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Article appeared Friday, June 14th, 2019 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (574) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD


What is worship? Can worship be understood or defined? And in today’s day and age do
we worship “gods” other than the Almighty Creator of the Universe? How can these
questions be answered? In addition to dictionary definitions, the Internet contains
explanations to help understand the essence or the practical meaning of worship directly
related to what we do in our day to day life. The Google dictionary gives the following
synonyms of the verb “worship” to:
“revere, pay homage to, honour, adore, praise, pray to, bow down
before, glorify, exalt, extol; be devoted to, dote on, love, hold dear, cherish,
treasure, admire, idolize, deify, hero-worship, have a high regard for, hold in high
regard, hold in awe, look up to; be wild about, put on a pedestal; magnify;…”

As these words are related to God, is it possible to worship objects, persons or even
things other than God? For example, can one idolize a movie star? Can one be devoted
to the pursuit of making money? It is possible to like a movie star and it is also
necessary to earn a living – so are the definitions confusing? The website,
desiringGod.org, provides definitions that may help clear up the confusion.
“True worship is a valuing or a treasuring of God above all things.” {1}

“Right worship, good worship, pleasing worship depends on a right mental grasp
of the way God really is.” {1}

So worship of God requires a study of the way “God really is” meaning that we should
mentally work out who God is, and the fact that He must have a purpose in creating us
and we must fulfill that purpose. By way of an explanation to the definitions, Pastor John
{1} adds the following.
“The inner essence of worship is the response of the heart to the knowledge of
the mind when the mind is rightly understanding God and the heart is rightly
valuing God. Or you could use words like treasuring or prizing God or delighting
in God or reverencing God or being satisfied with God. All of these inner
responses to God reflect his infinite worth and beauty. That is what worship was
designed to do: put the supreme worth of God on display. In fact, the English
word “worship” comes from worth ship. That is, worship is showing, displaying
the worth of God...above all earthly things.” {1}

It is important to realize that God is not a figment of our imagination, e.g., we have not
created God in our minds for the purpose of serving our needs nor is it because humans
have a need to rely on an external being – God is very real and He has created us to
give Him the value that is His Right as our Creator, Provider and Sustainer. So, do we
imagine that objects other than God are worthy of giving importance over and above
Him? That is, do we imagine other gods and worship them?

Lets start by considering how we devote our time and what are the things that we value
most? The website wordofgodtoday.com discusses some gods of modern times {2}.
“Technology has given us more sophisticated blocks of wood and pieces of metal
or stone…our computers, televisions, and other electronic marvels that consume
our time and lives. Also, many devotees are often out polishing their fancy cars
while the true God is being worshiped by the faithful. Any unknowing person
would have to conclude that such ones were serving their gods. They are in fact
“junk gods.”…people have actually given their lives to serve them. These are not
the only gods of the 21st century…think about the greed and the lust for money
in this age…Pleasure is another god of our age. It is a multi-million dollar
business…another of the pleasure goddesses is, of course, sex. Today we have
strayed far from the Creator’s plan that decreed sex was to be a blessed and
sanctified gift to a husband and wife.” {2}

Those who do not give priority and value to God, in fact, worship other objects. So, how
should God treat people who have denied Him and prefer created objects? The Qur’an
responds to this question.
“The Day He will gather them together as well as those whom they worship
besides God and will ask: "Was it you who led these, my servants astray, or did
they stray from the Path themselves?"” [25.17]

The other so-called “gods” including humans/prophets who were deified will respond:

25.18 “They will say, "Glory to You! It was not for us that we should take for
protectors others besides You: but You bestowed on them and their fathers
good things (in the earthly life) till they forgot the Message: for they were a
people (worthless and) lost.”
For example, did Prophet Jesus [5.116] or his mother Mary ever say worship me?

25.19 “(God will say): "Now have they proved you liars in what you say: so
you cannot avert (your penalty) nor (get) help." And whoever among you
does wrong him shall We cause to taste of a grievous Penalty.”

25.20 “And the apostles whom We sent before you (O, Muhammad) were all
(men) who ate food and walked through the streets: We have made some of
you as a trial for others: will you have patience? For God is One Who sees
(all things).”
Everything in the universe is created, and there is only one Creator whom the Qur’an
refers to as Allah. All prophets brought the same Message from Him [13.38].

25.21 “Such as fear not the meeting with Us (for Judgment) say, "Why are
not the angels sent down to us or (why) do we not see our Lord?" Indeed
they have an arrogant conceit of themselves and mighty is the insolence of
their impiety!”
Those who are ungrateful and arrogant do not believe that they will be accountable –
they look for excuses to ridicule God and His Angels. However, God responds…

25.22 “The Day they see the angels no joy will there be to the sinners that
Day: the (angels) will say: "There is a barrier forbidden (to you)
altogether!"”

25.23 “And We shall make whatever deeds they did (in this life) as floating
dust scattered about.”
On the other hand, those who gave priority and value to God will be resting in Paradise.

25.24 “The Companions of the Garden will be well that Day in their abode
and have the best of places for resting.”
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{Notes}:
{1} https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-is-worship
{2} http://www.wordofgodtoday.com/are-we-worshiping-junk-gods/