Surely Allah is sufficient for His servant.
When our beloved Prophet was asked by Allah Most High in the secret shrine of his heart whether he would prefer to be a king prophet or a servant prophet, he answered with the fullness of divine wisdom, “A servant prophet.” Therefore we call him Muhammad Abduhu wa Rasuluhu, Muhammad the Servant and Messenger of the All-Merciful Source, may Allah’s peace be upon him forever. He declared of his own life, “fakhri fahri—poverty is my pride.” The mystic masters interpret this to mean poverty on all levels. Outwardly, he distributed everything to the needy of his community, so that he owned nothing. He declared that if he received a mountain of wealth in the morning it would be given away by nightfall. On the inner level his poverty was also complete, and here is the true meaning of faqir. He was empty of all but Allah. He did not exist except in Allah. His hearing, seeing, and knowing were only through Allah. He refrained from all personal initiative, following simply the command of Allah. He preferred not to act rather than act without the divine command. He is the magnificent empty vessel of life which resounds only with Allah. His only desire was for the Pleasure of Allah and the salvation of humanity. On the night of his Ascension into mystic intimacy with Allah, he was asked by his Lord to request his most ardent wish and everything his heart desired. His passionate answer was, “My ummat, my people, my humanity. O Merciful Allah forgive human beings all their errors.” He is the supreme intercessor. He is the servant of humanity. His way is our light. Through his example we know that servanthood is the highest station of the human being, and selfless service a sure way to realization.
There is only one Master and therefore true service is to Allah alone. This we do with our heart through dhikrullah. As the dervish heart remains in conscious dhikr (and gratitude, love and awe are part of dhikr, as is singing the ilahis), the heart is serving Allah. From this state will flow all the other divinely pleasing forms of service to human beings and creation. Yet these kinds of services will be empty shells unless they are offered with a heart immersed in Allah and free of any desire for esteem or reward. The heart of the dervish is the dwelling of Allah and a lamp for all the hearts, and the responsibility of the dervish is to keep the heart free, even while working and helping in the world. The dervish is watchful that obsession, doubt and complaint do not cloud their heart. If these come, melt them away with La ilaha ilallah Muhammad rasulallah.
A mature dervish has the responsibility of vision—of sustaining the vision of the Loving Truth even when circumstances challenge it. It is thru this level of seeing that the shaykh reveals the purity of the dervish heart. And it is through this level of seeing that the dervish opens in turn the hearts of others. Dervish heart and dervish path are sustained by true vision.
The mystic community is the perfect context in which to practice loving service, for here we will find ourself naturally in a state of dhikrullah, and we are able to freely express our love to Allah, the shaykh and to our fellow dervishes. The service can be as simple as sitting quietly in a state of peaceful absorbtion, attending to the needs of guests, or refreshing the community by offering water or tea....