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The Foundations of Ibadah
  The Obligation of Ibadah Upon the Creation
Author: Abu Iyad as-Salafi
Source: The Book of Worship
Article ID : IBD010001  

The Creation of Mankind

Ibaadah is the basis and pillar of the Deen (religion) and for it Allaah Azzawajall[1] created Jinn and Mankind. The Exalted said:

{And I have not created Jinn and Men except that they may worship Me}[2]

Allaah has described in detail His signs and miracles to mankind that they may come to recognise and believe in Him and realise that He is their Creator, Maker and Fashioner. Among the greatest of His signs and miracles is the creation of man from a mere sperm drop into a fully grown creature.

{He (Allaah) fashioned both male and female from a drop of fluid that has been ejaculated}[3]

{Verily, it is We who have created man from a drop of mingled liquids(male and female ejaculations}[4]

{Does man think that He is left to Himself to waste his life? Was he not a mere sperm (drop of fluid) out of semen that has been ejaculated? Thereafter he became an Alaqah (into different organs) and then (Allaah) gave its form and shape. And He, out of that semen, made both sexes the male and the female. Is He then not able to bring the dead back to life?}[5]

{We created man from the quintessence of mud. Thereafter, We placed him as a drop of liquid (sperm) in a firm lodging (the womb). Then We fashioned the sperm (Nutfah) into something that clings (Alaqah) which We fashioned into a chewed like lump/flesh (Mudghah). Then We fashioned the chewed like lump/flesh into bones then We clothed the bones with flesh. Then We developed out of it another creature. So Blessed be Allaah, the Best of Creators}[6]

Subjection of the Universe for Mankind

Allaah, the Exalted has created and subjected all that is in the Heavens and the Earth for mankind so that they recognise this great blessing and honour and that this facilitates for them the performance of their obligation towards Him.

{Do you not see that Allaah has subjected to you all that is in the Heavens and the Earth}[7]

{And He has subjected to you all that is in the Heavens and the Earth; it is all as a favour and kindness from Him. Verily, in it are signs for a people who think deeply}[8]

{Allaah is He who has created the heavens and the earth and sends down water (rain) from thesky, and thereby bought forth fruits as provisions for you; and He has made the ships to be of service to you, that they may sail through the seas by His Command; and He has made rivers also to be of service to you. And He has made the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses, to be of service to you; and He has made the night and day, to be of service to you. And He gave you all that you asked for, and if you count the blessings of Allaah, never will you be able to count them}[9]

{And the cattle, He has created them for you; in them their is warmth (warm clothing) and numerous benefits and from them you eat}[10]


Allaah has made marriage and lawful sexual relations the route by which every soul will come into his or her life on this earth for a decided period and the means by which the human race will continue.

[It is He who has created you from clay, and then has decreed a stated term (for you to die)}[11]

{It is He who takes your souls by night (when you are asleep) and has knowledge of all that you have done by day, then he raises (wakes) you up again that a term appointed (your life period) may be fulfilled, then in the end unto Him will be your return. Then He will inform you what you used to do}[12]

The sustenance for every individual (during his lifespan) has been determined and apportioned to make him reach his fixed period (i.e. lifespan). Also, to enable him to perform the obligatory duties imposed upon him.

{And He sent down from the sky water and with it brought out (from the ground) fruits as sustenance/provision for you}[13]

Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood (radiallaahu-anhu) said: The Messenger (sallallaahu-alaihi-wasallam) told us, and he is the truthful, the believed: "Indeed, the creation of one of you is brought together in his mother's womb in forty days as a drop of sperm, then as something which clings for a similar period, then as a chewed lump (of flesh) for a similar period. Then an angel is sent to blow into it the soul. And it (the angel) is commanded to write down four things: his sustenance, his age, his deeds and whether he will be wretched or happy"[14]

The Heart, Eyes and Ears

Among Allaah's blessings are that He has given us the faculties of hearing, seeing and understanding. Allaah the Exalted said:

Say: It is He Who initiated your (creation) and gave you hearing, sight and understanding (a heart), little thanks do you give.[15]

Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) says: "Allaah, the One free from all imperfections, the Exalted, created the heart for man that he may know things by it, just as he has created the eyes that he may see things by them and the ears that he may hear things by them and likewise [He created] all the various limbs for a specific purpose"[16]

The hearts were created to know Allaah, become acquainted with Him, love Him, fear Him, develop a nearness and attachment to Him and become satisfied with Him. Also, to reflect, understand and receive admonition and guidance by the Books and Messengers sent by Allaah Azzawajall.

