Ibaadah - Worship & Obedience of Allah ﷻ
Salah and its affect on our faith
Salah i.e. the five times prayers in Islam, is the most important act of a believer’s life and a major source of strengthening our faith, which if missing, puts a question mark on our faith. Salah is the essential part of our faith as stressed right in the beginning of the Quran: “Who have Imaan (faith) in the al-ghayb (unseen), establish salah (5 times prayer), and spend out of what We have provided for them.” Allah ﷻ also mentions how salah protects oneself from bad habits and behavior: “be constant in salah (5 times prayer): for salah restrains outrageous and unacceptable behavior.” Since bad habits and behavior leads one towards the path of kufr (disbelief) hence it in the light of this understanding why Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said "Between disbelief (Kufr) and faith (iman) is abandoning the Salah." Abandoning salah makes us prone to committing disobedience towards Allah ﷻ.
Its very important to understand that just like how our bodies require physical sustenance to survive, similarly, our ruh (spirit or upper soul) requires its sustenance. Our bodies are formed inside our mother’s womb and its creation belongs to earth, therefore the food that sustains it comes from the earth such as meat, vegetables, fruits, water etc. available on earth that sustains our bodies and provide them energies required to live healthy. Any deficiencies of these elements causes our bodies to suffer weakness. Maulana Tariq Jameel, a leading Pakistani Islamic scholar, preacher and public speaker teaches that since the ruh (spirit) was brought down from the heavens by an angel and placed in to our bodies, which gives life to a mother’s womb, therefore, the sustenance of the ruh lies in the heavens and not on earth. One of the major acts of spirituality in Islam is the obligatory salah (5 times prayers), it is one of the major sources of food and water for the ruh. The salah comprises of three main things: zikr (praising & remembrances), qirat (recitation) of Allah’s divine words from Quran and duas (supplications & invocations). Once we do these things five times a day with full concentration towards our Creator, we form a spiritual connection that is supposed to strengthen our souls and gradually increase faith in our hearts. It is due to this reason the Prophet ﷺ said in one of his hadith that: “As salatu mi’raajul mu’mineen” which means “that in salah there is the ascension for the believers”. Miraaj (ascension) is the journey that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ undertook to the heavens and came closest to Allah ﷻ. Even though it is considered as a very dhaeef (weak) hadith in respects of its category, yet few but great Islamic scholars have chosen to mention in their works due to the fact that it brings out a very important meaning for the act of salah for a believer.
Any sort of loss experienced when we miss one or more of our daily salahs or abandon them altogether causes our inner self to experience gloominess and sadness. This is indeed mercy indicating one to turn back to Allah ﷻ so that you may continue to keep our souls energized. Keeping them energized through salah and zikr keeps us spiritually strong and gives us the courage to face whatever difficulties we experience. Once our bodies experience death, our energized souls survive in the world of barzakh (intermediary stage between death and resurrection) before the Day of Judgment. For those who never worked on purifying their souls and deprived them of their spiritual sustenance, experience suffering in the form of never ending gloominess and sadness in hereafter. In the Quran Allah ﷻ mentions the spiritual sustenance gained by those who live obedient lives and worship Him by being constant in observing salah: “Believers are only they whose hearts tremble with fear whenever God is mentioned, and whose faith is strengthened whenever His messages are conveyed to them; and who in their Sustainer place their trust - those who are constant in prayer (salah) and spend on others out of what We provide for them as sustenance it is they, they who are truly believers! Theirs shall be great dignity in their Sustainer's sight, and forgiveness of sins, and a most excellent sustenance (rizaqan kareem).” The sustenance of those who perform their salah with sincerity and without any pretension is referred to here as rizqan kareem. Asad translates the term rizqan kareem as “Most Excellent Sustenance”. He says that as per classical Quran commentators such as Razi, this term does not only include the rewards awaiting a true worshiper in the hereafter but also in this world in the form of Allah’s love, closeness, faith and spirituality that He bestows on hearts of such obedient servants.
 Al Quran 2:03 – Asad Translation.
 Al Quran 29:45
 Jami Tirmidhi Vol. 5, Book 38, Hadith 2618
 Islamic scholars have translated ruh as ‘soul’ as well as ‘spirit’. The correct translation in the above context would be ‘spirit’ as ‘soul’ is a translation also used for a term called nafs which is
evil of the soul'. I have also translated it as 'upper soul'.
