Traits of True Worshipers of God Alone – Join islam

The fundamental reason for our existence is to worship God alone. Yet, what exactly does it entail to worship God? God willing, in this article, we will attempt to better understand how we may achieve this by reflecting upon the verses regarding this topic in the Quran.

[51:56] I did not create the jinns and the humans except to worship Me alone.

 وَمَا خَلَقْتُ ٱلْجِنَّ وَٱلْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

To Serve

The Arabic word typically translated as “worship” in the Quran is “‘abad” ( عبد ), which means not only to worship but also to serve, as in a master-slave relationship. So if we consider anyone other than God as our master or think we are the slave of anyone other than God, then we would be falling into idol worship.


For this relationship to be true, it needs to be voluntary and not via compulsion. If we consider the expression used in the Quran to “obey God,” which is “atayu Allah” ( أَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّه ), the word “atayu” comes from the root ( ط و ع ) and means “to consent” or “to do so voluntarily.” Therefore this would be voluntary obedience and not forced obedience, which would be the word “karihu” ( كَرِهُوا۟ ).

[8:20] O you who believe, obey GOD and His messenger, and do not disregard him while you hear.

 يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَلَا تَوَلَّوْا۟ عَنْهُ وَأَنتُمْ تَسْمَعُونَ

For The Love of God

So why would anyone voluntarily choose to be a slave to God? An example can be seen in the worship of the Children of Israel towards the calf.

[2:51] Yet, when we summoned Moses for forty nights, you worshiped the calf in his absence, and turned wicked.

 وَإِذْ وَٰعَدْنَا مُوسَىٰٓ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً ثُمَّ ٱتَّخَذْتُمُ ٱلْعِجْلَ مِنۢ بَعْدِهِۦ وَأَنتُمْ ظَـٰلِمُونَ

[2:93] We made a covenant with you, as we raised Mount Sinai above you, saying, “You shall uphold the commandments we have given you, strongly, and listen.” They said, “We hear, but we disobey.” Their hearts became filled with adoration for the calf, due to their disbelief. Say, “Miserable indeed is what your faith dictates upon you, if you do have any faith.”

 وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَـٰقَكُمْ وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَكُمُ ٱلطُّورَ خُذُوا۟ مَآ ءَاتَيْنَـٰكُم بِقُوَّةٍ وَٱسْمَعُوا۟ قَالُوا۟ سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا وَأُشْرِبُوا۟ فِى قُلُوبِهِمُ ٱلْعِجْلَ بِكُفْرِهِمْ قُلْ بِئْسَمَا يَأْمُرُكُم بِهِۦٓ إِيمَـٰنُكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

15 wa-ush’ribū وَأُشْرِبُوا۟ And they were given to drink / imbued / filled
16 فِى in
17 qulūbihimu قُلُوبِهِمُ their hearts (love of)
18 l-ʿij’la ٱلْعِجْلَ the calf
Lanes Lexicon

This shows that we worship and are the willful slave to whatever we love the most. Therefore, if God is our true master, we should love God the most.

[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. If only the transgressors could see themselves when they see the retribution! They will realize then that all power belongs to GOD alone, and that GOD’s retribution is awesome.

 وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ أَندَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ ٱللَّهِ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّهِ وَلَوْ يَرَى ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوٓا۟ إِذْ يَرَوْنَ ٱلْعَذَابَ أَنَّ ٱلْقُوَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلْعَذَابِ

1 wamina وَمِنَ And among
2 l-nāsi ٱلنَّاسِ the people
3 man مَن who
4 yattakhidhu يَتَّخِذُ he takes
5 min مِن from
6 dūni دُونِ besides
7 l-lahi ٱللَّهِ God
8 andādan أَندَادًا rivals / equals.
9 yuḥibbūnahum يُحِبُّونَهُمْ They love them
10 kaḥubbi كَحُبِّ like (they should) love
11 l-lahi ٱللَّهِ God.
12 wa-alladhīna وَٱلَّذِينَ And those who
13 āmanū ءَامَنُوٓا۟ they believed (are)
14 ashaddu أَشَدُّ stronger
15 ḥubban حُبًّا (in) love
16 lillahi لِّلَّهِ for God.

As our #1 priority

We know we love God the most when we give God priority over everything else.

[9:24] Proclaim: “If your parents, your children, your siblings, your spouses, your family, the money you have earned, a business you worry about, and the homes you cherish are more beloved to you than GOD and His messenger, and the striving in His cause, then just wait until GOD brings His judgment.” GOD does not guide the wicked people.

