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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 mischiefs 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) and Messenger.(1) To proceed,
Sheikh Al-Islaam, the famous amongst the famous, protector of As-Sunnah, suppressor of Al-Bid'ah (innovation in Ad-Deen), Ahmad bin Abd Al-Haleem bin Taymiyah (RA) was asked the following about Allah's (AWJ) saying,
"Oh mankind! worship your Lord." [Al-Baqarah:21]
What is Al-'Ibaadah (the worship)? What are its branches? Is the whole of Ad-Deen encompassed in it? What is the reality of Al-'Uboodiyah? 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 Taymiyah (RA) replied,
Al-'Ibaadah is a term which comprises everything that Allah (SWT) 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-Kuffaar (the faith rejectors) and the hypocrites; beneficience to the neighbor, the orphan, the poor, the wayfarer, and the owned beings whether human or animal; Ad-Du'aa (supplication); Adth-Dthikr (remembrance of Allah); Al-Qiraa-ah (recitation of Al-Quraan); and the like are all part of Al-'Ibaadah.
Likewise, loving Allah (AWJ) and His Messenger (SAAWS), apprehension before Allah and returning repentantly to Him, sincerity in Ad-Deen 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-'Ibaadah due to Allah (SWT).
In fact worshiping Allah (AWJ) is the beloved purpose before Him, and which contents Him, it being the reason for which He (SWT) created the creation. As Allah (AWJ) said,
"And I created not the Jinns and men except that they should worship Me (Alone)." [Adth-Dthaariyaat:56]