Pillars of the Correct Ubudiyah
Ibadah centers around three pillars; love, fear and hope. Verily, Ibadah comprises of all these; love with humbleness, fear with hope. Allah says describing His believing slaves, ‘whom He will love and they will love Him.’ [Soorah al-Maida (5):54] and, ‘But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else).’ [Soorah al-Baqarah (2):165] He said describing His Messengers and Prophets, ‘Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us.’ [Soorah al-Ambiya (21): 90]
Some of the Salaf have said, ‘He, who worships Allah with love alone is a Zindeeq (heretic). He, who worships Allah with hope alone, is a Murjee, and he, who worships Him with fear alone, is a Hurooree (meaning from the Khawarij). He, who worships Allah with love, fear and hope, is a Mumin Muwahhid. Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah has mentioned this is his essay, ‘al-Ubodiyah,’ and he also said, ‘Thus, the Deen of Allah is worship, obedience and submission to Him. As for Ibadah, its original meaning also denotes lowliness and submission. One says, ‘a pathway that is mu’abbad,’ i.e. it has become smoothed out because of being treaded upon. However, the Ibadah that has been enjoined (upon us) encompasses the meaning of submission along with the meaning of love. It embodies the utmost degree of submission to Allah through utmost degree of love to Him… One who submits to a person whilst possessing hatred for him is not an aabid (worshipper) of him and if he was to love someone and at the same time does not submit to him, he is likewise not an aabid of him, as is the case of a man who loves his child and friend. Consequently, only one of the two (qualities) is not sufficient as far as the Ibadah of Allah is concerned. Rather, it is necessary that Allah be the most beloved above all else to the abd (the slave) and that he holds Allah to be the greatest of all. Indeed, none other than Allah deserves total love and submission….’ [end quote] [See, Majmoo at-Tawheed an-Najdiyah, p.549]
These are the pillars of al-Ubudiyah. Al-Allamah Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said in Nuniyyah:
‘Worship of Allah is utmost love for Him,
along with the worshipper’s submission,
these are the two axis (Qutban), upon which the orbit of Ibadah revolves.
And it does not revolve until the axis are established,
And that which causes it to turn is the command of the Messenger,
Not desires, soul or Shaytan.’
He (rahimahullah) likened the revolution of worship to be upon love and submission for the beloved, i.e. Allah, to the revolution of a celestial body upon its axis. And he mentioned that the revolution of worship is by the command of the Messenger and what he has ordered, and not desire, and what the soul orders him or the Shaytan, because this is not worship. So, what the Messenger has ordered revolves the orbit of worship, not innovations, desires or blind-following of the forefathers.