloved prophet teaches remembers and mentions Allah.

When he turns toward the Kaaba, he makes dhikr. Intention and takbir are dhikrs. Dhikr continues when he glorifies and praises Allah and when he says there is no god but Allah. A believer who performs a prayer thinks about the meaning of the verses he reads. His heart enters from state to state based on the chapters he reads.

Dhikr with the tongue exists in prayer in the form of qira’ah. Dhikr with the heart exists in prayer in the form of meditation, awe, hope and love.

Man consists of a body and a spirit; similarly, the realm consists of the visible and invisible realms. Man’s essence comes from this realm; therefore, the dhikr he makes with his body represents the dhikr of the universe.

All of the sounds in this universe, from the thunder to the lightning, from the swishing of the leaves to the tweeting of the birds, are a kind of qira’ah. They make us hear what Allah Almighty makes them say. When we read the Quran in the prayer, we join this loud dhikr and get ahead of them.

19 Will you give information about the arrangement of the deeds of worshipping in terms of wisdom and taabbud?

It is necessary to mention the following feature in terms of being a criterion for this issue and similar ones:

“Some issues of shari'ah are called taabbudi. They are not subject to reasoning. They are fulfilled because they are ordered. The reason for their fulfillment is order.”1

That is, some religious issues are called “taabbudi”(requiring obedience without needing to know its reason). They are issues related directly to worshipping itself; for instance, the time, form, style and principles of worshipping. For instance, the fard of the morning (fajr) prayer is two rak'ahs; the fard of the evening (maghrib) prayer is three rak'ahs; The fasting of Ramadan is one month; zakah is given at the rate of one-fortieth of goods; hajj is performed in the month of Dhul-hijjah, etc. The states of some of the deeds of worshipping mentioned in the examples were determined by God Almighty and others by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). We accept them as they are told us and fulfill them. 

There is no need to think of different forms from the ones that are stated and it is of no use. There are some wisdoms and benefits behind them but they do not change the forms and principles of these deeds of worshipping. As Nursi puts it, the reason for the determination of it like that is the "order". That is, it is necessary to do it as it is ordered and determined.

It is possible to mention the times of prayers and the times when it is makruh to perform fard or nafilah prayers among these “taabbudi” issues. First, let us have a look at the blessed words and attitude of the Prophet (pbuh) regarding the issue:

In a narration reported by Abu Said al-Khudri, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“There is no prayer after the afternoon (asr) prayer until the sun sets and after the morning (fajr) prayer until the sun rises.”2

Imam Bayhaqi reports the following narration from Hz. Ali:

“The Messenger of Allah performed two rak'ahs of nafilah prayers after all fard prayers except the morning and afternoon prayers.”3

Those hadiths state that nafilah prayers cannot be performed after the fard of the morning and afternoon prayers. That is, only fard and missed fard prayers are performed at those times; no nafilah prayer is performed. This issue is regarded as “taabbudi”.

As for the issue of wisdom behind it, According to the explanation of Ibn Abidin, the wisdom behind the prohibition of performing nafilah prayers at those times is not because the time lacks but because all of the time is virtually filled with fard. Therefore, nafilah is not permissible.4 If the person who performs the prayer has enough time, he can lengthen the qira'ah in the fard of the prayer or perform missed prayers if he has any instead of performing nafilah prayers.

As we have mentioned above, the reason rather than wisdom or benefit of the issue needs to be regarded and attention should be paid to the real reason (doing it because it is ordered). The following hadith of the Prophet regarding the issue also needs to be remembered:

“Perform prayers as you see me perform.”5

Footnotes:

1. Bediüzzaman Said Nursî. Mektûbat. (İstanbul: Sözler Yayınevi, 1981), p.371.
2. Muslim, Musafirin: 288.
3. Ahmed Davudoğlu. Sahih-i Müslim Tercemesi (İstanbul: Sönmez Neşriyat A.Ş. Yayınları, 1983), IV/421.
4. Ibn Abidin, I/251; at-Tahtawi, p.151.
5. Bukhari, Adhan:18.

