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Serving Others

Listen Here:  “Serving Others” by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

There are two types of worship for the Muslim, Ibadat (worshipping Allah through the prescribed prayers) and Mu’amalaat (justly interacting with mankind, which translates into worshiping Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎).

The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم created a perfect balance for the Muslim; he fulfilled the worship of Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ and fulfilled the rights of his family and community. Aisha (ra) reported that the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم would always be busy in the service of his family when he was home, he would never wait to be served. Much of his interaction with people was centered on khidmat (serving). He would actively seek out opportunities to serve others, whether it was through visiting the sick or helping the poor etc. However when it came down to the two ibadaat, he would always drop everything and focus on Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎. The same Aisha (ra) tells us that when it was time for prayer, the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلمwould not even recognize his family.

There were two times the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم solely reserved for the worship of Allah, the nights and salaah times. All the times in between would be spent on serving humanity. This is an especially important lesson for us; American society is centered on consumerism. Every consumer expects and demands to be served, rarely do we serve others, much less seek out opportunities for it.

We must establish a balance and schedule our day according to the sunnah. Some people never serve anyone, they wait to be served by the people around them, even by their parents and especially by their wives. Other people just want to spend all their time in service while neglecting Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ altogether. They justify missing salaah because they were helping someone. Another group of people want to spend all their time in the masjid. If we even just glance at the sunnah, it’ll be evident that this is not how the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم did things.

My thoughts: Shaykh Husain reminded us that whenever we lower ourselves, Allah raises us. The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم was a force of nature, people were ready to do anything for him at any time, but he chose to do things for himself and furthermore he chose to dedicate his life to doing things for other people. I love this lecture because when you’re so focused on your studies, or work, or what you have to do, it’s really easy to forget serving others. Subhan’Allah when I first heard this lecture a few years ago, my mind immediately went to how I drag my feet when asked to make tea. Granted, I’m asked a lot, but these simple little things are great opportunities, especially if they’re for your parents. Service starts foremost with family and those around you. Every time I hear this lecture, I can think of new things to do, and these things become habits, and alhamdulilah when they become habits- your set! There’s so much wisdom behind this because not only will fulfilling a sunnah make one feel closer to the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم, but relationships also strengthen through service.

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