Praise be to Allah.
An action cannot be regarded as an act of worship unless it meets two conditions, namely perfect love and perfect humility. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“But those who believe, love Allaah more (than anything else)”
“and they used to call on Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us”[al-Anbiya’ 21:90]
If this is understood, then one will realize that worship is only accepted from a Muslim who believes in Allaah alone (Tawheed), as Allaah says of the kuffaar:
“And We shall turn to whatever deeds they (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners) did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust”
[al-Furqaan 25:23 – interpretation of the meaning]
In Saheeh Muslim (214) it is narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, during the Jaahiliyyah Ibn Jud’aan used to uphold ties of kinship and feed the poor. Will that avail him anything?’ He said, ‘It will not avail him anything, because he never said one day, “O Lord forgive me my sins on the Day of Judgement,”’” – meaning that he did not believe in the resurrection or do good deeds hoping to meet Allaah.
Moreover, the Muslim’s worship will not be accepted unless it meets two basic conditions:
1 – Sincerity of intention towards Allaah alone, which means that a person’s intention in all his words and actions, both outward and inward, is to do them for the sake of Allaah alone and no one else.
2 – The action must be in accordance with the laws which Allaah has enjoined and stated that He must be worshipped only in accordance with them. This is achieved by following the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the message he brought, and not going against that or introducing new acts of worship or new forms of worship which were not reported from him (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
The evidence for these two conditions is to be found in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord” [al-Kahf 18:110]
Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “ ‘So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord’ means His reward; ‘let him work righteousness’ means actions that are done for the sake of Allaah alone, with no partner or associate. These two factors form the basis for an acceptable deed: it must be done sincerely for the sake of Allaah alone, and it must be correct and in accordance with the sharee’ah of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).”
The more a person learns about his Lord and His names and attributes, the more sincere he will be in his intentions. The more he learns about his Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), the more he will follow him. By having a sincere intention towards Allaah and by following His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) he will attain salvation in this world and in the Hereafter. We ask Allaah for success and salvation in this world and in the Hereafter.