More On Al-Ahsa: Virtues and the Hanafi Madhab

Salam. Please find some more information on the area of al-Ahsa that we may not have mentioned thus far on this blog.  Inshallah we hope to compile into one article in the near future the various posts on the topic.  This article is based on Dr Abd al-Ilah al-Mulla’s introduction to Shaykh Abd al-Latif al-Mulla’s fiqh work ‘Wasilah al-Zafar’, Wassalam.

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It is relevant that we begin this brief article with a clarification regarding the names previously used for the al-Ahsa region located in the Eastern province of present day Saudia Arabia.  Al-Ahsa was previously known by the names of ‘al-Bahrain’ and ‘Hajr’.  This detail is an important point, as many people consider the name of ‘al-Bahrain’ found in the hadith literature to refer to the small island that today bears this name.

Early Entry Into Islam

Its inhabitants possessed a number of virtues, the first of which was their early entry into Muslim faith.  The ‘Banu Abd al-Qais’ tribe which inhabited the area accepted Islam out of their own free choice and without any pressure nor compulsion.  In the two Sahih’s from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) is the following narration:

…When the delegation of the tribe of ‘Abdul Qais came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) he asked them, “Who are the people (i.e. you)? (Or) who are the delegates?” They replied, “We are from the tribe of Rabi’a.” He said to them: Welcome! O people (or O delegation of ‘Abdul Qais)! Neither will you have disgrace nor will you regret. [1]

Closest In Resemblance to the Ansar

Likewise from the virtues of the its people is that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) prayed/supplicated for them, his informing them that they were the best of the people of the East,  and that they were the closest of people in resemblance to the Ansar, as in the hadith reported by Imam Ahmad regarding the delegation of ‘Abd al-Qais’ which contains:

He turned to the Ansar when the delegation of Abd al-Qais came and said:  O people of the Ansar, honour your brothers, for they are the closest in resemblance to you in Islam.[2]

The Prophet (Allah Bless Him And Give Him Peace) Was Given The Choice To Migrate to Al-Ahsa

Likewise from its virtues is that Allah (Most High) gave His Noble Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) the choice of migrating towards it, as in the hadith reported by al-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

I have been given revelation, meaning these three have been revealed and they are the places of your migration: Madinah or Bahrain or Qansarayn[3][4]

The Second Jumah of Islam

Likewise the first Jumah prayer established after the Jumah in the masjid of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was in the Masjid of Abd al-Qais in Jawatha, as mentioned by in al-Bukhari from the hadith of Ibn Abbas.[5]

Firmness During Early Tribulations

When all the Arabs of the Arabian peninsula apostated from Islam during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (Allah be pleased with him) the tribe of Banu Abd al-Qais remained firm to the Muslim faith and fought alongside the Muslims in the conquest of neighbouring area’s.[6]

The Hanafi Madhab in al-Ahsa

Al-Ahsa has been a land of knowledge and scholars from the earliest times of Muslim history.  Over the centuries many students travelled to it in order to study in its numerous schools, and due to the presence of the four legal schools (madhahib) in it.

Perhaps the earliest of the madhabs to enter al-Ahsa is the Hanafi school[7] which reached it from Iraq where the Abbasid dynasty ruled as indicated to in historical sources.  Evidence for this is found in a lengthy letter sent by Abu al-Bahlul al-Awam bin Muhammad al-Zujaj from the Abd al-Qais tribe to Abu Mansur Yusuf, a member of the Abbasid court in the year 447 Hijri.  In it he describes the condition of the Banu Abd al-Qais in al-Ahsa and those under the rule of the Qaramitah that they:

…Know of obedience to the Abbasid state and the blessed Hashimi instructions (kalimah) for the length of their lives and till the end of their lifespan. Their way is that of obedience, their madhab is that of the sunnah and jamah, and the madhab of Imam Abu Hanifah, by this they are known, and upon this they live and die…[8]

This school continued to exist in al-Ahsa alongside other schools following from the ruling authorities adopting them in their legal code.  Every ruler would pay special attention to the madhab that he followed.  When the Ottomans conquered al-Ahsa in the middle of the tenth Islamic century the Hanafi madhab gained strength and entered what could be termed its ‘golden age’ as the Turks practised the Hanafi school as their legal code according to the edict (farman) of Sultan Suleiman the 1st announcing that the Hanafi madhab is the legal school of the state in all judicial rulings and religious edicts, this was applied across the entire Ottoman empire.[9]

Likewise the presence of the al-Mulla family helped in the establishment of the Hanafi madhab in the al-Ahsa and the surrounding areas[10] where they have been actively involved the service of the madhab for over five centuries, this includes teaching, writing, preaching, guiding people and leading prayers in masjids.


