Names of Allah Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV | Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX | Part XXI | Part XXII | Part XXIII | Part XXIV | Part XXV | Part XXVI | Part XXVII | Part XXVIII |Part XXIX| Part XXX |Part XXXI | Part XXXII | Part XXXIII | Part XXXIV | Part XXXV | Part XXXVI |Part XXXVII | Part XXXVIII | Part XXXIX | Part XL|Part XLI|Part XLII | Part XLIII | Part XLIV | Part XLV | Part XLVI | Part XLVII | Part XLVIII | Part XLIX | Part L | Part LI | Part LII | Part LIII | Part LIV | Part LV
“And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.” [Qur’an 50:16]
Some relationships change with distance. Sometimes those people who are supposed to be close to us don’t know us at all. And some relationships are temporary.
Sometimes you want to tell someone something, but the words get stuck in your throat. They might misunderstand. They might not know where you are coming from. They might get mad.
At other times, the fear of being hurt prevents us from being close to people. We have been hurt and disappointed before, so why should this time be any different?
Is there anyone to whom we can be close– truly close?
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) says in the Qur’an:
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am Qareeb [near].” [2:186]
For all those times you have wondered whether Allah (swt) is near or far, Allah doesn’t use an intermediary to answer this question. He does not tell the Prophet (ﷺ), “tell them”. He answers you directly in the verse above: “I am near.”
For all those times you have wondered whether Allah (swt) hears you, He answers: “Indeed, He is Hearing and near,” [34:50].
For all those times you have wondered if He has heard the silent du`a’ (supplication) of your heart, He answers: “Indeed, my Lord is near and responsive,” [11:61].
Sometimes even our best friend does not understand what we are going through. Allah (swt) is so close to us He hears our thoughts, our reflections, our unuttered questions and our secret du`a’. There may even be times when we have thought of something we want, but never ask for it. And somehow, Allah (swt) gives it to us. There may be times when we do not even know what we want, and yet somehow we get that thing we need, sent by the Most High.
Because is He is near – al-Qareeb.
Allah (swt) is with you
One of the fruits of being close to someone is feeling safe and understood. And if you have ever felt lonely, Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an, “and He is with you wherever you are,” [57:4].
We might all know this on a theoretical level, but it is hard to actually manifest that understanding. And we are not alone in this. The Prophet Moses `alayhi as-salaam (peace be upon him) knew how close Allah is – he even spoke to Allah (swt) – but it took him a while to get to the point of acting in accordance with that knowledge. When Allah (swt) first told Moses (as) to throw his staff and it turned into a snake, Moses (as) was so freaked out that “he turned in flight and did not return,” [27:10].
Next, when Moses (as) challenged the magicians, they threw their sticks; when the sticks started to move, he felt afraid and “sensed within himself apprehension,” [20:67]. He was stronger than before, and did not run away, but he still did not feel 100% safe.
Finally, Moses (as) encountered his most dangerous situation. He fled from Pharaoh and his army with the Bani Israel, who despaired and said, “Indeed, we are to be overtaken!” But Moses (as) replied with certainty, “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me,” [2:62].
It was a journey, but Moses (as) got there. So do not despair if you feel unsure of Allah’s (swt) closeness, but be like Moses (as) and build your relationship with Him. The One who named Himself al-Qareeb is inviting you to be close to Him, and He does not close that door to the servants who seek Him.
Al-Qareeb and Ramadan
Imam Suhaib once said, “If you feel far from Allah (swt), ask yourself: who moved?”
Ramadan comes to quench our thirst. It does not matter how far you have been. It does not even matter if you have never felt that closeness to Him; Allah (swt) tells us that He is near because He wants you to learn to feel that. He gives us Ramadan so that we can recharge and reconnect – so make use of this month for that purpose.
Gaining nearness to the One who is Near
Sheikh Abdulrazzaq al-Badr said that Allah (swt) is near to everyone, but there are those who are special and seek His nearness. How can we be of those who strive towards His nearness?
1— Understand His Names
One of the best ways to come close to Allah (swt) is to know Him, and the best way to know Him is to understand His Names and attributes, which are in and of themselves an invitation to closeness.
You can only be close to people whom you know really well and who know you in return. Often, when you tell people about yourself, it is because you want them to know you and therefore become close. Allah (swt) wants you to know that He is close, so He tells you this and many other things about Himself. Re-read some of the Names in this series and get re-acquainted with Allah.
The root of the word salah, the Arabic word which is translated as ‘prayer’, is to turn completely towards something with all your being.
Prayer was given as a gift to us so that we can connect with Allah (swt) and be with Him. If you do not know how to connect through your prayer, read over the ‘Sweetness of Prayer’ series.
3— Ask Him
In the verse in which Allah (swt) tells us that He is close, He follows it with: “I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [2:186]
So ask Him for closeness.
4— Be there for people
Being close to Allah (swt) does not mean being disconnected from His creation, but rather the opposite. We are told in a hadith (narration of the Prophet ﷺ, peace be upon him):
“Allah will say on the Day of Judgment, ‘Son of Adam, I was sick but you did not visit Me.’
‘My Lord, How could I visit You when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’
‘Did you not know that one of My servants was sick and you didn’t visit him? If you had visited him you would have found Me there.’
Then Allah will say, ‘Son of Adam, I needed food but you did not feed Me.’
‘My Lord, How could I feed You when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’
‘Did you not know that one of My servants was hungry but you did not feed him? If you had fed him you would have found its reward with Me.’
‘Son of Adam, I was thirsty, but you did not give Me something to drink.’
‘My Lord, How could I give a drink when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’
‘Did you not know that one of My servants was thirsty but you did not give him a drink? If you had given him a drink, you would have found its reward with Me.’” (Bukhari)
Notice the wording. For most of the acts listed, Allah (swt) says that we will find the reward with Him—but for visiting the sick, He says ‘if you had visited him, you would have found Me there.’
Look after people. Visit the sick. Stand in solidarity with the oppressed. You will find nearness to Him.
May Allah (swt) make us of those who are close to Him and allow us to reap the rewards of the month of Ramadan.