In Qur’an, there is a verse talking about the reason for the creation of humans and it is directly related to worshipping. It says: “I created the jinn and humans for nothing else but that they may serve/worship Me; I desire from them no provision, nor do I want them to feed Me.” But what worship is?
As mentioned in Quran, God says that the human has been created to be in servitude, to adore, and to be in worship. It is not that God needs the worship of humans. So, what does this mean for us?
Coma and join me to discover the meaning of what worship looks like in different cultures and religions.
What worship means to me?
Let me start with a hadith, one of my favorites.
“I was a hidden treasure, loved to be known, and I created realms to be known.”
So worship has something to do with the intention of God to be known. And from here we can go to visit Ibn Arabi’s perception of life;
“Human is as for God, just as the pupil is for the eye, the view is thanks to a human.”
So from here, I come to a result that worship is seeing the artist in the art while living.
And look what I have found out again with the analogy of the pupil of the eye in the writings of Joseph Campbell the other day:
“The research for physical immortality proceeds from a misunderstanding of the traditional teaching. On the contrary, the basic problem is: to enlarge the pupil of the eye, so that the body with its attendant personality will no longer obstruct the view. Immortality is then experienced as a present fact: “It is here! It is here!”
In Sufi songs, you always see the lyrics talking about all the creatures of life are continuously saying the name of Allah. Birds are singing his name, doing dhikr all the time.
Worship for me is being aware of the creator all the time. Whatever I see, is seeing the One and being aware. When I smell a flower, seeing the One there. When I play with my kids, seeing the One in her smile, when I sing and feel the ecstasy, feeling the One inside me.
Worship means to me being here and now and opening the curtain so that I can realize that I have never been alone.
Worship for me is finding the balance and enlarge the pupil so that I will find the One in the present as it is here!
Maybe the meaning of worship for me is hidden in this poem of Ibn Arabi:
Theophany of Perfection
Hear, My beloved!
You are the reality intended by Becoming
The center of the circle and its circumference
Its intricacy and simplicity
You are the order brought down between heaven and earth
I have not created realizations for you except that you realize Me in them,
So when you realize Me you realize yourself
Do not hope to realize Me in seeing your self: By my eye, you will see Me and your self,
But you will not see Me by the eye of your self.
How often I call you and you do not hear
Show Myself to you and you do not see
Clothe Myself in fragrances which you do not inhale,
And flavors in which you do not savor a taste for My sake.
What is the matter with you that you do not sense Me when you touch
That you do not smell Me in the fragrance of musk
That you do not see Me
That you do not hear Me
What is the matter with you
For you, I am rapture beyond any delight
My longing for you is deeper than any desire
And I am more profitable for you than any benefit,
Because I am the Beautiful
I am the Graceful
Love Me, Love Me alone.
Desire Me, ardently.
Pine for Me, not for another.
Embrace Me, accept Me, you won’t find an intimate like Me
Everything wants you for itself, but I want you for your sake
And you, you avoid me.
In drawing close you cannot meet Me half-way
For My drawing close outweighs a hundredfold the means by which you draw close I am closer to you than yourself
Yes, your self, where all this is enacted for you, which unlike Me, is created.
I am jealous of you from you I cannot bear to see you with others or with yourself
Be with Me in Me, and with yourself just as you are with Me
Then, My beloved, you will not even feel the Union, The Union.
Were we to find a path towards separation,
We would let separation savor separation
Come, hand in hand,
Stand before the Truth that It may judge between us with the judgment of eternity.
What worship means in the bible?
The Bible doesn’t give any specific definition of what worship is.
Worship is acknowledging and praising God for his powers and everything he did for you and can do for you in the future. The declaration must come from your lips and your spirit. You can clearly understand that from the following verse from the Bible:
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24
This is what worship means to God. Many people praise God only through their voices. But they don’t work on their words nor believe the comment they make. For those people, God said:
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” – Matthew 15-8:9
What worship is not?
Worship is something that you must perform from your heart. When you truly worship with your spirit, you know God will do something that will make you happy. Like the famous writer R.T. Kendall quotes:
“A vital ingredient of worship is expectancy believing that something good is going to happen.” – R.T. Kendall (writer)
Often people misunderstand worship with prayers. But true worship is not only limited to praying. It is much more than that. Worship is not a routine to follow but a performance to do with the heart.
When worship becomes routine
So, when does worship become a routine? Well, when you only do prayers in some specific times without any passion or belief towards God, it will become a mundane routine in your life. For instance, only performing Salah five times a day is not what worship truly means in Islam.
When worship becomes a performance
When you try to please your creator even if you are not praying, that is when you perform worship. It is a belief that God always sees you; hence you must follow his orders.
Singing in places of worship
Singing in places of worship is also a good practice in some traditions, especially in Sufism, Christianity, and Hinduism. There are many reasons why worship song is important.
Singing is the shortest way to reach the Creator inside you. It elevates your mood to another level thanks to its vibrations.
“Music is the main means to awaken the soul, there is nothing better. Music is the shortest and most direct way to God.”
Hazrat Inayat Khan
It connects you to God in a unique way. Worship with singing often helps express your feelings for God more efficiently. That’s because when you sing, not only your lip is involved, but also your mind and your heart is.
“Sufi music is the door to the world of spirit. Music can entertain and serve different social functions, but it finally has another call: to function as a ladder that links the human with the heavenly world, that is, to help the human kingdom to ascend to the world of the spirit.”
Jordi Delclos, “The therapeutic dimension of music in Sufism”
What worship can do and why worship is important?
