Purpose of Prophet hood – Perfection of Morals
The holy Prophet has stated the foremost purpose of his being sent down in this world and the method of his call to the people in these words:
“I have been sent only for the purpose of perfecting good morals.” ( AI-Muta)
That great message which has left an indelible impression on the history of life, and for propagating which and for bringing people under whose influence Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h.) worked ceaselessly. Its purpose was nothing else but to strengthen the moral character of the people so that the world of beauty and perfection may be illuminated before their eyes and they may try to achieve it consciously and with knowledge.
Worshipping has been made compulsory in Islam, and it has been included in the basic pillars of faith. But the Islamic forms of worship are not some sort of mystic exercises that link men with some unknown, mysterious being, and which subject men to perform useless acts and meaningless movements. All the Islamic compulsory forms of worship are designed as exercises and training to enable people to acquire correct morals and habits and to live righteously, and to adhere to these virtues till the end, whatever be the changes in their circumstances.
Prayer prevents commitment of Evil
Salat (prayer) is a compulsory form of worship, which is like an exercise towards which man is attracted with interest and willingness. He offers it continually, so that his life may be free from all diseases and the body may be healthy and strong. The holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet both are the open proofs of these realities. When Allah commanded the compulsory prayers to be established, He stated its wisdom in this way:
“Prayer prohibits obscenity and evil.”
To keep away from evil, wickedness and to purify from bad deeds are also realities of the prayer. In a Hadith Qudsi it is stated:
“I accept the prayers of the person who adopts the policy of humility with it on account of My greatness, obliges My creatures, does not insist on sinning against Me, spends his day in remembering Me, and is kind to the poor, travellers, weak and the suffering people.”
Zakat is a means of purification
Zakat has been made compulsory on the eligible ‘scheduled’ ( sahibe Nisab) persons. It is Dot merely a tax that is collected from the pockets of the people, but its foremost purpose is to sow the seeds of kindness. sympathy and benevolence, and to provide a chance of introduction among the various sections of the society and to establish the relationship of love and friendliness. The purpose of paying Zakat has been stated in the Quran in the following words :
“O Prophet I Take charity from their property so that it may clean them and purify them.”-(Tauba.. 103)
To clean the self of the wor1d1y impurities and to raise the standard of the society to the heights of decency and purity are the wisdom behind the levy of Zakat.
For this reason the Prophet has taken it in a very wide sense, and to pay Zakat has been made compulsory for every eligible Muslim. The Prophet has said:
“To smile in the company of your brother is charity. To command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is charity. To guide a person in a place where he can go astray is charity. To remove troublesome things like thorns and bones from the road is charity. To pour water from your jug into the jug of your brother is charity. To guide a person with defective vision is charity for you.”-(Bukhari)
The environment of desert and the Bedouin life-an environment which had its basis on internal bickering and fights-in such an environment the teachings of Islam were presented to the world and they show what aims and purpose these teachings had, and it shows where these teachings led the Arabs in that dark and dismal environment.
Fasting is a stepping stone to righteousness
Similarly Islam has made fasting compulsory. But it is not envisaged that men should keep away from their carnal desires and other prohibited things for a fixed period only. The Prophet has said:
“Fasting is Dot the name of merely keeping away from eating and drinking, but it is keeping away from wicked and obscene things. If in the state of fasting, someone abuses you or picks up a quarrel with you, say: “I am fasting.”
Quran states the purpose of the imposition of fasting in these words:
“Fasting has been made compulsory for you, as it was made compulsory for those (followers of earlier prophets) who preceded you, so that you may become righteous.”(Baqarah.. 183)
Hajj is a compulsory pilgrimage to weaken the love for the world
Sometimes man thinks that to travel to the holy places and to perform pilgrimage, which has been made compulsory for every rich Muslim, and which is included in the basic pillars of Islam, is merely a form of worship that has no relation with the world of morality and character. This is a clear misunderstanding. Giving commands about this compulsory worship, Allah states:
“The months of Hajj are well-known. In these months whoever intends to perform Hajj should no~ indulge in sexual act, wicked act, and fighting during the Hajj. Whatever righteous ac, you will perform will be known to A11ah. Take with you provision for the journey (for Hajj), and the best provision is righteousness. So fear me, 0 men of understanding I” ( Baqarah : 197)
This is merely the main outline of the forms of worship which are well known and generally practiced in Islam and they are its basic pillars. They show us what a deep relationship is there between religion and morality and how strong and lasting is this relationship.
How varying are these forms of worship in their spirit and appearance from one another, but in those aim and purpose how close they are, which the holy Prophet declared his main objective.
Therefore, salat ( prayer), saum (fasting), zakat, Hajj and other forms of worship like these are the stepping stones for real perfection, and are the means of cleanliness and purity that make life secure and magnificent. On account of high attributes and noble qualities that are the inalienable parts and the consequences of these forms of worship, they have been given a very high and important place in Allah’s religion.
If these forms of worship do not purify the hearts of men, if they do not nourish best qualities in those who observe them, and if they do not improve and make firm the relationship .between Allah and His slaves, then there is nothing left for men but destruction and devastation.
“Surely, he who appears before his Lord as a criminal, there is hell for him, in which he will neither die nor will he live. And he who will appear before Him as a faithful, who has performed good deeds-for all such people there are high positions, ever green paradise,beneath which canals will be flowing; they will live in them for ever. This is the reward for him who adopts purity.” (Taha.. 74-76)
Source : Muhammad Al Ghazali, Muslim Character, Chapter 1