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How to Know Our Lord

Man may think that the relationship between him and his Lord is similar to that between children and their parents; that they need them when young and dispense with them when grown up. Their independence may even pull them into ingratitude and forgetfulness of past kindness.

In reality, man’s need for his Lord is eternal, more than an infant for its mother or a plant for light and water. It never ceases.

{Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Who provides for you from the sky and the earth, or Who owns hearing and sight; and Who brings forth the living from the dead and brings forth the dead from the living; and Who directs the course? They will say: Allah. Then say: Will ye not then keep your duty (unto Him)?} (Quran 10: 31)

Man may imagine that he can escape from the consequences of wronging his Lord through some protection here or there.

No Other Refuge

In reality, there is nowhere in the universe where he can hide himself, and no one who can give him that protection. Any refuge he takes away from his Maker is weaker than its seeker:

{Or have they gods who can guard them from Us? They have no power to help themselves, nor can they be protected from Us.} (21: 43)

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Whatever faculties mankind has – such as hearing, sight, and feelings – are borrowed from Allah. He may withdraw them any moment He wills, and leave the mightiest of all mankind empty-handed, with nothing but utter weakness.

{Say (to the disbelievers), “Tell me, if Allah took away your hearing and your sight, and sealed up your hearts, who is the god, other than Allah, who could restore them to you?” Behold, how We put forth Our Signs in diverse forms, and yet they turn away from them.} (6: 46)

How to Get to Know God?

To know Allah is to stand between His Hands, feeling He is what He is and you what you are.

You, with your bare reality, are undecorated, without any pretenses. And He, with His Sacred Self, is absolutely perfect, and free from any defect, want, or insufficiency.

You, as you really are: weak, poor, and imperfect. And He, as He really is: worthy of all exaltation and glorification.

Without a sense of gratitude, man can easily slip into pride and false feelings of adequacy and self-sufficiency, and ultimately independence from Allah. A belief that man is the source of his own sufficiency! That man is his own provider!

He shuns any reminders of being one of the many needy creatures in this wide universe who constantly need their Creator. He sees himself as the product of his own making.

He believes anything he possesses is his right, rather than a bounty from Allah. His own self, in his eyes, gives him power on this earth, and it will empower him in the hereafter.

{And if We let man taste mercy from Us after an adversity that has touched him, he will surely say, “This is what I deserve, and I do not think the Hour will occur; and even if I should be returned to my Lord, indeed, there will be much good (Paradise) stored for me with Him.} (41: 50)

Why should man think that his name is recorded in heaven and that a place is reserved for him with his Lord when he is finished with this life, if he lives his life ungrateful and unmindful of Him?

These are the delusions and empty fancies of proud minds. This is how souls are ruined and their judgment impaired.

Allah created mankind to know and praise Him, not to ignore and deny Him. Allah draws close, with His Mercy, to those who glorify their Lord publicly and privately and do not overstep their human boundaries.

They confess their weakness to Him, and He gives them strength.

They confess their lowliness to Him, and He gives them honor.

They turn from the strength and power of themselves to the strength and power of Allah, and He opens for them the gates of supremacy, success, and fulfillment:

{O you who believe! Fear Allah, and believe in His Messenger, He will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy, and provide for you a light by which you shall walk (straight), and He will forgive you (your past).} (57: 28)

In this arrogant age, people are disinterested in heaven, and interested in clinging to earth; trusting the seen world, and deriding the unseen world; showing strong faith in themselves, and too little faith in Allah, Who created them for a purpose much higher than that which they have in view or the end towards which they are working.

They will continue to deprive themselves of heavenly provision as long as they persist on this erroneous path.

They live exposed to anguish after anguish and affliction after affliction:

{And a disaster will not cease to strike those who disbelieve because of their deeds (disbelief and denial) or to descend close to their homes, until the Promise of Allah comes to pass. Certainly, Allah does not fail in His Promise.} (13: 31)

This article is a translated excerpt from Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s book: The Emotional Side of Islam.

It is translated and adapted by Haya Muhammad Eid & edited by Emily Katharine Richardson.

(From Discovering Islam archive)