Practical Tips to Connect to Allah
By: Abu Aaishah
I admit it. I procrastinated for a very long of time to write this article and I know, a few people might just open this page in another browser/tab and leave it for days/weeks to read.
“Uff, there is so less time and I have so much to do, there’s no time to read this topic. Let me keep it for later. I am not a bad person. Let’s read it when I am in “realization” mode”.
Why do we delay connecting w1ith someone?
We judge the limit of delaying things by the consequences we might end up in. On earth, life and money are the two most important things in our lives. Spiritual procrastination which involves loss of afterlife, involves delay in performing our salah, giving zakah, performing hajj, reading Qur’an, or even visiting a sick person. They don’t immediately make you a (worldly) looser, but the benefits these deeds can fetch you in the afterlife is tremendous.
Lack of taqwa (God consciousness or God fearing) is probably one of the main reasons to delay our spiritual obligations. It’s not because you have no time, its not because you have other ‘important work” to attend to, its fundamentally because of lack of taqwa.
Taqwa comes from knowing Allah and by continuously being connected to Him.
Just thinking “Its a heartless world, and a heartless job, I never knew when my worship became a ritual, the prayers are there, but swift; the charity goes, but without love; and seeing the Quran in the masjid everyday, I walk away. What do I read in it? I know nothing of what I read” is of no use. We have to realize something is missing in all these acts? That something is “Connection”.
Allah has also given us the free will to strive in establishing a connection with Him. With all our shortcomings, let us focus on overcoming the guilt and fear of our lives in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
1. Confession saves from hiding out of guilt. For any relationship to sustain, the most important thing is transparency. Transparency with our Creator (The All Knower) is inevitable. One way to set things right at the earliest is to accept our bad deeds, confess our weaknesses and utter frustration of our inabilities and ask for pardon, help and good life.
“But whoever repents after his wrongdoing and reforms, indeed, Allah will turn to him in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (al-Ma’idah,5:39)
“Have you not considered that Allah knows what is in the heavens and what is on the earth? There is in no private conversation three but that He is the fourth of them, nor are there five but that He is the sixth of them – and no less than that and no more except that He is with them [in knowledge] wherever they are. Then He will inform them of what they did, on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, of all things, Knowing.” (Mujadilah 58:7)
How Do I Confess?
There is no better approach to confess, other than in our salah and supplications.
“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah ]” (al-Bakharah, 2:45)1
“Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.” (al-’Ankabut, 29:45)
“Say: ‘O Allah, I have wronged myself much, and none forgives sins except You. So forgive me with forgiveness from You, and have mercy upon me, indeed, You are the Forgiving, the Merciful” (Saheeh Al-Bukharee)
Brothers and sisters, prayer is one of the foundations of our religion, and only through it, we can purify ourselves. Even the most sinful and shameless is expected to pray. And opening up in our dua is crucial because shaytaan wants to keep us away from Allah . Wandering around with guilt will not make us hide from Allah . We might not be very open with our closest friend or sibling, but we have to be open with Allah , the All-Hearer, because our beloved Prophet encouraged us to depend upon Him for even the smallest of things:
“Let one of you ask his Lord for his every need, until he asks Him for salt, and asks Him for the strap of his sandal when it breaks.” (Hasan, Jami` at-Tirmidhee)3
Indeed, there are many beautiful supplications to memorize and there are times when supplications are never rejected. Knowing them has a great advantage. Click here to learn more.
2. Know Allah to give Him His Right. We humans tend to make friendship for two reasons: common interests and benefits. With Allah , it’s unique and different. Our relation with Him is of a Master and slave; and only He can make any of us Waliullah (Friend of Allah). Knowing Him is our duty. It’s a part of our conscience to have the knowledge of our Creator. This is one of the initial steps a Muslim should take when he is curious about his purpose of existence.
How can we know our Creator without being able to see Him?
It is only by His word, Quran. In many verses of Quran, Allah revealed many of His attributes, in terms of: where He is, how He sees, how He Plans, how He creates, whom He Loves, who He does not love, who pleases Him, who angers Him, what He wants from us and like wise. A complete surah (al ikhlas) is dedicated to His attributes1.
One advantage of knowing the meaning of Allah’s names in depth is to strengthen our aqeedah. The more we know about Allah , the better we understand His Might and Power, and easier it will be for us to submit and become a better slave, in sha Allah. He also encourages us to do good by giving us glimpses of paradise. This eventually creates a balance of hope and fear which we can utilize whenever necessary.
In fact, the realization of being disconnected from Allah is also a blessing from Him. He puts that depressing feeling of being disconnected in your heart, so you could get back to Him and not go astray. We shouldn’t forget that it is Allah who is allowing us to know Him; so we should keep asking Allah to bless us with knowledge of all kind and supplicate as the messenger of Allah taught us to say:
“O Allah! Grant me benefit in what you have taught me, and teach me useful knowledge and provide me with knowledge that will benefit me.” (Hasan, an-Nasa’ee, al-Hakim)
3. Realize the Good Qualities Allah has given you in order to get closer to Him . Thank Allah for the good in you. We might have a few good qualities which we can never compromise upon, whether we are God conscious or not. Few people don’t perform their five daily salah, but will never lie; few cannot be unjust; these are nothing but blessings from Allah . Thus, thanking Allah for the good qualities is crucial. Attributing the goodness inside us to Allah and using it to connect to Him is wise.