 Prophetic hadith not found in authentic collections but usually quoted in sufi gatherings and lectures.
 Al Quran 8:1-4 – Asad Translation.
How to increase in love of Allah ﷻ?
Love and emotional attachment with someone increases the more we associate with them. Same rule applies to our relationship with Allah ﷻ. Taqwa is a mindset best translated as 'consciousness of Allah ﷻ', that assists in realizing that Allah ﷻ is watching us. Allah mentions taqwa throughout the Quran advising the believers to adopt, so they realize its importance in maintaining relationship with Him. Such as: "Remain, then, conscious of God (fattaqqu) as best you can, and listen [to Him], and pay heed. And spend in charity for the good of your own selves: for, such as from their own greed are saved, it is they, they that shall attain to a happy state!" Once someone asked Prophet Muhammad ﷺ about the concept of ihsaan (perfection, excellence), to which he replied: “ihsaan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not achieve this state of devotion, then (take it for granted that) Allah sees you.” A believers consciousness of Allah begins with taqwa (consciousness) and gradually increases to a state of perfection called ihsaan (perfection, excellence). If we can maintain taqwa in our minds throughout each day before doing any action whether in private or public, we can, by the mercy of Allah ﷻ, reach the stage of ihsaan, which helps us to build and strengthen our relationship with Him.
There is this famous story about a Sheikh who had many students but he favored and gave special attention to one of them. Someone inquired of him that why he paid special attention to this one. To answer the questioner Sheikh informed him to observe the response of all the students when he instructs them to do a certain task. The Sheikh gave a date fruit to each student and told them to hide it some place where no one could see it or would know of it. They all went different directions to hide their fruit and hid them in secret places which only they knew and only they could find. All of them did what the Sheikh said except for that one student who held back with the fruit in his hand and did not leave. After all students returned the Sheikh asked that one student as to why he did not do as told, to which he replied “You said to hide it somewhere no one can see but that’s impossible because there is Allah ﷻ who knows and sees everything.” If we can build up on our sense of taqwa (consciousness) then we may gradually reach a stage of ihsaan (perfection, excellence) like this student where we will notice our personal relationship with our Lord is like a “trustworthy handhold that will never break.”
 Al Quran 64:16
 Sahih Al Bukhari - Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 300
 Heard the story during a lecture in a masjid.
 Al Quran 2:256
Direct access to Allah ﷻ
One of the major purpose of Prophet Muhammad’s mission, like all other prophets, was to help humankind establish direct spiritual connection with Allah ﷻ without mediators. What makes Islam unique in regards to its teachings still being intact is that there are no intermediaries in our worship of Allah ﷻ and we can have direct access to Him, meaning that He hears our supplications and prayers directly. Among many of His beautiful divine names mentioned in the Quran are As Samih (All Hearer) and Al Aleem (All Knower) which Muslims often invoke when making duas (invocations, supplications) and they express His Omnipresence. Ali Ibn Abi Talib (alaihi salaam), the first cousin of the Prophet, his son in law and famous companion, once said: “When I wish to speak to my Lord, I make dua (supplicate) and when I wish my Lord speak to me I read the Quran.” This statement of Ali (a.s) brings some clarity to our concept of two-way communication. However, to further understand what Ali (a.s) said is that when he supplicates he does not just ask what he needs, he pleads, praises and thanks His Lord, and expresses his neediness which displays true uboodiyyah (servanthood) and Allah ﷻ loves this as He has mentioned: “Say to them ‘What would my Lord care for you if not for your duas (prayers/supplications/invocations)?’” The whole concept behind our existence is to know Allah ﷻ and invoke Him through prayers and supplications and that is the concept of worship in Islam as the Prophet ﷺ said: “dua (supplication) is the essence of worship.” The Prophet ﷺ did not say salah (5 times prayer) or any other act is essence of worship, he in fact claimed dua to be the essence of worship because our salah is actually nothing but dua, in which we express neediness to Him and praise Him while performing. That is the reason Allah ﷻ has included the seven verses of the first chapter of the Quran called Surah Al Fatiha (The Opening) in our daily five times salah. In total, we recite this surah 17 times a day and the meaning of these words bear witness as to why it is actually a form of dua:
In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy!
Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds,
the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy,
Master of the Day of Judgment.
It is You (alone) we worship; it is You (alone) we ask for help.
Guide us to the straight path:
the path of those You have blessed, those who incur no anger and who have not gone astray.
As Ali (a.s) said “when I wish my Lord speak to me I read the Quran” means since Quran is nothing but the words of Allah ﷻ, therefore what could be better speech when conversing with Allah ﷻ other than His own? It is due to this reason that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “My greatest miracle is the book of Allah." When we spiritually communicate with Allah ﷻ reciting His words, it is through the medium of our minds and hearts that we do so. We use our minds to understand and relate to ourselves what we recite and the heart to spiritually and emotionally attach ourselves with His Being. Even though the Quran was revealed in its first instance to the heart of the beloved Prophet ﷺ yet it speaks to the heart of every Muslim when he or she recites and hears it with concentration towards its meaning. Just as it is said: “And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, you will see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth.” Such is the attitude of the one who speak to Allah ﷻ in His revealed language and this is what Ali (a.s) is referring to. Thus, the two-way communication and personal relationship can be established through the means of two things: continuous duas during salah as well as throughout the day and recitation of the Quran.
 One of the many famous sayings of Hazrat Ali ibn abi Talib quoted by Islamic scholars during lectures.
 Uboodiyah which means servanthood implies our obedience to Allah ﷻ in our hearts and actions.
 Al Quran 25:77
 Jami at-Tirmidhi - Vol. 6, Book 45, Hadith 3371
 Al Quran 1:1-7
 Sahih al-Bukhari 4981
 Al Quran 5:83
Remember Him and He will remember you
The Quran teaches that zikr (remembrance) of Allah ﷻ is connected to peace within our hearts which happens as a result of Allah’s response to our zikr (remembrance) of Him: “…and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah. Surely in Allah's remembrance do hearts find rest.” “So remember Me and I shall remember you; give thanks to Me and do not be ungrateful to Me for My favors.” Our remembrance by Allah ﷻ is certainly greater than our remembrance of Him. The remembrance of Allah ﷻ finds its way in to our hearts as a result of our remembrance of Him, in the form of peace and gives solace within the heart that our entire body, mind and soul attains peace and this is something which can only be experienced, no words can fully express. The achievement of this state is possible when a believer engages in much worship in addition to the obligatory salah (5 times prayers) such as nawafil (voluntary prayers), making much dua (invocations, supplications) and doing much zikr.
A few ahadith of the Prophet ﷺ may also shed some light for us to better comprehend in what ways Allah ﷻ remembers us and in what way does it give solace and peace to our hearts. Such as the prophetic advice to one of his companions, Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiAllahu anhu), that if we were to remember Him in good times through obedience, worship and gratefulness then He will remember us by assisting us in our difficult and worst times: “Safeguard the Commandments of Allah, you will find Him before you. Remember Him in prosperity and He will remember you in adversity.” His assistance in adversity and divine help that removes dangers is a form of His remembrance of us, which is also a source of peace for our lives. An illustration of such remembrance in the form of divine assistance can be understood by referring to a prophetic hadith where Allah ﷻ commands His angels to love the one whom He loves and this love gradually trickles down the heavens till it reaches the angels of the earth who inspire the people’s hearts to love that individual and then he or she becomes beloved and honored by those around them: “If Allah loves a person, He calls Archangel Jibreel (Gabriel), saying, "Allah loves so and so, O Gabriel love him" So Gabriel would love him and then would make an announcement in the Heavens: "Allah has loved so and-so therefore you should love him also." So all the dwellers of the Heavens would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth.”
