The Honoured Servant

THE HONOURED SERVANT

Esteemed brothers and sisters,

Allah Almighty makes known His bounties in various Qur’anic verses. And these bounties the servant is meant to perceive. They are to be on the straight path, be pious and God-fearing and be a friend to Allah Almighty.

The Qur’anic verses recited point to the result of this friendship. They reveal a character trait of the believers. They then indicate that this is a difficult thing, or something that requires patience. (We need to be) able to recognise that the world is an examination arena.

Allah Almighty makes known His bounties. He has countless bounties. His creation is countless. He created the human being as ahsan al-taqwim, or of the perfect disposition. In other words, the servant will become a wonder of Allah’s art. They are to be honourable. They are to be honourable and become worthy of Paradise that is resplendent.

walaqad karramnā banī ādama

“Assuredly We have honoured the children of Adam (with many distinctions)” (17:70).

“We have honoured,” Allah declares. They are to be honoured in worship, honoured in everyday dealings, honoured in morality, honoured in social relations, honoured in upholding the rights of others and are to be a witness of Allah Almighty on earth. This is what Allah Almighty demands in return for all His bounties and blessings.

Again, Allah Almighty declares:

wanafakhtu fīhi min rūḥī

“…[When I] breathed into him out of My Spirit…” (15:29, 38:72)

He bestows attributes from Himself. The servant is to develop these capacities. They are to defeat carnal desires and become a friend of Allah Almighty.

Similarly, it is declared:

“Surely We have created human of the best stature as the perfect pattern of creation” (95:4). Upon ahsan al-taqwim. So, the servant is to equip themselves with the character traits and virtues that will render them the most honourable of creation. It is in this way that Allah Almighty invites [us]. Where is He inviting [us] to? He is inviting us to the Hereafter, to Paradise.

illā man atā l-laha biqalbin salīm

“But only he (will prosper) who comes before Allah with a sound heart (free of all kinds of unbelief, hypocrisy, and associating partners with God).” (26:89) With a heart that has been refined – a pure heart.

Soul at rest” (nafs al-muṭ’ma’inna) the Qur’an declares: Look at all that Allah Almighty has given to His servant, what opportunities they have been granted and they are using all of them in the way of Allah.

“Soul well-pleased” (nafs al-radiya) the Qur’an declares: They are to be pleased with Allah. “Why, why?” Allah Almighty does not want this. It is only Allah Who knows the Unseen. We can say, to our own mind, that certain things pertaining to the future are “good” or “evil”. Allah Almighty demands submission.

And as a result of this submission, mardiyya; And Allah will be pleased with His servant. Such quality of heart is what Allah Almighty demands of us, in return for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us.

Mawlana [Jalal al-Din al-Rumi] makes a fine comparison:

If, he says, you want to learn the truth, then both Prophet Moses as well as the Pharaoh have been hidden within you. (In other words, the Pharaoh represents wickedness and Moses represents piety and righteousness.) These have been hidden within you, he says. They are battling in your heart, he says. (That is to say, carnal desires are battling against spiritual attributes.) Don’t seek the enemy outside, he says, but look for it within your own self.

Likewise, Allah Almighty reveals His blessings to us in various verses of the Qur’an. And He warns us. In the Qur’anic chapter al-Jathiyah, He declares:

“He has also made of service to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth…” (45:13)

In other words, [these] constitute the human being’s full-length mirror. What does the human being need? How will they perfect their contemplation? Allah Almighty creates everything in this world. Whatever they look at is a manifestation of Divine Majesty.

Allah loves His servants. He especially loves the community of the Prophet Muhammad. He loves the umma of Muhammad: He loves His Messenger, the Messenger of Allah. Various verses extol the Messenger of Allah. They reveal a different side of him when compared with the other Prophets.

The Messenger of Allah loves his own community also. Allah Almighty seeks to be a friend to His servant. He invites them to Paradise. There are constant warnings.

wa huwa ma’akum ayna mā kuntum

“…And He is with you, wherever you may be…” (57:4)

Allah Almighty is absolutely transcendent. In other words, it is not possible to perceive Allah Almighty’s divine majesty with worldly feeling and perception. Infinity…

It is stated at the end of the Qur’anic chapter al-Kahf:

“If all the sea were ink to write my Lord’s words (the acts, decrees, and manifestations of all His Names and Attributes), the sea would indeed be exhausted before my Lord’s words are exhausted, even if We were to bring the like of it in addition to it.” (See 18:109) An endlessness…

And so, Allah Almighty is – are there seven and a half billion people in the world today, trillions and trillions and trillions of fish, trillions of all those living in the heavens and angels, devils, jinn, plants and trees – Allah Almighty is with all of them. Such a Divine Majesty.

