Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: The word ‘blessing’ in English carries a number of meanings and connotations, while some of these are considered acceptable in Islam, others are not. We shall try to clarify what I mean by this statement as follows:
If by ‘blessing’ we mean the act of consecrating our words and deeds to God by invoking His name and praise, it is not only acceptable in Islam; it rather constitutes the quintessence of Islam. Islam is essentially surrendering ourselves wholly unto God, the Creator and Lord of all beings, by dedicating everything unto Him. We should remember the words of Abraham as narrated in the Qur’an, “Lo, all my worship, sacrifice, nay, all my life and death are wholly dedicated to God, Lord of the worlds. This is what I am commanded to do, and I am the first of those who submit to God’s will.” (Al-An`am: 162).
This is why a Muslim begins everything in the name of God; he says Bismillah when he begins to eat, or does anything and everything—except of course things that are considered unlawful or sinful—and prays to Allah for His blessings; then, again, he gives thanks to Allah when he accomplishes something: for instance, when he finishes his food he says Al-Hamdulillah. Moreover, he invokes and prays to Allah by using the prescribed prayers or invocations and others to bless each and every occasion or circumstance in his life. The works of Du`aas and Dhikr contain abundant formulas and supplications to bless each and every occasion.
Thus, every single utterance or deed that is begun in the Name of Allah and with the intention of seeking the pleasure of Allah is considered blessed; likewise, each and every matter that is not begun in the Name of Allah is considered disfigured. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Every matter of substance that is not begun in the Name of Allah is disfigured!”
The major difference between Islam and other religions such as Christianity and Hinduism is that Islam rejects the idea of an intermediary in worship. Islam considers God as “closer to us than our own jugular veins” (Qaf: 16) and, as such, each and every human being is perfectly capable of approaching God directly without any intermediary. He/she must, however, do so by invoking His revealed Names, and using the means and methods He has approved or sanctioned.
An earnest Muslim seeks to dedicate his life to Allah by obeying Him in all matters and invoking His mercy and grace thus seeking to convert it into a means of attaining His love and eternal salvation. This is the surest way to invoke Allah’s blessing and grace. As the Prophet told us, Allah says, “I am with My servant as long as he remembers Me.”
Finally, although Islam is deadly opposed to the idea of adopting intermediaries in worship, it does not disapprove of asking those who are more knowledgeable and pious than us or, even any believer for that matter, to pray for us or beseech Allah’s mercy on our behalf.