Living for Allah


My God! You are my Goal, and Your approval is my Aim.

Mevlana Rumi says in Fihi Ma Fih, "There is one thing in the world that should not be forgotten. You may forget everything except that one thing, without there being any cause for concern. If you remember everything else but forget that one thing you will have accomplished nothing. It would be like a king who sends you to a village on a particular mission. You go and perform a hundred other tasks. If you neglect to accomplish the task for which you were sent, it is as though you did nothing. Man therefore has come into the world for a specific purpose and aim. If he does not fulfill that purpose, he does nothing."

Al-Quran: "We proposed the faith unto the heavens, and the earth, and the mountains; and they refused to undertake the same, and were afraid thereof; but man undertook it: verily he was unjust to himself, and foolish."

Mevlana further goes on to explain that the heavens, the earth and the mountains all perform mind-boggling feats such as the heavens being the cause of life on earth and the bursting forth of plants etc, the conversion of rocks into precious stones; the earth covers up blemishes, receives the seed and yields its fruit; the mountains producing various minerals. All these things they do, but that one thing they cannot do for which Providence has chosen mankind. The Quran asserts, "And We have honoured the children of Adam." The angels were asked to bow down before Adam only after Allah had breathed into him His Spirit. This was the trust. Allah made man/woman His representative on earth and this gift of "Khilafah" was the honour he/she received. Mevlana explains that if the human being accomplishes the task for which he/she was created, his injustice to himself and folly are cancelled out.

Al-Quran: "Verily God hath purchased of the believers their souls, and their substance, promising them the enjoyment of paradise."

God has therefore fixed a very high price on the best of His creation.

Mevlana echoes the plea of Divine Love in his words, "You surpass this world and the next in value. What am I to do if you do not know your own worth? Do not sell yourself short, for you are extremely valuable!"

Mevlana points to Allah's warning, "I have bought you, every breath you take, your substance and your life span. If they are spent on Me and given to Me, the price is eternal paradise. This is what you are worth to Me. If you sell yourself to Hell, you will have done injustice to yourself, like the man who sticks a blade worth a hundred dinars in the wall and hangs a gourd on it."

Is it not remarkable that Allah has bought what in any case belongs to Him! How great must be His Love and Desire for it that He is willing to pay a price for that which is His anyway? If we truly knew how much Allah loved and valued us, we would be so moved by His Great Love that we would give ourselves to Him unconditionally. In the world we experience the love of a mother and are amazed at its sacrificial and selfless qualities. The child also loves the mother in return but does not seek a return for its love; the love of the mother is enough. The love, compassion, kindness and grace of Allah is such that only one-hundredth of it sustains the world and the other ninety-nine is said to have been reserved for His deserving servants in the Hereafter. The Holy Prophet s.w said, "I spend the night with my Lord, and He feeds me and gives me drink". In this world we have forgotten that other food, we have forgotten the Divine Promise of the joys that no eyes have ever seen or soul ever experienced! If we were to awaken to this realization what could prevent us from flinging ourselves into the fire of His Divine Love? It is only because we are blind and dull of mind. The intoxication of the material world has dulled our spiritual sense. We need the wine of Love to overcome that shallow drunkenness.

When we are drunk with the Wine of His True Love, then to sell our selves to Him would be a profanity. There is no transaction in Love. We live and die for, and devote ourselves to the Beloved, seeking no return. This is the custom of Love. True Love is not based on reciprocity, it is only giving unconditionally.

When we are striving with our life and goods in the cause of Allah and it is not done for the sake of honour, glory or any personal concern, then alone is it to seek His good-pleasure. The Prophet s.w left a caveat for us, "Many there are who gain no merit by their prayers. Fatigue is their only profit. Many there are whose fasting yields naught but hunger."

We must look and see. Looking is just observation, but seeing is looking with understanding. It is only when we will understand that we will be able to know what Mevlana Rumi meant when he said, "Now this body is your steed, and this world is its stable. A horse's food is not fit for its rider."

