24 Hours in the Life of a Muslim According to the Teachings of the Qur'an
Waking up in the Morning
One of the basic differences between Muslims who live their lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an and those people who reject Allah is this: the wisdom Allah gives to those who use their conscience and stand in awe of the glory of Allah. (For a detailed discussion see Harun Yahya's True Wisdom Described in The Qur'an) Because of their wisdom, believers are immediately aware of the reason behind events that godless people and those unable to grasp the truth regard as meaningless happenstance.
From the moment a believer wakes up in the morning, he knows that there is (as Allah calls them in the Qur'an), a "sign" in every experience he has in the course of a day. The word "sign" is given to those events in existence that are clear proofs of the existence, unity and the attributes of Allah—and it is also the name for a verse of the Qur'an. Another idea similar in meaning is "the facts that lead to faith." This may be defined as those facts that bring a person to faith, and at the same time cause faith to grow, develop and become strong. But only those who sincerely turn to Allah can recognise these "signs" and facts that lead to faith. The 190th verse of Surah Al 'Imran is an example of this: "In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are Signs for people with intelligence. " (Surah Al 'Imran, 190)
For those who have faith and live by the teachings of the Qur'an, every new day is full of proofs of Allah's existence and facts leading to faith. For example, to open one's eyes and start the day is one of Allah's blessings to humanity and one of the facts leading to faith that needs to be pondered. This is because a person is unconscious throughout the night and all he can remember from those long hours of sleep are some indistinct dreams that last 3-5 seconds. During this time, a person is asleep with no connection to this world. His body and his spirit part company, and this time, during which he thinks he is sleeping, is actually a kind of death. Allah reveals in the Qur'an that human selves are taken while they are asleep.
Allah takes back people's selves when their death arrives and those who have not yet died, while they are asleep. He keeps hold of those whose death has been decreed and sends the others back for a specified term ... (Surat az-Zumar, 42)
It is He Who takes you back to Himself at night, while knowing the things you perpetrate by day, and then wakes you up again, so that a specified term may be fulfilled. (Surat al-An'am, 60)
In these verses, Allah says that human selves are taken during sleep, but are given back again until the determined hour of death comes. While asleep, a person partly loses consciousness of the outside world. To awake from the "death" of sleep to consciousness and the same condition as the day before, and to be able to see, hear and feel perfectly well is a miracle that we should consider. A person who goes to bed at night cannot be certain that these incomparable blessings will be given to him again in the morning. And we can never be sure if we will meet with some kind of disaster or wake up in a healthy state.
A believer starting a new day thinks about these facts and thanks Allah for covering him with His great mercy and protection. He looks at the new day as an opportunity given him by Allah to win His pleasure and gain Paradise. The moment he opens his eyes in the morning of the early dawn, he directs his thoughts to Allah and begins the day with a sincere prayer, the dawn prayer of Islam. During the day, he acts with the knowledge that Allah is always watching him, and is careful to win His approval by obeying His commands and counsel. He established a close bond with Allah and began the day with the dawn prayer. In this way, the likelihood that he will forget Allah's good pleasure during the day or ignore His limits is small; he will behave throughout the day with the knowledge that Allah is testing him in this world.
Someone who sincerely directs his thoughts to Allah will be helped to see that he must think carefully about the blessings he has been given and that no one other than Allah has the power to give them to him. In the Qur'an, our Lord says that people must ponder this matter:
Say: "What do you think? If Allah took away your hearing and your sight and sealed up your hearts, what god is there, other than Allah, who could give them back to you?" (Surat al-An'am, 46)
Certainly it is the Almighty and All-Knowing Allah Who makes sleep a time of rest for human beings and restores His blessings to them in the morning. Those who know this feel Allah's proximity from the moment they begin their day and are pleased with the incomparable blessings they enjoy.
Those who reject religion and refuse to consider this reality can never be fully aware of the blessings they have or know the joy that believers experience. Generally, early in the morning, they find it difficult to get out of a warm bed and are stressed by the anxiety of having to get into step with the new day. Some are anxious and depressed because of the things they have to do every morning. They don't want to get out of bed; there is a struggle in their minds between getting up and having one more minute of sleep. An often encountered moral failing in these kinds of people is that they are irritable, stressed and glum when they wake up.
Godless people cannot enjoy the pleasure of Allah's blessings; from the moment they wake up in the morning they return to the monotony of doing the same things every day. There is another kind of person who is unaware that the new day may be the last opportunity Allah has given him: he prepares himself quickly to start his day avid to make more money, to show off to others with his possessions or appearance, to attract the attention of others and be liked.
Those who ignore the facts that Allah has revealed in the Qur'an may start their day in their own ways, but there is a common lack of wisdom in the way they behave: they do not consider that Allah created them, that they are responsible for serving Him and winning His approval and that the new day before them may be the last opportunity they have to fulfil their duty towards Him. Allah reveals their condition in these words: Mankind's Reckoning has drawn very close to them, yet they heedlessly turn away. (Surat al-Anbiya, 1)
It is clear that those who live immersed in this great error have made a huge mistake. One must not forget that every morning may be the beginning of the last day allotted to one's earthly life. Death may come at any moment, because of a traffic accident, an unexpected disease or any one of countless other causes. In that case, as we said above, we must think about what we have to do to spend the day before us so as to win Allah's approval.
Everyone must wash their face in the morning, brush their teeth and groom himself or herself. This reminds someone who has espoused the teaching of the Qur'an that in this he is no different from other people, and that only Allah has no imperfections.
Moreover, when someone who sincerely turns to Allah looks in the mirror and feels uncomfortable at what he sees, he understands better that he cannot possess anything of beauty by the power of his own will.
And when He overcame you with sleep, making you feel secure, and sent you down water from heaven to purify you and remove the taint of Shaytan from you, and to fortify your hearts and make your feet firm. (Surat al-Anfal, 11)
It can be seen that Allah has created in His slaves some imperfections to remind them of their dependence on Him. The fact that a person's body and environment become dirty within a short time is an example of this. But Allah has shown people how to overcome these imperfections and has made blessings such as soap and detergent available to us. Allah shows this to us in the Qur'an: For truly with hardship comes ease; truly with hardship comes ease. (Surat al-Inshirah, 5-6) The ability to notice this secret of the creation of blessings and to give thanks for them to Allah belongs only to believers endowed with understanding.
While a believer cleans himself, in the morning or in the course of the day, he gives thanks that Allah has provided the materials with which to do it. Because he knows that Allah loves cleanliness and clean people, he sees washing himself as an act of worship and hopes to gain His pleasure. He gladly obeys what Allah has commanded in verses 4 and 5 of Surat al-Muddaththir: Purify your clothes. Shun all filth. (Surat al-Muddaththir: 4-5)
In the following verse revealed about events during the battle of Badr, Allah says that He sends down water from the heavens for people to clean themselves and for their other needs.
Water is the basic requirement needed for people to clean their bodies, their possessions and their houses. Besides being able to clean visible dirt and invisible bacteria, water also has the ability to help one relax. When water pours over the body, it can disperse the static electricity that makes people fatigued and out of sorts. We can't see the static electricity produced on our bodies, but it sometimes makes itself noticeable by a crackling sound when we take off our sweaters, a mild electric shock when we touch something or by the movement of our hair. When we wash ourselves, we rid ourselves of this accumulation of static electricity and our bodies feel light and comfortable as a result. The freshness of the air after rain has fallen also comes from the fact that water has cleaned the air of static electricity.
Allah is pleased when people are clean and well-groomed. This can be seen in a few verses in the Qur'an that allude to the physical cleanliness of people in the Garden.
