The foundation of worship is humility and submission. In the deen it has many definitions, but their meaning is the same.
1. Worship is submission to Allah with utmost humility and love of Him.
2. Worship is obedience to Allah by complying to that which Allah has commanded upon the tongues of His Messengers.
3. A more general definition is a comprehensive term for everything that Allah loves and is pleased with from speech and actions, outwardly and inwardly.
Worship is divided into that of the heart, the tongue and the limbs. Fear, hope, love, trust, desire and awe are from the worship of the heart. Tashbeeh, tahleel, takbeer, praising and thanking by the tongue and the heart are from the worship of the tongue and the heart. Salaah, zakaah, hajj etc forms the worship of the body and the heart. The other aspects of worship which
Emanate from the heart, tongue and limbs are many.
Worship is the reason for which Allah has created the creation. The Most High, said: “And I created the jinns and humans only to worship Me (alone). I do not seek any provision from them nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Verily, Allah is the Provider of all, All-Power, the Most Strong.” [adh-Dhariyaat (51):56-58]
Allah has informed us that the wisdom behind creating the jinn and mankind is their establishment of the worship of Allah and He is not in need of their worship rather they are the ones who need it due to their poverty in front of Allah. So they worship Him in accordance with His shari‘ah. And whoever worships Him alone by that which he legislated is a believer, a muwahhid.
Worship has many different forms and includes all types of obedience outwardly upon the tongue and the limbs emanating from the heart. So dhikr, tasbeeh, tahleel, recitation of the Qur’aan, salaah, zakaah, fasting , hajj, enjoining good and forbidding evil, being good to the relatives, orphans, the poor and the wayfarer. Similarly, love of Allah and His Messenger (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam), fear of Allah and turning towards Him and making the deen sincerely for Him, patience with His rule and being pleased with His decree, trusting in Him, having hope in His mercy and fearing His punishment. So it includes all aspects of a believers life, if he intends by his worship nearness to Allah or that which aids this, even the habits such that he intends by them worship, fear of Allah upon obedience to Him such as sleep, drinking, selling, buying, seeking provision and marriage, then all these habits along with the correct intention become worship for which he is rewarded. Worship is not restricted to the well-known practices only
Worship is tawqeefiyyah, meaning it is legislated with proofs from the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Whatever has not been legislated is regarded as a rejected innovatio n, as the Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever does a deed that has not been ordered by us will have it rejected.” (Reported by Bukhaari and Muslim).
The sound manhaj in fulfilling the acts of worship is a balance between being easy and lazy and between harshness and extremism. Allah, the Most High, said to His Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam): “So stand firm and straight as you are commanded with those (your companions) who turn in repentance with you, and do not transgress.” [Hud (11):112]
So this noble ayath contains the guidelines for the sound manhaj in performing the deeds of worship . And it occurs by having istiqaamah (steadfastness) in carrying them out in a moderate way, without negligence or exaggeration.
When the Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) found out what three of his Companions, who considered their deeds insignificant, such that one of them said: “I will fast and not break my fast.” and another said: “I will pray and not sleep.” and the third said: “I will not marry women.” The Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) said: “As for me then I fast and break my fast and I marry women, so whoever turns away from my Sunnahis not from me.” (Reported by Bukhaari and Muslim).
Worship is centred on three pillars: love, fear and hope.
So love occurs along with humility and fear occurs along with hope. It is necessary for worship to combine all these three matters. He, the Most High, says in describing His slaves, the believers: “A people whom He will love and they will love Him.” [al-Maa‘idah (5):54]
And He said describing His messengers and prophets: “Verily, they used to hasten to do good deeds, and they used to call upon Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us.” [al-Anbiyaa (21):90]
Whoever worships Allah with love, fear and hope is a believer and a muwahhid.” This was mentioned by Sheikh ul-Islaam in Risaalah Ubudiyyah (The Essay on Servitude), where he also said: “So the deen of Allah is worship of Him, with obedience and submission to Him. The original meaning of worship denotes submission.
It is necessary that the slave loves Allah more than anything else and that he regards Allah to be more Supreme than anything else. In fact no one except Allah deserves total love and submission.” (Majmoo’at ut-Tawheed an- Najdiyyah page 549)
These are the pillars of worship upon which it is centres. ‘Allaamah Ibnul Qayyyim said in Nuniyyah:
“The worship of the Rahmaan is utmost love of Him, Along with the submission of His worshipper. These are the two axes (qutbaan), And upon them the circuit of worship revolves.
And it does not turn until the establishment of qutbaan, And that which causes it to turn is the command of the messenger, And not by the desires, the soul or shaytaa n”