What is Worship and Why Are the People Held Responsible For It?

The meaning of worship is that a servant performs his duties such as offering glorification, exaltation, and praise to Almighty God in the way He orders. Giving thought to the fact that he is nurtured with the endless bounties and gifts, man is in charge of doing his duty of proclaiming God is the greatest and offering thanks to Him. It is achieved only by means of worship. A worshipper arranges his all acts and behaviors such as eating and drinking, sitting and standing and so forth in accordance with the bounds of God Almighty. He leads his life as the servant of Allah. This servitude makes him reach the rank of real humanity and dignity. After all, the main goal of the creation is to attain this honor. Indeed God Almighty says in the exalted Quran I have only created Jinn and men, that they may serve Me. (Az-Záriyát: 56). In another verse in the Quran, He says:

O ye people! Worship your Guardian Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that ye may become righteous; Who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith Fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals unto Allah when ye know (the truth). (Al-Baqarah:21-22).

God Almighty created the heaven adorned with the sun and stars, the earth decked out with seas and lands in the best form. He placed senses each of which is more valuable than the universe into the spirit of man. Just as he bestowed on him an eye capable of seeing all beauties, a tongue which is able to take pleasures from all the tastes of the food, so too did He gift him a mind being competent to turn those delights tasted by those senses into knowledge and understanding. And He donated man a conscience that can appreciate not only the bounties filtered from the universe to help him but also physical and spiritual presents placed into his body.

Man can make out through the mind granted to him that he has not been created merely for this world and that he cannot be without any purpose or duty.

He fathoms trough his conscience that he must declare thanks and glorification to his Sustainer. He performs his worship only for Allah. He never attributes any partners to his Lord.

He feels affection solely towards Allah with his heart,; he loves all the creatures worthy of love for the sake of Him.

Even if he were not held responsible for the worship, his mind, heart and conscience would command him to offer worship and obedience to Allah. It is because only worship can gratify those senses.

It is quite obvious that God Almighty, who needs nothing, has no need of our worship. On the contrary, it is we who need to worship.

What will be our response in the Day of Judgment that willingly or unwillingly we will go through when Almighty God asks us Oh my servants! I created you out of nothing. I directed all my bounties in the earth to you in order to meet your endless needs. I fulfilled your needs all the time. My compassion and mercy had always been upon you. Whom were you then together with? Whom did you, completely ignorant of me, offer your praises and thanks to though I was truly worthy of them? Do you think the spiritual torture caused by the humiliation and being ashamed will be greater than the torment of hell? It must be the severe sense of embarrassment that makes the unbeliever utter Woe unto me! Would that I were (mere) dust!"

Just as a man cannot lead his life without religion, so too can Islam not be without performing worship. Let us exemplify this truth with an analogy. Just fancy an Islamic village where azan (call to prayer) is not called. Nobody performs prayers -neither bairam nor Friday prayers nor daily prayers-. No member of that rural community performs fasting, nor gives zakat (alms), goes to Makkah for hajj (pilgrimage). They do not read the Quran, nobody minds about what is haram (forbidden) and what is halal (licit); nobody knows what is obligation and what is incumbent. Nobody brings to his mind to proclaim praises and thanks in return to the never-ending bounties of the Allah.

Do those members of that village not enter a path absolutely contrary to commands of the Quran and the lifestyles of our Prophet (upon whom be peace), his companions, the saints and purified scholars, leading scholars and interpreters of Islamic law and mujaddids (revivers).

As a matter of fact, Islam is not a system based on only theory and conscience only. In many verses of the Revealed Quran, just following the word faith the phrase good deed is used and it is stressed out that good deed is a result of belief.

The reason of sending prophets is to teach the pillars of faith and essentials of Islam to people. That is to say, it is to teach people fully the fundamentals of faith, primarily belief in Allah, and to teach them thoroughly the duties of worship which will enable faith to reach into perfection. Only by means of these glorifications can faith of man become mature. The value of a servant in the presence of Allah depends on the sensibility he displays in his servitude to Him.

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