Worship and Social Service
Worship and Social Service: All forms of prayer in Islam are essentially designed for the remembrance and worship God. However, they also serve the purpose of the building of humanity. In the course of their worship the believers never cease to be instructed in the paying of the dues of man along with the paying of the dues of God.
Salat (namaz), for instance, besides being a way of remembering and supplication before God, it has become a means of establishing equality between people. In congregational salat Muslims say their prayers standing in rows five times a day. Big and small, rich and poor, powerless and powerful, literate and illiterate all stand in the same rows without any discrimination. In this way the simultaneous worship of salat by all and sundry turns into a great lesson of human equality.
In Ramadan (the month of fasting) everyone on the fast goes without food and water from dawn to dusk. A man may be very rich, but he has to go hungry and thirsty just like any common man. In this way by observing the fast in the process of worshipping God, a Muslim personally experiences human need as well. Fasting along with worship of God also makes a man a servant of humanity.
The purpose of Zakat, monetary worship, is also clearly the same. Zakat requires that out of one’s earnings a share be apportioned to God and given to the needy and the poor. In this way Zakat is a form of worship of God along with a form of service to humanity. By apportioning a share of one’s wealth to God, man acknowledges God as the giver, while at the same time he trains himself to fulfill his responsibilities towards human beings.
Hajj, too, is essentially a form of worship. During Hajj many different kinds of people come together, but the pilgrims are forbidden to fight. The pilgrim must avoid all friction lest his pilgrimage become unacceptable in the eyes of God. In this way, hajj besides being a form of worship, takes on the form of annual training in leading a peaceful social life.
By: Maulana Wahiduddin Khan