Third Word

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

 (In the name of Allah the Merciful the Compassionate)


(People, worship; Baqara 21) يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱعۡبُدُواْ

If you would like to understand what a great profit and happiness is worship [and] what a great loss and destruction is sinfulness and dissipation, look [and] listen to this short allegory:

One time, two soldiers receive an order to go to a faraway city. They go together until the path splits. A man is present there [and] says to them:

“This path on the right, while it has no harm, nine of ten travelers taking it find great profit and comfort. As for the path on the left, while it has no benefit, nine of ten [of its] travelers find harm.  Furthermore, both are equal in terms of shortness and length. There is only one difference that the traveler of the orderless ungoverend left path goes without a bag [or] a gun. He sees an outward lightness [and] a deceptive comfort. As for the traveler of the right path, under military order, [he] is obligated to carry a four okka 1 bag filled with substances of food and a perfect two okka government-owned gun capable of crushing and defeating every enemy.”

This pleasant one [of] those two soldiers, after listening to the words of that instructive man, goes to the right. He takes a weight of one batman 2 on his shoulders and back. However, his heart and soul (rooh) are saved from thousands of batmans of feeling indebtedness [toward others for asking help] and of fear. As for the other unhappy one, [he] leaves the military, does not want to follow the order, [and] goes to the left. His body is saved from one batman of weight; but his heart is crushed under thousands of batmans of feelings of indebtedness [for asking help] and his soul under boundless fears. He travels in the form of both a beggar towards everybody and [one] trembling from everything [and] every event, until he reaches the desired location; there, he sees the punishment of a rebel and a fugitive.

As for the one who likes military order, retains his bag and gun, and goes to the right; he travels without asking help and feeling indebted to anybody, without fearing anyone, with a relaxed heart and conscience. Until he reaches the desired city; there, he sees a reward befitting to a virtuous soldier nicely completing his duty.

Hence, o rebellious soul! Know that those two travelers, one of them are the obedient ones to Godly law, the other are the disobedient people following their desires. As for that path, [it] is the path of life such that it comes from the world of souls, passes through the grave, and goes to the afterlife; while that bag and gun are worship and restraining oneself from sin (taqwa).

Though worship has an apparent weight, it has such a comfort and lightness in its meaning that it cannot be expressed. Because a worshiper says in his prayer (salat): اَشْهَدُ اَنْ لاٰ اِلٰهَ اِلاَّ اللّٰه, meaning that since [he] believes “There is no creator and provider besides Him. Harm and benefit is in His hands. He is both wise, does nothing in vain; and compassionate, His kindness and mercy are abundant.”, in everything he finds a door for a treasure of divine mercy [and] knocks on it with prayer (dua). Also, He sees everything as subservient to the command of his Lord. He seeks refuge in his Lord, depends [on Him] with reliance, [and] takes shelter against every calamity. His faith gives him a complete secureness.

Yes, as with every true virtue, the source of courage too is faith [and] worship. As with every vice, the source of cowardice too is misguidance. Yes, for a worshiper of a complete illuminated heart; if the globe of the earth becomes a bomb and explodes, it is possible that it will not scare him. Perhaps, he will watch a magnificent power of Divine Sufficiency with a pleasurable wonder. However, as for a famous sinful philosopher without a heart – said to be of an illuminated mind – [if he] sees a shooting star in the sky, he will tremble on the ground [and] say “What if this stray shooting star hits our earth?”, falling into doubt. (One time, America trembled from such a star. Many of them left their homes at night).

Yes, while the human is in need of endless things, his wealth is as nothing; also, while he is subjected to endless calamities, his power is something tantamount to nothing. The sphere of his wealth and power is virtually the size of wherever his hand can reach. Yet, as for his wishes, desires and pains and calamities; its sphere is the size of wherever his eye[s and] imagination can reach and how far they can go. For the human soul who is impotent and weak, poor and needy to this degree; anybody who is not entirely blind will see [and] understand what a great profit, a happiness, a blessing are worship, reliance, [and] surrender.

It is known that a harmless path will be favored over a harmful path, even if it is with only one possibility out of ten possibilities. However, our matter of the path of worship – while being without harm – has a treasure of eternal happiness with a possibility of nine out of ten. As for the path of sinfulness and dissipation – even by the confession of the sinful individual – while it is without benefit, there is the destruction of eternal misery with a possibility of nine out of ten, confirmed by the witnessing of boundless people of specialization and observation and affirmed through the reporting of the people of joy and discovery, in the level of unanimity and mass transmission.

Conclusion: just as for the afterlife, happiness of [this] world too is in worship and in being a soldier of Allah. Since that is so, we must always say اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ عَلَى الطَّاعَةِ وَ التَّوْفيٖقِ and thank [Allah ] for being a Muslim.

  1.  A historical unit of weight used in the Ottoman empire equaling 1282 grams. Referred to as okka in Turkish and uqiyya (أوقية) in Arabic (TN) 
  2.  A unit of weight in the Ottoman empire equaling around 8 kg (TN)