Worship God Alone – Part Two
It is a very clear and straightforward bargain, establishing mutual rights: God’s right to be worshiped alone, without any claim assigning partners to Him, whether in people’s minds or actions; and people’s right to suffer any punishment. This means that when people truly believe in God’s oneness and worship Him alone, they spare themselves punishment in the Hereafter. This is a great prize, which all people should try to achieve. The way is facilitated for them by this outline the Prophet, peace be upon him, gives them.
But what does this actually mean in practice? Is it sufficient that people recognize God’s oneness? The Prophet’s statement is precise. It gives two qualities as owing to God: worshiping Him and believing in His oneness. This statement does not stop at mere intellectual and theoretical ideas. The recognition of God’s oneness has a practical manifestation in worship. Proper worship is offered in the manner satisfactory to God, which He has made clear to us through His messenger. His oneness means that we allow no trace of associating partners with Him, in worship, legislation or daily actions. It requires an acknowledgment of His sovereignty over both the universe and human life.
An authentic Hadith, on a different topic mentions that the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to visit Umm Haram bint Milhan, who was an aunt of the Prophet, peace be upon him, through breast-feeding. “On one of his visits, she gave him a meal and then she stroked his head and he relaxed and slept. A short while later, he woke up smiling. She asked him the reason for his smile, and he said: ‘I was shown in my dream a group of my community Traveling by sea, looking like kings on their couches.’ She said, ‘Messenger of God, pray God to make me one of them.’ He said, ‘You are one of them.’ He then dozed off again, and woke up smiling. Again she asked him why he was smiling, and he said the same thing. Once more, she said, ‘Pray God to make me one of them.’ The Prophet, peace be upon him, said to her, ‘You are in the first group.’ She was subsequently married to Ubada ibn Al-Samit who joined an expedition by sea and he took her with him. On the way back, as she was about to ride a mule, she fell off, broke her neck and died.” [Related by all six, Malik and Ahmad]
This is a highly authentic Hadith from which we may deduce several rulings, such as the desirability of visiting a woman related by breast-feeding and treating her as one would treat a blood relation of similar rank. Umm Haram was an aunt of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and as such she was unlawful for him to marry. Hence, he visited her, ate at her place and slept. She stroked his head to make him relax, and waited upon him. She asked him why he was smiling, as would any close relative.
We also find in this Hadith a basis for women going out with a Muslim army to fight or to give support, even though the expedition requires a highly unusual effort. For the Arabs in Madinah, Traveling by sea was felt to be a very hazardous task, because they lived in a city in the midst of a vast desert, far off any coastal area. When the woman felt that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was very pleased with those who would be undertaking such a task, she requested him to pray that she would be among them. He did so, assuring her that she would be one of them. When she repeats the request after the second nap the Prophet, peace be upon him, had with the same dream, he told her that she would be with the first group.
What the Prophet, peace be upon him, said to her came true. She traveled with her husband, whom she married after this particular incident. Their expedition was by sea during the reign of the third Caliph, Osman ibn Affan. The commander of that expedition was none other than Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufian, a companion of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who was later to become the fifth Caliph.