In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

Role of Worship in the downfall of Muslims

Muslim life revolves around the Quran. The purpose of Muslim life is
to be watchful of the deeds of entire mankind (2:143) and to serve
humanity (3:118). The noble Quran gives us a code of life that solves
problems in such a manner that everyone gets his due share. Its
social order gives rise to such a society in which there is neither fear
nor despair (2:277), (2:38) and it has complete security (3:97).
In a Quranic social order every individuals potential is fully
actualized (62:2), ( 3:164) and there is surplus of sustenance (6:151),

It is the promise of the noble Quran that this social order shall prevail
(61:9, 48:28, 9:33) for it is a social order that is established because
of belief and righteous actions. (35:10, 24:55). There is no room for
violence and coercion in it.

Despite these promises of the Quran we can see that the condition of
Muslims is worsening day by day. This is not the situation for one or
two Muslim countries, but the entire Muslim Ummah is in a state of
despondency and the responsibility for this state lies with the
religious beliefs that are prevailing within the Muslims.

One of the main reasons for our despondency is that we have
forsaken obedience to Allah and have made acts of Worship (Pooja,
Parastish) our sole preoccupation. Day and night, not only are people

deeply engrossed in such acts of worship by themselves but they also
invite others to it.

As it is the cause of Muslim downfall, we think it expedient to clarify
the difference between Parastish (worship) and Etaa’at (Obedience).
Parastish is a feature of religion, while Eta’at is distinctively in Deen.
For Eta’at, an Islamic social order or Iqamat-E-Deen is mandatory. If
an Islamic social order is not established then Eta’at is not possible.
In Parastish, Man-God relationship is private and personal and does
not exist outside the mind of a worshipper, who is satisfied that upon
performing these acts he has a connection with God. This connection
is purely subjective. There is no need for a social order and Parastish
can be done in any nook corner, in a plain, a desert, a jungle or
wherever. Eta’at on the other hand can be understood by the fact that
Rasul Allah (pbuh) established the deen and appointed Ulil-Amr as
those charged with authority. Obedience to Ulil-Amr was considered
mandatory. Eta’at of Allah is possible only through Rasul. If we
exclude the Rasul, then Allah’s Eta’at is not possible. Likewise
obedience to Rasul occurs through Ulil-Amr. The state established by
Rasul Allah was a million square miles in length. Those who lived in
distant regions did not come to Madina to have their disputes settled,
rather they presented their cases to Ulil-Amr appointed by the Rasul,
who was the central authority. Obedience to Ulil-Amr was thus
obligatory like obedience to the Rasul. Thus obedience to the Rasul
did not mean obedience to his personal self, but by it obedience to
the system of governance that he had devised was meant. To be
obedient to the administrative functionaries appointed by the Rasul,
who was the central authority one would become obedient to Allah

and His Rasul. If such a social order were not established (as it is not
prevailing today) then obedience to Allah and His Rasul was not
possible. There is no need to issue directives for Parastish, as people
perform the acts of worship of their own accord. But for Eta’at a
living authority in the person of the Rasul was necessary. Who would
make people obedient to Allah and His Rasul through such an
administrative system. That is why for obedience, hearing is a

(1) “..and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness,
our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying.” 2:285

(2) “O ye who believe! Obey Allah and His messenger, and turn not
away from him when ye hear (him speak).” 8:20

It is obvious that orders are received from a living authority. The next
verse makes the matter clearer:

“..Be not as those who say, we hear, and they hear not.” 8:21

(3) “O ye who believe! give your response to Allah and His Messenger,
when He calleth you to that which will give you life..” 8:24

(4) “The saying of (all true) believers when they appeal unto Allah and
His messenger to judge between them is only that they say: We hear
and we obey. And such are the successful.” 24:51

The word “Yahkuma” [that he may govern] is very important and
gives weight to the fact that all differing matters were to be resolved
by the Rasul in the light of Quran. The word is not meant for
recitation only but it is a litmus test of belief and disbelief (5:44).
When the believers are called to Eta’at, then their response is ‘we
hear and we obey’. A living authority is necessary for Eta’at. Without
it, Eta’at is not possible, only Parastish is.
(5) “So keep your duty to Allah as best ye can, and listen, and obey, and
spend; that is better for your souls. And whoso is saved from his own
greed, such are the successful.” 64:16

