Best Way to Acquire Divine Proximity
Allah has created man for worship. He has made His worship and servitude as a means of progress and perfection for man. Man must rise above material perfections and accomplishments and endeavor to attain true perfection, – which is nothing but proximity with the Creator. Traditions reveal that the recommended prayers (nawaafil) are one important medium to achieve divine proximity. Through recommended prayers the worshipper becomes so pure and attains such a high degree of proximity to His Creator that he begins to see with Allah’s Eyes, speak with Allah’s Tongue and hear with Allah’s Ears. In other words, the worshipper witnesses only what Allah wishes Him to witness. He speaks only what is in conformity with Allah’s satisfaction and He only lends his ears to talks that have divine approval.
Let us reflect a little and see what actions will give us access to Allah’s Satisfaction and Pleasure and enable us to attain the high degree of proximity that we have highlighted above.
All our actions are accepted on the basis of correct faith. Deliverance in this world and the hereafter is subject to true faith. However, when we assess our faith, we realize that it is weak and lacks the most essential criteria for its acceptance. The most basic level of faith is intense attachment with worship and an equal repulsion for Allah’s disobedience. Traditions reveal that when one witnesses a sin, while he does not disapprove it and does not detest it with his heart, then such a person is a living corpse. In today’s so-called advanced age, we are witness to so many sins, yet we do not sense any repulsion in ourselves, and our hearts do not despise the prevailing immoral conditions in our society. Today our condition is such that we fear everyone and everything except Allah. Allah declares in Surah Hadeed: 16 ‘Has not the time yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allah?’ Indeed the time has come.
Akhlaq is the ornament of Islam. It is for the perfection of morals that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was raised by Allah. But when we evaluate our own akhlaq, we find it totally contrary to the immaculate akhlaq of our beloved Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
When we look at our deeds, we seem satisfied with them. However, acceptance of our deeds is another matter altogether. For acceptance of deeds, correct intention (niyyat) is vital and the most important criterion for correct intention is sincerity (ikhlaas). Sincerity has been defined as performing deeds without anticipating any praise and appreciation from the creatures, nor fearing anyone’s condemnation and accusation. However, today our condition is such that we consider praise and appreciation a birthright and we feel humiliated if our deeds are not acknowledged.
Then under these circumstances, how can one attain divine proximity and how does one make himself eligible for deliverance? These are the concerns that we always need to keep in mind before we assess ourselves. However, we find in ourselves nothing that will make us eligible for divine proximity and mercy. We are overwhelmed with fear and hopelessness. The darkness of despair grips our hearts. Under such circumstances, there is a faint ray of light that pierces the gloom in our hearts. This is the light of the love and Wilayat of Ahle Bait (a.s.). The light of their love enters our existence because we find satisfaction in their satisfaction and we experience grief in their grief.
However, love and attachment are not established only by a few verbal claims. Love demands that the lover inculcates in himself the qualities and traits of his beloved. Love necessitates obedience and sacrifice. Then we need to ask ourselves how often we have fulfilled the demand of obedience and sacrifice in our love of the Ahle Bait (a.s.).
The more we search for these traits in ourselves, the more distressed we get, and there is nothing in our hearts except shame.
Finally, we discover a very important path towards divine proximity. Treading on this path has indescribable benefits and innumerable rewards. The conditions to tread on this path are easy and the advantages are boundless. Even our intention in this regard is pure, our sentiment is strong, we do not anticipate any praise and appreciation with regards to it, nor are we subdued with any condemnation and criticism. That path is the love and attachment towards the grandson of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the chief of the youths of Paradise, the apple of Janabe Zahra’s (s.a.) eye and the tranquility of Ameerul Momeneen’s (a.s.) heart, the brother of Imam Hasan Mujtaba (a.s.) – the Chief of the Martyrs, Imam Husain Ibne Ali (a.s.), may our souls be sacrificed for him.
Even a little reflection on this love and attachment towards Imam Husain (a.s.) is sufficient to make us realize that this enormous bounty was not granted to us on merit, rather it is among those bounties that Allah gives to ‘whomsoever He pleases’. The infallibles (a.s.) themselves declare, ‘Our Shias have been created from our excellent soil (teenat). They see joy in our joy and experience grief in our grief.’
A tear shed on Imam Husain (a.s.) is apparently only a drop of water, but is sufficient to ignite a complete transformation in man. A single tear can revolutionize a man’s belief, akhlaq and deeds to such an extent that others around him will be amazed at the development.
Dear brothers in Islam, protect this grief and sorrow for Imam Husain (a.s.) in the best possible manner and never let the flame of this lamp ever extinguish. Always beseech Allah to increase the intensity of this love and to sustain the restlessness of the hearts.
Indeed the tribulations of Imam Husain (a.s.) have distressed the entire world, the skies, the residents of the earth, the residents of the heavens, the angels, the Apostles, Allah’s slaves, the successors (of Prophets), the martyrs, the testifiers and the virtuous ones. They are all heart-wrenched at his martyrdom and are anguished at the enormous trials that he was made to undergo.
Come let us get some idea of these trials from Imam Husain’s (a.s.) last son – Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.), who has described Imam Husain’s (a.s.) difficulties in a most eloquent and melancholic manner. Let us read Imam-e-Asr’s (a.t.f.s.) narrative in this regard and at the same time offer him our condolences on the martyrdom of his grandfather – Imam Husain (a.s.).
Peace be upon the beard that was colored with blood!
Peace be upon the dust-smeared cheeks!
Peace be upon the bodies that were robbed of clothes!
Peace be upon the lips that were struck with a cane!
Peace be upon the one whose head was raised on a lance!
Peace be upon the corpses that were abandoned on the battlefield without shrouds!
It is most distressing for me that I was not present with you and could not assist you and could not combat your enemies alongside you! So now I can only cry for you morning and night and shed blood instead of tears.
The tyrants had engulfed you from all sides and each one of them was inflicting lethal blows upon you.
The enemy had blocked the path between you and your family.
At that moment you found no helper and assistant.
But you were patient and did your best to protect your women and children.
Till such a time that the enemies pulled you down from your mount.
You descended on the earth while your body was mortally wounded.
Your body was pounded below the horses’ hooves.
The enemy sustained its attack upon you.
The perspiration of death appeared on your forehead.
You were gasping for breath.
Your eyes were affixed towards your tents.
In such a condition, your mount – Zul Janah rushed towards the tents, neighing loudly.
When the women of your household saw Zul Janah without you, while the saddle had slipped off its back, they started wailing loudly and came out of their tents.
They advanced towards the battlefield.
Meanwhile Shimr (l.a.) mounted astride your chest.
He began rubbing his dagger across your neck.
He caught hold of your pure hair with his filthy hands.
He was severing your head.
While the ladies of your household beheld this spectacle with intense remorse and utmost grief.
You stopped breathing.
Your severed head was raised on the lance.
The ladies of your household were arrested.
Like prisoners they were shackled in heavy chains.
O Allah, for the sake of the elevated station of the Ahle Bait (a.s.), curse and disgrace all those who sought to pull the Ahle Bait (a.s.) down from this elevated station and all those who prepared grounds for the oppression and tyranny against the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and all those who supported this oppression and are supporting it even today! Descend Your limitless wrath and chastisement upon all of them till the Day of Judgment! And O Allah! Hasten the reappearance of the successor of Imam Husain (a.s.) and give us a position in his army to avenge the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.). Ameen!