When we want to call out to Allah, He brings us so near to Him to fulfill our requests. One of the most beautiful verses of the Qur’an explained by Nouman Ali Khan.
Allah is Near
As-Salaamu Alaikum ,
I’m here to share with you my favorite ayah(verse ) from Holy Quran .
Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 186
٢-١٨٦ وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
The ayah is (translated):
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me, indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.”
Explanation of ayah in detail
There are so many beautiful things in this ayah that I want to share with you. First of all it begins with وإذَا سألَكَ عِبادى (Wa ‘Idhā Sa’alaka `Ibādī) ‘And when My servants asks you about Me.’ The ayah is to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and people used to come and ask about Allah, and they used to ask things like what’s the thing that Allah likes the most, how do I pray to him the best way?
In this ayah, Allah is not talking to us, He is talking to the Prophet. But He doesn’t say if the slave comes and asks you, he says when, this because it’s like Allah is waiting. Using if is like saying “if he comes, he comes.” But since Allah used the word when, it’s like Allah is in anticipation for the slave to wonder about the Master. He’s anticipating us to come and ask about Him, to inquire about Him, and to get to know who He is, that’s captured in the word وإذَ (Wa ‘Idhā).
The slave comes and asks you about Me. In this ayah, Allah used the word عنٌىِ (`Annī) but usually, Allah uses the word عنٌَا` (Annun) which means about Us. In this case, He does not say Us, He does not say Allah, but he says Me. The word “me” in the Qur’an is expressed when Allah highlights particular, and unusual amount of closeness. It’s as though Allah is so pleased that someone wants to ask about Him, that He comes close to that person Himself. Allah has already taken an initiative of closeness by saying Me. My slave asked you about Me.
I’ll translate what’s not in the ayah. Here’s what we expect to read: “When My slaves ask you about Me then tell them that I am near.” The entire conversation is with the Prophet (peace be upon him). They’re coming and asking the Prophet, so they should expect a response from the Prophet, and Allah is going to teach the Prophet what to tell them. But, that’s not what happens. What happens is incredible.
The next words in the ayah are فإ نٌِى قَرِيب (Fa’innī Qarībun) ‘then I am near.’ It’s as though they came and asked the Prophet, but the Messenger (peace be upon him) said I will respond myself to them, I’ll talk to them myself. In other words, you don’t have to wait for the Prophet to give you the response, I will give you the response. Allah shows his want of dealing with us directly, Subhan’Allah. It’s so beautiful. The words we learn from the Prophet (peace be upon him) teach us to connect directly with Allah. That’s the essence of our deen, we have a direct relationship with God.
Many of us have messed up in life, we’ve made a lot of mistakes. None of us are an exception. I’m no exception, you’re no exception. We’ve messed up plenty in life. But, that’s no excuse for us not to have a direct relationship with Allah. And Allah says, if you just inquire about Me, that’s enough for Me to want to engage with you directly in conversation. Nobody should wonder about Allah.
By the way, that’s the spirit of dua, right? Ramadan is about dua. When we make dua, we should just deal with Allah directly. Don’t just recite words that you’ve memorized, know what they mean, and mean them as a conversation with Allah, like you’re talking to Him. It’s totally fine for you to make dua in English, whatever language you know, talk to Allah in that language. It’s nice for you to memorize the duas, it’s great, but the spirit of dua is that you’re talking to Allah. If you know what those duas mean, that’s beautiful. Don’t just recite them, if you are just regurgitating the words, there’s no conversation happening between you and Allah, you’re missing the point. You asked about Allah, and Allah came so near.
Then Allah says something even more beautiful. Allah says آُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَالدٌَاعِ إِذٌَادَعَانِ (‘Ujību Da`wata Ad-Dā`i ‘Idhā Da`āni) He said I respond, I respond immediately. أُجِيبُ (‘Ujību) ‘I respond immediately, and I will respond.’ It carries the present and the future, you know what that does? It gives us hope. You know how you meet people sometimes and they say “Allah is not going to answer my prayers, you don’t know, I’m super messed up.” But, Allah says أُجِيبُ (‘Ujību), I do and I will. But you know, not my prayers, He’ll answer the prayers of the imam, the qari, the guy who’s leading taraweeh, the guy who’s got nice recitation, the guy who’s so much more religious than I am, the girl that wears hijab, etc. etc. Those are the “good Muslims,” Allah is going to answer them. Allah says ُ دَعْوَةَالدٌَاع (Da`wata Ad-Dā`i) I will respond to the call of the caller. He didn’t say the call of the believer, the call of the Muslim, the call of the one who submits, the call of the righteous, the call of the slave, the call of worshipper. Allah didn’t use any of those descriptions, He said the call of the caller. Anybody who calls qualifies to be a caller. You don’t have to be a special person to be one calling on Allah. So by using the words the call of the caller, Allah opened the invitation to anybody who just wants to engage in the act of calling on Allah. He didn’t put any other criteria in this ayah, except to just be a caller.