In this verse also we can see that for Eta’at, a precondition is Sama’at
(listening). Apart from this we should also bear in mind that the
results of Worship are not evident in this world’s life. In contrast, the
results of Eta’at are manifest in this world. Rasul Allah (pbuh) was
made to say:

“And, O my people! Act according to your power, lo! I (too) am acting.
Ye will soon know on whom there cometh a doom that will abase him,
and who it is that lieth. And watch! Lo! I am a watcher with you.” 11:93

After a few verses, Allah says:

“And say unto those who believe not: Act according to your power. Lo!
We (too) are acting. And wait! Lo! We (too) are waiting.” 11:121-122

It is stated in Surat Az-Zumar:

“Say: O my people! Act in your manner. Lo! I (too) am acting. Thus ye
will come to know. Who it is unto whom cometh a doom that will abase
him, and on whom there falleth everlasting doom.” 39:39-40

In obedience of Allah, there is no room for Parastish. Real obedience
is only due to Allah but as we cannot perceive Him directly,
obedience due to Him is through the agency of His Rasul (4:64, 4:80),
while the agency to obey the Rasul are the Ulil-Amr or regional
authorities (4:59). The Quran further states:

“But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make
thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within
themselves no dislike of that which thou decidest, and submit with full
submission.” 4:65

(1) Thus to accept the decisions of the Rasul (pbuh) is to be
obedient to him. As his decisions were practically implemented
by the Ulil-Amr that is why their obedience was also obligatory,
and their Eta’at was like the Eta’at of the Rasul.
(2) That is why the Rasul (pbuh) had said that obedience to Islamic
governors was like obedience to myself. “Whoever obeys
Muhammad, he has obeyed Allah, and whoever has disobeyed
Muhammad, he has disobeyed Allah. He who obeys the Imam has
obeyed me ad he who disobeys the Imam has disobeyed me.”
(Sunan Ibn Majah, the Book of Jihad, chapter on obedience to

(3) It is mandatory on Muslims that they remain obedient to
their Imam’s orders, whether they like those orders or not, as
long as those orders do not call for disobeying Allah.
(4) It has been narrated by Abu Hurraira (R.A.) that Rasul
Allah (pbuh) has said: “ Whoever has obeyed me, has obeyed
Allah, and whoever disobeys me has disobeyed Allah. Whoever
obeyed a ruler has obeyed me, and whoever disobeyed a ruler has
disobeyed me. “ (Bukhari and Muslim)
(5) It has been narrated by Anas (R.A.) that Rasul Allah (pbuh)
said: “Be obedient to a ruler and listen to him whether he be a
black slave with a head resembling a raisin.”

It should be noted from the above Ahadeeth that Eta’at is a causal
chain in which Allah’s obedience is delegated through the Rasul and
His obedience is further delegated through the ruler. In a situation
where there is no Islamic government, then in that case there will be
neither obedience to Allah nor His Rasul, while Parastish is no
replacement for Eta’at. However we are deceived ourselves that
through Parastish we are obeying Allah and His Rasul.

The Quran has also mentioned Ebad’at along with Eta’at and it is
through the wrong interpretation of Eba’dat that Parastish started in
our society.

Hazrat Shaikh ul Hind, in his famous translation of Quran has
rendered Eba’dat as ‘Pooja’. And most of our commentators translate
it as ‘Bandagi’. But these terms are misleading and do not convey the

actual and original meaning of the Arabic word Eba’dat. In the Quran
Ebadat has meant subservience:
(1) Regarding Qisas it is sated in Surat Al Baqara:
“..the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave..” 2:178

In this verse Abd has come opposite Hur. Hur is a freeman,
while an Abd is a slave. This makes the meaning of Ebadat very
clear. That it is a state in which one is subservient to Allah’s
laws. It is not that he is a worshipper and does Parastish.

(2) Surat An-Nahl makes the definitation of Ebadat even
“..a slave [who is] owned and unable to do a thing..” 16:75

The verse expands Abd as one who is owned by another and
who has no will of his own. It is obvious that there is no aspect
of worship in this meaning. It is all about subservience of a
slave to his master.

