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Taqarrub

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Taqarrub (Arabic: التقرّب, Literally "seeking proximity") means seeking closeness to God. Taqarrub is referred to in the Qur'an by different expressions such as "qurb" (closeness), "Talab wajh-Allah" (seeking the face of God) and "liqa'-Allah" (meeting God) and has a significant position in hadiths and supplications.

About the meaning of seeking closeness to God, some have taken a philosophical approach and have considered it actual closeness meaning nearing God in essence and some others have taken a theological approach and have considered it nearing God virtually, meaning benefitting the paradise and divine blessings.

Closeness to God is considered conditioned to performing certain actions and duties and obtaining good attributes including God-wariness, faith, righteous deeds, Infaq (giving in the way of God), zakat, friendship and empathy with others, keeping blood relations and doing good to others. They have mentioned different fruits for it including achievement of happiness and prosperity, reaching the position of the people who have certainty, keeping the person away from arrogance regarding worshipping God, receiving divine mercy, increasing properties, comfort and ease upon death and entering the paradise.

The term "muqarrab" is used for those who reach the position of closeness to God.

Meaning

"Taqarrub" has been considered meaning "nearing or seeking nearness to something or someone materially or spiritually" and also having relationship with and having a position before someone. Therefore, "taqarrub" is used in different usages such as closeness in time, place, relation, position, attributes, etc.

In Islamic culture, "taqarrub" means "seeking closeness to God by performing actions and duties God has burdened the servants with". Closeness to God is considered spiritual which is achieved by keeping away from moral vices, lack of arrogance and egotism, submission to the will of God and servitude. Ayatollah Motahhari interpreted closeness to God as His contentment with the servant due to worship, obedience, spiritual conduct and sincerity.

Importance

In the Qur'an, "taqarrub" is emphasized by God with different expressions including "qurb" (closeness),[1] "talab wajh-Allah" (seeking the face of God),[2] "indiyya" (nearness),[3] "liqa'-Allah (meeting God)[4] and "talab al-wasila" (seeking means)[5] praiseworthy station[6] and turning to God [7] and also has a significant position in hadiths and supplications.

"Taqarrub" and "qurb" are used in different sciences including mysticism, ethics and even in jurisprudence. Mystics consider taqarrub giving up hope in anyone other than God and closeness to God through intuition. In ethics, closeness to God is considered the final desired goal of human being. They consider the role of moral action in drawing its performer close to God as the criterion for it to be valuable. In jurisprudence, the intention to get close to God is considered as the condition for an act of worship to be valid.

Nature and Method

About the way of achieving closeness to God, some views have been mentioned:

  • Philosophical approach: according to this approach, the closeness of servants to God is real. They have called it essential and spiritual closeness which can be achieved by the servant by keeping away from the world and its evils and defects. Its fruits are mentioned to be the chance for the servant to be included by divine mercy and to achieve divine attributes such as wisdom, knowledge and forbearance.
  • Mystical-moral approach: based on this approach, closeness to God can be achieved by acquiring divine attributes and annihilation in God. In this approach, only God is Existent and Essential and creatures are only signs of His Existence; therefore, in this approach closeness to God, in Essence, is not imaginable.
  • Theological approach: Some, having a theological approach, have considered getting close to God, virtual proximity which is getting close to the paradise, blessings of God and divine grace and rewards.

Types

Closeness to God is categorized in two types: general and special closeness

  • General closeness: is that any creature including human being continually gets close to God and finally reaches either the names of His mercy or wrath.
  • Special closeness: only the faithful get close to God based on their level of faith and righteous deeds and finally only some of them can meet God.

Causes

Closeness to God is conditioned to performing some actions and duties and acquiring good attributes including God-wariness, righteous deed, Infaq (giving in the way of God), zakat, friendship, empathy with others, keeping blood relations and doing good to others, some of which are mentioned below:

  • Faith and righteous deeds: according to verses from the Qur'an,[8] faith and righteous deeds are considered means for reaching the position of closeness to God.
  • Infaq, Sadaqa (alms) and Zakat: financial payments in the way of God are mentioned among the ways of closeness to God.[9]
  • Assisting others: in hadiths, trying to fulfill other's requests, even if not being successful in that, and not letting them lose their hopes are considered among the means of closeness to God.

Fruits

Achieving prosperity and happiness, reaching the position of the people who have certainty, keeping away from arrogance regarding worshipping God, receiving divine mercy, increasing properties, comfort, and ease upon death and entering the paradise are considered among the fruits of closeness to God.

Muqarrabs

Those who have reached or are in the way of closeness to God are called "muqarrab" (close one); however, because in fact, God draws His servant near Himself, one of the names of God is "Muqarrib" (Drawing near).

In the verses of the Qur'an, the word "muqarrab" is used for both angels[10] and humans.[11] Archangels Gabriel, Michael, Israfil (Raphael) and Izra'il (Azrael) are mentioned close angels to God. Among humans too, those who have high levels of God-wariness and faith are considered muqarrab. In verses of the Qur'an, the prophets (a) are mentioned as muqarrab.[12] Based on verses eight and nine of Qur'an 53, no one is mentioned among the prophets closer to God than the Prophet (s).

Notes

  1. Qur'an 5:27, Qur'an 19:52, Qur'an 34:37, Qur'an 9:99, Qur'an 56:11
  2. Qur'an 13:22, Qur'an 2:72, Qur'an 30:38-39, Qur'an 76:9, Qur'an 92:20, Qur'an 6:52, Qur'an 18:28
  3. Qur'an 54:55, Qur'an 3:15-16, Qur'an 6:127
  4. Qur'an 29:5, Qur'an 18:110
  5. Qur'an 5:35, Qur'an 17:57
  6. Qur'an 17:79
  7. Qur'an 11:3
  8. