Busy with Service, Attention, Guided by Love
Issue 1057 » June 28, 2019 - Shawwal 25, 1440
Busy with Service
Al-Nahl (The Bee) Sura 16: Verse 2
The reality of the spirit is that within which is the life of the heart and the life of the religion. It is the beauty of the Quran's exaltedness, which reached Mustafa from the Divine Presence with the attribute of the message by the emissary Gabriel.
But you should know that this pavilion of the submission is set up only on the plain of godwariness, for He says, "There is no god but I, so be wary of Me."
The reality of godwariness is the heart's purity of everything other than the Real. Just as submission is obligatory for the world's creatures, so also godwariness is obligatory. When the foundation of the religion was put down, it was put down on godwariness, for everyone who became a possessor of friendship became so through godwariness. "Surely His friends are only the godwary" [8:34]. Tomorrow the friendship of the next world will be assigned to those who are called godwary: "The outcome belongs to the godwary" [7:128].
The first condition of godwariness is that you be the guardian of your own heart and do three things: You do not give yourself over to wishing, you avoid everything that is not approved, and you not be heedless of the Real for one moment.
God's mercy be upon those chevaliers who do not turn away from serving the Real to serving the creatures! Every single part of each of them is busy with service, and all their moments are immersed in observing the rightful dues of the Real. None of their parts is free to serve the creatures, none of their moments is wasted in antagonism toward the creatures.
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi, p. 274
Abu Hurayrah reports that the Prophet said: 'A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice'. [Muslim, Ibn Majah]
The Prophet uses a word here for biting that is associated primarily with biting by reptiles or other poisonous creatures. This hadith means that while it is possible for a believer to suffer a bite by a snake or a similar creature because he is taken unawares, the same thing should not be allowed to happen twice. He should always be careful so that he does not commit the same mistake twice, or be in the same situation of overlooking real danger.
While this hadith speaks of a real-life situation that requires paying full attention to one's surroundings at all times, it is also meant figuratively. Indeed, the circumstances leading to this statement provide a clear indication that it is so. During the Battle of Badr, one of the unbelievers taken prisoner by the Muslims was Abu Azzah, a poet who often attacked Islam and the Prophet. When the Prophet decided that the prisoners could be freed in return for ransom, Abu Azzah spoke to the Prophet and appealed to him to grant his release without a ransom, because he was poor and had a family to support. The Prophet granted his request after the man pledged that he would never criticise the Prophet or attack Islam again. However, soon after he was granted his freedom, Abu Azzah reverted to insulting the Prophet and satirising Islam in his poetry. Some time later, he was again taken prisoner by the Muslims. Again he appealed to the Prophet for his release, protesting that he had a poor family to support. In reply to his appeals, the Prophet made this statement: 'A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice'.
Thus, the hadith means that a believer should never be so gullible that he is deceived by the same trick more than once, in the same way one who is bitten by a snake is very careful not to be bitten again.
"Al-Adab al-Mufrad with Full Commentary: A Perfect Code of Manners and Morality" - Adil Salahi
Guided by Love
Howard Thurman maintained that the experience of redemptive love was essential for individual and collective self-actualization. Such a love affirms. In The Growing Edge, he contends that whether we are a good person or a bad person, we are being dealt with at the point beyond all that is limiting and all that is creative within us. We are dealt with at the core of our being; and at that core, we are touched and released.
In much of his work. Thurman cautions those of us who are concerned with radical social change to not allow our visions to conform to a pattern we seek to impose but rather allow them to be "modeled and shaped in accordance to the innermost transformation that is going on in our spirits."
To be guided by love is to live in community with all life. However, a culture of domination, like ours, does not strive to teach us how to live in community. As a consequence, learning to live in community must be a core practice for all of us who desire spirituality in education.
All too often we think of community in terms of being with folks like ourselves: the same class, same race, same ethnicity, same social standing and the like. All of us evoke vague notions of community and compassion, yet how many of us compassionately went out to find an intimate other, to bring them here with us today? So that when we looked around, we wouldn't just find a similar kind of class, a similar group of people, people like ourselves: a certain kind of exclusivity.
"Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope" - Bell Hooks, pp. 162, 163