7 ways for attaining Allah’s nearness

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Last Updated on 22nd April 2022

Maulvi Ghulam Ahmad Sahib Farrukh (1917-1981)

Maulana Ghulam Ahmad Sahib Farukh, son of Hazrat Mian Ghulam Qadirra, was born in 1917, in Thay Ghulam Nabi, a neighbouring village of Qadian.

After obtaining religious education from Madrasa Ahmadiyya Qadian, he went into the field of preaching Islam Ahmadiyat in 1937. He had the opportunity to serve the Jamaat in Sialkot, Karachi, Quetta, Sukkur, Hyderabad and some other areas of Sindh, Pakistan. He also served in Fiji from 1972 to 1976. He passed away on 17-18 April 1981. Below is an article he wrote in April 1961 on attaining Allah’s pleasure:

Allah the Almighty is our Creator and we are His creation. He is the Lord and we are His servants. In the Arabic language – which is the mother of all languages and full of wisdom – the word “insan” which has been used for “man” means the affiliation of two loves; one of his loves is with Allah the Almighty and the second with fellow human beings. 

In the Holy Quran, while stating the purpose of man’s creation, Allah the Almighty says:

وَمَا‭ ‬خَلَقۡتُ‭ ‬الۡجِنَّ‭ ‬وَالۡاِنۡسَ‭ ‬اِلَّا‭ ‬لِيَعۡبُدُوۡنِ

“And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.” (Surah al-Dhariyat, Ch.51: V.57)

And عبد is that being which accepts the form [naqsh] of the other. Thus, the purpose of mankind’s creation is that they should instil the attributes of Allah the Almighty within themselves, and become like a mirror to His attributes and traits.   

Similarly, in another verse, Allah states:

خَلَقَ‭ ‬الۡاِنۡسَانَ‭ ‬مِنۡ‭ ‬عَلَقٍ

[“He Created man from a clot of blood.” (Surah al-Alaq, Ch.96: V.3)]

Meaning that Allah has put His love in man’s nature. That is, the purpose of man’s creation is to love God Almighty, be obedient to Him and instil His attributes in oneself. But because Allah the Almighty is Wara al-Wara, and this world along with its stars is like a crystal palace, behind which the All-Powerful Being of Allah is working, many people faltered and attributed the creation to these “crystals” in the sky, and went astray from that One Being and The Real Master. 

Thus, it is necessary to ponder on those means and ways that have been mentioned in the Holy Quran for attaining the nearness of that Real Beloved and strengthening our relationship with Him. 

The first means of gaining closeness to Allah

Therefore, the first means for attaining the nearness of Allah is to truly understand Him. One should believe in the true God because a true God grants help to His seekers, but a dead [god] cannot help the [spiritually] dead. One can understand the true belief in Allah from the following excerpt of the Promised Messiahas:

“How unfortunate is the man, who even now, is unaware that there is a God who has power over all things. Our Paradise lies in our God. Our highest delight is in our God for we have seen Him and found every beauty in Him. This wealth is worth procuring though one might have to lay down one’s life to procure it. This ruby is worth purchasing though one may have to lose oneself to acquire it. O ye, who are deprived! Hasten to this fountain as it will satiate you. It is this fountain of life that will save you. What am I to do? How shall I impress the hearts with this good news? What sort of a drum am I to beat in the streets in order to make the announcement that this is your God, so that people might hear? What remedy shall I apply to the ears of the people so that they should listen? 

“If you become one with God, rest assured that God too will be yours. God Almighty shall remain awake for you as you sleep. God shall watch over your enemy and frustrate their designs, while you are unmindful of him. You still do not know the extent of God’s powers. Had you known, not a single day would you have grieved over the world. Does he who owns a treasure weep, cry and become sorrowful unto death over the loss of a single coin? Had you been aware of this treasure and knew that at every time of need God is able to fulfil your requirements, why would you look to the world so restlessly? God is a precious treasure; appreciate Him accordingly, for He is your Helper at every step. You are nothing without Him, nor do your resources and your schemes amount to anything.” (Noah’s Ark, pp. 35-36)

Thus, the first step for attaining the nearness of Allah and strengthening our relationship with Him is to believe in that true God Who is unmatched in all of His attributes and is All-Powerful.

The second means is dua [prayer]. It is apparent that man is weak and can never achieve his objective and goal with his own power and personal strength. For this reason, Allah has taught man prayer to attain His help and support and to remove all the hurdles present on the way to reach the Real Objective [Maqsood-e-Haqiqi].

Therefore [Allah the Almighty] stated:

ادۡعُوۡنِيۡۤ‭ ‬اَسۡتَجِبۡ‭ ‬لَكُمۡ

Meaning, “‘Pray unto Me; I will answer your [prayer].’” (Surah al-Mu’min, Ch.40: V.61)

Similarly, it is stated:

وَاِذَا سَاَلَكَ عِبَادِيۡ عَنِّيۡ فَاِنِّيۡ قَرِيۡبٌ ؕ اُجِيۡبُ دَعۡوَةَ الدَّاعِ اِذَا دَعَانِ

Meaning, “And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.187)

Moreover, in the Holy Quran, Allah has repeatedly commanded us to pray.

The third means of attaining closeness to Allah

Another means for attaining the nearness of the True Creator has been called mujahidah [spiritual struggle] in the Holy Quran. Meaning one should search for God by devoting their body, wealth, honour, wisdom, knowledge and ability, in His way. Allah states:

‭ ‬جَاهِدُوۡا‭ ‬بِاَمۡوَالِكُمۡ‭ ‬وَاَنۡفُسِكُمۡ‭ ‬فِيۡ‭ ‬سَبِيۡلِ‭ ‬اللّٰهِ

Meaning, “Strive with your property and your persons in the cause of Allah.” (Surah al-Taubah, Ch.9: V.41)

Then, He states:

مِمَّا‭ ‬رَزَقۡنٰهُمۡ‭ ‬يُنۡفِقُوۡنَ

[“Spend out of what We have provided for them.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.4)]

Meaning ‘whatever wealth, life, knowledge, wisdom, ability, intelligence and insight We have provided’, all of that should be spent in the way of Allah the Almighty.  

He further states:

وَالَّذِيۡنَ‭ ‬جَاهَدُوۡا‭ ‬فِيۡنَا‭ ‬لَنَهۡدِيَنَّهُمۡ‭ ‬سُبُلَنَا

Meaning, “And [as for] those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways.” (Surah al-Ankabut, Ch.29: V.70)

Then He states:

يٰۤاَيُّهَا‭ ‬الۡاِنۡسَانُ‭ ‬اِنَّكَ‭ ‬كَادِحٌ‭ ‬اِلٰي‭ ‬رَبِّكَ‭ ‬كَدۡحًا‭ ‬فَمُلٰقِيۡهِ

Meaning, “Thou, O man, art verily labouring towards thy Lord, a hard labouring; then thou art going to meet Him.” (Surah al-Inshiqaq, Ch.84: V.7)

In short, the nearness of Allah can be achieved after a life-long consistent effort and mujahidah [spiritual struggle]. In this regard, the Promised Messiahas states:

“قَدۡ‭ ‬اَفۡلَحَ‭ ‬مَنۡ‭ ‬زَكّٰهَا۔‭ ‬وَقَدۡ‭ ‬خَابَ‭ ‬مَنۡ‭ ‬دَسّٰهَا

[“He indeed [truly] prospers who purifies it. And he who corrupts it is ruined.” (Surah al-Shams, Ch.91: V.10-11)]

“In other words, He who purifies their soul will receive salvation, and ruined is the one who has corrupted their soul. The word falhun means to cleave asunder. The word filahah means cultivation in the context of agriculture. A kind of cultivation or ploughing is required in the purification of the soul as well. Spiritual struggle frees the soul of man from its deficiencies and hardened nature so that it may be sown with true faith. Then the tree of faith becomes capable of yielding fruit.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol.1, p. 132) 

The fourth means of attaining closeness to Allah 

Another means for attaining the love and nearness of Allah the Almighty is steadfastness. Meaning a seeker of the spiritual path should never lose hope or get tired, and should not fear the trial. Allah states:

اِنَّ‭ ‬الَّذِيۡنَ‭ ‬قَالُوۡا‭ ‬رَبُّنَا‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬ثُمَّ‭ ‬اسۡتَقَامُوۡا‭ ‬تَتَنَزَّلُ‭ ‬عَلَيۡهِمُ‭ ‬الۡمَلٰٓئِكَةُ‭ ‬اَلَّا‭ ‬تَخَافُوۡا‭ ‬وَلَا‭ ‬تَحۡزَنُوۡا‭ ‬وَاَبۡشِرُوۡا‭ ‬بِالۡجَنَّةِ‭ ‬الَّتِيۡ‭ ‬كُنۡتُمۡ‭ ‬تُوۡعَدُوۡنَ۔‭ ‬نَحۡنُ‭ ‬اَوۡلِيٰٓؤُكُمۡ‭ ‬فِي‭ ‬الۡحَيٰوةِ‭ ‬الدُّنۡيَا‭ ‬وَفِي‭ ‬الۡاٰخِرَةِ۔۔۔۔۔

Meaning, “[As for] those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and then remain steadfast, the angels descend on them, [saying]: ‘Fear ye not, nor grieve; and rejoice in the Garden that you were promised. We are your friends in this life and in the Hereafter […]’” (Surah Ha Mim as-Sajdah, Ch.41: V.31-32)

About steadfastness, the Promised Messiahas states:

