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5 ways to get closer to God

It is the never-ending pursuit of any God-fearing  Muslim to get closer to his Lord and establish a  relationship and connection with Him. The problem  many Muslims face is that “life takes over”. After  fulfilling duties towards employers, family, social responsibilities and so forth, one is left with very little time to work on his relationship with God. What we as Muslims  must remember is that although we have to  indulge in worldly life to  a certain extent (for our sustenance and  survival), this cannot be  at the expense of our  faith. We have to keep  reminding ourselves and  each other that life  hereafter is our final  home and we need to  use this life to build a  beautiful Afterlife. Here  are five suggestions to  help us work on our  relationship with God  and get closer to Him. 

“The Prophet Muhammad(s) said that the best way to be content with what you have and not take God’s blessings for granted is to look at the person who has less than you.”

Perform the five daily prayers on time 

Of course, the most basic obligation we have as Muslims is  to offer the five daily prayers. But my emphasis is on praying  it on time. Many Muslims are guilty of delaying Fajr until the  last half an hour. Technically, the prayer has been offered on  time but the blessings it carries are fewer. Let’s take the  example of an apple. If you cut an apple and eat it straight away, you will be consuming all of its beneficial nutrients. However, if you cut the apple and leave it for an hour, it will  start showing signs of wear, most commonly a brownish  colour settles. Now if you eat this apple, you’re still receiving  the nutrients but at lower levels. This is exactly the  difference between praying on time versus half an hour before its expiry. If you are guilty of performing your prayers  late, start praying them on time and immediately you will  start to feel that closeness to God that you crave and He  will open doors of wisdom and opportunity for you that you  could have never imagined. If you fear deprivation from  sustenance due to prayer i.e. fears of losing your job, you  have not understood God! Leave that job for the sake of  God. When you take one step towards God, He will take ten  towards you. You are a fully grown adult being, God has  looked after your sustenance up until now, so why would  He stop now? 

Help the poor and needy 

The Prophet Muhammad(s) said that the best way to be  content with what you have and not take God’s blessings  for granted is to look at the person who has less than you.  Spend time with the homeless, give spontaneous donations  or feed the less fortunate, yourself. I recall one brother who  was walking through  Oxford Street in London  and he saw many  homeless people. He could not bear to see this, so he walked into a restaurant and ordered six takeaway meals and handed them to the first six homeless people he saw on the way home from this journey. It is impossible for you to cure poverty on your own so do a little but do it frequently, that way not only are you helping the unfortunate but you are constantly appreciating what God has given you. Charity increases, rather than decreases wealth and the one who is thankful to God, He gives him more.

Refrain from sins and recite Istighfar (asking for forgiveness) 

The majority of Muslims are not guilty of committing major  sins i.e. adultery and murder but are culpable of committing  many small sins that are taken lightly. That one comment  about someone from the mosque and that little ‘harmless’  white lie adds up and blocks your connection to God. The  best way to look at the concept of sins and forgiveness is  using the following example: At birth we are a white sheet  of paper, pure and sinless, but every sin results in a black  mark on that sheet. Sincere repentance wipes that dot  away; however, if we continue to commit minor sins without  thinking of the repercussions, it not only increases the  number of black dots but also intensifies them so they are  harder to remove. The black dots block out the light of God  from our heart like a curtain blocks rays of sunlight from  entering a room. It is very important to be wary of small  sins and perform istighfar every day, even if you can’t  remember committing a bad deed. 

Read more 

As the popular phrase goes “Knowledge is Power”, always  try and free up time to invest in learning about your  religion for that is a sure way to guarantee your position on  the straight path. Ali ibn Abi Talib(a), the Prophet’s(s) cousin  teaches us to learn our religion and not inherit it. If you’re  a bookworm, dive into the world of Islamic history,  spirituality, ethics and law.

“At birth we are a white sheet of paper, pure and sinless, but every sin results in a black mark on that sheet.”

If you have a better  understanding of your religion, your practise is more likely  to carry greater meaning and depth rather than if it was a  mere ritual. Furthermore, you will have a greater  appreciation for the Prophet, his family and his sincere  companions and what they went through to keep the  religion alive – the religion that we just take as a set of  rituals. Of course, a natural side-effect of this is that your  relationship with God will improve. On another note, if you  don’t enjoy reading, use YouTube. which has a plethora of  lectures from the best speakers around the world.  Download them, put them on your phone and listen to  them in your spare time or on your commute to and from  work. 

Learn Arabic 

Most will learn Arabic in their early years at Madrasah.  However if you have not had the chance to learn the  language, then do so from today. To be more specific, learn  Quranic Arabic so that you are able to understand the  Qur’an. When you read the English translation of the  Qur’an, you may not get an accurate meaning as Arabic is  a complex language and some words do not have an  English equivalent and thus the nearest possible meaning  is used.  Think about those who read the Arabic Qur’an, they are  reading the exact words Angel Gabriel revealed unto the  Prophet(s) from God. Imagine the blessings it carries  reading those same exact words and the effect it can have  on you. Another advantage of reading Arabic is the ability  to recite the dua’s (supplications) that have been given to  us by the Imams of the Ahlulbayt(a).  To conclude on the five ways to get closer to God the very  least you can do is remember Him, because that  remembrance alone can help you later on in life when you  really need divine guidance and assistance. As the Qur’an  says:

“So remember Me; I  will remember you” (2:152)

Amit Bharakda holds a Master’s Degree in Digital
Marketing. He is a digital marketing and social media
manager and blogger.

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