Source: An-Nahj al-Asmaa fee Sharh Asmaa’ Allaahul-Husna, by Shaikh Muhammad an-Najdi
The Name Al-Qareeb is mentioned three times in the Noble Qur’an. Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Baqarah (2:186):
“And when My slaves ask you [O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed Near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.”
Allaah (Ta’ala) also says in Surat Hud (11:61):
“Then ask forgiveness of Him and turn to Him in repentance. Certainly, my Lord is Near (to all by His Knowledge), Responsive.”
He (Ta’ala) also says in Surat Saba’ (34:50):
Say: “If (even) I go astray, I shall stray only to my own loss. But if I remain guided, it is because of the Inspiration of my Lord to me. Truly, He is All-Hearer, Ever Near (to all things).”
The Meaning of the Name with regards to Allaah
Ibn Jarir (Rahimahullaah) said concerning Allaah’s Statement (interpretation of the meaning):
“And when My slaves ask you concerning Me,” He (Ta’ala) means by that: ‘And if My slaves ask you O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) where I am? (Tell them) I am indeed Near to them, I hear their Du’aa (supplication) and respond to the invocation of the supplicant among them.’
He (Ibn Jarir) said about Allaah’s Statement (interpretation of the meaning):
“Certainly, My Lord is Near, Responsive” means, ‘Certainly, My Lord is Near to those who are sincere in their worship to Him, and turn to Him in repentance. He is Responsive to him if he invokes Him.’ [Jami’ ul-Bayaan]
And he (Ibn Jarir) also said regarding Allaah’s Statement (interpretation of the meaning):
“Truly, He is All-Hearer, Ever Near” means, ‘My Lord is All-Hearer of all what I tell you, maintaining it, and He is the One Who recompenses me for my truthfulness of what I say. He is Near to me and not far from me such that He will not be able to hear what I say to you and what you say and what others say. Rather, He is Most Near to everyone who speaks and He (Ta’ala) Hears what one utters. He is Nearer to him than his jugular vein.’ [Jami’ ul-Bayaan]
Az-Zajjaji said: “Al-Qareeb in the Arabic language has many aspects:
Al-Qareeb is the One Who is not far. For Allaah is Ever Near and not far, as He (Ta’ala) says (interpretation of meaning): “And if My slaves ask you concerning Me, then (answer them) I am indeed Near to them. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls on Me,” i.e. I am Near in response. This is like His Statement in Surat al-Hadeed (57:4):
“And He is with you (in Knowledge, observing and witnessing) wherever you are.”
And as He (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Mujadilah (58:7):
“There is no secret counsel of three, but He is their fourth (with His Knowledge, while He Himself is over the Throne, over the seventh heaven), nor of five but He is their sixth (with His Knowledge), not of less than that or more, but He is with them (with His Knowledge) wheresoever they may be.”
And as He (Ta’ala) says in Surat Qaaf (50:16):
“And We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein (by Our Knowledge).”
He (Ta’ala) also says in Surat az-Zukhruf (43:84):
“It is He (Allaah) Who is the only Ilaah (God to be worshipped) in the heaven and the only Ilah (God to be worshipped) on the earth. And He is the All-Wise, the All-Knower.”
And Allaah (Ta’ala) is encompassing everything with His Knowledge, nothing of it is hidden or escapes Him. All this means, and Allaah knows best, the encompassment of His Knowledge of everything. Everything is under His Strength, Power, Decision and Disposal. The wrong doers claim that Allaah incarnates in things other than things, and Allaah is far above what they attribute to Him; they do not give Allaah His due Estimate.” [Ishtiqaaq Asmaa’ Allaah]
Al-Khattaabi said: “Al-Qareeb means He is Near to His creation by His Knowledge, He is Near to who invokes Him by His response, as He (Ta’ala) says (interpretation of the meaning):
‘And when My slaves ask you concerning Me, then (answer them) I am indeed Near to them. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls on Me.”‘ [Sha’n ad-Du’a]
Shaikh as-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “Al-Qareeb (The Most Near), Al-Mujeeb (The Responsive) means He, Exalted is He, is close to everybody. His Nearness is of two types:
- The general Nearness which means His being Near to everyone with respect to His Knowledge, Awareness, Watchfulness, Witnessing and Encompassing.
- The special Nearness which is specific to His worshippers, those who ask of Him, and those who love Him. The reality of this type of Nearness cannot be comprehended; rather you see its impact, of His Kindness to His servants, His Care of them, His Guiding them, and His making them to be firm upon the Straight Path.