{Allaah sends down the most excellent of speech, a Book, its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skins and their hearts soften to the Remembrance of Allaah. That is the Guidance of Allaah. He guides therewith whom He pleases and whomever Allaah sends astray, for him there is no guide}[17]

{Indeed there is within that a Remembrance for whoever has a heart and lends an ear while he is a witness}[18]

{Indeed in the Remembrance of Allaah do hearts find satisfaction}[19]

"The ears carry words which contain 'knowledge' to the heart" [20] and therefore have been made the carriers of the knowledge which is contained in sounds/words to the heart. Allaah the Exalted said:

{Indeed there are signs within that for a people who listen}[21]

{Will they then not listen}[22]

{That We might make it a remembrance for you, and the keen ear (person) may (hear) and understand it.}[23]

Likewise, the eyes have been made the carriers of the knowledge which is obtained by sight and observation to the heart. Allaah the Exalted said:

{Have they not observed the things Allaah has created?}[24]

{And We bring forth from it produce from which their cattle and their own selves do eat. Do they then not see}[25]

{And within your own souls, will you not observe?}[26]

{Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the end of those who came before them?}[27]

{The One Who has created the seven heavens one above another, you can see no fault in the creation of the Most Beneficent. Then look again: "Can you see any rifts?" Then look again and yet again, your sight will return to you in state of humiliation worn out}[28]

Knowledge and Reflection

And thus, the heart accesses knowledge by these two routes (sight and hearing) and the heart "is in reality the place of knowledge"[29], reflection and understanding.

{Do they not travel through the earth that they may have hearts with which they understand}[30]

{Do they not carefully reflect over the Qur'aan or are there locks upon their hearts}[31]

{They have hearts with which they do not understand}[32]

The eyes provide the heart with knowledge of Allaah's handiwork, craftsmanship, skill, His signs and wonders to mankind and the deserted ruins of the previous nations. The ears provide the heart with the knowledge of what Allaah has rehearsed to them about Himself (His Names and Attributes) and from among His verses, what He has enjoined upon them, forbidden them, what He has warned them with (Hellfire), what He has promised them with (Paradise), knowledge of the examples He has set forth for mankind and of how He has dealt with the nations gone by.

Once the heart receives this knowledge it reflects and cogitates with it so that the Tawheed of Allaah Azzawajall, His absolute ownership over the Universe, and His right to be worshipped alone becomes apparent to it just like the daylight to the eyes.

Ibn al-Qayyim says: "The signs (handiwork) of Allaah which are observed give testimony to the truthfulness of the Aayaat of Allaah which are heard"[33]. The Exalted says:

{Soon will We show them Our Signs in their own souls and in the furthest horizons until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth}[34]

Meaning that: "We shall show them from Our Aayaat (signs) which they observe, witness (and which they hear about) by the faculties which We have bestowed upon them so that it becomes evident to them that that this Book (and the verses and signs contained therein) which We have revealed to them and which they read and recite is nothing but the manifest truth".

Consequently, the servant of Allaah is made to realise the truth. Also his insignificance, helplessness and the Grandeur and Might of Allaah the Exalted; and therefore his absolute dependance upon Allaah Azzawajall for guidance and assistance in all his affairs till his matter has been decided (i.e. entry into Paradise or Hellfire).


Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) says: "So it is not befitting for Him (Allaah) to leave His servants without a purpose, neglected; without teaching them what will benefit or harm them in their daily lives and in the Hereafter. This would be an injustice to His Ruboobiyyah[35] and ascribing to the Exalted Lord that which does not befit Him".[36]

He also says: "Whoever gives the name Ar-Rahmaan its due right knows that it necessitates the sending of messengers and revealing of books greater than it necessitates sending of the rain, causing the herbage to grow and bringing out the seed (from the ground). (Mankind's) need/dependance upon Allaah's Mercy for that from which life is obtained by the hearts is greater than (mankinds) need/dependance upon Allaah's Mercy for that by which the bodies obtain life".[37]

Allaah has made the Angels, the Books and the Messengers the means by which He informs and reminds His servants of their origins, their purpose and their inevitable end; by which He teaches them that which will benefit them and harm them in both the worlds. Also, to give glad tidings of Paradise to the obedient and grateful and to warn with Hellfire the disobedient and ungrateful.

{He sends down the angels with the Spirit of His command upon whomsoever He wills from amongst His servants, commanding them thus: 'Warn that there is nothing deserving of worship except Me alone therefore fear Me'}[38]

{And We have sent to every nation a Messenger with this command: That you should make your Ibaadah for Allaah alone and avoid (the worship of false gods)}[39]

{And We do not send the Messengers except as givers of glad tidings (of Paradise to the Believers) and warners (of Hellfire to the Disbelievers and Transgressors)}[40]

By them, He made clear to His servants the path of guidance and safety and asked them to follow it and also made clear to them the paths of misguidance and destruction and warned from following them.

{He (Allaah) said: 'Get you all down from here! And if there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows My guidance then He will not go astray and neither will he be wretched. And whosoever turns away from My Remembrance then He will have a narrow, constricted life and We shall raise him on the day of Judgement blind. He will say 'O My Lord! Why have you raised me blind while I had sight before?' He (Allaah) will say: 'Thus My signs came to you yet you forgot them so likewise, on this day will you be forgotten'.} [41]

Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood said: "Allaah's Messenger drew a line for us, then he said, "This is Allaah's way". The he drew lines to its right and left and said "These are the other different ways. Upon each of these ways is a devil calling to it." Then he recited:

{And this is My Straight Path , therefore follow it and do not follow other paths so that they separate you from His path.}[42]"[43]

The Messenger (sallallaahu-alaihi-wasallam) also explained: "I have left you upon clear and evident proof. Its night is like its day, no one deviates from it after me except that he is destroyed"[44]

So Allaah is not one who is unjust and has neglected His creation. Rather, He sent them messengers and books and explained to them in detail the way of life He has ordained for them. As a result, this places the burden of responding to this message upon the whole of mankind. Furthermore, there is no excuse for them for deviating from the Straight Path which Allaah has explained in detail through His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) after having been guided to it.


Allaah has made the heart the master of the body. He also made it the object of knowledge, admonition, guidance and healing.

{O Mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord and a healing for that which is in your breasts - a guidance and a mercy to the Believers}[45]

{And whoever believes in Allaah, He guides his heart}[46]

Just as the heart was created to know Allaah and adore him, the limbs and joints were created to actualise the Ibaadah of Allaah Azzawajall, to prostrate and bow to Him and to help fulfil the obligations men owe to their Maker and those which they owe to each other.

The heart is the king and the limbs are its troops. The limbs follow the heart and are subservient to it. The hearts like, dislike, love, hate, fear, desire, wish and aspire (on account of what they are filled with by means of the eyes and ears and the process of reflection/thought/imagination) and the limbs give effect to that by the performance of actions. Allaah the Exalted says:

{But He will take you to account for what your hearts have earned}[47]

And there occurs in the hadeeth reported by Muslim which clarifies this:"Indeed Allaah does not look at your bodies nor at your appearances but He looks at your hearts and your actions" [48]

As such, the goodness or badness of a believer's conduct depends on his actions; his actions are performed by the limbs Allaah has made for him. His limbs in turn are subservient to his heart which is the controller of his body. The Messenger (sallallaahu-alaihi-wasallam) said: "Indeed, there is a piece of flesh in the body which if it is wholesome and sound the whole body is wholesome and sound and which if it be corrupt the whole body is corrupt. Indeed, it is the heart"[49]

