How Do We Get Closer to Allah?

By AbdelRahman Mussa

Courtesy of

This small series of articles aims to explore the following questions:

Does Islam promote ease or difficulty?
Does Islam state that the path to Allah is that of difficulty?

Previously we discussed:

With Hardship There is Ease
Wondrous Are The Believers’ Affairs
Seek Help Through Patience
He Always Chose The Easiest of Two Matters
Allah Wants Ease For You
Allah Wants To Alleviate The Burden
We Shall Test You With Something of Fear
Hell is Surrounded By Worldly Desire
When Is The Help Of Allah Due ?
Allah Tests What Is In Your Breasts
So That They Might Return To Allah
The Misunderstood Hadith

In this article, we will discuss what the goal is and there will be a small word about sacrifice.

Difficulty or Ease or Something Else?

If you are going through difficulty then your goal is not big enough and the biggest goal is Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He).

Surat al-Ikhlas is the surah of sincerity (Qur’an, 112). Allah, as described in Surat al-Ikhlas, is the ‘ahad,’ meaning the ONE.

All of creation is in pairs. If it is not Allah, then it is creation and it has a pair.

To achieve the outcome of a goal, you need to set the goal and fulfill the means to attaining the goal. You’ll notice that the means are always different from the goal. For example, if ‘getting to the door’ is your outcome, then ‘walking to’ the door is different than ‘being at’ the door.

With Allah, it is different; the means to getting to Allah is Allah. By remembering Him (the means), you attain Him. When you attain Him, you are remembering Him. Allah is the goal and the means.

Remember that if the goal is big enough, you won’t feel the paper-cut. Also realize that the easiest goal to attain is Allah, because the means equals the goal.

Finally, the terms ‘difficulty’ and ‘ease’ are used by the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) as being tools. The Prophet ﷺ used to choose ease over difficulty when he had a choice. In other words, he chose to do things easily when that was an option.

The terms are also used as description of circumstance, such as when ease and difficulty befall a believer.

Allah reminds us that any pain felt in His way is insignificant:

“…If you are in pain then surely they too are in pain, but you have a hope from Allah that they do not have…”(Qur’an, 4:104)

It’s important to mention that this verse is in the context of war. It’s important to mention that because ease is the usual status quo. Pain and difficulty only come by rarely.

It’s good that pain and difficulty isn’t the path to Allah, because we wouldn’t have been traveling much.

A Word on Sacrifice

Sacrifice is a form of self-inflicted difficulty. The term ‘sacrifice’ is not even stated once in the Qur’an. ‘Dhabh’ is stated in the Qur’an, which means ‘to slaughter,’ not to sacrifice. Sacrifice is a loss/giving-up of something (i.e. to give with no return).

In Islam, we are asked to INVEST, not sacrifice. And when you hear the term sacrifice in an Islamic talk/presentation, you are to remember that what is meant is “investment.”

Just think about Ibrahim `alayhi assalam (peace be upon him). Allah asked him to slaughter his son. (Note: the English translation of ‘sacrifice’ is inaccurate.)

How does he do it? After the third night, he tells his son about the command. Why does he tell his son? Is it with the hope that Ismail will say ‘no, I do not wish to be slaughtered?’ Is Ibrahim (as) looking for an excuse?

No. Ibrahim (as) could have just ignored the dream and not told his son. Why did Ibrahim (as) tell him then? Why didn’t he just cut his throat in the middle of the night, whilst his son was unaware?

It is because Ibrahim (as) wants his son to partake in the investment. He loves his son so he wants him to gain reward through this act of worship.

Ibrahim (as) moves the knife on his son’s neck. But the knife won’t cut. So Allah preserves Ismail. Moreover, Allah sends a ransom even though the parent should be the one paying the ransom in the effort to reacquire his son.

Did Ibrahim lose anything?

No, He didn’t lose his son. He doesn’t even have to pay a ransom!

He actually GAINS so much from this. Allah sends him a ransom. Allah keeps for him his son. Allah asks that they BOTH build His house (the Ka`ba) together for Him. Allah makes us remember their act of submission till the Day of Judgment.

Was there any loss in this whatsoever?

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