When we open many commentaries on the Qur’an, we often see this one same narration. We are told that God says, “I am what My slave makes of me.” Too often, when we read this narration we glide past it without much reflection.
Similarly, if we consider that the word “Allah” or “God” appears in the Qur’an over 2000 times, we may discover that we also glide past the references to God Himself as we read through the Qur’an. We glide past these descriptions of God because we tend to regard these descriptions of God as basic or ‘common sense.’ Many people, as they read through the Qur’an, are seeking the knowledge of rules, even though they know that the Qur’an is itself presenting the knowledge of God.
What is my point here? My point is that if we do not think about what God is telling us about Himself, then we will impose our own vision of God on Him without even realizing it.
Thus, even though the Qur’an repeatedly describes God as The Most Merciful (al-Rahman) and The Eternal Source of Mercy (al-Raheem), many of us will, without thinking, instead regard God as a Punisher. In our society, even though we speak of God as a source of love, in our day to day lives, we too often look at Him as one who is seeking to punish us even for the smallest trifling negligence in our lives.
If you look at God as a Punisher, then you will glide past the countless benevolent references to God in the Qur’an and see nothing but strictness and punishment. If you look as God as a punisher, you will look at the world that He has handed to you as a world full of severe tests and punishment.
On the other hand, if you look at God as One who loves you, as One who constantly has provided for you and will always provide for you, as One who forgives, as the One who is Just, then you will look at Him and the world around you in that manner.
As you can see, I’m making five fundamental points here. Some are direct and some are indirect.
The first point is that when you read the Qur’an, focus on those passages that make mention of God. You will have great difficulty finding a page in the Qur’an that does not mention God. When you read the Book, and you see a mention of God, reflect on it. What is the verse saying about Him? Next, how does it relate to the verses around it? The verses about God are the whole foundation of the Qur’an. And, if the most commonly mentioned word is “God,” another commonly mentioned word, in the context of God, is perhaps “Mercy.”
The second fundamental point is that when you define how you interact with God, you define how you interact with the whole world around you. This world is nothing but an illusion, a veil. Everything in this world is temporary; it will eventually expire. And, while you are on this side of the veil, God is on the other side. It is too easy to forget our priorities and, as a result, it is too easy to look at this world as our eternal destination. Thus, it is too easy to forget God. But, as you know, in Islam, we have the prescriptions – obligatory and voluntary – for getting closer and closer, step by step, to God Himself. Do not look at these prescriptions as lifeless rules, but as necessary steps to reach Him.
The third fundamental point is necessary for the world we live in today, often surrounded by people who have lost themselves, and, as a result, may harm other people without even realizing it. This point, also taken from the Qur’an, is that God is closer to you than the veins in your neck. He is always with you. When you speak to Him, He is closer to you than the breath on your tongue. So, when you feel abandoned, you must consciously, actively, bring Him back into your mind.
The fourth fundamental point involves praying to God for things. Too often, when we make requests of Him, we don’t get surprised when we don’t get them. If we are indeed defining God for ourselves, then we are also indeed defining whether or not God will answer our prayers. Meaning, we are choosing whether or not God will answer our prayers. Further, we are defining how He will answer them, and we are also defining whether or not He will answer our prayers to our level of satisfaction. Again, it is up to you to choose whether or not He answers your prayers.
The last fundamental point is the simplest reminder. We know that the Qur’an demands that you use your mind and your heart and your body. We know that the Qur’an demands that you do not just follow the way of your parents without seriously considering their ways of life. What the Qur’an demands is that you make choices. The Qur’an tells you how to define God. And, it tells you that life is all about making choices. The stuff of life is found in those choices.
And, the most important choice, from which all other choices come, is about God.
I ask God, the Turner of Hearts, to turn our Hearts to Him. And, if I made any mistakes in this piece, I seek His forgiveness, and yours.
10 responses to “Who, What, Where is God, especially when we need Him?”
Thank you for this wonderful post. These are turbulent times and we desperately need such kind of thoughts; probably more than ever to reconfigure our presumably lost transcendental connection.
Very well-written, and very beautiful. We do indeed more thoughts like this. I feel that more than ever people feel the need to connect with the Divine, but do not understand the proper way to go about it.
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Very nice post. May your perception of God bring you closer to Him.
Wondeful post. Really needs to be read over and over again to grasp it fully. Thanks.
Interesting post and blog. Ma sha Allah.
I’ll be stopping by again insha Allah
Wonderful post, I really needed to read this more than you’ll know.
Dear Aasem Bakhshi, Baekho, brnaeem, Abdul., Abdur Rahman,
Thank you for your comments; may Allah reward you with the best.
I look forward to more correspondences with you.
dont understand why god is seen as so humancentric….that it is a personality like our silly earthbound concept of something we truly cannot put into words. Could it not be possible that we are all born with the capacity to be “god like” ” christ like”, and throughout our lives we achieve levels of ignorance that no amount of requesting assistance will cure. I dont see that we are born sinners, but rather born into a world ignorance attachment and aggression, and from the moment we are born, we are subjected to the influences of all the people that have allowed life to drain and obscure the truth. Regardless of who you are where you are from, basic needs and feelings are the same. We all know what is right and wrong, its a matter of taking the responsibility for whatever decissions we make..It doesnt seem like most spend enough time in forethought ofwhat the consequenses of our actions will be…We chose to draw lines where we know there shouldnt be…..Killing is a sin…yet we accept it, defend it, and make excusses to kill!!! We justify our killing over anothers killing. Love our neighbors? Was that a suggestion based on what neighborhood, what town, county, team, political party, religious belief , nation, planet etc we are connected to? Or do again, we draw lines and say, Well, they are on the other team, from another nation, a different race….It just seems praying for anything other than respect and appriciation, is unnecessary, and an act of negligence and ignorance…Take responsiblility for our own actions, and possibly we will learn, Then we can pray a prayer of thanks for being born in the image of god….(which by the way, maybe isnt this physical form we see in the mirror, but the spark of spirit that we are all created with….The answers to everything are a part of who we are, for we are in the image of god. Perfect spirit, perfect action, perfection, Satisfying our skin and bones, we loose sight, and ignore the truth….
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