Such is one of the many instances of Allah’s remembrance of His servant when His servant remembers Him in their own hearts as well as by displaying obedience to Him in all matters of their lives. When Allah ﷻ created Adam (alaihi salaam) and informed the angels about His decision to place him on earth then the following conversation took place in which angels said: “‘How can You put someone there who will cause damage and bloodshed, when we celebrate Your praise and proclaim Your holiness?" but He said, "I know things you do not.’” Whoever among humankind does good on earth by obeying Allah ﷻ and acting righteous then Allah ﷻ praises them to an assembly of heavenly angels, and reminds them about His earlier claim about humankind when He said “I know things you do not.” This is confirmed in another hadith (qudsi) where we are told: “Allah the Exalted says: "I am as my servant expects me to be, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me inwardly, I will remember him inwardly, and if he remembers Me in an assembly, I will remember him in a better assembly (i.e., in the assembly of angels), And if he seeks to draw nearer to Me by a hand span, I draw nearer to him by a forearm length.” Allah's praise of an obedient servant of His in the presence of higher angels is also considered His remembrance of His servants as a result of their remembrance of Him in their hearts, obedience of His commandments, inspiring and calling others towards His obedience, and worship of His in their daily lives. A good example of such persons are the righteous teachers, scholars, saints, Imams, preachers, writers etc.
There are also other instances of His remembrance of ours in which He responds to our invocations and pleas that we express during our duas and this is explained in another prophetic hadith: “To any Muslim who makes a dua, provided it does not contain anything sinful or breaking family ties, Allah ﷻ will give one of the three things: He will quickly grant him what he asked for, or save the reward for him for the hereafter, or turn away from him a similar hardship (that would have hit him in the absence of that dua).” Those who heard it said they would greatly increase their duas, the Prophet ﷺ replied, “Allah has even more.” Thus, remember Him and He will remember you in plenty of ways and His remembrance of us is greater.
 Al Quran 13:28
 Al Quran 2:152
1 The most basic form consists of reciting following on fingertips: tasbih (subhanAllah meaning Glorified is Allah), tahmeed (alhamdulillah meaning all praise is due to Allah), takbir (Allahu Akbar meaning Allah is the greatest).
 Riyad as-Saliheen Book 1, Hadith 62
 Sahih al-Bukhari 6040
 Al Quran 2:30
 Riyad us-Saliheen Book 16, Hadith 28
 Recorded in Musnad Ahmad – Munajaat e Maqbool – Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi.
What makes Islam unique in concept of worship
Worship in Islam is not limited to one’s private life but in fact, it covers all aspects of our individual and collective lives. Three distinguishing factors of worship in Islam teaches how vast the concept of worship is and how every action of ours could become a means of obedience if done with the pure intention even though it may seem trivial. Mustafa Ahmad Al-Zarqa, a famous Syrian Islamic scholar, elaborated on three distinguishing features in one of his works that prove a broader view of worship in Islam. I have added some of my own comments to explanation under each.
1. Freedom from intermediaries
Islam liberated ‘worship’ from the bondage of intermediaries between man and his Creator. Islam seeks to create a direct link between man and his Lord, thus rendering the intercession of intermediaries unnecessary. Allah ﷻ tells us that He is always near and never remote: “(O Muhammad), when My servants ask you about Me, tell them I am very near; I hear and answer the call of the caller whenever he calls Me. Let them listen to My call and believe in Me.”
By invoking other than Allah ﷻ we deprive ourselves of direct access to Him which He has permitted for us to take advantage of and come closer to Him. Invoking other than Allah ﷻ for help at times of need and in our worship would make us commit the crime of shirk (associationism) which is an unforgivable sin. Such an act creates barrier between us and Allah ﷻ and prevents communion. The Prophet ﷺ informed us from Allah ﷻ that: “I was a hidden treasure; then I wished to become known. Then I created the creation, so that I may be known.” How unfortunate for us to block ourselves with barriers of intermediaries when He who is the real treasure has given us direct access to Him, when He wants to grace our hearts with His love.
2. Not confined to specific places
Secondly, Islam has not only liberated man’s worship from the bondage of intermediaries; it has also liberated it from confinement to specific places. Islam regards every place – whether it is one’s dwelling place, the back of an animal, the board of a vessel on the surface of the sea, or a mosque specifically built for worship – as pure enough for the performance of worship. Wherever a man might be, he can turn towards his Lord and enter into communion with Him. Allah ﷻ says: “And to Allah belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah.” The Prophet ﷺ expressed this idea beautifully in the following words: “The (whole of the) earth has been rendered for me a masjid (mosque i.e a place of worship); pure and clean.”