[1] Al-Bukhari, Book of Faith (53)

[2] Ahmad in his Musnad (3/432) al-Haithami said in Majma al-Zawaid (8/178) that its narrators were trustworthy.

[3] Qansarayn:  It is a place in Syria close to Halab, it was conquered by Khalid bin al-Walid in the year 18 Hijri and it contains the grave of the Prophet Salih (Upon him be peace).  See Mujam al-Buldan (7/169).

[4] Al-Tirmidhi (13/378) and by al-Hakim (3/2,3) via another chain who commented that this hadith has a Sahih chain but they both did not narrate it.

[5] Al-Bukhari in the Book of Jumah (892) Hafidh ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari (1/216): This is evidence that they preceded other villages to Islam.

[6] Refer to al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah (6/369)

[7] Some researchers including Dr Abd al-Hamid Aal-Shaykh Mubarak are of the view that the earliest madhab to enter al-Ahsa was the Maliki school.  They argue this on the basis that this was the madhab followed by the al-Uyuniyyah dynasty which ruled the area after the fall of the Qaramitah rule.  However the evidence we will cite precedes the coming to power of the al-Uyuniyyah dynasty, which is clear proof the legal school followed by Banu Abd al-Qais before the al-Uyuniyyah rule was Hanafi.  Refer to the introduction of the ‘al-Tasheel‘ of Shaykh Mubarak bin Ali al-Ahsai al-Maliki edited by Dr Abd al-Hamid Aal-Shaykh al-Mubarak.

[8] Majallah al-Arabiyah, Shaykh Hamd al-Jasir, Ramadan and Shawal edition 1401 Hijri, p.169

[9] Refer to ‘al-Awdah al-Tashriyyah fi al-Dawl al-Arabiyyah’ p.178

[10] Most of the people of al-Kharaj were followers of the Hanafi madhab, amongst them being Shaykh Rashid bin Khanin al-Hanafi who passed away in 1209 Hijri in Qatar.  Refer to ‘Injaz al-Wad’ p.32 of Shaykh Muhammad Ismaeel

Visit to the Haramain: Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan

madinah-oldSalam.  We made mention of Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah and his advice on the etiquettes of visiting Madinah the Illuminated.  I thought I would add to this what Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan (he scholarly ruler of Bhopal) recorded after his gruelling journey to the Hijaz.  He said regarding his setting sights upon the Kabah [perhaps for the first time?] (p. 165):

From the first gaze which fell upon the beauty of the ‘Kabah al-Mukarramah’ we forgot the tribulations of the journey and all of its difficulties, as if we had not had any complaints en route.  Such is the affair of every one who is longing and is truthful. How could it not be when the radiant Kabah- Allah increase it in light and splendour- is a ruby like a jewel adorning the vision of  of the eyes of the righteous, clear to those looking at its esteemed black garment.

After we finished the Saiee between al-Safa and al-Marwah, we saw that we should complete the night next to the Kabah.  We stayed next to it till Fajr spending it in Tahajjud, supplication and seeking forgiveness till dawn.  We offered the morning prayer with the first congregation of the Shafi’s, and then returned back to our lodging, shaved our heads and wore stitched clothing…

We stayed in Makka waiting for the Hajj because the time for the journey to Madinah had passed due to the lateness of our ships arrival. If it had not been for this, we would have set out and travelled to the Masjid al-Nabawi, and have the good fortune of greeting the purifying, illuminated Ahmadi grave.

