How to Get Closer to Allah: Practical Steps
“When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2, verse 186)
After mentioning the rules of fasting and significance of the month of Ramadan, Allah (swt) says that He is, indeed,Qaribor close to his servants. Allah (swt), of course, knows His whole creation. He is aware of everyone and everything. He knows the believers and the non-believer. He knows those who are truthful, honest, sincere and righteous and those who are sinners and wrongdoers. But His closeness is a special honor that He grants to special people.
Who are those people and how they become closer to Allah (swt) and what benefit they draw when Allah (swt) comes closer to them?
The people who become closer to Allah (swt) are those who love to be closer to Him. They make an effort to come closer to Allah (swt). He then grants them the honor of His closeness. Taqarrubila Allah, getting closer to Allah (swt), or drawing near Allah (swt), is thus a very important Islamic value. The Prophet (saws) was the closest person to Allah (swt) and he used to teach people the way of this closeness.
We all can try to come closer to Allah (swt) and Allah (swt), in His glory and majesty, can be closer to all of us at the same time. It is possible for every person to draw near to Allah (swt). But we have to make an effort. The question is how to make this effort.
In the Qur’an and Sunnah we are given various ways and methods to come closer to Allah (swt). We should try all these ways and may try to excel in one or the other. The possibilities are immense and rewards are many.
Ways to Come Closer to Allah (swt)
1. Way of Devotion and Worship:
This is a way to come to closer to Allah. People close to Allah are those who are most devoted to Allah. They love Allah more than any one and anything. Worship is a very important way of coming closer to Allah. Allah says:
“Nay, heed him not: but bow down in adoration, and bring thyself the closer (to Allah)!” (Surah al-Alaq 96 – Verse 19)
In a Qudsihadith, the Prophet (saws) said that Allah (swt) says:
“My servant does not come closer to Me with anything more dear to Me than that which I made obligatory upon him. My servant keeps coming closer to Me with more volunteer deeds, until I love him. When I love him, I become His ear by which he hears, his eyes by which he sees, his hand by which he holds and his foot by which he walks. If he asks Me anything, I shall give him. If he seeks My protection, I shall grant him My protection…”(Al-Bukhari 6021)
2. Way of Piety and Righteousness:
Taqwa (piety) and righteous deeds also bring us close to Allah (swt). People close to Allah (swt) are those who are foremost in doing good things. They want to go ahead of everyone in their faith, deeds of charity and goodness. Allah (swt) says:
“And the pioneers who compete with other (in Faith and righteousness). These will be those Nearest to Allah.” (Surah Al-Waqi’ah 56 – Verses 10-11)
“Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for Allah loves not those who trespass beyond bounds. Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing (in your hearts): for the Mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do Good.” (Surah Al-A’raf 7 – Verses 55-56)
3. Way of Charity and Kindness:
This is another way that can bring us very close to Allah (swt). The Prophet (saws) mentioned that Allah (swt) identifies with the poor and those who help the poor and needy they find Allah (swt) and they come closer to him.
“Allah will say on the Day of Judgment:‘O son of Adam! I was ill and you visited Me not.’ He will say: ‘O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds?’ He will say: ‘Did you not know that My servant so and so was ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him? O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not.’ He will say: ‘O Lord, and how should I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds?’ He will say: ‘Did you not know that My servant so and so asked you for food and you fed him not? Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found that with Me? O son of Adam, I asked you to give Me to drink and you gave Me not to drink.’ He will say: ‘O Lord, how should I give You to drink when You are the Lord of the worlds?’ He will say: ‘My servant so and so asked you to give him to drink and you gave him not to drink. Had you given him to drink you would have surely found that with Me.’” (Muslim 4661)
All these are the ways to come closer to Allah (swt). Those who strive in this direction they become the beloved of Allah (swt) and they become the people of Paradise:
“Thus, then, if he be of those Nearest to Allah (swt), there is for him Rest and Satisfaction, and a Garden of Delights.” (Surah al-Waqi’ah 56 – Verse 88)
Did You Know That…?
- Rats breed so quickly that in just eighteen months, two rats could have created over one million relatives.
- The blue whale can produce the loudest sound of any animal. At 188 decibels, the noise can be detected over 800 kilometres away.
- Horses and cows sleep while standing up.
- Giant Arctic jellyfish have tentacles that can reach over 36 metres in length.
