Sixtyhe Prophet says that Abu Bakr was superior to the other Companions, not due to his prayer and fasting, but because that special favor - the love of God - was with him. On the resurrection day, a person's prayers will be placed in the balance along with their fasting and generosity, but once love is brought forth it cannot be contained by any balance. Therefore, love is the root.
When you find love in your heart, then encourage it to grow. When you see the original investment within yourself, namely the desire for God, increase it through searching. "In movement is blessing." If you do not build on it, even the original desire will leave you.
Are you less than the earth? Farmers turn the earth with a hoe and it yields crops. When they abandon it, it becomes hard. So, when you find the quest for Truth within yourself, follow it wherever it may lead. Do not say, "What use is there in following this desire?" Just go! The profit will show itself.
Everyone goes to the store to fulfill their needs. God bestows both the desires and the provisions for each person, but if people sit at home acting self-sufficient then their provisions will never reach them. After all, when a little child cries, her mother feeds her. Now, if the child stopped to think, "What use is there in crying? How could crying possibly cause milk to come?" she would stay hungry. Therefore, crying brings her food.
This is the same as asking, "What use is there in this bowing, prostrating and prayer? Why should I do it?" Well, when you bow before a prince, the prince has compassion for you, doesn't he? But this compassion doesn't come from the princes skin and flesh. Should he die, or when he is asleep, then bowing to the prince's body accomplishes nothing. So we realize that the compassion of the prince is something invisible. If we can bow to something invisible contained in skin and flesh, surely we can also bow to that Prince who is without skin and flesh.
If everything contained in skin and flesh were visible, Abu Jahl and Mohammed would have been the same, there would have been no difference between them. An ear, to outward appearance, is the same whether deaf or hearing - there is no difference. Their material shape is the same. Therefore, that hearing exists invisibly and cannot be seen.
So the root of the matter is Divine grace. You, being a prince, have two slaves. One performs many spiritual services and makes numerous inward journeys on your behalf. The other is idle in serving you. Yet we see your love for the idle one is greater. You do not intend to let the active one go unrewarded, but that is what happens.
It is impossible to determine the cause of Gods grace. This right eye and this left eye both appear the same. What service has the right eye performed that the left eye has not? And the right hand - what work has it done that the left hand has not done? Yet Divine favor has fallen on the right hand and right eye. So too, Friday has been preferred over the rest of the days.
"God has certain portions to bestow on people
Other than those inscribed on the Tablet,
So let everyone seek for them on Friday."
Now what service has Friday performed that the other days have not? Yet God bestowed His grace and special mark of honor upon Friday.
If a blind person should say, "I was created blind like this, it is not my fault," it will do them no good. It will not relieve them of their suffering. Those infidels who are fixed in unbelief - they suffer because of their unbelief. Yet looking at the matter again, that suffering is also a Divine blessing. When the unbelievers are at ease they forget the Source, so God reminds them through suffering. Therefore, Hell is a place of worship and is the mosque of infidels, for there the unbelievers remember God.
In prison, suffering, and toothache, when pain comes it tears away the veil of forgetfulness. The sufferers turn to God and pray, "O Lord, O compassionate One, O God!" They are healed. Then the veils of forgetfulness descend again and they say, "Where is God? I cannot find Him. I cannot see Him. Why should I even look?"
How is it that when you were suffering you saw and found, but now you cannot see? Therefore, suffering is made to prevail over you to the end, so that you will remember God. The sinner is forgetful in times of ease and does not recollect God. In Hell the sinner remembers night and day.
God created the world, heaven and earth, moon, sun and stars, good and evil, to remember Him, serve Him and proclaim His praise. Since the unbelievers do not remember unless they are suffering, and since their purpose in being created was to recollect God, they are sent suffering to remember Him.
Believers, however, do not forget that suffering - they see suffering as always present. In the same way, once an intelligent child has had its feet put in stocks as punishment, they never forget the stocks. The stupid child, however, forgets and must be put in the stocks every day. So, too, the clever horse, once it has felt the spur, does not require the spur again. It carries the rider for leagues without forgetting the sting of the spur. The stupid horse, however, requires the spur every moment; it is not fit to carry anyone, so they load it with dung.
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Copyright © 1999 by Doug Marman