(3) When Musa (pbuh) invited the Pharoah to believe in
Allah, he rejected the invitation and ridiculed him stating:
“They said, "Should we believe two men like ourselves while their
people are for us in servitude?" 23:47
This makes Ebadat clear as being in servitude. Once again no concept
of worship is visible in the term.

(4) When the Pharoah counted his favours upon Musa
(pbuh) he replied:
“And this is the past favour wherewith thou reproachest me: that
thou hast enslaved the Children of Israel.” 26:22
It should be noted that in the above Ebadat is being clarified as
subservience, while worship is being refuted.

(5) It is said in Surat Yusuf:

“..Judgment belongs only to God; He has commanded that you shall not
serve any but Him. ..“ 12:40

In this verse too the Quran has used Ebadat and Hukam
together and explained that Ebadat is not parastish but

In order to discuss the subject of Prastish, the topic of Salat is
extremely important. Iqamat-E- Salat is interpreted as reading of
Namaz and by such this vital order is confined to Parastish. However
the word Iqamat (to establish) is loud and clear in demonstrating
that this has nothing to do with Worship. Usually in our society Salat
is translated as Namaz. During the Abbasid era Persian terms were
interpolated in Quranic exegesis which were compiled in that period.
The meaning of Salat too was made as Namaz, as the Persian
Zoarastrians called their act of worship as Namaz as well, and
performed Namaz five times a day according to their faith. In earlier
times it was difficult to elaborate on this aspect, however with the

advent of Internet and google search engine this has become easy. If
we google Majoosi worship then we discover that Namaz, Durood etc
were all terms that were prevailing among Persian Zoarastrians. It is
obvious that it was under Persian influence that Salat came to be
translated as Namaz. It is a separate discussion as to how Quranic
terms were distorted under Persian influence, which we shall not go
into detail for now.
It is also worth to note that in our Hadeeth literature Namaz is cited
as a gift of Mairaj (Ascension) and it was made obligatory after that
The event of Mairaj is said to have occurred a few months prior to the
Hijrat (emigration from Makkah to Madina) of the Messenger of Allah
(pbuh). However the command to establish Salat is present in
Meccan ayat, which were revealed long before the Hijrat. What was
the concept prevailing in those Suras? We read in Sura Al Hajj:
“[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land,
establish Salat and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what
is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters.” 24:41
In this verse, authority in the land is a precondition of Iqamat-E-
Salat. If a nation does not have authority in land then it cannot do
Iqamat-E- Salat. Tafseer Jalalayn elaborates on this verse very well. It
states that “ These people are those who when they have rule in the
land they perform prayers and give Zakat..” thus Jalalayn too makes it
a condition for rule and power to be able to establish Salat. Thus it is
obvious that to read Namaz is never implied by Iqamat-E- Salat.
Iqamat-E- Deen and Iqamat-E- Salat are two faces of the same coin and

for both, rule and authority in the land is a must. (22:41, 24:55).
Without power and rule in the land neither Iqamat-E- Salat is
possible, nor Iqamat-E- Deen while on Muslims both are obligatory.
The society which comes about and is established on the basis of
permanent values is called Iqamat-E- Salat. As far as congregational
prayers that are performed at specific times are concerned, these are
also part and parcel of the command of Iqamat-E- Salat. Allah says:
“And those who answer the call of their Lord and establish Salat, and
whose affairs are a matter of counsel, and who spend of what We have
bestowed on them.” 42:38
When local units of an Islamic government have mutual consultation
with one another then prior to it, they read Namaz. To perform
Namaz prior to this consultation is a symbolic act that signifies that
the believers accept the social order with the complete depth of their
heart and soul and bow down and prostrate themselves for this in
total submission to Allah. For such prayers separate space is not
necessary but these will be performed in the same spaces where
consultation centers are established for running the Islamic social
order and these will be lead by those who have been termed as
bearers of Divine throne (39:75, 40:7). As these prayers are part of
the wider social order established by Quran, they are not interpreted
as Parastish because they are prior to the mutual consultation
(Shoora) for day-to- day administrative affairs of the Islamic state and
their results are also manifest in this world’s life.

While we emphasize that the current prevailing Namaz does not
meet all the requirements of Quranic Salat, we do not object to the

prevailing format of Namaz and accept it as such. Obedience to Allah
and His Rasul is only possible in a Islamic social order or Nizam, all
other systems are man-made idols.

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