Islamic Invitation Turkey
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10- About Worship from Signs of Miraculousness by Ustad Bediüzzaman Said Nursi r.a (1873-1960)


You should know that it is worship that instils the tenets of belief [in the believers] making them a very part of their character. For if matters pertaining to the conscience and reason are not nurtured and strengthened by worship, which consists of carrying out Allah’s commands and abstaining from His prohibitions, they remain ineffectual and weak. The present state of the Islamic world testifies to this.
Know too that worship is the cause of happiness in this world and the next, and is a means of ordering life here and there, and a cause of attainment and perfection, both individual and collective. It is an exalted, esteemed relation between Creator and bondsman.
There are several reasons worship is the cause of happiness and prosperity in this world, which is the tillage of the hereafter:
Firstly: Man has been created with a strange, subtle nature distinguishing him from all other living beings and making him an exception to them. By virtue of this there have arisen in him the desire to
choose, and the wish for the most beautiful things and for fine decoration, and a natural desire to have a livelihood and position befitting humanity.
For his food, dress, and accommodation – the need for which arises due to the above-mentioned desires – to be prepared proficiently man has need of multiple arts and crafts, but he is incapable of practising all of these on his own. He needs therefore to mix with his fellow-men and to co-operate with them, and for all of them to assist each other and exchange the fruits of their labour. However, since so as to allow men’s progress by means of the mainspring of the will the All-Wise Maker placed no innate limits on the [three] human powers of appetite, anger, and intellect – as with the animals and their limited powers – tyranny and aggression have arisen. And since no limit has been placed on them, the powers [tend to] aggression and the [human] community is in need of justice when exchanging the fruits of its labour. But because the intellects of single members of society are incapable of comprehending justice, the human race as a whole needs a general or universal intellect [to establish] justice from which all may benefit. And that intellect is the universal law, and that law is the Shari’a. Then in order to preserve the effectiveness of the Shari’a and its enforcement, a lawmaker is necessary, someone to lay claim to it and promulgate it, an authority, and that is the Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace). Then in order to perpetuate his outward and inward domination over [people’s] minds and hearts the Prophet needs to be eminently superior both physically and spiritually and morally, and in conduct and appearance, and by nature and in character. He is in need too of proof of the strength of his relations with the Lord of All Sovereignty, the Master of the World, and such a proof is his miracles. Then in order to secure obedience to [its] commands and avoidance of [its] prohibitions he is in need of perpetuating the idea of the Maker’s grandeur, the Master of all Sovereignty, and that is [possible] through the manifestation of the tenets of belief. Then in order to perpetuate this idea and fix the tenets of belief firmly in their minds, he needs a constantly repeated reminder and renewed act, and that reminder is nothing but worship.
Secondly: The purpose of worship is to turn minds towards the All-Wise Maker. And this turning towards induces obedience and submission, and this includes [the worshippers] under the perfect order [in the universe] and binds them to it. To follow this order leads to the realization of the mystery of wisdom, and the wisdom is testified to by the perfect art in the universe.
Thirdly: Man resembles a pole to the top of which are joined electric cables, for attached to his head are the tips of all the laws of creation; the natural laws extend to him, and the rays of the divine laws and principles in the universe are reflected and cen-
tred on him. So man has to complete them and adhere to them and cling on to them to facilitate the general current lest his foot slips and he falls and is crushed under the wheels of the machinery turning in the levels [of the world]. And this is achieved through worship, which consists of conforming to the commands and prohibitions.
Fourthly: By complying with the commands and prohibitions numerous connections are formed for a person with the many levels of society, and the individual becomes like a species. For many of the commands, especially those that touch on the marks [of Islam] and the general good, resemble threads to which are tied [people’s] honour and through which their rights are set in order. If it were not for them, all those rights and duties would be torn up and scattered to the wind.
Fifthly: The Muslim has firm relations with all other Muslims and there are strong bonds between them. By reason of the tenets of belief and [the Muslims’] Islamic traits these relations give rise to unshakeable brotherhood and true love. And it is worship that makes manifest the tenets of belief and renders them effective, and roots them firmly in the pysche.
How worship is the cause of personal attainment and perfection:
Consider this: together with being physically small, weak, and powerless, and being one of the animals, man bears within him an exalted spirit, and has vast potentiality, unrestricted desires, infinite hopes, uncountable ideas, and unlimited powers, and he has a nature so strange he is as though an index of all the species and all the worlds. 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.
Sincerity in worship is this, that it is performed only because it is commanded, although it comprises numerous instances of wisdom [and benefits]. Each of these may be a reason ( ‘ilia) for performing worship, but sincerity makes it imperative that the [true] reason be the command to perform it. If the wisdom or benefit is made the reason, the worship is null and void, but if it merely encourages the person to perform the worship, it is permissible.
When those addressed hear the words “O you people! worship..” they ask through the tongue of disposition: “Why and for what reason? What is the wisdom in it? Why should we? And what for?” You leamt the wisdom in the introduction above; concerning the reason {‘ilia), the Qur’an replies with proof of the Maker and His unity with the words: “Your Lord and Sustainer who created you…” Then with the verse: “If you are in doubt about what We have revealed,”‘(2:23) it proves prophethood.