Allah says that " ... there will be youths like hidden pearls." (Surat at-Tur, 24), and in other verses Allah says that there are "purified wives" for those in the Garden. (Surat al-Baqara, 25; Surah Al 'Imran, 15; Surat an-Nisa, 57)
Some people give importance to being well-groomed only when they are with others or when they have to make themselves liked; they don't care about their appearance and their cleanliness when they are not in the presence of others. To find it normal to go around the house until evening unwashed with a dirty face and bad breath, ungroomed, with the bed unmade and untidy room is the result of faulty reasoning.
However, Allah urges Muslims to make the best and cleanest environments for themselves and commands everyone to maintain the utmost cleanliness in everything from food and clothing to the places in which they live.
Mankind! Eat what is good and lawful on the earth. (Surat al-Baqara, 168)
They will ask you what is lawful for them. Say: "All good things are lawful for you…" (Surat al-Ma'ida, 4)
... (The Prophet) commanding them to do right and forbidding them to do wrong, making good things lawful for them and bad things unlawful for them... (Surat al-A'raf, 157)
And when We made the House a place of return, a sanctuary for mankind: They took the Maqam of Ibrahim as a place of prayer. We contracted with Ibrahim and Isma'il: "Purify My House for those who circle it, and those who stay there, and those who bow and who prostrate." (Surat al-Baqara, 125)
They replied, "We have been here for a day or part of a day." They said, "Your Lord knows best how long you have been here. Send one of your number into the city with this silver you have, so he can see which food is purest and bring you some of it to eat."(Surat al-Kahf, 19)
And tenderness and purity from Us, he (Yahya) had taqwa (i.e., consciousness of Allah that leads one to obey Him and not disobey Him). (Surah Maryam, 13)
While the lifestyle of ignorant people leads them to make uncomfortable and unhealthy environments to live in with their own hands, Muslims, in conformity with the teachings of the Qur'an, live a good life in this world. Ignorant people create environments that are troublesome both for themselves and those around them, while Muslims lead their lives in healthy, invigorating places where everyone can live in comfort and peace of mind.
In short, in conformity with the teachings of the Qur'an, believers will be clean and well-groomed, not for the sake of other people, but because this is what Allah likes and, naturally, because this is what feels most comfortable. By cleaning the place where they live, they feel a great deal of pleasure from creating an environment in which other people feel comfortable; in the matter of cleanliness they don't show the least laxity and they always do everything in their power to be clean and well-groomed.
Clothing immediately reminds the believer that living things are the source of wool, cotton and silk clothing. The articles of clothing we use, almost every moment of our lives, are obtained from plants and animals that are wonders of creation. In other words, if Allah had not created some living things with the ability to provide human beings with every kind of clothing from the most basic to the most luxurious, these raw materials would not exist.
Despite the fact that they know this, some people either ignore it or, because of the error of their ways, don't appreciate the blessings they have. Because they were given the clothes they need from the minute they were born, dressing has become a habit for them. This habit prevents them from realising that their clothing is a blessing and from giving thanks for it. But one of the reasons why our Lord created blessings in this word is that human beings would thank Him for them. So, let's examine the reasons why Allah created clothing for us beginning with the benefits it provides us.
Clothing is like a shield that protects the human body from cold, the dangerous rays of the sun and minor dangers such as cuts and bruises from our environment. If we didn't have clothing, the thin skin that covers the human body would often be injured by these kinds of small accidents. They are painful, a threat to health and the skin could take on a very bad appearance.
Our Lord in the Qur'an reveals another reason behind the creation of protective clothing:
Children of Adam! We have sent down clothing to you to conceal your private parts, and fine apparel. (Surat al-A'raf, 26)
As this verse point out, clothing gives human beings a much better appearance aesthetically.
The care with which a person living according to the teachings of the Qur'an dresses is not limited to this. For example, besides dressing in clean clothes, a believer with a sense of values will be careful to dress as well and as suitably for the occasion as possible. As the Qur'an shows, clothing is pleasing to the eye (Surat al-A'raf, 26). There are examples of how our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, dressed and his recommendations on this matter in the sayings that have come down to us:
"Eat what you like, and wear what you like provided that it is free from two things: extravagance and vainglory." (Maulana Muhammad Manzoor No'mani, Ma'ariful Hadith)
And here is another bit of information that has come down to us about how our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, dressed:
Whenever a delegation came to meet the Messenger of Allah, he would wear his best clothes and order his leading Companions to do likewise." (Tabaqat Hadith, Volume 4, Number 346)
When one of his companions gave no importance to his appearance and seemed unkempt, our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, warned him immediately. An example of this has been passed down to us:
"The Messenger of Allah was in the mosque, when a man with unkempt hair and an untidy beard came in. The Prophet (saas) pointed to him, as if indicating to him that he should tidy up his hair and beard. The man went and did so, then returned. The Prophet (saas) said, 'Is this not better than that any one of you should come with unkempt hair?'(Malik's Muwatta, Volume 2, Number 949)
In the Qur'an, Allah says that clothing and adornments will be among the finest blessings of the Garden. Some of them are mentioned in the following verses:
But Allah will admit those who believe and do right actions into Gardens with rivers flowing under them where they will be adorned with gold bracelets and pearls, and where their clothing will be of silk. (Surat al-Hajj, 23)
Wearing fine silk and rich brocade, face to face with one another. (Surat ad-Dukhan, 53)
They will wear green garments of fine silk and rich brocade. They will be adorned with silver bracelets... (Surat al-Insan, 21)
In these verses, our Lord speaks of robes of silk and rich brocade, and adornments made of gold, silver and pearls. The adornments we have in this world are similar to those in the Garden, and for a person of faith, seeing these adornments—whether he possesses any or not—is a means that leads him to contemplate the Garden and desire even more to go there. A believer sees the purpose of these things in creation and realises that all the blessings of this world are transitory. The only real blessings and those that will last forever are in the afterlife.
But as for those who believe and do right actions, We will not let the wage of good-doers go to waste. They will have Gardens of Eden with rivers flowing under them. They will be adorned in them with bracelets made of gold and wear green garments made of the finest silk and rich brocade, reclining there on couches under canopies. What an excellent reward! What a wonderful repose! (Surat al-Kahf, 30-31)
One of the things a person living according to the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah must consider about clothing is that outer appearance is very important when establishing relationships with other people. For this reason, a believer will give even more attention to what he wears when he invites people to accept the deen (religion) of the Qur'an.
He will be as eager as possible to dress in clean clothes that are modest and suitable for him. This shows that he has a devout regard for the commands of Allah and respect for other people.
One of the things a person living according to the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah must consider about clothing is that outer appearance is very important when establishing relationships with other people. For this reason, a believer will give even more attention to what he wears when he invites people to accept the deen (religion) of the Qur'an. He will be as eager as possible to dress in clean clothes that are modest and suitable for him. This shows that he has a devout regard for the commands of Allah and respect for other people. Only those who live according to the teachings of the Qur'an are as considerate of a person's psychological state and careful to be as effective as possible in telling that person about eternal salvation as they are meticulous about what they wear.
In conclusion, a person of faith, taking our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as his example, always goes about in clean, well cared-for and attractive clothes; he or she takes pleasure in this and by it hopes to win Allah's approval.
