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How Is Communicating with God Viewed in Islam?

Questioner

Jaap

Reply Date

Jan 16, 2019

Question

May you please explain to me how do Muslims communicate with God? Is there any intermediary, like Prophets or Saints? Please explain in details. Thank you.

Consultant

Answer


Islam

Short Answer: In Islam, no one is authorized to mediate between God and His servants. It is enough for any wrong doer to stand alone asking Allah’s forgiveness and be sure Allah will respond.

………….

Salam Dear Jaap,

Thank you for this question which reveals a great deal of thoughtfulness.

In fact God has always made Himself reachable to His servants through different means of communication.

Before we get into our own contemporary case, let us have a quick historical survey on the way He communicated with outstanding personalities like prophets.

He communicated with them either through direct speech, like in the case of Moses (peace be upon him) so that in Islam he was entitled “Kalimullah” or the one who always talked to God.

The Quran says what means:

{Allah talked to Moses.} (An-Nisaa’ 4:164)

Or He communicated with them through indirect speech (revelation), like in the case of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Quran says:

{And unto you have We revealed the Scripture (Quran) with the truth confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it.}  (Al-Ma’idah5:48)

And:

{Lo! We, it is who have revealed the Reminder (Quran), and lo! We will guard it.} (Al-Hijr 15:9)

In the context of our humble human level, although we are not angels or prophets, yet, in His wisdom, God does not keep Himself aloof from us, but He makes Himself easy to reach, and makes communication with Him accessible through a variety of ways that Islam has fully described to us.

Praying and reading the Quran are two ways of opening a dialogue with the Almighty. It says in the Islamic tradition that if you want God to talk to you, read the Quran. If you want to talk to God, pray (supplicate) to Him.

In normal protocols, it is the role of the one in the greater position to end the dialogue and terminate the meeting. But in God’s protocol, out of His infinite mercy and compassion to His servants, He leaves it to us to decide when to end up the dialogue and terminate our meeting with Him, when we decide to finish up the prayers or stop reading the Quran. If one wants to continue staying in His Holy presence even for days and nights one will never be dismissed.

Take reciting Al-Fatihah (the opening chapter of Quran that Muslims repeatedly recite more than twenty times a day during their Prayers) as an example. It is not meant to be a monotonous monologue by the believer who recites it, but Allah has made it a warm, loving conversation between Him and the worshiper.

Prostration is showing humility to God

Prostration is showing humility to God

The Messenger  of Allah reported that Allah Almighty says:

“When my slave says in his prayer: ‘All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds,’ I say: ‘My slave has praised Me’ When he says: ‘The Merciful, the Compassionate, Master of the Day of Judgment,’ I say: ‘My slave has glorified Me.’ When he says: ‘You Alone we worship and your Aid we seek,’ I say: ‘This is between Me and My slave.’ When he  says: ‘Show us the Straight Path,’ I say: ‘This is for My slave, and I give My slave what he wants.”‘ (Muslim)

Again, contemplate the Prophet’s saying: “The Prayer is the Miraj of the Believer .”  “Miraj” is the magnificent journey in which the Prophet Muhammad was invited to meet God — without seeing Him — and have the honor of approaching His Holy Throne.

This journey is considered the best manifestation of God’s close communication with any Human being since the dawn of humanity till the Day of Judgment.

It was a privilege that God only gave to the noblest of the nobles among the human race. But because God is the Most Merciful, He doesn’t want to deprive His sincere worshipers from this privilege of close contact with Him.

Thus He decrees that the possibility of this interaction between Him and the worshiper, which happens during Prayers, becomes exactly like the interaction that happened between Him and His Prophet Muhammad during the Night Journey.

Another way of contacting God in Islam is duaa (supplication or invocation). God says in the Quran:

{And when my servants ask you concerning me, [tell them] I am indeed near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls.} (Al-Baqarah 2:187)

And:

{And your lord said, invoke me and I will respond to your invocation.} (Ghafir 40:60)

Supplicating to God to fulfill our needs

Supplicating to God to fulfill our needs

The Prophet Muhammad also confirms this fact of the communication that takes place between God and His servant during supplication by saying:

“Any Muslim who supplicates to Allah in a duaa which contains no sin or breaking of kinship, Allah will give him one of three things: either his duaa will be immediately answered or, it will be saved for him in the Hereafter, or it will turn away an equivalent amount of evil (from him)” The companions said “so we will ask for more” he replied, “Allah is more [generous].” (At-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet has given us many tips of recommended times during which the communication between the believer and his Lord becomes closer and therefore his supplication becomes more powerful.

The Prophet says:

“The nearest a Muslim is to his Lord is while he is in prostration. So, make duaa in it.” (Muslim)

“Almighty Allah manifests Himself at the first heaven, during the last third of night, and says: ‘Is there any suppliant so that I answer him? Is there anyone asking so that I fulfill his need? Is there any seeker of forgiveness so that I forgive his sins.'”(Al-Bukhari)

Communication with God takes different procedures from one religion to another. In Christianity, for example, it is imperative to reach God through a cleric mediator or a go-between of the holy order.

For instance, in Catholicism, the confession should be made at the hand of a priest and one can not be entitled a Christian unless one is baptized at the hand of a cleric, and so on. But in Islam, the situation is different.

No one is authorized to mediate between God and His servants. It is enough for any wrong doer to stand alone asking Allah’s forgiveness and be sure Allah will respond. Allah says in His Book:

{And those who, when they have committed sin or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; – and none can forgive sins but Allah.} (Aal `Imran 2:135)

This direct dialogue between the sinner and his Lord appears more clearly in the following hadith qudsi (divine hadith) that the Prophet from among the things he reports from his Lord (mighty and sublime be He), is that He said:

A servant [of Allah’s] committed a sin and said: O Allah, forgive me my sin. And He (glorified and exalted be He) said: My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them.

Then he sinned again and said: O Lord, forgive me my sin. And He (glorified and exalted be He) said: My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them.

Then he sinned again and said: O Lord, forgive me my sin. And He (glorified and exalted be He) said: My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for sins. Do what you wish, for I have forgiven you. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Pray wherever you may be

Pray wherever you may be

What is amazing in this relationship with God is that it is up to the servant to decide its intimacy. God says in a hadith qudsi:

“I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed. (Al-Buhkari)

Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

How Can I Know What God Is Calling Me To Do?

Why Can’t We See God?

How to Feel God’s Peace in This Life?

 

 




About Amani Aboul Fadl Farag

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