This is why the servant is to constantly be in a state of weakness [before their Lord] and say, “My Lord!” They are to contemplate the bounties He has bestowed upon them.

wa huwa ma’akum ayna mā kuntum

He declares: “…And He is with you, wherever you may be…” (57:4)

Similarly, this will improve their inner world. This will improve their feeling. Carnal desires will be eliminated and spiritual feeling will flourish.

wanaḥnu aqrabu ilayhi min ḥabli l-warīd

“…nearer to him than his jugular vein…” (50:16). This is what He declares.

In other words, we know what occurs to our hearts, as does Allah Almighty. In other words, a servant needs to be in a state of vigilance and to correct their feeling.

In short, friendship stems from commonality. Allah Almighty invites the believers to friendship through Divine Oneness and Unity (tawhid). To friendship though Divine Oneness and Unity. Divine Oneness and Unity begins with Lā ilāha. To begin with, carnal desires are to be overcome. illa-llāh: the heart is to become favoured with the Divine attributes of beauty.

What is then to happen to the servant? Allah Almighty declares:

“…I become their eyes with which they see, their ears with which they hear, their heart with which they reason…” (Bukhari, Riqaq,38)

Allah Almighty thus invites to His Paradise.

lā khawfun ‘alayhim walā hum yaḥzanūn

They are great severities… The Messenger of Allah teaches us to constantly entreat Allah for [protection against] torment in the grave, the ferocity of the Resurrection… From this:

lā khawfun ‘alayhim walā hum yaḥzanūn

“…they will have no fear, nor will they grieve.” (46:13), (10:62). This is what is declared. Those who are friends.

This means being straightforward, as friendship requires, and leading a life of piety and righteousness are signs of the friendship that Allah Almighty seeks from His servants. Being God’s witness on earth, being a representative of the religion. This is why Allah Almighty declares:

“…We have made you a middle-way community, that you may be witnesses for the people (as to the ways they follow), and that the (most noble) Messenger may be a witness for you…”(2:143)

So, Allah Almighty adorns us with the qualities that enable us to become precisely such a friend. We are to overcome carnal desires. A true friend never forgets a friend. This is why Allah Almighty demands a lot of remembrance from us. We are not to forget. In other words, this remembrance will descend from the tongue to the heart. When it descends to the heart, this remembrance will have turned into action. It will have become practice.

Allah Almighty adorned this realm of trial and examination – and it will all be destroyed after the last human being to live on earth – this universe, with miraculous signs. The universe is an actual manifestation of the Divine Names. The Qur’an is, so to speak, a silent universe.

The heart is to flourish. And the Qur’an is a universe clad in speech, an admonishing universe. Let us reflect upon Allah’s endless bounties towards His servant. The human being, in turn, is to be a focal point of intimate knowledge at the junction of both of these.

Allah Almighty declares:

fa-alhamahā fujūrahā wataqwāhā

“And Who has inspired [the human selfhood] with the conscience of what is wrong and bad for it, and what is right and good for it.”(91:1) Wickedness is to be eliminated and one is to advance in piety and righteousness. The term taqwa, or piety, occurs in two hundred odd verses, in various forms.

What is the distinguishing characteristic of piety? Nothingness… You came into being out of nothing. All bounties belong to Allah Almighty. Even at times of success, Allah declares:

fasabbiḥ biḥamdi rabbika wa-is’taghfir’hu

“Then glorify your Lord with His praise, and ask Him for forgiveness…”(110:3)

In various verses [mention is made of] piety; there is to be humility first and foremost. They are to be in [a state of] nothingness. They are to forget the word “I”. They are to constantly say, “You, O Lord!” They are to be generous. They are to possess discernment and thoughtfulness.

A friend of Allah describes piety in the following way:

“When you move out of the way, the Creator is all that remains.”

In other words, when you overcome your carnal desires, togetherness with Allah Almighty follows. Now, when the rivers of Sakarya, Kızılırmak and Yeşilırmak all flow into the Black Sea, you cannot find the Sakarya, Kızılırmak and Yeşilırmak rivers in the Black Sea. They have become the Black Sea. This is the type of friendship there is to be. Carnal desires are to be completely eliminated.

