The Second Fruit of the Fifth Branch
soul! Worship is not the introduction to additional rewards, but the result of previous bounties. Yes, we have received our wages, and are accordingly charged with the duties of service and worship. Because, O soul!, since the All-Glorious Creator, Who clothed you in existence which is pure good, has given you a stomach and appetite, through His Name of Provider, He has placed before you all foods on a table of bounties. Then, since He has given you a life decked out with senses, life too requires sustenance like a stomach; all your senses, like eyes and ears are like hands before which He has placed a table of bounties as broad as the earth. Then, because He has given you humanity, which requires many immaterial foods and bounties, He has laid out before that stomach of humanity, in so far as the hand of the mind can reach, an extensive table of bounties as broad as the worlds of both the inner and outer dimensions of things. Then, since He has given you Islam and belief, which require infinite bounties and are nourished through countless fruits of mercy and are supreme humanity, He has opened up before you a table of bounties, pleasure, and happiness which includes the sphere of contingency together with the sphere of His sacred Names and attributes. Then, through giving you love, which is a light of belief, He has bestowed on you an endless table of bounties, happiness, and pleasure. That is to say, with regard to your corporeality you are an insignificant, weak, impotent, lowly, restricted, limited particular, but through His favour, it is as if you have risen from being an insignificant particular to being a universal, luminous whole. For by giving you life, He has raised you from particularity to a sort of universality; and by giving you humanity, to true universality; and by bestowing Islam on you, to an exalted, luminous universality; and by giving you knowledge and love of Him, He has elevated you to an all-encompassing light.
O soul! You have received this wage, and you are charged with the pleasurable, bountiful, easy, and light duty of worship. But you are lazy in this too. If you perform it half-heartedly, it is as though the former wages are insufficient for you and you are overbearingly wanting greater things. Also, you are complaining: Why was my prayer not accepted? But your right is not complaint, it is supplication. Through His pure grace and munificence, Almighty God bestows Paradise and eternal happiness. So seek refuge in His mercy and munificence constantly. Trust in Him and heed this decree:
Say: In the bounty of God, and His mercy -in that let them rejoice; that is better than the [wealth] they hoard.1
If you say: How can I respond to these countless, universal bounties with my limited and partial thanks?
The Answer: With a universal intention and boundless belief... For example, a man enters a king's presence with a gift worth little, and he sees that other gifts worth millions have arrived from acceptable people, and have been lined up there. It occurs to him: My present is nothing. What shall I do? Then he says suddenly: My Lord! I offer you all these valuable gifts in my name. For you are worthy of them. If I had the power, I would have given you gifts equal to them. Thus, the king, who has need of nothing and accepts his subjects' gifts as a sign of their loyalty and respect, accepts that wretched man's universal intention and wish, and the worthiness of his elevated belief as though it was the greatest gift.
In exactly the same way, while performing the five daily prayers an impotent servant of Almighty God declares: Salutations be to God! That is, I offer You on my own account all the gifts of worship all creatures offer you through their lives. If I had been able, I would have offered You as many salutations as them, for You are worthy of them, and worthy of more besides. Such an intention and belief comprise extensive universal thanks. The seeds and grains of plants are their intentions.
And for example, the melon utters a thousand intentions in its heart in the form of the nuclei of its seeds: O my Creator! I want to proclaim the embroideries of Your Most Beautiful Names in many places on the earth. Since Almighty God knows how future things will come about, He accepts their intention as actual worship. The rule, A believer's intention is better than his actions2 alludes to this mystery. The wisdom in offering glorifications in also infinite numbers is understood from this mystery. For instance:
Glory and praise be unto You to the number of Your creatures, that may be as pleasing to You as the extent of Your Throne and the ink of Your words, and we glorify You with all the glorifications of Your prophets and saints and angels.3
Just as an officer presents all the duties of his soldiers to the king in his own name, so man, who acts as officer to other creatures, commands the animals and plants, has the capacity to be God's vicegerent over the beings of the earth, and in his own world considers himself to represent everyone, declares:
You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help.4
He offers the worship and seeking of help of all creation to the All-Glorious True Object of Worship in his own name. He also says:
O God! Grant blessings to Muhammad to the number of the particles in existence and all their compounds!
He offers benedictions for the Prophet (pbuh) in the name of everything. Because everything is connected with the Muhammadan Light. Thus, you may understand the wisdom in the countless numbers mentioned in the glorifications and benedictions for the Prophet (pbuh).
- The Qur'an (10:58)
- al-Manawi, al-Fayd al-Qadir, vi, 291, No: 9295.
- Muslim, Dhikr, 79; Tirmidhi, Da'wat, 103; Nasa'i, Sahw, 94; Musnad, i, 258, 353.
- The Qur'an, 1:4.