Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I The Sunday Guardian I August 24, 2014
According to the Quran, worship of God controls one's character. The Quran says: "Surely prayer restrains one from indecency and evil." (29:45). This Quranic verse gives us a very important aspect of worship. It presents the true picture of the worship of God.
Worship is not a spiritless ritual. Worship is a living act. A worshipper recites verses of the Quran during his prayer. These verses tell him about the "dos and don'ts" of his daily life. They tell him what the secret of success is and how one can obtain salvation in the world Hereafter. It means that ibadat, or worship, makes a worshipper very conscious about his daily behaviour and his social conduct. After performing prayer, when the worshipper returns to the society, he is a man with a difference. For example, in his worship, the worshipper repeatedly says: "Allah Akbar", which means: "Only God is great. Greatness belongs only to God Almighty". This saying inculcates the spirit of modesty in the worshipper. At the end of his worship, the believer addresses all of mankind by saying: "As-salam alaykum wa rehmatullah" (Peace and blessings be upon you!)A believer who worships every day and imbibes in himself this spirit is bound to become a person who is very cautious of his behaviour. He would live a life of modesty. He would live with the spirit of peace towards all mankind. This Quranic verse gives us a criterion to judge the veracity of worship of every individual. If one's worship qualifies this criterion, then it is worship in the true sense of the word. Those whose worship does not stand up to this criterion, then it is merely a spiritless ritual.
Worship is the entry to paradise. But this ticket will be granted by God Almighty only to those persons who qualify the criterion given in the above verse of the Quran.