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THE CONCEPT OF WORSHIP IN ISLAM


The concept of worship in Islam differs from that found in other religions, and is therefore subject to misunderstanding. In general, worship is understood to mean the observance of certain rituals: praying, fasting, giving charity, and other "good" works. In Islam, however, worship is much more-it is one's entire life. As many Muslim scholars have said: "Worship is an all-inclusive term for those internal and external sayings and actions of a person that are pleasing to Allah." In other words, worship is that which is done in obedience to Allah's will, which obviously includes rituals but goes far beyond to the realms of one’s beliefs, social activities, and personal contributions to one's society and fellow human beings. [1]

 

Table of Contents

 

Importance of worship

The importance of worship in Islam can be realized from the fact that, Allah, the Most Merciful, says in the Qur’aan, “I did not create Jinn and mankind except for my worship (Alone).” Surah ad-Dhariyaat (51): 56.

 

Worship being the sole purpose of creation is binding upon every human being. Allah says, “O mankind worship your Lord, Who created you and those who were before you, so that you may become pious,” followed by a strict warning and prohibition of joining partners with Him: “…do not set up rivals unto Allah while you know (that there is nothing similar to Him).” Surah al-Baqarah (2): 21-22. [2]

 

Whom Must We Worship

The submission of man to His Creator is the essence of Islam. The name “Islam” is chosen by God (Allah) and not by man. It is the same unifying Message revealed to all the Prophets and Messengers by Allah and which they spread amongst their respective nations. In its Final form it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم as a complete Message to whole mankind. The Lord, Allah, is the True and Only Creator that deserves to be worshipped. No worship is worthy of being given to a stone, statue, a cross, a triangle, Sun, Moon (not to that from Korea too!), Light, Fire, rivers, Saints, Priests, Monks, Movie Stars, Sheiks, etc.!!! All are created beings or things.

 

ALLAH, is the Name of the One True God. His Name is not chosen by man and does not have a number or gender. It is known that Allah is the Name of God in Aramaic also, the language of our beloved Prophet Eesa(Jesus) and a sister language of Arabic. The Name “Allah” has been used by all previous Prophets starting with Adam and by the last and final Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon them all). [3]

 

QUR’AN

Islam looks at the individual as a whole. He is required to submit himself completely to Allah as the Qur'an instructed the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم to do:
"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, (i.e. Muslims)." (Qur'an ,6:162-163 ).

 

HAIDTH

The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم told us that: "Faith (which is the basis of worship) is made up of sixty or so branches: the highest of which is belief in the Oneness of Allah (i.e., there is no god but Allah) and the lowest on the scale of worship is removal of what is injurious from the path." Sahi Muslim 35b [4]

 

Different forms of worship

In Islam, the performing one's duties is also considered an act of worship. The Prophet told us that whatever one spends for his family will be counted as an acts of worship for which he will be rewarded, provided that he has acquired it through Islamically acceptable means. Kindness to family members, no matter how small, are also viewed as acts of worship. Even activities that we enjoy very much, such as sexual relations with one's spouse, are considered acts of worship as long as they are performed in accordance with the relevant Qur'anic and prophetic guidelines. For example, the Prophet once told his Companions that they would be rewarded even for engaging in sex with their wives. They were astonished and asked: "Are we to be rewarded for doing something that we enjoy very much?" The Prophet replied: "If you satisfy your desires illegally, will you be punished?" They replied, "Yes. " "So," he said, "by satisfying it legally with your wives you will be rewarded."

 

Seeking knowledge is one of the highest types of worship. The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم told his Companions that "seeking knowledge is a (religious) duty on every Muslim." He also said: "Seeking knowledge for one hour is better than praying for seventy years. " Social courtesy and cooperation, when done for the sake of Allah, are also a part of worship: "Receiving your friend with a smile is a type of charity, helping a person to load his animal is a charity, and putting some water in your neighbor's bucket is a charity"

 

It is clear that the concept of worship in Islam is a comprehensive concept that includes all of the positive activities engaged in by an individual. This is in agreement with the all-inclusive nature of Islam, which regulates life on the individual, social, economic, political, spiritual, and all other levels of one's life. [5]

 

References

[1] http://www.sultan.org/books/the_concept_of_worship_in_Islam.pdf

[2] http://www.ahya.org/tjonline/eng/08/01Worship.html

[3] http://www.sultan.org/articles/wmww.html

[4] http://www.sunnah.com/muslim/1#60

[5] http://www.sultan.org/books/the_concept_of_worship_in_Islam.pdf

 

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