Reflection No. 218 on Q 2:186 – Closeness to God

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ
Wa-idhā sa’alaka ‘ibādī ‘annī fa-innī qarīb
If My worshippers ask you about Me, I am near
(Sūratul Baqarah, No. 2, Āyat 186)

The aim of every act of worship is to seek nearness to Almighty Allah. The above verse is part of the passage on fasting and Allah brings out the essence behind the fast – a reassurance for those who are seeking Him. He declares that He is very near. He is nearer than our jugular vein and knows what our soul whispers to ourselves (Q 50:16).

Being close to God and knowing that He is close sets the human heart at rest. It is as though nothing else matters so long as God is there with him. This is the connection between the Lord and His servant that supersedes all other connections. It provides fulfillment and happiness which cannot be got elsewhere. Every other relationship, however good and loving, is still vulnerable and not completely reliable. According to Imam al-Sādiq (a) a man’s faith can provide him fulfilling company even when he is completely alone. He says: There is no believer except that Allah has made from his faith a source of delight he can seek solace in, so that even if he were on the summit of a mountain he would not be lonely  (‘Uaddat al-Dā‘ī, p. 218)

Closeness to Allah entails a relationship that is alive and emotional. To better understand this relationship we must reflect on some of the required thoughts and feelings of the believer. It includes:
a)      Grief at one’s sins.
b)      Yearning for the pleasure of Allah.
c)      Love for Allah.
d)     Fear of one’s fate.
e)      Hope in the mercy of Allah.
f)       Anger at the self for straying.

The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity for seeking nearness to Allah. Believers are given a chance to get closer through fasting, recitation of Du‘ās, seeking forgiveness, attending gatherings of Majalis and A‘māl, and generally being more conscious of their duties towards Allah. This heightened awareness allows the human being to progress in his journey towards Allah. It increases spirituality and breaks through the veil that is a barrier to achieving nearness to Allah. Thus the holy month is a special Grace from the Almighty to allow the believer to attain that which will bring him the most happiness and peace. Every small effort can have great effects. When a believer tries to move closer to Allah, even in small degrees, Allah also moves closer to Him.

Recite this verse to remind yourself that God has told you He is very close. Use the reminder to combat loneliness, anxiety, depression, unhappiness, etc. If you have God close to you who else do you need?

Source: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūne