“Call to your Sustainer humbly, and in the secrecy of your hearts.” (Qur’an 7:55)
“When my devotees ask you about Me, I am indeed close to them. I answer the call of the supplicant when he calls to Me.” (Qur’an 2:186)
The Qur’an encourages humankind again and again to call on Allah in the deepest and innermost recesses of our hearts, and to surrender ourselves with humility to God’s grace, protection, and guidance. “Witness: the only true religion in the sight of God is self-surrender to God.” (Qur’an 3:19) It may seem like a contradiction, but prayer and surrender go hand in hand. When we call on God, it is often when we are in a state of complete despair, fear, or desperation. Our own efforts have failed us, we are lost and unable to make sense of our world. In times like this we are invited, even implored, to call out to God in a state of humble surrender. “And your Sustainer says, ‘Call on Me, and I will answer you.’” -Qur’an 40:60 When we finally feel desperate enough to call out to Allah, we are acknowledging that we require a power greater than ourselves to help us navigate this complex world. Our personal efforts to safely traverse and control our own or others’ experiences in the world have failed. Circumstances beyond our control overwhelm us. It is at moments like this that we are most vulnerable and also most receptive to receiving God’s grace. No matter what happens, we are in God’s hands.
Once we call out in humility and surrender to God, we find ourselves released from the agony of trying to control our own destiny. Once we give up and let go, we experience a deep sense of relief and even peace. Finally, we have let ourselves off the hook. We no longer need to cling to control, nor to outcomes. What will be, will be. At last we can rest.
There are so many ways to call out to God. Sometimes we call out in total despair, crying in pain and agony for release from life’s crippling circumstances. Other times we cry out in desperation, pleading for relief for another person who is suffering. Perhaps we find ourselves in the middle of a challenging or seemingly impossible situation where we need to make a difficult choice, so we cry out seeking guidance and direction from a Power or Intelligence higher than our own. Perhaps we need to whisper in secret a confession to God and beg forgiveness and a chance to make amends.
Don’t forget the times when life gives us a wonderful, joyful surprise, and we are suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude! Perhaps we find ourselves suddenly released from a difficult situation that we thought would never end. This is another opportunity to cry out to God in thanksgiving. And sometimes we are in the natural world, observing and experience a natural phenomenon such as a sunset, a mountain top, an ocean shore or a star-filled sky, which overwhelms us with amazement and wonder. Then we cry out in awe to the One who Created this incredible universe we call home! Every time we cry out to God, for whatever reason and under whatever circumstances, we are deepening and strengthening our connection to Divinity within and without, and opening the way for more grace and beauty to pour into our lives.