Both Arabic and English languages share the same fundamental understanding of the word "worship". The following dictionary definitions truly reflect the essence and the full depth of this word in both languages:
- To honor and love as a deity.
- To regard with ardent or adoring esteem.
- To honor with extravagant love and extreme submission, as a lover; to adore; to idolize.
- To pay divine honors to; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration; to adore; to venerate.
- To love unquestioningly and uncritically or to excess
- To show devotion to (a deity)
- To pay divine honors to the Supreme Being; religious reverence and homage; adoration, or acts of reverence, paid to God, or a being viewed as God.
Based on the above meanings, worship is a complicated act as it involves certain deep emotions of extreme honor, regard, passion, adoration, trust, devotion, remembrance and reverence. The implications and the consequent obligations of all these emotions attribute heaviness and intricacy to the act of worship. This means that the act is not just limited to specific rituals but rather tense and sophisticated complex of feelings dedicated to whoever we reach a conviction for its worthiness of our act of worship.
When the word "worship" is used in Quran, it is used as comprehensive as above; the deep senses of devotion, honor, dedication, reverence, remembrance, respect, trust and passion are sufficiently illustrated. In fact, worship is often mentioned distinctively, as an addition to our religious practices and/or our acts of righteousness. The following verses make it clear that worship adds intensity, depth and character to these rituals or acts:
[20:14] "I am GOD; there is no other god beside Me. You shall worship Me alone, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) to remember Me.
[22:77] O you who believe, you shall bow, prostrate, worship your Lord, and work righteousness, that you may succeed.
[70:22] Except for the worshipers.
[70:23] Who always observe their contact prayers (Salat).
[70:24] Part of their money is set aside.
[70:25] For the poor and the needy.
[70:26] They believe in the Day of Judgment.
[70:27] They reverence their Lord's requital.
[70:28] Their Lord's requital is not taken for granted.
[70:29] They keep their chastity.
[2:207] Then there are those who dedicate their lives to serving GOD; GOD is compassionate towards such worshipers.
[98:5] All that was asked of them was to worship GOD, devoting the religion absolutely to Him alone, observe the contact prayers (Salat), and give the obligatory charity (Zakat). Such is the perfect religion.
[9:112] They are the repenters, the worshipers, the praisers, the meditators, the bowing and prostrating, the advocators of righteousness and forbidders of evil, and the keepers of GOD's laws. Give good news to such believers.
[40:65] He is the Living; there is no god except He. You shall worship Him alone, devoting your religion absolutely to Him alone. Praise be to GOD, Lord of the universe.
[6:161] Say, "My Lord has guided me in a straight path - the perfect religion of Abraham, monotheism. He never was an idol worshiper."
[6:162] Say, "My Contact Prayers (Salat), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to GOD alone, the Lord of the universe.
[6:163] "He has no partner. This is what I am commanded to believe, and I am the first to submit."
[7:55] You shall worship your Lord publicly and privately; He does not love the transgressors.
[7:56] Do not corrupt the earth after it has been set straight, and worship Him out of reverence, and out of hope. Surely, GOD's mercy is attainable by the righteous.
[40:60] Your Lord says, "Implore Me, and I will respond to you. Surely, those who are too arrogant to worship Me will enter Gehenna, forcibly."
[3:162] Is one who pursues GOD's pleasure the same as one who incurs wrath from GOD and his destiny is Hell, the most miserable abode?
[3:163] They certainly occupy different ranks at GOD. GOD is Seer of everything they do.
[13:22] They steadfastly persevere in seeking their Lord, observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), spend from our provisions to them secretly and publicly, and counter evil with good. These have deserved the best abode.
[5:35] O you who believe, you shall reverence GOD and seek the ways and means to Him, and strive in His cause, that you may succeed.
[19:65] The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and everything between them; you shall worship Him and steadfastly persevere in worshiping Him. Do you know of anyone who equals Him?
[2:165] Yet, some people set up idols to rival GOD, and love them as if they are GOD. Those who believe love GOD the most.....
We thus understand that when we are in true love with God, we devote our life and death to Him and we become obsessed with regarding His commands, observing His rites and honoring His ethics. We value His attributes. We become preoccupied with seeking His pleasure and approval. We compete in serving Him. We remember Him out of passion, adoration and reverence. We meditate and praise Him in awe of Him. We love what He loves and abhor what He abhors. We appreciate His words and this is why we take them seriously. We unconditionally trust in His promises. We respect and submit to His set systems. We are worshipers of God when all of these deep emotions of love set the rhythm of our subconscious and our reality while observing Him Alone.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.