Bismillah Hir Rahman Ir Raheem
Peace and blessings be upon you all
This Ramadan, I came to a profound realization as I read the Quran carefully. Man in any situation will often naturally strive for brilliance, success, perfection and accomplishment. There’s no shame in it; we all must spend our lives being the best that we can be, to honour our title of Ashraf al Makhluqat – ‘The Best of Creations’
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِي
Indeed Allah has created the human in the best of forms.(Surah Teen, verse 4)
However, if we go into the spiritual, Islamic meaning of achieving greatness and perfection, we simply need to read what the Quran has to say about this:
سُبۡحٰنَ الَّذِىۡۤ اَسۡرٰى بِعَبۡدِهٖ لَيۡلًا
“Glory be to He who took his slave on the night journey.”Surah al-Isra, Verse 1
قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا
“[Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the slave of Allah . He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.“Surah Maryam, Verse 30
قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَسَلاَمٌ عَلَي عِبَادِهِ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَي ءَآللَّهُ خَيْرٌ أَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
“Say: ‘Praise be to Allah, and peace be on His slaves whom He has chosen. Is Allah better, or what they associate (with Him)?’”Surah An-Naml, Verse 59
Allah mentions his most loyal servants as slaves. Slave? Isn’t that the lowest status one can possibly be in? Working constantly 24/7 with minimum or negligible wage? That doesn’t sound impressive or someone to look up to, but it is.
As mentioned above, Allah proudly talks about His worshipers as slaves or servants and the prophets, like Hazrat Isa(Jesus Christ) and Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) proudly proclaimed themselves as slaves of Allah. It makes sense as prophets and messengers dedicated their every living breath, thought, speech and action to following Allah’s Message and conveying it to the people. They wouldn’t have had a break for even a fraction of a section, working 24/7 without earning any immediate benefits. Even a tiny microscopic bit of evil would make all the hard work fruitless as they know very well that Allah is the All-Seer, All-Knower. To them, slavery is the highest rank one achieves in this life and will remain that way in the next life.
So how do we achieve such a high (not low) rank in front of Allah?
وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا
“And the slaves of the Most Merciful are those who walk the earth with humility”Surah Al-Furqan, Verse 63
So we should strive, or actually RACE to perform good deeds, but you don’t need to choose a strip of road, wearing your tracks and run forever. You simply need to dedicate your life to the service of Allah, as a slave dedicates his entire self to his master, and do so with humility and only to achieve the pleasure of Allah.
I listened to a talk by Humaira Masihuddin who mentioned the four stages of Tawheed (Belief in Oneness of Allah):
- Belief that Allah is One and none is worthy of worship other than Him
- Spending one’s life doing good deeds with this belief as their moral compass
- Seeing Allah everywhere in everything one does
- Seeing Allah and nothing else
A slave is one that has reached till the fourth and highest stage of Tawheed, which is what we as Muslims must aspire to achieve, i.e to work, strive and think as a slave, completely devoted, humble and powerless in front of Allah so that we may live under his shade in Paradise…and because we love Him and have so much to be thankful for to Him. May Allah help us achieve the highest rank of عبد الله– Slave of Allah, and may He be pleased with us. Ameen.