What are the bounties of God we have already received?
The 24th Word, continuation, page 369
When we are in need, we present our need to the One that gives existence. That is worship. When we present our need to It, it is human expectation that It should fulfill my need. The author is suggesting that this reasoning is a misunderstanding of worship.
We are here to follow Its order by obeying the rules of Its order, not asking It to change the order for us, which is impossible. Example: if I feel cold, I may ask the Creator to create heat for me. That is impossible, the order is fixed and it cannot change. In it being fixed, it is continuously renewing. For the order to change to heat just because I desire it goes against the nature of this type of creation. It is true that we want the order to fit our desires but within the nature of this created universe, no one can get what they want. However, since I have the desire, then it must be possible for it to be met. I can use the heating system within the creation to be warm. That means, I can follow the creation, but I cannot impose what I want on the Creator. Since this creation is a place of preparation for us to acknowledge our Source of existence (i.e. where we come from), every action we do here must be either:
- To acknowledge the Source of our existence.
- To be neglectful of the Source of existence.
- To deny the Source of our existence.
Worship falls into acknowledgment. Let us understand the reason behind this type of creation i.e. why does the Creator ask us to practice this acknowledgment and ask us to communicate with It when we need anything from It. Example: I need something which can only be satisfied by It. I ask it with acknowledgment to give me but my expectations should not be that It will fulfill it. I just need to use the neediness as a way of expressing the acknowledgment of It being the Source of my existence including all my needs.
Example: When I get employed at a company, I expect the employer to give me money. However, that is not the case with the Source of my existence. My relationship with the Source of my existence is in terms of acknowledgment (submitting or not submitting) only without any expectation in return. I should not expect anything in return of my acknowledgment. When I acknowledge, that is beneficial to my own being i.e. it helps me get satisfaction in my existence. In other words, I feel at peace with my own self where I realize that I belong to an Absolute Source.
I am here in this universe to turn my human qualities back to its true Owner or introduce my spirit to its Origin. Such a difficult task because it goes against daily routine. In the example above, if the company does not pay you, you leave. Our relationship with the Creator is not of the same nature as my relationships with my peers as created beings in this world which are based on mutual understanding, respect and justice. I am a created being and subject to the conditions here on earth. My relationship with the fellow created beings is subject to cause and effect relationships. When I perform a service, I expect something in return. However the establisher of the cause and effect relationship cannot Itself be subject to it. Mostly, when we forget our relationship with the Creator, we expect the Creator to give us what we want.
- I have no right to expect anything to be paid back to me because I have already been given payment in advance, which the author refers to as existence.
- I need to use my senses in acknowledgment of the Source without expecting anything in return.
Horizontal relationship: between objects or creation to creation with mutual interest, justice and respect.
Vertical relationship: between created beings and their Creator to acknowledge the Source of existence of everything.
It seems that I have two types of contract that I am maintaining, one at a horizontal level and another at a vertical level. I should try to bring in a vertical relationship, i.e. being conscious when it comes to my horizontal relationship. Since I live in this created world, I interact with creation to get to know the Source of my existence. In my interaction with creation, I can choose to do everything for the sake of my Creator. For example: I helped my neighbor. I can only practice this sense as I believe that my sense of help is from my Creator. As far as my relationship with my Creator is concerned, it is for me personally in order to renew the contract with my Creator.
In social contract where there is a horizontal relationship between people, everyone has to keep their promise in the contract. For example: I hire a plumber to fix the toilet. The plumber performs the task and expects his payment. I need to make sure that he gets his wage because that is part of the contract. If I am the plumber, I perform my duty and fix the toilet. My customer informs me that she needs money to pay her College tuition. I can take pity on her acknowledging that this sense is given to me by the Creator or I expect her to keep her promise.
- In theory, according to Islamic theology, only the Creator does the job and expects nothing in return.
- In a secular society the functioning is based on mutual contracts between created beings only. Otherwise no one would be working if there were no contracts. Would you consider working for a company that decides not to pay for your work? .
Understanding justice in relation with other people:
Let us take another example to understand our position. Robin Hood steals my wallet. I catch him. Now I have the following options:
- Take my wallet back and punish Robin Hood.
- Take Robin Hood to court and let the judge decide on him.
- Take my wallet back and set Robin Hood free.
- Not to try to take my wallet back and not to do anything with Robin Hood.
I need to use the authority of sharia (God’s religion) i.e. let the judge decide on it. If I go with #i or act in my name, then everyone will be implementing justice in the world according to his own desires. Such a chaos! Hence, I have to ask God’s justice to prevail on earth. Justice must be performed according to God’s Will. The legislative administration should be entrusted with God’s religion. I should not give up on justice or take #iii and iv attitude as that would allude to promoting injustice.
- Every justice must be performed according to God’s power. When I take Robin Hood to court, I am just asking the sharia (God’s justice) to be applied to him.
- Justice may not always be complete in this created world. That is why there is resurrection i.e. if justice is not completed here, there must be a place where it will be completed.
We need not to take any of the matter that we encounter loosely. Example: different views on the Shiite and Sunni when it comes to dealing with justice. Even the companions fought on this matter to take their stance with bloodshed. Hence, these matters cannot be ignored.
Prophets established the foundations of a new worldview, prepared people with the reality of this creation i.e. everything is transient and everything is subject to resurrection. Only when people were ready to embrace this new worldview in the course of around 18 years of the Prophetic mission, judicial rulings/system was established.
There is a difference between creation and human responsibility.
- Creation: everything belongs to God, human beings have no share in it.
- Human responsibility: social relationship where my freewill functions. I only choose, I do not create.
The Prophets never claimed God’s authority. The prophets just plainly stated that they are reminders to God’s justice. Aren’t we all equal? They asked. If we come from the same source, why do some feel superior over others? Similarly, why are some deemed inferior to others? Prophets were reminders to our reality i.e. how did we develop from a sperm to now? What is the significance of this transient universe?
- Without establishing the belief foundations, no one can confirm their reality.
- Without accomplishing the foundational teachings, as revealed in the early revelation of the Quran, no one can meet the practical side.
- When I am not prepared, I do not know why I am doing what I am doing.
Prophet (pbuh) was calling people to think about their origin of existence and thus, demolish slavery. One has to reflect on the origin or Source of existence of this world in order to establish justice on earth.
Tags: 24th Word, Acknowledgment, Justice, Prayer, Source of Existence, The Words, Why Pray Series, Worship