What is worship
Insha-allah, something to think about at the terminus of this blessed month of Ramadan
What Worship Is
And I asked you in my silence, ‘what is worship?’
You smiled in your heart and said:
It is that you journey with God, through God, to God, for God.
That your very breath be because of Him.
That you awake each morn in thankfulness,
With a song of praise on your lips.
That sleep be the wakefulness of your spirit
And your dreams, as winged flights unto Him.
It is that you weep for another man’s sadness,
And drink deep from the cup of his joy.
Strengthen his hand when he falters,
Restrain it, when he rushes to wrong himself.
It is that you see in his sin, your own frailty,
And in his righteousness, that which you may yet become.
That you grasp the thorns of your enemy, flung in your path
And, by forgiveness, fashion of them roses to adorn his house.
Let your work be service – not of your self or of your fellows,
For Allah suffices for all, beyond means and cause –
But of Him, through the service of his creatures.
No more, no less does He ask of you.
Give one who asks freely, begrudge him not your pennies,
And be grateful for the blessing he has gifted you.
For every beggar is a benefactor;
He fills your soul when you fill his cup;
And food given to the hungry will quench your own thirst
On the Day when wealth and power will not avail you.
It is that you look beyond colour and wealth and fame,
Further still, past man’s virtues and vices,
To the inner soul that bowed with you before God in awe
And worshipped Him without words or doubt
On that First Day before memory and beyond thought.
Veil from all strangers not only your body,
But the deeper beauty of your goodly deeds;
For, in the same action, will you tear down the veil
That lies between you and your Beloved.
And when you stand for prayer,
It is that you cast yourself from your Self
Deep into the ocean of His Majesty and His Unity,
And drown in your helplessness.
That you do not read His Word,
But hear Him speak to you;
That you prostrate your very heart in his presence
And surrender all that you are unto Him.
Let your feet tread in the footsteps of the holy and the saintly,
And let your light be taken from their lamp.
Live not as if God’s beloved (s) watches you,
But as though you are him.
Let your words be echoes of his voice;
And your deeds be shadows of his radiance.
Then will you truly taste the sweetness of his blessed Way.
It is that you pass your days and nights, restless,
Yearning for the meeting with Him,
That you water your faith with tears of regret,
But rest content in the certainty of His mercy.
What is worship?
It is that you perfect all this, yet regard yourself
As more insignificant than a grain of sand in the trackless desert,
And more unworthy than the most wretched of men in your eyes;
Until you have become nothing, and a stranger to yourself.
Then, when you have sacrificed your Self on Love’s altar,
When you have forsaken this world for the sake of the next,
When you have abandoned the next world for the sake of God Alone,
Then will you die unto yourself,
And in dying find eternal existence in Him.
Then will you live in God, with God, through God, for God;
A drop in His ocean, a reed-flute at His mouth.
Then, when you transcend both heaven and earth,
When all has perished, except for the vision of Him,
Then will you worship.