Before I accepted Islam I was Christian. Jesus (peace be upon him) was the one I would always pray to; for Christians he is the mediator between God and Man.
Becoming Muslim called for a lot of adjustment and, to begin with, it was very difficult.
Realizing that praying to Jesus was out of the question I actually felt like I had lost my best friend. Having felt for so many years that God was quite unapproachable, He felt even more unapproachable now.
I had accepted Islam with my head but my heart was lagging behind, and the media had seen to it that when I thought of Allah that I thought of a God of wrath.
I needed to feel a connection with Allah. But how?
The Quran is a holy book like no other; it is not a compilation of accounts, stories or musings written by men, it is the actual speech of the Lord of the Worlds. To connect with Allah, it made sense to turn to His Word.
And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. (Quran 2:186)
Have you ever read the tafsir of this verse? It blew my mind and melted my heart. The first part of the verse, Allah is speaking directly to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) but in the second part He speaks directly to us. “Indeed I am near.” Allah wants us to know that He is not distant, far away or detached. He is near.
This provided me with a lot of comfort. Our Lord wants us to know that He is there for each one of us as individuals. SubhanAllah.
Allah reveals so much of Himself through the Quran if we can take the time to read and deeply reflect. How?
Through His Beautiful Names!
Every single chapter of the Quran (with one exception) begins with the reminder that Allah is Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem; He is the source of mercy and kindness.
He is Ar-Razaq (our Sustainer), Al-Haleem (The Forbearing), Al-Hafiz (The Protector) and Al-Wadud (The Loving One). I strongly urge anyone to learn as much as they can about the Names of Allah so that by knowing Allah you can more easily connect with Him.
Five times a day we are called to pray. When you are a new Muslim, this can seem quite daunting; wudu must be done, there are movements to remember and Arabic words to wrangle with.
I promise that this all comes with time and it won’t be long until you can pray with ease. When you are comfortable with your salah you will realize that it is a beautiful conversation between you and Allah. We praise Him and in return He offers us forgiveness and guidance.
And the most beautiful part of the prayer is the sujood (prostration).
The Prophet Muhammad said:
The closest that a servant is to his Lord is when he is in prostration. (Muslim)
Do you find that when you are in sujood your heart melts? I know that if I come to my salah with a heavy heart, fears or worries, it is in sujood that my Lord comforts me.
More Merciful Than a Mother
Is there a greater love in the human race than the love that a mother has for her child? It is a love that comes without conditions paired with the desire to nurture and protect.
It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said:
“Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah, and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of Allah said to us:
Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?
‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’
The Messenger of Allah said:
Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child. (Bukhari and Muslim)
How to Connect with Allah
1- Think Well of Allah
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Allah the Almighty said: I am as My servant thinks I am… If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed. (Muslim)
If you come to Allah and expect His love and mercy, then that is what you will find. If you wish to be close to Him, He will come closer to you.
2- Obligatory Acts
The Prophet Muhammad said:
Allah says: “My slave does not draw closer to Me by anything more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory upon him…If he were to ask of Me, I would surely give to him; if he were to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge. I do not hesitate about anything that I want to do as I hesitate to take the soul of a believer, for he hates death and I hate to hurt him.”” (Bukhari)
SubhanAllah, how beautiful is this hadith? Your relationship with Allah will grow and strengthen by performing your salah, fasting the month of Ramadan, giving in charity and making Hajj (if you are able).
This is remembrance of Allah. We spend so much of our time waiting; for a bus, at an appointment, to fall asleep. Use this time to engage in dhikr. No one needs even notice, la illaha illa Allah doesn’t even require any movement of the lips! Alhamdulillah.
Recognizing the blessings which Allah has bestowed upon you will not fail to help you appreciate the generosity and kindness of your Lord.
If you would count up the favors of Allah, never would you be able to number them. (Quran 16:18)
5- Avoiding Major Sins
Abu Huraira reported:
The Messenger of Allah said:
Verily, when the servant commits a sin a black spot appears upon his heart. If he abandons the sin, seeks forgiveness, and repents, then his heart will be polished. If he returns to the sin, the blackness will be increased until it overcomes his heart. It is the covering that Allah has mentioned: No, but on their hearts is a covering because of what they have earned.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Sin blackens the heart and a heart black with sin will feel far from Allah. May He give us the ability to avoid major sins and to draw close to Him with that which is pleasing to Him.