Definition of Worship, Its Branches, and it’s Aspects
al-Ubudiyah By Shaykhu’l-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah)
*Definition of Worship, Its Branches, and it’s Aspects*
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise and thanks be to Allah! We praise and thank Him, ask Him for His Help and Forgiveness, and we seek refuge in Allah from the evils of our souls and the mischief of our deeds. He whom Allah guides will not be misled, and he whom Allah misleads will never have a guide. I testify that there is no deity but Allah alone, without any partners, and that Muhammad is His Abd (worshiper/slave) and Messenger. To proceed:
Shaykhu’l-Islam, the famous amongst the famous, protector of as-Sunnah, suppressor of al-Bid’ah (innovation in Din), Ahmad bin Abdu’l-Halim ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) was asked the following about Allah’s (azza wa jall) saying: “Oh mankind! worship your Lord.” (al-Baqarah 2/21) What is al-Ibadaah (the worship)? What are its branches? Is the whole of Din encompassed in it? What is the reality of al-Ubudiyah? And is it the highest attainable position in this world and in the Hereafter or if there is any rank better than it? Please expound upon that.
Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) replied:
al-Ibadaah is a term which comprises everything that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) loves and approves of from the apparent and hidden sayings and deeds. In this context as-Salaat (prayer); az-Zakaat (charity tax); as-Siyaam (fasting); al-Hajj (pilgrimage); truthfulness in speech; trustworthiness; kindness to parents; maintaining kind relationship with relatives; fulfilling pledges; enjoining the good and forbidding the evil; striving against al-Kuffar (the faith rejectors) and munafiqun (the hypocrites); beneficence to the neighbor, the orphan, the poor, the wayfarer, and the owned beings whether human or animal; ad-Du’a (supplication); adh-Dhikr (remembrance of Allah); al-Qiraaah (recitation of al-Qur’an); and the like are all part of al-Ibadaah. Likewise, loving Allah (azza wa jall) and His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), apprehension before Allah and returning repentantly to Him, sincerity in Din for Him, patience with His Ordainment, thankfulness for His Bounties, contentment with His Decree, dependence on Him, hope for His Mercy, fear of His Punishment and the like are also part of al-Ibadaah due to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). In fact worshiping Allah (azza wa jall) is the beloved purpose before Him, and which contents Him, it being the reason for which He (subhanahu wa ta’ala) created the creation. As Allah (azza wa jall) said: “And I created not the Jinns and men except that they should worship Me (Alone).” (adh-Dhariyat 51/56)