top of page

A Quranic perspective on the act of worship

Updated: May 30

Ibadah (Arabic: عبادة‎, ‘ibādah, also spelt ibada) is an Arabic word meaning service or servitude.[1] In Islam and if we examine the word in the Quran, ibadah is usually translated as "worship”. (Source: Wikipedia).

The act of worship is to most people mainly prostrating and witnessing the prayer. The Quran, therefore, informs us that the act of worship is a far deeper idea than the act of prayer alone.

As mentioned in chapter 20 verse 14, the words of God, referring to Prophet Moses:

Indeed, I am Allah. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance. 20:14

The words "worship Me" and "establish the Salat", which are spoken of as separate acts, tell us that worshipping God is not confined to the ritual of Salat.

The act of ‘salat’ is seen as many Muslims as a decreed spiritual ritual to be practised at particular times in the day, whereas, the act of ‘worship’ is the betterment of one’s mind, body and soul. [2]

The act of ‘worship’ in our lives it is an elevated divine consciousness and the recognition of God and with this, it is, in fact, the nourishing of one’s soul. [2]

Attaining inner peace and true happiness, with the act of worship becomes difficult if it is not dedicated exclusively to God alone.

By submitting to God alone, our physical bodies become increasingly in a perceptual state of worship. [2] Our organs, cells, and tissues are all in submission to God and all have a specific function ordained by God which we have no control over whatsoever. However, our souls are given freedom of choice in this life. If body and soul take the same route in the submission to God alone, they will be in perfect harmony with each other meaning, true happiness and a great reward in the hereafter.

On the flip side, if body and soul are working oppositely and not in harmony or become egotistical, unappreciative of God’s blessings, the true happiness would be difficult to achieve in this life or in the hereafter.

As chapter 6 verse 114 it says:

[Say], "Then is it other than Allah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book explained in detail?" And those to whom We [previously] gave the Scripture know that it is sent down from your Lord in truth, so never be among the doubters. (6:114)

The Quran provides believers with the answer to the questions, which include:

  • Whom should we worship?

  • Whom should we never worship?

  • How should we worship?

As a fully detailed book, as it says in chapter 6 verse 114, the Quran is a fully detailed book.

There are a lot of people including believers who will seem offended by the first question. They will answer by saying “we worship God of course”. However, as the Quran is a fully detailed book it explains that what the human being worships is not necessarily what he/she says he/she worships but what or whoever occupies his/her mind most of the time. [2]

You could be worshipping the follow if they occupy your mind most of your time, these include:

  • Your children and spouse

  • Your material possessions

  • One’s own ego

  • Objects

  • The messengers, angels, and saints

  • The devil

Every one of us needs to ask himself/herself 2 questions and in all honesty:

  1. How many of these acts are regularly observed?

  2. How many of these acts are done for God alone?

The answer to both questions will provide an accurate indicator of the purity of your Worship. The answer will also determine whether you qualify to join the elite group of God's servants whom God calls "Ebad Allah Al-Mokhlaseen" (God's pure servants).

Try to take each of the eleven acts on its own and weigh your actions against it.

For example, do you glorify anyone besides God? Do you idolise anyone to the extent of calling them perfect (God is the only absolute perfection)?

  • Do you love anyone as much as you love God? Do you commemorate any name as much as you commemorate the name of God, or even more?

  • Do you obey any religious law that is derived from a source other the Quran?

  • Do you place your total trust and dependence on others believing that they have the power to help you on their own?

  • Do you on the other hand often fear others believing that they have the power to harm you?

  • Do you call on any dead human beings (saints, messengers or prophets) and implore them to help you in any way?

  • Do you believe that any human has the power to save you on Judgement Day?

Are you comfortable with the feeling that God is all you need (39:36)?

Are you happy with the mention of the name of God alone (39:45)?

And finally, are you obsessed with your business or your loved ones to the extent that you dedicate all your life to them and become negligent of the only reason for which we were all created? That being to worship God:

“I have not created the jinn and the humans except to worship Me.” 51:56

The higher degree of honesty you abide by in answering these questions, the more accurate you will be able to determine if you worship God or not, and more importantly will indicate as to whether you worship God alone or not!




33 views0 comments


bottom of page