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Religious Duties: Gift from God


Praise be to God! There is no other god except God.

When Abraham implored God in 14:40, he did not ask for wealth or health; the gift he implored for was: “Please God, make me one who observes the contact prayers (Salat).” The religious duties instituted by God are in fact a great gift from Him. They constitute the nourishment required for the growth and development of our souls. Without such nourishment, we cannot survive the immense energy associated with God’s physical presence on the Day of Judgment. Belief in God does not by itself guarantee our redemption; we must also nourish our souls (6:158, 10:90-92). Additionally, verse 15:99 states that observing the religious duties instituted by God is our means of attaining certainty. It says, “Worship your Lord in order to attain certainty.”


The Contact Prayers (Salat)

The main practices of worship, or religious duty, which came to us all the way from Abraham is the Contact Prayer. You can learn how to do it correctly in the video titled “Principles of Muslim Prayer” by Rashad Khalifa. And those are the basic principles. Alban Fejza provides more concrete details about their times in his clarifying video titled “Times of Contact Prayers.” Also, Alban Fejza provides more details in another video to inform you about exceptions in our modern living circumstances, in cities, parks, at work and so on, but if you want a very quick way to learn it, you can watch Alban Fejza’s Friday Sermon titled, “How to become a muslim in 3 minutes?”

But what the important part to say here is that the daily contact prayers are the main meals for the soul. While a soul may attain some growth and development by leading a righteous life, and without observing the contact prayers, this would be like surviving on snacks without regular meals.

Also, the Friday noon congregational prayer is an obligatory duty upon every Submitting man and woman (62:9). Failure to observe the Friday Prayer is a gross offense.

The proof that Salat was already established through Abraham is found in verses 8:35, 9:54, 16:123, & 21:73. This most important duty in Islam (Submission) has been so severely distorted that the contact prayers (Salat) have become a practice in idolatry for the vast majority of Muslims. Although the Quran commands that our contact prayers must be devoted to God alone (20:14; 39:3, 45), today’s Muslims insist on commemorating “Muhammad and his family” and “Abraham and his family” during their prayers. This renders their own prayers null and void (39:65).


The Obligatory Charity (Zakat)

The other religious’ duty is Obligatory Charity (Zakat). It can be done in two ways, depending on whether you are part of a disbelieving community, or a believing community. However, because of internet, today we are always capable of being part of a believing community, and therefore the second option is the one which we should do. And I explain everything you need to know about this second option, which is actually the main option, it has traditionally been the main option throughout history from the time of Abraham until know. And you can find the explanation about all of it from the Quran, no other sources. Alban Fejza explains all of it from the Quran in the clarifying video titled “The Obligatory Charity (Zakat)”



The other religious duty is fasting. You can find all the details of fasting in verses 2:183-187.


Pilgrimage: Hajj & Umrah

And the last religious duty is Pilgrimage: Hajj & ‘Umrah. Once in a lifetime, Hajj and ‘Umrah are decreed for those who can afford it. Pilgrimage commemorates Abraham’s exemplary submission to God, and must be observed during the four Sacred Months— Zul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, & Rabi‘ I (12th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd month) (2:197; 9:2, 36). ‘Umrah can be observed any time. Like all other duties in Islam, Hajj has been distorted. Most Muslims observe Hajj only during a few days in Zul-Hijjah, and they consider Rajab, Zul-Qi’dah, Zul-Hijjah, and Muharram (7th, 11th, 12th, 1st months) to be the Sacred Months. This is a distortion that is strongly condemned (9:37).

The pilgrimage begins with a bath or shower, followed by a state of sanctity called “Ihraam,” where the male pilgrim wears seamless sheets of material, and the woman wears a modest dress (2:196). Throughout Hajj, the pilgrim abstains from sexual intercourse, vanities such as shaving and cutting the hair, arguments, misconduct, and bad language (2:197). Cleanliness, bathing, and regular hygiene practices are encouraged. Upon arrival at the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, the pilgrim walks around the Ka‘bah seven times, while glorifying and praising God (2:125, 22:26-29). The common formula is: “Labbayka Allaahumma Labbayk” (My God, I have responded to You). “Labbayka Laa Shareeka Laka Labbayk” (I have responded to You, and I proclaim that there is no other god besides You; I have responded to You). The next step is to walk the half-mile distance between the knolls of Safa and Marwah seven times, with occasional trotting (2:158). This completes the ‘Umrah portion of the pilgrimage.

The pilgrim then goes to ‘Arafat to spend a day of worship, meditation, and glorification of God, from dawn to sunset (2:198). After sunset, the pilgrim goes to Muzdalifah where the Night Prayer is observed, and 21 pebbles are picked up for the symbolic stoning of Satan at Mina. From Muzdalifah, the pilgrim goes to Mina to spend two or three days (2:203). On the first morning at Mina, the pilgrim offers an animal sacrifice to feed the poor and to commemorate God’s intervention to save Ismail and Abraham from Satan’s trick (37:107). The stoning ceremonies symbolize rejection of Satan’s polytheism and are done by throwing seven pebbles at each of three stations, while glorifying God (15:34). The pilgrim then returns to Mecca and observes a farewell circumvolution of the Ka‘bah seven times.

Unfortunately, most of today’s Muslim pilgrims make it a custom to visit the prophet Muhammad’s tomb in Medina where they commit the most flagrant acts of idolatry and thus nullify their Hajj. The Quran consistently talks about “The Sacred Mosque,” while today’s Muslims talk about “The Two Sacred Mosques”! In a glaring act of idolatry, the Muslims have set up Muhammad’s tomb as another “Sacred Mosque”! This is a blasphemous violation of the Quran, and, ironically, even violates Hadith. The Hadith shown here illustrates this strange irony:

This hadith says, “God has cursed the Jews and Christians for turning the tombs of their prophets into mosques.”


Physical Benefits

In addition to their invaluable spiritual benefits, there is a large number of physical, economic, and health benefits from observing the contact prayers (Salat), obligatory charity (Zakat), fasting during the month of Ramadan, and Hajj.

Observing the Dawn prayer interrupts long periods of stillness during sleep; this is now proven to help prevent arthritis. Also, getting up early in the morning helps combat depression and other psychological problems. The prostration position which is repeated during the contact prayers expands the blood vessels in our brains to accommodate more blood, and this prevents headaches. The repeated bending of the back and the joints is a healthful exercise. All these are scientifically established facts.

The ablutions required prior to the contact prayers encourage us to use the toilet more frequently. This habit protects us from a common and devastating cancer, colon cancer.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan restores our expanded stomachs to their normal sizes, lowers our blood pressure through temporary dehydration, rids the body of harmful toxins, gives our kidneys a much needed rest, and reduces our weight by removing excessive and harmful fat.

And Zakat charity and Hajj pilgrimage have far reaching economic and social benefits.


Friday Sermon based on Appendix 15 of the Authorized English Translation of the Quran by Rashad Khalifa (1989).