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Fundamental Duties Part 1

Reference : Dr javed Jamil

A Systematic Study of the Holy Qur’an-11

Fundamental Duties Part 1





I. Faith (or convictions)


O ye who believe! Believe in God and His Messenger, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Messenger and the scriptures which He sent to those before (him). Any who denieth God, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Judgement, hath gone far, far astray. (4: 136/A)
(See the chapter on Iman)


II. Prayer


Prayer is an essential part of all religions. Worship of One who is in charge of everything in the universe is sure to attract His special attention. Prayer indirectly helps in many other ways. It diverts attention from the ennui of routine activities and provides an escape route for worries, at least for the time being. It revitalises brain, so one can start afresh. Imploring God imbues a feeling of immense satisfaction in the mind; one feels as if one has shared one’s worries with One who is Omnipotent. One feels confident that God will surely find a way for Him. Burdens do seem to have lightened; diffidence does appear to have evaporated. This helps mental peace in a big way. Depression and anxiety get a thrashing and are less likely to devastate an individual who pays regular attention to his prayers.


In Islam, prayers assume distinctive character in many ways.


(1)  As stated before, prayers in Islam are directed to none but the Highest Authority in the Universe; no deputy stands between God and man. One therefore feels guaranteed that God has listened to his invocation. This direct relationship with Almighty generates a much greater degree of confidence than an indirect relationship through adevata, Son or Apostle.


(2)  Prayers in Islam are more frequent and disciplined. At least five times a day a Muslim bows to God, glorifying Him, seeking His forgiveness and imploring his help in all the spheres of life. This means that he has a break from the routine at least five times a day. This not only disciplines his life but also has a much greater relaxing effect on brain than once a day prayer would have. Obviously, anxiety and depression will be far less likely to distract the person. Timings of prayers have been perfectly chosen: before sunrise, immediately afternoon , in the afternoon, after the sunset and in the night. Regular reminders of God’s presence and His injunctions have definite influence on his actions; he is less likely to engage in forbidden practices; the more sincere, attentive and regular he is the more the chances are of his leading a purer life.


(3)  In Islam, prayer is not merely a ritual; it is a physical, mental, spiritual and social exercise. Every prayer is to be preceded by ablution (Wudhu) requiring washing of exposed organs in a specified manner. This involves rinsing of mouth, brushing of teeth, washing of face, hands and forearms, soaking of head and soaking or washing of feet. I had shown in a paper written about 25 years back that Wudhu involves an area of the body that represents about 80 percent area on the sensory map, present in brain. I had also shown that the sequence of the washing of the organs is in accordance with the sequence of the organs on that map. Five times Wudhu is sure to result in a marked reduction in the incidence of a number of diseases of teeth, gums and skin. 


(4)  The sequence of different movements in the Muslim prayer is also in accordance with their innervation. Salat, in addition, is a physical exercise of great value. Islamic prayer does not involve a mere sitting or standing, as is often the case in other religions; it is well-organised regime of a number of movements that involve almost all the muscles of the body. A person first stands, then bends on the hip, then stands again, then prostrates putting his hand on the earth, then sits, then prostrates again and then stands erect again, repeating this several times. Sajda is often referred to in medical sciences as Mohemmaden prayer position. In this posture, out of all other postures of the body, cardiac output is known to be maximum, the supply of blood to brain is optimum, breathing is in the best state and blood contains maximum amount of oxygen. EverySalat refurbishes all the important organs ridding them of fatigue. One finds a renewed enthusiasm to work; common problems like body-ache, headache, nervousness, fatigue, lassitude etc are less likely to set in.


(5)  Apart from being a terrific spiritual, physical and mental exercise,Salat is an extraordinary socially beneficial exercise too. In Islam, congregational prayers are preferred to individual prayers. Almost all the mosques conduct congregational prayers regularly five times a day. People gather there to bow before God in the leadership of an Imam. This inculcates discipline, order and brotherhood. People know one another; they wish one another and inquire about their well being; they feel concerned when a regular fellow fails to turn up. Those who are in need of support or assistance often use a mosque as the forum for appeal; more often than not they get a positive response from the worshippers. Furthermore, Salathelps a person to avoid social evils; one gets regular reminder of what is liked or disliked by God. One is least likely to falling victim of alcoholism and gambling; the probability of indulging in unhealthy sexual practices markedly decreases. Salat is expected to have a sobering effect on all individuals; if there are some weaknesses of behaviour and character these show, in almost all cases, a steady improvement; they are certainly better individuals praying than if they had not been praying at all. Persons are likely to become more honest, righteous and humble once they start to offer prayers; the more regular they get the more improvement they are expected to show in their behaviour. If one does not show distinct improvement in one’s behaviour, it indicates lack of sincerity in the prayer; there are persons who join prayers in order to deceive people; their prayers will be of no avail either in this world or in Hereafter.



