Advanced search
Visit
5295
Last Updated: 2010/08/14
Summary of question
How can we get to know God and rely on and truly love him?
question
How can we get to know God and rely on and truly love him?
Concise answer

The term “God” is one of the most general and simplest concepts that everyone, even atheists that deny His existence, definitely have some kind of perception of, although comprehending the true nature of his essence is out of our reach.

The ways to knowing and comprehending God can be summed up in the following ways:

1. Reason and intellect, like the argument of the necessary and possible being.

2. Through experimentation and sensation, such as the argument from design.[1]

3. The way of the heart or the argument of fetrah (genesis, innate disposition towards virtue and knowledge)[2],[3]

As for how we can rely solely on him: a person worthy of being relied on must possess two virtues:

1. Efficient amount of knowledge regarding the task that has been given to him and he has been asked to give aid for.

2. The power and strength to carry it out.

Due to the fact that God is aware of both what is hidden and evident and is never oblivious of anything for nothing can be hidden from his knowledge, and is also able to do whatsoever he desires, he surely is the best supporter one can lean on.

As for how one can love Allah (swt), there are several points that can be considered: 1. The reason as to why love occurs is realizing and perceiving the qualities and excellence one might hold.[4] 2. Mankind has an innate disposition towards virtue and perfection.3. God is sheer beauty and complete excellence and also the source of the good and beauty in the world. Hence we can deduct that man invariably loves God even though at times this natural feeling is subdued when he is deceived by his thoughts and actions into perceiving others as his beloved and this is the exact reason why Prophets had the duty of guiding mankind and liberating them from ignorance and cleansing their hearts and souls from immorality, so that they would realize the true beauty of the Lord.

Without a doubt true love has its signs and for someone to claim that he is truly devoted to God he will have to purify his soul and put into practice the moral teachings advocated by the true spiritual leaders, meaning the infallible imams, as a sign of the love he has for God and a spiritual means to connect with him in order to experience the unique feel of true selfless love.



[1] Just because this way utilizes experimentation doesn’t mean it is devoid of any reasoning and rationality, what is meant when it is said that it is experimental is that one of the premises of the argument is such, which is to observe the different phenomena of this world.

[2] Ma’arefe Eslami, vol. 1, pg. 41.

[3] For further information see: Understanding God; Adopted from Question 479 (website:520).

[4] Sharh Isharat, vol. 3, pg. 360.

Detailed Answer

The concept of “God” is one of the simplest and most general concepts that even atheists can understand and comprehend, because everybody knows that God refers to the being that has created everything that exists in this world, is capable of doing whatsoever he desires, is aware of everything that occurs and is all perceiving, the ever listening and etc. But we must understand that comprehending the true nature of his essence is beyond our boundaries. The reason being that ‘knowledge’ means and happens when the ‘knower’ has total awareness of ‘the known’ subject, and due to the fact that man’s being and attributes are in almost every way finite, which results in a limited and finite knowledge, comprehending God’s infinite true essence is out of his reach (the limited cannot have total awareness of the unlimited because of the lack of capacity for such). “They cannot encompass Allah in knowledge”[1] hence one should refrain from pondering God’s essence.

Despite the fact that we cannot comprehend Him completely, everyone is capable of studying the divine attributes and understand them depending on the capacity he possesses.

The ways to knowing and comprehending God can be summed up in the following ways:

1. Reason, like the argument of necessity and contingency (the burhan of Wujub and Imkan)

2. Through experimentation and sensation, such as the argument from design[2]

3. The inner way, the argument of fetrah (genesis, innate disposition towards virtue and knowledge)[3],[4]

As for how we can place our trust solely in him: a person worthy of being relied on must possess two virtues:

1. Efficient amount of knowledge regarding the task that has been given to him and he has been asked to give aid for.

2. The power and strength for carrying out.

Due to the fact that God is aware of both what is hidden and evident and is never oblivious of anything for nothing can be hidden from his knowledge, and is also able to do whatsoever he desires, he surely is the best companion and most trustworthy friend.[5] Imam Ali (A.S.) says: Tawakul (complete reliance to Allah) is the result of certainty in God.[6] Furthermore whoever is dedicated to relying on God as support, will surely find him to be supportive of his every need and shortcoming. Imam Ali (A.S.) also reminds us: (اَلتَّوَکُّلُ خَیْرُ عِمادٍ)Tawakul in Allah (swt) is the best support.”[7]

Of course, as with other religious concepts, tawakul has also been misunderstood and confused with wrong beliefs and superstitions to the extent that some perceive that tawakul makes God the only decider and that man’s efforts and struggles have no influence on his future and current lifestyle. This is while our Islamic sources almost state the exact opposite; that tawakul is for when you want to actually take a step and do something, thus tawakul only finds it’s true meaning when it is combined with action. Allah Almighty says in the Quran: “When you have decided, then place your trust in Allah.”[8]