“…Be just; that is nearer to righteousness…” (al-Ma’idah, 5:8)
A man asked the Messenger of Allah : “What quality of Islam is best?” He said: “To feed (the poor) and to say the Salam to whomever one knows and whomever one does not know.” (Saheeh, Sunan an-Nasa’ee)
4. Strive a little harder to avoid sinning. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: “If you claim that you are amongst those who seek refuge from the Fire and desire Paradise, then strive for that which you seek and do not be misled by your worldly desires.”
Allah mentioned seeking the means of nearness to Him (connecting to Him) and striving to succeed, in the following verse:
“O you who have believed, fear Allah and seek the means [of nearness] to Him and strive in His cause that you may succeed.” (al-Ma’idah, 5:35)
Hard work is never forsaken, when done in the correct direction. Unlike worldly tasks which demand results, Allah looks at your intentions and hard work: that is nothing but success. Striving to do a good deed itself gains us a reward, as the hadith (quoted by Abu Hurairah )says:
“If a judge passes judgement and strives to reach the right conclusion and gets it right, he will have two rewards; if he strives to reach the right conclusion but gets it wrong, he will have one reward.” (Saheeh, Sunan an-Nasa’ee)
“One who strives with himself and his wealth in the cause of Allah…”(Saheeh, Sunan an-Nasa’ee)
We have to strive if we want to achieve something. Life itself is striving for a good living and preparing for a better hereafter. Nothing comes in life without you striving for it. A writer once said: “Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.2
5. Dhikr with patience can be given the credit of sincerity (ikhlas). Dhikr and patience are connected. A person can only focus on dhikr in his daily life when he is calm and peaceful in all of his affairs. How Prophet used to do dhikr in all of his affairs, in all circumstances was exemplary. Its was his personality to be patient. A’ishah says:
Dhikr is not just saying “SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, Allahuakbar” after every salah moving our fingers at lightening speed or looking around for musalli attendance in the masjid. Dhikr is remembering Allah every time we are supposed to remember, and say it with your heart and allow the meaning to touch your soul. We might not forget to say “bismillah” every time we start anything; but with time, we just say it out of a habit, sometimes not even pronouncing it properly. We don’t do dhikr with patience.
We become mechanical in many such things unknowingly, but there is a way to revive the connection in dhikr: every time you say it, say the meaning in your mother tongue. Mother tongue is the language that touches the heart. Of course, we should say the Arabic phrase first to gain the reward and blessings.
When should we do the dhikr?
The above hadith in another narration says that he used to remember Allah is all moments/circumstances. The seriousness of dhikr and its effect on our hearts was compared to such an extent that the messenger of Allah said:
“The similitude of one who remembers his Rabb and one who does not remember Him, is like that of the living and the dead.” [Saheeh, Al-Bukharee and Muslim]1
“Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah’s is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” (Saheeh Al-Bukharee)
Consistency and patience are connected. One needs to be patient to be consistent. Breaching consistency, growing impatient and blaming Allah for not granting what you asked for makes one subject to Allah’s anger and lose all of his efforts. Keep praying, keep making dua and remember what our beloved Prophet said:
“The supplication of every one of you is granted if he does not grow impatient and say – I supplicated but it was not granted” (Saheeh Muslim)
7. Invest in the relation that we have with Allah . We try to impress our bosses in many ways, but what about the Boss of all bosses? That’s one way of looking at it. When we invest in any relationship by doing things which pleases the person we love, we develop a sense of working towards the relationship. Similarly, if we want to “develop” the relation between us and Allah, we need to do good deeds in two ways; one, by avoiding the prohibited,1 and two, by doing the commanded.
For example, let’s say I want to remind myself that next time I am tempted to backbite someone, I’ll let it go, JUST TO PLEASE ALLAH . When we avoid a bad deed this way, we first gain confidence that we can beat shaytaan’s whispers bi’iznillah, and secondly, feel content that we did something solely for the sake of Allah . That’s how we make an investment of sacrifice to develop the relation with Allah’s .
“But they who believe and do righteous deeds – those are the companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally”. (al-Baqarah, 2:82)
Sometimes, doing more good takes us away from bad. Allah says several times in Quran to repel evil with good or what is better.
“And those who are patient, seeking the countenance of their Lord, and establish prayer and spend from what We have provided for them secretly and publicly and prevent evil with good – those will have the good consequence of [this] home (Gardens of perpetual residence)” (ar-Ra’d,13:22)
“Those will be given their reward twice for what they patiently endured and [because] they avert evil through good, and from what We have provided them they spend.” (al-Qasas,28:54)
“And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” (al-Fussilat,41:34)
“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” (al-Baqarah, 2:152)
I remember, when I used to listen to Sheikh Mufti Menk regularly while commuting, I felt like he was always riding along with me in my car. I was so used to listening to him that we (me and my wife) casually joke that I have to pick the sheikh up till my office and drop him off on my way back home. We feel the closeness to Allah when we listen to His words. Sometimes, what all of us need is patience and perseverance to understand His Book, word by word, chapter by chapter.
“Ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaytaan” (al-Nisa, 4:76)
Posted on December 19, 2014, in ARTICLES and tagged abu aaishah, Allah, confession, connecting, connection with Allah, connection with God, faith, God, guidance, inspiration, knowledge, learn, life, online, pbuh, prophet muhammad, quran, read, reading, realize, Religion, saw, taqwa, tips, verses, wisdom. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.