Worship is defined as: “inclusive term for all that Allah Almighty loves of external and internal sayings and actions of a person.” Worship is not just offering prayer, fasting and giving charity. Worship is everything that an individual says or does for the pleasure of Allah (SWT). The purpose of worship in Islam is to invoke Allah Almighty’s guidance and help for leading a prosperous life in this world and also to acquire His attributes. Worship is obeying Allah (SWT) not just praising Allah Almighty with tongue but also acquire His attributes.
In Holy Quran Allah (SWT) instructed Prophet Muhammad (SAW):
“Say (O Muhammad) my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death belong to Allah; He has no partner and I am ordered to be among those who submit (Muslims)” (Quran, 6:162-163).
Islam, being a way of life, requires that its followers should lead their life according to its teachings in every aspect. Allah Almighty sent messengers for the guidance of mankind with command of worship. Allah (SWT) said in Holy Quran:
“And assuredly We have sent among every people a messenger (with the command): worship God…” (Quran 16:36)
Purpose of our existence is worship. Allah (SWT) said in Noble Quran: “I did not create … mankind except to worship Me” (Quran, 51:56). Acts of worship recommended by Allah Almighty either deals with the inner self or the physical. Those acts which deal with the inner self-do so with belief and feelings. Humans are commanded to believe in certain ultimate truths as of faith which is the most important aspect of worship. Belief is the basis for what a person feels and does. We can say that actions and feelings are a reflection of belief. If a person’s belief is weak or wrong, it will never produce the desired results with respect to their feelings or actions. Being a Muslims it is necessary to love Allah (SWT), fear Him, have admiration in Him, place trust in Him, and also adore Him. Muslims have to love their fellow Muslims, to have mercy and compassion towards them, to love righteousness and to hate sin. These are all considered inner acts of worship because they are basics for the fulfillment of the commandments of Allah Almighty.
All the inner beliefs or acts of worship have some physical postures and expressions on believer’s face. So belief n Allah (SWT) produces some visible actions which are known as external acts of worship. These acts of worship include the prayer, compulsory charity or Zakat and the fast of Ramadan, and once in a life perform Hajj. Allah Almighty said in Holy Quran:
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces toward the East or the West, but righteous is he who believes in God and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Prophets, and gives his beloved money to his relatives and the orphans and the needy and for the ransoming of captives and who observes prayer and pays the poor-due; and those who fulfill their promises when they have made one, and the patient in poverty and affliction and the steadfast in time of war; it is those who have proved truthful and it is those who are the God-fearing.” (Quran 2:177)
Allah (SWT) does not need our worship. Worship is essential for the maintenance of spirituality in our lives and for its growth. Formal worship trains the individual to love his Creator and to develop the constant awareness of Allah Almighty. Allah (SWT) says in Holy Quran:
“O people! Worship your Lord Who has created you and those before you in order that you may be of the Lord-conscious.” (Quran 2:21)
Acts of worship play as a means through which one remembers Allah and maintains a relationship with Him. Muslims perform prayer five times a day in order to maintain this relationship with Allah Almighty. Even the most natural acts which we do in our daily life can become acts of worship if they with proper intention. These acts include eating, sleeping, working and also attributes of good characters, such as truthfulness, honesty, hospitality, courage, and humbleness, can become worship through sincere intention and intended obedience to Allah (SWT). Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said about good intentions in these words:
“Allah is pure and good, and He accepts only what is pure and good.” (Sahih Muslim)
In short, the concept of worship in Islam is a comprehensive concept that includes all the positive activities of an individual. Islam provides guidance in the smallest details of one’s life on all levels. It is very encouraging element when one realizes that all his activities are considered by Allah Almighty as acts of worship. The acts of worship lead an individual to seek Allah’s pleasure in his actions and always try to do them in the best possible manner. Allah Almighty is always the permanent supervisor Who knows everything. May Allah (SWT) guide us to do best acts of worship throughout our lives! Ameen