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
CONCEPT OF ‘UBUDIYYAT
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.
WORSHIP, ‘IBADAT‘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.