Bismi’Llāhi ir-Rahmān ir-Rahīm

In the Name of God, the Universally Merciful, the Singularly Compassionate


Human relationships are predominantly characterized by conditions. We are hardly capable of having unconditional relationships with others.  For so many, relationships are a means to some personal benefit. While there must invariably be some basis for a personal connection with another—each connection having its fundamental “rights”—there is a distinction between what Allāh ﷻ offers us and what we might superimpose. We must be mindful of the boundaries set by Allāh ﷻ so that we do not cross them.

The litmus test for selflessness is precisely in our human relationships. Consider your closest connections with others. Are they defined according to your needs, wants, or expectations? Or are you more concerned with what you bring to these relationships? How do you serve or contribute to them? Are you listening carefully enough to notice what the relationship deserves and the needs it presents? And do you respond without hesitation? Are you willing to go out of your way? Or does the idea of inconvenience or sacrifice repel you? When you do contribute, do you keep track? Do you expect a return? On the other hand, do you allow others to be there for you in your time of need? Are you gracious enough to allow others to respond to the rights of relationship and fulfill their own callings? Are you trusting enough to allow yourself to be vulnerable in receiving? So, instead of asking, “What’s in it for me?” we might ask, “How can I serve or celebrate?” Consider the Prophet Muḥammad’s ﷺ challenge: “Not one of you is a true believer until he loves for his neighbor what he loves for himself.”

Now consider the entirety of existence—all of the universes and worlds therein and their inhabitants—relying on Allāh ﷻ for all of their needs, some knowingly and others unknowingly. From among them, some beseech Him ﷻ for the things of the world, some for the blessings of the Hereafter, and some for both. Nevertheless, who among us turns to Him ﷻ for love alone, not wanting or asking for anything, not choosing or deciding anything for ourselves, but leaving our affair entirely in His Hands ﷻ. We can so easily be consumed by our own affair, occupied from morning through the night. Nevertheless, how many of us will ever appreciate how delicately, lovingly, and perfectly Allāh ﷻ cares for every single creature. For this to happen, we have to stop thinking about ourselves. Indeed, we must forget ourselves in Allāh ﷻ, as He  ﷻ says in a ḥadīth qudsī, “I ﷻ was a Hidden Treasure ﷻ, and I ﷻ loved to be known.” And the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ said, “Oh Lord ﷻ, we do not know You ﷻ as You ﷻ deserve to be known.” This is the month for drawing near to seek company with your Lord ﷻ. Seize the opportunity while you have it. Time is precious. And Allāh ﷻ knows best.


© Ḥakīm Ilyās Kāshānī