Meaning of al-Ibadah: The basic meaning of al-Ibadah is humility and submission. In the Sharee’ah, it has numerous definitions, but their meaning is one. From them are;
– It is to worship Allah in conformity to what He has ordered upon the tongues of His Messenger.
– It is utmost submission with utmost love for Allah.
– A more general meaning of al-Ibadah is that it is a comprehensive term for everything that Allah loves and is pleased with from speech and actions inwardly and outwardly.
Worship is categorized as worship of the heart, tongue and limbs. Fear, hope, love, reliance, desire, reverence are worships of the heart. Tasbeeh, Tahleel, Takbeer, thanking Him by the tongue and heart are worships of the heart and tongue. Salaat, Zakaat, Hajj are worships of the limbs and heart. There are many other worships of the heart, tongue and limbs.
It is for the purpose of Ibadah that Allah brought into existence all the creation. Allah says, ‘And I (Allah) created not the jinn and humans except they should worship Me (Alone). I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures). Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong.’ [Soorah adh-Dhariyat (51): 56]
Allah informs us (in this verse) that the wisdom behind creating the Jinn and humans is that they establish His worship. However, Allah is not in need of their worship, but they are in need of Him due to their penury before Him, so they (ought to) worship Him in compliance with His Sharee’ah.
So, he, who does not worship Allah is arrogant.
He, who worships Him and others with Him is a Mushrik (one, who associates partners with Allah).
He, who worships Him by other than what He has legislated is a Mubtadi (an innovator).
And He, who worships Him with that which He has legislated is a Mumin (believer) and Muwahhid (one who establishes Tawheed in its correct manner).
Forms of Ibadah and what it Comprises
Ibadah has many forms, and it includes all forms of outward obedience of the tongue and the limbs and inward obedience of the heart, like remembrance of Allah, Tasbeeh, Tahleel, reciting the Qur’aan, Salaat, Zakaat, Siyam, Hajj, commanding the good and forbidding the evil, doing good to the relatives, orphans, poor and travelers. Similarly, love of Allah and His Messenger, fear of Allah and returning to him, sincerity in the Deen, (Sabr) being patient with His Rule and (Radaa) being pleased with His Decree, (Tawakkul) reliance upon Him, (Rajaa) hope in His Mercy, (Khauf) fear from His punishment (are worships of the heart). Thus, Ibadah includes all the actions of a Mumin (believer), if he intends to worship Allah with them or that which aids this purpose, even his habit (qualify to come under worshipping Allah) if he intends to worship Allah with them, like sleep, food, drink, buying and selling, seeking provision and marriage. Thus, all actions if accompanied by a good intention, develop into worship and worship is thus, not limited to the known rituals.
Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter