The second is relative servitude; it is the individual’s recognition of Allah as their Rabb and the purpose of their existence to serve Him and the seeking of His continual help to fulfill this. Relative servitude is thus individual servitude.

Now we come to an interesting point... The Rasul of Allah (saw) says, “Salat is the ascension of the believer” and “Salat cannot be without the Fatiha.”

“So, woe to those who pray (out of custom), who are heedless (cocooned) of (the experience of the meaning of) their salat (which is an ascension [miraj] to their innermost essential reality; their Rabb)[1]

That is, those who perform salat unconsciously will inevitably be miserable!

The purpose of salat is ascension.

If this purpose isn’t reached, one is veiled from Allah, and thus in great loss.

The experience of ascension is based on the discernment of the words in the Fatiha. So, one should wonder… Which meaning is in the Fatiha that isn’t in all the other chapters in the Quran, that when it’s not recognized and discerned, salat is rendered invalid? What is this meaning that, when experienced, enables one to live ascension?

The topics of basmalah, hamd and guidance are covered in other chapters of the Quran, so then the crux of this chapter is the verse “Malik-Maleek-i yawmiddeen; iyyaka nabudu wa iyyaka nastain” the verse in which the secret of fanafillah (annihilation of the self in Allah) is contained.

The expression, “iyyaka nabudu” is the expression of fanafillah.

Also, let’s remember Rasulullah’s (saw) words:

“The five (daily) salat (prayers) and the Friday (prayer) to the Friday (prayer) expiate whatever (minor sins) may be committed in between, so long as major sins are avoided.”

So then, which meaning is contained in these verses that, when recognized and understood, expiates the mistakes done since the previous salat and opens the way to ascension?

Now, read the verse again! This is a very significant secret here!

As for deifying Allah…

Deification is something that has been done subconsciously for centuries in various forms, such as begging, exalting, offerings to idols, etc. This has nothing to do with the essence of prayer and worship, which is what servitude is all about.

Ibn Abbas (ra) says the word ‘serve’ (liya’budoon) in the verse “I have created the jinn and men only so that they may serve Me...” should be understood as ‘liya’rifoon,’ which refers to gnosis. In this light, if the expression ‘iyyaka nabudu’ in the Fatiha is also in reference to gnosis, then the above verse can be construed as the following:

 “With the consciousness that Allah, the Rabb of the worlds, is our Rabb, we acknowledge that we are at every instance observing His administration upon existence, and for the continuation of this conscious servitude, we seek His help.”

But do we not engage in prayer and worship so we can go to paradise?

Yet another misconception!

Nobody can go to paradise because of their worship!

The Rasul of Allah (saw) in a well-known hadith says:

“Nobody can go to paradise because of their deeds.”

When asked, “Even you O Rasul of Allah (saw)?” He said, “Yes, even me! However, my Rabb has endowed His grace upon me (thus, I shall go to paradise not because of my deeds, but because of the grace of my Rabb)…”

This has to do with fate![2]

In short, no prayer or worship should be done to go to paradise, nowhere does it state those who worship will go to paradise; going to paradise has nothing to do with the prayer and worship the person does.

However, it is not incorrect to say Allah has eased the practice of worship to those who are destined to go to paradise.

Worship is to strengthen and increase one’s awareness! Those who engage in prayer and worship can raise their level of consciousness… But the primary factor behind one who can engage in these practices is that Allah has destined paradise for that person. If he’s not destined to go, no matter how much he prays, no matter how conscious and strong he becomes, he still cannot go!

In short, going to paradise has nothing to do with worship and everything to do with the nur of faith endowed by Allah!

Why does being freed from hell depend on faith?

There are some cases of paralysis that are totally psychological. Even though there is no pathological problem in the body, the person delusively believes he’s paralyzed and that he will never be able to walk again and thus lives hell in his wheelchair. Hypochondriacs cannot duly evaluate their intellects or use their skills because of the grip of paranoia upon them and thus they live in misery!

Paranoia, to assume something into existence when it doesn’t or assume it doesn’t exist when it does – which turns one’s world into hell – cannot be overcome by mind power or intellect. The only force that can overcome this is ‘faith’!

Paranoia can easily rule over the mind and mechanism of thought, yet it is always defeated by faith, which directly affects one’s actions.

Thus, religion has been offered to the intelligent, that they may understand it, yet faith is advised, that they may experience it.

Whether it be hell on earth or in the life after death, it is always the result of paranoia and only the force of faith can end it for good.

When the person who believes he is paralyzed encounters one in whom he can believe, he will be able to walk again; when the hypochondriac meets one in whom he can believe, his misery will end.

As such, belief in Allah enables one to believe he can overcome any adversity with the qualities of Allah inherent within his essence. With this faith and conviction, he can find the strength with which he can be freed from the state of hell, even if it’s an iota’s weight of faith! But if he doesn’t have any faith, if he limits himself only to what he knows about himself, i.e. if he doesn’t know Allah and does not believe in Allah, he will never be able to discover the forces and qualities pertaining to Allah within his essence, and thus he will forever be confined to hell. And nobody can help him if he doesn’t believe, just like nobody can make the man who believes he is paralyzed walk again!

In other words, those who are to be confined to hell forever are those who have not been able to free themselves from suspicion and paranoia and who haven’t really believed.

The word servitude actually means submission. It is to fulfill a task in a perfect manner without asking any questions or having any doubts. Essentially, all of creation does this naturally and automatically by default. Everything is in a state of servitude and submission.

However, to do this duly is to be conscious of it, to feel Him within you, and to experience awe as a result…

Otherwise, worship and servitude will only be done formally and superficially, on a superficial level, which will never generate the joy and pleasure that comes about when it’s done consciously.

[1] Quran 107: 4-5

[2] The topic of fate has been covered extensively in The Human Enigma.

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