In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful.
I recently became aware of the religious beliefs and rituals of some of the people I work with and I found the idea of the Sabbath very intriguing. Most people know the Sabbath to be the day Jews are forbidden to work, however from a Jewish perspective it is more than just rules and restriction. As Tracey R. Rich puts it, “”it is a precious gift from God, a day of great joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time when we can set aside all of our weekday concerns and devote ourselves to higher pursuits.” According to the Torah, the purpose of Sabbath observance is to remind the Hebrew people of two very important events in history: the creation of the world (Ex. 20:11) and the deliverance from slavery in Egypt (Deut. 5:15). Both highlight the central Jewish religious belief: that there is one, powerful creator God who cares for his people.
People of different religions and faiths observe the Sabbath in different ways and for different reasons. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormons, Sunday is a quiet day for church attendance, rest from worldly pursuits, and spiritual reflection. I work very closely with members of the Mormon Church and their beliefs and spirituality have truly inspired me.
While different religions have different interpretations of the Sabbath, the principle remains the same and I believe the principle is Islamic at its core.
Examples of appropriate Sabbath activities include:
- Attending Church
- Reflection & Contemplation
- Studying scriptures
- Spending time with family
- Visiting the sick
- Physical rest
As a Muslim, I was amazed at the spiritual devotion of the people who observe the Sabbath and I questioned my own devotion and spirituality. I began contemplating an Islamic adaptation the Sabbath.
Based on the principles and teachings of Islam and drawing inspiration from the Jewish and Mormon faiths, I believe we can increase our spirituality and our awareness of God by setting aside Sabbath-like periods in our lives.
Depending on the level of your faith and your circumstances this could be implemented daily, weekly or however you see fit. The frequency and duration is up to the individual, but the intention should be for the pleasure of Allah and to elevate your spirituality.
Examples of appropriate activities from an Islamic perspective would include:
- Reading Quran
- Reading/Learning Hadith
- Optional (Nafl) Prayers
- Spending time with the family (NO TV)
- Visiting the sick
- Dhikr & the remembrance of Allah
- Visiting the Mosque (besides the daily prayers)
The key is to avoid all worldly matters and take part in activities that will enhance your spirituality and create a better awareness and understanding of your faith.
Some may argue that we should be practising these activities all the time anyway, even if we do, there can be no harm in setting aside time each day or each week in devotion to your Lord.
I hope we can all benefit from this, set aside some time each day or each week to remove yourself from worldly matters and spend some time contemplating and reflecting on your faith. Insha Allah we will become better Muslims and will better appreciate the bounties of our Lord.
” O ye who believes remember Allah very often and glorify Him morning and evening.” (33:41-2)
” Then do ye remember Me I will remember you.” (2-152)