In view of this, the servants's success in the Hereafter depends on the condition of his heart. Allaah the Exalted said:

{The Day on which neither wealth nor sons will benefit. Except he who comes to Allaah with a sound heart}[50]

Allaah revealed to His servants and made obligatory upon them that which would guide, heal and admonish their hearts so that they remain pure, sound and healthy. This is nothing but the Ibaadah of Allaah Azzawajall to which the hearts are naturally inclined. He made clear to them the consequences should they believe in this message and also the consequences should they disbelieve or become ungrateful. He has done this in a manner which is truly exhaustive and full of concern, compassion and care.

{O you who bellieve! Answer Allaah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life and know that Allaah comes in between a person and his heart. And verily to Him shall you all be gathered}[51]

Whoever responds to this call and humbles himself then he will have prospered and will be given an everlasting life of joy and bliss. Allaah has prepared immense rewards for he who comes to Allaah having kept his heart pure (from all false beliefs, doubts, suspicions, lusts and desires) and filled his heart with Eemaan (faith); and on account of that, worshipped Allaah upon Tawheed, in the manner requested by Allaah Azzawajall and as described by His Messenger (sallallaahu-aliahi-wasallam).

As for those who associate partners with Allaah, disbelieve in Allaah and His Messenger, refuse His worship out of arrogance, are neglectful in their worship, or increase in their sins and transgressions to such an extent that their acts of worship become null and void, for them Allaah has prepared a punishment equivalent to their transgression and sin. Like for like.

{Truly, when it was said to them: "Laa ilaaha illallaaha" (none is deserving of Ibaadah in truth except Allaah alone) they puffed themselves up with pride (i.e. denied it)}[52]

{And your Lord said: Call upon me (i.e. believe in My uniqueness and My right to be worshipped and then ask me anything), I will respond to your invocation. Verily! Those who scorn My worship (i.e. do not believe in Me and do not call upon Me) they will surely enter Hell in humiliation}[53]

{And We shall drive the Mujrimoon (Polytheists, sinners, criminals. disbelievers in the worship of Allaah etc.) to Hell, in a thirsty state (like a thirsty herd driven down to water)}[54]

{This day (Day of Resurrection) no soul will be dealt with unjustly and nor will you be requited anything except that which you used to do}[55]

The free will and choice which Allaah has given every person (by means of the faculties of hearing, sight and reflection/thought) justifies their responsibilty and accountability for their actions and also the resulting reward or punishment.

{Verily, We have shown him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful}[56]

{And We have guided Him (i.e. shown him, made clear to him) to the two paths (i.e. the path of righteousness and the path of evil}[57]

{And say: The Truth is from your Lord, so whoever wishes then let him believe and whoever wishes then let him disbelieve} [58]


{Every soul is held in pledge for that which he has earned}[59]


Allaah has decreed death for all of mankind and none of them can escape it. Death is the means by which the fixed term of each soul comes to an end and is returned to its Lord to be judged and subsequently rewarded or punished without the least injustice.

{Wherever you may be Death will overtake you}[60]

{Every soul shall taste Death and then will you be given your recompense on the Day of Judgement. So whoever is saved from the Fire and is made to enter Paradise then he will have succeeded and this Life is nothing but a deceiving entertainment}[61]

Unification of Ibaadah for Allaah the Exalted

As such, whoever reflects and ponders over what has preceded will realise that the whole of creation revolves around nothing but the Ibaadah of its Creator and Sustainer

The unification of Ibaadah for Allaah Azzawajall alone and the avoidance of the Ibaadah of everything that is besides Him is that end for which the Messengers were sent, may the prayers and blessings of Allaah be upon them all. Allaah the Exalted said:

{And We have indeed sent to every Ummah (Nation) a messenger (with this command) that you should worship Allaah (alone) and avoid (the worship of) all false deities}[62]

Furthermore, this aim or objective (unifying all worship for Allaah alone) is the cause of the dispute of the messengers with their respective peoples and due to it mankind has become divided into two parties: a party in Paradise and a party in the Blazing Fire.

