Worship and its types

The sheikh (Ibn Taymiyyah) - rahimahullah - was asked regarding His the Mighty and Majestic’s words:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اُعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمْ

”O people worship your Lord.” (Al-Baqarah 2:21)

“So what are the worship and its branches? And is all of the religion included in it or not? And what is the reality of Al-’ubudiyyah (the servitude)? And is it the highest of ranks in this world and the hereafter or is there something above it in rank? Please explain what is said regarding this for us.”

So he answered:

All praise is due to the Lord of all the worlds. Al-Ibaadah (worship) is a term which comprises everything that Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) loves and approves of from the apparent and hidden sayings and actions. So 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-Kuffar (the disbelievers) and munafiqun (the hypocrites); beneficence to the neighbor, the orphan, the poor, the wayfarer, and the owned beings whether human or animal; ad-Du'a (supplication); adh-Dhikr (remembrance of Allah); al-Qiraaah (recitation of al-Qur'an); and the like are all part of al-Ibadaah. Likewise, loving Allah (azza wa jall) and His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), apprehension before Allah and returning repentantly to Him, sincerity in the religion 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-Ibadaah due to Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). In fact worshiping Allah (azza wa jall) is the beloved purpose before Him, and which contents Him, it being the reason for which He (subhanahu wa ta'ala) created the creation. As Allah (azza wa jall) said:


وَمَا خَلَقْت الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

"And I created not the Jinns and men except that they should worship Me (Alone)." (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

End Quote. (Majmu’ al-fatawa 10/149)

So there are many types of worship, all of which must be performed for Allah alone, and not for anything besides Him the Almighty. Here we mention some of its types along with their daleel (proof) from the Qur’an:


As-Salah (the prayer), Allah The Exalted said:

وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ

”And perform salah and give zakah.” (Al-Baqarah 2:43)

Allah The Exalted also said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ارْكَعُوا وَاسْجُدُوا

”O you who believe, perform ruku’ and sujud (Al-Hajj 22:77)

So ruku’ and sujud are also types of worship.


Ad-Du’a (the invocation), Allah The Exalted said:

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ

”And your Lord said: Invoke Me and I will answer you.” (Al-Ghafir 40:60)


Adh-Dhabh (slaughtering), Allah The Exalted said:


فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ

”So pray to your Lord and slaughter (for Him).” (Al-Kawthar 108:2)


Al-Khawf (the fear) of Allah, Allah The Exalted said:


إِنَّمَا ذَلِكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوْلِيَاءَهُ فَلا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

” It is only Shaitan that suggests to you the fear of his allies, so fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (true) believers.” (Ali ’Imran 3:175)


At-Tawakkul (putting your trust in), Allah The Exalted said:


وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَتَوَكَّلُوا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

(And put your trust in Allah if you are (true) believers” (Al-Maida 5:23"


So At-tawakkul is a type of worship, and it is the heart putting its trust in Allah, regarding the achievement of what is good and the removal of what is bad.


Al-Istighfar (asking for forgiveness), Allah The Exalted said:


وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ إِنَّ رَبِّي رَحِيمٌ وَدُودٌ

”And ask your Lord for forgiveness and turn unto Him in repentance. Verily, my Lord is Most Merciful, Most Loving.” (Hud 11:90)


Al-Inabah (turning in repentance), Allah The Exalted said:


وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لا تُنْصَرُونَ

”And turn in repentance to your Lord and submit yourselves to Him, before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.” (Az-Zumar 39:54)


Al-Isti’adha (seeking refuge), Allah The Exalted said:


قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ الْفَلَقِ

”Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the daybreak.” (Al-Falaq 113:1)


Al-Jihad (striving) with life and wealth, Allah The Exalted said:


انْفِرُوا خِفَافاً وَثِقَالاً وَجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ

”March forth, whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor), and strive with your wealth and your lives in the Cause of Allāh.” (At-Tawbah 9:41)


And from the types of worship are also: Ar-Raghbah (the wishing), Ar-Rahbah (awe), Al-Istighatha(asking for help), Ash-Shukr (gratitude), Tilawatul-Quran (reciting the Qur’an), Dhikr Allah (remembrance of Allah) and As-Siyam (the fast)… and other than this.


