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A Prayer That Is Not Rejected: Al-Qarib Al-Mujib

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As we enter into the last week of Ramadan, many of us may simultaneously feel more energized and at peace because of the increased worship, and we are geared up and ready for the final few days. Or conversely, maybe we feel guilty because we have not done as much as we had wanted to. Perhaps the tiredness is setting in, and we are unsure whether we will have the energy to do our best in this last period. We might also have doubts – “I did not feel close to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) this Ramadan; will I be accepted?”

Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Closeness

Allah says in the Qur’an,

 

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“And when My servants ask you about Me—indeed, I am near; I respond to the call of the caller when he calls upon Me.” [Surah Baqarah:186]

Even if you feel far, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reassures us that He is near. It has frequently been pointed out that in this verse, unlike other verses that begin with “they ask you about”, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) does not tell the Prophet ﷺ, “tell them…” Rather, here He responds directly: “I am near.” There is no intermediary for this response. This is the answer for every one of us who has felt far from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), or has wondered whether Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is near us or not.

Of course, as our Creator, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is close to all of us in His knowledge and awareness. He says in the Qur’an,

“We created man––We know what his soul whispers to him: We are closer to him than his jugular vein” [Surah Qaf:16]

But Ibn al-Qayyim mentions that Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) closeness to those who worship Him and those who call upon Him is a special type of closeness. The answer to the question of the ‘ibād – the servants or the worshippers – is “I am near.” Those who worship Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) are those who call upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), as the Prophet ﷺ taught us that, “Duʿāʾ (supplication) is the essence of worship.” [Sunan Abī Dāwūd, no. 1479] And the response to this worship from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is, “I respond to the call of the caller when he calls upon Me.”

The One Who Answers All Prayers

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is so close to those who call upon Him, He responds to their calls because He knows them so intimately, and He hears them as they whisper their requests. This is the special closeness He has with His servants. It is as if Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is telling us, if we want to closeness to Him, then we should worship Him to the best of our abilities and call upon Him for all our needs. With people, even those closest to us, repeatedly asking is burdensome and can make those we love turn away from us. With Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), turning to Him and asking Him frequently is both a sign of and a way to gain closeness to Him.

Knowing this opens up different dimensions of our relationship with Him. We can be comforted that He hears us, as Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says, “indeed, He is Hearing and Near.” [Sura Saba’:50] We can be reassured by the fact that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows, as “Surely Allah knows best what is hidden in the heart” [Surah Al-Ma’idah:7] When we feel alone and abandoned, we can remember that ”He is with you wherever you are.” [Surah Al-Hadid:4] No one is always with us, at every moment. Allah – al-Qarīb al-Mujīb – is.

We might have people whom we are close to, but they cannot help us when we need it. Or we might know someone of power and influence, who has the ability to help us with our troubles, but because we are not close to them, we might hesitate to ask them for help. But Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is al-Qarīb al-Mujīb: the Near, the Answerer of Prayers. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is telling us that our relationship with Him is not like our relationship with people. Do not hesitate to call on Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and ask Him. He is close to you and He responds, and indeed He invites you to call upon Him and loves when you do. Part of the significance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) telling us He is near is that it implies a relationship; and Ramadan is the perfect time to build that relationship.

Al-Qarīb Al-Mujīb and Ramadan

There is a close connection between supplication and Ramadan. Indeed, the verse about Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) being near and responding to the callers is between two verses explaining Ramadan and some rulings of fasting. After a person has obeyed Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and gone through the hardship of fasting for the day, doing so “out of faith and seeking reward”, and are met with the relief of breaking their fast, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) honors them in another way. The Prophet ﷺ said that, “Verily, the supplication of a fasting person is not turned away at the time of breaking fast.” [Sunan Ibn Mājah 1753] Even though fasting is obligatory upon us, out of His infinite generosity, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) also gives us the joy of a supplication that is responded to along with the joy of the food we will eat.

The Prophet ﷺ himself would make a beautiful supplication as he would break the fast:

ذَهَبَ الظَّمَأُ وَابْتَلَّتِ الْعُرُوقُ وَثَبَتَ الأَجْرُ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ

Dhahaba adh-dhama’u wabtallatil-‘urooqu wa thabata al-ajru insha-Allah.

“The thirst is gone, the veins are moist, and the reward is established, if Allah wills.” [Abu Dawud, 2357]

Some of us may not be able to fast for legitimate reasons. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Verily, Allah has people He redeems in every day and night of Ramadan. Every servant among them has a supplication that will be answered.” [Musnad Aḥmad 7450] Indeed, more generally, the Prophet ﷺ  reminded us that, “Verily your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him (in supplication) He becomes shy to return them empty.” [Aḥmad and others]

The Prophet ﷺ also reminded us of what happens with our supplications: “There is no Muslim who calls upon Allah, without sin or cutting family ties, but that Allah will give him one of three answers: He will quickly fulfill his supplication, He will store it for him in the Hereafter, or He will divert an evil from him similar to it.” What is beautiful here is how the companions responded. They said, “In that case, we will ask for more.” Knowing that Allah has guaranteed the response in diverse ways inspired the companions. They knew they would never lose. And the Prophet ﷺ said to them, “Allah has even more.”  [Aḥmad]

Ramadan is the time to build and strengthen our relationship with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Find joy in worshiping Him by connecting in your prayers, and reflecting upon His words. It is the time to pour our hearts to Him knowing that He is near, He hears us, He knows what we are going through, and that He responds. And because He is near to us and knows intimately our needs, His response is always what is better for this life and the next.

 

Related reading:

Al-Shakur: Appreciation And Love In Ramadan

Al-Wahhab And The Gift Of Ramadan

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

inan Yousef has been an author for over a decade, and most recently published the book, "Reflecting on the Names of Allah" (Al-Buruj Press, 2020). She has been a student of Sheikh Akram Nadwi for many years, and currently studies tafsir at Al-Salam Institute. Jinan teaches classes on the names of Allah for SWISS online. She is passionate about helping Muslims connect to Allah through knowing Him by His names.

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