The additional thing that just makes me so amazed, in awe of Allah is that, imagine, I know this will be a hard example to follow, but I’ll do my best to make it easy. Imagine that you are the CEO of a 500 employee company. You meet some secretary, some receptionist, some clerk, or some intern. Now you’re the CEO you have to make big decisions, but these employees, maybe you’ve had a conversation with them once in awhile, but you don’t remember because you have too many things to deal with. Too many bigger things on your mind, so you don’t remember them. If they make a request of you, they sent you an e-mail or whatever, it gets buried because it’s not that priority for you. The more important someone is, and the more people they have under them, the harder it is to get to them and make individual requests. Right? It’s just difficult.
Imagine who is more important, and who has more people under Him than Allah. For Allah to know each one of us, and to know our entire personal situation and then to appreciate us so much that He doesn’t just say I appreciate or I respond to the call of a caller or any caller, by saying any caller, we would be anonymous. Allah says the caller in this ayah, and it’s as though Allah knows us personally. You are a the to Him, not a. You’re not a caller you are the caller. That one over there, I know that one, I know what he’s going through, I know what he asked for. Allah is expressing this personal closeness to you, so much so that He can distinguish you from the billions of others that have made dua to Him, at the same time, but He’s making you very distinct. So none of us get to think when is our request going to get processed? Allah didn’t hear that, or He’s got bigger things, He’s got an entire universe to run, Subhan’Allah.
The more important someone is, the harder it is to make time with them. That’s a logical fact, they’re busy doing so many things. So if you say I want a one-on-one meeting with the CEO, you might have to wait a year, six month, eight months, whatever. You can’t just go meet with them. In our society for example, if you want to meet with an important scholar, you can’t just walk up and just meet them. You’re going to have to make an appointment, you’ll have to schedule a time etc. etc. because they’ve got tons of things to do.
Allah says when can you talk to me? إِذَادَعَانِ.(‘Idhā Da`āni) Whenever he calls, night and day, I will be available. Allah is making Himself incredibly available to this person. All of this is in the context of Ramadan by the way. We are given these motivations in Ramadan. You know what that teaches us? Go crazy with dua in Ramadan. Get really, really close to Allah, and get used to being close to Allah in Ramadan. Break the barriers between you and Allah during Ramadan.
Then He says, this is my favorite part of the ayah: فِلْيَسْتَجِيبُو لِى (Falyastajībū Lī) ‘So let them respond to Me’. They should try to respond to Me too. They’re asking me for things, they ask things like “O Allah, make the exam easy.” “O Allah, let that marriage proposal go through.” “O Allah, let me get an approval on that house.” Whatever peoples requests are, people make requests. And Allah says, Yes, you’ve made your request, and I will respond whenever, you call, I will respond. But you should try to respond to Me too, I have made certain requests of you too. In this part of the ayah, Allah does not just say they should respond, Allah says they should try to respond. At least make the effort. Allah wants to see effort from you and me, that we are actually making an effort to respond to what His demands on us are. And He did not ask us for much.
وَلْيُؤْمِنُوبِى (Wa Līu’uminū Bī) ‘then they should believe in Me.’ You know these words are really important. They’re not just extra words in the ayah. In the wisdom of this ayah, this is of paramount of importance. They should believe in Me, why? You would say that obviously the one making dua to Allah already believes in Him. Why even add this phrase? Because when you ask Allah for something, and it doesn’t come right away, it starts shattering your faith. Allah says keep the faith. Believe. I heard your dua, I know the best way to respond to it. I will respond to it in a way that is better, you couldn’t imagine how good My response would be. You may have asked of something that is not good for you, and I will respond with something that is way better than what you even asked. You may have asked for something that if it came to you right now, it would hurt you. So I held it back from you, and I will give it to you when it’s best for you. Allah says to just believe, just trust, believe in Me.
Finally, He ends the ayah by saying لَعَلَّهُمْ (La`allahum), remember we talked about this in the last two videos? It means, “so that,” “perhaps,” “hopefully.” This is the climax, the end of this ayah. يَرْشُدُونَ (Yarshudūna), so that they may be set straight, they may go the right way. We are learning a very deep secret of Islam here. We’re learning, people who really learn how to make dua, who really connect to Allah in conversation, that is enough for them to live a straight life. To live a life of righteousness and be guided. This is because their relationship with Allah, and their recognition that Allah is always listening and constantly watching makes them so aware of Allah that it becomes very difficult for them to live a crooked, deviant, or misguided life.
