As of September 2020, I have been living on this planet for a little over thirty-four years. Of all the ideas and concepts that I have read and heard in this lifetime, by far the most impressive is that there is a Creator and Governor of all existence and every one of us can connect and form a special bond with Him. According to the teachings of Islam, one of the best ways to connect with our Creator is through five daily prayers (salat or namaz). Hence, it is of utmost importance that we understand what we recite in our prayers and we do so with the deepest humility, gratitude and reverence. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that a person is closest to his or her Lord when he or she is in prostration (sujood) during prayer. This striving to attain closeness with our Creator is the essence of salat or namaz - five daily prayers in Islam.
Of course, the five daily prayers like all other acts of worship must be performed with the sole intention of pleasing our Creator. According to the teachings of Islam, the aim and objective of life is to please and earn the goodwill of our Creator and Sustainer. A smile, a hand shake, a kind word, being fair and just, kindness to animals - they all count if done with the intention to please our Creator. Therefore, we must be aware of our intentions. If one does a good deed with the intention of showing off or receiving the praise of people or some other worldly benefit, then the deed becomes null and void in the sight of our Creator.
Two other concepts are emphasized much in the teachings of Islam and they are the concepts of shukr (gratitude) and sabr (patience, constancy and perseverance). We are taught to be grateful for all the blessings we can think of and count, for example, for waking up every morning, for the clothes we put on, for a glass of water and especially for the beautiful way of life – Islam. We are reminded that we can never enumerate all the blessings of our Creator and hence we can never thank Him enough. We are taught to be patient when we are having a bad day and when in difficult situations. That is, we should not vent our anger and frustrations on others and ourselves, rather we should seek help from our Creator and deal with things in a rational and sober manner. We are also taught to be constant in good deeds, to be constant in keeping away from bad deeds and to persevere on the straight path which ultimately leads to true peace and success in this world and in the next…
The author is a Lecturer at the School of Business and Economics, North South University