The Two Fundamental Aspects of Worship

Shaikh Ṣāliḥ Al-Fawzān, may Allāh protect him, said:

The worship of Allāh, Almighty and Majestic, contains within it two fundamental meanings: utmost submissiveness along with utmost love. It is not submissiveness alone, without love, nor love alone, without submissiveness. So if someone were to be submissive to something without loving it, he would not be a worshiper of it. Thus, the definition of worship in a general sense is that it is utmost submissiveness along with utmost love.

A person [might be] submissive to tyrants and ṭawāghīt,¹ but he doesn’t love them, so it’s not said [about this]: this is worship. Similarly, a person loves his wife, and he loves his children, but he is not subjugated to them, so it’s not said: he has worshiped them.

So worship is that which has combined within it: utmost submissiveness along with utmost love.

¹pl. of ṭāghūt, a great transgressor; one who wants or is pleased with others worshiping him, claims knowledge of the unseen, or rules by other than Islamic law, considering that to be better, or at least equally good, for people; the head of all ṭawāghīt is Iblīs [Satan] (tr.)

Sharḥ Risālah Al-ʿUbūdiyyah, p. 26.