Misunderstandings in defining al-Ibadah
Ibadah is Tawqeefiyah meaning nothing can be legislated concerning it except with a proof from the Book and the Sunnah. Any act which is not legislated by Allah is considered a rejected innovation as the Messenger of Allah said, "Whoever performs an action that is not ordered by us is rejected." [Agreed upon] meaning the action is rejected and not accepted. Moreover, it is recorded as a sin because it is disobedience.
The correct Manhaj (manner) of performing the legislated worship is moderation between being easy and harsh and between laziness and extremism. Allah says to His Messenger, "So stand you firm and straight as you are commanded and those (your companions) who turn in repentance (unto Allah) with you, and transgress not (Allah's legal limits)." [Surah Hud (11): 112]
In this noble verse, the correct Manhaj to perform worship has been mentioned, which is to adhere to moderation without negligence or extremism – and according to the legislation, ‘as you are commanded.'
Allah reinforced the above with His Saying, "and transgress not (Allah's legal limits)." Transgression is to go beyond bounds due to harshness and stubbornness and this is exaggeration.
Three Companions of Allah's Messenger considered their deeds insignificant, one of them said, 'I will fast and not break my fast.' And another said, 'I will pray and not sleep.' And the third said, 'I will not marry women.' The Prophet said, 'As for me then I fast and break my fast and I marry women so whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not from me.' [Agreed upon]
Two misguided groups regarding the issue of Ibadah
The first group fell short in their understanding of Ibadah and became lenient in performing it until they cancelled out many forms of worship, and reduced the meaning of worship to certain actions and some rituals that are performed in the mosques. According to them worship does not extend over the house, office, workshop, streets, neither in their dealings, politics, in seeking judgment to their dispute, nor in any other aspect of life.
Yes, the mosque has a virtue, and it is obligatory to perform five daily prayers in it, but worship envelopes all aspects of a Muslim's life - inside the mosque and outside it.
The second group overstressed in implementing worship to the extent of exaggeration; they raised the Mustahabb (recommended) actions to the level of Wajib (obligatory), and prohibited some Mubah (permissible actions), and declared deviant and mistaken those people, who disagreed with their Manhaj (way) and proved their understanding to be incorrect.
And the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad and the worst of affairs are the newly invented matters.
Pillars of the Correct Worship
Worship centers around three pillars:
Worship comprises all of these; love with humbleness, and fear with hope. Allah says describing His believing slaves, "whom He will love and they will love Him." [Surah Al-Maida (5): 54] and, “those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else)." [Surah 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." [Surah Al-Anbiya’ (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.
- He who worships Allah with fear alone is a Hurooree (from the Khawarij)
- He who worships Allah with love, fear and hope is a Mu’min Muwahhid (believer).
Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah has mentioned this is his essay, ‘al- Ubodiyah and he also writes,
"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. It is necessary that Allah be the most beloved - above all else - to the abd (the slave) and he should hold 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]
Allamah Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) writes in Nuniyyah:
"Worship of Allah is utmost love for Him, along with the worshipper's submission; these are the two axis upon which the orbit of Ibadah revolves. 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.”
Allamah Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) likened the revolution of worship upon love and submission for the beloved (i.e. Allah) - to the revolution of a celestial body upon its axis. He mentioned that the revolution of worship is by the command of the Messenger and what he has ordered - not desire or what the soul or the Shaytan orders him because such would not be worship. So the orders of the Messenger revolve the orbit of worship - not innovations, desires or blind- following of the forefathers." [end quote from Aqeedah at-Tawheed]
Please write: COMMENT in this box to verify that you are human