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Khutba  #7

Worship and Prayer


I advise all of us, including myself, to practice Taq’wa (piety and righteousness), and revere Allah and obey His divine commands.  Let us be heedful of our choices in this life and the likely consequences in the hereafter.  Let us be aware of our final destination, our eventuality and departure into the everlasting life.  May Allah provide us all with the spirit of righteousness by way of His divine obedience as the best means for our salvation.


Let us ask:  What is worship and what is prayer in real sense?  Some people concentrate on nothing but the rituals of worship as an end in itself, to the exclusion of other significant religious duties. Such people divorce themselves from the social realities and problems facing the Islamic Ummah —they retire to a corner for the purpose of frequent praying and uttering the name of God.  Another extreme is when other people concentrate exclusively on social behavior yet at the same time ignore the acts of worship and the rituals all together.


Though both groups consider themselves Muslims, the fact is they are not wholly so, for Islam does not agree to believe in some of its aspects and ignore its other aspects.  The Quran says in Surah 4 (al-Nisaa), Ayah 150:


إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِاللّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن يُفَرِّقُواْ بَيْنَ اللّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ

وَيقُولُونَ نُؤْمِنُ بِبَعْضٍ وَنَكْفُرُ بِبَعْضٍ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَّخِذُواْ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ سَبِيلاً

“…We believe in some and disbelieve in others?”

Islam does not accept only ritual worship to the exclusion of its moral issues and duties, nor does Islam accept the moral and social issues but with ignoring the rituals of worship.  Notice the Quran in Surah 2 al-Baqarah, Ayahs 43 saying:


 وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ وَارْكَعُواْ مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ

“…Establish Prayer and give the Zakat…”


The first injunction in the above Ayah concerns the relation between God and His creatures; while the second part of the Ayah concerns the relation between the creature and other creatures, i.e. fellow man. Thus a devout Muslim has a dual responsibility:

  1. One responsibility is towards God and

  2. The other responsibility is toward fellow man and the society at large.

No Islamic society can be built without worship and invocation of God, and establishing the rituals of Islam.  In the same way, no pious society can exist without directives to the common good, social justice and freedom and with forbidding evilness and corruption, and with enjoining kindly relations among individuals.


Ali (a.s.) was the highest-ranking man in piety, so much so that his Salat was proverbial, a Salat full of love yet apprehension in the presence of God Almighty, often with tears running down his cheeks.  After his death, a man (called Dhirar, who was Ali’s companion), met Mu’awiya.  Mu’awiya asked Dhirar to describe Ali.  In response, Dhirar narrated, “One night I saw Ali in his special worshipping place, agitated in apprehension of the Almighty, as if a man bitten by a snake, weeping with deep emotion and saying, `Oh, for the fire of hell’”.   Mu’awiya kept on hearing this, pondering with awe.[1]

یتململ تململ السلیم    ویبکی بکاء الحزین

agitated in apprehension of the Almighty, crying as if

in great grief


Nevertheless, Ali (a.s.) was not a man of the altar only, of course not.  On the contrary, Ali was most involved in the society, individually and socially.  He was well aware of the painful conditions of the poor and the stark helplessness of others, since they brought their complaints directly to him.  Although Ali was the Khalifa, he never excluded himself from society with guards or internal security.  Ali was easily accessible to the common man as if he was one of them, dealing with their affairs day and night.

Thus Ali is a Muslim in the true sense, for he was:

▪    pious in worship,

▪    high in devotion,

▪    strict in delivering justice,  and

▪    with exacting judgments in the court. 

Ali was fearless and instinctively brave as a soldier, and an unparalleled commander on the battlefield.  He was the finest orator at the pulpit, a most remarkable teacher in his chair, and a magnificent example in every other facet of life.


Islam can never approve of a half-hearted acceptance of its injunctions; meaning a belief in some of its aspects and ignoring or not believing in others.  Though some ascetics who considered Islam to consist solely of rituals such as prayers, yet ignored other acts of devotion altogether, Islam never agreed with such approach.  The Holy Quran tells us about this matter in Surah 48 (al-Fat’h), Ayah 29:


مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاء عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاء بَيْنَهُمْ

تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا

“Mohammad is the Messenger of God and the ones with him are severe against the disbelievers, compassionate amongst themselves. 

You see them in Rukoo and Sujood, seeking the favor of Allah and His Good Pleasure…”

An Islamic community is well portrayed in this Ayah.  It expresses the loving bond and fellowship of the believers with Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) among them, by virtue of compassion; while at the same time it describes them as standing firmly, solidly so, being severe against the infidels.


According to the Holy Quran an important quality of a Muslim is to show firmness and strength against a disbeliever.  The Quran says in Surah 3, Ayah 139:

وَلاَ تَهِنُوا وَلاَ تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنتُمُ الأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

“And do not lose heart nor be grieved

for you shall have the upper hand; if indeed you are believers”

Islam is the religion of life.  It does not allow weakness in religion.  Will Durant claims in his book History of Civilizations that no religion but Islam calls upon its followers to be so strong and steadfast.

It is contrary to Islam to bend the neck with helplessness, to dress up poorly or in a dirty manner, to walk in a pathetic way, or to pretend to be forlorn and indifferent (and sigh and groan). 


God has given you many blessings, like health, capability, and provisions if not wealth.  Why do you show yourself as a helpless person, for by doing so means ingratitude to God?  Look at the Prophets or the Imams, none of them was ungrateful, on the contrary all of them were exceedingly grateful, they were men of the highest caliber, the example for humanity.  They not only diligently practiced their worship but also stood firmly, ably, and strongly against enemies of the faith, and against all odds.


