The purpose of our existence is to worship God. Worship in Islam means something much broader than the rituals of prayer and fasting; it means to turn in all our actions toward pleasing our Lord. It means to fulfill the role we were created for ‘khilafa’- being God’s deputies on earth. It means to be responsible, caring and fair toward all forms of creation. To do so requires knowledge, patience, wisdom and strength.
To do so, requires hard work. We are encouraged to strive in Islam, in fact our life is described as “kadh” in the Quran- meaning struggle. There will always be difficulties to contend with, our nafs, circumstances, interacting with our loved ones, our coworkers and bosses, our friends and enemies and those we teach. In fulfilling the role of khilafa, we try to maintain a life of peace. A life of peace does not mean a life devoid of emotion, nor does it mean that trials do not shake you. It means that your core, in remaining strongly in touch with its Creator, is grounded and quick to regain its balance and peace. It means not giving those around you more power than they truly have and not allowing them to push you into ugly feelings that last more than fleetingly. It means to elevate every reaction of yours from the base straight line of tit-for-tat, to the more Islamic triangular reaction of ‘me-Allah-that person’ and vice versa. Seeing what others do to you as a triangle, forces you to ask yourself, is there a message in this from Allah? How would Allah want me to react to this? It forces you to look beyond the immediate superficial incident and gives depth to whatever you may encounter.
Having tasted the blessing of a peaceful heart, one becomes very reluctant to give it up. One begins to realize that it liberates her and enables her to accomplish much; hence this serenity becomes jealously guarded. There is no time for brooding, no room for grudges and no interest in feuds. It is with this that we are enticed to strive for Jannah: peace toward your Creator, toward people, toward the universe. Salaam.
It follows that the core and essence of this peace comes from one’s relationship with Allah. Therefore, being God’s servant is a role unto itself; it is the center of our very existence. It is what grounds all other roles, and it is the only role that can truly stand on its own. A woman may not own a home or be married, may not have any dawa or parents, but she will always be a servant of Allah. Will be– it is not a matter of choice. It is that role, once understood, that will make her a true worshiper; and it will remain her continuous role despite the acquiring of other roles.
It is for this reason that we have separated servant-hood from the other ‘passing’ roles.
Continue reading: As a Servant of God