Ibaadah - Worship & Obedience of Allah ﷻ
Direct access to Allah ﷻ
One of the major purpose of Prophet Muhammad’s mission, like all other prophets, was to help humankind establish direct spiritual connection with Allah ﷻ without mediators. What makes Islam unique in regards to its teachings still being intact is that there are no intermediaries in our worship of Allah ﷻ and we can have direct access to Him, meaning that He hears our supplications and prayers directly. Among many of His beautiful divine names mentioned in the Quran are As Samih (All Hearer) and Al Aleem (All Knower) which Muslims often invoke when making duas (invocations, supplications) and they express His Omnipresence. Ali Ibn Abi Talib (alaihi salaam), the first cousin of the Prophet, his son in law and famous companion, once said: “When I wish to speak to my Lord, I make dua (supplicate) and when I wish my Lord speak to me I read the Quran.” This statement of Ali (a.s) brings some clarity to our concept of two-way communication. However, to further understand what Ali (a.s) said is that when he supplicates he does not just ask what he needs, he pleads, praises and thanks His Lord, and expresses his neediness which displays true uboodiyyah (servanthood) and Allah ﷻ loves this as He has mentioned: “Say to them ‘What would my Lord care for you if not for your duas (prayers/supplications/invocations)?’” The whole concept behind our existence is to know Allah ﷻ and invoke Him through prayers and supplications and that is the concept of worship in Islam as the Prophet ﷺ said: “dua (supplication) is the essence of worship.” The Prophet ﷺ did not say salah (5 times prayer) or any other act is essence of worship, he in fact claimed dua to be the essence of worship because our salah is actually nothing but dua, in which we express neediness to Him and praise Him while performing. That is the reason Allah ﷻ has included the seven verses of the first chapter of the Quran called Surah Al Fatiha (The Opening) in our daily five times salah. In total, we recite this surah 17 times a day and the meaning of these words bear witness as to why it is actually a form of dua:
In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy!
Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds,
the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy,
Master of the Day of Judgment.
It is You (alone) we worship; it is You (alone) we ask for help.
Guide us to the straight path:
the path of those You have blessed, those who incur no anger and who have not gone astray.
As Ali (a.s) said “when I wish my Lord speak to me I read the Quran” means since Quran is nothing but the words of Allah ﷻ, therefore what could be better speech when conversing with Allah ﷻ other than His own? It is due to this reason that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “My greatest miracle is the book of Allah." When we spiritually communicate with Allah ﷻ reciting His words, it is through the medium of our minds and hearts that we do so. We use our minds to understand and relate to ourselves what we recite and the heart to spiritually and emotionally attach ourselves with His Being. Even though the Quran was revealed in its first instance to the heart of the beloved Prophet ﷺ yet it speaks to the heart of every Muslim when he or she recites and hears it with concentration towards its meaning. Just as it is said: “And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, you will see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth.” Such is the attitude of the one who speak to Allah ﷻ in His revealed language and this is what Ali (a.s) is referring to. Thus, the two-way communication and personal relationship can be established through the means of two things: continuous duas during salah as well as throughout the day and recitation of the Quran.
 One of the many famous sayings of Hazrat Ali ibn abi Talib quoted by Islamic scholars during lectures.
 Uboodiyah which means servanthood implies our obedience to Allah ﷻ in our hearts and actions.
 Al Quran 25:77
 Jami at-Tirmidhi - Vol. 6, Book 45, Hadith 3371
 Al Quran 1:1-7
 Sahih al-Bukhari 4981
 Al Quran 5:83