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Friday, November 16, 2012

Argument No. 9: Self-humiliation and helplessness as a form of means

Extreme self-humiliation, self-deflation, modesty and helplessness are recommended means to crush one’s ego. If someone prays to Allah in a state of self-laceration, his emotional and mental state serves as a means to gain access to Allah Who is deeply moved by the purity and intensity of his prayer and grants his request.
The prayers of the Companions and the saints were invariably effective because in their prayers they demeaned themselves, lowered their egos and approached Allah in an absolutely humble frame of mind. They shed all their pretensions and placed themselves completely at the will and mercy of their Lord. The prayers of Abū Bakr, ‘Alī, Zayn-ul-‘Ābidīn and ‘Abd-ul-Qādir Jīlānī gush out of a similar state of humility and self-lashing.
The same philosophy forms the basis of intermediation. Something is offered to Allah in one’s prayer as a support to enhance its chances of acceptance, rather it persuades Allah to grant it even when He is disinclined to do so. It awakens His mercy and He softens towards the prayee and fulfils his desire. Anything which acts as means must either be a sacred deed or some righteous person who enjoys Allah’s blessings. It is on account of his personal sanctity as an intermediary that Allah is moved to accept the prayer, as Allah befriends those who seek His pleasure and He never lets them down. So the granting of the prayer through such an intermediary is an indirect acknowledgement of his virtue and piety. Therefore, those who try to raise these agents of intermediation to the level of divine partners are the victims of rational purblindness. How can a person, who himself is a humble servant of the Lord, and whose very survival and integrity depends on His pleasure, ever imagine to excel Him? This is only a malicious disfigurement of reality.
It is recorded in the Qur’ān that when Adam (عليه السلام) committed the error, he besought Allah, stressing his helplessness and his lowly state:
O our Lord! We have committed excess against our lives. If You did not forgive us and (did not) take mercy on us, we will surely be among the losers.[19]
In this prayer, Adam (عليه السلام) has offered his own helplessness and his utter sense of alienation as a source of intermediation and asked for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. The authentic traditions also indicate that Adam (عليه السلام) also offered the mediation of the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) for the acceptance of his prayer and, as a result, he was blessed with Allah’s forgiveness.

[19]. Qur’ān (al-A‘rāf) 7:23.