How can we attain closeness to Allah Almighty?7 min read

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How can we attain closeness to Allah Almighty?

Means to Attain Closeness to God

As humans, we are all prone to err, and the best among those who err are those who do not persist in their sins but instead choose the path of confession and seeking forgiveness, and strive to attain closeness to Allah. There are countless ways to achieve closeness to God, and a believer should adopt all possible means so that they may attain closeness to Allah through any of them.

Faith and Righteous Deeds

The exalted command of Allah is:

وَمَآ أَمْوَٰلُكُمْ وَلَآ أَوْلَـٰدُكُم بِٱلَّتِى تُقَرِّبُكُمْ عِندَنَا زُلْفَىٰٓ إِلَّا مَنْ ءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَـٰلِحًۭا فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ لَهُمْ جَزَآءُ ٱلضِّعْفِ بِمَا عَمِلُوا۟ وَهُمْ فِى ٱلْغُرُفَـٰتِ ءَامِنُونَ

Your riches or your children are not the things that bring you near Us closely; however, the one who believes and acts righteously (is close to Us). Therefore, such people will have the double reward for what they did, and they will be at peace in the upper chambers (of Paradise). (34:37)

Therefore, it was instructed:

إِلَّا مَنْ ءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَـٰلِحًۭا

Those who believe and do good deeds can become close to God. This means that wealth and lineage are not the means to attain nearness to Allah. In fact, often these very things become the cause of Allah’s anger and wrath instead of being a means of closeness to Him.

Attaining nearness to Allah through prostration

One means of attaining nearness to Allah is through prayer, and since prostration holds a central position in prayer, it has been emphasized by Allah Almighty.

كَلَّا لَا تُطِعْهُ وَٱسْجُدْ وَٱقْتَرِب ۩ ١٩

No! Never obey him, and bow down in sajdah, and come close to Me. (96:19)

The Companion Abdullah ibn Abi Talha narrates: “When I met the Messenger of Allah () after being freed from slavery, I asked him, ‘Please, instruct me in a deed which, if I do it, Allah will admit me into Paradise.’ He replied, ‘Remain silent (or control your tongue).’ I repeated my question twice or thrice, and each time, he gave me the same answer, ‘Remain silent (or control your tongue).’

الثالث عشر‏: ‏ عن أبي عبد الله- ويقال‏: ‏ أبو عبد الرحمن- ثوبان مولى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏: ‏ سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول‏: ‏ ‏ “‏ عليك بكثرة السجود، فإنك لن تسجد لله سجدة إلا رفعك الله بها درجة، وحط عنك بها خطيئة‏”‏‏.‏ ‏(‏‏‏رواه مسلم‏‏‏)‏‏.‏

Thauban (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying, “Perform Salah more often. For every prostration that you perform before Allah will raise your position one degree and will remit one of your sins”. [Muslim]. (Riyad as-Salihin)

In the same manner, this matter is further understood from the command of the Noble Prophet (ﷺ).

حَدَّثَنَا آدَمُ، حَدَّثَنَا اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ خَالِدِ بْنِ يَزِيدَ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ أَبِي هِلاَلٍ، عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَسْلَمَ، عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ يَكْشِفُ رَبُّنَا عَنْ سَاقِهِ فَيَسْجُدُ لَهُ كُلُّ مُؤْمِنٍ وَمُؤْمِنَةٍ، وَيَبْقَى مَنْ كَانَ يَسْجُدُ فِي الدُّنْيَا رِئَاءً وَسُمْعَةً، فَيَذْهَبُ لِيَسْجُدَ فَيَعُودُ ظَهْرُهُ طَبَقًا وَاحِدًا ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Sa`id: I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “Our Lord Allah will lay bare His Shin, and then all the Believers, men and women, will prostrate themselves before Him, but there will remain those who used to prostrate in the world for showing off and for gaining good reputation. Such people will try to prostrate (on the Day of Judgment) but their back swill be as stiff as if it is one bone (a single vertebra). (Sahih al-Bukhari)

This hadith indicates that prostration is a means through which one can attain closeness to Allah. The condition is that the prostration must be performed with sincere intention for the pleasure and reward of Allah.

Khushoo’ in Salah

One of the means to attain closeness to the Divine is that a person, while performing Salah (prayer), ingrains the notion in their mind that they are engaging in a dialogue with Allah Almighty. They whisper softly, presenting their desires to their Lord, and indeed, Allah responds to them.

وَعَن ابْن عمر والبياضي قَالَا: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنَّ الْمُصَلِّيَ يُنَاجِي رَبَّهُ فَلْيَنْظُرْ مَا يُنَاجِيهِ بِهِ وَلَا يَجْهَرْ بَعْضُكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ بِالْقُرْآنِ» . رَوَاهُ أَحْمد

Ibn ‘Umar and al-Bayadi reported God’s Messenger as saying, “He who prays holds intimate converse with his Lord, so he must consider how he does so, and none of you must recite the Qur’an more loudly than others.
Ahmad transmitted it. (Mishkat al-Masabih)

It is narrated in another Hadith that when a person is engaged in prayer, Allah Almighty turns His face towards the face of His servant. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

فَإِذَا صَلَّيْتُمْ فَلَا تَلْتَفِتُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَنْصِبُ وَجْهَهُ لِوَجْهِ عَبْدِهِ فِي صَلَاتِهِ مَا لَمْ يَلْتَفِتْ

When you are performing prayer, do not be inattentive, for in prayer, Allah Almighty sets His countenance upon the face of His servant. As long as the servant remains attentive, Allah does not avert His countenance. Therefore, for the closeness to Allah:

