The Patronage of God

Peace, one and all…

‘Your patron is God only, and His Messenger, and the believers’ (Quran 5:55)

In his spiritual commentary, Sahl al-Tustari makes it clear that in order to receive the blessing of God’s patronage, we must let go of the need to constantly plan and direct our lives. It is, of course, important to have an aim, and to plan a way of reaching that goal, but all too often our plans arise from a sense of ownership, as though we own our deeds and intentions. As this poor one is discovering, man proposes and God disposes. Our sense of ownership can be problematic, as can the related idea that we are able to shape the path of our lives entirely through our own efforts. Friendship with God is about letting go of that impulse to arrange and order things to our advantage. It is about choosing God’s will over our own:

‘The patronage of God is [His] choosing (ikhtiyār) for whomever He has taken under His patronage. Then He informed the Messenger that he is the Patron of the believers. Thus it became incumbent upon him to befriend those who had allied themselves to God, Exalted is He, and those who believed. Then He said: [5:56] As to those who ally themselves with God, His Messenger and the believers, it is the party of God that is certainly triumphant. That is, they are triumphant in vanquishing the desire of their lower selves’

This is no easy task. But, then, if it is about letting go, of surrendering, it’s not up to me to do anything  it’s about giving up my sense of absolute, autonomous will. It is to realise that God alone is the true Actor. We need only attempt to harmonise with that reality.

And our last prayer is in praise of God, Sustainer of all the worlds.

Ask olsun!

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