Of Worship and Submission, or Lack Thereof

I’ve mentioned this before several times, and it remains an integral part of my faith: I do not worship Lucifer, and I am not allowed to bow down before him or any other entity or god. This was pretty much the first and only term that has been explicitly non-negotiable within my Work.

However, it wasn’t until recently that I came to understand why this restriction was so crucial, why I was pretty much forbidden from doing so. Obviously, if I’m working towards Apotheosis, submitting wholly and entirely to another being may be detrimental—but that’s still no reason to forbid it. I was even more confused as to why I was barred from bowing and kneeling at the precise moment I became aware of the sacredness of such an action, when I first felt compelled to do so out of love.

For years I just accepted it for what it was—maybe this was another quirk of his, similar to his dislike of being thanked. It seemed odd that for one accused of being so prideful, he mocked and refused any show of submission in his honor.

But now that I’ve been delving more into Islamic theology, and in particular Sufi interpretations of the fall of Iblis, I think I’ve figured out why this restriction was of such importance.

Iblis’s crime at first glance seems to be much the same as Christian interpretation—he allowed pride to get the better of him.

“It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrate; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who prostrate.
(Allah) said: “What prevented thee from prostrating when I commanded thee?” He said: “I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay.” (Quran, sura 7 (Al-A’raf) ayat 11-12).

However in the Tawasin of al-Hallaj we are led to see things differently:

“If I prostrated before another than You or if I did not prostrate it would be necessary me to return to my origin, since You created me of fire, and fire returns to fire, according to an equilibrium and choice which are Yours”

“He put me far from others because of my jealousy for Him alone…He showed my lack of worth because I praised His Glory…He left me because of my union, He unified me because he cut me off. He cut me off because He had prevented my desire.

By His Truth I was not in error in respect to His decree, I did not refuse destiny.

If He punishes me with His fire for all of eternity I would not prostrate myself before anyone, and I would not abase myself before any person or body because I do not recognize any opposite with Him! My Declaration is that of the Sincere and I am one of those sincere in love.”

Iblis would not bow to Adam, believing him to be unworthy of the same exaltation and worship meant to be bestowed only upon God, his creator and the being he was made to serve. This resistance caused him to be parted from his God, earning him the title Shaytan, derived from ‘Shatana’ which roughly means ‘to be far from’. However, while he may have been disobeying the command to prostrate himself before mankind, it is said that he did so in order to obey a greater command—that all praise and worship belongs to God alone. His rebellion was thus a rebellion born out of adoration and obedience to God’s law.

 Similarly, the concept extends to the commands given regarding other gods:

“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14).

 

“God forgiveth not (The sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with God, Hath strayed far, far away” (An-Nisa Verse No:116).

 And although I didn’t understand it at the time, I was similarly expected to keep this commandment with Lucifer: If it is thus my choice to turn from Christianity and not to worship YHWH, then I am not to worship or bow to any other entity or god—Lucifer included. If I strive to be a reflection of his ideals, then it only makes sense that I abide by the very commandment that he fell to uphold and protect.

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