Seeking The Pleasure Of Allah
The primary goal of worship in Islam is to achieve nearness to God, establish a spiritual connection with the Sublime and to seek His pleasure. In Islamic worship, there is no physical or mental imagery of God. Man’s vision and imagination work with the physical world which is God’s creation. God cannot be compared with anything that is created. Yet, His Glorified presence is everywhere. He is nearer to us than our jugular vein (Quran 50:16). As a result of our evil acts and our rejection of His presence, we can distance ourselves spiritually from Him. The Quran asserts that worshiping God is the primary reason for human existence. As mentioned, the purpose of worship in Islam is to seek God’s pleasure and His Mercy, thus achieving salvation in the life after our death. http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=50&verse=16
The Quran 51:56
“…I have not created the Jinn and humankind except that they worship me…”
The Quran 50:16
“And indeed We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein.”
The Quran 6:103
“ Vision cannot comprehend Him, but He comprehends all vision; and He is absolutely subtle, the Aware One”
The Quran 112:4
“…and there is nothing that could be compared with Him.”
Submission In Peace
Our worship of Allah does not mean that we only follow and practice the religious rituals. Ibadah( عباد) is the Arabic word for worship. This refers to voluntary submission to the Creator and obedience to His preferred way. Ibn Taymiyyah (a classical scholar of Islam) described worship as: “It is a comprehensive term that encompasses all what Allah loves of words and deeds whether inward or outward.”
Moral Virtues Are The Tools For Worship
The Quran informs us that Allah created primordial human souls before our physical bodies were created. Allah allowed “some of His own spirit” (Quran 32:9, 38:72) to enter mankind in the process of creation. He embued us with many sacred qualities including awareness of God’s presence, kindness, justice, gentleness, love, forgiveness, creativity and knowledge. The purpose of worship in Islam is to nurture these virtues by practicing them in our daily life with the intention to be nearer to God. The absence of these virtues in our actions will let injustice, arrogance, falsehood and seeking revenge invade our minds and take us away from God’s nearness. https://qpeace.net/?p=878
What Actions Are Seen as Worship?
Allah is the Most Merciful (Ar-Rahman)
Allah is the Most Merciful and Kind and He wants us to be merciful and kind to others. The chapters of the Quran begin with proclamation of Allah’s Mercy and Kindness. Allah’s Mercy encompasses every creation. Believers are expected to show mercy and kindness to all creation, including animals and the environment. Being merciful to our parents, spouse, neighbors, the disabled, the orphans and the sick, are all part of worshiping God.
The Qur’an 22:65
“Surely Allah is the Most Kind and Most Merciful to people.”
The Qur’an 30:21
“And of His signs is that He created for you, from yourselves, mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”
Saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him)
“Whoever does not show mercy to those on earth will not receive the mercy of He who is in the Heavens.” Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
“Kindness is not found in anything except that it adds to its beauty, and is not withdrawn from anything except that it makes it deficient.” Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
“He is not a perfect Muslim who eats his fill while his neighbor goes hungry.” Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Allah is Al-Adl, The Utterly Just
Allah has forbidden injustice for Himself and He forbade mankind to be unjust with each other (Prophet SAW, Sahih Muslim). This is an essential part of our belief, that we practice justice with all. The Quran insists humans are to be just even when it is inconvenient for them or if it goes against themselves or their next of kin.
The Quran 95:8
“…Is not God the most just of judges?”
The Quran 6:115
“And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words.”
The Quran 4:135
“O you who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even it is against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether the person be rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Do not follow your own desire, lest you swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well aware with all that you do.”
Allah is Al-Ghafur, The Most Forgiving
Forgiving others is an act of worship. Allah favors forgiveness over revenge even if we are wronged and able to take revenge on the perpetrator.
The Quran 42:40
“And the recompense of evil is punishment like it, but whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah; surely He does not love the unjust”
The Quran 41:34
“…Not equal are the good deed and the bad deed. Repel evil by that which is better, and then the one who is hostile to you will become as a devoted friend.”
The Quran 39:53
“O My Devotees, who have committed excesses against their own selves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Surely, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed He is the most Forgiving, the Merciful”
Allah is Al-Alim- The All Knowing:
Allah is our Creator and the source of all knowledge. Learning and reflecting on Allah’s magnificence is an act of worship. Islam requires us to seek knowledge. When we earn knowledge, we also accept the responsibility to use the knowledge in a way that is positive and helpful to the world and does not harm others. We are to use our knowledge to improve the human condition and to recognize Allah’s Greatness and Magnificence. Someone can use their knowledge and cause great harm to humanity, grow in arrogance, or reject the Creator. Knowing the purpose of worship in Islam is crucial, as this understanding helps us to utilize our knowledge in a way that will be acceptable to Allah as an act of worship.
The Quran 3:191
“….Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alteration of night and day, there are signs for the people of wisdom, who remember God standing, sitting and (lying) on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: “Our Lord, You have not created all these without meaning and purpose…..”
The Quran 2:29
“It is He who has created for you all that is on earth, and has applied His design to the heavens and fashioned them into seven heavens; and He alone has full knowledge of everything.”
What Are The Charitable Actions?
Role of intention in worship
The purpose of worship in Islam is to seek pleasure of the Creator. So, worshiping Allah is closely connected with the sincerity of our intentions. Prophet (SAW) mentioned that actions are valued according to the intention behind the action. A public display of generosity to show off to others, may not be accepted as a pious action. Praying the daily prayers to prove one is a pious believer in front of others will not be considered as worship for the sake of Allah. Yet, a scientist doing research in a scientific laboratory in search for a cure of a disease, or trying to further knowledge on how the universe functions, with the intention to serve humanity, and to appreciate the glory of the Creator will be rewarded by Allah as an act of worship.