[Chapter 20] Huququllah Vs. Huququl ‘Ibad

Dec 21, 2010

Chapter 20
Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology

Huququllah Vs. Huququl ‘Ibad

Is there really a “vs.” there? If you insist on inserting it, you may have already compromised your efforts to get a good handle on it. It is as if you are pitting one against the other. It is as if you are operating from a position of choice – as if you can have one or the other based on what pleases you.

That, however, is not the case. The truth is you either go for both, or you lose on both counts. There is a close relationship between the two. It is a reciprocal relationship. That means if you claim to have one, then you also must automatically lay claim to having the other. If, on the other hand, you say that you don’t care for one, you are automatically indicating that you don’t care for the other either. And it cuts both ways. That means no matter at what point you start, you either aim at and work for both or run the risk of losing both.

But these issues are larger than this seminar. They ought to be the pivot for the life of those who think they are working for Allah and those who want to work for Allah. That means they should have a central place in the life of every conscious, rational and committed Muslim.

For, in many ways that is what it means to work for Allah: to be committed and conscious Muslims who have made a well thought-out – rational – decision in their life to work for Allah in all voluntary aspects and activities of their lives even as they work for Allah in the involuntary, physiologically and genetically programmed aspects of their lives.

Those wanting to work for Allah – all of us, anyone of us – must cultivate some special qualities and shun some others. That is because some of these qualities are positive, while some others are negative. We must work on acquiring the positive or good qualities and avoiding the negative or bad ones.

These qualities – whether negative or positive – pertain to our thought, speech and behavior and they have roots and branches in our body, mind and spirit. Some of them may appear to be localized in any given aspect of our personality, but they pervade all of our life. Some of them may appear individual, but they have a powerful social impact. Some others may appear social, but they have deep individual roots.

Positive qualities are the ones we need to work on to cultivate in ourselves – and in all those with whom we may have some influence. We need to work to see that these good qualities prevail in us; in our family members; in the groups, associations and organizations we associate with; in our communities as well as in the larger society of which we are a part. It is a little bit like bad cholesterol and good cholesterol. We need to work to lower one and elevate the other.

Negative qualities, on the other hand, are the ones we need to avoid – and train ourselves to get rid of: in our thought, speech and behavior. As conscious and committed Muslims – as those working for Allah – we also need to work to get our families, associations, organizations and communities to get rid of them for they are a canker that eats into the very vitals of an individual, family, group, organization, community or society.

Some of them are the qualities of the head and heart, while some others have to do with the practical lives of Muslims – such as speaking the truth; such as fulfilling your commitments; and such as keeping your promises. But as I said earlier, no matter at what point you start with one of them, you are likely to see it meandering all through your body, mind and spirit – and your thoughts, words and actions.

Some of them can be called Huququllah: what we owe Allah, while some others may be considered Huququl ‘Ibad: what we owe others. But this is sensitive territory and a very dangerous dichotomy and it needs proper understanding – beyond this convenient classification. Suffice it to say Huququl ‘Ibad, properly understood, are the biggest Haqq we owe Allah after avoiding Shirk and embracing Iman.

That means, the moment we embrace Islam with proper understanding and full commitment, the first thing Allah seems to say to us is, yes pray, fast, pay Zakat and go to Hajj, but don’t forget that what will make or break you on the Judgment Day is the record of your dealings with my creation. There doesn’t seem to be any way of getting around this fact in the teachings of Islam.

Many modern-day Muslims seem to be somewhat unclear on this issue. They often behave as if they thought that so long as they fasted and prayed and paid Zakat and went to Hajj (Huququllah), and did more of the same – and of course worked for Allah – it did not much matter how they treated people, Muslims as well as non-Muslims (Huququl ‘Ibad). Nothing could be farther from the truth. Muslims, especially better Muslims, if I am allowed to say that, need to reconfigure this more clearly in their minds and integrate this more firmly in their behavior.

And I will leave it at that.

Therefore, the positive and negative qualities I mention here – the good and bad spiritual cholesterol – play a critical role in the life of a Muslim – way beyond this seminar. They are the very essence of Muslim destiny – right here as well as in the hereafter.

Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology

© 2003 Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional 
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at] 
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.

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