3. All-embracing view
Islam has considerably widened the scope of worship. In Islam, worship is not confined to special occasions and special places. Rather every virtuous act which has been sincerely performed with the view to carry out the commandments of Allah ﷻ and in order to seek His pleasure, is an act of worship for which man will be rewarded. One does not need to completely renounce the world, go in to a life of asceticism, and torture oneself by completely denying even the good and lawful things of life to please Allah ﷻ. Islam considers every action to be an act of worship as long as it is performed solely for the purpose of seeking pleasure of Allah ﷻ for which one gets rewarded. Any action performed which keeps one within the lawful limits set by Allah ﷻ as a result of His consciousness, is an act of worship. This is all because of pure intention behind every act. For example helping someone who is in need for the sake of gaining pleasure of Allah ﷻ would be considered an act of worship. Smiling at someone also has a reward and earning lawful wealth also has a reward in it for the believer. Eating nutritious food, exercising and getting proper sleep in order to keep oneself healthy would also be considered an act of worship as the Prophet ﷺ said “A believer who is possessed of strength is better and dearer to Allah ﷻ than a believer who is weak. And both are good.”
 al-Zarqa 1999
 Al Quran 2:186
 Shirk (associationism) means associating real or imaginary partners with Allah ﷻ in His worship and obedience. Invoking non-living things such as statues, or holy personalities whether living or dead such as prophets & saints for assistance other than Allah ﷻ. It also applies to beliefs such as wealth, social status, nationality, power could ultimately influence human destinies which causes one to give almost worshipful reverence to such notions.
 A hadith e qudsi (sacred traditions) usually quoted in sufi writings and gatherings.
 Al Quran 2:115
 Sahih Muslim – Kitab As Salaat - Book 5, Hadith 5
 Sunan Ibn Majah - Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 79
Establishing intimate relationship through worship
Allah ﷻ does not need our worship and that worshiping Him does not benefit Him and in fact benefits us. However, the ultimate reason of worshiping is not benefit; it is to have a relationship. As social animals, humans require relationships to survive within our environment and cannot survive in isolation. Similarly, our existence also requires us to have a spiritual relationship with our Creator, through the medium of our souls, without which our souls, our internal self cannot attain sure peace. This relationship is the most significant one than any other. Perhaps a few words from a dua of Ali ibn Abi Talib (alaihi salaam) would put some light on the essence of worship and our relationship with Allah ﷻ: “Oh Allah ﷻ I worship You not because I greed your paradise, Oh Allah ﷻ I worship You not because I fear your hell fire. I worship You because You are worthy of worship.” The worshiping of Allah ﷻ as a result of realization of His uniqueness and greatness is the actual worship of Allah ﷻ and that is what is implied in the dua of Ali (a.s). Any worship done for the sake of any sort of benefit in this world and the hereafter can never be compared with worship that is done purely for Allah’s sake alone, even though Allah ﷻ knows that the majority worship Him due to some sort of benefit, safety or need in this world or the hereafter. Due to His immense Mercy He still accepts their worship because He who created us knows: “…man is created weak.”
Imagine this, people nowadays get obsessed with creation such as obsession with celebrities because of their unique talent and styles. Some people get obsessed to the point that they dress like them, walk like them, talk like them and even wear what they wear and imitate them them in their obsession. Now imagine an obsession with Allah ﷻ, your Creator. Once you truly realize how great and unique He is then your obsession of Him is what makes you worship Him for His sake and love only. You become His fan and the duniya (world and its temptations) becomes meaningless. It is due to this fact why Quran teaches: “Allah has never put two hearts within one person's body.” Either the one heart that we carry can be turned towards Allah ﷻ or towards duniya; if its focus is only this temporal world then it will always remain deprived of the peace that it is meant to seek. If your heart turns towards Him then you desire to speak to Him through the Quran and prayers, you desire to obey whatever He has informed you to do, you desire to follow the Prophet, who was sent by Him and whose example was the best, you place Him before your wishes and desires and even beofre those that you love the most. If you do all this then He bestows more love on your heart and when He does that then it is a feeling outside of this world. It is this feeling from within that generates the desire to worship and obey Him even more.