Nawab Siddiq completed his Hajj, and was then finally able to undertake the journey to Madinah.  Describing his stay he said (p.167):

It happened that I stayed in this blessed city for a week. I was able to visit the Masjid al-Nabawi, and greet the illuminated resting place of al-Mustafa and his companions, visit his Baqi, the martyrs of Uhud, not least the master of the martyrs (Sayyid al-Shuhada) Hamza- Allah Most High be pleased with him- and other masjids and wells.  Especially the Masjid of Quba in the transmitted manner according to the sunnah.  The city of Madinah is full of different types of blessing, and traces (athar) of mercy and lights from divine manifestations (tajalliyat). How (could this not be) when the divine lights and Prophetic blessings are exuding from its walls, and tranquility and dignity (waqar) descend at all times times upon its buildings.

Note: The above is a rough draft, and is a translation of the meaning.

Sharh Kifayah al-Ghulam of Imam al-Nabulsi by Shaykh Abd al-Latif al-Mulla

Salam

I was pleased to come across a scan of a useful work by one of the al-Mulla scholars of al-Ahsa, especially as it is not easily available for purchase (I bought my copy in al-Ahsa).  It is the detailed commentary on Imam al-Nabulsi’s 150 line poem on what could be described as the 5 pillars of Islam, with the fiqh being in accordance with the Hanafi school.

I have a very rough draft of a translation of about 40 odd lines from this poem, these were translated at a time when some of us were discussing/thinking about whether the poem would be useful as a brief text to be studied on short courses.

The poem itself was studied in al-Ahsa and other parts of the Muslim world, and was often one of the first few works studied by Hanafi students (as can be deduced by the name of the poem).  Likewise the editor himself mentions that he studied it during his youth in the ‘Shahlubiyyah’ school in al-Ahsa (details and picture of which can be found on this blog).  The only other commentary on the poem is by the author Imam al-Nabulsi, thus making this work quite unique.

Note: Shaykh Yahya al-Mulla is one of the teachers and a relative of the editor.  I personally heard him express his reservations about some of the footnotes in the Aqidah section.  Please be aware of this  and do not be confused about the belief of the al-Mulla scholars.

The commentary can be downloaded from here

Wassalam

Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah on Ziyarah al-Nabawiyyah

nabi-5

Salam.  Some of you may be familiar with Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah’s minority and much criticised position regarding  the ziyarah of the grave of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).  However I found the following beneficial quote cited in the introduction to a recent edition of Imam al-Subki’s classic ‘Shifa al-Siqam’ which was authored in defence of the majority Sunni position on the issue of ziyarah. 

What should be noted is that Ibn Taymiyyah has no problem with formulating the intention to travel to Masjid al-Nabawi al-Sharif, after which one makes the ziyarah of the blessed grave (Allah enable us to realise this intention in the near future).  Thus we find his student Ibn Abd al-Hadi quoting his teacher in his rather problematic work in defence of his teacher, and in refutation of Imam al-Subki saying (p.17):

He [Ibn Taymiyyah] Allah (the Exalted) have mercy on him said in some of his manuals on Hajj rites (manasik): If he nears the city (Madinah) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) before or after Hajj, then he should say what we have mentioned previously.

When he enters he should bathe as stated by Imam Ahmad. When he enters the masjid he begins with his right foot and says: In the name of Allah, Blessings and Peace upon the Messenger of Allah, O Allah forgive my sins and open for me the doors of your mercy.

Then he comes to the Rawdah between the grave and pulpit (minbar) and prays in it and supplicates with that which he wishes. Then he comes to the grave of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and faces the wall of the grave, neither touching nor kissing it. He positions the lamp in the qiblah in line with his head so that he is standing in the presence of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He stands at a distance as he would stand if he had manifested during his earthly life, with humility and tranquility, with lowered head, downcast eyes, contemplating in his heart the greatness of his standing place.

Sharh Aqidah al-Awam: The Attributes of Allah (The Exalted)

Salam, please find the next installment in this series, namely Shaykh Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki’s commentary on Imam al-Marzuqi’s poem ‘Aqidah al-Awam’  (as recorded by his student Ustadh Muhammad Ihya Ulum al-Din).  I have made omitted some minor things from the chapter.  Note:  This is a draft work in need of revision.

