بسم اللّه الرحمن الرحيم

Al-Ibaadah [Worship]: ”It is a comprehensive term for everything which Allaah loves and is pleased with from among the statements and the inward and outward actions.” This is the best of what has been stated regarding the definition of worship.

Worship has a great importance and that is because Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] created the Khalq [Mankind and Jinn], sent the Messengers and revealed the Books in order to command them to worship Him and forbid them from worshiping others besides Him.

Allaah [Glorified Be He] said:

[وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ ]

”And I (Allah) created not the Jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).” Meaning: Allaah created them in order to command them to worship Him (alone) and forbid them from disobeying Him.

Allaah [Glorified Be He] said:

[وَلَقَدۡ بَعَثۡنَا فِى ڪُلِّ أُمَّةٍ۬ رَّسُولاً أَنِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱجۡتَنِبُواْ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتَ‌ۖ]

”And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship   Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah).” [16:36]

Allaah [Glorified Be He] said:

[وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِىٓ إِلَيۡهِ أَنَّهُ ۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۟ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ]

”And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We inspired him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana [none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah)], so worship Me (Alone and none else).” [21:25]

The Ibaadaat(acts of worship) are many types and from them are: Fear; Hope and longing; Trust and Reliance; Fervent Desire; Dread; Turning repentantly to (Allaah); Appealing for aid and assistance; Seeking deliverance and rescue; Sacrificing; Vows and other than that from the various types of worship.

And from the Ibaadaat (acts of worship) are the five pillars of Islam which are gathered in the well-known hadeeth of Jibreel, when he asked the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] about Islaam, so he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] replied:

  أَنْ تَشْهَدَ أَنْ لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ، وَتُقِيمَ الصَّلَاةَ، وَتُؤْتِيَ الزَّكَاةَ، وَتَصُومَ رَمَضَانَ، وَتَحُجَّ الْبَيْتَ إنْ اسْتَطَعْت إلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا.

“(Islam) is that you should testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah; and that you should perform the Salah; pay the Zakah; fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (i.e. the Ka’bah at Makkah) if you can find a way to it.” [Saheeh Muslim. Kitaab Al-Imaan. Number 8]

It has also been transmitted in the hadeeth of Abdullaah Ibn Umar [radiyallaahu-anhumaa] that the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said:

 بُنِيَ الْإِسْلَامُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ: شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ، وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ، وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَحَجِّ الْبَيْتِ، وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ

”Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the Salah (prayer), paying the zakat (obligatory charity), making the hajj (pilgrimage) to the House, and fasting in Ramadhan.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaari. Kitaab Al-Imaan. Hadeeth 8] [Saheeh Muslim Hadeeth 19]

Furthermore, two conditions must be fulfilled in order for an act of worship to be accepted; the first of the two conditions is that the act of worship must be done sincerely for Allaah, and secondly the act of worship must be in agreement with the Sunnah of the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam].  The act of worship has to be done sincerely for the sake of Allaah (alone) and others are not to be associated as partners with Allaah in worship. (Likewise) the act of worship must be done in conformity with what the Messenger came with. This is what the Shahaadah (لا إله إلا الله محمدا رسول الله) necessitates; because (لا إله إلا الله) necessitates that acts of worship must be carried out sincerely for the sake of Allaah alone. And (محمدا رسول الله) necessitates that acts of worship must be carried out in conformity with what was revealed to the noble Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam). Therefore, Allaah is not worshipped with bidah, newly invented matters in Religion and evil acts, for which Allaah (The Most High) has sent down no authority; rather acts of worship must be in conformity with the Sunnah of the noble Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam).

If any of these two conditions or both of them are not fulfilled, then indeed the act of worship will be rejected by Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic). Allaah (The Most High) stated about deeds being rejected due to the absence of sincerity:

[وَقَدِمۡنَآ إِلَىٰ مَا عَمِلُواْ مِنۡ عَمَلٍ۬ فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُ هَبَآءً۬ مَّنثُورً ]

”And We shall turn to whatever deeds they (disbelievers, polytheists) did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust.” [Soorah Al-Furqaan. Ayah 23]

And the noble Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) stated about deeds being rejected if they are based on bidah:

[مَنْ أَحْدَثَ فِي أَمْرِنَا هَذَا مَا لَيْسَ مِنْهُ فَهُوَ رَدٌ]

”He who innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not of it will have it rejected [by Allah].” [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 2697] [Saheeh Muslim. Number 1718]

And in another wording of this hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim the Prophet said:[مَنْ عَمِلَ عَمَلًا لَيْسَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرُنَا فَهُوَ رَد ]

”He who does an act (of worship) which we have not commanded (i.e. not commanded by the Prophet), will have it rejected.”