In any case, Sufism is the effort to resemble the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings. Your worship is to resemble his, your morality is to resemble his and your worldly transactions are to resemble his. Nothing is to be wasted. Otherwise, [the overall effort] will be damaged.

There are three important instructions for humankind. The first is the first verse that was revealed:

iq’ra bi-is’mi rabbika alladhī khalaq

“Read in and with the Name of your Lord, Who has created.” (96:1)

What will read this? The eye cannot read this, the heart can. They are to be with Allah Almighty in everything they see, everything they eat, everything they drink, everything they look at, in their every dream and imagining.

They are to reflect upon themselves. Where did they come from? How did they come to being out of nothing? Who is it, Who grants their children, their family, and all others?

They are to look at the sun. How is it that the sun rises? Is there any transposition? Are there any glitches? Is there any change in the atmosphere? Does the soil ever takes offence and stop offering its fruit and vegetables?

The servant is to achieve togetherness with Allah Almighty when eating, when drinking – at all times. iq’ra bi-is’mi rabbika alladhī khalaq. And this is the true learning. This is the heart’s learning. And it is with this learning that we will go to the next world. Not with the other forms of learning. They will remain in the world. And besides, that will either be good for you, or evil, on the other side. Worldly learning can only be good if it is lived with piety and righteousness. If it is far from piety and lived with carnal desires, it will be evil.

Thus, it is to communities of eras of ignorance that Prophets and Messengers come. To be able to be of those who know within communities of ignorance…

Allah Almighty declares that those who know are of three kinds: The first: sājidan waqāiman – “…those who worship God devoutly in the watches of the night, prostrating and standing… (39:9) Those who worship Allah in the hour of early dawn. Those who thus spend their nights. Allah Almighty declares:

wal-mus’taghfirīna bil-asḥār

“…and who implore God’s forgiveness before daybreak.” (3:17)

Before dawn, a believer demonstrates their sincerity towards Allah Almighty. This is because the hour before dawn is difficult for the carnal self. Sleep offers much comfort. The bed attracts like a magnet. This is why these hours are so important. This is the first requirement of being able to know Allah Almighty, to become acquainted with Him. sājidan waqāiman He declares. “…prostrating and standing…” (29:9)

Similarly, the servants of the All-Merciful / those upon whom Allah Almighty’s mercy has become manifest. sujjadan waqiyāman He declares. And they: “spend the night (in worship) prostrating before their Lord and standing.” (25:64)

There are a lot of [such] verses. This goes to show that we need to be able to observe the limits of the shari’a concerning everything in our lives. Today, unfortunately, we have lost this. We cannot advance in the event of such losses. If even a tiny amount of impurity enters this glass, the entire beauty of this glass will be destroyed.

Inheritance law has been lost. The rights of others are violated. The religiously forbidden is entering foodstuffs. There is no healing in the prohibited. Various other things re-emerge without one’s even realising it.

There is an event mentioned in the Qur’anic chapter al-Qalam:

A Yemenite used to distribute his ‘ushr in abundance. When collecting his harvest, the poor and destitute would come and gather and he would give to them in abundance.

He passes away. His children are ambitious:

This, they say, will not be enough for us. Let us set out to our land before the poor and destitute arrive and collect whatever harvest there is. Let us go quietly so that they do not hear our voices and gather around the fields…

The intention changes. The heart changes.

They go and see that their fields have become bleak [and entirely barren].

One of them says:

“We have assuredly arrived at the wrong place!” These were not our fields, he says.

The other realises what had happened:

No, he says. This is our land. We usurped the rights of others. And because we have done so, Allah has turned our fields into this that we may learn a lesson.

This is also thus, dear brothers and sisters. Rights are very important. Inheritance is very important. Zakat and ‘ushr are very important. If harm comes to these, then harm comes to the heart also.

That is why the first is the shari’a. It is a must.

Weddings and such events are important. A wedding is an introduction to spiritual life. Two parties embark upon a single life by making a covenant with Allah. These weddings need to take place in the manner pleasing to Allah. Men and women mixed… Is this what Allah wants?

For this reason:

iq’ra bi-is’mi rabbika alladhī khalaq

“Read in and with the Name of your Lord, Who has created.”  (96:1)

The shari’a needs to be read well. The Messenger of Allah needs to be read well. This Qur’an that Allah has sent needs to be read well. We need to deepen in the Qur’anic verses…