Sometimes when I assess our work or rather our incomes from debit orders, I am told that a debit order has been cancelled, because things are not going so well financially with the donor. I have always been surprised by this and I get the impression that when it comes to our budgeting what is given to Allah (ﷻ) for His work comes last on the list. This means that if there is any problem in the family income, the donation towards His Work, is the first to be scrapped.
Perhaps at one time I was also thinking like this and perhaps doing this. To me also, at one time, I would give to God’s work if I could manage it, of course after first of all seeing to all my other commitments. The commitment to Allah (ﷻ) was always last and if there was nothing else to be seen to. We learn this also for the paying of zakah. Zakah is paid when all other debts have been seen to, and although it is a debt to Allah (ﷻ), it is placed last on the list.
Are we serious about this? What must be given to God or His Cause comes last on the budget, or the last matter to be seen to, or if we can afford it! Should our commitment to our Lord and His Cause not be first on the budget and then everything else can be seen to? I know this is the way we do things; that is why we are what we are in our relationship with Him. Should our Lord and His Cause not be first in our minds and in our contributions? It is very strange that the pious people will always advise one that if things are not going well with one financially, one should make sadaqah. In other words, they tell us, give to Allah (ﷻ) and His Cause, and He will multiply the returns to us. This is how we must think, and I wish to appeal to each one of you that if you donate anything to Allah (ﷻ) and His Cause, take that out of your finances first, and then see to the rest. This is pious Islam, an Islam that gives direction in spiritual achievement. When we strive for one of His exceptional stations, we must put Him and His Cause first. Be careful! We should not relegate our affairs of our Lord to the bottom of the list.
In a similar vein, when we are given certain tasks to do for His Cause, we first think of all our other arrangements, all our earthly arrangements. Once all our earthly arrangements are seen to and we have time left over then we will work for Him. I shiver when I think of this, because one thing we have learnt in Tasawwuf is that under all circumstances, it must always only be our Lord first. How can we call on Him and plead to Him with regard to our needs when we place, according to importance, all our earthly matters above our heavenly matters. You see, we have been brainwashed by social discourses that place the affairs of this world supreme in our lives. And so in our arrangement of things, God’s Cause, is always placed last. So donating in His Cause, working in His Cause or striving for piety are all placed last. And so we struggle and struggle with our spirituality and there are little or no achievements because our frame of mind is wrong. What Tariqah does, is to place everything to do with God “at the top of the list”. And any other matters, which have nothing to do with Islam either directly or indirectly, are not placed on the same page with Him, as we say.
So many times we plead in our prayers that Allah (ﷻ) must purify our hearts from other than Him. So many times we plead in our supplications that we are only for Him. When we place Him at the bottom of the list or on a page with other activities then there is no validity in these appeals. When we say: “O my Lord, I do not have anyone with Thee in my heart in any way,” then the supplication has meaning. When we make Allah (ﷻ) a share in what we do then this is a form of shirk. We must be careful that we don’t practice minor shirk by giving our Lord part of our hearts or letting Allah (ﷻ) have a share with other matters on the same page.
We must break this! One of the reasons for our intensive adhkar is to break this. Adhkar is there to empty our hearts from other than Him and to empty our affairs from other than Him. If we do this, and there are other affairs, then such affairs will be given a rightful place in the arrangement of our daily lives. And so those who have debit orders, when things are tight, have to say: “First for my Lord.” And those who have to work in His Cause, when there are other matters must say: “First for my Lord.” We ask Allah (ﷻ) that He always be first in our lives and that His Work is placed first in our affairs, amin.
Perhaps this is not the best way to state our relationship with our Lord because with very pious people, it is always only Allah’s (ﷻ). They have managed, through intensive forms of worship, to see only Allah (ﷻ), to work only for Allah (ﷻ), to take directions only from Him and to organise their lives in such a way that their thoughts and all their activities are only for Him. This is Islam at its highest apex. We are not there. We still think in terms of Allah (ﷻ) as first when we should think in terms of Him as “only”. But that will come as we increase our forms of worship and push aside the affairs of this world and place our concentration solely on Him. He brings us near to the apex of His religion where only He has meaning for us in all the things we do. This must be one of the most exciting stations to be at. Many of the great pious people have attained that in different ways. Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) is the best example of someone who reached the very apex of Islam in his relationship with his Lord, and when he (ﷺ) was at that apex, all other human affairs had no meaning. We ask Allah (ﷻ) to grant us just some of this, amin.