(see Mehmed PAKSU, İbadet Hayatımız)

20 Why does Allah threaten those who abandon worshipping to send to Hell?

Worshipping means a slave fulfilling his duties like takbir, hamd and shukr toward Allah in the way that He orders. Man has to fulfill his duty of hamd (praising) and shukr (thanking) toward Allah Almighty in ultimate humbleness and modesty thinking that he is fed by His endless grants, treats and boons. This can be done only through worshipping.

A person who worships in this world guesthouse sits, stands up, eats, drinks and does all of his deeds and acts according to His commands. He lives as the slave of Allah, not anyone else. This servitude makes him attain the true humanity honor, dignity and innocence. Besides, the purpose of the creation of people is to attain this honor through worshipping. As a matter of fact, Allah Almighty states the following in the chapter of adh-Dhariyat:

“I have only created jinn and men, that they may serve Me.” (adh-Dhariyat, 51/56)

He states the following in another verse:

“O ye people! Adore your Guardian-Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that ye may have the chance to learn righteousness. Who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals unto Allah when ye know (the truth).” (al-Baqara, 2/21-22)

Yes, Allah Almighty created the skies with the sun and stars, the earth with the sea and the land in a perfect way. And He extracted man from the magnificent tree of the universe with the delicate measure of His knowledge through so many fine sieves as the most perfect fruit. He made that little man an extract of this magnificent universe.

He placed faculties each of which is more precious than the universe into the spirit of man.  He gave man eyes that could see all kinds of beauties, a tongue that could enjoy the different flavors of the foods, and a mind that would transform the perceptions and pleasures he would obtain with these feelings into knowledge and wisdom. And He gave man conscience that could appreciate the boons sent to him in order to help him and the material and spiritual gifts that placed in his body.

He also placed a heart that could respond to these endless grants and boons with endless love into man's chest. 

With the mind given to him as a gift, man understands that he was not created only for this world and that he cannot be without a duty and purpose. He knows with his conscience that he should see his Lord in return for these eternal grants bestowed on him and that he should praise and thank him.

He devotes his worshipping to Allah alone. He does not associate partners with Him. Allah's love in the heart of man becomes manifest, develops and strengthens only by worshipping.

And he loves only Allah with his heart; he loves all the creatures that are worthy of love for Him too. Suppose that man is not held responsible for worshipping by the religion; his mind, heart and conscience will order him to worship and obey Allah. For, only worshipping satisfies them.

It is clear that Allah, who is the Absolute Rich, who does not need anything, does not need our worshipping. On the contrary, we are in need of worshipping.

In the Gathering Place on that horrible day of Reckoning, where we will go willy nilly, Allah Almighty will address people as follows:

"O my slaves! I created you out of nothing. I turned toward you with all my boons in the universe in order to meet your endless needs. I fulfilled all of your needs in time. I was with you in the world with My mercy and grace. Who were you with then? Who did you thank and worship by forgetting me though I deserve thanking and worshipping? "

How will we answer then? Will the spiritual torment in that sacred presence originating from shame and bashfulness be more dreadful than Hell torture? The strong feeling of shame that make unbelievers sayWe wish we were earth” is probably this.

Yes, man cannot be without worshipping; similarly, Islam without worshipping cannot be imagined. Let us explain this reality with an example: Think of a Muslim village. No adhan is called in this village. No one performs any prayers - neither eid, nor Friday, nor daily prayers. Nobody performs fasting, gives zakah, or go to hajj. Those who live in that village do not read the Quran, do not care about haram-halal, and do not know what fard and wajib is. They do not have love and fear of Allah in their hearts. Nobody thinks of praising and thanking Him for His boons and blessings.

Will the people of such a village not be in a position that is contrary to the widest path that the Quran opened, the lifestyle of the Prophet (pbuh), all of the Companions, saints, righteous people, mujtahids, mujaddids, tafsir and hadith scholars, and finally all of the worshippers, good and pious people?

