Excellence in Acting
Taken from the book “Knowledge and Wisdom” by Imam Alawi al-Haddad.
“People of realization, gnosis, clear vision, and certitude give precedence to excellence [ihsan] in acting over the act itself. For the outward form of acts, whether ritual Prayer, Fasting, recitation [of the Qur’an], or invocation of God, will be nothing but hardship and toil of no benefit in the absence of thoroughness and excellence in performance, perfection of the inner dimensions, reverence before God, humility,submission, attention and august presence of God. It is to this that the Prophet’s SAW saying refers, “Many a man spends the night in Prayer and receives nothing of his vigils but sleeplessness and fatigue; and many a man fasts and receives nothing for his Fasting but hunger and thirst.”
And Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib RA, said, “There is no good in a recitation unaccompanied by reflection.”
Some of those who outwardly perform such acts, but without excellence, even when they expend much effort, become weary and may fall into sin. (May Allah save us from that!) This may happen to ostentatious people and to others who are less thorough than they ought to be during their recitations, bowings, and prostrations. Their devotions are a nullity and bring only lassitude, and because of this, they will have sinned.
Therefore, when you act, be thorough, give every single component of your act its due with regard to God and the outward injunctions, and be present with God and courteous before Him. A few acts performed with excellence will thus be better and purer in God’s Sight than a great many performed improperly and without excellence. Know this and act on it! And may God guide you!
The Messenger of God SAW said, “God the Exalted has decreed that there must be excellence in every act.” Reflect and understand his SAW words, which show that God has decreed that excellence must be in each act, and you will know that this command covers everything. Excellence, then, is different from the things or the acts in themselves; when it is taken out of them, they either become bad and unsightly or simply mediocre and banal.”
Salam’alaykum one and all.
I hope everyone is doing great. :)
I guess the post speaks for itself. I just wanted to emphasise the last point which is: excellence is decreed in EVERY act.
Many times, we strive and toil and struggle to achieve khusyu’ in prayer, to do our worship as proper as possible, etc etc, which is all good of course. But we fail to realize that excellence is expected of us in every other area of our life. Being a servant of Allah demands it so. Being a servant does not only consist of acts of ‘worship’. Worshipping never ends!
We must be excellent students, workers, friends, daughters, brothers. A Muslim is a well-rounded individual that strives to please his Rabb in everything he does, in everything he says, not just 5 times a day like for prayers, or once a year like Ramadhan, but in every single thing.
Is there a proper way to wake up from sleep? Yes. The Prophet SAW has shown us how to do so.
Is there a proper way to behave in the toilet? Yes.
Is there a proper way to interact with fellow Muslims and to others of a different faith? Yes yes yes.
Lets not restrict the concept of IBADAH only to acts of ‘worship’ as we know it, because everything we do will be questioned and if you want to account for yourselves before He calls you to account, lets strive to be excellent in every single thing we do and see and hear and say and decide. Let others say what they want to say if we appear too rigid and strict but always remember, we are seeking Allah’s Pleasure and not anyone else’s. Be kind, be nice, put on a smile all the time, be gentle with others, seek to emulate the Prophet SAW.
Timely reminder to be excellent, WWRD – What Would Rasulullah SAW Do? :)