Some of the gems of Imam Ali’s sayings about the categories of worship are as follows:[2]

  1. “A group of people worships Allah for the sake of reward; this is the worship of traders.

  2. Another group worships Allah out of fear, this is the worship of slaves.

  3. Yet another group worships Allah out of gratefulness to Him.  This is the worship of free men.”


About worship, Imam Al-Saadiq has highlighted for us as follows:[3]

▪    “By nature intellect at its best is worship, and

▪    the strongest speech for it is knowledge, and

▪    its luck in abundance is maxim.”


Let us ask ourselves: 

  1. Have we performed our true worship exclusively for the sake of the Almighty? 

  2. Have we tried to refine ourselves and struggled with all our might in the cause of Allah? 

  3. Have we performed only ritual worship but neglected refining our character? 

  4. Have we been involved in the society, individually and socially, to help the weak and the disadvantaged, or solve our brother’s problem and lent a hand?

Finally we pray God Almighty to make us true worshipers, grant us pure intentions, protect us against sin, injustice, and grant us salvation in this world and the hereafter.


For the end of the 1st part of the Khutba, read Surah Al-Asr, take a short intermission, then start the 2nd part of the Khutba with a short Du’aa.


The Shi’a believe that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) an Imam has to exist.  They believe that an Imam is a leader, temporal as well as spiritual, chosen by God.

Numerous Hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) have been transmitted in this regard: 

  1. About Shi’ism,

  2. Imams’ number,

  3. That all are of the household of the Prophet (pbuh), and

  4. The fact that Al-Mahdi is the last of them.

Also, there are specific Hadiths concerning the Imamah of Ali and his being the first Imam [to follow the Prophet].  In addition, there are definite utterances of the Prophet (pbuh) and Imam Ali (a.s.) concerning the Imamah of the second Imam.[4]  Throughout 260 years this continued (until al-Mahdi), for in the same way each Imam before his death specified the Imamah of the one to follow him.


Besides, there is no doubt that the character of the twelve Ma’soomeen were as if of the same nature and character of the Prophet (pbuh) and his daughter Fatima Al-Zahra.  This character is to be the model and pattern for all of us.


Imam al-Hasan was born in the year 3 after Hijrah in Medina and shared in the life of the Prophet (pbuh) for about seven years, growing up during that time under his tutelage and loving care.  After the death of the Prophet by about 6 months Hadhrat Fatima died, so al-Hasan was placed directly under the care of his noble father Imam Ali.  Imam al-Hasan became the Imam after the death of his father, becoming the Imam according to the Commands of Muhammad (pbuh), then the specification and will of his father, Imam Ali (a.s.).


During the ten years of his Imamah, al-Hasan lived in conditions of severe hardship, with difficulty, with no security even in his own house.  In the year 50 Hijrah, al-Hasan was given poison by his own wife who was bribed by the ruler Mu’awiya, thus becoming Mu’awiya accomplice.  That poison caused him his life!

Both Sunni and Shiite sources have transmitted the Hadith concerning al-Hasan and al-Husain: 

 الحسن والحسین إمامان،    قاما او قعدا

“[These two children of mine] Al-Hasan and Al-Husain are Imams

be they standing or sitting”


(alluding to whether or not they would occupy the Khilaafah). [5]

Also, there are many Traditions of the Holy Prophet and Imam Ali concerning the fact that Imam Al-Hasan would gain the function of Imamah after his noble father.


The Holy Prophet and all of our Imams stood firmly against injustice and corruption in the society.  History proves that their way was the way of truth, justice, and humanity.  Allah says in the Quran Surah 17 (al-Israa), Ayah 81:

وَقُلْ جَاء الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا

“Declare that the Truth has come and the Falsehood has vanished. 

Surely Falsehood is bound to vanish ”


Also the Holy Quran states in Surah 6 (al-Anaam), Ayah 21:


وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللّهِ كَذِبًا أَوْ كَذَّبَ بِآيَاتِهِ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ

“And who could be worse than the one who forges lies against God or belies His signs? 

Verily, such evil-doers shall not attain a happy state.”

The detractors of Islam and the enemies of Muslims are hard at work to undermine the glory and growth of Islam.  They are trying to stop, deface Islam or vilify it.  But Allah will perfect His religion as He so promised.  It is true in the current time the enemies of Islam want to destroy the truth and Islam, but surely they will fail.  Allah promised the believers that they would succeed in distributing Islam in the world.  Nahjul Fasaaha quotes Imam Ali:[6] 

الاسلام یعلو  ولا یعلی علیه

Islam will prevail over all things and nothing will prevail over Islam.

We implore Allah to help us assist in establishing justice, piety and righteousness and also we pray Allah to help the oppressed around the world.  We ask Allah (swt) to help us be in pursuit of true application of Taq’wa (Piety and righteousness), along with application of the ideals of Islam.


Finally, let us read Surah Al-Nasr with a short Du’aa to close the Khutba.


[1] Bihaar al-Anwaar, Vol. 41, Section 101, Hadith 13.

[2] Nahjul Balaaghah, Imam Ali (a.s.), Section of Sayings, #231. Published by Islamic Reference CD.

[3] A-Saadiq, Section of Sayings, Saying #434. Published by Islamic reference CD.

[4] Tarikh Abi-Fida, Vol. I, Page 128.  Also Seerah ibn Hisham, Vol. 2, Page 223-271.  Also Ghaayat al-Muraam, Page 664.

[5] Irshad, Sheikh Mufeed, Page 220.  Also Kashf al-Ghumma, Vol. 2, Page 104.  Also Maj’ma’ al-Bayan, Vol. 2, Page 402.

[6]  Nahjul Balaaghah, Imam Ali (a.s.), Section of Sayings, #1056, Page 214.

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