As for those who are in the Fire then they are those who deny Allaah Azzawajall absolutely; or acknowledge Allaah's Ruboobiyyah (Lordship) over the universe (meaning that He created, owns and regulates the heavens, the earth and all that is between them by Himself without any partners or helpers) but do not worship Him in His Uloohiyyah[63] by making their Ibaadah exclusively for Him alone or paying part worship to others besides Him. Such was the case of the pagans of Makkah to whom the Messenger (sallallaahu-alaihi-wasallam) was sent. The Exalted says:

{Say: 'Who provides for you from the sky and from the earth? Or who owns hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who disposes the affairs (of this universe)?' They will soon say: 'Allaah'. Say: 'Will you then not be afraid (of Allaah's punishment)?'}[64]

{Say: 'Who is the Lord of the Seven Heavens and the Lord of the Great Throne?' They will soon say: 'Allaah'. Say: 'Will you then not fear Him. Say: 'In whose Hand is the Sovereignty of everything and He protects (all) but against whom there is no protector if you really do have knowledge?'. They will soon say: 'Allaah'. Say: 'How then are you deceived and turn away from the Truth?'}[65]

So they believed in Allaah's Ruboobiyyah, even in some of His Names, but that did not make them Muslims. Rather, Allaah the Exalted called them disbelievers and made their abode the Hellfire, inspite of their affirmation of His Ruboobiyyah.

As for those who are in Paradise then they are those who have affirmed their belief in Allaah, the Exalted and everything that is due to Him from His Names and Attributes, who have believed in His Messengers and have responded to their call by making all their Ibaadah purely for Allaah alone; who travel upon their way, in both belief and action, and who then remain steadfast upon the Truth and strive for its dominance.

{Indeed those who say: "Our Rabb (Lord) is Allaah and thereafter Istaqaamoo (remain steadfast) [i.e. upon his sincere worship and all that it entails], on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve}[66]

So they acknowledge His Ruboobiyyah due to their saying "Our Lord is Allaah" and then they worship Him alone on the path of Istiqaama.[67]

Therefore making all of Ibaadah for Allaah Azzawajall alone is the basis of the Deen of Islaam as the meaning of Laa ilaaha illallaaha is "that there is nothing which has the right to Ibaadah in truth except Allaah alone". This meaning is indeed the straight and firm Deen which most of mankind are heedless of. The Exalted said:

{He has commanded that you do not worship except Him alone. That is the straight upright Deen yet most of mankind do not know}[68]

For this reason it is obligatory for every one who desires entry into Paradise and deliverance from the Fire that he is acquainted with its meaning, conditions, characteristics and perfection.


1 Azzawajall: This term is really two words 'Azza' and 'Jalla'. Azza means strength and power coupled with honour and Jalla means sublime, lofty, exalted and dignified. Both the words together show the absolute Greatness of Allaah and His Magnanimity.
2 [Dhaariyaat 51:56]
3 [Najm 53:45-46]
4 [Insaan 76:2]
5 [Qiyaamah 75:36-40]
6 [Mu'minoon 23:13]
7 [Luqmaan 31:20]
8 [Jaathiyah 45:13]
9 [Ibraheem 14:32-34]
10 [Nahl 16:5]
11 [An'aam 6:2]
12 [An'aam 6:60]
13 [Ibraaheem 14:32]
14 Reported by Bukhaaaree and Muslim from Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood
15 [Mulk 67:23]
16 [Majmoo al Fataawaa 9/307]
17 [Zumar 39:23]
18 [Qaaf 50:33]
19 [Ra'd 13:28]
20 [Majmoo' al-Fataawaa 9/310]
21 [Yoonus 10:67]
22 [Sajdah 32:26]
23 [Haaqah: 69:12]
24 [Nahl 16:48]
25 [Sajdah 32:27]
26 [Dhaariyaat 51:21]
27 [Rum 30:9]
28 [Mulk 67:3-4]
29 [Majmoo al-Fataawaa] (9/313) For an excellent discussion on the nature of the heart, eyes and ears and their role, interdependence and importance in the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, refer to Majmoo al-Fataawaa of Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) (9/310)
30 [Hajj 22:46]
31 [Muhammad 47:24]
32 [A'raaf 7:179]
33 [Al-Fawaaid] of Ibn al-Qayyim p.32
34 [Fussilat 41:53]
35 Ruboobiyyah: A term denoting the absolute sovereignty and kingship of Allaah over the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. The verb 'rabba' (and the noun rabb, translated as Lord) is derived from it, meaning: 'to nurture, to bring to fruition, to create, own and regulate, control and bring together all the elements necessary for the existence and well being of something or somebody'. It has three aspects to it: Khalq (creativity): Allaah by Himself makes everything from nothing; Mulk (possession): Allaah, by Himself owns everything; and Amr (administration): Allaah by Himself, controls, directs everything that He creates and all that He owns. Some of the proofs for these are:

