Understanding The Prophet's Life
From Issue: 977 [Read full issue]
Quality of Worship
A believer who worships continuously may feel weary at some point. God, out of His mercy, knows that we humans could naturally feel weary, even in worship. Therefore, He diversified the acts of worship so that we can worship God in a variety of ways.
For example, prayer is a fixed act of worship that must be performed five times a day. But God recommended other forms of supererogatory prayers, such as the late-night prayer, the prayer of thankfulness, and prayer in times of need, and so forth. If the believer is weary from (optional) prayers, he may perform the obligatory prayers only, but at the same time, he may involve himself in other forms of worship, such as charity, performing umra, seeking knowledge, being kind to neighbours and relatives, helping people, and so forth. All these are forms of worship that draw one closer to God.
People are different, and diversity is a universal law of God. Diversity is not limited to natural capabilities only, but there is diversity in one's ability to keep up with certain actions and enjoy them. In His infinite knowledge, God prohibited some acts of worship at certain times. The Prophet said: "Surely this religion is firm. So apply it with tenderness. The traveller who is too harsh on his riding animal will not reach his destination and the riding animal will die" [Bayhaqi]. This is why the Prophet recommended that we do not pray right after the sunrise, right before noon time, or in the late afternoon after the asr prayer. The wisdom behind not praying any recommended prayer in these times is to make us eager to perform them when we are allowed. The same applies to fasting. We are not permitted to fast at certain times, for example, immediately before the beginning of Ramadan or on the first day of Eid.
When God opens for you the door of reading the Quran, you may wish to read it all the time. But we are not allowed to read the Quran while kneeling down or prostrating in prayer, in the bathroom, or while we are in a state of impurity. Because God knows our nature, He diversified the acts of worship and prohibited them at certain times.
Then, when God guides you to perform an act of worship, perfect it and ascend in the levels of quality of worship.
"A Journey to God: Reflections on the Hikam of Ibn Ataillah" - Jasser Auda