The following excerpt is from the book, “Secrets of Divine Love: A Spiritual Journey into The Heart of Islam” by A.Helwa.
We have each been created with different thumbprints by God, as a reminder that every one of our imprints on this world is unique. As the Qur’an says, “God has made the Earth a wide expanse for you so that you may walk thereon spacious paths” (71:19-20). We share the call to worship God, but how we serve God within what He has prescribed can still be as diverse as there are creatures in the universe.
“There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.” –RUMI
Don’t compare yourself to others, for every person carries a unique divine song in their soul, a melody of love, kindness, mercy, justice, freedom, and oneness that is longing to play in the concert hall of creation. Everything in existence is in a symphony of praise for the Divine. Knowing this encourages us to surrender to the unique song that God composed and wrote in the pages of our heart before we were ever sent to Earth. We can begin the process of unearthing this divine purpose by asking ourselves the following simple, yet powerful question: What breaks my heart the most?
What moves you and inspires you with the most passion is the seed that carries your purpose. As Rumi says, “Feel yourself being quietly drawn by the deeper pull of what you truly love.” Your heart is the compass that will lead you to the sacred work you have been called by God to do. Your fitra, that primordial alignment with the Divine, is your soul’s compass. When you tune into this inner guidance you will always find the path that awakens your spirit and excites your senses.
Your blessings, your trials and triumphs, your journey of falling and rising, your gifts and talents—they are all connected. Your true calling is held in the arms of your deepest wounds. God only breaks you to remake you, because breakdowns come before breakthroughs. Everything that God has written into your path was meant to prepare you for this exact moment. God wants you to come as you are, not as you think you should be.
“This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.” –HAFIZ, 14TH-CENTURY PERSIAN POET
As long as your heart is beating, you have a purpose. God is intentional, so He does not keep anyone on Earth that doesn’t have to be here; if we are blessed with more life, it is because someone in the world needs us. If we are alive, it means that what we were sent to this earth to create has not yet been accomplished. As Rabbi Nachman of Breslov said, “The day you were born is the day God decided that the world could not exist without you.”
This world needs you. You matter beyond what words can capture, because the God who created all of existence chose to create you. In the Qur’an Allah says, “We did not create the heavens and the earth, and everything between them except for a specific purpose” (46:03). We may all be vastly different from one another when we are separate, but like puzzle pieces we each have a unique space to fill in order to complete the picture of oneness on Earth.
“Make room for one another in your collective life. Make room and in return God will make room for you.” (QUR’AN 58:11)
When Allah created the creation, He said, “Be! And it is” (36:82). Allah already gave us everything we need; our work is to follow the path He paved, heed the guidance He gave, and let His perfect will unfold within us like the petals of a rose, surrendering to the divine light of His love. As we walk the spiritual path, our will begins to align with God’s will.
“When the forgetful man gets up in the morning, he reflects on what he is going to do, whereas the intelligent man sees what God is doing with him.”
–IBN ATA ALLAH AL-ISKANDARI, 13TH-CENTURY MYSTIC
It is only when we define ourselves as faqir, or as the Buddhists say, accept our state of “holy poverty” that we will see that only when we are completely empty of the world are we able to be entirely filled with the eternal presence of God. It is only when we choose to give up everything that we become truly free. It is only when we own nothing that we have nothing to lose and thus become shareholders of everything. Like the clouds floating freely across the skies without the need to grasp the air as their own, or the birds who call the entire Earth their homes, when we let go of grasping and holding on, we become receptive to receiving all that God has written for us to enjoy.
The Muslim mystics describe the transforming power of a humbly surrendered heart before God through the following story: As a raindrop fell from a pregnant cloud, it looked at the ocean and said, “Who am I compared to this infinite sea?” The raindrop’s humility inspired the heart of an oyster to open its shell and let the raindrop inside, transforming it into a beautiful pearl.
It is through our acceptance of our finiteness and fallibility before God that we are primed to be transformed through His infinite love. One of the words for “love” in Arabic is muhabbah, which comes from a root word that means “to erase.” This implies that knowledge of Al-Wadud, The Most Loving, begins with erasing all attachment to the self. As Rumi says, “Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.”
When we enfold our will into the will of God, we erase the seeking of the self, in exchange for what the Divine seeks to create through us. To know a singular God, all separation must vanish, for it is only when the lines between lover and the Beloved dissolve that we begin to see the world as it is rather than as we project it to be. We don’t fall in love with God, we fall into the love of God. It is always God who is the doer, it is always God who is loving us. As Rumi says, “Knock, and He’ll open the door. Vanish, and He’ll make you shine like the sun. Fall, and He’ll raise you to the heavens. Become nothing, and He’ll turn you into everything.” Just as a reed plant has to empty itself to become a flute, we must be empty of the ego for the breath of life to flow through us, making us a unique instrument of God’s will in the symphony of His all-encompassing love and mercy.
A. HELWA believes that every single person on Earth is deeply loved by the Divine. She is an award-winning writer who has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers through her passionate, poetic, and love-based approach to spirituality. With over 15 years of experience writing and speaking on Islam and spiritual development, A. Helwa draws from her personal experiences and traditional sources to help her readers access ‘Divine love in everyday life.’ Connect with her on Instagram at @a.helwa_ or authorahelwa.com.