Yes, Islam is not just a theoretical system and a system based on conscience. In many verses of the Quran, the concept of righteous deeds is used immediately after belief, and it is taught that righteous deeds are a result of belief.

We will finish our explanations about worshipping with the following nice expressions in İşarâtü’l-İ'caz, a tafsir book written by Badiuzzaman Said Nursi:

“...As for worship, it expands his spirit and raises his value; it causes his abilities to unfold and develop, allowing him to become worthy of eternal happiness. Worship is also a means of rectifying and purifying his inclinations, and of realizing his hopes and making them fruitful, and of marshalling his ideas and setting them in order, and also of reining in and limiting his three powers of appetite, anger, and intellect. Worship also removes the rust of nature from his members, physical and spiritual, each of which when transparent is like a window onto his private world and that of humankind. Also when performed with both conscience and mind and heart and body, worship raises man to the dignity of which he is worthy and to his appointed perfection. It is a subtle, elevated relation, an illustrious lofty connection between the bondsman and the One Worshipped. This relation constitutes the utmost degree of human perfection.”

Yes, the wisdom behind sending prophets is to teach people the principles of belief and pillars of Islam. That is, to place belief in Allah and all of the other truths of belief into their hearts and to teach them fully the duties of worshipping that will perfect their belief. Man's belief matures only with worshipping. The value of a slave in the eye of Allah is based on the sensitivity and care he will show in the duty of worshipping Him.

If belief without worshipping is likened to a fruit tree, worshipping is the causes that develop it and make it a fruitful tree. If one is like the sun, the other is like the air; if one is like the soil, the other is like the water.

No believer, including prophets and saints, has been excluded from this responsibility of worshipping. No personal virtue and maturity can replace fard worshipping.

The punishment of a person who does not fulfill such a lofty deed will definitely be Hell.

21 What is consciousness in worship and its importance?

Shu’ur (consciousness) is used in the sense of feeling, being aware of the things around, being able to observe one’s own acts objectively and to have will in Arabic.

When a conscious person drinks a glass of water, eats a morsel of bread, he does them on behalf of his spirituality and gains thawabs. A conscious person does even the simplest worldly deeds under the surveillance of Allah peacefully and does things with good manners. 

Allah created man so that he would worship Allah.

"O ye people! Adore your Guardian-Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that ye may have the chance to learn righteousness." (al-Baqara, 2/21)

As a matter of fact, people are ordered to worship Allah in the verse above; besides it is stated that the purpose of the creation of man is worshipping. (adh-Dhariyat, 51/56)

"Say (to the Rejecters): "My Lord is not uneasy because of you if ye call not on Him:" (al-Furqan, 25/77)

It is stated in the verse above that Allah values only those who worship and obey Him.

When worship is mentioned, only acts of worship like prayers, fasting, zakah and hajj that are performed at certain times should not be understood.

In its widest sense, worship means to do good deeds that Allah loves and to avoid thoughts, words and deeds that Allah forbids and does not like with the intention of attaining the love and consent of Allah. 

Worship means (for a slave) to devote his life to Allah, to adhere to Him with his being and to seek His consent in all of his deeds. Intention is very important for it. For, the Prophet (pbuh) said, "Actions are dependent upon their intentions." (see Bukhari, Iman, 42; Muslim, Imarah, 155)

If a Muslim utters all his words and does all his deeds and acts with a sincere intention, he will spend his whole life worshipping. His working in order to make his living legitimately, his eating, drinking, sleeping and resting in order to be strong enough to worship are also regarded as worshipping. For, all of his life is regarded as worshipping.

In our religion, the scope of worship is quite wide and the ways of gaining thawabs are made very easy. For instance, even to pick a stone on the way so that it will not harm others is regarded as an act of worship. (Bukhari, Jihad, 128)

"Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity (sadaqah), commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you." (Tirmidhi, Birr, 36)

“What people and animals eat from a tree that a Muslim planted is charity (sadaqah) for him.”(Muslim, Musaqat, 7)

Besides, it is stated that the sins of a person who gave water to a dog that was about to die by drawing water from a well were forgiven. (see Bukhari, Musaqat, 9)

A Muslim has to spend his day and night, winter and summer, youth and old age, in short, his whole life in the consciousness and joy of worshipping.

