A human being possesses innumerable instincts. One of these is the instinct of recognizing Allah or God. This means that man always makes an effort to find God.
Instinctively a person recognizes Allah. If the curtains are raised and man gets rid of his baser traits, he will find Allah just as a thirsty person finds water to quench his thirst. This faculty of recognizing Allah has nothing to do with education and training. It is instinctive and results only from intuition. Every one of us has, at some time or other, experienced obstructions in our lives. There are occasions when we find ourselves totally helpless. On the face of it, there appears to be no place for us to turn. This is the time when, like a thirsty person, we find Allah. In the Holy Quran, in more than twenty verses, clear mention is made about this. For example:
فَإِذَا رَکِبُواْ فیِ الْفُلْکِ دَعَوُاْ اللَّهَ مخُْلِصِینَ لَهُ الدِّینَ فَلَمَّا نجََّئهُمْ إِلیَ الْبرَِّ إِذَا هُمْ یُشْرِکُون
And when they board the ships they pray to Allah, making their faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safe to land, behold! They ascribe partners (unto Him). (Sura ‘Ankabut 29:65).
When a person is on the high seas and his boat capsizes due to the ferocious waves, and he finds himself cut off from all sides, this is when according to the Holy Quran, he recognizes Allah. He now pleads with Allah for succor. In this condition he calls the one and only Creator, Allah, and forgets his many gods. The calamity makes the person a monotheist, because all his attention is focused on one God. This is the crucial moment when a person finds Allah! At this moment the man believes in the Lord who is All-hearing and All-seeing, he believes in the Lord who is Beneficent and Omnipotent. The man discovers the ‘absolute truth’ in these adverse circumstances.
When a person finds himself confronted with calamities from all sides and says, “O Allah! You are able to do everything, deliver me. You know my predicament! You are kind to me! You are Most Merciful! You are Bountiful!” Thus when the person is in dire circumstances, he recognizes the one who is perfect, and in doing so he comprehends the unity of Allah and, as mentioned in the Holy Quran, calls to Allah only!
A hundred and twenty four thousand prophets came to this world, with the sole purpose of keeping alive this human instinct of recognizing Allah. This is the natural instinct that gets revived in the hearts of men in times of need. The prophets came to keep this instinct alive, to make man reach that stage where he will always search for Allah. The purpose of the prophets, the pulpit, the prayer niche (mahrab) and worship is to ensure that man always remembers Allah. In Surah Taha, Allah illustrates this point thus:
إِنَّنیِ أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنیِ وَ أَقِمِ الصَّلَوهَ لِذِکْرِی
Lo! I, only I, am Allah. There is no god save me. So serve me and establish prayer for my Remembrance. (Sura Taha 20:14).
How will you understand that there is only one god? To understand this, you will have to pray to Him. This is because performing the prayers (salah) is communicating with Allah. According to the ayah, the pulpit and the prayer niche are for the sole purpose of attaining nearness to Allah and to understand His Omnipotence. A hundred and twenty four thousand prophets came to this world with their messages. Their aim was to ensure that man recognised Allah and didn’t forget Him! Man has to be as restless in search of Allah just as a thirsty person searches for water! O man, you too should always thirst for your Lord. If people strive to see through the eyes of their hearts, they will always have communion with Allah! They will attain a status that is highlighted in the Holy Quran as follows:
رِجَالٌ لَّا تُلْهِیهِمْ تجَِرَهٌ وَ لَا بَیْعٌ عَن ذِکْرِ الله
Man whom neither merchandise nor sale beguiled from remembrance of Allah…(Sura An-Nur 24:37)
If man becomes Allah’s true servant, then no impediment can ever hamper him. If we cannot see Allah with the eyes of our hearts then, as the Holy Quran says, there is a curtain pulled over our eyes!
If a person becomes a truly dedicated creature of Allah, then he will not experience any impediments in his path. If we cannot witness Allah through the eyes of our hearts then, the Holy Quran says, there is a curtain that is in front of us. If one doesn’t search for Allah in the way a thirsty man searches for water, if Allah doesn’t reign supreme over his heart, then know that some curtain is drawn over the eyes of the heart. If these curtains are raised, the person will find Allah, because finding Allah is embedded in human nature. When man finds Allah, he finds that he is insignificant; he is nothing and humbles himself in front of his Lord.