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This 'Ibaadah is related to the attribution of the sole deity to Allah Ta'aala. That is why the theme of At Tawheed is: "Laa Ilaaha llla Allah," i.e. "There is none worthy of being worshiped but Allah." This stands in contrast to those who admit to Allah's Lordship but do not worship Him (SWT) or they worship some other deities along side Him (AWJ). In fact, the Ilaah (deity) is that which is deified by the heart with perfect love and glorification, with exaltations and respectfulness, with fear and hope, and the like. This kind of Al-'Ibaadah is what Allah likes and approves of, and by which He described His chosen 'Ibaad, and with which He sent His Messengers.
As for the other meaning of Al-'Abd, the subdued, regardless whether one admits that (status) or denies it, it is a meaning which refers to both the believer and the non-believer.
By differentiating between these two types (of 'Abd) we can recognize the difference between the religious realities, on the one hand, and the universal realities on the other. The religious realities are embodied within Al-'Ibaadah due to Allah (SWT), His Deen, and His legislated Command - the realities which are beloved and approved by Him, and whose people He (Allah) grants His Allegiance to and favors them with His Jannah (Paradise). The universal realities are those in which the believer and non-believer, the upright and impudent are common.
And whoever is satisfied with the universal realities but does not follow the religious realities, he would be amongst the followers of the cursed Iblees and the rejectors of the Lord of the Worlds. And anyone who is satisfied with them (the religious realities) in certain matters but not in others, or in a certain situation but not in another, or in a certain circumstance but not in another, his Eemaan and his allegiance to Allah (SWT) will diminish as much as the religious realities have been diminished. This is a serious situation in which many erring persons were mistaken, and there were so many confused seekers (of the truth) that even amongst the great Sheikhs who claim the realization (of the truth), the Tawheed, and the knowledge, there was an enormous number who slipped due to it. No one can count their number except Allah (SWT) Who knows the concealed and revealed matter.