Allah Says in the Qur’an [56:10-11], the meaning of which is: “And the forerunners, the forerunners – Those are the Al-Muqarraboon [ones brought near (to Allah)].”
Who Are the Al-Muqarraboon?
The Al-Muqarraboon have the highest place in paradise and the top among them are the prophets, the siddiqeen (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them; steadfast affirmers of truth), the martyrs, and the righteous.
The Characteristics of Al-Muqarraboon
They remain steadfast [Istiqaamah] on the religion of Allah and seek closeness to Allah by doing the mandatory acts prescribed in the religion and as well as the supererogatory acts. They also keep away from that which Allah has prohibited. Ibn Katheer said in his tafseer, “They are those who do the obligatory acts and the recommended ones and they abstain from the prohibited acts, the disliked acts, and [even abstain] from some of the permissible ones [due to them bringing no benefit in the afterlife].”
Some of the salaf [righteous predecessors] also said about them, “They are the first of people to go to the mosque and the first to go out for jihaad for the sake of Allah.”
[Translator’s Note: We can extend this meaning to say that whenever it comes to doing something good, they are the first and foremost to take part in it.]
As far as their reward goes, Allah Says about them [meaning of which is]: “And if the deceased was of those brought near to Allah [Al-Muqarrabeen], Then [for him is] rest and bounty and a garden of pleasure.” [Qur’an 56:88-89]
How to Become Part of the Al-Muqarraboon
In order to be counted among the ranks of the Al-Murqarraboon, the slave of Allah must have steadfastness [istiqaamah] in the religion of Allah by abandoning all that which Allah has prohibited and doing all that which Allah has commanded. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Be on guard against the unlawful and you shall be the most worshiping among the people…” (Tirmidhi). And Allah Said in a hadith qudsi:
“And the most beloved thing 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 performing Nawafil (prayer or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him.” (Bukhari)
Steadfastness upon the command of Allah may be attained through a number of ways:
- Struggling against the self [by controlling forbidden desires].
- Struggling against sins [by controlling oneself from committing them] and taking account of their excess and negligence [on one’s part].
- Being conscious of Allah’s Closeness and His Watch. Remembering that He is always near and Watching no matter what.
- Being frequent in seeking Allah’s forgiveness and sincerely repenting.
- The greatest way to have steadfastness and firmness upon the religion of Allah is by having righteous friends. Examine their [righteous] behavior and then join them in it. Worship Allah with them and participate with them in seeking beneficial knowledge. If they are sincere and true, they will examine your condition [as well] and remind you when you forget. They will [also] help you to do good. The devil is with one [a loner] and he is further away from two. The wolf only eats the sheep that is isolated from the herd and far from it.
In order to rise and attain this excellent rank of Al-Muqarraboon, you must also:
- Strengthen your connection with Allah by constantly making supplications to Him.
- Perform the supererogatory acts after the obligatory ones.
- Make for yourself a wird [regular portion that you read everyday] from His book [the Qur’an] by reading it with [deep] contemplation and reflection.
- Remember Allah lots in all of your circumstances.
- Memorize the appointed adhkaar [supplications] which are said in the morning and evening, before sleeping, after the formal prayers, etc. All such adhkaar are gathered in the book Hisnul Muslim [Fortification of the Muslim] by Al-Qahtaani.