An Islamic adaptation of the Sabbath…

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
  • Prayer
  • 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
  • Prayer/Dua
  • Reading/Learning Hadith
  • Optional (Nafl)  Prayers
  • Spending time with the family (NO TV)
  • Visiting the sick
  • Fasting
  • 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)

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If those who burnt or threatened to burn the Quran had read the Quran, what would they have found???

Despite the cancellation of Pastor Terry Jones’s “Burn a Quran Day”, there were many copycat incidents reported throughout the world. Shameful as it is, I am convinced that the publicity the Quran and Muslims have received since the incident, though negative, will benefit the religion in many ways – Allah works in mysterious ways.

Anyone who was previously oblivious to Islam and the Quran was suddenly bombarded by the media with all things Muslim and despite the current “Islamophobic” environment; the beauty and truth of Islam will always reach those whom are destined to receive it.

The 9/11-Eid Coincidence also played its part in creating awareness about the month of Ramadhan and the celebration of Eid by Muslims around the world. This year, everyone knew when Ramadhan began and ended, people learnt about the role of the lunar calendar in Islam and everyone became aware of the requirements and rules of fasting. The fact that I received more Ramadhan and Eid messages from (non-Muslim) colleagues and clients this year could not have been a mere coincidence. This awareness alone is enough to bring people to Islam and I think we should capitalise on these situations.

I remember seeing a number of blogs and Facebook groups declaring “Read a Quran Day” instead of “Burn a Quran Day” and it got me thinking, what would they find if they actually read the Quran?

They would find that the 19th chapter of the Quran is named after Jesus’ mother, Mary. They would read that the Quran has high regard for the Virgin Mary:”And [we have propounded yet another parable of God-consciousness in the story of] Mary, the daughter of Imraan…” (66:12)

They would find 73 passages in the Quran detailing the story of Moses and they would read that the Quran says that God bestowed His grace upon Moses and Aaron (37:114), that he was “specially chosen” by God (19:51) and that God bestowed on Moses “wisdom and knowledge” (28:14) as a reward for doing good. In addition, the Book of Moses in the Jewish Bible is described by the Quran as a “Light and Guide” (6:91).

In the Quran they would find a passage that states “Verily, those who have attained to faith, as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians — all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds — shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have and neither shall they grieve. (2:62)

Our faiths have so much in common, we need to use these common beliefs to bring people together and put an end to the media’s misinformation of Islam and Muslims. Though it may seem like it at times, the broader community is not out there to put Islam down; they are simply acting and reacting to what they are being fed through the media. It’s up to us to exercise discretion, tolerance and patience to allow the beauty and truth of Islam to be exposed. Sometimes the only thing stopping people from coming to Islam… are Muslims.