For, we do not know when, at what age and doing what death will come. In that case, it is necessary to have the consciousness of worshipping until death comes. As a matter of fact, Allah states the following:

"And serve thy Lord until there come unto thee the Hour that is Certain!" (al-Hijr, 15/99)

It is emphasized that acts of worship, which are our debt to Allah and a sign of thanking for the endless boons He has given to us, are not limited to certain times but that they have to be performed continuously and that every moment of life has to be transformed into acts of worship.

Hz. Prophet (pbuh) indicated the importance of continuity in worship as follows: "The acts most pleasing to Allah are those which are done continuously even if they are small." (Muslim, Musafirin, 218)

Then, we have to beautify every moment of our lives with worship and be ready as if we will die any moment; we have to provide provisions for the eternal journey by doing righteous deeds acting upon the following order: "And take a provision (With you) for the journey." (al-Baqara, 2/197)

22 What answer should we give to those who say, "Do not think deep; excessiveness in religion will make a person go crazy"?

Unfortunately, the world is like that today. Allah makes this factory of the universe work for us all the time and mobilizes everything for us; therefore, we need to allocate all of our time to Him but we live in an age that regards performing five daily prayers, which hardly lasts an hour every day, extremism. They act as if we will do very important things if we do not perform prayers.     

The midway, way of ease, moderate way, the way that can be followed is ordered in our religion. The Prophet (pbuh) said, 

“I advise you the midway because the religion will overcome any person who makes tiny distinctions.” 2

As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the Quran:

“We have not sent down the Qur'an to thee to be (an occasion) for thy distress.”3

The following is stated in another verse of the Quran:

“Allah intends every facility for you He does not want to put you to difficulties.”4

“On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.”5 Acting upon the verses above, Badiuzzaman Said Nursi attracts attention to the fact that a person cannot be loaded a burden heavier than he can carry in the religion.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) interprets the verses above with the following hadith:

“Indeed, this religion is easy, and no one will ever overburden himself in religion, except that it will overcome him. So seek what is appropriate, and come as close as you can, and receive the glad tidings (that you will be rewarded), and take it easy; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, afternoons, and during the last hours of the nights.”6

To go to extremes in the religion does not mean to persevere, to live based on taqwa and to live in accordance with the obligations of the religion. To go to extremes in the religionmeans to pay much attention to the orders of the religion that are of less significance and to neglect the orders of the religion that are of great significance by not establishing a balance between the decrees of the religion. It is imbalance. For instance, a person makes a lot of efforts, efforts that are beyond his power, and wearies himself for nafilah (supererogatory) prayers – he becomes too tired due to this extreme meticulousness – and he neglects sunnahs, wajibs and even fards.

In fact, the Prophet (pbuh) worshipped at night until his blessed feet swelled and performed prayers. For instance, once Hz. Aisha asked him, “O Messenger of Allah! Why do you tire yourself so much? Were your previous and future sins not forgiven?”  The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Should I not be a slave that thanks Allah more?”

However, the Prophet (pbuh) performed this worshipping within the boundaries endurance; and this night worshipping never caused him to neglect - God forbid - the morning prayer, his family and the people. Taqwa starts at this point. 

If a person who performs a lot of nafilah worshipping at night in order to revive a sunnah becomes very tired and neglects the morning prayer, his wife and children, his guests and his health, he will have gone to extremes and acted contrarily to the Sunnah.  

* Hz. Anas narrates:

When the Prophet (pbuh) entered the mosque, he saw a rope stretched between two columns.

