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The Arabic word ibādah (عبادة) or ibada (usually translated "worship") is connected with related words such as "Ubudiyyah" ("slavery"), and has connotations of obedience, submission, and humility. The word linguistically means "obedience with submission".[1]

In terms of Islam, ibadah is the obedience, submission, and devotion to Allah (God) along with the ultimate love for Him. Muslims believe that ibadah is the reason for the existence of all humanity.[2] That is, Muslims believe that all people exist only to submit to Allah.

Ibadah consequently means following Islamic beliefs and practices – its commands, prohibitions, the halal, and the haram. For Muslims, ibadah is also something that comes from the heart, or sincerity, as a result of belief in Islam. Therefore, ibadah is something that can not be forced upon another person.

The well known 13th century Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyyah defined 'ibadah as "a comprehensive noun encompassing everything that Allah loves and is pleased with - whether saying, or actions, outward and inward." [3]


  1. ^ al-Qamoos al-Muhit
  2. ^ "Al-Qur'an 51:56". 
  3. ^ Majmu' al-Fatawa (10/149)

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