Being a slave to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى)

Why is it that being a slave to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) is such an honorable status?

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Note: Ustadh Bediuzzaman answers this question with five points in the sixth word. He also discusses this in some other parts of the Risale-i Nur, which is going to be our focus in this post.

Imagine being the parent of a young child. The helplessness of your child draws your mercy and compassion towards them. When they are not able to do something, you are always there to help them. When somebody intends any harm, you protect them with your strength. When they need food, you sustain them with your wealth. In other words, even though the child may not have any strength or wealth of their own, your strength and wealth become theirs since they turn to you for help and depend on you.

This dependency relationship is even more true in our relationship with God, since He completely owns us; we are not His children but rather His slaves. “Becoming a slave to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى)” means to come to a full consciousness of our position as slaves and live accordingly, that He is our Master and we depend on Him for everything, that He is our Creator and Owner. When we realize our ultimate helplessness and turn to Him for help, then our helplessness draws the mercy and compassion of God towards us. His property in a way becomes ours. His power makes us powerful. (see the 12th word – 2nd principle;  Mesnevi-i Nuriye – Habbe)

Note that feeling powerful as a result of depending on the All-Powerful One does not mean we are able get everything we like, rather it means to feel secure in His hands; just as a young child of a powerful parent feels secure in their parents’ arms. This, of course, depends on the level of dependency; not every believer submits equally. The more one submits, the more they begin to feel this.

Indeed, for somebody who denies God, the possibility of an approaching shooting star hitting the earth may scare them. But a true slave of God will not fear anything. Why? Because they know that this world has an Owner and everything is in His hands alone. Everything works within the rules and guidelines set upon them by Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). If one’s predetermined time of death has not arrived yet, they will not die. If one’s time has come they will and, by the will of God, go to heaven. Either way, there is nothing to fear.

The same applies to all aspects of our lives, not only the fear of death. When faced with uncertainty, those who truly submit themselves to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) do not fear the outcome; they know that everything works with the order and rules imposed on them. Nothing is random. Nothing is coincidence. The outcome, whatever it is, is determined by God in the best manner.

As stated above not every believer submits equally; in fact most people submit only partially depending on the level of their faith. Imagine a scenario where one, whose submission to God is 70%, is applying to some company for a job. Then 70% of one’s mental state would be at peace (knowing that God is the One in control and will decide the best for them), but 30% would worry (thinking their future is in the hands of the company and hoping for their mercy). So what is the difference between depending on God and depending on the company? In the former case, we believe that God is in control; there is no need to worry since our Creator cares about us more than anybody else. Surely, He is The Provider (al-Razzaq) and will provide our sustenance one way or another, whether or not we end up getting the job. Knowing that everything is in His hands gives us a peace of mind. In the second scenario, there is no reason to believe that members in the company care about us or our needs; you are nothing but a stranger to them. Also, if you don’t get the job there is no reason to assume you will find another one.

Indeed, a human being is weak. In every aspect of our lives we depend on others. If we do not become slaves to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), we will become slaves to others whether it may be people or things. We will hope for their mercy but may not receive it. They may not care about us, or even if they do may not be strong enough to meet our needs.

So, which is superior and more honorable of a position? Being a slave to countless other beings who either have nothing to do with you and are weak and impotent just as yourself? Or being a slave to the all-Powerful Creator and Owner of the entire universe Who has created you from nothing and takes cares of you every moment of your life? (see the 33rd Word, 2nd Chapter;


Sixth Word (Part 1)

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