Question: God Almighty has graced us with a great deal of possibilities to serve humanity. What would you recommend so that this holy grace and benediction upon us shall not be stopped?
I think we all are aware that God has taken each of us—while we were wandering here and there—and made contact at a particular point with His holy grace and favor. This is an undeniable fact, and that we have existed under this blessing should be well comprehended. Throughout the past, certain groups of people have assumed services of education, charity, and relief with profound sincerity. Now, the task that falls on our shoulders is to proceed with carrying the flag inherited from them with the same good intentions. It may be useful to state the following points so that the favor pouring down upon us will not cease:
1. We have to persuade ourselves that we have had no role to claim within these services. It must be accepted that all takes place because of God’s holy grace, benediction and favor; due to this, we must not claim partnership with Him and commit a grave sin, and must stay away from the egotistical delusions perpetrated by our carnal self.
2. We should conceive that if we were not involved in these good works, it probably would be done by far better people, and much further distances would have been covered than those covered so far. And we should say, “God’s holy favor does not reflect the service as it comes from its fountain, instead it hits the evils of our egotism and corporeality and is fractured; because of this, our acts of service stay far behind the point they should have reached.” Long ago, our elders used to say, when someone comes to a devotee of truth: “So, my friend, how many souls have you killed?”—that is, “How many people have been nipped by you and could not find the truth?” Today’s devotees, too, should bear this concern in their souls, so that God’s holy favor might not cease.
3. Our spiritual meekness and worship should multiply as much as our worldly activities and success, so that we do not become overwhelmed by our own egos. Imam Rabbani does not show himself even the deference of a dog; moreover, he even states that he doesn’t have the worth of a donkey. This consideration should be fastened to our souls, become our everyday state. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, used to say, during his day-and-night prayers with his forehead on the ground in repentance: “O! The All-Living! The Self-Subsisting! I beg for Your grace! Please do amend all my states, and do not leave me alone with my carnal self, for even as long as a blink!” We, too, must repeat this prayer often, and should strive to leave behind the brutality of our carnal selves.
4. We should attribute any sort of deficiency to ourselves, see our egos as an obstacle to service, and attribute every single success as a divine favor. Korah attributed the blessings bestowed upon him to himself and said, “All this has been given to me only by virtue of a certain knowledge that I have” (Qur’an 28:78). All kinds of Korahs and Pharaohs have said such things. In contrast, all saints and Prophets have said, “I can neither bring benefit to, nor avert harm from, even myself” (Qur’an 7:188). Thus, the thought “I have known/ I have done/ I have held/ I have constructed” is the arrogant thought of Pharaohs. The account of the Qur’an on this issue is crystal clear: “It is God Who has created you and all that you do” (37:96). So, what is our share in goodness? Only our inability and poverty. If we turn to His might through our helplessness, to His wealth through our neediness, we are further motivated with gratitude, and serve with enthusiasm, divine blessings will progress ever after.
5. The awareness and comprehension of the fact that all goodness and success come from God shall be exposed by our resolution and vigilance to talk of Him with others. But there are implicit forms of Pharisaism, as well. For instance, people sometimes say, “We have been blessed with this success; God has made us do this, for we are so unable,” with secret sanctimoniousness. Some people slyly talk of their own selves all the time, “We’ve read this and that with many friends, many intellectuals attend our programs.” But we are called to communicate about God Almighty, and must be ever so vigilant on this point. For example, children are greatly loved. When children are mentioned somewhere, we too would like to mention our own kids, and remain on the lookout for the opportunity. Likewise, people sometimes feel that way about the eloquence of their writing or speech. But these kinds of attitudes are surely indecent, perhaps even inconsiderate. We must speak of God at every single opportunity. When fidelity or loyalty among friends is mentioned somewhere, we should say, “is there a friend more loyal than God?” When rights are spoken of, we should say, “if there is someone Whose right has to be given, it is surely God Himself who has raised us from non-existence to existence, then not abandoned there and animated us; then not left alone and raised us up to humanity, then honored us with faith, moreover made us involved in good deeds.” That is, we should feel jealous if someone other than our Lord is given credit somewhere. When someone says something like, “I’ve given a speech, and people were exuberant and offered this and that,” we should feel uneasy enough to become ill, and writhe with pain, thinking, “Have a look at him; he is talking about himself instead of my Lord.”
Yes, if we wish to learn our state with God, we should look at the state of God with ourselves. How much interest do we have for Him, what kind of association do we have with Him? We should ceaselessly remember, and be always on the alert. As a matter of fact, if our contact with Him is firm, we will find a way toward Him, to communicate with others about Him. In consequence, we will see only Him, know only Him, think only about Him, move with Him, blink our eyes only for Him, and close all other considerations except Him.
6. Another major inducement for divine guidance and assistance is sincere cooperation and alliance. To reach this requires to conserve cooperation and alliance, and to avoid disunity and dissociation. If we are unified and together, we may be bestowed favors that exceed the human imagination, and we may become able to carry loads heavier than a mountain. In contrast, if our unions and alliances are destroyed, and we remain alone or with only a few friends, we will have detonated our essential force and caused the discontinuation of divine assistance. No matter how hard we try, it will not mean much, if we are without helpers. To this end, we must use all our resolution and effort to conserve the quality of being as strong as a building made of steel. Indeed, Qur’an decrees “God’s hand is over their hands” (48:10). I believe that the favors bestowed upon a congregation belong to a far-distant dimension, that even some of the holiest individuals, with the aptitude to guide all of humanity, may not be granted.
To be a human being is hard, but servitude is a still harder. The obligation of performing a great mission, in the end times of the world, is perhaps the most difficult one of all. And we have applied for the hardest duties. We have taken a difficulty upon ourselves by assuming the self and willpower that the mountains and heavens have abstained from. Therefore, we will enhance our sense of self and willpower in a transcendent way, by sheltering under God’s divine might and supremacy, in order to overcome those difficulties.
This article has first appeared in the 82th issue of Fountain Magazine (September - October 2011). The Fountain can be reached online at http://www.fountainmagazine.com