“What is this rope?” He asked. The Companions said,

“This rope belongs to Zaynab bint Jahsh. She holds it when she gets tired.”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“Remove it. Perform prayers with pleasure. When you get tired, go to bed and sleep.” 7

* Hz. Aisha narrates:

There was a woman I was talking to in my room. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) entered my room, he asked,

“Who is this?” I said,

“She is such and such a woman.” Then, I started to mention her prayers. Finally, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“That is enough. Do what you can do. By Allah, Allah Almighty will not be tired of giving you thawabs but you will be tired of worshipping.“ 8

* Hz. Anas narrates:

A group ofthree men asked about the worship of the Prophet (pbuh).  When they were informed about it, they considered it little and said: "Where are we in comparison with the Prophet (pbuh) while Allah forgave his past sins and future sins". One of them said,

"I will perform prayers all night long and will not sleep." Another said,

"I will perform fasting continuously and will not break except on days of eid."Another said,

"I will abstain from women and will never marry".

When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came, he summoned them and said to them,

Are you the people who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah more than you do, and I am most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but I sometimes perform fasting and sometimes break it. I both perform prayers and sleep at night. This is my Sunnah. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not from me.” 10

* Abu Muhammad Abdullah b. Amr b. al-As narrates:

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was informed that I said, “I will perform fasting every day and perform prayers the whole night as long as I live.” He said to me,

"Is it you who said this?" I said to him,

"O Messenger of Allah! That is true." Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Do not do that. Observe fasting for few days and then leave off for few days; perform prayers and sleep at night, as your body has a right upon you, and your eyes have a right upon you. Your wife has a right upon you; your visitors have a right upon you. It is sufficient for you to perform fasting three days in a month, as the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times, so it will be like fasting the whole year." I said,

"O Messenger of Allah! I can do more than that." He said,

"Then, perform fasting of Dawud. Do not add more.” I said,

“What is fasting of Dawud?” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“Fasting half of the year. You will fast one day and eat the next day.” I said,

I can do more than that.” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“There is no fasting more virtuous than that. The most virtuous fasting is that of Dawud.”

Afterwards when Abdullah grew old, he said, "I wish I had accepted the three-day fasting the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) advised. It would have been lovelier to me than my family and wealth. However, it is too late now." 11

There is no compulsion in the religion. There is moderation, balance and harmony. It is essential to live in the religious balance, not to abandon fards for sunnahs, not to leave wajibs for nafilahs, and to live the religion as a whole based on our strength.

Footnotes:

1. Jamius-Saghir, 2/1582;
2. Jamius-Saghir, 3/2706;
3. Taha, 20/2;
4. Al-Baqara, 2/185;
5. See al-Baqara, 2/286; at-Talaq, 65/7; al-An’am, 6/152; al-A’raf, 7/42; al-Mu’minun, 23/62;
6. Nasai, Iman, 28;
7. Nawawi, R. Salihin, 146;
8. Nawawi, R. Salihin, 142.
9. Jamius-Saghir, 2/1582;
10. Nawawi, R. Salihin, 143,
11. Nawawi, R. Salihin, 150.

23 Is there a kind of worshipping peculiar to the Arafah of (the day before) Eid al-Fitr?

Arafah is the day one day before eid al-adha, the 9th day of the month of Dhul-hijjah of the Hijri calendar. No other day can be called Arafah. However, the day before eid al-fitr is also called Arafah in some Islamic countries.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following :

"The most virtuous day among the days is the day of Arafah. It is like Friday in terms of virtue. It is more virtuous than seventy hajjs except the one performed on Friday. The most virtuous prayer (dua) is the one said on the day of Arafah. The most virtuous sentence uttered by me and the prophets before me is (Lailaha illallah wahdahu la sharika lahu. (There is no god but Allah; He is one; He has no partners.)" (Muwatta, Hajj, 246)

Hazreti Aisha narrates:

"There is no day when Allah sets free more servants from Hell than the day of Arafah. He draws near His slaves and praises them to the angels, saying: 'What do these want?'" (Muslim, Hajj, 436)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Show respect to the day of Arafah. Arafah is a day that Allah appreciates."

