17:23 And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and beautiful doing toward your parents.
In this verse, the wise Lord, the eternal Enactor, the lovingly kind and generous Beautiful-Doer commands the servants to servanthood. Servanthood is three things: seeing favor, striving in service, and fear of the end. Seeing favor belongs to Abraham the bosom friend, who said, “Who created me, so He is guiding me” [26:78]. Striving in service belongs to Muḥammad the beloved, to whom it was said, “We did not send down the Qur’an upon thee for thee to be wretched” [20:2]. Fear of the end belongs to Joseph the sincerely truthful, who said, “Receive me as a submitter” [12:101]. When someone stands in the field of servanthood in the row of service and sets his feet in the clay of what he desires, making the Exalted Presence the Kaabah of his wishes, God will put the folk of the empire into his service and will take care of his work in the two worlds without him. This is why Muṣṭafā said, “When someone belongs to God, God belongs to him.” Whenever someone has no watchfulness in servanthood, he will have no contemplation on the carpet of proximity.
Know also that the wayfarers in the road of servanthood are three men: One is the worshiper, whose soul is subjugated by the fear of punishment. One is the recognizer, whose heart is subjugated by the forcefulness of proximity. One is the lover, whose spirit is subjugated by the unveiling of the Haqiqah. Whenever the worshiper wants to lift away the bond of struggle from his days, at once he looks at the title page of the Real’s rebuke and throws down his head in the station of shame. Whenever the recognizer wants to make manifest the banner of happiness and expansiveness by virtue of proximity, at once the ruling power of the Real’s awesomeness appears and he falls into the lowland of confoundedness. Whenever the lover gazes at the majesty, at once he melts in awe, seeing only bewilderment in bewilderment. Whenever he gazes at a beauty, he delights in happiness and revelry, seeing only light and joy. This is the state of the Adamite: sometimes in the garden of yearning, sometimes in the pit of separation, sometimes imprisoned by himself in the claws of contraction, sometimes caressed by the Real’s gentleness in the grasp of expansion.
One of the pirs of the Tariqah said, “I was traveling with Khawāṣṣ and we stopped in a way station. A lion came near us and slept. Out of fear I got up and climbed a tree. I was on the tree’s branch until dawn. Khawāṣṣ slept without thinking about the lion. The next day we stopped at another way station. A gnat sat on him and until the morning he complained about the gnat’s torment. I said, ‘O shaykh! Last night you had no fear of a lion with all that tremendousness and thought nothing of it. Why are you complaining tonight about such a frail gnat?’ “He answered, ‘Last night I was taken away from myself. I was snatched from myself, the inscription of nonbeing written over me. I was selfless of self and standing through the Real. Today I have been given back to myself, so this frail gnat has made me captive to its days.’”
That you worship none but Him, and beautiful doing toward your parents. The Real commands the servant to observe all that is rightfully due to his parents, and they are of the same kind as he. If the servant is incapable before what is rightfully due to his own kind, how will he undertake what is rightfully due to his Lord?
Abū ʿUthmān was asked about kindness toward parents. He said, “You should not raise your voice toward them and you should not look at them angrily. They should not see any opposition from you outwardly or inwardly. You must respect them as long as they live and pray for them after they die. You should stand in service of their friends after them, for the Prophet said, ‘One of the kindest of kind deeds is that a man takes care of those his father loved.’ When the Prophet slaughtered a sheep, he would take some of it to the friends of Khadīja.” Concerning what is rightfully due to father and mother, it has been said that this is nine things, five during their lives and four after their death. The five things during their lives are loving them with the whole heart, speaking beautifully to them with the tongue, serving them extensively with the body, helping them with property, and obeying them in that of which God approves. The four that are after death are satisfying their plaintiffs, appointing for them a portion of your own good works, making supplications for them, and avoiding everything that would torment their spirits.