Hazrat Inayat Khan says, "There are two classes of people in the world: spectators of life and students of life. The former class may be compared to those people who go to the theatre and see acted either a comedy or tragedy, and are moved by it to laughter or tears. The latter may be compared to those who go up in an aeroplane and view at a glance a whole city where hitherto they had only seen one street at a time. The students of life understand the reason of the comedy and tragedy, while the spectators of life get only a passing impression of them."

The Quran says, "We have removed from you your veil, so your sight shall be keen." Hazrat Inayat Khan says when this happens the spectator of life becomes the student of life. According to him the purpose of life is not simply to eat , drink and make merry for this even the animals can do. It is not even to become angelic beings for the angels already fulfill this purpose. Man is created for something other than either the angels or animals, and that is to live his human-ness. He is created to fulfill the trust of Divine Khilafah which is to become a representative of God by awakening within him/herself all the Divine qualities. The qualities of love, kindness, sympathy and humanity awakened in man make him even higher than the angels.

I would like to add to this discourse a quote from Murshid from "The Sufi Message": "Everybody is working for selfish ends, not caring about others, and this alone has brought about the misery in the world today. When the world is evolving from imperfection towards perfection, it needs all love and sympathy; great tenderness and watchfulness is required of each one of us. The heart of every man, both good and bad is the abode of God, and care should be taken never to hurt anyone by word or act."

The true Kaaba is the heart of man. The material Kaaba was built by Abraham, but the spiritual Kaaba, the heart of man has been made by Allah's own hands. Man is careful about not destroying the man-made Kaaba, but how many times in his life does he desecrate and damage the Kaaba built by Allah?

What can we do to enter that state of consciousness and understanding where selfish concerns do not mar our human-ness; where our limitations do not destroy the sacred in us; where we are able to live in the singular Joy and Harmony of One existence?

The Baghavad Gita responds to this question, "Your duty is to work, not to reap the fruits of work. Do not seek rewards, but do not love laziness either. Be steady in Yoga [union], do whatever you must do; give up attachment, be indifferent to failure and success. This stability is Yoga. Selfish work is inferior to the work of a balanced, uncoveting mind; shelter yourself in this mental stability, Arjun. Harassed are the seekers of the fruits of action."

When we will make ourselves pure and naked before Allah, in our neediness and our utter helplessness before him, He shall cover us with the cloak of His majesty.

This is why it is said, "The man of God hidden beneath his patched cloak is like a treasure under a ruin".

The man of God is one who is not conscious of himself anymore when he is present with Allah. Therefore this stage is Fana-fi-Allah. Such a one has been annihilated in the fire of Divine Glory. As when a thing is put in the fire it is reduced to its essence. All the definitions of form and characteristics, dissolve into the essence. Likewise when a human being enters into the Fire of Divine Presence, he/she becomes that presence. It is only Allah that remains. When we start living for Allah alone, then all concern for the self vanishes. We become oblivious to the opinions of others, and to the success or failure of what we do, as long as we are answering the call of Divine duty. Our job is to carry out Allah's command even if it be against our own selfish interest. Be like Ayaz when Mahmud of Ghazna, the king, ordered him to crash a very precious china cup, he threw it to the ground, shattering it at once, without even a second thought. Whereas all the other ministers had refused saying how could they destroy the king's favourite and most precious cup. When the king asked Ayaz why had he no qualms about destroying the cup, he answered, "Had I refused to obey the order to break it, though leaving the cup unhurt, I would have hurt you. I would sooner break a hundred precious cups like this, rather than give offense to you."

This is how the hypocrisy of those who say they live for Allah, yet live for personal gain, is exposed as opposed to the one who solely acts in Allah's Way, unconcerned with the profit or loss that he/she incurs.

Let our living and our dying and our worship be purely for Allah! Amen.

By Naila Amat-un-Nur

September 2007