For example, the fire he uses to cook his food can cause a great deal of harm to him as well as to many other things; it also has the ability to destroy. But heat is a requirement for making food edible and from this point of view it is a very great blessing. In other words, like everything else on the earth, fire has been put at the service of human beings. In the Qur'an, Allah says, And He has made everything in the heavens and everything on the earth subservient to you.(Surat al-Jathiyya, 13)
Besides this, fire is a reminder for the believer in this life of the pains of the Fire. In describing in the Qur'an those who will go to Hell, Allah mentions a violent fire. In a few verses, He describes the pains of the fire He has created for those who reject Him:
On the Day they are tormented by the Fire. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 13)
The Fire will sear their faces, making them grimace horribly in it, their lips drawn back from their teeth. (Surat al-Muminun, 104)
Whoever does not believe in Allah and His Messenger, We have prepared a Blazing Fire for the disbelievers. (Surat al-Fath, 13)
When believers with a profound faith think of this raging fire of Hell, their fear of Allah grows, they pray to Him and take refuge in Him from the Hellfire. In this way very small everyday things serve as reminders of major matters, and this is a very important part of the practice of the believer.
A person who thinks sincerely and without prejudice about the food we eat for breakfast will find many reminders in it. The taste and smell of bread, honey, cheese, tomatoes, tea and fruitjuice, their food value and various colours are all blessings. They all provide the proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and fluids that the body needs. To live a healthy life, we have to be regularly and properly nourished, but this is not a difficult chore for us; it's something we enjoy. Fruits, vegetables, cereals, and pasta meet a person's every need for nourishment and also give him a lot of pleasure.
Actually, all that we have mentioned are really small items that everyone knows very well and has lived intimately with every 24 hours since he was born. But most people don't consider these things correctly that our Lord has given for our daily use. They take them all for granted and don't realise just how valuable they are.
But all this delicious food and drink has the ability to provide various benefits to the human body, and each of them is a wonder of creation. For example, a bee weighing only a few grams produces honey. Both because of the vitamins and minerals it contains and the structural characteristics it has, honey means health and healing for human beings. In the Qur'an Allah says that He inspired this quality of honey and the physical work of the honeybee:
Your Lord revealed to the bees: "Build dwellings in the mountains and the trees, and also in the structures which men erect. Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow." From inside them comes a drink of varying colours, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect. (Surat an-Nahl, 68-69)
A believer who considers the production of honey becomes aware of the miracle of creation that it contains. He immediately understands that neither the blossoms of fruit trees, which provide the basic raw material for honey, and whose nectar the bees turn into honey, nor the wonderful honey itself, could happen by chance. And this brings him closer to Allah.
In addition, the absolute obedience of a tiny bee to our Lord is another fact leading to faith. The believer will understand that it is by Allah's inspiration that the honeybee, with neither intelligence nor consciousness as we understand them, works unceasingly and with perfect discipline to perform its wonderful functions.
The importance of the meat, milk, cheese, and other animal products as blessings for humanity from Allah is announced in the Qur'an:
And there is certainly a lesson for you in your livestock. We give you to drink from what is in their bellies and there are many ways in which you benefit from them, and some of them you eat. (Surat al-Muminun, 21)
And there is mention of "what is in their bellies", while informing us of the benefits we get from animals. For example, there is something left over in the digestive process from the food a cow has eaten, the water it has drunk, the blood circulating in its veins and its internal organs. It is indeed a miracle that a sweet-smelling, clean, white mixture like milk that is so beneficial to human health could come from such a complex mixture. Besides this, it is produced in the healthiest conditions despite the fact that it is located in an area containing waste material.
Another indication of Allah's supreme knowledge is the fact that the only raw material that goes into making white milk is green grass. But milk-producing animals create a white liquid from a stiff, green material thanks to a wonderful system that Allah has created in their bodies. In the Qur'an, our Lord tells us what milk is made of:
There is instruction for you in cattle. From the contents of their bellies, from between the dung and blood, We give you pure milk to drink, easy for drinkers to swallow. (Surat an-Nahl, 66)
As we know, milk is a very rich food containing several materials that the human body needs; it is a liquid that plays a vital role in the nourishment of both children and adults.
Another food that comes from animals, small in itself but with high nutritional value, is the egg. The formation of this storehouse of proteins, vitamins and minerals is another miracle. A chicken with little awareness produces eggs every day and protects the eggs it has produced with a wonderful wrapping. To consider how an eggshell is so wonderfully formed around the fluid inside it or how the fluid has been placed inside the shell although it has no cover, increases the wonder that a believer feels at the creative artistry of Allah.
Various drinks, which some consider indispensable for breakfast, come from plants. After the leaves of these plants have been put through certain processes, they become sweet-smelling liquids. The thousands of other kinds of plants that grow in the same soil display the endless power, knowledge and mercy of Allah Who created them. As our Lord says in the Qur'an: It is He Who produces gardens, both cultivated and wild, and palm-trees and crops of diverse kinds, and olives and pomegranates, both similar and dissimilar ... (Surat al-An`am: 141)
Allah gives us countless blessings that He has created for us to eat. He tests human beings in this earthly life with wealth and poverty, He is pleased with those who display fine moral qualities when confronted by these tests and He reveals in the Qur'an that they will receive the endless blessings of the Garden. For example, some people eat a fine breakfast while others have only a few bits of food. But a believer, whether or not he is prosperous, will always behave in a manner so as to win Allah's approval and will give thanks to Him with all sincerity. If he is rich, he will not boast or become arrogant. If he is poor, he will not feel anxious or sorry for himself.
A believer is aware that Allah is putting him through a test and that everything in this life is transitory. The Qur'an says that Allah will test human beings with good and evil. "We test you with both good and evil as a trial. And you will be returned to Us." (Surat al-Anbiya, 35) For this reason, a person who lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an knows that it is not the blessings that he has received but his attitude towards those blessings that will win him a reward in Allah's sight. Even if he is not prosperous, a believer will sincerely give thanks to Allah. In the Qur'an, Allah reveals that He will increase the blessings of those who give thanks with sincerity and determination and reminds the ungrateful that the pains of Hell are terrible:
And when your Lord announced: "If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase, but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe." (Surah Ibrahim, 7)
Someone who considers the proofs of the perfect creation around him, as well as the reasons for food, will also see the divine intentions in the structure and working of the mouth created to eat these things easily. In order for a human being to eat, his food, his lips, teeth, tongue, jaw, saliva glands and millions of cells work together in perfect harmony. This is all perfectly orchestrated such that several functions can be performed at the same time without a hitch. The teeth bite the food into pieces and the tongue continually pushes it between the teeth to be chewed. With its strong muscles, the jaw helps the teeth to chew while the eater moves the tongue in an appropriate manner. The lips act as a securely closed door to prevent food from falling out of the mouth.
Besides this, the parts that make up these organs work together in perfect harmony. For example, the teeth, according to their location and structure, bite the food into pieces and chew it. All the teeth are ordered and arranged in their places according to their function; every one of them grows and stays a certain length in order to work cooperatively with the tooth opposite it.
Certainly these organs have no consciousness or intelligence; they cannot decide among themselves to cooperate with one another. And the excellent organisation briefly described above cannot come about randomly. Every part is made exactly as required to achieve a certain goal. There is no doubt that this marvellous design is from our Lord Who "created everything and determined it most exactly." (Surat al-Furqan, 2) Allah has created all of these things in order to make it easy for human beings to eat their food and take benefit and pleasure from it.
Another important thing on which a believer reflects is the fact that he can perceive the smells of the food in the kitchen and can taste it without any effort. This is possible because of the wonderful faculties he has. His sense of taste and smell, which do not cease throughout his life, work perfectly for him at no cost; they have taken no training to work so effectively and are themselves unconscious of their workings.
