Nearness To Allah

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: What should one do if they desire to excel in their Deen but find distractions holding them back?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

May Allah bless you for your sincerity in seeking guidance.

The feeling or desire to gain nearness to Allah, Most High is one of the greatest blessings anyone can attain. These impulses toward good and to fulfill life’s purpose are from Allah, Most High. Once they come, Imam Abdullah bin Alawi al-Haddad mentions, in his book, The Etiquettes of the Seeker, that one (1st) should protect that impulse, (2nd) strengthen that impulse, and (3rd) respond to that impulse.

Protecting the Urge to Gain Nearness to Allah

One should seek to protect the urge to come closer to Allah, Most High by trying to keep in a constant state of remembrance of Allah. This should be with both tongue and heart. Included in this is a recitation of the Qur’an, seeking Sacred Islamic Knowledge, learning more about the Beloved Messenger of Allah (may Allah be pleased with him), etc…

Strengthening the Urge to Gain Nearness to Allah

One should make an effort to strengthen this drive by keeping the company of righteous believers. Good companionship is a great way to keep one’s focus and determination to become better servants of Allah. Allah, Most High says, “O’ you who believe, be mindful of Allah, and be with the truthful ones.” [Qur’an; 9:119] At the same time one should try to distance themselves from sinful and/or heedless people, for this will certainly endanger one’s relationship with Allah, Most High.

Responding to the Urge to Gain Nearness to Allah

Allah, Most High says, “O’ you who believe. Respond to the call of Allah and His Messenger, when He calls you to that which will give you life.” [َQur’an; 8:24]

Responding to this urge can be done by taking any opportunity to do good deeds and to abandon procrastination. Our lives are short and we must take advantage of the time that we have been allotted.

Practical Steps

The ways to Allah, Most High are many. So much that one may become bewildered trying to figure out how to gain the good pleasure of Allah. I would advise seeking Islamic Knowledge from a qualified scholar, who is a person of mindfulness of Allah (taqwa) and Prophetic Character.

The above-mentioned author, Imam Abdullah bin Alawi al-Haddad (may Allah shower him is mercy) has a book called, The Book of Assistance. This is a good book to strive to implement. One should take one chapter at a time and strive to implement its teachings before moving on to the next chapter.

May Allah bless you and assist you in attaining His good pleasure

Allahu A’alam

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Servanthood and Submission

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: What is the real meaning of servanthood [ubudiyya] and what is the authentic book I need to read to know more about submission?

Answer: Wa’alaykum Assalam. Thank you for your question.

Submitting to Allah Most High and being pleased with Allah are two necessary sides of faith. One realizes one’s slavehood by realizing one’s absolute neediness of Allah Most High, and recognizing that one’s works, or the acts of others, are only through the Will and Power of Allah.

Islam enters into every aspect of one’s life, inward and outward. One submits to Allah Most High through first following His commands and avoiding His prohibitions, and then increasing and cementing one’s submission through voluntary works and remembering Him at all times. Being grateful in word and deed towards Allah is a sure sign of slavehood. Contemplation on the world around one, including oneself, is part of the process of increasing in faith and knowing one’s Lord.

When the heart and limbs submit in this way, one maintains a balance of hope and fear. One seeks motivation through Him alone, and because such a person experiences love in his heart, he has mercy towards others in creation, following the way of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him). In this state being pleased with Allah Most High naturally ensues.

The best book to read to increase one’s slavehood is the Quran, contemplating on its meaning. One should also read the Sirah of the blessed Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him). Following this, one may read the works of Imam al Ghazali and Imam al Haddad.

