In the Name of Allah, The Most Kind The Most Merciful
One of the things I like about doing dawah is that it often makes me re-assess myself. A few days ago, I got this question: Does Islam teach anything that corresponds to the Christian concept of a personal interaction or relationship to God? So I'm thinking, this is good chance to talk about salat, about dua, about rememberance of Allah, all of which make you get closer to Allah. And then I thought to myself: do I really get closer to Allah thru these things? We all know the importance of khushu in salat, and we all struggle with it. But, in my case at least, the other things are in a worse state. Let's take dua. Dua is a wonderful opportunity to totally open your heart to Allah, feel very close to Him, and ask of whatever you want. But how many of us, me included, just rush thru our duas after we make salat just for the sake of it? The same with rememberance of Allah. After salat, the Prophet(SAW) advised us to say Subhanallah 33 times, Alhamdolillah 33 times, and Allahu Akbar 34 times. But when we do this, are our hearts and minds in the right place? When we say Subhanallah, do we reflect on the glory of Allah, for example by pondering on His amazing creation? When we say Alhamdolillah, do we feel really gratefulness in our hearts for the countless favors He has given us? When we say Allahu Akbar, do we feel the might of Allah? As we say all these rememberances, do we really feel a personal interaction with Allah, as we are supposed to, or do we think about the kids, the cricket score, our meetings at work, what's for dinner, etc? So for me, the wake up call was this: before describing about how close a muslim can get to God thru his worship, maybe I should experience it for myself first.
Those who believe, and work righteousness,- their Lord will guide them because of their faith: beneath them will flow rivers in gardens of bliss. (This will be) their cry therein: "Glory to Thee, O Allah." And "Peace" will be their greeting therein! and the close of their cry will be: "Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds!"
It is related that the Prophet said, "None of you should come to me with anything about any of my Companions for I do not want to go out to you except with a clear heart.” (Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi from Ibn Mas'ud)