THE SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNICATION WITH ALLAH:
All things considered, communication is the lifeblood of the relationship between man and Allah. The two are locked in a causal liaison, the former being the cause and the latter the effect. The stronger and more profound the communication, the stronger and more fruitful the relationship becomes. In the same vein, the weaker and more ineffectual the communication, the weaker and more deficient the relationship becomes.
Indeed, man needs special communication skills to make his relationship with Allah work. This is especially so because man is created but to worship (know and serve) Allah (al-Dhariyat, 56); that is to say, the innermost purpose of man’s creation is to become cognizant of the existence of Allah and to consciously as well as willingly conform his own existence to Allah’s will and plan.
For man, life is all about knowing, worshipping and serving. However, these, in actual fact, are but different names for man’s incessant and pulsating communication with Allah, which comes to pass with various degrees of meaning and intensity, and at various levels of man’s physical, rational and spiritual presence.
It is on account of this that it is said, for instance, that reading the Holy Qur’an means letting Allah speak to a person, a form of communication the content of which should be properly comprehended, reflected on and then, duly acted upon. In other words, a reader, or reciter, of the Qur’an should perceive himself as being instructed, directed and meticulously guided thereby.
Performing daily prayers, furthermore, is to be understood as talking to and conversing with Allah, in which case man plays the role of an active participant under the aegis of divine inspiration and guidance. While performing prayers, a person should understand that he in his capacity as mortal servant has the privilege to converse directly with his Eternal Creator, Lord and Master, praising, glorifying, thanking, supplicating, confessing, testifying, imploring, pleading, and seeking His unbounded forgiveness and mercy.
It follows that the daily prayers are the most powerful and meaningful experience one can have in his life. They are the best heavenly gift to mankind. They alone are at once a life-changer and life-sustainer. They are also a life-purifier. Allah thus affirms: “…And establish regular prayer: for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt…” (al-‘Ankabut, 45).
Such is the case owing to the rational fact that he who experiences five times a day everything prayer entails, will in no way engage willingly and persistently in any serious loathsome deeds or deeds that run counter to reason. The two prospects are absolutely incompatible in a person. It is unfathomable that a person who most directly communicates with Allah five times a day, will willingly and repeatedly commit a serious wrongdoing. If, however, a person who is constant in prayer does not shun lewdness and iniquity, that would mean that there is something seriously wrong with the former, whose complete state and effectiveness will need review and some drastic adjustment measures.
While performing all other religious injunctions, and while spurning the possibility of committing sins — both minor and major — as much as possible, a person should know that he answers Allah’s divine calls that target directly him and his consciousness. Such a realization lies at the centre of the concept of niyyah (the intention in one’s heart to do an act for the sake of Allah alone), which, in turn, is a prerequisite for acceptance of religious acts. Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), therefore, is reported to have said that the reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended [Sahih al-Bukhari].
Based on the above, it is incumbent on each and every Muslim to comprehend the meaning of communication with Allah as means of connection between people and their Creator and Master, and as the process of conveying intended meanings and messages from one “side” to the other through the use of prescribed ways and means.
Such communication helps man elevate himself from the stifling confines of the body, matter and this world, to the ultimate freedom and endless potential of the soul and its transcendent realm. It sets man on a journey of self-actualization. It makes him genuine and real. It makes him realize that he is not alone in the maze of life where, without Allah’s light and guidance, nothing makes sense, nor appears heartening and uplifting. It saves him from the dreadful prospect of living and dying as nothing and nobody, presenting him, instead, with a wonderful opportunity to become somebody at as high a plane of existential reality as the heavenly scheme of things, and to never really die.
Furthermore, such communication helps man come fully to terms with who exactly he is, what exactly life is, and, of course, who exactly Allah is. The most important knowledge from this three-pronged, or trifurcated, realization is that Allah is man’s Lord, Guardian and Helper. He is near to him with His knowledge, power and compassion whenever he supplicates or calls upon Him. Allah even says that He is nearer to man than his jugular or neck-vein (Qaf, 16), which could mean that Allah knows the inmost desires and motives of man even better than man does himself, and that Allah knows more truly the innermost state of man’s feeling and consciousness than does his own ego.
A believing man confidently knows that he has Allah in his life. It is Allah Who is on his side. He administers his life affairs, steering them to what is best for him in both worlds. Fully aware of Allah’s constant presence, yet “nearness”, such a man via relentless communication patterns relies on Allah and fully entrusts his soul, yet his total being, to Him and His Will. He then lives happily in peace.
In short, a person knows that when he is deserted by people, Allah is always there for him, listening to his cries and relieving his plights. He also knows that when nobody cares and listens, Allah is there doing exactly that and coming to his rescue. And that is all that matters; and that is all every individual should ever ask and yearn for.
Whenever a believing man reads the Qur’an, he knows that Allah speaks directly to him, and every “you”, “he” or “they” mentioned therein denotes, one way or another, precisely him, following which a believing man cannot stay indifferent or unmoved. Behind every “you”, “he” or “they”, he imagines his own name being spoken.
By the same token, whenever he prays, thanks, supplicates, remembers, beseeches or implores Allah, a believing man knows the weight and profundity of “You” and “He”, which he extensively articulates in his communication models. He knows that he talks to the One Who is “near”, listens and responds; Who is nearer to a man than the man to himself.