Journey Towards Allah
Before the soul finds God, it’s kind of as if we’re walking around in the dark, or as Allah says in the Quran “they have eyes but they do not see”. When the soul draws closer to Allah, it begins to experience enlightenment as the veils are slowly lifted from one’s internal vision. Allah is always watching us, and He is waiting for us to come to Him. As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us “Allah the Almighty said
‘I am as My servant thinks of me, and I am with him when he makes mention of Me.
If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it.
If he draws near to Me an inch, I draw near to him an arm’s length.
And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.'”
There is really no way to describe the love Allah has for His creation, but He has informed us that He placed part of His own mercy and love into the heart of parents caring for their child. Imagine loving parents, watching their child learn to walk. They stand from afar and gesture to their child to come towards them. They watch the child get up, try to walk, and stumble and fall, and get up and try again. They are filled with pride and joy at seeing how hard their child is trying to reach them. They could easily go to the child and take it by the hand or carry it, but then the child would never learn to walk on its own. That what it is like trying to draw oneself closer to Allah. We experience moments of stillness and peace, and then it ends and things go back to the way they were, and we wake up to our physical existence (rather than our spiritual one) and go back to battling with the self.
That’s natural, as the human soul is not comfortable in this physical body. This body is not our natural state, but rather our souls were placed into these foreign bodies as a test. The body tempts us to do things that our souls are not comfortable with. That is why life always feels like a struggle, and why the moments of ecstasy are experienced when one forgets about the physical existence and the constraints of the body (people try to reach this through drugs, alcohol, by getting an adrenaline rush through extreme sports, etc.) But this momentary ecstasy is fleeting. The key is to train yourself (the three parts of the self: mind, body, and soul) to gradually approach that state so that it remains permanent. So it’s kind of like instead of repeatedly starving and then bingeing, you instead go on a healthy spiritual diet. That is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us that the struggle against the self is the “greater jihad”.