If a person did not have his sense of taste, the various tastes of meat, fish, vegetables, soups, salads, fruits, drinks, and jams would have no meaning for him. Besides, the taste of these things might not be good; they might be tasteless, insipid and unpleasant and upset the stomach. There is no doubt that tastes and the faculty that perceives them have been specially created for human beings. It would be a big mistake to be unaware of this because of the insensitivity created by habit. The Qur'an reveals that Allah created good and clean food for human beings:
It is Allah Who made the earth a stable home for you and the sky a dome, and formed you, giving you the best of forms, and provided you with good and wholesome things. That is Allah, your Lord. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. (Surah Ghafir, 64)
Surely, for thinking people every taste is a means to appreciate Allah properly, remember Him with gratitude, to praise Him and give Him thanks. The believer who knows that every delicious type of food and drink comes from Allah; he thinks about this every time he sits down at the table and so he gives thanks to our Lord. Allah says in the Qur'an:
A Sign for them is the dead land which We bring to life and from which We bring forth grain of which they eat. We place in it gardens of dates and grapes, and cause springs to gush out in it, so they may eat its fruits—they did not do it themselves. So will they not be thankful? (Surah Ya Sin, 33-35)
Have they not seen how We created for them, by Our own handiwork, livestock which are under their control? We have made them tame for them and some they ride and some they eat. And they have other uses for them, and milk to drink. So will they not be thankful? (Surah Ya Sin, 71-73)
Some people do not think it is important to reflect on a few extremely important facts even though they have consumed deliciously tasting and smelling foods that have met their needs perfectly throughout their whole lives. They ignore the fact that Allah has created these incomparable blessings for them and that they ought to thank Him for providing them. This is quite the wrong attitude; they should not forget that they will be asked in the afterlife whether or not they had been thankful to Allah.
A believer is aware that Allah has given him his body as a trust, that he is responsible for looking after this incomparable blessing as best as he can and for this he must nourish it in a healthy way. He knows that in order to perform good works it must be healthy and so it must be sufficiently nourished with a balanced diet. He knows his body must have all the food it needs for the development of its 100 trillion cells and in order for it to renew itself and function properly. So, either for breakfast or at other times of the day he will eat healthy and natural foods and avoid harmful foods no matter how attractive and delicious they appear. He will not be lazy or careless in this regard. For example, he knows that the functioning of his organs, his body's ability to cleanse itself from toxic material and its capacity to overcome fatigue and tiredness all depend on water (which many people neglect to drink regularly) and he will be careful to drink enough of it in the course of the day. Our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, draws attention in several places to the importance of water.
For example, during a trip he sat down somewhere and asked for water from those beside him. After he had washed his hands and face and drunk some water he said to his companions: "Pour some of its water on your faces and chests." (Sahih al-Bukhari) Our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said after drinking water:
"All praise is due to Allah Who has made it delicious and sweet by His grace and has not made it either salty or unsavoury." (Imam Ghazali's Ihya Ulum ad-Din)
On the way
People who have finished their breakfast and made themselves ready expect to have various challenges in their work places, schools and other areas. Most people have things they need to accomplish before the end of the day. Allah describes this situation in the Qur'an: In the daytime much of your time is taken up by business matters. (Surat al-Muzzammil, 7) … He made the day a time for rising. (Surat al-Furqan, 47)
A believer sees the day before him as an opportunity to win Allah's love and approval and to attain the Garden for which he needs to strive to do good works. No matter how busy he is, he is careful never to forget to seek Allah's approval. He takes as his example Sulayman (as)'s prayer, as recounted in the 19th verse of Surat an-Naml, desiring that our Lord will inspire him in the things he will do in the course of the day: "My Lord, keep me thankful for the blessing You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and keep me acting rightly, pleasing You, and admit me, by Your mercy, among Your slaves who are right-acting." (Surat an-Naml, 19)
Everyone who leaves home on the way to school or work encounters many people, things and events to think about. Everything a person sees exists in Allah's knowledge and has come to be by His will and happens for a definite reason. So, when a believer looks up at the heavens with this in mind, he sees that they are marvellously created. He understands that the truth of the following verse is before his eyes: "We made the sky a preserved and protected roof..." (Surat al-Anbiya, 32)
The sky's function as a "protected roof" comes from its atmosphere and this atmosphere surrounds the globe and performs its vital functions so that human beings survive. The atmosphere filters out rays that come from space and are dangerous for living things; it vaporises both large and small meteorites that approach the earth and prevents them from threatening the world and the creatures on it, and it protects the earth from the freezing temperatures—approximately minus 270 degrees Celsius—of space. Even if some people do not appreciate this as they should, Allah has created an ideal environment for us and protects us from threats that may come from the heavens.
In the Qur'an, Allah reveals that a believer who observes the heaven will quickly understand the proofs that it is a most harmonious and perfect creation.
He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again—do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted! (Surat al-Mulk, 3-4)
Allah says in the Qur'an that there are signs in the creation of the heavens and the earth for those who observe them with faith.
Have they not looked at the sky above them: how We structured it and made it beautiful and how there are no fissures in it? And the earth: how We stretched it out and cast firmly embedded mountains onto it and caused luxuriant plants of every kind to grow in it, an instruction and a reminder for every penitent human being. (Surah Qaf, 6-8)
A believer who turns his gaze from the heavens to the earth will see another proof of its creation. Below the earth on which he walks with such confidence there is a layer of unbelievably hot molten rock called "magma". In comparison to this, the earth's crust is very thin, which means that this molten rock is almost under one's feet. So, the thickness of the earth's crust compared with that of the earth itself can be compared to the thickness of apple peel compared with the whole apple. A believer who considers these matters will understand once again that the world and all living things on it exist because of the perfect balance that Allah has created according to His will, and that every creature continues to live in safety and security because of the will of Allah.
A believer who looks with the eye of reflection will notice the beauty around him and the wonders of creation. For example, because they are blessings from Allah, the birds in the sky, the fruits that decorate a grocer's shop-window with their attractive colours, and the wonderful smell coming from a bakery mean something to a believer that other people cannot grasp.
A believer who ponders the varied and countless proofs he encounters while walking in the street will also be careful about how he behaves. For example, he will walk without exaggeration or display because Allah announces in a verse: "Be moderate in your tread..." (Surah Luqman, 19) A humble person obeys the command of Allah and, as in all his other activities, maintains a middle road in the way he walks. This is acceptable both in the sight of Allah and in the eyes of believers.
Believers know that Allah created human beings and endows them with all their characteristics. But those who don't follow the teachings of the Qur'an don't appreciate this fact and think that the qualities they have are their own. These people who think that their beauty, wealth, knowledge and success belong to themselves become proud and arrogant. And because of this arrogance, they want to show their own superiority by crushing others. This attitude is reflected in the way they walk as it is in what they say and do. However, everyone is powerless before the supreme knowledge and power of Allah and we need Allah every moment of our lives. In the Qur'an, Allah warns us about this and forbids us to boast:
Do not avert your face from people out of haughtiness and do not strut about arrogantly on the earth. Allah does not love anyone who is vain or boastful. (Surah Luqman, 18)
Do not strut arrogantly about the earth. You will certainly never split the earth apart nor will you ever rival the mountains in height. (Surat al-Isra, 37)
Everyone who lives according to the teaching of the Qur'an is aware that he is powerless, that he lives according to Allah's will, and that it is the sole Lord of the universe Who has given him everything he owns. And because he lives with this awareness, he understands everything that happens around him in terms of the Qur'an.