From the consequences of His Closeness (Nearness) is His response to those who supplicate to Him, and His granting them the ability to be patient (to return to Him in all their affairs). He is Al-Mujeeb, Who responds, in a general sense, to those who supplicate to Him, whoever they may be and wherever they may be, and in whatever condition they may be in, as He has promised them. He is the One Who responds, in a specific sense, to those who love Him and those who are submitting to and following His Shari’ah (Law). He is also the One Who responds to those who are in dire need and the distressed and those who have given up all hope of being answered by the creatures and therefore their connection to Him has been strengthened in terms of love, hope and fear.” [Tayseer al-Kareem]
The Impact of Belief in this Name
- Allaah (Ta’ala) attributed to His Noble Self, that He is Qareeb in His Book and in His Messenger’s Sunnah. He attributed to His Self that He is Near to the One Who invokes Him and seeks nearness to Him by different types of obedience and Ihsaan (performance of good deeds), as He (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Baqarah (2:186). It is affirmed in the Saheehain (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim) on the authority of Abu Musa (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) that they were with the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on a journey (during Hajj) and they used to raise their voices with Takbeer whenever they went up a high place, so he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “O people! Be merciful to yourselves (i.e. don’t raise your voices), for you are not calling a deaf or an absent one, but One Who is with you, no doubt He is All-Hearer, Ever Near (to all things).” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
It is also reported in the Saheehain that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allaah (Ta’ala) says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am (i.e. I am Able to do for him what He thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than them, and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah) said: “His Nearness to the slaves is by their nearness to Him with a confession by all who say that He is above the Throne. There are those who interpret His Nearness to His slaves with Him giving them the reward for their obedience; and this is the Tafseer of al-Jahmiyyah who do not believe in Allaah’s Nearness.
From among the meanings of Nearness, which none of the sects deny, is the Nearness of the One Who is known and worshipped by the heart of the worshippers and those who know Him. This is because whoever loves something, certainly knows about it and brings it close to his heart, and whatever he hates he keeps it away from his heart. However, this does not mean that His Essence incarnates or settles in the hearts of the worshippers; rather, the knowledge about Him, loving and worshipping Him, and believing in Him – that will be in the hearts. This Imaan (faith) that is in the hearts is “Al-Mathal al-A’laa (the highest Attribute)” in the heavens and earth [as Allaah says in Surat ar-Room (30:27)]. This is the meaning of Allaah’s Statement in Surat az-Zukhruf (43:84):
“It is He (Allaah) Who is the only Ilaah (God to be worshipped) in the heaven and the only Ilaah (God to be worshipped) on the earth.”
And His Statement in Surat al-An’aam (6:3):
“And He is Allaah (to be worshipped Alone) in the heavens and on the earth. He knows what you conceal and what you reveal, and He knows what you earn (good or bad).”
Many among the Sufis, philosophers and others were mistaken regarding this verse. They consider it the descent of Allaah by His Essence and settling in and uniting with the worshipper. This is like what the Christians claim regarding Jesus and this is a false statement.
As for the Salaf, they affirm His bringing His (obedient) slaves to His Noble Self as they affirm His rising over the Throne by His Essence (in a manner that suits His Majesty) and so forth.
As for His coming near to some of His obedient slaves, this is affirmed as are His Actions that He does by His Will, such as His Coming on the Day of Judgment, His Descent to the nearest heaven (in the last portion of the night), His rising over the Throne, etc.. This is the Madh-hab of the Imaams of the Salaf, the prominent Imaams of Islam and the Scholars of Hadeeth.
The Jahmiyyah and those who agree with them of Mu’tazilah sects deny this matter in Islam. They deny the Attributes of Allaah and His rising over the Throne.” [Majmoo’ al-Fatawa]
2- Many authentic texts clearly state that Allaah has attributed His Noble Self with Nearness to those who call unto Him, to His worshipper, to the one who prostrates to Him, and His Nearness to them in the middle of the last part of the night and from ‘Asr onwards on the day of ‘Arafah, and so forth. His Nearness does not contradict His Highness above the Throne and His Highness above His slaves. These are all affirmed by many texts, namely that nothing is like Allaah and He is All-Hearer, All-Seer. It is not permissible to compare His Essence with the Essence of His creation or compare His Action with the actions of His creation.
Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn-Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah) explained this matter saying: “As for the nearness, it is as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Baqarah (2:186) (interpretation of the meaning):
‘I am indeed Near,’ His Statement in Surat Qaaf (50:16) (interpretation of the meaning):
‘And We are Nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our Knowledge).’
And His Statement in Surat al-Waqi’ah (56:85) (interpretation of the meaning): ‘But We are nearer to him than you, but you see not.’
