I want to keep this one short.
My half-sister (who happens to be Christian) left up an away message that simply said: "God answers PRAYER!" This made me smile. It's so obvious to anyone, isn't it?
And then today, I came across this beautiful hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings on him):
Narrated by An-Nu'man ibn Bashir(may God be pleased with him):
Allah's Messenger (Peace and blessings upon him) said:
Supplication (du'aa) is itself the worship. (He then recited:) "And your Lord said: Call on Me, I will answer you" (xI.60).
[source: Sunan of Abu-Dawood 147]
Glory be to God (SubHanAllah). How simple is that. I don't know about you, but I always feel like I just keep coming up short, with my 'ibadah that is (my worship). And then my Lord tells me that He loves most for me to simply... talk to Him. Captain Obvious strikes huh? But of course, God has no need for our prayers and our good deeds; in Islam we reduce nothing from His kingdom (the universe) and we add nothing to it (to Him belongs all things, and to Him all returns) -- which reminds me of a thought I had a while ago that I will continue to bring up here and there.. That God intended the destruction of the universe the moment He created it. That thought is inescapable in the study of physics.
So why are we asked to pray? to worship? The depth of this is actually simple.. Love. There are other elements, but all that drives a true devotee of faith is love. (If I got into that discussion though, I wouldn't be keeping this short, would I?)
The reminder is really about God's love. Nothing is ours and All is His. He says, "Call on ME! I will answer you!" He says, "Ask from me, I will feed you! I will clothe you! I will shelter you!" He loves to hear the complaints of HIS creation. So when we spend so much time complaining.. (on blogs, on the phone with our friends, moaning and groaning to anyone that will hear it), we need to stop ourselves for a minute and think, "wait a minute! no one wants to hear this crap.. except... my Lord!" and complain to the Lord. Meanwhile, we get ajr (good deeds) for doing so. I hope that will provoke you to start invoking (your Lord) ;). Like eating a reeses (i think?) there's no wrong way.. to supplicate!
Muslims know that the central concept behind Salah (the ritual prayer we perform at least 5 times a day) is to show our gratitude to the Lord for His blessings and mercy. So that's what worship is all about, yes? Gratitude.
And yet, here we are told that the opposite of gratitude -- Complaint -- is a form of worship.
... How cool is that?
... Could there be a more Merciful, or a better God?