It is clear that a person cannot cover a lot of distance walking in a day. It is easy to walk short distances, and the ability to walk is a great blessing from Allah. But people can't travel great distances by walking; their bodies becomes tired at some point and they can't walk any farther. Allah knows this weakness of His slaves and has created animals and vehicles to carry them and has made transportation easy. Here are some verses from the Qur'an related to this great blessing of Allah that show His grace, mercy and compassion towards His slaves:
They (livestock) carry your loads to lands you would never reach except with great difficulty. Your Lord is All-Gentle, Most Merciful. And horses, mules and donkeys both to ride and for adornment. And He creates other things you do not know. (Surat an-Nahl, 7-8)
It is He Who created all the species and gave you ships and livestock for you to ride. (Surat az-Zukhruf, 12)
Do you not see that Allah has made everything on the earth subservient to you and the ships running upon the sea by His command? He holds back the heaven, preventing it from falling to the earth—except by His permission. Allah is All-Compassionate to mankind, Most Merciful. (Surat al-Hajj, 65)
By the use of our intellects it is obvious to us that Allah created materials such as iron and steel with certain capabilities and inspired people to use them to make different kinds of vehicles. And it is by Allah's will that people made vehicles such as cars, busses, trains, ships and airplanes. So Allah made it easy for us to go on journeys we could never make by ourselves. What we must do in response to these blessings is to remember Allah when we board these vehicles, praise His name and give Him thanks. Allah tells us of this in the Qur'an:
So that you might sit firmly on their backs and remember your Lord's blessing while you are seated on them, saying, "Glory be to Him Who has subjected this to us. We could never have done it by ourselves." (Surat az-Zukhruf, 13)
A believer also thinks about Allah when he is taking a trip. The person beside him driving the car, the model and colour of the car, the other cars and people around him, their movements, the writing in the back window of the vehicle in front, the row of buildings along the way, their shapes, their windows, billboards and the writing on them are all created by Allah by His decree. Allah announces this to people in the following verse: We have created all things in due measure. (Surat al-Qamar, 49)
Allah created the things we encounter every moment of our lives, not only for a single individual, but also for each of the billions of people on the earth. For someone who lives according to the teaching of the Qur'an, to think about this is a way for him to know that Allah is always at his side, and that He sees his every deed and action. Because the awareness of this fact is with him throughout the day, neither traffic congestion, nor a vehicle swerving in front of him, or any other difficulty he may experience will alter this attitude of submission to Allah.
Some people see even small misfortunes as major adversities; they become impatient and sometimes lose control of themselves, behaving in an irrational way. Heavy traffic or an inattentive driver quickly irritates them and they may start to mutter to themselves or shout. They have no patience when they are stuck in traffic and they show this by continuously honking their horns and irritating others. The reason for such behaviour is that they have forgotten that everything is under Allah's control.
For someone who has turned his back on Allah, transportation is not a blessing but a bother and an annoyance. For example, potholes in the road, traffic congestion, a sudden rainstorm, and many other things will occupy his mind all day. But these useless thoughts are of no benefit to him either in this life or the next.
Some people claim that the main thing that prevents them from thinking deeply about these things is the struggle they have in this world. Because of the time they must give to satisfying needs for food, shelter and health, they claim they have no time left to think about the existence of Allah or the signs leading to faith. But this is nothing more than evasion of responsibility.
A person's familial duties and the position in which he finds himself have nothing to do with thinking. A person who, in order to win Allah's approval, thinks about the signs leading to faith, Allah's decree, the afterlife, death and reflects on the blessings our Lord has given him in this life, will find Allah's help at his side. He will see that many of his problems are easily solved and he will be able to find more time and ease to think.
A believer never forgets that Allah has created every situation he meets during his day. The purpose of the creation of these things is for us to learn to be patient or to use our minds to try to solve the problem in the way most pleasing to Allah. If there is a problem that cannot be solved by personal effort, then the only thing to do is to be patient. To become irritated, start shouting and arguing like some people do, is wrong and senseless because it may be dangerous both for themselves and for others.
It is wrong for people to expect trials to occur only with great pain and tragedy as tests of our patience, because Allah tests human beings throughout the day with various trials both big and small. So, annoying things like being caught in traffic or being late in arriving somewhere and small accidents are tests for human beings. But, in this situation, those who live according to the teaching of the Qur'an do not feel annoyance and they keep their patience without complaining. In the Qur'an, Allah reveals that it is one of the characteristics of believers that they remain patient with the trials to which they are subject:
Whose hearts quake at the mention of Allah, and who are steadfast in the face of all that happens to them, those who establish prayer and give of what We have provided for them. (Surat al-Hajj, 35)
With regard to traffic accidents that they may have, believers maintain their composure and are resigned to their destiny, not in a passive sense, but realistically accepting what Allah has decreed for them. In such a situation they act sensibly knowing that Allah created what has happened to them and they try to do something to save the injured, call for help and limit the damage. They know that they are responsible every moment of this earthly life to act in a way that will be pleasing to Allah.
In Surat al-Mulk, Allah reveals the purpose for human creation and the responsibility given to us:
He Who created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving. (Surat al-Mulk, 2)
A believer who lives every moment of his earthly life according to the teachings of the Qur'an will not let his mind be occupied by pointless and senseless thoughts during a trip; he directs his attention to things and events about which he can think deeply. For example, those people who are far removed from the teaching of the Qur'an, seeing birds flying through the air, will perceive it as an ordinary occurrence.
However, for a believer, the fact that birds, not attached to anything, remain suspended in thin air and perform manoeuvres with their delicate wings; that their wings are designed so that they can fly, move quickly and perform these manoeuvres; that their bills are structures especially made that they can be appropriately nourished; their flying techniques, special skeletal structures, and respiratory, nervous and other systems; the complex aerodynamic structures of their feathers; their nest building techniques; their sense organs, hunting and feeding methods, their behaviour, the sounds they make during mating and at other times; the fact that the systems observed in birds are wonders of design, are proofs of Allah's existence, power and supreme knowledge. Allah draws our attention to this in the Qur'an: "Have they not looked at the birds above them, with wings outspread and folded back? Nothing holds them up but the All-Merciful. He sees all things."(Surat al-Mulk, 19) As believers go on their ways, they observe the wonders of creation such as these that surround them and are witnesses every moment to Allah's endless power.
Most adults devote a large part of their day to work. But those who act according to the teachings of the Qur'an are significantly different from their colleagues, who share a common morality. For a believer, no matter how urgent his business may be during the day, to perform his service to and worship of Allah is more important than anything else. Allah reveals this in the Qur'an:
... Say: "What is with Allah is better than trade or entertainment. Allah is the Best of Providers." (Surat al-Jumu'a, 11)
A believer is aware of this, and no work will prevent him from remembering Allah's name or performing his worship; he will not neglect or postpone any religious obligation for the sake of material gain. Our Lord draws our attention to this in a verse of the Qur'an:
In houses which Allah has permitted to be built and in which His name is remembered, there are men who proclaim His glory morning and evening, not distracted by trade or commerce from the remembrance of Allah and the establishment of prayer and the payment of zakat; fearing a day when all hearts and eyes will be in turmoil. (Surat an-Nur, 36-37)
The reason for drawing attention to commerce in this verse is because the desire for material profit is one of the biggest weaknesses among human beings. Some people are prepared to neglect the precepts of the deen for the sake of earning more money, obtaining more property or gaining more power.
For example, they don't say their prayers or fulfil any other obligations, and they don't display fine qualities of character even though they are able to do so.
There are a number of things that these people expect in return for their labours. They want a good life in this world, to be prosperous, to gain position and respect and be honoured in society, to have a good marriage and praiseworthy children… These are a few of the things that people divorced from the values of the Qur'an even go so far as to choose instead of the afterlife. Indeed, all these things are legitimate blessings to which everyone who aims to win Allah's pleasure and attain the afterlife may also aspire. Believers also want to have the same blessings: useful employment, to earn money and own property. But they have some qualities that separate them from other people: they do all their work to please Allah, spend their money in ways that Allah has advised, and in their business, as in everything else, they meticulously obey Allah's commands. .
