"And remind, for the reminder benefits the believers. I have not created the jinn and mankind except to worship Me." -Qur'an 51:56
The absolute perfect (Al Quddus), exalted (Al Aliyy), highest and greatest (Al Kabir) is the Creator (Al Khaliq) and Fashioner of all Forms (Al Musawwir), Allah, subhana wa ta'ala (pure is He, without partners and Exalted). The only one (Al Ahad) deserving of praise (Al Hamid) and the only one worthy of worship.
As Muslims, we are well aware (or atleast should be) that Allah hasn't created us but for one noble purpose and that is to worship Him. Allah has also bestowed us the faculty of thought; inclining us to be inquistive. As such, we cannot resist to question: "why should we worship Allah?" It, of course, ties back to the first clause of the first Kalima: "la ilaha ill Allah" meaning "there is nothing (and no one) worthy of worship but Allah". The operative word of the aforementioned is "worthy". For certainly there are other objects, people and things that are worshipped, venerated or regarded as only Allah should be regarded in this world. But Allah, the Lord and Creator of the heavens, earth and all else is the only one WORTHY of worship. Every prophet of Allah, from Adam, Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Issa (Jesus) to Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all, was called to summon people to the right path; to the obedience and worship of Allah and Allah alone.
"For We assuredly raised in every nation a messenger (prophet, warner) with the command: 'Serve Allah and shun false gods', of the people were some whom Allah guided and some on whom error was inevitably established. So travel through the earth and see what was the fate of those who denied the Truth." -Qur'an 16:36
For those whose strife is a journey unto the right path, have firm enough understanding that it is not through anything or anyone, no intercessor, no intermediary, that we worship our Lord. Regardless to how beautiful or alluring an object or design, it has no power except what Allah permits. Regardless to how wise, knowledgable, successful, pious or devout a prophet, imam, priest, saint, man or woman is or once was, remember, Allah is the source of all knowledge (Al Alim), the source of all truth (Al Haqq), and no one has acquired in intellect, honor or prestige except what Allah allowed. There is nothing that occurs outside of His Will or without His Leave. And so to Him, Allah, do we owe all praise and worship DIRECTLY. Shameful is it to think that your Lord is not compassionate (Ar Ra'uf) enough, loving (Al Wadud) enough, forgiving (Al Ghafur) or caring (Al Barr) enough to accept your worship, your prayers, your supplications (du'a) and pleas for forgiveness directly.
"O My servants who have trangressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins. Lo! He is Oft-Forgivng, Most Merciful." -Qur'an 39:53
In having the proper concept of Allah, thereby we can enjoin the proper worship of Allah. We realize continual worship and continual remembrance of Allah, the transitoriness and triviality of this world and the concernment of the Hereafter go hand in hand. With the correct awareness, worship works to keep one in line and is a means to purifying our very souls. We accrue blessings and shall, in'sha'Allah, be rewarded for our sincere devotion and implication.
Allah has designed us such that our comprehension must (eventually) advance beyond "because God said so." The question, then arises, in acknowledging Allah is worthy of worship, what makes Him so? Why is He worthy of our worship, our servitude?
Commonly, one might respond in listing the literally countless good, favors, blessings and wonders He has done. These are all indeed reasons to venerate our Lord, but anything Allah has done is but a secondary reason deserving Him of any worship. Primarily, we (should) worship Allah because of Who He is, not for what He does. Our worship certainly isn't for His benefit. Allah will be Allah with or without our servitude. Every attribute, every quality I've mentioned and those I haven't will remain regardless. He Was before we were and shall eternally (As-Samad) remain. It is the worshipper who benefits, not Allah. And there was no better worshipper of Allah than His final messenger, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam, who has left with us his example, his footsteps. Wise are those to follow if it is the pleasure of their Lord they seek.
Islam is so extraordinary, so beautiful in that it enables the Muslim to convert the most trivial and commonplace of actions into an act of worship. By merely preposing the right intention can we make reading, working, speaking, playing, eating, walking and even sleeping constitute as worship. Activities like raising properly and feeding your family is serving Allah, being that He has commanded we do so. This includes playtime with our children, caring and looking after our parents, intimacy with our spouses. ANY act we set forth that benefits, aides, assist and/or prepares us in fulfilling our most noble purpose can be worship itself; so long as we acknowledge it before engaging the act. And, of course, avoid those fruitless acts which will hender or distract us from the reason of our existence.
I pray all my brothers and sisters in Islam realize the religion, or more appropriately, the way (deen) of God is not merely a matter of "do this but don't do that". Islam is not merely tradition, there are blessings involved in not only enjoining the rights but even moreso in understanding why we should do them. Allah, in the Qur'an, urges us in a so many places to think and use reason. Never should we hesistate to take that advice and inquire and investigate so that we might constantly excel in faith (iman), wisdom (hikma) and the conciousness of Allah (taqwaa). Bare in mind that each desire, effort and step towards learning about Allah and His Way is an act of worship. And in knowing the reasons and blessings behind each splash and wipe of our wudu, our salah, our sujood, our every prostration, our du'a, our zakat, our hajj, our smile, it is practically impossible to do any of the like with the same attitude or mindset we had prior to knowing.
Iyyāka na'budu wa iyyāka nasta'īn!