The Meaning of Worship

The statement of Allah – the Most High:

“I did not create the Jinn, nor mankind, except to worship Me.”
(Al-Qur’an 51:56)

Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) -rahimahullah – said:

“Worship (Al-‘Ibadah) is obedience to Allah by following that which He ordered upon the tongues of His Messengers.”

He also said:

“Worship (Al-‘Ibadah) is a comprehensive term covering everything that Allah loves and is pleased with – whether saying, or actions, outward and inward.”
[Majmu’ al-Fatawa (10/149)]

Ibn Al-Qayyim (d. 751H) – rahimahullah – said:

“Worship revolves around fifteen principles. Whosoever completes them has completed the stages of ‘ubudiyyah (servitude to Allah). The explanation of this is that ‘ibadah is divided between the heart, the tongue, and the limbs. And that for each one of these three come five types of rulings, covering all actions:
wajib (obligatory), mustahabb (recommended), haram (prohibited), makruh (disliked), and mubah (permissible).”
[Madarijus-Salikin (1/109)]