In a verse of the Qur'an, Allah draws our attention to the dangers of regarding commerce as preferable to the deen:
Say: "If your fathers or your sons or your brothers or your wives or your tribe, or any wealth you have acquired, or any business you fear may slump, or any house which pleases you, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and doing jihad in His Way, then wait until Allah brings about His command. Allah does not guide people who are deviators." (Surat at-Tawba, 24)
A believer with profound faith will make every effort to avoid being caught up in this kind of passion. There is a noble character that Allah expects of believers, and which they will display, no matter in what work they are engaged. In doing business they are honest, sincere, self-sacrificing, hardworking, fair and modest. All their attention is directed to winning Allah's pleasure and to maintaining the boundary He has set between what is lawful and unlawful. Allah has commanded believers that in doing business they should not abuse anyone's rights, they should give full measure and full weight with justice, and not diminish the value of people's goods. (Surah Hud, 85)
In a few verses Allah has revealed the importance of being honest in business, treating people justly and, in so doing, displaying fine qualities and winning His approval:
Give full measure when you measure and weigh with a level balance. That is better and gives the best result. (Surat al-Isra, 35)
Give just weight—do not skimp in the balance. (Surat ar-Rahman, 9)
In the Qur'an, Allah explains how people should engage in trade and commerce. First of all, Allah has clearly forbidden usury: "But Allah has permitted trade and He has forbidden usury." (Surat al-Baqara, 275)
Another thing that Allah has revealed is how to manage trade and debts. Allah commands that, in doing business, when a person takes on a debt to be repaid after a specified period, he should write it down. If the person incurring the debt is incompetent or weak or unable to dictate, then his guardian should dictate for him justly. And two men among them should act as witnesses. (Surat al-Baqara, 282)
Another thing that believers should be careful about in their work is to consult the views of other people when making decisions, starting a new business, and improving their operations. Allah says in the Qur'an that this is a quality of a believer.
As in every sphere, so in trade and commerce, the Qur'an brings what is finest, easiest and most true into human life. In this way, it helps people away from stress and depression and makes it possible for them to work in a healthy and peaceful environment where they can submit themselves to Allah, take right action, and consult with others in making decisions.
Besides this, a believer is very open-minded in his work-life making both short and long term plans and mapping out the various stages. And after he has begun the work, he will definitely calculate the further stages, what measures will ensure him success in the long run and possible alternatives. And he will take every precaution that Allah has offered in the Qur'an to ensure that a measure he thinks beneficial to put into effect will not prove disadvantageous at a later stage. While engaged in his work, he will pray constantly to Allah from his heart, ask our Lord to make it easy and he will consider that no enterprise will be successful, unless Allah wills it. He hopes that the work he does will be a way to win Allah's pleasure.
In the age in which we live, new discoveries and scientific developments have occurred that people in the past could not even have imagined. The teachings of the Qur'an require us to give thanks for these incomparable opportunities. For example, science, technology, modern transportation and communications have reached a high level of advancement today. Thanks to computers and Internet technology, people from all over the world can communicate with one another within seconds, share information and establish contacts. Certainly, these are blessings that need to be pondered very deeply. The prophets Allah has given as examples in the Qur'an always approached Allah sincerely, and always thought about Allah and thanked Him when engaged in their work. In Surah Saba', Allah says:
They made for him anything he wished: high arches and statues, huge dishes like cisterns, great built-in cooking vats. "Work, family of Dawud, in thankfulness!" But very few of My slaves are thankful. (Surah Saba, 13)
Today shopping is an important activity for many people. For example, many people spend hours, even days, visiting stores to find clothes to show off to their friends. They spend a lot of money on clothes that they will wear only a few times in their lives, and despite the fact that their closet is full, they may buy new clothes with undiminished passion. For these people, shopping has gone beyond being a means to meet their needs and become an important part of their lives. It is characteristic of some that they actually lose themselves in shopping and very often buy things that later on they will regret having bought.
Surely, shopping is necessary for everyone and can even be a pleasant chore. But the error in it is that it may instil worldly desires in people and make them completely oblivious of the afterlife. They devote their whole lives, thoughts and plans to this activity, and instead of seeking ways to please Allah Who created them, they try to find satisfaction in minor occupations such as shopping.
As in every area of life, a person who lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an will also try to see in the activity of shopping the good that Allah has created and the meaning behind things that happen. For him, shopping is not aimless wandering but the opportunity to supply him and his family with what he needs. Shopping will certainly not take him away from performing the service he owes to Allah. Allah commands believers in the Qur'an:
Restrain yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, desiring His face. Do not turn your eyes from them, desiring the attractions of this world. And do not obey someone whose heart We have made neglectful of Our remembrance and who follows his own whims and desires and whose life has transgressed all bounds. (Surat al-Kahf, 28)
A believer who goes shopping will keep the following in mind: Allah has created various foods, clothing and many other blessings for believers. But in many countries, because of unemployment, poverty or conflict, people cannot find anything to eat. Although living in countries with lots of resources, there are people who are too poor to buy what they need. These things are all under Allah's control and there is a reason for the amount of provision that Allah chooses to give people. Allah draws our attention to this in the Qur'an:
Do they not know that Allah expands the provision of anyone He wills and restricts it? There are certainly Signs in that for people who believe. (Surat az-Zumar, 52)
Allah has created various circumstances to test human beings. And a believer will not cease giving thanks for what he has been given, no matter in what state he is. He is aware that the test and his situation are transitory. For this reason, he desires to act at every moment in a way that will be pleasing to Allah. He expresses his thanks to Allah for His blessings in his heart, in what he says and what he does. He spends what he has been given on doing good works, and if Allah restricts his provision, he will be patient and continue to give sincere thanks to Him. He knows he is tested with poverty and prays for Allah to give him patience. In every circumstance, a believer is content with Allah and hopes that Allah will be content with him.
But those who adopt the traditions, customs and values of a society that does not live by the teachings of the Qur'an, immediately lose their sense of gratitude when confronted by the least annoyance. Allah condemns them in the Qur'an, as mut for failing to see that their prosperity and wealth are a trial equal to their experience of poverty and need:
As for man, when his Lord tests him by honouring him and favouring him, he says, "My Lord has honoured me!" But then when He tests him by restricting his provision, he says, "My Lord has humiliated me!" (Surat al-Fajr, 15-16)
Allah has created the countless blessings on this earth, but people who do not realise this forget that it is according to Allah's will and by His permission that they can buy their food and clothing. They do not thank Allah but act constantly under the control of selfish desires. All they think about while shopping is what clothing will most impress their friends. What occupies their minds constantly is where they can buy the latest and most attractive fashions in the colours and qualities they want. They are always concerned about what other people have and are jealous of them. They cannot endure being without possession and material things. They feel a great desire to own property and possessions. They compare what has been given to them with what has been given to others, and become impatient, thinking they have been treated unjustly and do not give thanks. In the Qur'an, Allah reveals the ungratefulness of those who are not content with what they have and always want more: Allah shows favour to mankind but most of them are not thankful. (Surat an-Naml, 73)
Just as we are required by the Qur'an not to waste money in shopping or buying other things, so generosity is also required. Allah reveals this in Surat al-Furqan: "... eat and drink but do not be profligate. He does not love the profligate." (Surat al-A'raf, 31) He never forgets that Allah calls people who squander their money extravagantly "brothers of Shaytan" (Surat al-Isra, 27)
Just as we are required by the Qur'an not to waste money in shopping or buying other things, so generosity is also required. Allah reveals this in Surat al-Furqan: "Those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor mean, but take a stance mid way between the two." (Surat al-Furqan, 67) This verse sums up the wisdom a believer shows in the way he does his shopping.
