So how come some with hijab, beard, niqab and other cosmetic components of Islam have bad manners or behave in ways that are contrary to the noble values of Islam? This is because they do not know the reality of their journeys. Their behaviours clash with true Islamic behaviour, and thus their appearance is just window dressing to a dirty or empty shop.
Listening is one thing, understanding is one thing, developing the journey is another matter. Many people believe that the Islamic appearance is the pinnacle of worship and stop their journey of iman there. Without the effort to work on fixing their spiritual diseases, there is no improvement at all to the individual, and the entire journey is thwarted.
When a slave of Allah studies the Qur’an, he will obey what Allah says, and the Qur’an will be a source of blessing to him. If we read the Qur’an and are rebellious, Allah will call us liars, and the angels will bear witness to that and will curse us, and the verses of the Qur’an which we ignore or disobey will curse us. Yet, we implement the Qur'an selectively, based on what we desire, and reject the rest.
Certain Companions did not memorise the Qur’an until they had first lived out the message of the Qur'anic passage they were reading. They used to read a verse at a time, comprehend it, understand it and live it, and when they were steadfast, they worked on the next portion. How does that compare to our Qur'anic recitation today? There are those who recite the Qur'an cover to cover two to three times each Ramadan, but their reading is hurried and they emerge without any increase in their faith or good behaviour. They recited but nothing of the Qur'anic message absorbed into their hearts.
If we can reach the status of living out the message of the Qur'an, we will achieve the pleasure of Allah and Allah will please us even in the ultimate anguish. He will grant us the ability to be happy and contented despite our dire circumstances. This is not material pleasure, but the internal pleasure which cannot be generated without His will. All this will lead us to the bounty of Allah, and how much we thank and demonstrate gratitude to Him, how much we value the pleasure of Him and how much we believe that nothing can happen without the will of Him.
The horrors that early Companions had to endure for the state of their deen are monumental – situations that we, as average human beings, would barely be able to withstand. They were given hardship upon hardship, many were stripped of their material status and robbed of their possessions, and yet they held on to the rope of Allah, until Allah gave them victory in this world and in the hereafter. Today, we cannot cope at the first sign of trouble. We cannot even deal with a traffic jam. A death of a domestic pet can send us spiralling into depression!
Their difficult circumstances did not deviate the Companions from their mission to spread the message of Allah. They persevered until victory was given to the Muslims, or they died trying.
And whatever you have of favour - it is from Allah. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help. (An Nahl, verse 53)
The believer seeks the mercy of his Lord, and this mercy cannot be sought if we are rebellious against our Lord.
"The ones who belong to Allah – They arise from [their] beds; they supplicate their Lord in fear and aspiration, and from what We have provided them, they spend." (As Sajdah, verse 16). These are those who call Allah in a state of fear and the strong “greed” for His mercy.
There is a misconception amongst the Muslims that it suffices to perform personal worship such as fasting, salah and zakah. All these forms of ritualistic worship can be either fard or sunnah, and doubtless, they make us closer and more beloved to Allah. However, this is just a beginning for something higher, which is to dedicate our lives for Allah.
Routine worship is not the goal. If all we are required to do in Islam is perform salah, fast, pay zakat and go for Hajj, then it would not have taken 23 years for Islam to be revealed in its entirety. The obligations of salat, fasting, hajj and so on are the pillars of Islam – but the function of any pillar is to support a building, not to stand on their own! The reach of Islam extends beyond mere personal worship – and this is what our "building" consists. Islam is the enlightenment for mankind, and Muslims are supposed to be that agent for change.
Today, we are observe personal worship and recitation but when it comes to sacrificing our money and time for Allah, and for the path of Allah and for the good of Muslims, we are lacking.
In Islam, most of the ritualistic worship only benefits the performer. If that worship does not generate a change in behaviour, generosity and good manner, or a change of our purpose in life and its goals, then what will happen? If every Muslim is only looking out for himself and not looking out for others or is good to others, what positive impact is there on society? Rasulullah SAW reminded that whoever does not care about the affairs and conditions of the Muslims is not amongst us. This authentic hadith affirms the importance of caring for other Muslims. Even after we have attended to the needs the Muslims, we still have to care about the non Muslims, for this is the function of Muslims in society. Islam is highly concerned about promoting unity across families, societies and nations.
Where are we relative to the Qur'an? The Qur'an is a book containing the message of Allah to mankind, and is not just meant to be read for its numerous blessings. The real blessing of the Qur'an comes when we take heed of its message and follow the steps it asks us to take in life. Through the Qur'an, Allah is advising us, communicating with us, and warning us. He gives us glad tidings, examples of past civilisations, and tells us the precautions we are to take if we want to make it to our final destination of peace. We only do justice to the Qur'an when we honour and uphold its message to the best of our abilities.