The 9th month in the Islamic lunar calendar- Ramazan has the most varied forms of Worship and therefore is the most revered.
In Islamic perspective, the concept of Worship termed as Ebadah is multidimensional. Though it is generally referred to as Salah (prayers), Ebadah has a much broader characterization.
The ultimate reason for the formation of transitional or the celestial world is for Ebadah as Allah mentions in the holy Quran that "I created Genie and mankind for only but to worship Me." (surah 51:56). This significantly elaborates Worship to be exceptionally phenomenal.
Fasting during the day as in Ramazan inculcate in one a sense of humility and breaking it at sundown inspires one to share with gratitude Allah's infinite munificence – be it a morsel of food or an enlightening thought. Both humility and gratitude are the basic essence of Ebadah.
Ebadah needs to be understood as an ongoing process in life rather than perceived to be traditional rituals and religious practices. Every religious tenet and code of human life in general is individually and collectively, an integral constituent in the process of Ebadah.
Apparently, Worship is largely categorized in Islamic philosophy into two significant features, namely, Ebadah Ilmiyah and Ebadah Amaliyah.
One is indulged in Ebadah Ilmiyah when enlightening one's self intellectually by procuring knowledge. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) has therefore, strongly emphasized that "To seek knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim man and Muslim woman." Learning of an alphabet by a toddler is equally enlightening as the shout of "Eureka!" by a scientist on making a scientific break-through. The sense of exhilaration experienced by both the toddler and the scientist in that defining moment connects one, in one way or another, with the Creator of that particular element of revelation and learning.
Ebadah Amaliyah meanwhile, is practicing one's religious and social obligations in a righteous way. This can be by indulgence in different forms of meditation as well as by performing worldly duties that need to be self-beneficial as well as benevolent to society as Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) asserted that, "to love one's land of adoption is part of one's faith" and further emphasizes on endeavoring for the betterment of humanity by saying "Mankind is a single family dependent on Allah and the most beloved to Him is one who benefits it most". Be it serving the nation or uplifting fellow-beings, all are part of the formation of Ebadah Amaliyah.
It is imperative to perceive that both the composites of Ebadah Amaliyah and Ebadah Ilmiyah are interlinked and both stress on self- discipline and total commitment. The veritable essence of Ebadah, therefore, is truly accomplished in word and spirit when right knowledge is derived and that it enables the consciousness to express itself appropriately in its physical format. Subsequently it is this inimitable fusion of both forms of Worship that helps one embark into self- realization. Interestingly, mankind is constantly indulged in Ebadah, in one way or another, thus making it impossible to fully relive one's self from the infinite elements of Worship.
It is noteworthy to mention that Ebadah's influence on the mind, body and the soul is numinous. Habitual practice of different features of Worship such as fasting, charity, prayers eventually affects an individual's intuition, self esteem, and inner strength. The efficacy of Worship sub-consciously develops one's overall perception and personality.
Indeed, the true spirit of Ebadah in Islam can be summed in the words of the renowned spiritual leader His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin that "It is a tendency of humankind that whenever he is regaled or saddened, man endeavors to express joy and grief in one way or another. But, the way he chooses must reflect his devotion to Allah and uplift him to the zenith of humility."
This article is posted by Qureish Raghib, a Mumbai based freelance journalist. The writer has keen interest in the study of spirituality and philosophy.