Servanthood and Love, Constant Relationship, Expressing Gratitude
Issue 1047 » April 19, 2019 - Shaban 14, 1440
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
Abu Hurayrah reports: 'When the Prophet left his home, he would say: "In the name of God; on Him I do rely; no power operates except by His will".' [Bismillah; al-tuklan ala Allah; wa la hawl wala quwwata illa billah.] [Bukhari]
This hadith is part of the overall perspective a Muslim should have. He is in a constant relationship with God and he trusts all his affairs to Him. When a person goes out, he does not know what he will encounter. There may be some dangers of which he is unaware, or he may be in a situation where he could deliberately or unintentionally cause harm to others.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) started with God's name, as this was customary for him. He used to say that any action of importance should start with God's name. Otherwise, it remains disconnected. He made it clear that he relies on God and entrusts himself to Him, acknowledging that no power can operate except by His will. We will do well to emulate the Prophet in every respect. If we say this simple supplication as we go out, we feel much more relaxed.
"Al-Adab al-Mufrad with Full Commentary: A Perfect Code of Manners and Morality" - Adil Salahi
Mastering, controlling the passions is traditionally known as moral healing. Anything that reinforces and strengthens the power of reason to attract the heart, the center of self, towards the Real, the Truth, serves to morally heal and balance the self. Prescribed fasting is one of the best disciplines to reinforce values about what is right or wrong for the believer.
For the believer, remembrance of the afterlife and the eternal possibility of self gives life meaning and connection to the unseen world. It is this 'eternal possibility of self' which, for the believer, needs to control 'the preservation of the species' or lust and 'the preservation of the individual' or anger. If a person does not believe what he or she is doing is the right thing to do, is a reinforcement of the eternal possibility of self, there will be inner conflict. This inner conflict will cause two effects: either a weakening of will power which will, in turn, undermine the believer's ability to attain the goal he or she set forth to perform the prescribed fast in the month of Ramadan or secondly, the believer may fast, but it will be an even greater struggle than it has to be. Once the values of the believer are clarified, resulting in a relaxing of the tension between attachment to this world vs. attachment to the eternal world, the struggle within the self becomes more manageable and with greater chance of success. The prescribed fast then becomes a means for the believer to express gratitude for the blessings one has received.
Ramadan: Motivating Believers To Action, "Moral Healing Through Fasting" - Laleh Bakhtiar