Saturday, August 06, 2011

Rules (Ahkam) of Worships (‘Ibadat) are Tawqifi

The following is the translation of a chapter from the Arabic book 'Al-Fikr al-Islami' (The Islamic Thought) by Sheikh Mohammad Mohammad Ismael Abduh, an Assistant Professor at the Egyptian University (now known as Cairo University) in the past.
‘Ibadat are the ultimate degree of sanctification (taqdees). It is innate (fitri) in man, for it is the response, to the instinct of religiousness (tadayyun). ‘Aql (the mind) is associated with the emotion (shu’oor) in that so as man worships the one worthy of worship, who is the Creator. This is in order that wijdan (sentiment) does no go astray by worshipping that which is not worthy of ‘ibadah (worship), or it mistakes by seeking nearness from the worshipped (thing) with that which distances him from it. Thus the role of the ‘aql in the ‘ibadah is inevitable in discovering what is worshipped and defining it, which is the Creator.

As for the manner by which the creature performs the ‘ibadah to the Creator, the ‘aql has no role in it, nor it can know it. This is because this manner is the ahkam in accordance of which man worships Allah (swt). In other words it is a system that organises the relationship of the creature with the Creator, ie, the one who worships with the One who is worshipped. This system can’t come from the creature at all. This is because the creature can’t comprehend the reality of the Creator so as to organise his relationship with Him. Nor he knows His essence so as to know he worships Him. Thus, it is impossible that man can place, by his ‘aql, a system for ‘ibadat between him and the Creator, by which he organises his relation with the Creator, ie he organises his sanctification (taqdees) to the Creator. This is because putting this organisation requires comprehending the reality of the Creator, a matter that is impossible. Then it becomes impossible for man to put down, by his ‘aql, the ahkam of ‘ibadat. Thereupon, the system of ‘ibadat must come from the creator, and not from the created, ie, it should come from the worshipped, and not from the worshipper. Thus, it is necessary that the rules of ‘ibadat must come from Allah (swt) alone, and not from man. Man has no role whatsoever in that, whatever little it might be, because it is impossible for him to put it.

This system must be conveyed from the Creator to the created, so as he worships the god in accordance with it. Thereupon, it is inevitable that there is a need for messengers to convey to people the ahkam of ‘ibadat; for it is impossible that people put down ahkam in ‘ibadat, and because they do not come except from Allah (swt).

It might be said there is no need for man to have a system of ‘ibadat; he can rather perform the ‘ibadat without a system. For they are the ultimate degrees of sanctification, so man undertakes the ‘ibadah the way he likes, because it is a response to satisfy the instinct of religiousness; which needs satisfaction only. So he satisfies it by any action of sanctification that leads to this satisfaction. What is the need to organise the sanctification, ie, the need for ahkam to ‘ibadat? The answer to that is that the response of any instinct necessitates organising the actions that achieve this response. This is because the absence of their organisation would lead to anarchy, which would lead to the wrong or the abnormal satisfaction; where both of these contradicts the origin upon which the instinct is built. So if the reproduction instinct required sexual satisfaction while it has no system for this satisfaction, it would try to satisfy it with anything that achieves it. This would lead it either to the abnormal satisfaction or a party that is not a place for satisfaction. This means the destruction of the human kind for which the instinct existed; or to the wrong satisfaction, which is the satisfaction of a party that is the place of satisfaction, but only for the temporary satisfaction. This also leads to deviate from the result of the satisfaction that is giving birth, thus leading to reduce the offspring if not even stopping it. This again deviates the instinct from the purpose it existed for, which is the continuation of the human race.

Therefore, it is necessary there should be a system that regulates the reproduction instinct.

For the religiousness instinct, it is also necessary to organise the actions that performs the response of sanctification. In other words, it is necessary, to organise the sanctification, which is the ‘ibadah. This is because the absence of its organisation leads to that man undertakes any action that performs sanctification. This would lead to the abnormal satisfaction by sanctifying a party that is not the place of sanctification, such as sanctifying the five as being a god, or sanctifying an idol made of dates, where man makes with his hand, worships it and then eats it. This deviates the instinct by making it sanctify other than the Creator, though the instinct is the feeling of deficiency and need to the Creator, the Sustainer. Thus, the sanctification becomes contradictory to the instinct that incites it. It might also lead to sanctify a party that is the place of sanctification, but only for the sake of satisfaction, and not for examining its reality. This is like the sanctification of an idol presuming that the god is incarnated in him near to Allah (swt). This would mean deviation of shukr (gratefulness) to the One who deserves thanking and praise, by performing this praise to other than who deserves it, which is the idol. This deviates the instinct away from what it existed for, that is the sanctification of the Creator, the Sustainer.

Therefore, there must be a system that organises the religiousness instinct as well as the reproduction instinct. The difference between the two instincts is that the reproduction instinct, man can put a system from his ‘aql for the actions that achieve its response, because they are from the relations of man with another man. He can comprehend man and organise his relationship with him; though it can’t be a perfect system. As for the religiousness instinct, he can’t place by his ‘aql a system for the actions that performs its response. This is because it is a relationship of man with his Creator and Sustainer. He can’t comprehend Him, so he can’t organise his relationship with Him. Rather, this system must come from the Creator.

Thus, the ahkam of ‘ibadat must come from the Creator and not from the created.


UJANG said...

Allahu Akbar.............SUBHANALLAH

Anonymous said...

Masha-Allah,v.good article

Anonymous said...

nice. A important concept explained in a manner.