Al-Hukm (judgment) between people with what Allah has revealed, Allah The Exalted said:


وَأَنِ احْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنُوكَ عَنْ بَعْضِ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ

“And so judge (you O Muhammad) between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you away from some of that which Allah has revealed to you.” (Al-Maida 5:49)

Allah The Exalted said:

إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِتَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِمَا أَرَاكَ اللَّهُ

”Surely, We have sent down to you the Book in truth that you may judge between men by that which Allah has shown you.” (An-Nisa 4:105)


At-Tahakum (seeking judgment) from  Allah and His Messenger, Allah The Exalted said:


فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآَخِرِ

”And if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, then refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day.” (An-Nisa 4:59)


Allah The Exalted said:


وَمَا اخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَحُكْمُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ

”And in whatsoever you differ, the hukm (judgment) thereof is with Allah.” (Ash-Shura 42:10)


Allah The Exalted said:


فَلا وَرَبِّكَ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّى يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَرَجاً مِمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيماً

”But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” (An-Nisa 4:65)


At-Ta’ah (obedience) to Allah in what He has allowed and forbidden, and from the examples of this are:

Allah The Exalted said:


فَكُلُوا مِمَّا ذُكِرَ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ بِآياتِهِ مُؤْمِنِينَ

”So eat from that which the Name of Allah has been mentioned upon, if you (truly) believe in His ayat.” (Al-An’am 6:118)


So Allah the Almighty has allowed for us that we eat from the food that we have slaughtered and mentioned Allah’s name upon at the time of slaughtering. So the obedience to Allah in allowing this slaughtered animal is worshipping Allah.

Allah The Exalted said:


إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ بِهِ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ

”Verily, He has forbidden you only the maytatah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allāh.” (Al-Baqarah 2:173)


So considering as forbidden the dead animal, blood, flesh of swine and whatever is slaughtered for other than Allah, is worship.


Allah The Exalted said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنْصَابُ وَالْأَزْلامُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

”O you who believe. Intoxicants, gambling, Al­-Ansab (worshipped stones), and Al­-Azlam(arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitan's handiwork. So avoid that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.”(Al-Maidah 5:90)


So considering these things as forbidden in obedience to Allah is worship. Likewise is the obedience to another legislation than Allah’s Shari’ah also worshipping another legislator than Allah.


At-Ta’ah (obedience) in implementing His Punishments, Allah the Exalted said:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِصَاصُ فِي الْقَتْلَى الْحُرُّ بِالْحُرِّ وَالْعَبْدُ بِالْعَبْدِ وَالْأُنْثَى بِالْأُنْثَى

”O you who believe. Al-Qisas (the Law of Equality in punishment) is prescribed for you in case of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female.” (Al-Baqarah 2:178)


Allah The Exalted said:


وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَأْتُوا بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاءَ فَاجْلِدُوهُمْ ثَمَانِينَ جَلْدَةً

“And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes” (An-Nur 24:4)


Allah The Exalted said:


الزَّانِيَةُ وَالزَّانِي فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا مِائَةَ جَلْدَةٍ وَلا تَأْخُذْكُمْ بِهِمَا رَأْفَةٌ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ

”The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day.” (An-Nur 24:2)


Allah The Exalted said:


وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُوا أَيْدِيَهُمَا

”Cut off the hand of the thief, male or female.” (Al-Maida 5:38)


And the words of the Prophet sallallahu aleyhi wa sallam:

من بَدَّلَ دِينَهُ فَاقْتُلُوهُ

“Kill anyone who changes his religion (from Islam to something else).” (Sahih Bukhari)


And other than this from the types of worship which Allah The All Mighty has legislated in His Book, and in what He has revealed to His Messenger of his Sunnah. And the greatest of what Allah has revealed is Tawheed, and the biggest and worst of what He has forbidden is shirk.


Popular Books (PDF)

ISLAM -The Ultimate Covenant | الداعية الإسلامي / Caller To Islam | رب اغفر لي ولوالدي