Allah’s proximity explained

In the exegesis of the verse,

نحن اقرب اليه من حبل الوريد 50-29

Shaykh Mufti Mohammad Shafi’ (may Allah have mercy on him) said,

“According to the Honorable Sufis, here the term qurb (closeness) goes beyond the concept of nearness  in terms of knowledge. It is a special type of ittisal (contact or bond or relationship between Allah and His creation, including man who is placed at the center of this wonderful universe), the reality and nature of which is not known to anyone but it does necessarily exists  bila kaif, ‘without how’ or ‘indescribably’.

Various Quranic verses and authentic Prophetic Traditions bear ample testimony to this fact.  For example,  Quran commands, وسجدو اقترب  (bow down in sijdah and come closer…Al-‘Alaq:18).  This is just like what Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported to have said: “The closest that a servat can be to his Lord is when he in prostration. Therefore, make abundant supplication (i.e. while in prostration).” Another Tradition reports the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “When My servant performs  supererogatory prayers, he attains proximity to Me.” On the occassion of migration to Madinah, the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him),ان الله معنا, “Allah is with us.” (9:40) Holy Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) told the children of Israel, ان معى ربى, “My Lord is with me”. (26:62)

This qurb (nearness or proximity to Allah), which a man attains though the observance of obligatory and supererogatory works and through his effort is reserved exclusively for a believer. Such believer are called awliya’ullah (the friends of Allah: they are those whom Allah has chosen to be His friends). This special bond with Allah is different from general relationship with Allah and man,whether believer or non-believer.

In brief ,the above verses and narrations bear testimony to the fact that man has a special type of proximity to his Creator and Master though its reality and nature cannot be perceived. Maulana Rumi (may Allah have mercy on him) has versified this concept thus,

اتصالے بے مثال و بے قیاس

 ہست رب الناس را با جان ناس

The Lord of the people has a special contact with the people,

which is beyond one’s perception and has no other example.

This nearness and proximity can not be perceived by the ordinay sensation of physical sight but is recognized through farasah of iman (perspicacity through faith).”

Ma’arif ul Quran (English), volume 8, page 157