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How to Communicate with God?

Questioner

Roya

Reply Date

Nov 27, 2016

Question

I read your section on communication with Allah but I am not sure that my question was answered. I would like to know about a specific type of communication outside of the context of “Invoking God” (40:60) . What about that voice in the back of your head, which tells you not to do wrong. Like for example if you are about to murder someone and you receive a message that that is wrong. –Is that or could that be God talking to you? And if so, what is in the Koran to support the fact that this specific type of communication sometimes comes from God.

Consultant

Answer


How to Communicate with God

Salam Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

When we speak of communication with God, we need to first of all realize that such communication is at a level different from our communication with beings on earth. As for beings on earth, we can see them with our eyes or hear them with our ears. But God is an entity whose presence transcends the parameters of our spatial or temporal existence.

He doesn’t appear before us or speak to us directly. Even to the prophets He has not appeared in person. We read in the Bible (in the Book of Exodus) about God speaking to Prophet Moses. But in this case it was a Prophet of God to whom God spoke directly; not to an ordinary human.

This is the Biblical passage: Exodus 3 (NIV):

1Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”And Moses said, “Here I am.”

You may see that it is not God who appeared from the Burning Bush, but an angel. (Note verse Exodus 3:3 above)

Now let us see what the Quran says about the same incident, where Moses saw the fire on Mount Sinai:

{But when he came close to it, a call was sounded from the right-side bank of the valley, out of the tree [burning] on blessed ground:“O Moses! Verily, I am God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!”} (Quran 28:30)

Based on the above verse among others, Muslims too believe that God spoke to Moses. But the Quran does not warrant the belief that God really appeared to Moses in person or to any human. The same idea is expressed in the Bible too, as we may read in the Book of Exodus 33, that no human can see God and live, as He told Moses: “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Exodus 33:20)

The foregoing means:

God does not appear to any human, not even to His prophets. But He has spoken directly to Moses and to other prophets as the scriptures testify. And as for revelation, it is God’s communication called ‘wahy’ in Islamic parlance, given to the prophets through Archangel Gabriel, or Jibreel. This channel of communication is not available to ordinary humans.

It is a typical claim of certain Christian churches that they have a “special relationship” with God and hence (it is claimed) they have a way of communication with God to the extent that God talks to them about specific issues. President Bush, a Born Again Christian is reported to have said:

How to Communicate with God“I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did. And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, ‘Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East’. And, by God, I’m gonna do it.”

The response of the Insider to this news was: “There are only 3 possible explanations for a human being who believes that he is receiving revelations directly from God; he would have to be either a prophet, a madman, or a liar.”

So George Bush killed hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is an example of how a person can be miserably deluded about ‘God’s voice’.

Now comes the question of conscience or what is sometimes called ‘the voice of God in us’. Conscience, one may say, is the still small voice often we feel we hear from within. It arises out of the deep faith that is mysteriously present even in an atheist. Or else why should a wicked person who doesn’t care for God feels remorse and cannot get any rest or peace after committing a crime?

Indeed, conscience is a corrective device put in our spirit by God. It is nurtured by one’s devotion and commitment to God, by one’s desire to live by the commandments of God. Conscience warns us when we are about to embark on a wrong course of action; and it is felt as self-accusation or as a recurring feeling of shame and regret after we have done a wrong deed.

And conversely conscience gives us inner peace and contentment too after we have done
a good deed, informing us that we have acted rightly. Conscience tells us: “Do this. Don’t do that.” Where does this come from? From the deepest deep of one’s heart or soul, where God put our conscience.

Apart from this, we have no reason to believe – and there is no Quranic verse to that effect – that God would directly sound a ‘voice in the back of your head, which tells you not to do wrong’; for instance when you are about to commit murder. Divine Guidance is already given through the prophets and if we turn away from it to do terrible things, we will face the consequences.

So, what is left for us to do is to worship none but Allah the All-Merciful and supplicate to Him to fulfill our needs:

{He is the Living (One): There is no god but He: Call upon Him, giving Him sincere devotion. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds!} (Quran 40:65)

And Allah says what means:

{And if My servants ask you about Me – behold, I am near; I respond to the call of him who calls, whenever he calls unto Me: let them, then, respond unto Me, and believe in Me, so that they might follow the right way.} (Quran 2:186)

This means that God is near us and communication with Him – not the kind of communication that tHow to Communicate with Godhe Evangelicals claim to have established with God – but communication in the form of praying to Him and feeling His
Merciful Presence is possible, if we sincerely seek Him.

That is to say, if we want to talk to God, pray to Him. And if we want to listen to God, read the Quran, where God is speaking to us. Outside of this there is no ‘specific type of communication’ from God is available to us ordinary humans as far as we know.

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“The nearest a Muslim is to his Lord is while he is in prostration. So, supplicate to Him in prostration.” (Muslim)

And in a sacred hadith we also read that Allah told the Prophet:

“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. (Buhkari)

Salam.




About Maen Khalifa

Maen has many years of experience in dawah work. He formerly worked as the Ask About Islam Editor and a consultant.

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