Thus, the Prophet (pbuh) wanted us to show respect to the day that Allah appreciates and to try to live consciously. Respect starts by realizing the boon that is granted and being able to know and see. To spend the day of Arafah by performing fasting, saying prayers, asking for forgiveness without committing sins is an expression of respect and gratitude to Allah, who gave the glad tiding that He would forgive His slaves. (Daylami)

The following conversation between Hz. Umar and a Jew shows the importance of the day of Arafah:

During the caliphate of Hz. Umar, a Jew said to him,

"O Umar! You read a verse; if it had been sent down to us, we would have celebrated that day as an eid (festival)."
It was the third verse of the chapter of al-Maida. Allah Almighty stated the following:

"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you."

That verse was sent down in the tenth year of the Migration during the Farewell Hajj on Friday, which was the day of Arafah, in the afternoon when the Prophet (pbuh) was on his camel called "Adba". The camel slumped down due to the heaviness of the revelation.

When Hz. Umar heard the verse from the Jew, he said,

"We know that day and the place where that verse was sent down. It was on Friday and Arafah." Thus, Hz. Umar mentioned the importance of Arafah by stating that it was eid for us. 

The day of Arafah is the day when Hz. Adam and Hawwa (Eve) met.

Tawriyah is one day before Arafah.

The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

"A Muslim who performs fasting on the day of Tawriyah and does not utter any sinful words enters Paradise."

The fasting performed on that day is equal to supererogatory fasting of one thousand days. Besides, it causes the repentance of the previous year and the next year to be accepted. One gets a lot of rewards when he fasts on the day of Arafah. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following:

"A reward of twice the number of the people that lived beginning from Hz. Adam and that will live up to the Day of Judgment will be given to a person who performs fasting on the day of Arafah."

"The fasting performed on the day of Arafah is equal to supererogatory fasting of one thousand days."

"The fasting on the day of Ashura is equal to supererogatory fasting of one year and on the day of Arafah two years."

The fasting performed on the day of Arafah is equal to freeing two thousand slaves, sacrificing two thousand camels and giving two thousand horses in the way of Allah for jihad."

"The fasting performed on the day of Arafah will be atonement for the sins of the previous year and the next year."

It is recommended to read the chapter of al-Ikhlas one thousand times by some great personalities. It is stated in hadiths that reading the chapter of al-Ikhlas will be a means of forgiveness for the sins except individual rights.

"The sins of a person who reads al-Ikhlas one thousand times with Basmala are forgiven and his prayer is accepted."

The Prophet (pbuh) prayed to Allah on the night of Arafah to forgive his ummah. His prayer was answered as follows: 'I have forgiven them, except for the wrongdoer, with whom I will settle the score in favor of the one whom he wronged.' The Messenger of Allah said,

'O Lord, if You wish, You will grant Paradise to the one who is wronged, and forgive the wrongdoer.' No response came from Allah in Arafat to this prayer. The next day at Muzdalifah, he repeated the same prayer. This time, his prayer was accepted. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) laughed, showing his joy. Thereupon, Hz. Abu Bakr and Umar said to him,

May my father and mother be sacrificed for you! This is not a time when you usually laugh. What made you laugh?’ The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

When the enemy of Allah, Iblis, came to know that Allah answered my prayer and forgave my nation, he took some dust and started to sprinkle it on his head, crying 'Woe on you! You have been destroyed!' This cry of Satan's, which I saw, made me laugh.'

It is necessary to show respect to the day of Arafah; we should join the prayers of hajjis who are on Arafat on that day by feeling that we are with them spiritually. We should avoid anything that can cause us to commit a sin on that day. Nowadays, the day of Arafah is experienced as a very busy day with worldly affairs since it is one day before eid. In fact, Arafah is one of the most important time periods given to man. These days are days of worshipping and forgiveness.  It is the most valuable time period when hajjis come together in Arafat regardless of their languages, races and skin colors reminding of the Day of Gathering  by saying, "Labbayk (Here I am at your service)" and when servitude is presented to Allah by supplications and talbiyahs. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following:

"The most virtuous prayer is the one said on the day of Arafah." (Bayhaqi)

"Allah looks at His slaves on the day of Arafah and forgives anyone who has even a very little amount of belief."

