Friday, Sep 22, 2023 | Last Update : 02:16 PM IST

  Opinion   Oped  08 Feb 2017  Mystic Mantra: Service is worship

Mystic Mantra: Service is worship

The writer is an alim (classical Islamic scholar) and doctoral scholar with Centre for Media, Culture & Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia. Contact him at
Published : Feb 8, 2017, 6:35 am IST
Updated : Feb 8, 2017, 6:37 am IST

Modern man is faced with various vicissitudes, mostly materialistic in nature.

A person reading the Holy Quran
 A person reading the Holy Quran

Imam Nawawi, a prominent Muslim mystic and scholar of Hadith was born in Nawawa, a village surrounding the area of today’s Damascus in Syria. In his classical Sufi document in Arabic called “Riyad-us-Salihin” (garden of the virtuous), he collected the glorious words of the Prophet (PBUH), which have a profound impact on daily human life.

One of my favourite sayings from the book is “Whoever removes a worldly grief from a human being, God will remove his grief on the Day of Judgment. Whoever fulfills the need of the less fortunate, God will alleviate his needs in this world as well as in the Hereafter. And whoever veils the misdeeds of a believer; God will veil him in this world and the Hereafter”.

Modern man is faced with various vicissitudes, mostly materialistic in nature. Inflation, overdue bills, low income, and commodification of health and services are our many woes. Thus it is not surprising that 90 per cent of patients today consult physicians to cope with their stress.

The Prophet preached that if one tries to remove worldly grief from others’ life; God will keep one away from the distress of both the worldly life and the hereafter. He adds that so long as a person assists others Allah continues to shower his blessings upon him. The Prophet exhorts us to establish a cooperative, cohesive and humane global society based on universal brotherhood.  Prophet added, “Do not turn away from one another.” His message was clear: a humane society cannot be built without mutual amicability, kindness and cohesion. And this is possible only when one does not walk away from others.

A good example of this prophetic exhortation can be clearly seen in the life of an early Sufi—Abdullah ibn Mubarak— who is also revered as a Taba’ee, the one who belonged to the first generation after the Prophet’s demise and was also a contemporary of the Sahaba (Prophet’s companions). Abdullah was very fond of a Jewish family in his neighbourhood. Even before feeding his own relatives, Abdullah would feed the family. On special occasions, he would arrange new clothes for the neighbours and then for his family. The Jewish family greatly valued his empathy and kindness. So when they wanted to relocate, the head of the family announced that he would sell his house for 2,000 dinars. One thousand for the total coast of the house and one more thousand for having a neighbour like Abdullah.”

Actually, Abdullah had attained a close relationship with his Lord and thus he turned HIS name into reality. 

Tags: allah, prophet mohammad, god