And when a word is uttered or a phrase spoken, its meanings are brought forth in one’s thoughts.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi: 2863)

Imagine that Allah is before me, hearing and seeing whatever I say or do. Reflect upon the physical state of servitude and humility, and envision that Allah is observing this state. I am engaging in meeting and conversing with Allah. Who knows, perhaps this may be my final prayer.” (Sunan Ibn Majah: Kitab as-Salat, Bab al-Ihtifal bi Salah)

Drawing near to Allah through the means of Sunnah

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَة رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُول اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم إنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى قَالَ: “مَنْ عَادَى لِي وَلِيًّا فَقْد آذَنْتهُ بِالْحَرْبِ، وَمَا تَقَرَّبَ إلَيَّ عَبْدِي بِشَيْءٍ أَحَبَّ إلَيَّ مِمَّا افْتَرَضْتُهُ عَلَيْهِ، وَلَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إلَيَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ، فَإِذَا أَحْبَبْتُهُ كُنْت سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ، وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِي يُبْصِرُ بِهِ، وَيَدَهُ الَّتِي يَبْطِشُ بِهَا، وَرِجْلَهُ الَّتِي يَمْشِي بِهَا، وَلَئِنْ سَأَلَنِي لَأُعْطِيَنَّهُ، وَلَئِنْ اسْتَعَاذَنِي لَأُعِيذَنَّهُ”. [رَوَاهُ الْبُخَارِيُّ].

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Verily Allah ta’ala has said: ‘Whosoever shows enmity to a wali (friend) of Mine, then I have declared war against him. And My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved to Me than the religious duties I have obligated upon him. And My servant continues to draw near to me with nafil (supererogatory) deeds until I Love him. When I Love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge.’ ” (Al-Bukhari)

Through Tahajjud, drawing nearer to Allah

وَقَالَ صلى الله عليه وسلم: أَقْرَبُ مَا يَكُونُ الرَّبُّ مِنَ الْعَبْدِ فِي جَوْفِ اللَّيْلِ الآخِرِ فَإِنِ اسْتَطَعْتَ أَنْ تَكُونَ مِمَّنْ يَذْكُرُ اللَّهَ فِي تِلْكَ السَّاعَةِ فَكُنْ


Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “The closest that the Lord comes to the slave is in the last portion of the night. So, if you are able to be among those who remember Allah in this hour, then be among them.” (Hisn al-Muslim)

Praise be to Allah! Allah is closest to His servants in the middle of the night, which is the time for Tahajjud (night prayer).

Through supplication and invocation, one can draw closer to Allah

Supplication is also a great means through which we can attain closeness to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, as guided by divine teachings

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِى عَنِّى فَإِنِّى قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا۟ لِى وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا۟ بِى لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

When My servants ask you about Me, then (tell them that) I am near. I respond to the call of one when he prays to Me; so they should respond to Me, and have faith in Me, so that they may be on the right path. (2:186)

Also, they should heed my words and have faith in me; this is the key to their well-being.” On another occasion, said:

وَلَا تُفْسِدُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَـٰحِهَا وَٱدْعُوهُ خَوْفًۭا وَطَمَعًا ۚ إِنَّ رَحْمَتَ ٱللَّهِ قَرِيبٌۭ مِّنَ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ ٥٦

Do not make mischief on the earth after it has been set in order. Supplicate Him in fear and hope. Surely, the mercy of Allah is close to those who are good in their deeds. (7:56)

From these verses, it is evident that we should supplicate to Allah, as through them, closeness to Allah is attained. As Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنه) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

وَعَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «مَنْ فُتِحَ لَهُ مِنْكُمْ بَابُ الدُّعَاءِ فُتِحَتْ لَهُ أَبْوَابُ الرَّحْمَةِ وَمَا سُئِلَ اللَّهُ شَيْئًا يَعْنِي أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ أَنْ يُسْأَلَ الْعَافِيَةَ» . رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيّ

Ibn ‘Umar reported God’s messenger as saying, “If the gate of supplication is opened for any of you, the gates of mercy will be opened for him, and God is not asked for anything He likes so much as to be asked for security.” (Mishkat al-Masabih)

Sunan al-Tirmidhi: Spending in the way of Allah

Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, guides:

وَمِنَ ٱلْأَعْرَابِ مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْـَٔاخِرِ وَيَتَّخِذُ مَا يُنفِقُ قُرُبَـٰتٍ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ وَصَلَوَٰتِ ٱلرَّسُولِ ۚ أَلَآ إِنَّهَا قُرْبَةٌۭ لَّهُمْ ۚ سَيُدْخِلُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِى رَحْمَتِهِۦٓ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ

And among the Bedouins there are others who believe in Allah and in the Last Day and take what they spend as a source of nearness to Allah and of prayers from the Messenger. It is indeed a source of nearness for them. Allah will admit them to His mercy. Surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Very Merciful. (9:99)

وَعَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ” مَا مِنْ يَوْمٍ يُصْبِحُ الْعِبَادُ فِيهِ إِلَّا مَلَكَانِ يَنْزِلَانِ فَيَقُولُ أَحَدُهُمَا: اللَّهُمَّ أطع مُنْفِقًا خَلَفًا وَيَقُولُ الْآخَرُ: اللَّهُمَّ أَعْطِ مُمْسِكًا تلفا ”

He reported him as saying that two angels come down every morning and one says, “O God, give him who spends something in place of it;” the other says, “O God, give him who withholds destruction.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

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Umme Muhammad

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