And he (alayhis salaatu was-salaam) said:

 فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ يَعِشْ مِنْكُمْ فَسَيَرَى اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا، فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِسُنَّتِي وَسُنَّةِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ الْمَهْدِيينَ، عَضُّوا عَلَيْهَا بِالنَّوَاجِذِ، وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَمُحْدَثَاتِ الْأُمُورِ؛ فَإِنَّ كُلَّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلَالَةٌ

Verily he lives long among you will see a lot of differing, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Khulafaa ar-Rashideen (the rightly guided caliphs). Adhere to it with your molar teeth (i.e. adhere to it firmly). And beware of newly invented matters [in the religion], for every newly invented matter [in the religion] is a bidah (innovation in the religion), and every bidah is misguidance.” [Abu Dawood. Number 4607] [Tirmidhee. Number 2676]

(Also) the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) has clarified in the hadeeth about the seventy three sects amongst whom seventy-two sects will enter the hell fire and one sect will be saved.  He clarified that this saved sect are those who adhere to the path him and his noble companions adhered to. 

Imaam Maalik [rahimahullaah] said: “The latter part of this Ummah (i.e. those who will come after the Salaf) will not be rectified except by way of that which rectified it’s earlier part (i.e. the Salaf).’’ And he [rahimahullaah) said: ‘’Whoever innovates a bidah in Islaam and considers it to be something good, then indeed he has claimed that Muhammad betrayed the Risaalah (i.e. the message he was entrusted with); because Allaah said: ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ -”This day, I have perfected your religion for you.” Therefore, what was not part of the religion at that time (i.e. during the time of the Messenger) cannot be part of the religion today (i.e. after his departure from this world).” [Al-Itisaam of Imaam Shaatibee 1/28]

It is not enough for a person to say: “I am going to do this act of worship even though it was not (performed by) the Prophet because my intention is pure and good.” The evidence (against this statement) is that when it reached the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) that a man amongst his noble companions slaughtered the Eed sacrifice before the Eed Salaah, he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said to him: شَاتُكَ شَاةُ لَحْمٍ- “Your (slaughtered sheep was just mutton (not a sacrifice).” [Saheeh Bukhaari. Number: 5556]; meaning: It is not considered Eed sacrifice because it was not carried out in conformity with my Sunnah. Therefore, what is in conformity with the Sunnah is that the Eed sacrifice is done after the Eed Salaah; but as for sacrificing before the Salaah, then indeed it is outside its specified time and will not be regarded as (Eed sacrifice).

Al-Haafidh said in Fat-hul Baaree (10/17): “Shaikh Abu Muhammad Bin Abu Hamzah said: In this hadeeth is (established the fact that) if an action (i.e. an act of worship) is done with a sincere intention, it is still not (considered) righteous unless it is in conformity with the legislated divine revelation.

Also that which will shed more light on this affair is when Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood came to a people who had gathered in the Masjid, and each of them had a number of stones/pebbles; and there was one man amongst them saying: ‘Say ‘Subhaanallaah’ a hundred times; say ‘Laa-ilaaha Ilal laah’ a hundred times; say ‘Allaahu Akbar’ a hundred times. So they repeated.

Then Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood approached them and said: “What is this that you are doing?” They said: “O Abu Abdurrahman! These are pebbles to count the number of times we say Allahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha Illal laah and Subhaanallaah.” He said: “Count your sins and I assure you that you are not going to lose anything of your hasanaat. O Ummah of Muhammad, how quick is your destruction! These are the Companions of your Prophet present in great numbers; these are his clothes not worn out yet, and his pots are not broken yet. I swear by the One (i.e. Allaah) in Whose Hands my soul is, either you are following a religion that is better than the Religion of Muhammad or you are opening a door of misguidance.” They said: “O Abu Abdurrahman! We swear by Allaaah that we intend nothing other than good.’’ He said: How many people want good but never reach it! [Sunan Ad-Daarimee 1/68-69] [Also recorded by Imaam Albaanee in As-silsilah As-Saheehah. Number 2005]

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[Abridged and slightly paraphrased. Source: أثر العبادات في حياة المسلم- page:4-11]

 To be continued…In-Shaa-Allaah