Issue 88 / July - August 2012
Action in the Service of God and Community
Question: What is the secret of being a person of constant action in the service of God in accordance with the conditions of today? What are the possible means of keeping this spirit consistent?
We can consider being actively involved in the service of God in relation to such motivations as finding present services as being insufficient, striving at one's highest possible peak in competence and zeal, never losing heart or getting weary with the ideal of transforming the world into a paradise, and to remain steadfast in taking this mission to the end, as far as it goes. By saying "the end" we mean the horizon, which is the answer to the secret mentioned in the question, marked in the verse "(continue to) worship your Lord until what is certain (death) comes to you" (15:99). That is, to persevere in one's servanthood to God as sincere and vivid as it can be till death comes round at last. Yes, leading this spirit till that day is a real and genuine activity and action. In both personal and social perspectives, if one is concerned with all their heart and soul of the duties and responsibilities that pertains to their servanthood to God, and contrives to perform them, it means that they have comprehended and practiced activities and action in the right way. In contrast, if people take up the issue in a single dimension and delve into services only in the material sense exclusive of the spirit of servanthood to God, their services will slide away leaving them empty-handed, even if they make their country the most prosperous in the world. Furthermore, even if these people save the world with a single move, but afterwards fall into the web of reliance on their good deeds, I would state at ease that whatever they have done will not be welcomed by the All-Truthful One.
Keeping this meaning and spirit alive depends on the following dynamics:
1. Engaging oneself in deep mental activity. Yes, the utmost flaw of us human beings is mostly that we live far away from and unaware of any sort of contemplation and analysis. Moreover, we lead a life with dead hearts, deprived of self-control.
2. Meditation on the reality of death (rabita al-mawt). That is, thinking about death incessantly and becoming free and easy with it; associating oneself every single day to prepare for the time of appointment with the angel of death. For this, hospitals should be regularly visited, and visitors should engage closely with the people staying there. Graveyards should also be frequented, for the ephemerality and the mortality of the world should be remembered by imagining oneself as decayed bones. Besides, one should strive to leave a work behind within the consideration that "people die, but their work shall remain behind."
3. Not remaining separated from the blessings bestowed upon the collective consciousness. Sometimes a person may collapse in his or her inner world. This ruin can be restored by staying in the benevolent climate of one's community. Our own eyes, ears, hands and feet may sometimes not be sufficient to overcome the negative atmosphere we happen to be in. In those times, we can attain a might beyond our own when we hold with the hands of our friends, see with their eyes, and hear with their ears.
4. Reading books to keep alive metaphysical tension. Yes, we can only attain the immense horizons of thought of the pioneers and of those numerous great figures modeling us in this way by reading their glorious life stories. And by doing this, we can save ourselves from the choking atmosphere of habituation and familiarity, and from the attractive beauties of the world.
5. Assuming a duty as responsible individuals in order to remain vivid and active in community service. In this way, one often comes together with like-minded individuals who aim to serve their community. They keep themselves busy with the outcomes of completed works, and with the consultation of those in the future; they sleep and wake up with those thoughts, and breathe service without being left inoperative even for a moment. And if they behave like this, God Almighty shall make fruitful their love and enthusiasm, as well as their activities and action. The Divine saying, "Whosoever approaches Me by one span, I will approach him by one cubit; and whosoever approaches Me by one cubit, I will approach him by one fathom, and whosoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running" refers to this truth. The brave ones who have been shouldering such good works at such a time of difficulty should initially be aware of their values through contemplation, and then transcend the ephemerality and the mortality of the world through meditation on the reality of death, and even manifest the ways of genuine existence while still mortal by being among friends on the path of service. They shall be together with those friends everywhere and every time, at times of sorrow and happiness, and they will multiply up to thousands with their singularities.
Being the representatives of virtual loyalty, those chivalrous heroes of benevolence shall run to service with an overwhelming enthusiasm as if they reunite with the forerunners they have modeled and regarded as their guides and pioneers. With this motivation, they will fulfill one heroism after another and will realize a world heralded centuries ago.
May our Lord raise our generations with His glorious favor, benevolence and grace! May He fortify those of us in His service with His might on this path of tremendous struggle that exceeds our power! May He make this service abide with us and the generations to come! May He please those alive and those who have passed away by making faith in Him everlasting.