By Aiman Khizar
Though I don’t vividly remember the first impression of Allah SWT that I had on my mind when I was young, but I do remember that I considered Him as some sort of a wish granter who would reward me if I do something which pleases Him, and would punish me if I act otherwise. Whenever I did something wrong, I was told that Allah SWT would get angry with me. This is what elders are usually seen telling their kids and this is how we are told to obey Allah SWT; through this concept of reward and punishment. But I always felt that there was something missing in this picture.
Later in my life, I learned it the hard way that that missing thing was Love. We are told to obey Allah SWT, we are taught how to recite the Quran and do other stuff that makes Him happy, but the concept of love is seldom told. And even if we are told to love our creator, we are still not told how to? We are not told what it means to love Allah SWT. We are not given any clue which could help us create this connection. As a result, our whole life we keep claiming that we love Allah SWT when in reality we don’t. We are not even aware of the alphabet of this word. We just use it for the sake of it, not understanding what it means. We are sent to universities to become doctors and engineers, but when the matter of spirituality comes, it is assumed that we would become good Muslims and start to love Allah SWT on our own. We are sent to schools to learn something as insignificant as Pythagoras theorem because we are not expected to know and apply it on our own, but when the question of straightening up our deen arises, no direction or guidance is provided and it is simply assumed that we can learn to develop and sustain this connection on our own. This lack of guidance is what turns us into confused human beings who don’t know where to go in time of need or whom to connect with when feeling like a wreck.
Despite having Allah SWT and knowing that He is always around, we still feel hopeless and devastated because we don’t know how to connect to Him. Just having a charger around does not save your phone battery from dying. Getting up and connecting your phone to that charger plugged into a wall socket is absolutely necessary. Since we lack this connection thing, we are always trying to find an escape from reality during difficult times. We try to find our refuge either in listening to music or watching a movie or maybe diverting our attention with some other stuff. We try everything except for turning towards Allah SWT and realizing His will behind sending that particular problem our way. Having a strong connection with Allah SWT could help us realize that the problem is just a temporary one, that sooner or later all of this is going to end and we will eventually be rewarded for getting past it patiently. Having a connection could bring us tranquility that Allah SWT does not burden a soul more than it can bear. A connection with Allah SWT works just as the emotional support of our closed ones makes us feel better during difficult times, even if they are not doing anything practically to bring us relief. Just a realization that your friends are there for you, that they can always lend you a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear to hear your upset feelings can give you the courage to face and power through that difficult time. Similarly, this connection with Allah SWT doesn’t directly solve our problem, but it does give us enough strength to move our limbs, grab the means while keeping trust in Him and then finally succeed.
This connection is not made overnight. Just as we cannot learn each and every thing on the first day of the school and must go past different academic levels to get a degree, we cannot develop this connection without being patient, without putting in any effort. No matter where we stand today, we can start doing it right away just by talking to Allah SWT as if he is our friend and by reading the Quran as if it is talking to us. This is not at all difficult. It’s just that it requires us to pay some heed, put in some effort and stay consistent. In the end, we can rest our hope in this saying of our Prophet?:
“Allah Almighty says: Whoever comes with a good deed will have the reward of ten like it and even more. And whoever comes with an evil deed will be reimbursed for one evil deed like it. I even forgive him (as I like). And whoever draws close to me by the length of a hand, I will draw close to him by the length of an arm. Whoever draws close to me the by length of an arm, I will draw close to him by the length of a fathom. Whoever comes to me walking, I will come to him running. And whoever meets me in the state that his sins fill the earth, but not associating any idols with me, I will meet him with as much forgiveness.” (S?ah?i?h? Muslim: 2687)