Is Worship an Act Through Which to Demand a Reward in the Future or the Necessary Result of a Past Divine Favor?
Worship is the necessary result of a past Divine favor
O soul! Worship of God is not an act through which to demand a Divine reward in the future. Rather, it is the necessary result of a past Divine favor. It is truly so because we have already received our wages, and in return, are charged with serving and worshipping Him. Because, O soul, since the Majestic Creator Who has clothed you in existence, which is purely good, has given you a hungry stomach having appetite and, through His Name the All-Providing, has laid before you all the edible things as a table of favors. He has also given you a sensitive life, which, like the stomach, demands sustenance particular to itself. Before all your senses, like your eyes and ears, He has laid down a particular table of favors as vast as the earth. Further, since He has bestowed on you ‘humanity’, which demands numerous immaterial favors, He has laid before it a peculiar table of favors within the grasp of the reason and as many-dimensional as the material and immaterial worlds. In addition, since He has granted to you faith and Islam, which is the greatest humanity demanding endless favors and nourished by the fruits of infinite Mercy, He has opened up for you a table of favors, happiness and pleasures encompassing, together with the sphere of contingencies, the sphere of the Most Beautiful Names of God and His sacred Attributes. Besides all these, having bestowed on you love, which is a light of faith, He has granted to you still another table of favors, bliss, and pleasures. That is, with regard to your physical aspect, you are a small, insignificant, impotent, wretched, and restricted particular being but, through His grace and favors, you have become a universal, enlightened and enlightening one. For, by endowing you with life, He has promoted you to the rank of a particular kind of universality; by giving to you humanity, the rank of true universality, and by granting to you Islam, the rank of a sublime and luminous universality, and by bestowing on you love and knowledge of God, He has made you attain an all-encompassing light.
Thus, O soul! You have already received these wages, and are therefore charged with worship, which is, in fact, an easy, pleasant and rewarding Diving gift. However, you show laziness in performing it. When you carry it out defectively, as though the wages given to you in advance were not enough, you demand more in an arrogant way. You also put on airs, saying, ‘Why are my prayers not accepted?’ Whereas, your due is not putting on airs, but petition and supplication to God Almighty. He bestows Paradise and eternal happiness purely out of his Grace and Kindness. Therefore, always take refugee in His Mercy and Grace, and in reliance on Him, heed the following Divine declaration:
Say, ‘Out of His Grace and Mercy’, and at that let them rejoice. It is better than what they have been accumulating. (10:58)
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.