“serving people” as god

أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ لاَ يَسْتَوُونَ عِندَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

Do you, perchance, regard the giving of water to pilgrims and the tending of the sacred place of prostration as being equal to one who finds safety with God and the Last Day and strives on a path leading to God? These are not equal with God.  And God does not grace with His guidance people who do wrong.

I found a god named “hizmet.” In urdu they could call it “khidmat”. Its the god of serving/helping people – giving them “water to drink” People love it and adore it. They focus on it. They love it (helping people). They deem it noble and good. It is not truth that matters in such helping. The goal is the positive testimony of the people being helped. Their pleasure. This is deemed enough and sufficient. Other people’s feelings about being helped, not truth, is sufficient as the goal. It is the people’s affirmation that matters. Truth can be put aside, can be watered down, can be mixed with half-truths or simply abandoned, all in the name of helping others. If there are things that may cause discomfort or challenge to the people one wants to serve, one avoids saying them even as they may be true. One instead bows to the god of “serving others”. One’s goal, one’s god is service itself, not truth. The path of service, not the path of God/Truth is one’s goal. Service itself, regardless of whether it is truth that is doing the serving or whether people are simply feeling more comfortable with false (but familiar) beliefs and prejudices, demands sacrifice and offerings and the offering is truth. The god of service says, “don’t say the truth! it will cause dissension and disunity! bow to me (service)! Give me your loyalty!” Sometimes one simply gives up the hope that people can actually come to truth or that one’s job is to seek the truth and live the truth and speak the truth. One gives up the idea that truth helps me when I affirm it and seek it and say it and live it. And one instead focuses on helping others (without truth being the goal). In this path, i do not seek truth myself. I deprive myself. And I what I give to others is enough to quench their thirst but it does nothing to get them closer to truth. Struggle for truth is abandoned. One instead focuses one’s “struggles” to provide water to thirsty travelers. One tends to their “physical-emotional” needs NOT their need for truth/meaning. Emotions are, in the path of service, physical needs. They are not about meaning. The goal is to massage the people, not to struggle together for truth.

So i say to myself: Seek truth….always! Don’t confuse the affirmation of others for truth itself. Do not bow to the god of service. Seek truth yourself and witness truth’s service to you and to those who want its help.

In the world I live today, I find hizmet to be an idol with a lot of devotees. I am not one of them – all praise is for God!

Published by Faraz Sheikh

Faraz Sheikh

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