Prayer (Salat) in Quran



For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times. (4: 103/A)


Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before God in a devout (frame of mind). (2: 238/A)


And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night. (11: 114/A)


Purification of body before prayer

O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles...(5: 6/A)


If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body...(5: 6/A)


But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands; God doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favour to you, that ye may be grateful. (5: 6/A)


Friday prayers


O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of God, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of God. (62: 9-10/A)


Importance of prayers


Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of God is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do.  (29: 45/A)



III. Fasting


Just as Salat, fasting (Saum) has immense physical, mental, spiritual and social benefits. Fasting of one kind or the other is prescribed in almost all the religions of the world. It symbolises self-sacrifice, devotion, discipline, patience, control, generosity and purification. Fasting of all kinds has a soothing and purifying effect on the body, mind and soul. In Islam however, it becomes a much more comprehensive exercise.


(1)  Islamic fasting is directly related to the beginning of the revolution of Islam. Its observance in the month of Ramadhan marks the beginning of the revelation of the messages of God to Muhammad (Peace be upon him!), Qur’an being the collection of these messages. This also means it also marks the beginning of the Prophet’s mission. This is why, there are strenuous efforts to recite the whole of Qur’an at least once in the month of Ramadhan; people do it individually as well as collectively. This refreshes the whole mission in the minds of followers; they get an annual reminder of what is expected from them, how they must conduct and what is their ultimate mission: mission of Peace. They are told in categorical terms that the best form of Jihad is Jihad against Nafs (soul) and the best way to do this is to engage in an intellectual and ideologicalJihad with the help of Quran.


(2)  Islamic fasting is a much better organised and disciplined activity. It is obligatory on all Muslim adults to fast for the whole month of Ramadhan every year. Rules are much more precise. Nothing can be taken, not even water, during the fast that lasts the whole day. Having sex is not permitted during the fast, but is allowed in the night after the fast has ended. Thirty fasts in continuation, along with stress on the spiritual enlightenment through recitation of Quran, have a rectifying and purifying effect on the whole personality. This is a sort of strict training period, which reconditions the body for virtues and against vices. It also helps a person to curtail his weight, increase his resistance and immunity, give up his addictions and forsake his moral weaknesses. After each Ramadhan, many people give up smoking and drinking and become better Muslims. During Ramadhan at least gambling and drinking show a steep decline in Muslim community. In pure Islamic states, of course, the problems are minimal even in the ordinary days.


(3)  Fasting also brings with it the month of charity; its socio-economic impact will be discussed in the next section.


(4)  The month of fasting each year also reminds Muslims that thoughJihad against self and through Quran are the best in normal circumstances, in certain situations, armed Jihad becomes mandatory. It was on the 17th of this month that Muslims had been permitted to take up arms against the aggressors after a fourteen year long period of patience against severe persecution. This will also be discussed in detail in a later section.


(5)  Fasting month in Islam ends at Eid, the festival of thankfulness to God, peace, brotherhood and equality. The populace of the area or city gathers at one place to pay obeisance to God and listen to the sermon of Imam. They hug one another, exchange visits and gifts and help their poor brothers and sisters; each one pays a certain minimal amount, Fitra to the needy. At a larger scale functions are organised to promote communal harmony, especially in areas where diverse religious communities cohabit.


Thus the month of fasting does everything that wholesome peace necessitates. It strengthens physical, mental and spiritual health of individuals; increases their awareness and knowledge about injunctions of God; involves practical steps to reduce economic disparities in society; promotes equality, brotherhood and communal harmony; and reminds followers of Islam of their duty to combat acts of aggression against them and those by the forces of evils against mankind.



Fasting in Quran


The month of fasting


O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you...(2: 183/A)


Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgement (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home)  during that month should spend it in fasting...(2: 185/A)


 …(Fasting) for a fixed number of days. (2: 184/A) {NOTE: Fasts are 29 or 30 depending on the visibility of moon.)




..but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. God intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.(2: 185/A)


For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. (2:184/A)


Rules and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then   complete your fast till the night appears...(2: 187/A)


Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. …” (2: 187/A)


.... but do not associate with your wives while ye are in retreat in the mosques.( 2: 187/A)


Other Parts




SERIES: A Systematic Study of the Holy Qur'an




















Last Word: The Final Document of Peace





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