When you truly worship with your heart and spirit, it can bring positive changes in your life. Below I have discussed why worship is important for everyone:
What worship does?
Worship can purify our hearts. It makes us believe in God and life beyond death. Worship teaches us to express gratitude.
How worship changes us?
Moreover, worship can change our perspective about the world. When we worship, we learn to value everything we have. We find happiness in everything and focus on doing good things.
Worship when life is tough
When life is tough, it is essential to worship and seek help from the Almighty. God is the strongest one who can help you get rid of any difficult situation.
Can worship bring healing?
When your heart is broken, it needs healing. Only God can help you with that. And what can be the better way to communicate God other than worship? I remember one of my friends who lost her close ones in an accident. She then focused on worshipping more with a broken heart. Soon, I saw her smiling with happiness.
Worshipping in cultures and mythologies
Different cultures and mythologies worship different divine beings. Some of them are:
Who worships Buddha?
Unlike other religions, most Buddhists do not believe in God. Therefore, Buddhists worship Buddha. He is not a God but still respected and revered in Buddhism.
How often do Buddhist worship
Buddhists usually worship three times a day. They worship by chanting Pali stanzas and suttas taken out from the Cannon before an image of the Lord Buddha.
Who worships Odin?
If you are familiar with Norse mythology, you must have heard of Odin. The Vikings worship Odin the All-father.
Who worships fire?
Fire has divine significance in many religions. However, it is Zoroastrians who worship fire. Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Followers of this religion can be found in Iran, India, and a few other countries.
Who worships Ravana?
Ravana was a Demon King in Hindu mythology. He was also one of the most loyal devotees of Lord Shiva. That is why many Hindu people worship Ravana.
Why worship Shiva?
Shiva is the God of destruction in Hinduism. Many Hindus also consider Shiva as the only God who creates, protects, and destroys the universe. That is why Hindus worship Shiva.
Why worship Krishna?
Krishna is one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism. He is the God of protection and love. Hindus worship Krishna for a healthy life and also for prosperity.
How to Worship?
Worship is a common ingredient in all different paths around the world. Let’s look at each briefly.
How to worship Allah?
Usually, Muslims worship Allah through Salah. But anything you do to satisfy Allah is considered worship or ibadat in Islam.
How often does Islam worship?
In Islam, Muslims perform salah or prayer five times a day. There is a story about salah numbers.
Prophet Muhammad, accompanied by Gabriel, leaves Mecca and ascends to the sky. The prophet saw and was welcomed by Adam, Jesus, John the Baptist, Joseph, Idris, Aaron, and Moses and by Abraham. And finally talked to God directly.
There God said to Prophet Muhammad that people need to pray 50 times a day. On his way back from heaven, Prophet Muhammad saw Moses and Moses asked what was the order of God and Prophet Muhammad told him. Moses said that he should go back and decrease the number as this is a lot for people. Then Prophet Muhammad went back again to God to ask to decrease and Moses said, again and again, finally, Prophet Muhammad after having the number 5 times, decided not to go back as he was feeling ashamed to ask so much to God.
Even though it seems so hard for us to be unattached from the desires and daily tasks of this world, here is a reminder of Rumi:
“Your task? To work with all the passion of your being to acquire an inner light, so you escape and are safe from the fires of madness, illusion, and confusion that are, and always will be, the world. When you have acquired this light, then every kind of power, all rank, status, and every conceivable reward the world could offer you will pass like a flash of lightning when they shine on your heart…”
How to worship God?
This story about salah numbers is full of symbols for us to reflect on to understand its deeper meanings. Even though there is always a thread that the form can become first than the meaning, still the form of it has its wisdom in it as well.
As Yunus Emre said
Sharia, tariqa is the way to reach
Truth is inside the moment.
So let’s see the different worship ways around the world.
How often do Jewish worship
Jewish worship or pray three times a day.
How to worship Lord Shiva?
You can worship Lord Shiva in both your home and Temple. If you visit a temple, the priest may guide you with chanting to Lord Shiva. You also can sit and meditate in front of the shrine. Besides, chanting mantras and texts from Shaivism are also ways to worship Shiva.
How often does Hinduism worship?
Hindus worship at least once a day, usually in the morning. However, a religious person in Hinduism is expected to worship three times a day.
How to worship Egyptian Gods?
Jung says that if you can connect with your traditions and religion that do that as all the symbolism in your unconscious would let you connect.
“…Religious traditions are rich in customs and ceremonies for meeting anything that might befall a person. There are rituals to help carry us over a threshold during life transitions such as birth, becoming an adult, marriage, and death. For some people, prescribed rituals still work effectively. Sometimes you can modify a religious ritual to meet your requirements and thereby devise the medicine (ceremony) that is exactly right for your particular ailment- this is the highest form of creativity.”
But if you can not do so, it is important to listen to your gut feeling. If you are feeling connected to Egyptian Gods and goddesses, you will find your way to worship them and what does this mean for you. Follow your inner guidance and read and get inspired and see the signals and read the symbols.
In my spiritual journey, I always find the simplicity of the laws of life. All those recipes in different paths are not there to make life harder for me, quite opposite they are for me to live life as a ritual continuously.
First I do the rituals until I do not need them anymore. Because my act of living converts to worship at some point.
I wish we can all live life as that fulfilling, as realizing the One in everything, all the time.
Even though the spaces vary, they have many commonalities. They are beautiful, safe and they guide you to remember your connection.
If this article inspired you, you can also read these articles below:
Place of Worship for Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam
What Is the Place of Worship?
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