This is a sort of a relationship that is purely based on love, not material benefits, the more you desire and love Him, He bestows His love even more than you can imagine, just as the Prophet ﷺ told us that Allah ﷻ informed him: “I am just as My slave thinks I am, and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; …….if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running. And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me is what I have enjoined upon him (obligatory 5 pillars of Islam); and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing nawafil (voluntary actions and worship) till I love him. When I love him I become his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks (something) from Me, I give him, and if he asks My Protection (refuge), I protect him.” Once the bond of love is created between the Lord and His servant then the worshiping and obedience becomes an excuse to meet, a point of meeting someone you are in love with. The realization of emotional attachment becomes strong as expressed in these words from dua (prayer) of Kumayl: “Then suppose, My God, my Master, my Protector and my Lord that I am able to endure Your punishment (of hell fire), How can I endure separation from You? And suppose that I am able to endure the heat of Your fire, how can I endure not gazing upon Your generosity?”
 Al Quran 4:28
 The term duniya is used for temporal world and its attractions. Overindulgence in it causes one to fall in to materialism.
 Al Quran 33:04
 Voluntary acts of worship done in addition to the obligatory acts. These include such making zikr, giving charity and worshiping Allah ﷻ by performing voluntary salah.
 40 Hadith Qudsi - Hadith 25
 Dua e Kumayl – A prayer taught by Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib to one of his companions Kumayl ibn Ziyad. It is said this dua belongs to a mystic mentioned in the Quran named Khidr.
Simple ways of earning Allah's mercy
One of the easiest ways to earn Allah’s mercy is by practicing the daily fard (obligatory,compulsory) acts commanded to the believers: “The believers, both men and women, support each other; they order what is right and forbid what is wrong; they keep up the salah (five obligatory prayers) and pay zakah (obligatory charity); they obey God and His Messenger. God will give His mercy to such people: God is almighty and wise.” In addition to performing fard (obligatory) acts in Islam i.e. five pillars (as mentioned earlier), such as salah and zakat, there are various ways in which in one can earn the mercy of Allah ﷻ on daily basis. There are actions taught by the Prophet ﷺ that he referred to as sadaqa (charity) and if we commit ourselves on doing them every day we can earn the mercy of Allah ﷻ throughout the day. A prophetic hadith tells us: “There are three hundred and sixty joints in a human being, and in the morning every single joint of yours must pay a sadaqa (charity). Every tasbih is a sadaqa, every tahmid is a sadaqa, every tahlil is a sadaqa, every takbir is a sadaqa, every commanding good is a sadaqa, and every forbidding evil is a sadaqa, a man's helping his brother is sadaqa. A drink of water, which he gives, is sadaqa. Removing something harmful from the road is sadaqa, and all this is accomplished through two rakahs one can pray in Duha.” Tasbih is SubhanAllah which means ‘Glorified is Allah’, Tahmeed is Alhamdulillah which means ‘All praise is due to Allah’ and Takbir is Allahu Akbar which means ‘Allah is the greatest’. These are part of our daily zikr (remembrances) that we are encouraged to recite by tongue and hearts on fingertips, before and after our salah throughout the day. Sadaqa means ‘charity’ just as how the Prophet ﷺ once said ‘to smile is charity’, basically any good deed is considered a sadaqa because it wards off calamities and trials whether big or small. By doing zikr, righteous deeds, enjoining good and forbidding evil our bodies, joints, limbs, minds and hearts are protected from any sort of trouble and worries of the day or even if they were to experience any worries or grief, Allah ﷻ will give us the strength and faith to endure them.
To gain blessings of all these actions one should do the above as much as we can or pray two rakahs (rounds) of nafl (voluntary) salah at the time of duha (mid-day prayer) and make dua (invocations, supplication). In fact one should attempt to do all of the above if possible for the more we can accomplish is better, as Allah’s angels around us continue to pray for our forgiveness and mercy as they notice our actions throughout the day. A prophetic hadith teaches us: “If any one of you prays and then sits down in the spot where he has prayed, the angels ask blessings on him saying, 'Allah, forgive him. Allah, have mercy on him’.” And, that: “Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says, 'O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in Your Cause,' and the other (angel) says, 'O Allah! Destroy every miser’.”
