Living The Quran
From Issue: 1047 [Read full issue]
Servanthood and Love
Al-Zumar (The Throngs) Sura 39: Verse 53 (partial)
Know that among God's creatures, perfect honour belongs to two groups: angels and Adamites. This is why He appointed prophets and messengers from among these two groups rather than any others. Their utmost eminence lies in two things: servanthood and love. Sheer servanthood is the attribute of the angels, and servanthood and love are both attributes of the Adamites.
He gave the angels sheer servanthood, which is the attribute of creation. Along with servanthood He gave the Adamites the robe of love, which is the attribute of the Real. Thus He says concerning this community, "He loves them, and they love Him" [5:54]. He also gave the Adamites superiority over the angels in servanthood, for He said that servanthood is the angels' attribute, but without ascription to Himself: "Nay, but they are honored servants" [21:26]. He ascribed the Adamites' servanthood to Himself: "O My servants!"
Then, according to the requirement of love, He completed His bounty on them. He concealed their defects and disobedient acts with the lights of love and did not tear away their curtain. Do you not see that He decreed slips for them, yet, despite all those slips, He did not remove the name servant from them? Despite mentioning the slips and disobedience, He did not take away the eminence of ascription? He said, "O My servants who have been immoderate against yourselves, despair not of God's mercy."
Then He kept the curtain over them and did not make the sins manifest, instead mentioning them in sum, with the lid on. He concealed them and said, "who have been immoderate." They were immoderate, they were extravagant. But He desired to forgive them, so He did not tear away the curtain, nor did He throw away the name servant. Glory be to Him—how clement He is to His servants!
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi, p. 436