Worship or ibadah in Islam is the peak of submission to Allah, the connecting step between the creatures and the Creator, and the key to righteousness in dealing among the creatures of Allah.
This comprehensive worship or ibadah includes all the pillars of Islam, i.e., prayer, fasting, charity (zakat), and pilgrimage, as well as the entire shari’ah The logic of Islam requires life to be all worship and obedience. This is the meaning of Allah’s statement:
I have created jinns and Men only that they may serve Me. No sustenance do I require from them, nor do I require that they should feed Me. For God is He who gives (all) sustenance, Lord of Power, steadfast (forever). [Qur’an 51:56-58]
And we have been taught to declare:
Truly, my prayer and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the worlds. [Qur’an 6:163]
The worship of a Muslim should have the following characteristics. It should be:
Worship must be alive, inspired with the love of Allah, and productive of right action (ihsan). The Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah upon him), when asked about (ihsan). said:
It is to worship Allah as though you see Him, and though you see Him not, yet truly He sees you. [Bukhari and Muslim]
Worship must be humble, inspired by both awe of Allah and intimacy of feeling. ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said:
The Messenger of Allah was talking with us and we were talking with him, but when the time for prayer came he seemed not to know us nor we him. [Azdi]
The Prophet (s) said:
Many a (people) get nothing but fatigue from their prayer; and many a (people) get from their fasting nothing but hunger and thirst. [Nasa’i]
Worship should be open to Allah and dedicated to Him, free from concerns about business and the hardships of this world. The Messenger of Allah indicated this by saying:
Allah will not look at the prayer which does not relate the man’s heart with his body. [Musnab Al-Firdausi]
Prayer is directed toward the hereafter; when you start praying, you leave this physical world. Al-Hassan observed: A prayer without one’s heart into it is a fast road to punishment.
Worship should be impassioned, unsatiable and one should never be complacent about it. One should seek ever greater nearness to Allah by personal prayer and by responding to Him as a faithful servant. A qudsi hadith says that Allah told the Prophet (s):
I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me is what I have enjoined upon him. My slave continued to come closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him. So I become the sense of hearing with which he hears, and the sense of sight with which he sees, and the hand with which he grips, and the leg with which he walks. And if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks my protection, I will protect him, I do not do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him. [A hadith qudsi narrated by Bukhari from Abu Hurairah.]
Worship should include supererogatory (nawafil) prayer at night (qiyam al layl). One should discipline oneself to become accustomed to prayer at night because it is the most effective armor of faith for a believer. Allah, the Almighty, has said:
Truly the rising by night is most potent for governing (the soul), and most suitable for (framing) the word (of prayer and praise). [Qur’an 73:6 34]
Allah praises His obedient servants in these words:
They were in the habit of sleeping but little by night, and in the hours of early dawn, they (were found) praying for forgiveness. [Qur’an 51:17-18]
Their limbs do forsake their beds of sleep, the while they call on their Lord, in fear and hope, and they spend (in charity) out of the sustenance that We have bestowed on them. [Qur’an 32:16]
Qur’an-Oriented And Full Of Awe
To nourish one’s worship, one should allocate a certain time to read and think deeply about the Glorious Qur’an, especially at dawn because Allah the Almighty has said:
The prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony. [Qur’an 17:78]
Always bear in mind the following words of Allah concerning His book:
Had we sent down this Qur’an to a mountain, verily, you would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah. [Qur’an 59:21]
Reading the Qur’an in this manner helps one to understand its message soberly, to ponder the awesome future of man, and to lament the melancholy fate of those who ignore the promises of Allah. The messenger of Allah said: "The Qur’an was revealed in all gravity, so when you read it try to be pensive." (Abu Ya’la and Abu Naim).
The Prophet (s) said: "The best worship for my ummah is reading the Qur’an. (narrated by Abu Naim).
Abdullah Ibn Masud related that the Prophet (s) said:
Verily, the Qur’an is the food of Allah, so come closer to it if you are able. Verily, the Qur’an is the rope of Allah, bright light, good medicine, and a guide for those who hold on to it. When he strays, the Qur’an will remind him of the path; and when he is misguided, the Qur’an will correct him. Its miracle lasts forever, and will not be reduced by rejection. Read the Qur’an. Allah will reward each word of your reading tenfold; and W, ‘U, ‘M’ is not one word, but three . [Narrated by al-Hakim]
In his advice to Abu Dharr the Prophet (s) told him:
Recite the Qur’an because this will cast light on the earth from the heavens? [Narrated by Ibn Haban]
Whoever declares lawful what [in the Qur’an] is prohibited denies the Qur’an. (Tirmidhi).