The people separated into four sects regarding this issue:
The first sect oppose all the texts and do not follow any of it like the Jahmiyyah who do not admit to Allaah’s Highness. They claim that He (Ta’ala) is not inside the world, nor outside the world, nor up nor down. However, Al-Jahmiyyah are not considered one of the seventy-three sects.
The second sect are those who claim that Allaah is everywhere by His Essence, as the Sufis claim and those who believe that Allaah has descended in everything [Allaah is far above what they say].
The third sect are those who say that He (Ta’ala) is above His Throne and He is in every place. They say, “We admit to all the texts”; this is the statement of Ash-‘ari sect.
Whoever claims that Allaah is in every place by His Essence has contradicted the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and the consensus of the Ummah and its Imaams, in addition to contradicting the Fitrah (natural disposition) which Allaah has created His servants with.
The fourth sect are the Salaf (the predecessors) of this Ummah and its Imaams: the Scholars, the people of knowledge and worship. They have affirmed and believed in all what has been mentioned in the Book (the Qur’an) and the Sunnah without misinterpreting the words. They have affirmed that Allaah (Ta’ala) is above His Heaven and His rising above His Throne, separate (independent) from His creation, and He is with His servants generally by His Knowledge, He is with His Prophets and Awliyaa (special believing slaves) by His support, Sufficiency and Victory. Also, He is Near and Responsive. The verse of Najwa [private conversation, secret counsel in Surat al-Mujaadilah (58:7)] is evidence that He is All-Knower of them.
The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to say: “O Allaah! You are the Companion during the journey and the Successor (i.e. Guardian) of the family and the property in our absence.” [Muslim]. Allaah (Ta’ala) is with the traveler during his journey and with one’s family in his country, and this does not entail that He is associating with them with His Essence!
He (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Fat-h (48:29):
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah; and those who are with him,…”
That is, with him in faith, not that their essence (bodies) are in his essence, rather they are accompanying him. Similarly, Allaah’s Statement in Surat an-Nisaa’ (4:146):
فأولئك مع المؤمنين
“…for they will be with the believers”
indicates their conformity in faith and allegiance with them. Allaah (Ta’ala) is All-Knower of His servants and He is with them wherever they may be, and His Knowledge of them is one of the requirements of the Companionship.
Then he [Ibn-Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah)] said: “The word (near) is mentioned sometimes in singular form, and other times in plural form. An example of the singular form is what Allaah says in Surat al-Baqarah (2:186):
“And when My slaves ask you [O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed Near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor).”
An example of the plural form is what He (Ta’ala) says in Surat Qaaf (50:16):
“And We are Closer to him than (his) jugular vein [in absolute Knowledge of everything about him].”
This is like His Statement in Surat al-Qasas (28:3):
“We recite to you”
In Surat al-Yusuf (12:3):
“We relate to you [O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)]”
In Surat al-Qiyamah (75:17):
“Indeed, upon Us is its collection [in your heart] and [to make possible] its recitation.
In Surat al-Qiyamah (75:18):
“So when We have recited it [through Gabriel]”
In Surat al-Qiyamah (75:19):
“Then upon Us is its clarification [to you]”
The creed of the Salaf (Predecessors) of this Ummah and its Imaams is that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has heard the Qur’an from Jibreel [Gabriel (‘Alayhis-salaam)] and Jibreel has heard it from Allaah (‘Azza wa Jall).
As for His Statements: “We Recite”, “We Relate” and “When We have Recited it,” this form of speech in the Arabic dialect is used by the one who is great, who has assistants who obey him. If the assistants carried out any action by his command he said, “We did”, as the king says, “We conquered this country and we defeated the army”, and so forth. This is because He does all that through His assistants. Allaah (Ta’ala) is the Lord of the Angels and they do not precede Him in word and they act by His Command. They do not disobey Allaah in what He commands them, but do what they are commanded. He is their Creator and the Creator of their actions and their ability and He is Free from need of them. Allaah is not like the king whose assistants do more and are independent of him (in no need of him). Therefore, when Allaah says “We did” then He deserves that attribute more than the statement of all of the kings (of this world).”
Then he (Rahimahullaah) mentioned that this (form of speech) is a kind of Mutashaabih (not entirely clear), of which only those who are firmly grounded in knowledge know its interpretation.
They know that His Statement “We” means that Allaah did that Action through His Angels. Those who are firmly grounded in knowledge are not like the ignorant who do not know what “Indeed We” means. The ignorant say words they do not know the meanings of, or they say God is three different gods, or One without assistants.
An example of this statement is Allaah’s Statement in Surat az-Zumar (39:42):
“Allaah takes the souls at the time of their death.”
