By: Ahmad Afnan*
It should be the desire of every Muslim to draw nearer and closer to Almighty Allah the most compassionate and the most merciful. By drawing closer and near to Allah we gain his help in every aspect of our lives in this world and to be merciful to us so that we may gain mercy in the hereafter in order to enter Jannah in the next world.
When we call upon him he would answer our calls and when we ask of him for anything he would give it to us and when we draw nearer to him then our sincerity and intentions will enable us to become closer to him.
So we should strive to draw nearer to Allah, the Glorified the Exalted, who is the majesty of honour and generosity and the giver of peace, the most high and the most honoured.
So what can we do to draw closer to him? The following are 10 steps for us to draw closer to our Almighty Allah:
1. Fulfilling obligatory duties and abstaining from prohibited matters
The Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) has guided us. And Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted, has guided us how to draw near to Him. As He said According to Hadith Qudsi:
“Whoever draws near to Me among those drawn near by fulfilling what I have made obligatory on them….
You do not draw near to Allah except by fulfilling the obligatory duties which Allah has made obligatory on you; (that is) the obligatory duties from the obligatory duties (Faraid) such as Prayers, and Zakat (obligatory charity), and Hajj, and Fasting and being good to Parents and all these obligatory duties on you draw you near to Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted.
2. Nawafil prayers (superogatory prayers)
Allah says in Hadith Qudsi:
….and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil(voluntary deeds) until I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My Protection, I will protect him…” [Bukhari]
A Source of Elevation for you
The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Ask (anything).” Rabi’ah said:”I ask of you to be your companion in paradise.” The Prophet said: “Anything else?” Rabi’ah said: “That is it.” The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) said to him: “Then help me by making many prostrations (i.e., supererogatory prayers).” [Muslim]
3. Zikr (remembrance of Allah) and glorification of Allah
“…Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (13:28)
Remembrance of Allah is the foundation of all good deeds. Whoever succeeds in it is blessed with the close friendship of Allah.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, used to make remembrance of Allah at all times and also encouraged all of us to do the same. When a man complained,”The laws of Islam are too heavy for me, so tell me something that I can easily follow,” the Prophet told him, “Let your tongue be always busy with the remembrance of Allah.” [Ahmad].
4. Calling upon Allah in Dua (supplication)
In order to build a close relationship with Allah we should always call upon him in all situations and circumstances whether we are happy or sad and we should ask him for all of our needs aswell as help and guidance in all aspects of our lives.
Allah the most compassionate says in the Holy Quran, “Call on Me. I will answer your prayer, but those who are too arrogant to serve me will surely find themselves humiliated in Hell” (40:60).
So let us build a close relationship with Allah by making much dua to him. He loves it when his slave calls upon him and it angers him if his slave does not call upn him.
Let us have full hope that our dua’s will be accepted and if you think they won’t they know Allah is keeping the rewards for you in the hereafter and those rewards are so great that one would wish that none of there duas were excepted in this world just so that one can gain all the rewards for their duas in the next world.
5. Building a close relationship with the Qur’an
Recite the Holy Qur’aan as much as we can for It will come as an intercessor for its reciter’ on the Day of Judgement [Muslim]
Learn the Qur’an and recite it, because the example of one who learns the Qur’an, reads it and recites it in Tahajjud is like an open bag full of musk whose fragrance permeates the entire place. And the person who has learnt the Qur’an but sleeps while the Qur’an is in the heart is like a bag full of musk but with its mouth closed.
Virtues of reciting the Qur’an
“Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah will receive a hasanah (good deed) from it (i.e. his recitation), and the hasanah is multiplied by ten. I do not say that Alif-Laam-Meem is (considered as) a letter, rather Alif is a letter, Laamis a letter, and Meem is a letter.” [At-Tirmidhi, Ad-Darimi]
6. Keeping good company
One of the most important things we must do, which sadly many people neglect, is that we should avoid bad company. People we should avoid taking as friends those who speak too freely, who miss Salah, who do not dress modestly, who backbite, slander etc.
The company of such people is poison; just even sitting and talking with them will lead one to commit sins. Just as a person who sits for a long time with a perfume seller begins to smell nice, and a person who sits by a gutter cleaner begins to smell awful, similarly a person who spends time in the company of the wicked eventually gets affected badly by them.
Rather, we should seek out pious friends who fear Allah taala and who have the qualities of humility, charity, compassion, modesty and knowledge. If we sit with them we will always benefit and they will be a means for us to get closer to Allah taala!
7. Having fear and hope in Allah
Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.(Surah Yusuf 12:87)
One must be hopeful of Allahs mercy and forgiveness and fearful of His punishment. It is this fear that should lead one to seek Allahs forgiveness with hope. Allah says:
Know that Allah is severe in punishment and that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Surat al-Maaidah 5:98)
In the above verse, Allah gives us reason to fear because His punishment is justly severe, as well as good reason to have hope, since He is the Most Forgiving and Merciful. There should be a balance between fear and hope and not too much or too less of one or the other.
8. Voluntary fasting for the pleasure of Allah
Fasting in general and voluntary fasting in particular is a great worship. Fasting is not restricted to Ramadhan, but it is an act of worship that can be [and should be in some cases] performed at any time and at any place except when not recommended. Indeed, it is a worship that draws the believer closer to Allah and closer to perfection.
Fasting Mondays and Thursdays:
`Aa’ishah said: The Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, used to fast Mondays and Thursdays”. [An-Nasaa’i; Sahih]
Abu Hurairah reported that the most the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, would fast would be Monday and Thursday. He was asked about that and he said: “The deeds of people are presented to Allah on every Monday and Thursday. Allah forgives every Muslim except for those who are deserting each other. He says: “leave them for later.” [Ahmad; Hasan]
9. Sincerely repenting to Allah
Allah says: O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and you would then seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you.
When a person sins and then sincerely turns to Allah for forgiveness, one will find Allah ready to accept his repentance and to forgive him, as this verse indicates:
And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself, but then seeks forgiveness from Allah, he will find Allah forgiving and merciful. (Surat an-Nisaa 4:110)
Everyone commits sin and does wrong, but Allah is always willing to forgive and He always gives them a chance to repent and seek His forgiveness. A believer should never forget the fact that Allah is so forgiving. If Allah had willed, He could have held everyone accountable for his or her sins, but He has decreed that He shall allow His servants to seek His forgiveness and that He shall in fact forgive who and what He wills. In fact, Allah commands that His servants seek His forgiveness:
10. Having good manners, character and being humble
Many of us think that “a perfect Muslim” is simply one who is correct in the observance of the salah (ritual Prayer), the fasting, the zakah (payment of a certain portion of one’s wealth to the poor), and the Hajj (pilgrimage toMakkah). This indeed is not the case.
If the ritual observances do not help the person to be humble, virtuous and truly God-fearing, then he or she is not a real Muslim. A Muslim should be good and just in dealing with others, no matter their religion, and take special care to keep away from all the shameful and sinful things Allah has forbidden.
One can never get close to Allah by being arrogant, full of pride and having a bad character and manners. Those who have humility and are humble and have good character and manners are the closest to Allah and Allah raises their ranks in the hereafter. The best person is the one who is best towards others.(R04/R03)
*This article first published at thetruthmag.com
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)