On this journey of Hope and Closeness, Shaykh Faraz throws light on diverse ways a believer can strengthen the connection with the all-sustaining and ever-living God, the ultimate purpose of life and religion, and the means to draw closer to Allah.
God bestows His closeness only unto those who understand His endless blessings – those who are entirely dedicated to Him and lost in His love. Man’s success lies in Qurb-i-ilahi (closeness to Allah), which indeed is the greatest fortune and blessing. On the other hand, Allah responds to the circumstantial refusal and insistence in disbelief in God by insisting that the believers “prostate and draw closer [to Allah].” [Qur’an 96:19] This underscores the importance of utter submission (taslim) and devotion to our Creator.
On this point, Imam Razi says: “Seek through your prostration a rank with your Lord.” And Imam Qushayri writes in his Lataif al-Isharat: “Prostate and draw close to behold the realities of Allah’s lordship. Stand on the carpet of submissiveness to Allah in your entirety.” Understand, then, the need to prioritize your pursuits in this world. The highest thing you can seek is the subtle reality of eternal closeness to Allah.
Repentance Is the Way
You must be aware of Allah (muraqaba) and increase awareness to navigate your journey in this world rightly. A journey that brings us closer to Allah Most High. Not in terms of distance, but in terms of awareness, for He is already near. As He says in the Qur’an: “We have created the human being and know what its own self whispers. And We are closer to it than its jugular vein.” [Qur’an 50:16]
Given the centrality of repentance in Islam, choosing the path of repentance opens ways for you to seek the pleasure and closeness of Allah. Repentance eases the way to righteousness for the believer and is drawn closer to Allah, who says: “Seek His forgiveness and repent to Him. Truly, my Lord is close and answers.” [Qur’an 11:61]
This verse makes it clear that repentance opens doors for a sinful person. It leads a person from a relative distance to a personal relationship with Allah. Note also that seeking forgiveness is not self-flagellation. It is to ask that Allah grant one the means to remain close to Him.
Supplication and Being Guided
It is pertinent to mention that seeking guidance ultimately works as a medium for the traveler to inch closer to the destination. Quran is clear in identifying the destination of seeking closeness to God: “If my servants ask you about me, I am close. ” [Qur’an 2:186] Being rightly guided brings human beings closer to Allah.
You also need to understand the role of supplication as a means to seek closeness to Allah. At the heart of calling upon Allah is recognizing your utter need for Allah. Supplication is, in fact, not only the spontaneous outpourings of your heart before your Lord, but an expression of your sense of nearness to Him, of His Might and Power, of confidence in His mercy, grace, and blessings.
Again, the fundamental reality is that God is always closer to you than any other existent thing. Realize the closeness of Allah and fill the vacuum and the emptiness in your lives. The Qur’an says: “We are closer to them than you are, but you don’t realize.” [50:16]
The consequence of this realization is expressed by Shaykh al Islam Ahmad Zayni al-Dahlan, who calls upon Ibn Ata’illah, when he says: “All bliss and all rejoicing in all its manifestation, in reality, is drawing and being closer to Allah. The actual torment amid the myriad of manifestations is being veiled from Allah, and the epitome of bliss is beholding the countenance and closeness of Allah.”