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 Him.
The hadith “Every action is based on intention” defines the role of intention as a central theme in the Qur’an. This hadith stresses the importance of having an intention for every physical activity and a purpose for every action. – For Allah alone is pure religion and they have been commanded nothing except devotion to Allah and making religion sincere unto Him purely for the sake of Him. – It is to understand that when we seek Allah in our actions the inherent calling of our fitra will further our closeness to Allah.
The Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, said, “Be mindful of Allah and He will be mindful of you.” This reveals core truths about the nature of our relationship with Allah. If you attend to your relationship with Him, He will attend to His with you. This hadith not only affirms the faith but lays bare its true potential. It is to transcend our relationship of sound submission towards Allah and to reach excellence. It is to infuse sincerity and excellence in our submission, worship, life, conduct, and character so as to attain closeness to Allah.
True Faith of the Elect
The hadith on the elect is central to both exploring the possibility of faith, religion, and guidance but also defines the means to reach that potential. This Hadith Qudsi is also known as Hadith al-Wilaya wherein the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said:
Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.
Shaykh Faraz through this hadith elucidates the principle that there are some elect servants of Allah? They are the people of true faith and mindfulness of Allah because they chose Him and Allah chose them. It is through the devotion of fulfilling what is obligatory and then engaging in supererogatory acts of worship.
To Rise Is to Draw Near
Imam Nasir al-Din Baydawi in his commentary on Sabih al-Sunnah also argues that the best way for the servant to get closer to Allah is through obligatory and voluntary works and rises in rank with Allah until they achieve the love of Allah. By which Allah protects them but makes them drown in their consciousness of Allah such that they behold Allah before they behold all else. Shah Abdul Haq Dehlavi explains this drawing closer to Allah as the first step in fulfilling our obligations and doing voluntary works.
The incident of the cave beautifully manifests the Divine protection, care and support for those who are conscious of Allah. Prophet Muhammad’s words truly unpack this relationship when he told Abu Bakr: what do you think about two with whom the third is Allah. Do not worry, truly Allah is with us (Quran 9: 40) it helps us to understand God takes care of those who are conscious of Him. The need is to have certitude, awe, hope and many other attributes which put heart to rest.
Also, In a hadith of Jibreel, Muhammad was asked about Ihsan (perfection of religion/spiritual excellence) was answered to show perfection devotion to a belief in Allah. It is to know we behold Allah and to know He beholds his believers. Perfecting and completion in religion is the attainment of presence with Allah as though behold him.
To conclude, it means faithful watchfulness of Allah (muraqaba) and devotion (ibada) i.e. sincere commitment bear the fruit of closeness to Allah.