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Allah created mankind, so that we would worship Him alone, as stated in Surah Adh-Dhariyat. However, He is self-sufficient. Instead, we are the ones who need to worship Him for our own self-betterment. Our aim should always be to get closer to Allah.
The purpose of life, for a Muslim, is to do good in this world and to improve our standing in the Hereafter. For that reason, Allah sent the Prophet (PBUH) to the world. In Surah Al-Anbya, Allah tells us that He sent the Prophet (PBUH) as a mercy to mankind, and so that he could show us how to live this life in a manner that pleases Allah.
In Surah Qaf, Allah tells us that He created man and is aware of his thoughts, as He is closer to one that his jugular vein. Allah is the Sole Creator of the universe and knows about every minute detail it contains. He knows humans best, and has outlined the ways for Muslims to draw close to Him.
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) informed us that Allah’s slaves attain closeness to Him with obligatory religious duties, which are the most beloved to Him. Then His slaves continue to get closer to Him until Allah loves them.
Attaining Allah’s love is the final objective for all Muslims and one that we should always strive for. Hence, we will look at some of the many ways in which this goal can be realized.
Get closer to Allah by praying Salah (prayers)
A Muslim must perform all of the compulsory acts prescribed in Islam. The first of these obligatory acts is to offer the five daily prayers. The daily prayers are offered in a specific manner, containing several recitations, invocations, and supplications.
There are set timings for offering Salah, and it is recommended for a Muslim to offer the prayers early. One who is striving to please Allah the most should always look to do everything in the best way possible. This is only likely to be done by someone who loves Allah sincerely.
Hence, those who are in close proximity to mosques should offer prayers at the mosque. If someone can offer additional nafl prayer with the fard, then they should do so. After prayer, there are many supplications that Muslims can make. In Surah An-Nisa, Allah tells us to remember Him upon the completion of our prayers, standing, sitting, or lying sideways.
Connect with Allah by giving Zakat (alms)
It is compulsory for all Muslims who possess a specified minimum amount of wealth to give 2.5% of it to the poor. An essential pillar of Islam, Zakat is necessary to keep the equilibrium in society.
In no uncertain terms does Allah denounce those who do not fulfill the obligations of giving alms. In Surah Fussilat, Allah refers to those who don’t pay Zakah as disbelievers. Giving alms is one of the prime ways of coming closer to Allah because it helps the poor and needy.
Get closer to Allah with Sawm (fasting in Ramadan)
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is necessary for all Muslims who are healthy and have undergone puberty. Fasting means that from dawn to dusk, Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking, and engaging in sexual relations. Allah mentions the obligation of fasting in the Quran, in Surah Al-Baqarah, where He tells believers that fasting is compulsory for them, like it was for their predecessors.
Fasting is one of the best ways to get closer to Allah as it helps a Muslim to keep things in perspective. It helps us to realize, and experience struggles others go through regularly. Additionally, there are several other things prescribed for Ramadan that can bring a person closer to Allah.
Connect with Allah by offering Hajj (pilgrimage)
Islam requires Muslims to perform pilgrimage at least once during their lifetimes. The prerequisite for this is that a Muslim should be physically and financially capable. Hajj involves several rituals and rites in Makkah during the month of Zil-Hajj. There is a chapter in the Quran that focuses on the pilgrimage, called Surah Al-Hajj.
Various obligations that Muslims must fulfill
Allah makes good treatment of parents obligatory, as stated in Surah Al-‘Ankabut. Honoring one’s parents is amongst the things that Allah and the Prophet (PBUH) stressed the most. Muslims must always be kind, respectful, and loving towards their parents. Allah tells us in the Quran that we can’t even say “uff” to them. Being kind and grateful toward them is one of the ways of getting to Paradise. It also develops love amongst a family and sets an example for one’s own children.
In Surah Muhammad, we learn that Allah curses people who sever their ties of kinship. Maintaining relationships is another Islamic ruling that is considered obligatory. It matters to the extent that severing ties of kinship is a major sin. The Prophet (PBUH) stressed on the importance of society and the Ummah as those are the pillars of a community.
Muslims must also ensure that they fulfill the rights of others, especially their spouses and children. A man is obligated to provide for his wife and children and to support them appropriately. A wife must help, support, and honor her husband. Both parents must raise the children in a suitable manner, providing them with Islamic education and good morals.
In Surah Ali ‘Imran, the believers are called the best nation, who enjoin good, forbid evil, and possess faith in Allah. Believers must promote good deeds and set an example. Similarly, they should call out wrongdoing when they see it committed, and try to help if someone is being harmed or oppressed.