Constant In Supplication
Supplication forms the steps to Allah throughout one’s life because supplication in every detail of life is the essence of worship. One should use the supplications of the Prophet (s) when appropriate. Allah the Almighty has said: "Call upon Me, and I will respond to you." [Qur’an 40:60] The following are 21 commonly used and illustrative supplications of the Prophet Muhammad (s):
1) When Getting Up
All praise be to Allah who has given us life after death and unto Him is the resurrection. (Bukhari)
2) When Going to Bed
In Your name my Lord, O my Lord, I lie down, and in Your name I will get up. If you should take my soul, forgive me my sins, and if you should let me live another day, protect me as You protect Your righteous servants. [Recorded by Bukhari, Muslim Abu Da’ud, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and Ibn Majah]
3) When Getting Dressed and Undressed
O Allah! Grant me the good of getting dressed (or undressed) and the good for which these clothes were made; and I seek refuge in You from any evil in dressing (undressing) and from the evil of ill intent.
4) When Entering the Bathroom
O Allah! I seek refuge in You from bad and evil things. (Bukhari, Muslim)
5) When Leaving the Bathroom
I seek Your forgiveness (O Allah!). (Abu Da’ud)
6) Before Meals
O Allah! Bless what You have bestowed upon us, and protect us from the punishment of Hell fire. In the name of Allah.
7) After Meals
Praise be to Allah who has fed us, provided us drink, and made us Muslims. [Abu Da’ud, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah]
8) When Leaving or Entering a House
In the name of Allah, I have put my trust in Allah, there is neither might nor power but in Allah. [Abu Da’ud, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i]
9) When Going to the Mosque
O Allah! Place light in my heart, light in my sight, light in my hearing, light to my right, light to my left, light above me, light under me, light in front of me, light behind me, and grant me light. (Bukhari).
10) While Entering the Mosque
O Allah! Open for me the doors of Your mercy. [Muslim, Abu Da’ud, al-Nasa’i]
11) While Leaving the Mosque
O Allah, I beg of You Your Grace. [Muslim, Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i]
12) After Daily Prayer (Salah)
If anyone extols Allah after every (regular daily) prayer thirty three times (or say subhanallah) and praises Allah thirty three times (or say alhamdulitiah) and declares His greatness thirty three times (or say Allahu akbar), and says, to complete a hundred,---Noone has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone, Who has no partner; to Him belongs all sovereignty, and to him is due all praise; and He has power over all things," his sins will be forgiven even if these are as abundant as the foam of the sea. (Muslim).
13) On Leaving a Meeting
Glory be to You, O Allah: all praise is due to You: I bear witness that there is no deity but You. I beg your forgiveness and repent to You. (Abu Da’ud, al-Hakim).
14) When Setting Out on a Trip
O Allah! We seek righteousness and piety from You in this journey of ours and deeds that please You. O Allah! Facilitate this journey of ours, and make it easy on us. O Allah! You are our companion during this journey and guardian of our family. O Allah! I seek refuge with You from any hardships of this journey, from evil sights, and from any harm to my property, home, and children. [Muslim, Ahmad, narrated by ‘Ali, Ibn ‘Umar.]
15) When One Can Not Sleep
O Allah! The stars come; my eyes become quiet.
16) When Overwhelmed by a Problem or Sadness
Allah suffices us and He is the best guardian. (Abu Da’ud)
17) When Congratulating Newlyweds
May Allah Bless yours [your spouse], and you, and join you in a happy union. (Bukhari, Muslim).
18) Before Sexual Intercourse with One’s Wife
In the name of Allah. O Allah! Protect us from Satan and prevent Satan from approaching the child you may bestow on us. (Bukhari).
19) When Visiting the Sick
O Allah! Remove his (or her) suffering, O Lord of mankind. Grant healing for You are the Healer. There is no cure but from You. Restore his (or her) health with no trace of illness. (Bukhari).
20) When Offering Condolences
What Allah has taken belongs to Him and to Him belongs what He has given. With Him everything has a limited term (in this world), so be patient and seek reward from Allah. (Bukhari).
21) For the Dead in a Funeral Prayer
O Allah Forgive him (or her), have mercy upon him, give him peace, and absolve him. Receive him with honor and make his grave spacious. Wash him with water, snow and hail. Cleanse him from faults as you would cleanse a white garment from impurity. And give him an abode, in exchange, more excellent than his home (in this world), and a family better than his family, and a wife better than his wife. Admit him to Paradise, and protect him from the torment of the grave and the torment of the fire. (Bukhari).