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  • Writer's pictureMaulana Wahiduddin Khan

The Islamic Way of Life

The Islamic way of life, in a word, is a God-oriented life. The greatest concern of a Muslim is God Almighty. The focus of his whole life is Akhirah, that is, the ideal world of God. He always obeys divine injunctions in every aspect of life. His life becomes a practical expression of the Qur’anic verse:

Take on God’s own dye. And who has a better dye than God’s? And we are His worshipers.


‘Taking on God’s dye,’ means being of a ‘godly character’ in all the personal, social and economic affairs of one’s life. The following pages of the chapter are devoted to portraying various aspects of this ‘godly’ character as personified in a Muslim individual whose words and deeds in family matters, or with respect to earning one’s livelihood and whose dealings with other members of society, always seem to be distinguishably ‘dyed in the divine hue.’

Iman (faith) By accepting iman one enters the fold of Islam. But Iman is not simply a recitation of kalima (creed of Islam). According to the Qur’an, it is ma‘arifah (5:83) that is, realization. Thus realization of truth is the door to Islam. When one discovers that Islam is truly God’s religion and that it is the same truth one has been seeking all along, one undergoes a unique experience of realization which is known in Islamic terminology as ma‘arifah.’

Making any kind of discovery revolutionizes a person’s life but when this discovery is of the truth with a capital T, this intellectual revolution becomes synonymous with the emergence of a new life in the individual.

This kind of intellectual revolution is no simple event: it turns a man into a superman, and gives him the greatest mission of his life. It regulates his life in such a way that no part of it remains unaffected. He begins to see all of humanity as his family and the entire universe as his abode. Such a discoverer becomes a maker of history rather than a product of history.

This is the stuff of iman. And it was this iman which enabled the Prophet and his companions to produce, as one historian remarked, “the most miraculous of all miracles.”

Ibadah (worship)

Ibadah, or worship, is not simply the observation of a set of rituals. It is more a profound kind of religious experience. In fact, it is the physical and spiritual expression of the human personality on a higher plane of consciousness.

Addressing man, the Qur’an says, “Prostrate yourself in adoration and bring yourself closer (to God)” (96:19). The Prophet Muhammad e was once asked ‘What is the essence of ibadah?’ He replied: “The worship of God as though you are seeing Him. Or if you are not seeing Him, He is seeing you.”

There are two kinds of ibadah, or worship, in Islam, the first kind of ibadah have been prescribed at specified times—salat, sawm, zakat, hajj, (prayer, fasting, almsgiving, pilgrimage). These forms of devotion are called the pillars of Islam. Then there are unspecified forms of ibadah, which consists of dhikr and fikr (3:191), meaning to remember God with feelings of fear and love.

This second form of ibadah aims at mental activation of the human soul so that he may be enabled to see God’s signs in everything he comes across in his daily life. This is the ibadah or worship, which is obligatory for every Muslim throughout his life.

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