Allah informed the Prophet (pbuh) that prayers are not rejected on some nights. The four holy nights when the doors of mercy are opened are as follows:

1. The night of (before) eid al-fitr,
2. The night of (before) eid al-adha,
3. The night of Tarwiyah (8th night of Dhul-hijjah),
4. The night of Arafah. (Isfahani)

It is very virtuous to spend the day and night of Arafah worshipping. There are narrations stating that a person who spends the night of Arafah worshipping will be saved from Hell. It was stated by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) that a person who avoids sins on the day of Arafah will be forgiven.

"On the day of Arafah, a young man who was near the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was thinking about women and looking at the women. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) turned the man's face away from the women a few times. The young man started to think about them again. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"My brother's son! Today is such a day that anyone who controls his ears, eyes and tongue is forgiven." (Musnad)

The following are advised to do on the day of Arafah:

1. It is necessary to start uttering takbirs of tashrik after the fard of the morning prayer.
2. One should perform fasting on the day of Arafah.
3. One should show respect to the day of Arafah and try not to commit sins.
4. One should pray to Allah and ask for forgiveness a lot on the day of Arafah.
5. One should read the chapter of al-Ikhlas 1000 times on the day of Arafah.

24 What are the drawbacks to worshipping in a church for a Muslim in Noel celebrations?

It is not appropriate for a Muslim to go to church and worship like Christians; it is haram. We are prohibited from imitating even their traditions; it is a bigger sin to go to the temple of another religion and to worship like them. Something like this may cause a person to forget his religion in the course of time and adopt the other religion. 

The Prophet (pbuh) says,

“A person who tries to resemble a nation becomes one of them.” (Abu Dawud, Kitabul-Libas, hadith no 3512)

A person can go to a church with two aims: 

1. Those who go to church because they are Christians.

2. Those who go to a church for visiting and touristic purposes.

After this classification, let us explain the decree of going to church:

a. The first group is virtually Christian since they know and accept themselves as Christians. They are regarded as non-Muslims. That is, they are not Muslims.

b. The second group goes there in order to see how the church was built and arranged. When a Christian goes to a mosque to visit it, he does not become a Muslim; similarly, when a Muslim goes to a church to visit it, he does not become a Christian.

25 Is worshipping more acceptable in the Kaaba or Arafat?

Every deed of worship is valuable where it is done. Therefore, the importance of prayer (dua) said in Arafat is different and the prayer performed in the Kaaba is different. Besides, there are narrations stating that prayers performed in the Kaaba are more virtuous than prayers performed in other mosques.

The Prophet (pbuh) praised Masjid al-Haram by saying, “A prayer performed in Masjid al-Aqsa is equal to one thousand prayer; a prayer performed in Masjid an-Nabawi is equal to ten thousand prayers; a prayer performed in the Kaaba is equal to one hundred thousand prayers.”

Hz. Abu Hurayra narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,  

"Prayer in this mosque of mine is more virtuous." –In another narration- "A prayer in this mosque of mine is more virtuous than one thousand prayers in other mosques except Masjid al-Haram." [Bukhari, Fadlus-Salat 1; Muslim, Hajj 505, (1394); Muwatta, Qiblah 9, (1, 196); Tirmidhi, Salat 243, (325); Nasai, Masajid 7, (2, 35).]

In other hadiths that Ibn Hajar includes in the explanation, the superiority of the prayers performed in Masjid al-Haram and even in Masjid al-Aqsa is expressed by some numbers. The following is stated in a narration in Musnad:

"A prayer in this mosque of mine is more virtuous than one thousand prayers in other mosques except Masjid al-Haram. A prayer in Masjid al-Haram is more virtuous than one hundred prayers in this mosque of mine."

The following is stated in a narration of Bazzar:

"A prayer performed in Masjid al-Haram is equal to one hundred thousand prayers. A prayer performed in this mosque of mine is equal to one thousand prayers. A prayer performed in Bayt al-Maqdis is equal to five hundred prayers."

(Prof. Dr. İbrahim Canan, Kütüb-i Sitte)