 Al Quran 9:71
 Sunan Abi Dawud 5242 & Riyad as-saliheen Book 1, Hadith 122
 Mid-day prayer around 10 or 11 a.m. before obligatory dhuhr (noon prayer).
 Muwatta Malik - Book 9, Hadith 57
 Sahih al-Bukhari 1442
This life is our only chance.
It is a sin to pray for your own death and a prophetic hadith teaches us the great wisdom behind not wishing for one’s death: “Let none among you wish for death or supplicate for it to occur before it actually arrives; when one dies, his deeds come to an end. And age does not add to a believer except in goodness.” The only reason why we have come to this world is to earn good for the hereafter and this life is our only chance. If you wish for this to end then you are actually wishing for the best thing for yourself to end. The hereafter is the final destination but what leads towards that destination is placed here on earth for us. The world is the sowing ground and the reaping of what we sow shall take place in the hereafter. Our life on earth is the only sowing ground available therefore one should take advantage of whatever is left of it.
This life is like that advice of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ about finishing one’s food on plate, leaving nothing, not even a small bit for he said you never know which part has blessings in it. Consider this life a plate that has your meal, which would keep you alert and healthy throughout the rest of the day if you consumed whatever was in it. Similarly, this life and all the opportunity to earn good, lies in it. You never know which moment of this life might help you earn something so great or give you the opportunity to earn such forgiveness and mercy of Allah ﷻ that will make you successful in the hereafter.
In a hadith there is a fact mentioned that some people of paradise would not experience any grieve except for one, and that is the moments of their life wasted when they did not engage in zikr (remembrance). Zikr is expressing gratefulness, thankfulness and glorifying Allah ﷻ with the tongue and in one’s hearts, which brings peace to the heart, mind and soul. Once in paradise they will realize how much they could have achieved had they been careful and invested in those wasted moments of time. The Prophet ﷺ said: “The people of paradise will not grieve for anything else except those moments in which they were not engaged in the zikr (remembrance) of Allah ﷻ.”Such would be the case of the people of paradise who have everything and anything they desire, will always remain young, in peace and will do whatever they wish to, have whatever they wish for and Allah ﷻ will remain pleased with them forever, yet some of them will carry regret of wasting moments of their earthly life. If this is the case of some people of paradise imagine the grieve of such persons who wasted their entire lives doing not much good in addition to praying for their own death, especially when this life is the only opportunity available for them to be blessed in the hereafter.
 Musnad Ahmad
 Narrated by Bayhaqi in Shuab al-iman (1:392 #512-513) and by Tabarani. Haythami in Majma al-zawaid (10:74) said that its narrators are all trustworthy (thiqat), while Suyuti declared it hasan in his Jami al-saghir (#7701) – Sunnah.org
Higher chances of gaining mercy than punishment
The bad thoughts that occur to one’s mind will be forgiven as long as they are not translated in to action and we are informed about this in a prophetic hadith: “Allah has forgiven my followers the evil thoughts that occur to their minds, as long as such thoughts are not put into action or uttered.” Abu Qatada added, “If someone divorces his wife just in mind, such an uttered divorce has no effect…” A thought is first step before the subsequent steps that lead towards fulfillment of actions therefore its best to seek refuge in Allah ﷻ when such thoughts occur and to busy yourself with good things. Allah ﷻ advises us: “And if it should happen that a prompting from satan stirs you up [commit a wrongful act], seek refuge with God: behold, He is all-hearing, all-knowing.” The companions of the Prophet ﷺ had the same concern when Allah ﷻ revealed: “and whether you disclose what is in yourselves or conceal it, Allah will call you to account for it.” The Companions came to the Prophet ﷺ and fell to their knees saying, “O Messenger of Allah! We were asked to perform what we can bear of deeds: the (5 times) prayer, the (30 days) fast, jihad (struggle) and obligatory charity (zakat). However, this ayah was revealed to you, and we cannot bear it.” They expressed the concern that they will be held accountable by Allah ﷻ for negative thoughts, something that is beyond our control due to human nature. To placate their concern Allah ﷻ revealed another verse in same surah that said: “Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned.” Thus clarifying that He will not burden them by giving them sins for wrongful thoughts and they will be held accountable for actions only. This was further elaborated in another hadith where it has been clarified that no sin is recorded for us as long we do not act on it: “Allah ﷻ said to His angels ‘If My servant intends to commit an evil deed, do not record it as such for him, and if he commits it, write it for him as one evil deed. If he intends to perform a good deed, but did not perform it, then write it for him as one good deed, and if he performs it, write it for him as ten good deeds.’” In another narration it is said that angels are ordered by Allah ﷻ: “..if he refrains from doing it (evil act), write one good deed for him, for he desisted from doing it for My sake.” This explains for us the fact that whether we are able to commit a good act or we are unable to, as long as we intended to commit it we are rewarded. If we intended to commit a good act and we are able to do it then our rewards are in fact multiplied. If we intended to do an evil act but don't actually do it then no sin is recorded for us, in fact if we resist the temptation due to consciousness that Allah ﷻ is watching, even then we earn goodness. The only time a sin is recorded for us is when we actually do it. Overall our chances of gaining goodness in this world is greater than our chance of gaining sins and this is due to the special kindness and mercy of Allah ﷻ.
