Ibaadah - Worship & Obedience of Allah ﷻ
Establishing intimate relationship through worship
Allah ﷻ does not need our worship and that worshiping Him does not benefit Him and in fact benefits us. However, the ultimate reason of worshiping is not benefit; it is to have a relationship. As social animals, humans require relationships to survive within our environment and cannot survive in isolation. Similarly, our existence also requires us to have a spiritual relationship with our Creator, through the medium of our souls, without which our souls, our internal self cannot attain sure peace. This relationship is the most significant one than any other. Perhaps a few words from a dua of Ali ibn Abi Talib (alaihi salaam) would put some light on the essence of worship and our relationship with Allah ﷻ: “Oh Allah ﷻ I worship You not because I greed your paradise, Oh Allah ﷻ I worship You not because I fear your hell fire. I worship You because You are worthy of worship.” The worshiping of Allah ﷻ as a result of realization of His uniqueness and greatness is the actual worship of Allah ﷻ and that is what is implied in the dua of Ali (a.s). Any worship done for the sake of any sort of benefit in this world and the hereafter can never be compared with worship that is done purely for Allah’s sake alone, even though Allah ﷻ knows that the majority worship Him due to some sort of benefit, safety or need in this world or the hereafter. Due to His immense Mercy He still accepts their worship because He who created us knows: “…man is created weak.”
Imagine this, people nowadays get obsessed with creation such as obsession with celebrities because of their unique talent and styles. Some people get obsessed to the point that they dress like them, walk like them, talk like them and even wear what they wear and imitate them them in their obsession. Now imagine an obsession with Allah ﷻ, your Creator. Once you truly realize how great and unique He is then your obsession of Him is what makes you worship Him for His sake and love only. You become His fan and the duniya (world and its temptations) becomes meaningless. It is due to this fact why Quran teaches: “Allah has never put two hearts within one person's body.” Either the one heart that we carry can be turned towards Allah ﷻ or towards duniya; if its focus is only this temporal world then it will always remain deprived of the peace that it is meant to seek. If your heart turns towards Him then you desire to speak to Him through the Quran and prayers, you desire to obey whatever He has informed you to do, you desire to follow the Prophet, who was sent by Him and whose example was the best, you place Him before your wishes and desires and even beofre those that you love the most. If you do all this then He bestows more love on your heart and when He does that then it is a feeling outside of this world. It is this feeling from within that generates the desire to worship and obey Him even more.
This is a sort of a relationship that is purely based on love, not material benefits, the more you desire and love Him, He bestows His love even more than you can imagine, just as the Prophet ﷺ told us that Allah ﷻ informed him: “I am just as My slave thinks I am, and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; …….if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running. And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me is what I have enjoined upon him (obligatory 5 pillars of Islam); and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing nawafil (voluntary actions and worship) till I love him. When I love him I become his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks (something) from Me, I give him, and if he asks My Protection (refuge), I protect him.” Once the bond of love is created between the Lord and His servant then the worshiping and obedience becomes an excuse to meet, a point of meeting someone you are in love with. The realization of emotional attachment becomes strong as expressed in these words from dua (prayer) of Kumayl: “Then suppose, My God, my Master, my Protector and my Lord that I am able to endure Your punishment (of hell fire), How can I endure separation from You? And suppose that I am able to endure the heat of Your fire, how can I endure not gazing upon Your generosity?”
 Al Quran 4:28
 The term duniya is used for temporal world and its attractions. Overindulgence in it causes one to fall in to materialism.
 Al Quran 33:04
 Voluntary acts of worship done in addition to the obligatory acts. These include such making zikr, giving charity and worshiping Allah ﷻ by performing voluntary salah.
 40 Hadith Qudsi - Hadith 25
 Dua e Kumayl – A prayer taught by Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib to one of his companions Kumayl ibn Ziyad. It is said this dua belongs to a mystic mentioned in the Quran named Khidr.