Four Principles of Worship – Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Al-Ibaanah Magazine Issue No.3
Dhul-Qa’dah 1416H / April 1996

“(The Âyah): “You alone do we worship.” [Sûrah al-Fâtihah 1:5] is built upon four principles:- Ascertaining what Allâh and His Messenger love and are pleased with, from [i] the sayings of the heart and [ii] of the tongue; and [iii] the actions of the heart and [iv] of the limbs.

So al-’ubûdiyyah (servitude and slavery to Allâh) is a comprehensive term for all these for stages. The one who actualises them has indeed actualised: “You alone do we worship.”

The saying of the heart: It is i’tiqâd (belief) in what Allâh – the Most Perfect – informed about His Self; concerning His Names, His Attributes, His Actions, His Angels, and all that He sent upon the tongue of His Messenger sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam.

The saying of the tongue: It is to inform and convey (what Allâh has revealed), to call to it, defend it, to explain the false innovations which oppose it, to establish its remembrance and to convey what it orders.

The action of the heart: Such as love for Him, reliance upon Him, repenting to Him, having fear and hope in Him, making the Dîn purely and sincerely for Him, having patience in what He orders and prohibits, having patience with what He decrees and being pleased with it, having allegiance and enmity for His sake, humbling oneself in front of Him and having humility in front of Him, becoming tranquil with Him and other than this from the actions of the heart which are actually connected to the action of the limbs … and actions of the limbs without the action of the heart is of little benefit, if any benefit at all.

The action of the limbs: Such as Prayer and Jihâd, attending the Jumu’ah and being with the Jamâ’ah, aiding those who are unable and displaying goodness and kindness to the creation, and other than this.”

[Madârijus-Sâlikîn (1/100-101)]

About the Shaykh :

He is Abû ’Abdullâh, Shamsud-Dîn Muhammad ibn Abû Bakr better known as Ibn al-Qayyim (or Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah). He was born in the year 691H in the city of Damascus. From an early age he set about acquiring knowledge and studied under many prominent teachers, the most notable of whom was Shaykhul-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah. His students include the likes of Ibn Kathîr, adh-Dhahabî, Ibn Bajab, Ibn ’Abdul-Hâdî and others. He authored over ninety books and booklets – all of them being characterised by their touching address to the soul and the heart, as well as their accuracy, precision and depth of research. Ibn al-Qayyim died on the night of Thursday 13th Rajab at the time of the ’Ishâ adhân in the year 751H. Testaments about his comprehensive knowledge, firm adherence to the way of the Salaf; excellent manners, worship and zuhd have been given by Al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajar in ad-Dururul-Kâminah(3/400), Al-Hâfidh Ibn Rajab in Dhayl Tabaqâtul-Hanâbilah (2/447), ash-Shawkânî in al-Badrut-Tâli’ (2/143-146) and also Al-Hâfidh Ibn Kathîr who said about him in al-Bidâyah wan-Nihâyah (14/246): “He attained great proficiency in many branches of knowledge, particularly knowledge of Tafsîr, Hadîth and Usûl. When Shaykh Taqiyyud-Dîn Ibn Taymiyyah returned from Egypt in the year 712H, he stayed with the Shaykh until he died, learning a great deal of knowledge from him; along with the knowledge which he had already occupied himself in obtaining. So he became a singular Scholar in many branches of knowledge. He also continued to seek knowledge greatly day and night and was constant in humbly calling upon his Lord. He recited well and had fine manners. He had a great deal of love and did not harbour any envy for anyone, nor harm anyone, nor seek to find fault with anyone, nor bear any malice towards anyone. I was one of those who most often kept company with him and I was one of the most beloved of people to him. I do not know anyone in the world, in this time, who is a greater worshipper than him. His Salâh (Prayer) used to be very lengthy, with prolonged rukû’ (bowing) and sujûd (prostration). His companions would often reproach him for this, yet he never retorted back, nor did he abandon this practice – may Allâh shower His Mercy upon him.”