Please also refer to:

Slavehood to Allah and How We Look at Creation and People

Ubudiyya or True Kingship

Lastly, do not have doubts and misgivings about your relationship with Allah Most High. Such doubts are the work of the devil, who wants to severe your relationship with Him by constantly doubting your sincerity and works. Brush these thoughts aside and continue remembering Allah Most high whenever you can and do what you can in His way. We intend and we act and ask Allah to accept it from us, the rest we leave to Allah.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Best Order To Study The Step One Courses

Answer by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: What is the best order to study the step-one courses?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

The step one courses are best studied in the following order:

1. Absolute Essentials of Islam (Hanafi or Shafi’i)

2. What Muslims Believe and Why: Dardir’s Kharida al-Bahiyya

3. How Islam Works: What is Religion, and How It Is Preserved, Transmitted, and Interpreted

4. On Worship (Purification, Prayer, Fasting, Zakat, and Hajj) – Hanafi, or Shafi’i

5. On Spirituality: Living the Sunna, Leaving Sin, and Acquiring Good Character: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance

6. Living Right: Halal and Haram and Living Prophetic Excellence (Hanafi or Shafi’i).

7. On Spirituality: Living the Sunna, Leaving Sin, and Acquiring Good Character: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance

The supplementary, self-study courses can be taken in any order. Whatever works best for you.

We only provide these courses in English, but you are welcome to study them elsewhere in Arabic if you have the opportunity. We also have a number of courses in Arabic in our Arabiyya catalog.

For spirituality, in addition to the courses in this step, there are a number of courses in our On-Demand library. Please consult those. You ask to contact your course instructor for more information.

I hope that helps. May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

6 Steps to Self-Change – Living Hearts Series

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani covers a critical topic; how to gain nearness to Allah through personal reformation. In this segment, he discusses 6 practical steps to self-change.

Allah tells us in the Qur’an:

By time, humanity is in loss. (Sura 103:1)

The key to avoiding loss is committing to change, which happens through an active choice to make things better. Imam Ghazali outlined how to get closer to Allah through personal accountability. In book 38 of his Revival of the Religious Sciences, he mentioned six steps to achieve this:

Step One: Goal-setting, or musharata. One should commit to upholding the obligatory acts, such as prayer, fasting, and worship. In addition, one should leave all the prohibited acts. After these basics have been established, one should then move onto bringing in the sunnas, and leaving the disliked acts. Doing this properly require knowledge of beliefs, worship, social relations, and transactions.

Step Two: Watching over oneself, or muraqaba. It’s easiest to begin by watching over one’s prayer, and one’s tongue. Prayer is one of the central aspects of the deen, and most of life’s problems happen through toxic speech. Having these standards will bring caution and concern into one’s life.

Step Three: Taking oneself to account, or muhasaba. One should sit down once a day, week, or month, and look over what they did. They should identify the positive and negative, and deciding what could be done better.

Step Four: Self-penalty, or mu’aqaba. This refers to positive self-discipline, as the nature of humans is that they will continue to push boundaries unless there is a consequence.

Step Five: Spiritual struggle, or mujahada. The easiest way to do this, is to strive to be constantly in remembrance of Allah.

Step Six: Self-reproach, or mu’ataba. Nothing harms the self as much as self-satisfaction, and one should remain humble. Scholars would ask themselves, if they died shortly, would they be satisfied to meet Allah? Was there any harm, negligence, or sins on their record? Are there many good deeds on record? It was said about Imam Hamaad, the teacher of Imam Abu Hanifa, that if he were told he were to die tomorrow, he could not possibly increase in good deeds.

About the Series

In this engaging and inspiring series Shaykh Faraz Rabbani covers Imam Ghazali’s brilliant explanation in his Renewal of the Sciences of Religion (Ihya Ulum al-Din) of how one could become God conscious through watchfulness (muraqaba), and self-accounting (muhasaba). This series will give you keys, insights, and timeless wisdom on how to change oneself, through setting goals and conditions, watching over oneself, taking oneself into account, and spiritual striving.

Prayer and Charity – Ramadan Renewal Xtra

Struggling to keep on top of your podcast subscriptions? SeekersHub Ramadan Renewal Xtra offers you a bitesize summary of each night’s lessons at SeekersHub Toronto this Ramadan. Catch up on the essential lessons, captured by our media team in this special episode.

