Ibn Al-Qayyim’s List of the Best Forms of Worship & an Account of When & How to Perform Them

الحمد لله وحده، والصلاة والسلام على من لا نبي بعده، وعلى آله وصحبه، أما بعد


Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said:


“The best forms of worship are the actions that are in accordance to the pleasure of The Lord , The Most High, at all times – according to the requisite of that specific time as well as its purpose…


…So what is better at the time of the presence of the guest for example is to fulfill his rights and to be busied with him from the recommended timings (during the day or night designated for supererogatory forms of worship) and that is likewise when seeing to the rights of the wife and the family.


What is better at the time of directing a student aright and educating the one who is ignorant is to turn in attention to his education and being occupied with him.


What is better at the time before daybreak (the early dawn) is to be busied with prayer and the Qur’aan and in supplication and in remembrance (of Allaah) and in seeking forgiveness.


What is better at the time of the adhaan (call to prayer) is that one leaves off that which he is embroiled in from his specified times (devoted to supererogatory worship etc) and becoming occupied with responding to the Mu-adhin.


What is better at the timings of the five daily prayers is to endeavor and to sincerely counsel oneself upon performing it in the most complete manner, as well as to hasten to it in its initial time along with setting out to the Masjid; and if it is distant then that is better.


What is better at times when one who is in need of help with influential standing or physically or financially is to be engaged with helping him and in relieving his concern and giving preference to that upon your specified times (devoted to supererogatory worship etc) as well as your secluded isolation.


What is better at the time of reciting the Qur’aan is the assembly of the heart and determination upon having contemplation of it and in understanding it, such that it is as though Allaah is speaking to you by way of it. So you should gather your heart upon understanding it and in contemplation of it and to be resolved upon carrying out its commands greater than that of the assembly of the heart of the one to whom there arrives a letter from the Sultaan.


What is better at the time of the standing at ‘Arafah is the striving upon having humility and in making supplication and remembrance whilst not fasting which brings about weakness to that.


What is better during the time of the (first) ten days of Dhil-Hijjah is to be plentiful in worship, especially in making takbeer (saying: Allaahu Akbar) and tahleel (saying: Laa ilaaha illallaah) and tahmeed (saying: Alhamdulillaah), for it is better than the Jihaad which is not assigned.


What is better during the time of the last ten days of Ramadhaan is to adhere to the Masjid within them and to be secluded and to make I’tikaaf without setting out to mix with the people and being busied with them, such that it is better with many of the scholars than seeing to teaching them (i.e. the people) with knowledge and to teach them how to recite/read the Qur’aan.


What is better at the time of the sickness of your Muslim brother or at his death is to visit him and to attend his janaazah and his burial as well as to give that precedence over your isolation and your association.


What is better at the time that the contentious events/calamities descend as well as when the harms of the people afflict you is the obligation of exercising patience along with your mixing with them; whilst not fleeing from them. For indeed; the believer who mixes with the people and is patient upon their harms is better than the one who does not mix with them – and they do not harm him.

Yet the best form of mixing with them is in that which is good, for it is better than engaging in isolated solitude from them in that; and withdrawn solitude from them in that which is evil is better than mixing with them in that. For if he knows that by mixing with them he can eradicate it or reduce it – then it is better than isolating from them.


So that which is better at every time and circumstance is giving preference to the pleasure of Allaah, The Most High, in that time and circumstance, as well as being busied with the obligation of that time and its purpose as well as its requisite.


These people (who adhere to this) – they are unrestrictedly the people of worship.”




(Taken from: Madaarij as-Saalikeen Bayna Manaazil Iyaaka Na’budu wa Iyyaaka Nasta’een vol 1 p.355-358)


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