Dedication to God’s service
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Faith has a lot to do with the fact that there are many wonderful and trustworthy people around us. We call them Auliya-Allah or the ‘friends of God’, those close to him, people who have dedicated themselves to God’s service, completely and utterly in submission. They are serious about God, they live and die for his sake, they love and hate for this sake; people whose motto is “my prayers, my sacrifices, life and death are all for the Lord of the universe.” These people are hujjat-ullah, living proof of God, evidence of Him. They are Ayat-ullah, signs of God, who display his generosity and make his compassion tangible in the world.

The Quran praises them “surely the friends of God have nothing to fear nor to grieve” (Yunus: 62). They are people who have taken God seriously, His prophet (peace be upon him) and His religion seriously in contrast to those “who consider their religion a thing of play and amusement” (Al-Araf: 51). Muslims trust these , friends of God, they love them and for most Muslims love of God starts here. By being impressed by them one develops a trust in these men of God. This trust and love of servants of God leads to the Divine love. As our relationship with them develops we want to initiate them and live like they live, we want to follow them. These people live Holy lives, one of prayer, obedience, submission, ever remembering the lord with love and devoted wholesome.

These people live simple yet effective and impressive lives. Their contribution to Islam is that they have taken on the responsibility for making Islam credible in the world, and for making God credible in the world. Their whole life becomes a testimony to the love, mercy and greatness of God. They are ‘shaheed’ witnesses of divine truth. They not only live like the Prophets and resist the evils of society, they possess outstanding characteristics such as being dedicated to the service of others.

We are often cynical of others, mistrusting, why should we believe in someone? why should we trust someone? Since we believe people have hidden agendas! As we cannot uncover others hidden motives, we remain mistrusting of others. However, with auliya-Allah it’s not like that, there is no hidden agenda, there are no self-interests, they do not seek personal glory and praise nor recognition. Their pure and selfless life is transparent as clean water. You can see through them! They have nothing to hide, all is revealed, so much so that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said “when you see them they remind you of God”.

Quranic description of the servants of God

Allah says: “Beware! The friends of God are fearless and they shall not grieve, they are strong in faith and ever God conscious. For them is good news of happiness in this life and hereafter. Nothing can alter the Divine promise this is supreme success” (Yunus: 62-64).

This short passage reveals the affection and love that God has for a special group of people, the Auliya-Allah (the friends of God). A friend is a person with whom one enjoys mutual affection and regard exclusive of sexual or family relationships. The Arabic noun “Waliyun” is derived from the verb “Waliya” which means nearness, beloved, friend, helper and patron. So calling man “God’s friend” or “God’s beloved” or “near to God” does not offend the reverence due to God.

What does it mean to be near to God?

Imam Razi says, “Nearness to God in terms of space of direction is impossible, the nearness to God is when the heart is engrossed in Divine rays. When he observes, he sees the signs of God’s power, when he hears, he hears the Divine verses, when he speaks, he sings the Divine praises, when he moves, he moves in worship, when he struggles and strives, he does so in obeying Allah” (Tafsir Al Kabeer).

The prophet (peace be upon him) said: God said “I declare a war on anyone who has enmity against my friend. My servant draws near to me by carrying out obligatory duties and then continues to draw nearer through voluntary activities until I love him. And when I love him I become his ear by which he hears, his eyes by which he sees, hands by which he grasps and feet by which he walks. If he ask I will give him and if he seeks protection I will protect him” (Bukhari).

This passage raises the morale of the “friends of God” by giving them “good news”. The good news is that they will be free from fear and grief. Fear is the expectation of pain, danger and harm. It is a state of being alarmed and dreading the terrible consequences of ones actions or lifestyle. Whilst “grief” is “deep sorrow” of a loss, one grieves over death of a loved one. Some commentators think that this means the friends of God will not fear the terrible torture of hell nor will they grieve about loss of the world (Ibn Katheer). However, others think it is more general. They are neither fearful of dangers here and in the hereafter. Neither do they grieve over the loss of a valuable. They are not fearful of their enemies nor grieving over worldly loss. Since they trust Allah. They believe in Divine wisdom is being the best, because of this understanding of the creation and reliance on Allah they are free from fear and grief.

This does not mean “friends of God” will not face difficulties; on the contrary “they will be tried”. However they will embrace these trials, tribulations and severe tests as challenges, they will stand-up and be patient, steadfast and cope bravely. The Quran commends them for that and says, “for them is the good news”.

By Musharrf Husain

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