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The phrase “O you people! worship…” addresses all the people of every class of the three groups, of the past, present, and future: О genuine believers who worship surely and regularly! О middling [worshippers], try to increase your worship! О disbelievers, perform your worship and all it entails connected to belief and the affirmation of divine unity! And О dissemblers, worship with true sincerity! Thus, the word “worship” here is like a shared word expressing many meanings. So ponder over this!
“Your Sustainer and Lord (Rabbakum);” that is, worship Him for He is the lord who raises and sustains you! It is encumbent on you to be a bondsman who worships and serves Him.
A Short Note: In “your Sustainer and Lord’ is a subtle allusion to the contingency of the essences [of those addressed]; and in “has made the earth a resting-place for you” is a sign indicating the contingency of their attributes, and “who has created you and those who lived before you” hints at the created-ness of their essences and attributes. Also, the following verses offer clear evidence that the essences of those addressed are contingent: “For Allah is indeed self-sufficient, whereas you stand in need I of Нim’.)’;”‘(47:38) “That to your Lord is the final goal;” (53:42) “Now verily, these [false deities] are my enemies, ¡ánd that none is my helper] save the Lord and Sustainer of all the Worlds;”(26:77) “Say: Allah [sent it down J, then leave them to plunge in vain discourse and trifiing;”(6:9l) “So flee unto Allah;” (51:50) “for verily in the remembrance of Allah do [men’s] hearts find their rest.”( 13:28) Now think of further examples in the same way!
As for the phrase “who has created you (alladhi khalaqakum):” know that when Allah the Most High commands worship, which necessitates three things: firstly, the existence of the object of worship (ma’būd); secondly, His unity; and thirdly, His fitness to be worshipped. He replies to these three implied questions by indicating three evidences of
them; tf\e evidences of [Hisļ existence, which are of
two sorts: those in the outer world (ãfãqi) and those in man’s self (anfusi). The latter are also of two kinds: evidences in the self (iiajsl) and those pertaining to origins (usūlī). [The Qur’an I alludes to evi-
dences in the self (nafsl), which are the nearest and most evident, with the phrase “who has created you,” and to those pertaining to man’s origins with “and those [who lived] before you.”
As for the positioning of “so that you might remain conscious of Him: (la’allakum tattaqun),” know that since the Qur’an relates worship to [men’s I creation and that of their forefathers, it necessitates two points:
The First: [Human beings] being created with a propensity to worship and their having the ability to be conscious of and fear Allah (al-taqwa), so [much so] that anyone who observes such an ability would expect worship from them. Like someone who sees I an animal’s] claws understands that they are for tearing at or grasping things.
The Second: That the purpose of their creation, and the function with which they are charged and the perfection to which they are turned, is the fear of Allah. This is the most complete and perfect worship.
That is to say, “so that you might remain conscious of Him;” that is, the aim of your creation, and your perfection, and that for which your innate disposition has been made, is the consciousness of Allah and fear of Him.
Now for the phrase “has made the earth a resting-place for you (jaala la-кит al-ard firāshan):” this points out the most likely evidences of the Most High’s existence furnished by the outer world. It is also an allusive rebuttal of the actual effectiveness of causes, which is the source of a sort of associating partners with Allah (shirk); that is, its ascribing the spreading-out of the earth, or its preparation as man’s cradle, to the Most High and not to nature.
The phrase “and the sky a canopy (wa al-samā’ Ыпа’ап)” indicates by mentioning the sky, which is contiguous with the earth, the most elevated of the simple proofs in the outer world.
Then with the phrase “and has sent down water from the sky (wa amala min al-samā’)” [it indicates] the evidence of their Maker’s existence [offered by] compound beings and things animal, vegetable, and mineral.
Moreover, all the previous phrases point to proof of [the Maker’s] existence. Similarly, as a whole they indicate His unity. And the way they are set out indicates the order [of the universe] and alludes to the bounties. With the evidence [offered by] “for your sustenance (rizqan la-кит)” it establishes the fitness of the Most High to be worshipped, for it is compulsory to thank the bestower of bounties. “For your sustenance” also indicates that just as the earth and things animal, vegetable and mineral have been made to serve you, so you should serve the One who subjugated them to you.
Now the positioning [and relationships] of “then set not up rivals to Allah (fa-la taf alū li’llăhi andădan):” know that extending from its position are lines to “O you people! worship your Sustainer and Lord” and to “who has created you;” and to “who has made … for you;” and to “and has sent down.” That is, when you worship your Lord, associate no partners with Him, for it is He who is the Lord and Sustainer, and is your Creator and the Creator of the human race; do not set up lords and masters in derogation of Allah; and because it was He who created the heavens and made them the roof to your dwelling-place, so do not believe that natural causes have an actual effect, which is the source of idolatry; and because it is He who sends down rain to the earth for your food and livelihoods. There is no bounty but His, so thanks and worship are due to Him alone.

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