Exercise and physical training
For this reason, he devotes some serious time in his daily activities for exercise or physical training. Exercise and physical training help to strengthen the body, give it endurance and enable it to function in an orderly and healthy way and will make it possible for the believer to work even better to please Allah and do right action.
A human being's metabolism is not in accord with inactivity, it is created to support movement. Today it is recognised that exercise has many benefits: it strengthens the body's immune, circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems; it makes the body more resistant to germs and disease; it ensures the orderly functioning of the hormonal system, the heart and the arteries; it strengthens the muscles, joints and tendons; in improves conditioning and robustness; it helps maintain balance in the blood sugar, reduce the level of "bad" cholesterol and increase the level of "good" cholesterol.
Another reason why people of faith make efforts in this regard is that physical health is a quality that Allah draws attention to in the Qur'an. For example, it can be seen in verse 144 of Surat al-A'raf, in which Allah speaks to Musa (as) and chooses him to lead the Children of Isra'il, that accounts about him tell of his physical strength. Another verse tells of the physical strength of Talut (as) who was sent to rule over his people:
Their Prophet said to them, "Allah has appointed Talut to be your king." They said, "How can he have kingship over us when we have much more right to kingship than he does? He has not even got much wealth!" He said, "Allah has chosen him over you and favoured him greatly in knowledge and physical strength. Allah gives kingship to anyone He wills. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing." (Surat al-Baqara, 247)
There is another reason why believers should be careful to take exercise: if a person who is communicating the teachings of the Qur'an looks physically strong and attractive he will have influence over others; that person's noble and attractive outward appearance will make a positive impression on those with whom he is communicating.
For this reason, believers should always make the effort to maintain a strong and healthy body. They cannot be lazy, lax or careless in this matter.
In other words, the purpose of human creation is, as Allah says in the Qur'an, to serve our Lord Who has created all things. So, those who accept the Qur'an as their guide put worshipping Allah above all other things, and they spend their short lives—seventy-odd years if they are granted that much—with a view to the afterlife and to winning Allah's favour. This shows itself in every moment of their earthly lives.
A believer is aware that the teachings of the Qur'an apply not only to a part of his life in this world, or to moments or stages in it, but to the whole life. He obeys Allah's commands to the fullest of his abilities and does as many good works as he can. He spends his time in the acts of worship that Allah has revealed in the Qur'an, and when he finishes one work, he goes on to another. Because Allah says in verse 162 of Surat al-An'am, "Say: 'My prayer and my rites, my living and my dying, are for Allah alone, the Lord of all the worlds'" (Surat al-An'am, 162) he pursues what is good and beneficial and there is no break, stop or limit in his efforts. For a believer, beginning a new job after the previous one has been completed is necessary because he knows that he must spend every second given to him in this earthly life working to win Allah's favour, and that he will give account in the afterlife of every moment he has spent in this world. For this reason, he spends every minute hoping only to win Allah's approval, and doing those things that he hopes Allah will most approve of. In the Qur'an, Allah tells believers to exert their efforts in this direction:
So when you have finished, work on. (Surat al-Inshirah, 7)
The believer's actions to win Allah's favour are uninterrupted from one day to another. This is indicated in verse 76 of Surah Maryam: "In your Lord's sight, right actions which are lasting are better both in reward and end result." And in another verse, our Lord reveals that He wants people to persevere in their worship:
He is Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything in between them, so worship Him and persevere in His worship. Do you know of any other with His Name? (Surah Maryam, 65)
The perverse logic of some ignorant people in this regard leads them to doubt the existence of the afterlife and to just perform some acts of worship from time to time.
Some people make the great mistake of trying to get the blessings of this world, which they have set as a goal; they do anything to become rich, gain status and get other things they want. Within a very short time they become engaged in a huge contest for the sake of a "paltry price" (Surat at-Tawba, 9) that they will soon lose. But a believer who pursues Allah's favour and the way to the Garden strives only for Allah. The Qur'an describes this quality of a believer:
But as for anyone who desires the Hereafter, and strives for it with the striving it deserves, being a believer, the striving of such people will be gratefully acknowledged. (Surat al-Isra, 19)
A believer who spends his whole day seeking Allah's favour is resolved and eager in the performance of his prayer. He remembers Allah all day long in his heart and in his activities and ponders deeply His power, intelligence, knowledge, artistry and other attributes. This attitude is the application in daily life of the commands in the following verses: "... Remember your Lord much and glorify Him in the evening and after dawn. "(Surah Al 'Imran, 41) Remember your Lord in yourself humbly and fearfully, without loudness of voice, morning and evening ... (Surat al-A'raf, 205) In verse 28 of Surat ar-Ra'd, our Lord says that hearts will find peace only in remembering Him: ... Those who believe and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah. (Surat ar-Ra'd, 28)
A person who takes the Qur'an for his guide will be meticulous in performing acts of worship such as praying five times a day, fasting and performing wudu, as Allah has commanded. For example, saying prayers on time is an important matter. He does not let worldly concerns stand in the way of his prayer. Every time he says his prayers, he does it with humility, joy and enthusiasm, hoping that it brings him closer to Allah.
However, those who do not approach Allah with real enthusiasm but for show or out of fear of what other people may think cannot experience joy in worshipping Allah. When they perform the prayer, they have no idea that it could bring them closer to Allah. Their minds are too involved in their daily affairs to remember Allah and praise Him. In the Qur'an, Allah gives a warning to those who are neglectful of their prayers:
So woe to those who do the prayer, and are forgetful of their prayer, those who show off ... (Surat al-Ma'un, 4-6)
This means that they delay the prayer outside of its due time or even don't do it at all. However, although the Surah doesn't refer to it, intelligent people take warning of being distracted in the prayer.
Distracted people make the mistake of thinking that they are doing something for Allah without fearing Him, thinking about Him and without sensing His presence or nearness. The behaviour that will bring a person nearer to Allah consists of sincerity in performing prayers, fear of Allah and obedience and humility before Him.
Some people have a very limited concept of prayer thinking that it is sufficient to obey a few of Allah's commands in the course of the day. But according to the Qur'an, worship is not limited only to religious duties like prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and giving sadaqah.
Worship means service. That is, it consists of a person's attitude and state of mind and everything that he does and says as a slave of Allah. No matter how important an obligatory prayer is as an act of worship for an individual, in the same way, overcoming anger, using courteous language, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, trusting other Muslims and not being argumentative are also included in worship. (For a detailed discussion see Harun Yahya's Commonly Disregarded Rulings of the Qur'an). One of the most important acts of worship a believer can perform in the course of his day is communication of the message, that is, to invite people to follow the right path, commend goodness to them and warn them against evil, and to invite them to increase in knowledge of Islam, Iman and Ihsan and to read the Qur'an. This worship is a necessary part of a believer's daily life. A believer is responsible at every moment to be a representative of Allah among His creation and to proclaim Allah's deen by his words, behaviour and by the kind of person he is. And this responsibility is not limited strictly to acts of worship; a believer will try to be an example to those around him by behaving in the best possible way. Our Lord speaks about this in the Qur'an: One of the most important acts of worship a believer can perform in the course of his day is communication of the message, that is, to invite people to follow the right path, commend goodness to them and warn them against evil, and to invite them to increase in knowledge of Islam, Iman and Ihsan and to read the Qur'an. This worship is a necessary part of a believer's daily life. A believer is responsible at every moment to be a representative of Allah among His creation and to proclaim Allah's deen by his words, behaviour and by the kind of person he is. And this responsibility is not limited strictly to acts of worship; a believer will try to be an example to those around him by behaving in the best possible way. Our Lord speaks about this in the Qur'an:
The men and women of the believers are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong, and establish prayer and pay zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. They are the people on whom Allah will have mercy. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawba, 71)
A believer is eager to do all he can to call other people to Allah and to His Way. He will tell them about Allah, His Unity and attributes, the purpose of their creation, right behaviour and conduct and the kind of life that pleases Allah, and about good, evil, right and wrong in the Qur'an, the day of judgment, the Fire and the Garden, and other such topics. He will tell them about the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in such a way as to draw them to him, to following and emulating him.
