Read Part 1 Here
Let’s start with a story:
I had a hindu colleague some time ago who had worked in middle east in past. While working there he was once walking along and the prayer time came. A shurta (policeman) observed him not getting into mosque for prayer. On seeing open violation of sharia, the shurta forcefully pushed him into the mosque. Though he shouted “I am not a Muslim, get me out of here”. Not understanding the language shurta managed to force him into mosque and he ended up praying alongside other Muslims -J. Now, his actions and the actions of the Muslim standing next were the same. Did he get the reward is another matter!
1- All Actions are just Action: An action on its own is just an action – a physical activity; neither good nor bad. For example, if a murderer punctures a person with knife we call it wrong but same action performed by a surgeon on a patient is considered right.
So what makes actions Good or Bad? It is the label of good or bad which humans attach to that action and it is something external to the action. For us Muslims, this label is provided to us by the Creator. It is Allah Ta’ala who decreed it.
“And shown him the two ways.” (Quran: Buld 90.10)
2- Reward & Punishment: This concept of labelling an action being good or bad leads us to the idea of Reward (sawab) or Punishment(sin). Since our life on this earth is a test for the next life, all of our actions are linked to Sawab (Reward) or Gnnnah (Punishment):
“Whoever does an evil deed (action) will not be recompensed except by the like thereof; but whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – those will enter Paradise, being given provision therein without account.” (Quran: Ghafir 40.40)
Once we start linking our actions to Reward & Punishment, everything starts making sense.
3- This Life is an Exam: This life is like an exam paper. In exam we are given a set of questions. Each question carries some marks, and some questions are compulsory whereas others provide us with a choice. Life actions are just like exam questions. The examiner, Our Creator has informed us clearly about these prior to the exam:
Take fasting for example, an action of not eating from sunrise to sunset; fasting is compulsory during Ramadhan, optional during other days and forbidden (Haram) on Eid days.
Five Categories / Types of Actions:
Islam categorises actions into five distinct types as mentioned below:
1- Fard (Obligatory): Also known as Wajib, these are the actions which are obligatory, such as Prayers (Salat) & Zakat. Missing these is a sin whereas performing these brings reward from the Creator.
2- Mustahab (Liked): Also known as Mandoub, these are the actions that please Allah Ta’ala. Performing these brings reward but not performing doesn’t carry a sin, such as Nafil prayers.
3- Mubaah (Permitted): These are allowed or permitted actions which do not carry any punishment or reward. For example, choosing one type of the halal foods, or wearing certain type of dress as long as it covers properly.
4- Makrooh (Disliked): these are the actions which are permitted and doing these do not cause any sin but avoiding them carries reward. One such example is divorce.
5- Haram (Forbidden): These actions are not allowed; such as cheating or lying.
Now tell me honestly, can you pay for a missed prayer by performing extra nawafil later? Can you lie & cheat, and pay charity or perform Umrah as compensation?? No, not at all.
It is obviously clear that Fard/obligatory actions are a must and they carry priority over others. If we have to choose among these actions, we should prefer Fard, then Mandoub and then Mubah. For Haram, we must avoid them at all costs and try to refrain as much as possible from Makroohs.
It sounds obvious but do we mistake sometimes? Yes, it happens when we ignore the categorisation by Allah Ta’ala and start attaching our own vlaues. One such an example is some Muslims start praying salat in Ramadhan even including Taravih but as soon as Ramadhan is over they miss the five prayers. Whereas the whole month’s Taravih prayers cannot compensate for one single missed fard prayer.
Actions and Ibaadat: There is no distinction between actions as Ibadaat or worldly. Any action performed as told by the Allah Almighty is an idadat. We must perform each & every action according to the Commands of the Creator the Almighty; hence transforming the whole life will into an Ibadat.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the taufeeq to transform our lives into the way our Lord wishes us to, Aamin!