Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Allah Most High has commanded us to worship Him, throughout the Noble Qur'an. In fact, He tells us--lest we forget--that,
"I have not created humans or jinn except to worship me." [Qur'an]
The reality of worship (`ibada) is submitting to the command of Allah for the sake of Allah, whether in matters of the outward or in matters of the inward.
Thus, we must strive to do everything obligatory--whether outward (like prayer or honesty in dealings) or inward (such as being sincere or thankful to Allah)--and to leave everything prohibited. Then, we should bring the recommended and praiseworthy practices shown to us by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), in order to more fully express our slavehood to Allah, and to bring the light of thankfulness, Divine love, and closeness in our lives.
"Verily, by the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest."
In order to be able to do this, two matters are essential, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) made clear to us,
a) seeking beneficial knowledge b) keeping good company.
Allah tells us in the Qur'an,
"O you who believe! Be pious of Allah, and be with the righteous."
And Allah alone gives success.
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The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Knowledge is only through study." While some knowledge can be gained from reading or casually listening to lectures, the best means to gain knowledge is through finding a qualified teacher and then setting up a systematic program of learning. Picking up a book or reading an article and trying to figure things out on our own is no substitute for learning from someone who has a direct link to our living tradition.
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