Nearness to God

By Jamal Rahman

“We are closer to him than his jugular vein.”   (Qur’an 50:16) 

The Prophet Muhammad said that Moses asked God, “O Lord, are you close enough for me to whisper in your ear or so distant that I should shout?” And God said, “I am sitting next to my servant whenever he remembers Me.”  (Hadith)

In every tradition, there are stories of aspirants who journeyed to distant sacred places in search of God. In the end, they realized that the Beloved they so desperately sought resided inside of them. In an exquisite poem by Tagore, God sighs and laments, “Why does my servant wander to seek me, forsaking me?”

We shall find God by remembering to practice divine attributes like love, compassion, awareness, and serving others in our lives. When we remind ourselves to turn in that direction, Divinity turns to us. The Prophet Muhammad said that if you walk towards God, He comes running to you; take one step, and God takes seven steps towards you. 

May we remember that at every moment we have direct access to God. The only barrier is our lack of consciousness. Our forgetfulness. An eighth century Sufi master was preaching to his students gathered outside his house that we need to constantly knock on the door of God. Out of divine Mercy, God will open the door one day. The beloved Rabia, who was passing by, overheard the teaching. She remarked, “Brother, when was the door ever closed?” The teacher stood up, turned to her and bowed.

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