Chapter One

Regarding the Attributes of Allah (the Exalted)

 (That which is necessary with regards to Him the Exalted- That which is possible with regards to Him the Exalted- That which is impossible with regard to Him the تعالى)

 – That which is necessary with regards to Him the Exalted

 The author Allah have mercy on Him said:

وبَعْدُ فَاعْلَمْ بِوُجُوْبِ المَعْرِفَهْ    مِنْ وَاجِبٍ ِللهِ عِشْرِيْنَ صِفَهْ   

After, know the necessity of knowing the twenty attributes which are necessary for Allah

    فَاللهُ مَوْجُودٌ قَدِيْمٌ بَاقِىْ    مُخَالِفٌ لِلخَلْقِ بِالإِطْلاَقِ      

So Allah has existence, without beginning, everlasting, different from the creation absolutely

   وَقَائِمٌ غَنِىٌّ وَوَاحِدٌ وَحَىْ    قَادِرٌ مُرِيْدٌ عَالِمٌ بِكُلِّ شَىْء       

Self Subsisting without any need, the One and the Living, Powerful, Willing, Knower of everything

          سَمِيْعٌ البَصِيرُ وَ الُمتَكَلِّمُ     لَهُ صِفَاتٌ سَبْعةٌ تَنْتَظِمُ         

All Hearing, All Seeing and Speaking, He has seven attributes which consist

    فَقُدْرَةٌ إِرَادةٌ سَمْعٌ بَصَرْ     حَياَةٌُ العِلمُ كَلامُ استَمَرْ

So they are Power, Will, Hearing and Seeing, Life, Knowledge, Speech which is continuous

Commentary:  It is compulsory upon every responsible person to know from the attributes of Allah those which are necessary with regards to Him:  Which is that whose absence the intellect cannot comprehend. 

That which is impossible with regards to Him: Which is whose existence the intellect cannot comprehend. 

And the permissible:  Which with regards to Him is that which is correct for the intellect to comprehend the existence and absence of

Likewise it is compulsory for him to know the likes of it with regards to the Messengers (upon them blessings and peace).  The author began in these verses by mentioning that which is necessary with regards to Him (تعالى), and they are twenty attributes detailed as follows:

1) Existence: Meaning the establishment (thubut) of a thing.  It is certainly necessary for Him (تعالى) due to His essence  and not due a cause, meaning that other than Him has not effected/caused His (تعالى)  existence.

As for existence which is other than from the essence (ghair dhati) such as our existence, then it is by His (تعالى) action.  The evidence for this is the existence of this creation, for if it was not for Him (Glorified and Exalted is He) there would be nothing from the creation (in existence).

He (تعالى) said:

Verily! I am Allah, There is no god except Me, so worship Me [Ta-Ha:14]

And He (تعالى) said: 

Do they not think deeply about themselves, Allah has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term. And indeed many of mankind deny the Meeting with their Lord. [al-Rum:8]

 The desert Arab was asked regarding the proof, he replied:

The droppings point to the (existence) of the camel and donkey, and the footsteps to the traveller. So the heavens containing stars, and the earth with its mountain passes, and oceans and with its waves, do they not point towards a wise, powerful, all knowing creator?

2)  Without Beginning:  It is the absence of a beginning to His (تعالى) existence.  Meaning that He (تعالى) has no beginning to His existence because He (جل شأنه) is the origin (masdar) of this universe, and creator of all that exists.  Therefore He must precede it all, and nothing precedes Him (تعالى).  He (تعالى) said:

He is the First and the Last , the Most High and the Most Near. And He is the All-Knower of every thing [al-Hadid:3]

3) Everlasting:  It is His (تعالى) existence not coming to an end, meaning that He (تعالى) is continually existent without limit, and everlasting without end.  He (تعالى) said:

Everyone in it is annihilating and there only continues the Face of your Lord the Owner of Majesty and Generosity [al-Rahman:26-27] 

And He (تعالى) said: 

Everything will perish save His Face. His is the Decision, and to Him you (all) shall be returned. [al-Qasas:88]

4) His (تعالى) Non Resemblance to All Events:  It is the dissimilarity of any created thing to Him (سبحانه و تعالى), He (تعالى) said: 

There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is All Hearing and All Seeing.  [al-Shura:11]

And He (تعالى) said: 

And there is none like unto Him. [al-Ikhlas:4]

5) His (تعالى) Subsisting by Himself:  It is the absence of His needing a place in which he resides or location in which he dwells, or someone to bring Him into existence.  Rather He is without need of all that is other than Him.  He تعالى) said:   

(All) faces shall be humbled before (Him) – the Living, the Self-Subsisting  [Taha:111]

 He (تعالى) said:

O mankind! It is you that have need of God: but God is the One Free of all wants, worthy of all praise. [Fatir:15]

 He (تعالى) said:

For God is free of all needs from all creation [al-Ankabut:6]

6)  Oneness:  It is the absence of a multiplicity in His (تعالى) essence (dhat), Attributes (sifat) and Actions (afal). 

The meaning of oneness of the essence is:  That His essence is not constructed from parts, and that He has no partner in His dominion.

The meaning of oneness in attributes is:  That no one has an attribute which resembles any of His attributes.

The meaning of the oneness of actions is:  That no one other than Him (تعالى)  has any action.  For Allah is the creator of everything and originator of everything,  and He (تعالى) is independent in creating and originating.  He         (تعالى) said:

Glory be to Him! He is God, the One, the Irresistible. [al-Zumar:4]

He (تعالى) said:

And your God is One God: There is no god but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. [al-Baqarah:163]

He (تعالى) said:

Say: He is God, the One and Only [al-Ikhlas:1]

 He (تعالى) said:

If there were, in them both other gods besides God, there would have been confusion in both! [al-Anbiyah:22]

He (تعالى) said:

No son did God beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to God! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him [al-Muminun:91]

7) Power:  It is a beginning less attribute established in His (تعالى) essence by which He brings into existence and non existence. 

Indeed God has power over all things. [al-Nur:45]

He (تعالى) said:  

 Nor is God to be frustrated by anything whatever in the heavens or on earth: for He is All-Knowing. All-Powerful. [Fatir:44]

8 ) Will:  It is a beginning less attribute established in His (تعالى) essence by which He specifies that which is possible with that which is possible for Him.  For He (سبحانه و تعالى) can dispose in the universe in accordance to his volition, will and wisdom.  So He may make this tall or short, beautiful or ugly, knowledgeable or ignorant in this place or in another. He (تعالى) said:   

For to anything which We have willed, We but say the word, “Be”, and it is. [al-Nahl:40]

He (تعالى) said:  

Your Lord does create and choose as He pleases: no choice have they (in the matter): Glory to God! and far is He above the partners they ascribe (to Him)! [al-Qasas:68]

He (تعالى) said:  

Say: “O God! Lord of Power (And Rule), You give power to whom You please, and You strip off power from whom You please: You bestow honour whom you pleases, and you disgrace whom you please: In Your hand is all good. Verily, over all things You have power. [Aal-Imran:26]

He (تعالى) said:  

To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows (children) male or female according to His Will, Or He bestows both males and females, and He leaves barren whom He will: for He is full of Knowledge and Power. [al-Shura:49-50]

9) Knowledge: It is a beginning less attribute established in His (تعالى) essence by which He knows things.  He (تعالى) said:  

God has full knowledge of all thing. [al-Mujadilah:7]

He (تعالى) said:  

God comprehends, all things in (His) Knowledge. [al-Talaq:12]

He (تعالى) said:  

It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. [Qaf:16]

10) Life:  It is a beginning less attribute of His essence which it is correct to attribute with Power, Will, Knowledge, Hearing, Seeing and Speech.  For if He (تعالى) was not living these attributes would not be established for Him.  He     (تعالى) said:  

And put your trust in Him Who lives and dies not [al-Furqan:58]

He (تعالى) said:  

He is the Living (One): There is no god but He: Call upon Him, giving Him sincere devotion. [Ghafir:65]

11-12) Hearing and Sight:  They are both beginning less attributes established in His (تعالى) essence by which that which exists is revealed.  For Allah (تعالى) is All Hearing, and hears everything even the creeping of a black ant over a smooth rock during a dark night.  He is All Seeing, viewing everything with a sight which is includes all that can be comprehended.  He  (تعالى) said:  