He (Ta’ala) takes their souls through His Messengers (angels). Also He (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-An’aam (6:61):
“Our Messengers (angels) take his soul.”
In Surat as-Sajdah (32:11):
“The angel of death takes your souls”
He (Ta’ala) takes the souls by His Messengers, foremost of them being the angel of death.
His Statement (interpretation of the meaning), “And when We have recited it to you [O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) through Gabriel] then follow its recital,”; this is the recitation of Jibreel (Gabriel) (‘Alayhis-salaam) unto him (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and Allaah recited it through Jibreel (Gabriel) as He (Ta’ala) says in Surat ash-Shuraa (42:51):
“…or (that) He sends a Messenger to reveal what He Wills by His leave. Verily, He is Most High, Most Wise.”
Allaah (Ta’ala) talked to Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) through the tongue of Jibreel (Gabriel) (‘Alayhis-salaam) by sending him (Gabriel) to him, and this is affirmed for the believers as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat at-Tawbah (9:94):
“Allaah has already informed us of the news concerning you.”
And Allaah informed them through the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Also His Statement in Surat al-Baqarah (2:136):
“Say (O Muslims), ‘We Believe in Allaah and that which has been sent down to us…’”
It is sent down upon the believers through the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Similarly the essence of the angels comes close to the essence (body) of a dying person, and His Statement (interpretation of the meaning): “And We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein.” [Surat Qaaf (50:16)]. Indeed He and His angels know what the inner self of the slave whispers to him as it is affirmed in the Saheehain, “If somebody intends to do a good deed and he does not do it, then Allaah will tell His angels, ‘Write for him a full good deed (in his account with Him)’, and if he does it, He (T’a’ala) says to them, ‘Write it for him (its reward equal) to ten good deeds’,..”
So, the angels know what one intends to do of good and evil.
His Statement (interpretation of the meaning): “and We are closer to him than his jugular vein” means the nearness of the essence of the angels to the person and Allaah’s nearness to him by His Knowledge; and He is the Lord of the angels and the spirit [Gabriel (‘Alayhis-salaam)] and they do not know anything except by His Command. They (angels) are closer to the heart of the slave than his jugular vein. He (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-‘Alaq (96:19):
“Fall prostrate and draw near to Allaah”
This means His nearness to the supplicant in his prostration, as he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “As for Sujood, exert yourselves in making abundant supplications in it, for it is most likely that you will be answered.” [Saheeh Abu Dawoud]. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commanded to exert one’s utmost to invoke Allaah in the Sujood with his nearness to his Lord while he is prostrating. And he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered the one who offers Salaat to say in his Sujood, “Glory be to my Lord, the Most High” [as reported in the Sunan].
He (Rahimahullaah) justified that saying, “That is because the posture of prostration is the utmost in submission and humility of the slave and the utmost humbleness by putting the noblest part of him i.e. his face, on the ground for Allaah (Ta’ala); so his utmost lowliness suits attributing his Lord with being the Most High. This is because the slave does not regard himself as having any value, having no share of majesty and greatness which belong only to Allaah.
Moreover, the slave has no right to show highness on the earth, for Allaah (Ta’ala) dispraised those who desire (seek) exaltedness upon the earth like Pharaoh and Iblees did. Indeed, the believer will attain highness by his faith and not by seeking it, as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Aal-‘Imran (3:139):
“So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are (true) believers.”
The more the slave completes the ranks of servitude, the more he becomes closer to Allaah (Ta’ala)
When the Sujood is used to be (an indication of) the utmost submission of the slave, he would glorify his Lord, the Most High, for He is glorified, the Most High and the slave is the most low; this is because the Lord is the Lord and the slave is a slave, the Lord is the Most Rich and the slave is the poor (indeed); therefore, there is nothing between the slave and his Lord except mere servitude. As the slave perfects his servitude to his Lord, the more he becomes nearer to Him. This is because He, Glorified be He, is Barr (the Most Subtle, Kind, Courteous and Generous). He gives His slave what suits him. As the slave shows more neediness of Him, the more he becomes richer; as his humility becomes greater towards Him, the more he becomes honored with Him. This is because the human soul, with all what there is of various desires and diversions of Shaytaan for it, it (the soul) goes far from Allaah until it becomes cursed, away from His Mercy. One of the greatest sins is to seek haughtiness and exaltedness on the earth, while in the Sujood there is the utmost humility.
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Ghaafir (40:60):
“Verily Those who scorn My worship (i.e. do not invoke Me and do not believe in My Oneness), they will surely enter Hell in humiliation.”
In a Saheeh Hadeeth, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “In whose heart there is an atom of pride, will not enter Jannah (Paradise).”
