Kuliah Subuh at the 6th Scientific Meeting of the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia held at Penang on 26-28th May 2004 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr, MB ChB (MUK), MPH, DrPH (Harvard) Deputy Dean, Kulliyah of Medicine International Islamic University Malaysia EM: omarkasule@yahoo.com


All humans are slaves of Allah. A true slave of Allah is a slave only Allah and cannot accept any other master either is association with Allah or instead of Allah. Slaves to Allah alone are free persons in complete control of the self and are not under the control of other humans, the shaitan, or human passion. The Qur’an has described prophets, the jinn, and angels as slaves of Allah. Humans can only find true liberation is submitting as slaves to Allah. Whenever they seek liberation in any other way they only change the form of slavery; the outside and form change but the essence remains. Being a slave of Allah requires that the slave obey the master in what is enjoined and what is prohibited. It also requires that the slave worship the master. ‘Ibadat is for the master alone and nobody else can be associated with the master in worship.



The Qur’an uses 5 terms to describe ‘fear’: taqwa, khashiyat, khawf, rahbat, and tadahru’u. Fear in Qur’anic terminology is different from the linguistic meaning. Believers’ fear of Allah is combined with love for Him and hope for His rewards and mercy. Believers’ good behavior is not only out of fear of punishment but also to express gratitude to Allah for His bounties. Taqwa is the only true and invariable criterion of superiority among humans. Taqwa or its absence has a major impact on human action and behavior. At an individual level the practical manifestations of taqwa are: doing good, undertaking ‘ibadat, and avoiding bad actions. At a societal level the practical manifestations of taqwa are enjoining good and forbidding the bad. Among the consequences of taqwa are: love of Allah, success, victory, and good behavior. Taqwa is needed in all fields of endeavor. Taqwa is enjoined even in dealing with polytheists. The Qur’an condemns fear of humans instead of Allah. Staying on the right path, istiqaamat, is a result of taqwa. Fear should be balanced by hope.



The Qur’an enjoins obedience of Allah and the Prophet but forbids obedience of shaitan. Ta’at is a practical expression of taqwa. The essence of obedience is fulfilling the injunctions of Allah. Ta’at leads to success and guidance. It is also associated with a lot of rewards. Disobedience, ma’asiyat, is the opposite of ta’at. It is either omission, neglect of prescribed duties, or commission, committing forbidden acts. Prophets and angels do not disobey Allah. Believers do not disobey Allah.



Dhikr is essentially worship of the creator and carries the same meaning as ‘ibadat. It has however been misinterpreted as meaning specific formulas or supplications repeated a given number of times a day or on given occasions. Dhikr is all the time and in all of forms and is essentially full awareness that Allah is the creator who must be worshipped and remembered all the time. Dhikr is also constant awareness and remembrance of Allah’s bounties for humans. Dhikr is to be carried out as much as possible. Among the positive benefits of dhikr: rewards, protection from evil actions, patience, calmness, and success. Abandoning dhikr is condemned.



‘Ibadat is the purpose of creation and is a practical expression of taqwa. All human activities are ‘ibadat if undertaken with the correct intention. All acts of ‘ibadat are for Allah alone. There is no intermediary or intercessor between the human and Allah in ‘ibadat. ‘Ibadat can be structured or non-structured. Structured ‘ibadat can be obligatory or non-obligatory. Acts of ‘ibadat may be mental, physical, or verbal. Avoiding committing evil acts is ‘ibadat. ‘Ibadat must be constant in all places, at all times, and in all circumstances. Allah rewards contemplating or performing acts of ‘ibadat, obligatory and non-obligatory. There is punishment for neglecting obligatory acts but not the non-obligatory ones. There is no punishment for contemplation of a bad act that is eventually not carried out. All prescribed acts of ‘ibadat have a social purpose. Salat and hajj are social gatherings. Zakat is a system of mutual social support that provides for everybody’s welfare. Fasting is a voluntary experience of hunger that makes the rich sensitive to the plight of the poor who cannot get enough food.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. May 2004