Allah does not have any needs
Allah is eternally self sufficient. He does not need the worship of human beings. In fact, the question “why does God need human worship?” is not a valid question, since the Islamic concept of God is based on the premise that God does not have any needs. On the other hand, human beings need to worship their Creator for their own personal and collective benefit. The reasonable question is: “why do humans need to worship at all?”
The purpose of worship is to benefit us
Allah created human beings with many sacred qualities, which are the foundation for a Just and peaceful society. These include awareness of truth, humility, kindness, justice, love and forgiveness. As a matter of fact, the purpose of worship in Islam is to nurture these virtues by practicing them in our life with the intention to be nearer to God. On the contrary, absence of these virtues in our actions will lead society to injustice, arrogance, falsehood and away from God’s nearness.
What is worship in Islam?
It is important to realize that worship in Islam is an all encompassing concept of good actions, which do not mean only to follow the religious rituals. Ibadah( عباد) is the Arabic word for worship, which refers to voluntary submission to the Creator and obedience to His preferred way.
Seven acts of worship which benefit the collective and individual humanity
1. Mercy and kindness
Allah is the Most Merciful and He wants us to be merciful to others. Chapters of the Quran begin with proclamation of Allah’s mercy and kindness. Believers are expected to show mercy and kindness to all creation, including animals and the environment. Being merciful to our parents, spouse, poor people, neighbors, the disabled, the orphans and the sick, are all part of worshiping God.
Saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him)
- “Kindness is not found in anything except that it adds to its beauty, and is not withdrawn from anything except that it makes it deficient.”
- “He is not a perfect Muslim who eats his fill while his neighbor goes hungry.”
- “Whoever does not show mercy to those on earth will not receive the mercy of He who is in the Heavens.”
2. Being just to all
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, “Allah has forbidden injustice for Himself and He forbade mankind to be unjust with each other”. The Quran insists humans to be just even when it is inconvenient for them or if it goes against themselves or their next of kin.
“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.”
3. Seeking knowledge
Allah is the source of all knowledge. Islam requires humans to seek knowledge. Earning knowledge, helping the humanity with the knowledge and reflecting on Allah’s magnificence are acts of worship.
4. Being forgiving to others
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.”
5. Controlling anger
The Quran 3: 133. “And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord; and a Garden, the extensiveness of which is (as) the heavens and the earth, it is prepared for those who guard (against evil) The Quran 3:134. “for those who are generous, both in prosperity and adversity, who restrain their anger and are forgiving towards their fellow men God loves those who do good works.”
6. Serving parents
The Quran 17:23 “..Your Lord has commanded that you should worship none but Him, and show kindness to your parents. If either or both of them attain old age with you, say no word of contempt to them and do not rebuke them, but always speak gently to them
The Quran 17:24 “..And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young”
7. Freeing slaves
The Quran 90:8….. 90:18 “…..Have We not made for him a pair of eyes?
And a tongue, and a pair of lips?
And shown him the two highways?
But he has not attempted the path that is steep.
And what will explain to you the path that is steep?
(It is:) freeing the slave;
Or the giving of food in a day of hunger
To the orphan relative,
Or to the indigent (down) in the dust…………
……Such are the Companions of the Right Hand……”
You can also read the answer to this site: Why does almighty God need people to worship him? Is there any logical reason why?
Allah knows the best