It was said to Iblees in Surat al-A’raaf (7:13):
“Get you (O Iblees) down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here.”
And Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat at-Tawbah (9:40):
“While it was the Word of Allaah that became the uppermost..”
This is an affirmed attribute for it (i.e. the attribute of highness for the Word of Allaah – ‘la ilaaha illa-Allaah’ [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]), but whoever intends to make other than it (this Word) to be uppermost, then he should be fought. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever fought for the sake of making Allaah’s Word to be the uppermost, then he is in the Cause of Allaah (i.e. fights for the sake and in the Cause of Allaah).” [Saheeh Ibn Maajah, no. 2261]
The Word of Allaah also means His News and Commands. So His Commands are obeyed and preferred (given precedence) over the command of other than Him, and His News is believed over others’ news. He (Ta’ala) says in Surat an-Anfaal (8:39):
“And the Religion will all be for Allaah Alone (in the whole of the world)”
The Religion here means, all worship, obedience and humility etc. will be for Allaah.
Explanation of the Hadeeth: “Whoever comes nearer to Me one hand span…”
Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah) added: “And His Statement (in the Hadeeth Qudsi), ‘If he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running’.” [Al-Bukhaari]
Nearness of a thing from another thing entails the nearness of the other thing to it. This nearness is of two types:
1- The first is like one comes closer to Makkah or to the wall of the Ka’bah; as he comes nearer to it, the other one becomes closer to him without this other one taking an action.
2- The second is the nearness of man to whomever comes closer to him, as it is mentioned in this Qudsi Hadeeth.
There are many texts that affirm the slave seeking nearness to Allaah and Allaah bringing the slave closer to Him, such as His Statement in Surat al-Isra’ (17:57):
“Those whom they call upon desire (for themselves) means of access to their Lord (Allaah), as to which of them should be the nearest…”
Also in Surat al-Waqi’ah (56:88), He (Ta’ala) says:
“Then, if he (the dying person) be of the Muqarrabun (those brought near to Allaah)”
In Surat al-Mutaffifeen (83:28):
“A spring whereof drink those nearest to Allaah”
In Surat an-Nisaa’ (4:172):
“…nor the angels who are near (to Allaah).”
It is reported in al-Bukhaari that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that Allaah (Ta’ala) says, ‘And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me is what I have enjoined upon him, and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through voluntary acts till I love him.’
In another Hadeeth, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘The slave will be the nearest to His Lord in the middle of the last half portion of the night.‘ [Saheeh at-Targheeb, no. 1647]
However, there is a special nearness of Allaah to His slaves such as His Descent to the nearest heaven, and also it is quoted in a Saheeh Hadeeth that Allaah descends to the nearest heaven (draws nearer to His servants) during the ‘Asr time on the day of ‘Arafah.
The Qur’an and Sunnah never quote about the nearness of His Essence to all of His creation in any state; accordingly this indicates the falsehood of Al-Hulooliyyah (those who claim that Allaah descends and settles in anything). All the texts and proofs are against them. The supplicant and the one who prostrates direct their souls to Allaah, and the soul ascends in a way that suits it and comes closer to Allaah without any doubt, and that is according to its purity from flaws and impurities. Allaah would be close to it and He (Ta’ala) draws near to His slave like His nearness during the ‘Asr time on the day of ‘Arafah, in the middle of night and to those who draw nearer to Him by one span, He (Ta’ala) comes closer to him by one cubit.
The apparent meaning of His Statement (interpretation of the meaning), ‘I am indeed Near,’ indicates that one of His Attributes is Nearness, and His Nearness is because of their seeking nearness to Him, i.e. His Nearness on the day of ‘Arafah is due to what the pilgrim does of Du’aa, Dhikr and repentance; however if it is decreed that one is not standing at ‘Arafah, then he will not get this nearness from Him. He (Ta’ala) boasts of the people of ‘Arafah.
Regarding the people in the last part of the night: In their hearts there is direction, seeking nearness, and tenderness which does not exist at any other time, and this is suitable to His descent to the nearest heaven and saying, ‘Is there anyone who invokes? Is there anyone who asks? Is there anyone who returns in repentance?’ And His descent is linked to the actions of the slaves. In disbelieving countries, there is no one among them who establishes the night with worship, so this descent will not occur for them, as His Nearness will not happen except for the pilgrim; like the opening of the gates of Paradise and the closing of the gates of Hell and the chaining of devils will occur in the first night of Ramadaan, and that is for the Muslims who fast in the month of Ramadaan, not for the disbelievers who do not sanctify the month.” [Majmoo’ al-Fatawah- summarized and paraphrased]
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