Adapted by Mariam Saeed from Khurram Murad’s “Khidmat-e-Khalq”
An Urdu term Khidmat-e-Khalq is widely understood in English as social service, social work or service to humanity. Ustadh Khurram Murad, may Allah grant him Jannat-ul-Firdaws, in a pamphlet titled “Khidmat-e-Khalq”, elaborates on the purpose of Islam and the wide-ranging meaning of the serving Allah’s creation.
We usually ascribe meaning to a term in accordance with our experiences, observations and imitations of the way it has been implemented. Hence, when we say “Khidmat-e-Khalq” or “service of humanity”, we are overwhelmed by images of ambulances, camps, NGOs, medicine and funeral rites aid, charity functions, orphanages, institutes for the education of poor and disabled and all forms of aids. In the real sense of the word, service has an intensive meaning according to Quran and Sunnah. What we in the modern times understand as social welfare, social service or service to humanity is a limited interpretation of “Khidmat-e-Khalq”.
Khalq involves all the creations of Allah (swt), including animals, birds, plants and human beings. Rasoolullah (sa) demonstrated the perfect attitude we need to have while serving all types of creation. If we analyze, after Iman, Allah (swt) always talks about some form of service to the creation in the Holy Quran when He Az Wajjal orders us to spend for His pleasure from our favorite worldly possessions. Serving the creation, in one form or the other, always comes second in the preference list of a Mumin.
“Whose hearts are filled with fear when Allah is mentioned; who patiently bear whatever may befall them (of calamities); and who perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and who spend (in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have provided them.” (Al-Hajj 22:35)
At many other places in the Quran, Allah (swt) guides people to feed the need or the ways to feed them. In Surah Baqarah, Allah (swt) asks his slaves to spend from their Rizq (provisions). Each and everything that Allah (swt) has provided us with is Rizq. Our money, food, wealth, property, time, health, age, heart, mind and body, all of these are part of our Rizq. Allah (swt) is Ar-Razzaaq, the Supreme Provider! It is mentioned in the Holy Quran: “Say: “Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and (also) restricts (it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.”” (Saba 34:39)
Hence, serving the creation of Allah, Al-Wadud, the Most Loving, is in the basic tenets of Islam. When this perfect religion was in its initial stages, the basic teachings that were given to the non-Muslims were based on this concept of service. One has to see how Hazrat Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (rta) explained the basics of Islam to king Negus.
He said, “O King! We were ignorant people and we lived like wild animals. The strong among us lived by preying upon the weak. We obeyed no law and we acknowledged no authority save that of brute force. We worshipped idols made of stone or wood, and we knew nothing of human dignity. And then God, in His Mercy, sent to us His Messenger who was himself one of us. We knew about his truthfulness and his integrity. His character was exemplary, and he was the most well-born of the Arabs. He invited us toward the worship of One God, and he forbade us to worship idols. He exhorted us to tell the truth, and to protect the weak, the poor, the humble, the widows and the orphans. He ordered us to show respect to women, and never to slander them. We obeyed him and followed his teachings…..”
We have to see the awe-inspiring way Islam has been introduced at the international level. Would it be wrong to say that service of Allah’s creation (Khidmat-e-Khalq) is thus, the main aim of Islam? If we keep Akhirah in our permanent perspective, we will understand that the best and foremost way to serve the creation means to save the creation from the fire of Jahanum, the wrath and the displeasure of Allah (swt).
As Surah Al-Maun and Surah Mudassir teach us, welfare of the creations does not necessarily have to be a profession or an association to it rather, it is a lifestyle. Our lifestyle should depict it; serving the all the creation of Allah Az Wajjal, with our body, mind and soul.
If Islam means being Allah’s (swt) slave 24/7, which it does undoubtedly, then 90 to 95 percent of our life period revolves around humanity, animals, plants and every other marvelous creation. The most primary but excellent form of service one can render to the creation is saving it from being hurt by one’s actions.
Abu Musa said, “I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, whose Islam is best?’ He said, ‘The one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe.'” (Agreed upon; Riyadh-us-Saaliheen)