Friday, October 9, 2009

Making pancakes as worship, pt.1

An astounding characteristic of true sunni Islam is the practicality of its concept of worship. The Creator gave us life to know and worship Him, but that worship is not exclusive to prayer, charity, and thikr.

In Sahih Bukhari we find the following narration: Abu Juhayfa relates "The Prophet made a bond of brotherhood between Salman and Abu Darda al-Ansari. Salman paid a visit to Abu Darda' and found Umm Darda' (his wife) dressed in shabby clothes. He asked her why she was in that state. She said, "Your brother Abu Darda' is not interested in the luxuries of this world." In the meantime Abu Darda' came and prepared a meal for Salman. Salman requested Abu Darda' to eat with him, but Abu Darda' said, "I am fasting." Salman said, "I am not going to eat unless you eat." So Abu Darda' ate with Salman. When it was night and a part of the night has passed, Abu Darda' got up (to offer the night prayer), but Salman told him to sleep and Abu Darda' slept. After some time Abu Darda' again got up but Salman told him to sleep. When it was the last hours of the night, Salman told him to get up then, and both of them offered the prayer. Salman told Abu Darda', "Your Lord has a right on you, your soul has a right on you, and your family has a right on you, so give everyone their due rights." Abu Darda' came to the Prophet and narrated the whole story. The Prophet said, "Salman has spoken the truth."

This Hadith is awesome for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is Salman's admirable wisdom being confirmed by the Prophet, alayhis-salam. But relevant to our discussion, the hadith emphasizes that our worship of Allah must be balanced. "Give everyone their due rights" ... let that concept roll around in your brain for a bit and compare it with your concept of Islamic piety. Many of us have been taught that the pious are the ones making tahajjud at 2am everyday for hours, or at the front lines of da'wah, passing out pamphlets on the streets of DC (or whatever your local urban giant might be), or of course the Student of Knowledge, who has travelled far and wide to study the deen and spread Islamic knowledge. All of these are noble pursuits and I have participated in all three to some extent; they are worthy of a man dedicating his energies and abilities towards, but not at the expense of family. "Save yourselves and your families from the Fire" is what the Quran tells us. "Each of you is a shepherd, and each of you shall be asked about his flock" is what the Prophet alayhis-salam tells us (narrated by Muslim). The piety, the taqwa, that our Creator wants from us is the type where we live up to all of our responsibilities, not some of them: "Nothing draws my slave closer to me than that which I have made obligatory upon him" (hadeeth Qudsi reported by Imam Al Bukharee).

In this day and age especially, where even the most basic building blocks of the family, the relationship between husband and wife, commonly collapses, family must become a priority for Muslim men and women. What kind of ummah can we be if we can't even keep our families together?


  1. True and what many do not realize is that making pancakes with the intention of pleasing Allah (SWT) through the care of the children, and giving them something to smile about, to love their family, and the way of life of their family (Islam).. is a form of worship. The remembrance of Allah and the pure niyah should be instilled into everything we do.

  2. Thanks for your comment and I wholeheartedly agree. These articles, the next part especially, are trying to promote the awareness that focusing on the family is worship, and that it is an act of worship that needs to be prioritized in our current times.