{He (Allaah) has the creation and His is the command/administration. Blessed be Allaah the Rabb of all the worlds} [A'raaf 7:54]

{Allaah is your Rabb. He owns everything and those whom you call upon besides Him do not own even the white stringy-strand on a date-stone (such a minute possession)} [Faatir 35:13]

Some of Allaah's Names are related to His Ruboobiyyah and are more specific than the name ar-Rabb. For example: ar-Razzaaq (the Provider), al-Muhyee (the One Who Gives Life). Likewise their are certain actions which are related to His Ruboobiyyah and are more specific than the name ar-Rabb. For example: sending down the rain, splitting the seed, giving someone honour or lowering someone, guiding and misguiding etc.

36 [Al-Madaarij us-Saalikeen] of Ibn al Qayyim 1/31
37 ibid. 1/32
38 [Nahl 16:2]
39 [Nahl 16:36]
40 [An'aam 6:48]
41 [Taa Haa 20:122-126]
42 [An'aam 6:153]
43 Reported byImaam Ahmad in his [Musnad]
44 Reported by Ahmad and Ibn Maajah - hadeeth hasan
45 [Yoonus 10:69]
46 [Taghaabun 64:11]
47 [Baqarah 2:225]
48 Reported by Imaam Muslim in his Saheeh
49 Reported by Imaam Muslim in his Saheeh
50 [Shu'araa 26:89]
51 [Anfaal 8:24]
52 [Saaffaat 37:35]
53 [Ghaafir 40:60]
54 [Maryam 19:86]
55 [Yaa Seen 36:54]
56 [Dahr 76:3]
57 [Balad 90:10]
58 [Kahf 18:29]
59 [Tur 52:21]
60 [Nisaa 4:78]
61 [Aali Imraan 3:185]
62 [Nahl 16:36]
63 Uloohiyyah: A term denoting that Allaah is the only One to Whom all forms of worship should be directed in truth, whether actions of the heart (feelings), words and statements or actions of the limbs. The word Ilaah is derived from it meaning: Something that is adored, worshipped, turned to i.e. an object of worship, subservience and adoration. There is nothing else besides Him who deserves that, and this is the meaning of the testimony 'Laa ilaaha illallaaha' (There is no Ilaah which is deserving of worship/subservience except Allaah), the truth and certainty of which every messenger came to establish. Allaah Azzawajall says:

{Your Ilaah is but one Ilaah} [Nahl 16:20]

{And He alone is the Ilaah in the Heavens and the Ilaah in the Earth} [Zukhroof 43:84}

{Invoke not, or pray to any Ilaah along with Allaah. There is no Ilaah but He} [Qasas 28:88]

64 [Yoonus 10:31]
65 [Mu'minoon 23:86-89]
66 [Ahqaaf 46:13]
67 Istiqaama: Steadfastness and patience upon the Straight Path or upon good deeds.
68 [Yoosuf 12:40]

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