Worship of God is a line of union which turns the worshipper from mortality to permanence, from the created to the Creator, from multiplicity to unity, or it is a point of juncture between the beginning and the end.
O soul! As I repeatedly state, since man is the fruit of the tree of creation, he is a most comprehensive being related with the whole of the creation, who carries in him a heart which, like the stone of the fruit, is the center in which all parts end and join together. He is inclined toward multiple things which are worldly and mortal. But worship of God is a line of union which turns him from mortality to permanence, from the created to the Creator, from multiplicity to unity, or it is a point of juncture between the beginning and the end.
If a fruit carrying a seed looks down at the tree and, priding itself on its beauty, leaves itself to its own support or leaps off the tree in heedlessness, it will quickly be lost. If that fruit, by contrast, finds its point of support, then the seed or stone in it, in which the whole life of the tree is included, will be the means for the tree to perpetuate its meaning, and in itself will gain a comprehensive reality in a perpetual life. In exactly the same way, if, drowned in the multiplicity of things and intoxicated with the love of the world, a man deludes himself with the smiles of mortals and leaves himself in their arms, for sure he will be lost to an infinite degree, with nothing to gain pertaining to eternal existence. He will also die in spirituality. If, by contrast, hearing the lessons of faith from the tongue of the Qur’an with the ear of his heart, he comes to his senses and is inclined toward unity, he will be able to reach the summit of perfections by the stairway of worship and servanthood to God, and gain eternal existence.
O soul! Since this is the truth, and since you are from the nation of Abraham, upon him be peace, like Abraham, say, ‘I do not love those that set’, and turn your face to the Eternal Beloved One, and weep, saying:
A beloved who disappears by declining or setting is not beautiful, for one that is doomed to decline cannot be truly beautiful. It is not—it should not be—loved in the heart for the heart is created for eternal love and is the mirror of the Eternally-Besought-of-All.
A desired one who is doomed to disappear below the horizon is not worthy of the heart’s attachment or the mind’s preoccupation. It cannot be the object of desires, and is not worthy of being regretted after. So why should the heart adore such a one and be attached to it?
I neither seek nor desire anything mortal. For I am myself mortal, and I do not desire one who is mortal. What have I do with any such?
A worshipped one buried in decay—I do not invoke such a one, nor seek refuge with it. For I am infinitely needy and impotent. One that is itself powerless can offer no cure for my endless pains, nor can it solve my infinitely deep wounds. How can one who cannot save himself from decay be an object of worship?
The mind that is obsessed with appearances wails despairingly on seeing the decay of the things it adores in this universe of upheavals, while the spirit, which seeks an eternal beloved, also wails, saying: I love not the things that set.
I do not want, I do not desire, separation, and I cannot endure it.
Meetings followed immediately by separation are not worth troubling about; they are not worthy of being longed for especially. For just as the disappearance of pleasures is pain, imagining it is pain also. The works of the lovers, that is, the works of poetry on metaphorical love—love for the opposite sex—are all lamentations caused by the pain arising from imagining this disappearance. If you were to condense the spirit of all the works of such poetry, from each would flow this lament.
It is because of the pain and tribulations coming from those meetings doomed to end and those painful metaphorical loves, that my heart cries out and, like Abraham, says: I love not the things that set!
If you desire permanence in this transient world, permanence is born out of transience. Annihilate yourself with regard to your evil-commanding soul, so that you may gain permanence.
Free yourself of bad morals, which are the basis of worldly adoration, and realize self-annihilation. Sacrifice the goods and property that are in your disposal in the way of the True Beloved. See the end of beings, which marks extinction. The way leading from this world to permanence passes through self-annihilation.
The human mind, which is absorbed in causality, laments despairingly in bewilderment over the upheavals caused by the decay of the world. The conscience, which desires true existence, like Abraham, wails, I love not the things that set. It severs the connection with metaphorical beloveds and decaying beings, and is attached to the Truly Existent One, the Eternal Beloved.
O my mean soul! Know that the world and all beings are certainly mortal, but you may find a way leading to the Permanent Being in each mortal thing, and may discern two gleams, two mysteries, of the manifestations of the Undying Beloved’s Grace, on condition that you succeed in sacrificing your mortal being.
In each bounty the act of bestowing is discerned and the favor of the Most Merciful perceived. If you succeed in discerning the act of bestowing through the thing bestowed, you will find the Bestower. Also, each work of the Eternally-Besought-of-All points out the All-Majestic Maker’s Names like a missive. If you succeed in understanding the meaning through the inscription, you will find by means of the Names the One called by those Names. Since you can find out the kernel, the essence, of these transient things, obtain it. You can throw away without pity their meaningless shells, their outer coverings, into the flood of mortality.
Indeed, in the universe there is not a single thing which is not a word of embodied meaning and does not show many of the All-Majestic Maker’s Names. Since beings are words, words of Divine Power, understand their meanings and place them in your heart. Fearlessly cast the letters left without meaning into the wind of transience. After they are gone, do not concern and occupy yourself with them anymore.
The worldly mind, which is preoccupied in appearances and whose capital consists of only the knowledge of the material world, cries out despairingly in bewilderment and frustration, as its chains of thought finally end in nothingness and non-existence. It seeks a true way leading to truth. Since the heart has withdrawn from those that set and are mortal, since the heart has abandoned the deceiving beloveds, and since the conscience has turned away from transitory beings, you too, my wretched soul, seek help in ‘I love not the things that set’, and be saved.
See how well Mawlana Jami expressed it, who was intoxicated with the ‘wine’ of love as if he was created from love:
- Want only One (the rest are not worth wanting);
- Call One (the others will not come to your help);
- Seek One (the others are not worth seeking);
- See and follow One (the others are not seen all the time; they become invisible behind the veil of mortality);
- Know One (knowledge other than that which adds to your knowledge of Him is of no benefit).
- Mention One (words not concerning Him may be considered without benefit and useless).29
I admit that, O Jami, you spoke the truth absolutely. The True Beloved, the True Sought One, the True Desired One, and the True Object of Worship is He alone.
For, in the mighty circle for the remembrance and recitation of God’s Names, this universe, together with all its beings, in various tongues and different tunes declares, There is no deity but God, and testifies to Divine Oneness. It salves the wound caused by those that set, and, in place of all the deceiving beloveds, points to the Undying Beloved.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.