When engaging in acts of worship like prayer, fasting, or Hajj, the main focus for many people is how to perfect their deeds to attain rewards and erase sinful acts. For example, when people are praying in congregation their main focus might be to make sure there are no gaps in the lines, or when people are fasting to make sure no gargle of water is swallowed during Wudu, or pilgrims making Hajj might focus only on following all the rituals correctly. And of course, attention to details is certainly a wonderful thing on all levels, whether it’s an obligated act or a preferred one.

But my advice today is to direct your focus on God before deeds. Sometimes people may get so caught up in the details and rituals that they forget the bigger picture.

Prophet Mohammad (SAAW) said: “No deed (by itself) shall grant entrance to Heaven to any one of you.” The companions asked: “Even you, O Messenger of Allah?” He (SAAW) said: “Even me, unless God bestows His Mercy on me.” What that means is that the deeds alone have no value without God’s permission.

We read in the Quran the believers saying: {All praise be to Allah Who has guided us on to this. Had it not been for Allah Who granted us guidance, we would not be on the right path.} 7:43. And that means people will recognize the idea of Hedaya or guidance is all based on God’s will.

So when we ask ourselves: “Who granted us the ability to worship God? Isn’t it God Himself? (SW)

It was said that a female servant was praying alone during the night making Du’a saying: “O Allah; I ask You by how much You love me to forgive me. I ask You by how much You love me to grant me Your mercy and Heaven.” When her master heard her words he told her: “How do you know He loves you? You must say instead: By my love for You!” She replied: “If He did not love me, He would not have made me wake up in the middle of the night to praise Him.”

Ibn Ata Al-Sakandari said: “One of the signs of relying on one’s own deeds is the loss of hope when a downfall occurs.” Meaning, if one loses hope when committing sins, he is looking at his sins not God. (You don’t know; God might forgive you.) And the opposite is true as well. If one has more hope when doing good deeds, he is also looking at his deeds not God. (You don’t know if deeds were accepted.)

To understand this better you must be able to see the Might and Beauty of Allah first. (Al-Jalal and Al-Jamal)

Allah’s attributes do not change, they are fixed and constant. We, as His servants, should try to look at His Might and Beauty in a fixed and constant status as well. The status of fear should be present regardless of good deeds, and the status of hope should be present regardless of bad deeds.

It is about seeing God not seeing deeds. The scholars of Sulook, or the path to God, speak of the terms: Sharia (ordained laws), Tareeqa (path of certainty), and Haqeeqa (absolute truth).

Islam is Sharia..
Iman is Tareeqa..
Ihsan is Haqeeqa..

To worship God as if you see Him…

By Sh Kifah Mustapha