Recite and understand the Holy Quran
In Surah Al-Qamar, Allah tells us that He has made remembrance of the Noble Quran easy. The Quran is Allah’s word – a timeless miracle sent down to mankind by the Almighty. Reciting the Quran regularly is one of the best ways of getting closer to our Lord, as it is both enriching and empowering.
In Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (PBUH) said that Allah uplifts some with the Quran and lowers others. The Holy Book contains hordes of beneficial knowledge for Muslims. So the more we recite and understand it, the closer we draw to Allah.
When we implement what we learn in the Quran, we are in reality fulfilling our obligations toward Allah. For each letter that a Muslim recites in the Quran, he gets ten good deeds. The more good deeds that one does, the closer he gets to his Lord.
The Quran is essentially a manual for human existence. Aisha (r.a.) said that the Prophet (PBUH)’s character was the Quran. When we read the Quran with understanding, we also comprehend the many lessons contained therein – all of which help us to become better believers.
Having knowledge of the Quran is also one of the best ways of being able to defend it against baseless attacks that are common nowadays. Someone who defends from a position of knowledge and truth is far more effective than one who simply defends without knowing what he is defending.
Learn Quran online to get closer to Allah
Let us further examine the relation between the Quran and getting close to Allah. As we know, the Quran is the uncreated Speech of Allah. Due to this, it is miraculous in nature. Hence, we should try to read the Quran frequently to benefit from it. That is in terms of both its recitation and its understanding. Not only does it contain beneficial knowledge for us, but it has a whole way to live.
Islam is the only religion that outlines specific guidelines about all parts of life. If a Muslim lives according to those guidelines, doing what Allah commands and avoiding what He prohibits, he is getting close to his Lord. Even the most mundane of acts, if we do them in the correct Islamic way, can be a means of getting closer to Allah. That is also one of the things that attracts people to Islam the most.
There are many methods of learning the Quran. For people in Muslim countries, you can study at a mosque nearby or go to a Quran institution. You can even get tutors at home. However, the most popular option nowadays is online Quran classes.
For students in the West, mosques and Quran institutions aren’t spread out. Hence, they may be too far for many. Therefore, learning the Quran online is the only option in many cases. This is a very convenient and flexible way of learning the Quran.
At QuranForKids, we have online Quran teachers who are skilled and qualified. With a wealth of experience, they are in a prime position to help you to learn about any aspect of the Quran. All you need to do is to sign up. In return, you’ll get a free one-week trial!
Tahajjud (night prayer): A highly beneficial optional prayer
The foremost voluntary prayer that Muslims can offer is the Tahajjud prayer, also known as Qiyam al-Layl. The night prayer is mentioned in Surah Al-Isra.
Tahajjud is when a believer offers supererogatory prayers during the latter part of the night. The most recommended time for this prayer is during the last third of the night. Believers may offer as few as two rakat, or as many as eight rakat.
In Sunan Abi Dawud, the Prophet (PBUH) said about Qiyam al-Layl that Allah comes down every night to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night. He says who made dua to Him so that He may respond? Who asks Him for something so that He may grant it? Who is seeking His forgiveness, so that He may pardon him?
Hence, night prayer is one of the best ways to get closer to Allah and attain His Pleasure and Forgiveness.
Making dua (supplication)
Making dua is one of the most beneficial things that Muslims can do. Allah loves it when we supplicate to him, and supplication is one of the most powerful tools in the universe. As described in a verse mentioned earlier, Allah says he responds to invocations, and also says He is “near.”
Not only that, but dua is the only act that can change the Divine Decree, as stated by the Prophet (PBUH) in Jami-At-Tirmidhi.
Whether we need to ask for something or to beg for forgiveness, Allah is the Only One we can turn to. He is the only One Who can benefit us in any way. In Surah Az-Zumar, Allah informs us that sinners should not despair of His Mercy, for He forgives all sins.
Why being close to Allah is important
Being close to Allah is the byproduct of a Muslim who is living life according to Allah’s commands. The more good he does and the more worship a Muslim engages in, the closer he draws to Allah. Alternatively, the more a person sins and disobeys Allah, the further he moves away from Him.
The points mentioned here are just a few of the many ways a Muslim can get closer to His Lord. Other things that can further be elaborated on include Dhikr (remembrance of Allah), repentance towards Allah, being mindful of Allah, following the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), and developing a good character by always being in the company of good people, amongst other things.
If we want to achieve this, we need to make a firm intention and remain steadfast. We need to seek the requisite knowledge, then work toward loving and fearing Allah alone. We must obey all of His commands, and stay away from all that He has forbidden.
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) told us that when Allah Loves His slave, He becomes His slave’s hearing which he hears with, his sight which he views things with, his hand which he uses to hit, and his foot which he uses for walking. If Allah’s slave asks Him for something, He would certainly grant his request, and if he sought protection with Allah, He would certainly give him protection.