Question: Great people of Sufism say, “Your maqsud, that is, whatever you desire, is your ma’bud.” What is the meaning of it? If a person’s wishes are to buy a house and to marry, are they considered to be his ma’bud?
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
If a person’s purpose and desire is something that he focuses all his attention on, that he yearns for, that he tries to obtain as long as he lives and at all costs including all sorts of humiliation and debasement, and that he would never desist from for anything, that desire of his becomes his ma‘bud (something he worships), and the state he is in is (a glorification called) worship. For worship is the nadir of humiliation and self-effacement. Knowing no ma’bud but Allahu ta’ala requires having no other purpose or desire than Allahu ta’ala. Therefore, as one says, “La ilaha ill-Allah,” one should know that there is no other maqsud (purpose, wish, desire) than Allahu ta‘ala. They, (i.e., the aforesaid great people of Sufism,) repeat this expression (i.e., the statement La ilaha ill-Allah) so many times with that meaning in their imagination that they no longer have any (other) maqsud. (In that spiritual state) they wish for nothing but Allahu ta’ala. Thus, their statement “We have no other ma’bud” becomes a truth, and they have rid themselves of all other deities. To do away with all one’s maqsuds other than Him and thereby attain a spiritual state wherein one no longer has any ma‘bud but Him is an essential prerequisite of a perfect faith, and that spiritual state is peculiar to (beloved slaves of Allahu ta‘ala whom we call) Awliya. It is dependent on one‘s ridding oneself of the ma’buds inherent in one‘s nature. This elevated spiritual state will not be attained unless the (malignant being that is inherent in man‘s nature and that is called) nafs attains (the spiritual purity and maturity called) itmi‘nan. The essence and basis of Islam is facility, simplicity, and deliverance of born slaves from hardships and toilsome undertakings because humans are weak and delicate by creation. So Islam says, “If a person goes out of Islam in order to attain his goal –may Allahu ta‘ala protect us from doing so– [for instance, if he ignores one of the (compulsory acts that are called) fard or commits a (forbidden act called) haram, i.e., if he neglects salat or fast or drinks alcoholic beverages or goes about without properly covering his body],” that goal of his becomes his ma’bud. If he does not go out of Islam for the sake of his maqsud, if, for instance, he does not commit a haram in order to obtain his maqsud, Islam will not reject or interdict that maqsud or deem it as his maqsud. It is understood that his maqsud is Allahu ta’ala, alone, and to observe His religion. That maqsud has appealed to that person‘s nature and a desire has arisen for that maqsud. Yet that desire has been outshone by his desire for Islam. (Vol. 3, Letter 3)
This means to say that if we do something for the sake of Allah, that thing is not considered to be our ma’bud. For example, if a person marries in order to protect himself against prohibited things and practice Islam better, his marriage is not considered to be his ma’bud.