End of Explanation of ayah
Dua is the key. The Prophet (peace be upon him) told us dua is the essence and is at the heart of worship. The Fatiha is the heart of the Qur’an and in that heart of the Qur’an, half of it is a dua. Have of it is Allah teaching us to ask Him directly.
May Allah make us people of dua so that we can be sent right this Ramadan. May Allah cleanse our hearts so we feel closer and closer, and closer to Allah in this Ramadan.
My last point Insha’Allah and I’ll let you go. When we make dua we’re talking to Allah, right? But in a conversation, there’s supposed to be two ways. A talks to B and B talks to A. We’re talking to Allah, we’re also expecting for Allah to talk to us. That’s why this is the month of the Qur’an. We are conversing with Allah with dua, and Allah is conversing with us through the Qur’an, so the conversation is complete.
May Allah make us a people of conversation with our Master.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) told us the one who points to something good gets the same reward as the one who did the good himself. Do me a favor and do all of yourselves a favor and share in the goodness if you’ve benefitted from these talks and these videos. Make it a point to share them with friends and family, get the word out. This is such an awesome project, I really appreciate the effort the Qur’an Weekly folks have made. I pray that Allah blesses them even more and brings even more and more good from them. With these kinds of efforts, Allah tells us that whoever doesn’t thank the people hasn’t thanked Allah. The hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) teaches us that, so we should do that. We should appreciate the effort that’s being made here. The best way to appreciate their effort is to help them get more reward and get yourself more reward at the same time by spreading the word Insha’Allah.
Thank you again.
God Almighty is full of love and kindness to His creation. All blessings and goodness in this world and the next are clear proofs of His Mercy. Indeed, Islam teaches that God is more merciful toward us than our own mothers. How can it be otherwise, when some of God’s names and attributes include:
These names all indicate that God is characterized by mercy, goodness and generosity. They testify to the vastness and perfection of His Mercy, which He blesses all of His creation. This same creation is addressed by God, when He says, “O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth.”
Throughout life, people continually receive Allah’s blessings, be it good health, sight, hearing, nourishment, clean air, children, wealth and countless others. Some use their God-given gifts of intelligence and reasoning to acknowledge these blessings, grasp the purpose of their existence, and thereby submit themselves to Allah. Others, however, do not appreciate the Mercy of Allah toward their own selves, even though He feeds and sustains them despite their disobedience toward Him. They are given mobility, enjoyment, freedom of thought and action, despite their outright denial of Him. Their very existence would not be, were it not for the Mercy of Allah.
Ultimately, everyone has the free will to acknowledge their blessings, use them in a manner ordained by Allah (the Lord of mankind) and worship Him alone. Below, we have outlined a glimpse of such blessings, because
“... if you were to try and count the favours of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
Recently I have been discussing Islam with a Christian (Seventh-day Adventist) pastor. To protect his identity, I will call him Kris.
Our discussions started when I attended one night of a biblical prophecy seminar that he was conducting in a rented Church building. His discussion centered on the Sabbath and its importance in Christianity. He claimed that the Apostles of Christ (عليه السلام) kept the Sabbath just as the Jews before them did. After the presentation I approached him with some contradictory information. The Bible implies that the Sabbath is no longer obligatory.
One text that demonstrates this is the narration of the rich man. A rich man approaches Jesus (عليه السلام) and asks Him what must be done to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus (عليه السلام) replies that he must keep the commandments. The man asks which commandments Jesus (عليه السلام) is referring to. He lists off the commandments that are most important to keep and the Sabbath is not one of them. The rich man exclaims that he has kept all of the commandments and Jesus (عليه السلام) replies by saying that he should go and sell his possessions to give to the poor. The man is saddened and leaves. What is important from this narration is that the requirements for entering the kingdom of heaven are listed. They are to avoid murder, adultery, theft, giving false testimony, defrauding people, and dishonoring your father and mother. The last requirement is for the rich man to sell all of his possessions, give to the poor, and follow Jesus (عليه السلام). It was this last requirement that the rich man lacked. Clearly Jesus (عليه السلام) never required an observance of the Sabbath for one to enter the kingdom of heaven. Additionally, there is evidence from the Acts of the Apostles that the Apostles of Christ (عليه السلام) themselves did not observe the Sabbath as strictly as the Kris would have us believe. Yes, there are narrations that state that such-and-such Apostles went to the Synagogue on the Sabbath, but such narration is always followed by “as was his custom”. Sabbatarian Christians like to overlook the fact that there is a discernible difference between doing something out of custom and a religious requirement to do something. Contrarily, there is a narration that speaks about the Apostles gathering and “breaking bread” (i.e. partaking of communion/Eucharist) on the first day of the week; Sunday.