If God is already so close to us, what does getting close to God mean? It means to be coloured in God’s colour, to adopt, imbibe and reflect God’s attributes.
Practising justice is a cardinal Islamic teaching. One can conceive of the practice of justice in different ways. One way is to consider how far we are doing justice with regard to the various roles that we play and our different responsibilities. For instance, if one is a student who is getting a scholarship, is one doing justice to the scholarship by spending enough time studying? Or, if one is a teacher, is she doing justice to her work by preparing well enough for her classes?
The reality of whether one is indeed doing justice with regard to one’s roles and responsibilities is known only to oneself and to God. The fact that God knows our inner reality, including whether we are indeed doing justice with regard to our roles and responsibilities, is really what counts. We will have to give a full account of this to God.
Justice and Goodness are attributes of God. The spiritual path can be summarised as a process of getting dyed in the colour of God, of imbibing and reflecting the attributes of God, including justice and goodness. For instance, God is merciful, and so we too should be merciful. God is generous, and so we too should be generous. God is just, and so we too should be just.
A father wants his children to become like him. When a child is born, the father is eager to know if it looks like him. He wants to see his reflection in his child. When the child behaves like his father, the father is happy. Think, then, how much it will please God if we reflect God’s attributes in our lives!
This is what acquiring closeness to God means. The Quran tells us that God is closer to us than our jugular vein. If God is already so close to us, what does getting close to God mean? It means to be coloured in God’s colour, to adopt, imbibe and reflect God’s attributes. The greater the degree to which we do so, the closer to God we get.
(Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz is Vice-Chancellor of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. He can be contacted on [email protected])