 قُلْ إِن كَانَ ءَابَآؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَٰنُكُمْ وَأَزْوَٰجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَٰلٌ ٱقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَـٰرَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَـٰكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَآ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَجِهَادٍ فِى سَبِيلِهِۦ فَتَرَبَّصُوا۟ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِىَ ٱللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِۦ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلْفَـٰسِقِينَ

How can we tell if we love God more than our parents, children, siblings, spouses, family, work, etc.? When we must choose between God or any of these other things, we always choose God. A simple example can be seen by means of the Friday prayer. Consider when the Friday Prayer is announced, do we drop everything to make God our #1 priority?

[62:9] O you who believe, when the Congregational Prayer (Salat Al-Jumu’ah) is announced on Friday, you shall hasten to the commemoration of GOD, and drop all business. This is better for you, if you only knew.

 يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا نُودِىَ لِلصَّلَوٰةِ مِن يَوْمِ ٱلْجُمُعَةِ فَٱسْعَوْا۟ إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ وَذَرُوا۟ ٱلْبَيْعَ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

We Are Eternally Appreciative

Whatever we love the most causes us to be thankful when we get to serve them.

[2:172] O you who believe, eat from the good things we provided for you, and be thankful to GOD, if you do worship Him alone.

 يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُلُوا۟ مِن طَيِّبَـٰتِ مَا رَزَقْنَـٰكُمْ وَٱشْكُرُوا۟ لِلَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

This is because we get true satisfaction by obtaining their approval and good favor.

[2:207] Then there are those who dedicate their lives to serving GOD; GOD is compassionate towards such worshipers.

 وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَشْرِى نَفْسَهُ ٱبْتِغَآءَ مَرْضَاتِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱللَّهُ رَءُوفٌۢ بِٱلْعِبَادِ

1 wamina وَمِنَ And of
2 l-nāsi ٱلنَّاسِ the people
3 man مَن (is the one) who
4 yashrī يَشْرِى [he] exchanges / gives up (dedicates)
5 nafsahu نَفْسَهُ his own self
6 ib’tighāa ٱبْتِغَآءَ seeking
7 marḍāti مَرْضَاتِ pleasure
8 l-lahi ٱللَّهِ (of) God.
9 wal-lahu وَٱللَّهُ And God (is)
10 raūfun رَءُوفٌۢ Compassionate
11 bil-ʿibādi بِٱلْعِبَادِ to the servants.

to please God

If God is our Master, we should want to do the things that please Him for the sake of pleasing Him. If we are good to our parents, children, family, community, employer, etc. it is ultimately because we want to please God.

[76:9] “We feed you for the sake of GOD; we expect no reward from you, nor thanks.

 إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ ٱللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمْ جَزَآءً وَلَا شُكُورًا

1 innamā إِنَّمَا “Only
2 nuṭ’ʿimukum نُطْعِمُكُمْ we feed you [all]
3 liwajhi لِوَجْهِ for the face / sake
4 l-lahi ٱللَّهِ (of) God.
5 لَا Not
6 nurīdu نُرِيدُ we desire / seek
7 minkum مِنكُمْ from you [all]
8 jazāan جَزَآءً a reward
9 walā وَلَا and not
10 shukūran شُكُورًا thanks.

For Only God’s Approval Matters

The reason we consider God to be our Master and only want to please Him is because we recognize that He alone provides for us and can make us happy.

[10:18] They worship beside GOD idols that possess no power to harm them or benefit them, and they say, “These are our intercessors at GOD!” Say, “Are you informing GOD of something He does not know in the heavens or the earth?” Be He glorified. He is the Most High; far above needing partners.

 وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ شُفَعَـٰٓؤُنَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ قُلْ أَتُنَبِّـُٔونَ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا لَا يَعْلَمُ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَلَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ سُبْحَـٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَـٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

So if we think anything independent of God has the power to harm or benefit us, then we are not worshiping God alone.

[10:106] “You shall not worship beside GOD what possesses no power to benefit you or harm you. If you do, you will be a transgressor.”

 وَلَا تَدْعُ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكَ وَلَا يَضُرُّكَ فَإِن فَعَلْتَ فَإِنَّكَ إِذًا مِّنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

[10:107] If GOD touches you with a hardship, none can relieve it except He. And when He blesses you, no force can prevent His grace. He bestows it upon whomever He chooses from among His servants. He is the Forgiver, Most Merciful.

 وَإِن يَمْسَسْكَ ٱللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلَا كَاشِفَ لَهُۥٓ إِلَّا هُوَ وَإِن يُرِدْكَ بِخَيْرٍ فَلَا رَآدَّ لِفَضْلِهِۦ يُصِيبُ بِهِۦ مَن يَشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِۦ وَهُوَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ


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