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.
Just as the Being of God is limitless, the pathways to His love and nearness are innumerable. Likewise, the ways and means of the nearness of Allah are multifarious, and these ways are frequently mentioned in the Qur’an and hadith literature. Drawing close to Allah is, however, the central theme of the Qur’an. Allah Most High says: “And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near.’” [Qur’an 2:187]
Ibn Ajiba’s tafsir Al-Bahr al-Madid argues that the entire underlying guidance of the Qur’an focuses on realizing the closeness to Allah. Also, while engaging with the questions such as “What do we mean by God?” and “Why is he worthy of worship?” beings must realize that we are dealing with a God who is all-merciful.
He Who Brings into Being
We owe our existence to Him who sustains and nourishes us and is closer to us than our jugular vein. One of the sense of him being all-merciful is mentioned by Habib al-Hasan Jifri who defines God as “al-Rahman bi l-Ijad” who brought everything from the darkness of non-existence to the light of existence. We owe our existence and submission to the All-Sustaining (al-Qayyum) and Living God. The One who needs none to Sustain Him in any way. The one who sustains everything, in every moment, in every way.
Ayah al-Kursi beautifully unravels the transformative power of engagement with our Creator. Likewise, Sura al-Ikhlas manifests God’s self-disclosure as the All-Independent (al-Samad), All-Sustaining (al-Qayyum), trans-conceptual Being.
Our Dependence on Allah
Imam Sanusi defines Allah being, thus: “al-ilahu huwa l-mustagni amma-siwa/al-muftakiru ilayhi ma ada” – “God is absolutely free of need of any other/ Who all are in absolute need of.” This is the way to comprehend the existence of God. The ideas of closeness [2:186] and mercy [1:1-2] mentioned in the Qur’an underscores His never-ending care for creation. Likewise, in Dhikr, every statement of remembrance (Subhan Allah, Alhamdulillah, and Allahu Akbar) affirms Allah’s transcendent majesty and glory. Dhikr, therefore, cultivates our sense of the reality of His nearness.
Understand, then, that the essence of religion is to recognize God. The freedom of choice given to us by our Lord should help us to choose goodness. Goodness is to choose closeness to God. Pharoah’s wife, sayyida Asiya, in her supplication exhibits this yearning for closeness to God: “O Lord! Build for me a house near you in Paradise”. [Qur’an 66:11] Ibn Ata’illah also testifies to in his Hikam where he writes: “O God! What has anyone lost who has found you and what has anyone found if they lost You?”