The conversation that believers have among themselves is truly mutual reminder. They call one another to obey the commands of Allah and to live by the Sunnah of His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and to live in conformity with Islamic values. In short, the usual way of a believer is remembrance and reminder.
Believers use both oral and written methods of reminder, and they may make use of today's highly developed means of mass communication. In calling people to the teachings of the Qur'an, they can take advantage of television, radio, books, magazines, newspapers, Internet and other media. As important as the daily invitation of Islam of believers living according to the teachings of the Qur'an, there is the time they take to prepare the invitation. In the Qur'an, Allah indicates that those who wish to undertake the struggle of ideas on His way must first make preparation for it. For this reason, it is extremely important that a person prepares himself in every way for this work. Allah says: If they had really desired to go out, they would have made proper preparations for it ...(Surat at-Tawba: 46)
To communicate Allah's message, one of the things that the believer who is qualified to do so has to do is develop himself and to gain every kind of useful knowledge in order to communicate Allah's deen. That is, he must educate himself both spiritually and intellectually. He must make every effort to speak and write concisely, to the point and on topic, to be persuasive, effective and to satisfy his listeners with the wisdom learnt from Allah's deen. The main requirement is that a believer learn the deen of Islam, the meanings of the verses of the Qur'an and grasp the conduct and the sayings of our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. So, all these preparations and efforts have a special place in the daily life of that believer who is qualified and authorised to call others to Allah and His Messenger.
Going to bed at night
One of these matters is hidden in the gradual disappearance of the light and the darkening of the sky. Because of this slow transition, living things easily become accustomed to the differences in light and temperature between day and night and suffer no harm because of them. Allah, with His supreme knowledge and power, has mercy on His slaves and all living things, and He gives this blessing to all people but most do not think of it even once in their lives.
When a person who lives by the values of the Qur'an considers these things, he sees another proof of what Allah revealed in verse 92 of Surah Yusuf:"… He is the Most Merciful of the merciful." There is no doubt that the alternation of day and night is one of the countless blessings created by Allah for humanity. In order to understand this better, our Lord draws our attention to these things in the Qur'an:
Say: "What do you think? If Allah made it permanent night for you till the Day of Rising, what god is there other than Allah to bring you light? Do you not then hear?"
Say: "What do you think? If Allah made it permanent day for you till the Day of Rising, what god is there other than Allah to bring you night to rest in? Do you not then see?'"(Surat al-Qasas, 71-72)
Allah created the conditions, balances and systems necessary for day and night, in the absence of one of which, only Allah could help. If Allah wanted, He could create continual day or continual night, but living things could not survive under such conditions. If such conditions ever came about, life on earth would come to an end. There is no doubt that Allah creates day and night in perfect order providing an environment in which living things can survive. This is a sign of His endless compassion and mercy. In the verse following the previous one, our Lord says the following:
But part of His mercy is that He has made both night and day for you so that you can have your rest and seek His bounty, and so that hopefully you will be thankful. (Surat al-Qasas, 73)
It is only those who use their minds to consider the creation and who come to fear Allah, that is, who live according to the Qur'an, who reflect on the reasons for the orderly alteration of day and night. Allah reveals this in a few verses:
In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are Signs for people with intelligence. (Surah Al 'Imran, 190)
In the alternation of night and day and what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth there are Signs for people who have taqwa (Surah Yunus, 6)
In the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and day, and the ships which sail the seas to people's benefit, and the water which Allah sends down from the sky by which He brings the earth to life when it was dead and scatters about in it creatures of every kind and the varying direction of the winds, and the clouds subservient between heaven and earth, there are Signs for people who use their intellect. (Surat al-Baqara, 164)
Allah has created human metabolism such that it needs to rest in the night and He reveals this in the following verses:
It is He Who appointed the night for you, so that you could rest in it, and the day for seeing. There are certainly Signs in that for people who listen.(Surah Yunus, 67)
Allah is He Who appointed the night for you so that you might rest in it, and the day for seeing. Allah pours out His favour on mankind but most people do not show thanks. (Surah Ghafir, 61)
Besides being a time for rest, the night has another very special quality. One of the reasons for the creation of night is that these hours of general peace and quiet around the world are productive for some acts of worship. Compared to the active daytime, night-time is more conducive to thinking, reading and praying. Allah reveals this in the Qur'an:
Certainly rising at night has a stronger effect and is more conducive to concentration. In the daytime much of your time is taken up by business matters. Remember the Name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him completely. (Surat al-Muzzammil, 6-8)
It is easier to concentrate in the night in order to ponder the wonders of Allah's creation, read the Qur'an and pray. A believer who is aware of this will not spend the whole night asleep or resting. He will quietly by himself turn to Allah for his needs, and for forgiveness of his errors and shortcomings. He will evaluate the day that has passed, review the mistakes he made in it; repent of his shortcomings and ask for forgiveness. He will pass his time in a way that pleases Allah, remember Him and try to draw close to Him. He will think about many things such as Allah's existence and majesty, the Qur'an, the extraordinary design of the universe, living things on the earth with their flawless systems, the blessings that Allah continually creates, the Garden, the Fire and eternity. The behaviour of a believer who devote a part of the night to worship is praised by Allah in some verses of the Qur'an:
(The slaves of the All-Merciful are) … those who pass the night prostrating and standing before their Lord. (Surat al-Furqan, 64)
Their sides eschew their beds as they call on their Lord in fear and ardent hope... (Surat as-Sajda, 16)
What of him who spends the night hours in prayer, prostrating and standing up, mindful of the Hereafter, hoping for the mercy of his Lord? Say: "Are they the same—those who know and those who do not know?" It is only people of intelligence who pay heed. (Surat az-Zumar, 9)
In this way, believers will have put into practice the Sunnah of our Prophet (saas) who spent a part of each night in prayer, contemplation and in worship. This is mentioned in one verse:
Your Lord knows that you stay up nearly two-thirds of the night or half of it, or a third of it and a group of those with you... (Surat al-Muzzammil, 20)
The tradition has been passed down to us that our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed that Allah would give him good character and conduct; it is said that he prayed in these words:
"O Allah, make my constitution and conduct good. O Allah, save me from bad character and conduct." (Imam Ghazali's Ihya Ulum-Id-Din)
It must not be forgotten that, as we stated earlier, sleep is like death and, if Allah willed, a person would not wake up again. For this reason, the last minutes before falling asleep may be the last occasion a person has to ask for forgiveness. Allah reveals this in the Qur'an:
Allah takes back people's selves when their death arrives and those who have not yet died, while they are asleep. He keeps hold of those whose death has been decreed and sends the others back for a specified term. There are certainly Signs in that for people who reflect. (Surat az-Zumar, 42)
A believer who lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an knows the value of this opportunity granted to him—perhaps his last—before falling asleep. He keeps this in mind and sincerely draws near to Allah; he asks forgiveness for his wrong actions, asks Allah's help in all things and prays to Him alone in the stillness of the night.