God has indeed heard the statement of the woman who pleads with thee concerning her husband and carries her complaint (in prayer) to God: and God (always) hears the arguments between both sides among you: for God hears and sees (all things) [al-Mujadilah:1]

He (تعالى) said: 

Go, both of you, to Fir’aun (Pharaoh), verily, he has transgressed, And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah. They said: “Our Lord! Verily! We fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should transgress (all bounds against us).He (Allah) said: “Fear not, verily! I am with you both, hearing and seeing.  [Taha:43-46]

13) Speech:  It is a beginning less attribute established in His essence, it is neither letter nor sound, indicating to all that is known.  He (تعالى) said:  

And to Moses God spoke direct [al-Nisa:164]

He (تعالى) said:  

When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord spoke to him, [al-Araf:143]

He (تعالى) said:  

It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration [al-Shura:51]

If Power, Will, Knowledge, Life, Hearing, Sight, Speech are necessary for Him (تعالى), then it is natural that the following attributes also be necessary for Him, and they are: 

14) That He is Powerful

15) That He is Willing

16) That He is Knowledgeable

17) That He is Living

18) That He is All Hearing

19) That He is All Seeing

20) That He is Speaking

These twenty attributes are subdivided into four categories:

1) Attributes of Self (Sifah al-Nafsiyyah):  Linked/related to the self, meaning the essence.  The attribute of the self is that which the essence cannot be rationally conceived of being without, and it is one:  Existence.

2) Attributes of Negating (Sifat al-Salbiyyah):  Linked/related to [the term] negating, meaning nullifying.  They are named negating because they negate from Allah (Exalted) that which does not befit His Majesty.  And they are five:  Without beginning, Everlasting, Non resemblance to all events, Self Subsisting, and Oneness.

3) Attributes of Meaning (Sifat al-Maani):  They are named as ‘Meaning’ because they affirm for Allah (Exalted) meanings existing and established in His essence befitting His perfection, and they are seven:  Power, Will, Knowledge, Life, Hearing, Seeing, Speech.

4) Attributes Pertaining to Meaning (Sifat al-Manawiyyah):  Linked/related to the seven (attributes) of meaning of which they are a branch.  They are named as ‘pertaining to meaning’ because they are necessarily follow from the meanings.  They are that He is: Powerful, Willing, Knowledgeable, Living, All Hearing, All Seeing, Speaking.

The wisdom in mentioning these ‘attributes pertaining to meaning’ despite their being included in the aforementioned ‘attributes of meaning’ are the following:

i) Mentioning the beliefs in a detailed manner, because the danger of ignorance in it is great.

ii) A refutation of Mutazilah, as they deny them

Sincerity- Allamah Nawawi al-Jawi al-Bantani

Salam

I have not been posting as regularly as I would have liked, but I have been working (slowly) on the commentary of the ‘Aqidah al-Awam’ and other projects some of which Insha-Allah I will post on here (may Allah the Exalted give us tawfiq to complete them).

I recently purchased two additional commentaries of the ‘Aqidah al-Awam’, one by the author himself, and the other by the great Malay scholar Allamah Muhammad Nawawi al-Jawi, both of which contain points of benefit that I hope to append to Sayyid Maliki’s commentary. One passage which caught my attention from Allamah Nawawi al-Jawi’s commentary (Nur ul-Zallam p.275-276) was the following:

Know that sincerity has three levels

The First: To worship Allah, or to do a thing not desiring reward, nor fleeing from punishment, but because He is your Lord and you are His slave, and this is the highest of them

The Second: To worship Him or perform an act of obedience seeking reward and fearing punishment, or desiring paradise or fearing the hellfire. And this is the middle.

The Third: To worship Him in order to be ennobled by worshipping Him, and to be associated with Him (Most High) so that it is said: This is a worshipper and righteous person. Or to to a thing to attain the dunya such as if you read Surah al-Waqiah for wealth and its like. And this is the lowest of them. For if you did it to show off or for fame this is unlawful for you due to the absence of sincerity (ikhlas).

Fudayl bin Iyad said: Leaving an action due to people is showing off (riya), and action due to people is polytheism (shirk), and sincerity is that Allah (Most High) protects/saves you from them both.