Sheikh Al Nursi Bediuzzaman expresses how Allah ﷻ truly establishes justice and and showers His immense mercy through this policy of calculating good and bad deeds: "In reality, it is absolute justice to record one sin as a thousand sins, (due to its consequences and effect) and a good act as only one. But Allah ﷻ does the reverse: He records a sinful act as one and an act of goodness as ten, seventy, seven hundred, or, in some cases, seven thousand. From this we can understand that entering Hell is the result of one's deeds and pure justice, while entering Paradise is the result of His absolute Grace." Truly it is only, and only through His mercy that we can all expect to be saved in the hereafter.
 Sahih al-Bukhari 5269
 Al Quran 7:200 – Asad Translation.
 Al Quran 2:285
 Tafsir ibn Kathir – Surah Baqara (2nd Surah) - Would the Servants be Accountable for What They Conceal in Their Hearts – www.qtafsir.com
 Sahih Muslim 129
 The Risale-i-Nur Collection, The Words - The Reconstruction of Islamic Belief and Thought - Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Twentieth Word
Being grateful in difficult and times of ease.
Gratefulness is a realization that comes from within, it is expressed from within one’s heart and this realization is generated as a result of a blessing that one has, which one truly understands and knows that it could not have been given had it not been the will of The Most Gracious (Al Rahman). Such a feeling causes oneself to naturally proclaim the praises, glorification, greatness and thankfulness to Allah ﷻ, firstly in one’s heart, which results also being expressed by the tongue in our prayers to one’s own self, and then to those around us. Allah ﷻ says: “If you are grateful, surely I will increase you. But if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” Allah ﷻ teaches us to be grateful at all times in all situations so that our hearts and our lives become spiritually blessed even though outwardly we may not appear materially fortunate but within our inner self we will learn to be grateful. How to gain this realization is taught in the blessed words of the Prophet ﷺ who said: “Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of Allah.” The moment we greed for things we do not have, we will consider ourselves to be less fortunate thus depriving ourselves of the realization to be grateful with what we have. Such a feeling of deprivation itself becomes a source of punishment. Once we observe those who are less fortunate we will always feel blessed regardless of whatever our situation because there are always times which could be much worse. Such positive attitude becomes a source of Allah’s pleasure.
At this point, there is one very important thing to understand about being grateful. The life of a believer in Islam is not his, it belongs to his Creator and life of a believer is fair whether in hard times or good times, as Allah ﷻ reminds us: “God has bought of the believers their lives and their possessions, promising them paradise in return.” Whether it is hard or good times, keeping in mind that this life is nothing but a test, a believer should act grateful, as there is good in both conditions, and a prophetic hadith teaches us: “how wonderful is the affair of the believer, for all his affairs are good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” This narration tells us that even in difficult times it is good for the believers provided they remain patient because Quran teaches: “Allah is with those who are patient.” By praying and expressing ones neediness only to Allah ﷻ while observing patience in difficult times they will feel spiritually closer to Him due to which He makes their heart strong in bearing difficulties and that is most definitely good for them.
 Al Quran 14:07
 Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4142
 Al Quran 9:111 – Asad Translation.
 Riyad as-saliheen Book 1, Hadith 27
 Al Quran 2:153