Saturday, April 24, 2010

yearning to serve others without desiring others service

1.
Rendering service to others attract the gift of ascending the mystical ladder

The great guide of souls and saint of Naqshbandi Sufi Path, Shaikh Bahauddin Naqshband, may his soul be sanctified, told this story of his life:

Still at the beginning of my search on the path of mystical knowledge, I met a man from among the lovers of Allah. He was one of the true Sufis. He said to me:
‘You appear to be one of the arduous servants.’

I responded, ‘I hope that I shall become a true arduous servant, thanks to a glance of grace from the lovers of God.

He asked, ‘How do you pass your time?’

I said, ‘If I find some food, I thank God. If not, I am patient.’

He smiled and said, ‘That is not difficult. The important thing is to place labors upon the soul. This is how it is done. If you have no food for an entire week, do not allow your soul to grumble, but let it be at peace.’ I came near to him and asked his help. He commanded me to practice the suppression and restraint of my egoic desires, care for the weak, powerless, and crippled, with whom other people do not trouble themselves, noting in particular that I should display submissiveness, obedience, and self-abasement.

I began to fulfill his command and proceeded, as the holy saint had ordered, over the course of many days. After that he commanded me to render service to all the animals, to heal them of their various wounds and sores, with utmost effort and obligingness.

I burdened myself with this labor and did all that he had ordered me to do, and if a dog came across my path, I would stop so that it should pass first, not wishing to overtake it. Thus did six years pass.

Then he ordered me to render service unto the dogs of the nearest neighborhood and to request help from the animals. He said, ‘You will lower yourself to the state of a dog. And, serving dogs, you will attain happiness and be deserving of great reward.’

I spared nothing in fulfilling this task, obeying his command and desiring to attain his joyful prediction. And once, meeting a dog on my way, I suddenly fell into the most profound mystical state. I stopped before the dog and was seized by powerful tears. Right there the dog too fell onto its back and raised its four legs to the sky. I heard its pitiful sighs and mournful moaning. I raised my hands in humility and obedience and said, ‘Amen!’ and the dog grew quiet and raised itself to its paws.

One of those same days, wandering on the outskirts of Bukhara, I found a chameleon, immersed with all its being in contemplation of the sun’s beauty. I looked with wonder at the chameleon, and the passionate desire to ask it to show me grace and compassion took hold of my soul.

The chameleon still remained in place. I stood up before it in a posture of the fullest respect and civility and raised my hands. The chameleon came out of its immersion in considering the sun’s beauty and fell onto its back, turning toward the sky. And I said, ‘Amen!’

After this the man commanded me to practice the clearing of roads from refuse and rubbish. For six long years I demonstrated stubbornness and perseverance in this difficult work. No one ever saw the sleeves or hem of my shirt free from the dust and dirt of the road. All this, and the other tasks my instructor ordered me to fulfill, I fulfilled conscientiously, sincerely, and without murmur. From it all I discovered a beneficial influence on my soul and an unprecedented improvement in my mystical states.

- from the writings of Sabit Madaliev an-Naqshbandi, may God bless him

2.
The Result of Rendering Service is Love

The guides of the Naqshbandiya knew the price of the time allotted to them by God and filled every passing moment with that which was required by it. They engaged in the fulfillment of their zikr only when no one needed their services.

If a Muslim desires to render service unto another, honor him!- say the shaikhs. For service to another is the reason for God’s acceptance of hearts and the condition for crossing over to the zikr and muraqaba (sufi practice of meditation). Some people suppose that saying additional (nawafil) prayers or fasting more is better and more useful than the demonstration of service to one’s neighbors. But that is not the case.

The result of rendering service is love and the attachment of hearts, because service is by its very nature based upon love for those who are more deserving of it. And this is what differentiates the fruits of a Sufi’s recitation of additional prayers from the fruits of a Sufi’s service to others... In accordance with the scale of the love you demonstrate to others, the Most High’s Love will come to you in return.

Therefore have the shaikhs of the Naqshbandi Tariqat, may grace be upon them, yearned to serve others but not make use of others’ service to them.

3. 
The Hidden Jewels

One day in addressing the assembly of Sufis in his khanaqah in the city of Nashipur, the master said, “The length and breadth of the khanaqah is strewn with gems. Why don’t you pick any up?” Everyone looked around to see if the floor was covered with jewels. 

Not seeing any precious stones lying around they turned back to the master with puzzled looks. “O Master,” they cried, “where are these gems which we do not see?”

“Service!”, cried the master, “Service!”

4.
The shortest and easiest way to God

If we remember that everyone’s heart is a divine temple, then we will see everyone else differently and behave with far greater love and caring. This image of others is the foundation for the Sufi practice of service. In serving others, we are actually serving the Divine in others. When we remember that the human heart is the holiest of shrines, then we become more compassionate and heedful in all our dealings with others. Remembering to honor the heart in each person is a great discipline. We so often forget. But if we could remember, our lives and all our relationships would be transformed.

To be a Sufi is to remember that the heart of each person we meet is God’s temple. To be a Sufi is to honor and serve others. Many hearts have been wounded in this world, and we can serve God’s creation by working to heal those wounded hearts. This kind of service will also heal and open our own hearts as well.

One day someone asked a Sufi teacher how to reach God. The teacher replied that the ways to God are as many as there are created beings. The teacher went on, "The shortest and easiest is to serve others, not to bother others, and to make others happy." 

- Robert Frager, The Sufi Approach to Opening the Heart

5.
Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, on serving others

Said the Holy Prophet as transmitted by his dervish companion Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him: Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the Hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. Whosoever follows a path to seek sacred knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them amongst those who are in His presence. Whosoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage (family, worldly honor, or race). (credit)

The most beloved to Allah among mankind is the one who is of the greatest benefit to mankind.

The Messenger said that a prostitute was completely forgiven because she took pity on a dog which was on the verge of death due to thirst while lost in the desert. She removed her leather sock and with her scarf lowered in into a well. In this way she obtained water which she gave to the dog to drink. Some asked: "Do we obtain thawaab (merit, mystical gifts) for service to animals as well?" Messenger of Allah replied: "There is thawaab in (rendering service to) every living creature."

Worship the Compassionate One, provide food to the hungry, and greet everyone you meet, and you will enter the Loftiest Garden in peace.


May God sanctity and increase our capacity to serve others.

# Related:
. 11 Qualities of Dog
. I Am in all My creation
. Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet | loving the creation for the sake of loving the Creator
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