The holy prophet (S.A.) told an Arab that had let his camel loose claiming that he had put his trust in God: “Tie the camel’s knee and trust in Allah together.”[9]

But the way to obtain the quality of loving God:

The Arabic term eshq is derived from the word ashaqa meaning excessive desire. Ashaqa is a plant that raps itself around another tree and draws out the moisture and water it has and eventually makes the tree dry out and die.[10]

But technically eshq is extreme and intense love. In other words eshq is the supreme level of affection.[11]

 As for the general intellectual way for achieving the love of Allah (swt), paying attention to several points will be helpful:

1. The reason as to why love occurs is realizing and perceiving the qualities and excellence one might hold.[12]

2. Mankind has an innate disposition towards virtue and perfection.

3. God is sheer beauty and complete excellence and also the source of the good and beauty in the world.

Hence we can deduct that man invariably loves God even though at times this natural feeling is subdued when he is deceived by his thoughts and actions into perceiving others as his beloved one and Lord. This is the exact duty of the prophets; to make the people aware of who the real beloved one is and to direct their love towards the one deserving it.

Another important point is that the type of love which religion has introduced to us is greatly influenced by a unique standpoint regarding mankind, the universe, God Almighty and the relation between these three. This love is a two way relationship[13] meaning that in return for our love for Him, he will love us as well. [14]

How to distinguish between true and false love

When referring to the verses of the Quran, traditions and the sayings of true spiritual leaders the signs of true love can be seen in their words. Learning these signs enable one to evaluate his love. Without a doubt true love has its signs and for someone to claim that he is truly devoted to God he will have to purify his soul and put into practice the moral teachings advocated by the true spiritual leaders, meaning the infallible imams, as a sign of the love he has for God and a spiritual means to connect with Him in order to experience the unique feel of true selfless love.

We will briefly list the signs of true love to God:

1. Preferring Him over everyone else; outwardly and inwardly being obedient to Him and earning his approval.

2. Caring for all of God’s obedient servants for His sake.

3. Preferring to join God in the afterlife then remaining in this world.

4. Seeing everything as inferior to the love of Allah and struggling with his body and wealth in His way.

5. Constantly remembering and thinking of Allah.

6. His peace of mind being in the nearness of Allah.

7. Having satisfaction in his lord.

8. Adoring his beloved one’s words (Quran)

9. Showing ardent desire to speak with him.

10. Worship shouldn’t be a burden to him

11. Holding enmity towards the enemies of God.[15]



[1]لا یحیطون به علما” Taha:110.

[2] Just because this way utilizes experimentation doesn’t mean it is devoid of any reasoning and rationality, what is meant when it is said that it is experimental is that one of the premises of the argument is such, which is to observe the different phenomena of this world.

[3] Ma’arefe Eslami, vol. 1, pg. 41.

[4] For further information see: Understanding God; Adopted from Question 479 (website:520).

[5]و من یتوکل علی الله فهو حسبه” Talaq:3.

[6] (اَلتَّوَکُّلُ مِنْ قُوَّةِ الْیَقینِ), Sharh Ghurarul-Hikam, vol. 1, pg. 184.

[7] Sharh Ghurarul-Hikam, vol. 1, pg. 133.

[8] Ale Imran:159.

[9]فی الخبر النبوی أنه ع قال للأعرابی الذی ترک ناقته مهملة فندت فلما قیل له قال توکلت فترکتها فقال ع اعقل و توکل” (Sharh Nahjul-Balaghah, vol. 11, pg. 201).

[10] (Ibn Manthur); Lisanul-Arab, vol. 9, pg. 224.

[11] Muhammad Ghazali, Ihya’ Ulumiddin, vol. 4, pg. 275.

[12] Sharh Isharat, vol. 3, pg. 360.

[13] Ma’idah:54; Ale Imran:31.

[14] See: Ihya’ Ulumiddin, vol. 4, pp. 302-303; Chehel Hadis (forty hadiths), pp. 390-391; Resalaye Eshqe Bu Ali, pp. 4-6.

[15] For detailed information, see: Mohammad Reza Kashefi, Ayine Mehr Varzi, pp. 85-98; Resaleye Erfan va Tasavvof (The series of Porsesh va Pasokh Daneshjouyi), pp. 219-237.

Question translations in other languages
Comments
Number of comments 0
Please enter the value
Example : Yourname@YourDomane.ext
Please enter the value
Please enter the value

Thematic Category

Random questions

Popular