He is Hayy – living forever, without beginning or end. And he is Qayyoom.
That means he is, on the one hand, self-sustaining and forever living, and, on the other hand, he sustains and maintains all else in existence.
Death does not approach him, because, as the Hadith puts it, he is Hayyun laa yamoot.
Nor is he ever affected by such attributes or states of mortality and feebleness as sleep or tiredness – Laa ta’khudhuhoo sinatunw walaa nawum.
Supposing you ask: If all this is so, what should we do then? What is our role? What is the right thing for us to do?
The Qur’an, as always, is as amazing with its answer as it can be, and says: Wa tawakkal ‘alal hayyilladhee laa yamootu, which could be paraphrased as: “And, of course, put your trust in the Living One who does not die!”
Why, Glorify and Praise Him, of Course!
And then supposing you were to ask further: Then what should we do?
The Qur’an’s reply to that anticipated question is already there – before you even ask it. As if nothing could be more logical or self-evident. Says the Qur’an: Wa sabbih bihamdihi!
Paraphrase: “Why, of course, glorify him and sing his praises!”
Which, by the way, is the Tasbeeh of the Malaa-ikah, as the Qur’an says: Wa nahnu nusabbihu bihamdika wa nuqaddisu laka!
Paraphrase: “And we glorify and praise you.”
The First as well as the Last
He is also the first and he is also the last. And he is the one who meets the eye; and he is also, at the same time, the one that is hidden.
I never cease to marvel how beautifully the Qur’an puts across these concepts: Huwal awwalu wal aakhiru, wazzwahiru wal baatin.
And then the Qur’an wraps it all up by saying, there is absolutely nothing like him: Laiytha kamithlihee shaiyi.
And then the Qur’an does the only thing that makes sense. The Qur’an declares that he is the Lord and Master of all: Dhaalikumullahu rabbukum!
He is the Khaaliq who creates the Khalq. The Khalq is dependent on him in every way for its existence and sustenance; he is dependent on no one for anything. He is, as the Qur’an puts it, As-Samad.
So, the Qur’an makes it clear that all Khalq must do the bidding of the Khaaliq, and work for him, whether they so, as the Qur’an puts it, willingly or unwillingly: Tawu’an awu Karhan.
While the rest of the creation works for him by its very design, without having to exercise independent judgment or what we humans call fee will, to the extent we know, human beings and Jinn have been given by their creator a measure of freedom whether or not to work for their maker and master and how.
That is why, so far as humans are concerned, Working for Allah becomes a matter of choice on the part of those who consciously and willingly opt to go that route and make that commitment.
And that is also why the concept of Working for Allah goes beyond mere theoretical understanding and ends up being an applied and practical approach to life and its challenges.
Below are some elements of a practical approach to Working for Allah.
First Practical Objective: Acquire Knowledge!
As a result, if you claim to work for Allah – that is, if you go about saying you are Muslim – you must show a serious commitment to five very practical things:
First and foremost, you must commit yourself in a most serious way to learn as much as you can about the Deen of Allah – and about Allah’s world.
For, it is Allah’s world – the world in which you live; the world of here and now; the Dunya as the Qur’an calls it – that provides the context to understand and practice the Deen of Allah.
For, without knowledge, you are basically blind and helpless. And you are, in many ways, a Muslim with a great deal of Islam missing from your life.
Second Practical Objective: Do the Best You Can!
At the same time, you must also equally seriously commit yourself to practice the Deen of Allah – as best as you can, as the Qur’an seems to make it clear.
Aayat of the Qur’an:
Laa yukallifullahu nafsan illaa wus’ahaa.
“Allah does not expect anything from anyone beyond their capacity to deliver.”
That means no human being can be perfect. No human being can do everything. So, at all times, with regard to everything, do the best you can.
And Islam, above all, is a way of doing the best you can with regard to everything – doing your human best.
In fact, to me that is part of the proof that this Islam is really from Allah. Human mind does not operate that way.
Third Practical Objective: Don’t Leave Others Behind!
Third, what many people do not understand is that Islam is not a passive state of mind or existence. As a result, it is not enough for you to learn and practice things all by yourself.
You must also simultaneously commit yourself in a most serious way to invite everyone else to do the same – to learn and practice the Deen of Allah.
If you don’t, you haven’t learned the first lesson about what it is to be a Muslim – and to be Working for Allah – which is to make sure you don’t turn your back on your team: Humanity.
For, life is a team sport. And your team is Humanity.
And the first lesson of Islam is to be an inseparable and active member of the Human Team – the team of Humanity – in this game, the game of life.
That means, as a Muslim, as someone Working for Allah, you don’t abandon your job, and your primary responsibility, of making sure that, at the end of the day, every member of the team comes back to the Locker Room – they all come home to Allah, where they all belong.
You and everyone else – you and every other member of your Human Team.
Fourth Practical Objective: Follow the Beautiful Way!