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Why Our Obligations Make Us Stronger

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Prayer protects us from indecency and denial.If Muslims can work together to solve one issue, we can all be in a better state. If we work to strengthen our commitment to our faith, we will see that changes will happen for our own good. One may ask how it is possible to strengthen faith. Faith is not something which we can go to the gym for or physically work for (unless we have reached certain stages, but that is a different story). Our Wajibaat (obligatory commands) are what keep us on track. If we commit to these obligations, they are a guide which will make sure we do not waver from our path. God has made us the best of creation, He has deemed us special, and because of being special, he has provided us with obligations because He knows we can handle them.

The society we live in commonly teaches us that "you are your own boss" or "nobody can tell you what to do!" We are told not to feel obliged to others because they hold no "right" over us. This is true in some sense – except that nobody can tell us what to do except the One who is gave us life and all the blessings within it! How can we not feel obliged to God? If we live our lives doing whatever we want, thinking that what we do is good for us, we are fooling ourselves. We need to keep in mind that what makes us better is different than what makes us feel better. There is a difference between feeling good and being good. Just as a parent knows what is good for his/her child, God also knows what things will be good for us in our physical, mental, and spiritual lives.

A person's identity is known based off of who commands him/her; when a person follows someone's laws, (s)he identify with that person, because (s)he is answerable to him/her. For example, the identity of a US citizen means you are obliged to the US Constitution. As Muslims, we follow the rules of God, unless of course we do not identify ourselves as Muslims.

The hardest part about identifying ourselves as Muslim is executing the Wajibaat, or obligatory actions. It is easy to say "I am Muslim," but not so easy to pray five times a day, fast for a month, go for pilgrimage, avoid immoral gatherings, and so on. Nobody said it was easy. The only reason performing obligations is hard goes back to what was originally stated about doing what is commanded from others, not being in our culture of living. Unfortunately today we see that a lot people practice "escapism" in alcohol or drugs. If thought about logically, we can see that these people are tired of the world, and they want to find something new. Believers of Allah are also tired of the world, the Dunya, because the world is inherently boring; believers, on the other hand, "escape" through the love of God, the Prophet, and Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) – they help us get through the boredom.

Pleasure is found in obligations. For example, Hajj is full of obligations – every second, we are required to watch our mouths, steps, anger, etc. Why is it that people always want to go back to Hajj? Why would they want to go back to being restricted under obligations? Even though it is a challenging process, people still want to stay because they feel accomplished and so close to God after completing those obligations.

If you pull into a parking lot at a mall, and the man at the entrance says you cannot go inside because it is full, even though you want to go in, you don't. You did not turn around the other way because you followed his command; it is because your Aql, or intellect, told you it would not make sense to go there if it was full. Just like your intellect works in situations like turning away from a full parking lot, your intellect also works with your Wajibaat. When we begin to practice our Wajibaat, or obligations, for many years, after 21 years of age (the end of the third age range of discipline), we should be able to act out of obedience and logic.

Author of this article: Madiha Zaidi
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