Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 1 year ago

This is a question which I am sure many people will have valuable contributions on.

In my view, we are all born with different talents, opportunities, resources and inclinations. Some people have artistic talent, some people are good leaders, some people are good writers, some people are very empathetic and good at charitable or service work, some people have a good hand for making money, and so forth. The important thing is to develop and use whatever we have for the greater good. There isn't just one job to be done - either now or even in the time of the Prophet (S). But if we fulfill what we were created for, we will have done our part. No one person can do everything just as a single thread does not make a rug; and yet if a rug did not have all its single threads, it would cease to exist. 

Coming closer to Allah involves sincerity, prayer (especially voluntary/non-obligatory prayer), consciousness of Allah, being mindful of not being overwhelmed by material or bodily desires, refining the soul, and seeking Allah's assistance. Of course, it goes without saying that as a prerequiste, one should not be indulging in forbidden acts (such as drinking, unlawful relationships, lying, cheating the masses, and the like), or at the very least, should be struggling to overcome those unlawful acts that they have not yet been able to extract themself from. Forbidden acts are not only forbidden because they cause individual or social harm but also because they harm the relationship between the soul and its creator. Also it is helpful to consider one's theology - for instance, being careful to avoid the "lesser shirk" in worshipping things other than Allah such as money or power. 

Many of our prayers involve asking Allah for nearness to Him; it would be arrogant for us to think it could be done on our own! For instance:

‘O Allah, grant me the perfection of devotion to You, and illuminate the sight of our hearts with the radiance of looking at You until the sight of our hearts pierces through the veils of light, reaching the source of Exaltedness.’ - Munajat Sha'baniyyah

When we seek something sincerely from Allah, it is almost certain that Allah will set us on the path to it. 

There are many more narrations on and discussions of this topic in our tradition including on this website and if you search "nearness to Allah" on al-islam.org (you can search them all on Google by typing "nearness to Allah al-islam.org"), you will find many resources. Hopefully they will be useful and inspiring!

View 1 other response to this question