“It is true, as has been said, that steadfastness is more than a miracle. The perfection of steadfastness is that when one is encircled by calamities and life and honour and good name are all in peril in the cause of Allah, and no means of comfort are available, so much so, that even visions and dreams and revelation are suspended by God as a trial, and one is left helpless among terrible dangers, at such a time one should not lose heart nor retreat like a coward nor let one’s faithfulness be put in doubt in the least. One should not let one’s sincerity and perseverance be weakened, one should be pleased with one’s disgrace; one should be reconciled to death; one should not wait for a friend to lend one his support in order to keep one firm; nor seek glad tidings from God because of the severity of the trial. One should stand straight and firm despite one’s helplessness and weakness and lack of comfort from any direction. Come what may, one should present oneself for sacrifice and should be completely reconciled to divine decrees and one should exhibit no restlessness nor utter any complaint, right till the end of the trial. This is the steadfastness which leads to God. This is that the perfume of which still reaches us from the dust of Messengers and Prophets and Faithful ones and Martyrs.” (The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, pp. 165-166)

The fifth means of attaining closeness to Allah is the company of the pious people. One should understand that naturally, man needs a perfect example. And through a perfect example, the heart feels attraction and interest and a great wish is inculcated for moving a step forward. Therefore, Allah states in the Holy Quran:

‭ ‬كُوۡنُوۡا‭ ‬مَعَ‭ ‬الصّٰدِقِيۡنَ

Meaning, “Be with the truthful.” (Surah al-Taubah, Ch.9: V.119)

It is apparent that one sitting close to a furnace benefits from the flames of fire and one sitting close to perfume benefits from it. Similarly, one sitting in the company of the pious people is also affected by their pious thoughts. And when two people are sitting together but not conversing, even then the thoughts are instilled into each other and have an impact. Thus, it is necessary for a seeker and follower of the spiritual path to be in search of pious, righteous, and truthful men of God and to benefit by sitting in their company. 

The sixth means is to have sympathy for the creation of God Almighty and to make a habit of serving mankind. Therefore, Allah states:

وَاللّٰهُ‭ ‬يُحِبُّ‭ ‬الۡمُحۡسِنِيۡنَ

Meaning, “And Allah loves those who do good.” [Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.135]

The one who shows mercy on not only mankind but also the animals and birds, with the thought and passion that “they are my Lord’s creation”, is the recipient of Allah the Almighty’s mercy, compassion, love and blessings. 

In fact, “service to mankind” holds a distinctive glory in Islamic teachings and it has been emphasised greatly. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, stated:

‭ ‬الخلق‭ ‬عيال‭ ‬اللّٰه‭ ‬فاحسن‭ ‬الخلق‭ ‬من‭ ‬احسن‭ ‬الیٰ ‬عيالهٖ

Meaning, “Creation is the family of Allah. Thus, the best among you is he who is kind to His family.” (Mishkat, Bab Al-Shafaqah [الشفقة])

The seventh means of attaining closeness to Allah 

Another means for attaining the love of that Real Master [Malik-e-Haqiqi] and enhancing the relationship with Him, is that man should always remember Him. Not only should the heart and tongue be filled with His praise, but one should always ponder and contemplate upon His attributes and becomes a true image of:

دست‭ ‬بَه‭ ‬كار‭ ‬و‭ ‬دل‭ ‬بَه‭ ‬يار

[While one’s hands are occupied in work, the heart should continue to remember the beloved.]

Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Quran:

 الَّذِيۡنَ يَذۡكُرُوۡنَ اللّٰهَ قِيٰمًا وَّقُعُوۡدًا وَّعَلٰي جُنُوۡبِهِمۡ وَيَتَفَكَّرُوۡنَ فِيۡ خَلۡقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ ۚ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقۡتَ هٰذَا بَاطِلًا ۚ سُبۡحٰنَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Meaning, “Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and [lying] on their sides, and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth: ‘Our Lord, Thou hast not created this in vain; [nay], Holy art Thou; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire.’” (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.192)

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra stated [in one of his couplets]:

عادتِ‭ ‬ذكر‭ ‬بهی ‬ڈالو‭ ‬كہ ‬یہ‭ ‬ممكن‭ ‬ہی‭ ‬نہيں

دل‭ ‬ميں‭ ‬ہو‭ ‬عشقِ‭ ‬صنم‭ ‬لب‭ ‬پہ‭ ‬مگر‭ ‬نام‭ ‬نہ‭ ‬ہو

[“Make remembrance a habit, as it is not possible to have love in your heart and not mention the name of the beloved.”] 

These are only some of the means for attaining the nearness of Allah the Almighty which have been mentioned here, otherwise, there are many other means which have been mentioned in the Holy Quran, ahadith and the writings and Malfuzat of the Promised Messiahas.

 (Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in April 1961 issue of Al Furqan, Rabwah, pp. 38-42)

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