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.
Shaykh Abdullah Siraj al-Din, Allah have mercy on him, was an eclectic scholar who grew up in a home of immense knowledge and extreme piety. He attained tremendous feats in knowledge and became a master in the sciences of Hadith and spirituality. In his book, The Way of Getting Closer to Allah, he throws light on the description of the way of closeness to Allah Most High. Allah Most High describes this absolute reliance and submission in the Qur’an:
Truly, you guide to a straight path – the path of Allah, to whom belongs all that is in the heavens and on Earth. Truly, to Allah do all matters return. [42:52-3]
This verse affirms that everything in the heavens and the earth is in utter submission, neediness, and slavehood to Allah Most High. The ultimate destination of everything in existence is to return to Allah Most High.
Our Relationship to the Prophet
The important point is to realize the road that leads to this association goes through absolute submission to Allah’s guidance (shar‘) and devotion to the path of Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace upon him. That is to understand the nature of our relationship with the Prophet, blessings and peace upon him, and to seek closeness to Allah through devotion (ubudiyya).
As the hadith Qudsi mentions, “My servants draws closer to me by what I have made incumbent upon them” and another hadith wherein the Prophet, blessings and peace upon him, says: “If you love Allah then follow me so that Allah will love you.” Since human beings are granted choice and freedom to recognize and submit to one true God.
Understand that human beings in their existential makeup are “slaves of Allah” and need their Master. Devotion is an intrinsic right of Allah, and our existence demands devotion, gratitude, and yearning for Allah Most High.
Two Types of Devotion
There are two types of devotion, i.e., existential slavehood and existential devotion to Allah Most High, which applies to all existent things since they are all dependent on Allah Most High in every moment.
The hadith of Muadh ibn Jabal, Allah be pleased with him, beautifully sums up this relationship about the mutual rights between Creator and the creation:
What is the right of Allah upon His servants? The right of Allah upon His servants is [that they] worship Allah alone and not associate any partners with Him. The right of servants upon Allah is that if they are devoted to him and associate no partners with Him, He will not punish His servants.
The Proper Manner of Slaves
Our master Shaykh Abdullah Siraj al-Din, Allah have mercy on him, argues that “Whosoever humbles themselves before Allah are raised by Allah.” The proper manners of the slave are to humble themselves, and if their humility becomes complete, Allah draws them near.
Shaykh Siraj al-Din also talks about the responsibility of devotion (ibada) on the believer to fulfill what Allah Most High has commanded, of actions and words – in awareness of their slavehood (ubudiyya) to the Creator.
As Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace upon him, said: “It is to be grateful of innumerable blessings of Allah Most High’” and to understand the path of love goes through the gateway of gratitude.
Acknowledge the acts of devotion are the acts of heart and cultivate them. Realize that the ultimate aim of devotion is to reach the understanding that our every act is for the sake of Allah Most High.