- Locusts have leg muscles that are about 1000 times more powerful than an equal weight of human muscle.
- Hummingbirds are so agile and have such good control that they can fly backwards.
- Instead of bones, sharks have a skeleton made from cartilage.
- Insects such as bees, mosquitoes and cicadas make noise by rapidly moving their wings.
- The horn of a rhinoceros is made from compacted hair rather than bone or another substance.
- Sharks lay the biggest eggs in the world.
- Even when a snake has its eyes closed, it can still see through its eyelids.
- The white part of an egg is the albumen.
- The white potato originated in the Andes mountains and was probably brought to Britain by Sir Francis Drake about 1586.
- The world’s first chocolate candy was produced in 1828 by Dutch chocolate-maker Conrad J. Van Houten. He pressed the fat from roasted cacao beans to produce cocoa butter, to which he added cocoa powder and sugar.
- The world’s costliest coffee, at $130 a pound, is called Kopi Luwak. It is in the droppings of a type of marsupial that eats only the very best coffee beans. Plantation workers track them and scoop their precious poop.
- The world’s deadliest mushroom is the Amanita phalloides, the death cap. The five different poisons contained by the mushroom cause diarrhea and vomiting within 6 to 12 hours of ingestion. This is followed by damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system – and, in the majority of cases, coma and death.
- Truffles, or mushrooms that grow below the ground, are one of the world’s most expensive foods. One variety, Tuber melanosporum, can cost between $800 and $1,500 a pound.
- Vanilla is the extract of fermented and dried pods of several species of orchids.
- Watermelon is grown in over 96 countries worldwide. Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide. There are about 200 varieties of watermelon throughout the US alone.
- Watermelon, considered one of the world’s favorite fruits, is really a vegetable (Citrulluslanatus). Cousin to the cucumber and kin to the gourd, watermelons can range in size from 7 to 100 pounds.
- When honey is swallowed, it enters the blood stream within a period of 20 minutes.
- When potatoes first appeared in Europe in the seventeenth century, it was thought that they were disgusting, and they were blamed for starting outbreaks of leprosy and syphilis. As late as 1720 in America, eating potatoes was believed to shorten a person’s life.
The Rose Within
A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully and before it blossomed, he examined it. He saw the bud that would soon blossom, but noticed thorns upon the stem and he thought, “How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns?” Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose, and just before it was ready to bloom… it died.
So it is with many people. Within every soul there is a rose. The God-like qualities planted in us at birth, grow amid the thorns of our faults. Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, the defects.
We despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from us. We neglect to water the good within us, and eventually it dies. We never realize our potential.
Some people do not see the rose within themselves; someone else must show it to them. One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is to be able to reach past the thorns of another, and find the rose within them.
This is one of the characteristic of love – to look at a person, know their true faults and accepting that person into your life, all the while recognizing the nobility in their soul. Help others to realize they can overcome their faults. If we show them the ‘rose’ within themselves, they will conquer their thorns.
Only then will they blossom many times over.
A Bamboo Tree
A farmer had a cluster of beautiful bamboo trees. One day, he stood before the tallest one and said, “My friend, I need you.”
“Sir,” said the bamboo, “Use me in any way you wish, I am ready.”
Then the gardener’s voice became serious and he said, “In order to use you, I’ve got to split you in half.”
Then the bamboo reacted, “Split me? Oh, no… I’m the nicest bamboo in this garden. Use me in any way you wish, but please don’t split me in half.”
“Well,” said the gardener, “if I can’t split you, I can’t use you.”
The bamboo went silent.
Then it bowed its head and said, “Okay. If the only way you can use me, is by splitting me, go ahead.”
“But that’s not all,” said the gardener. “I am going to have to cut off all your branches.”
“That will be the end of my beauty,” the bamboo said. “But – if that’s the only way I can be of use – cut me down altogether.”
So the farmer cut down the bamboo, removed its branches and split it down the middle. After hollowing out its insides, he brought it to a spring of water. It became a pipe to bring water to the gardens and make them fertile and fruitful.
It gave its life to help other lives.
Everyday, right around us, people are giving off from their lives that we might live… Take our parents, our teachers, social workers, scholars, etc.
‘He who saved a single life, it is as if has saved the whole of humanity; and he who destroyed a single life.it is as if he has destroyed the whole of humanity.’ (Qur’an)