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We are currently meditating on the value of the soul. In our previous meditations we have discussed how the value of our soul is related to the freedom we have towards regarding making decisions and choices that please Allah (SWT).
Yesterday, we discussed five of the many ways in which we can please Allah (SWT), five acts of service that please our creator and take us closer to him. These are strengthening our salaat, becoming closer to the Quran Majid, being grateful for our blessings, using our time more wisely and being an active part of a community that shares this same ideal.
Although these are acts of service that we perform at certain times throughout our day or week, in today’s meditation we will take this concept deeper and discuss why it is important to become a servant of Allah (SWT). Service is a temporary action that we do throughout our life and at certain times, whilst being a servant of Allah (SWT) is the permanent mindset that is the foundation of all that we think, feel and do.
Before we begin this, however, let us meditate on the meanings of the word service and servant. In our modern world, we are told to value the modern definition of freedom, where we are free from rules, responsibilities and, in many cases, the consequences of these responsibilities. When we think of service and a servant, we see someone of low value who has no freedom of their own and, as a result, we deem this as being that which people of lower value do and something we should avoid.
In Islam, however, being of service and being a servant is the highest level we can achieve, as long as we are a servant to Allah (SWT). In Surah al-Isra, where Allah (SWT) describes the mehraj of Rasulullah (SAW), Allah (SWT) begins by saying that he raised his servant, before Allah (SWT) says that he raised his Messenger. This ayat teaches us the importance of being a servant of Allah (SWT) as this is how much Allah (SWT) loves those who are his servants and, through this servitude, perform acts of service that please him.
Furthermore, just as Allah (SWT) called Rasulullah (SAW) his abd, Muhammad (SAW) said that his favourite name, from amongst all of his names was Abdullah, the servant of Allah (SWT). Many other nabis (AS) and Imams (AS) have also stated this and it is the ideal that we should strive to.
This leads us to a very important question? The answer to this is fundamental as it is the very basis of Islam. In order to become a Muslim, we must first testify ‘La illaha ila’Allah.’ When we are testifying this, we are stating that there is no god other than Allah (SWT), no lord other than Allah (SWT) and, consequently, we will not worship anyone but Allah (SWT), nor be the servant of anyone but Allah (SWT).
This means that we do not worship any of the idols of this world, whether it be the love of money, the lust for power, the temptation of the ego, the animalistic desires of our body, the subtle call of idleness of the Shaitan (LA), the false promises of the illusion of this world and, at its core, our very self and our need for self-importance.
Although the modern definition of freedom tells us that these are all the paths to freedom (money, power, importance, attractiveness, freedom to do what you want, material possessions and pride), we find that these are actually false masters that imprison us, as they drive us to wrong decisions and choices that are based upon that which displeases Allah (SWT), whether it be greed, dominance, pride, unfaithfulness, an attraction to the material world and arrogance. We have seen, in our own life and throughout history, the negative consequences of these characteristics and behaviours.
However, when we are an Abdullah, a servant of Allah (SWT), we use our money as a tool to do good. We use it to feed, clothe and house our family. We share what we have with others so that those who are in need can also do the same.
When we are an Abdullah, we use our skills to do good. If we teach, we teach others to improve themselves. If we are doctors, we heal others so that they can live good lives. If we are business people, we provide products and services that help others with their problems. This applies to every profession, where the core value is service and adding value to this world, as opposed to taking value from it.
When we are an Abdullah, we use our position to share the message of Allah (SWT) and of Rasulullah (SAW). This does not have to be by reciting ayats and hadith mubaraks, but can be through our character, our actions and our humility, so that when others see us they see all the good that Allah (SWT) created within us.
When we are an Adbullah, we use our personality to bring others towards us. Rasulullah (SAW) said that even a smile is an act of charity and just as our presence can be enough to help to lift the spirits of those around us.
When we are an Abdullah, we use our time properly, so that we benefit, our family benefits, other people benefit and the message of Allah (SWT) through Rasulullah (SAW) benefits. We become useful to ourselves, to others and to Allah (SWT), as opposed to having no value to either of them.
When we are an Abdullah, we use the material possessions of this world to help us in all that we do, without becoming attached to them. We own them as opposed to them owning us, as we use them as tools to help us in this journey towards Allah (SWT).
When we are an Abdullah, our main focus is not on how others see us, but on how Allah (SWT) sees us. The only opinion that matters is Allah’s (SWT) opinion, which is always the best one for us.
As we can see, by being a servant of Allah (SWT), we actually find the freedom that Imam Hussein (AS) gave his life to ensure that we have. By being a servant of Allah (SWT), we are free. By being a servant of anything other than Allah (SWT), we are not free.
As we approach the Day of Ashura, we reflect upon how loyal a servant of Allah (SWT) the father of freedom (Aba Abdillah AS) was. We see that he gave everything that he could to Allah (SWT) and, as a result, was so free. We see the enemies (LA) were free in the sense of this world as they walked away from Karbala, however, in truth they were prisoners of this world.
Servitude of Imam Hussein (AS)
As we reflect upon the servitude of Imam Hussein (AS), who gave everything that he had to Allah (SWT), we must also reflect upon what we give Allah (SWT). Do we give Allah (SWT) the few minutes each day he asks us for salaat? Do we give Allah (SWT) a few minutes in the morning to recite the Quran Majid? Do we give a small percentage of our earnings to those who need it, like Allah (SWT) asks?
When we truly reflect upon this, we see how little Allah (SWT) asks from us, yet by giving so little, he will give us the greatest gift that there is, freedom from this world and a place in Jannah after our time in this world, in sha Allah.
May Allah (SWT), with the wasilo of the Father of Freedom (AS) allow us to be more loyal servants to Allah (SWT). May this servitude of being Abdullah allow us to be of value to our self, to our family, to our community and to Allah (SWT) and may the small price that we pray for this freedom, whether it be the few minutes we perform in salaat, the few ayats of the Quran Majid that we recite or the small amount that we give to charity, be performed with the intention that it will please Allah (SWT) and bring us closer to our creator. Aamin.