With this post, in which Hazrat Inayat Khan considers the friendship of God, we come to the conclusion of our short series on the Sufi view of friendship. The previous instalment in the series may be found here.
Lastly, we come to that most mysterious expression, and yet an expression which is known to all on the religious path: the Grace of God. What is it? It is the friendship of God. It is the friendly emotion of God. It is not the judging quality of God. When God’s grace comes, it does not come by saying, ‘Are you worthy, are you unworthy, do you deserve it, do you not deserve it?’ It comes as emotion, love, devotion, admiration come from friend to friend. There are no limits to it. Someone might say that because in the past incarnation he has done so much evil, this life he has a bad time with much suffering; or that in the past incarnation he has done so much good, that this time he has become rich; and others might say that when they go to hell for their sins they will be whipped and thrashed and put into the fire. But when you look at the grace of God, you forget all these things; no rules, no laws, no deserving or undeserving can be distinguished any more. There is only one thing, and that is love; love that stands above law.
God’s grace does not come specially to the pious, it does not come necessarily to the people who are very good, nor does it come readily to the people who are very occult or mystical. It comes, as love comes, from friend to friend. When love comes, it comes without a conception of right and wrong. It is an emotion, it is the rising of the wave, it is a divine feeling that comes. It rises as a stream, and it falls upon the person in the form of a thousand gifts. It may be as inspiration, it may be as comfort, it may be as health, it may be as peace, it may be as rest, it may show itself in a thousand different forms.
The knowledge of what will please your friend, if it comes to you at all, will only come if you really know what friendship is. Otherwise you may presume you are a friend, and all your life you may try to please your friend, but you will never really be able to do so.
It is the same with God. You may do all possible good actions and offer a thousand prayers, and yet if you do not know what pleases God, you cannot please Him. But it does not come from knowledge; it only comes from friendship. Friendship is an automatic action, it is an innocent devotion, an unconscious outgoing, a pure feeling with depth, with life. Automatically that feeling brings about grace. Therefore, no one can say why a person is another’s friend. We cannot be the judge of it; we cannot understand it. And so no one can say why God is pleased with this person or that person. Sometimes we see that people who do not deserve it have great wealth; and then here are others who, if they had money, would really make the best use of it. Some do not seem to deserve the position or rank they hold; others perhaps in our eyes deserve more; and yet in the eyes of God it is different. It is because they deserve it, though we do not see why and how. And it is the same with friendship. When someone said to Majnun, ‘Majnun, Leila is not beautiful, why are you so devoted to Leila?’ Majnun said, ‘To see Leila you must borrow my eyes.’
When we judge people, do we see with the eyes of God? Do we see what feeling God has towards them? And when we cannot see in this way, we have no right to question why others are in this or that position in life, why some people are rich, why they are in a big position; it is all a kind of battle with God. And those who learn this one principle, that with a friend one should do one’s very best to the end, in order to prove worthy of his friendship, and those who try to do their utmost to regard the pleasure and displeasure of God without any thought of reward or of any answer from Him, it is those who really know the meaning of friendship.