One Surprising Thing that Will Save Us – Shaykh Faid Said

What will save us? We commit many sins. We make many mistakes. Every day, we think we are increasing in experience and wisdom, but in reality we get closer and closer to death and our own personal Reckoning.

In this inspiring talk, Shaykh Faid Muhammad Said tells us how our connection to Allah and His Messenger ﷺ, is the very thing that will be our salvation in the end.

Quite simply, he says, there is no limit to how close we can be to Allah. He relates two inspiring stories of people who seemed simple and nondescript, but in reality were drawn close to Allah out of His limitless mercy.

They were Companions of the Prophet. One of them is extremely well known; his story is told in almost every Muslim household. Another one is less known; few people know the details about his life. Nonetheless, he was one of the ones who drew indescribably close to Allah, and for that reason, achieved a high rank.

Resources for Seekers

Where Did The Sweetness of Prayer Go? – Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa

How many of us want to experience the sweetness of our first ever salah, all the time? Allah Most High gives us that in the beginning and then He conceals it from us – he doesn’t take it away, he conceals it. Why?

Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa explains at this McGill University Muslim Students Association program.

Ten Qualities of Those Seeking Closeness to Allah

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the ten qualities or stations of those seeking closeness to Allah. Using the classical work Manazil al-Sa’ireen by Khawaja Abdullah al Ansari of Herat, Shaykh Faraz gives a description of each quality, its basis in the Holy Qur’an and a brief commentary.

The ten qualities are:

1. Resolve (القصد)
2. Determination (العزم)
3. Seeking (الارادة)
4. Proper manners (أدب)
5. Certitude (يقين)
6. Intimacy (أنس)
7. Remembrance (ذكر)
8. Neediness (فقر)
9. Freedom of need (غنى)
10. Station of being sought (مقام المراد)

The Secrets Within The Prophet’s ﷺ conversations with God – Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa

What are the qualities we need in order to internalise the way of the Prophet, peace be upon him, such that we can taste a bit of the secrets of his closeness to Allah? He, peace be upon him, knew Allah like no other – what did he ask for from Allah, that he attained this level of gnosis?

Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa explains at this McGill University Muslim Students Association program.

Our transaction with Allah is based upon Closeness – Advice from Habib Ali al-Jifri – Muwasala

Originally posted on Muwasala

Our transaction with Allah is based upon Closeness

Sayyidi Alhabib Ali Al Jifri الحبيب علي الجفري (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) said:

“The essence of our transaction with Allah is closeness (qurb). We realize this when we reflect upon the Qur’an.

The essence of acts of worship is closeness: “Prostrate and draw close.” (96:19)

The essence of vigilance (muraqabah) is closeness: “We are closer to him than his own jugular vein.” (50:16)

The essence of excellence (ihsan) is closeness: “Truly the mercy of Allah is close to the people of excellence.” (7:56)

The essence of repentance (tawbah) is closeness: “So seek His forgiveness and then repent to Him, for truly My Lord is Close and Responsive.”(11:61)

The essence of guidance (hidayah) is closeness: “If I find guidance it is due to that which my Lord reveals to me, for truly He is All Hearing, Close.”(34:50)

The essence of supplication (du`a) is closeness: “If My slaves ask about Me, truly I am close.” (2:186)

Allah is closest at the last moment before we meeting Him: “We are closer to him than you although you are unaware of this.” (56.85)

Allah is the Close One (al-Qarib).

O Allah, make us among those who You love and those who You have singled out to receive Your closeness, for You are the Close One.”

We can also try to gain closeness to Allah be seeking Him through the Knowledge that has been revealed to us. This Ramadan Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is teaching daily ‘Calls to the Believers in the Qur’an. He will be  explaining the distinguishing virtues of true believers, as mentioned and praised in key verses by Allah Most High in the Qur’an. This is of benefit for every believer seeking Divine guidance and closeness to their Lord. You can attend on-ground in Toronto, online, or you can catch up previous lessons on the SeekersHub Toronto website.

Below are some videos with Habib Ali al-Jifri: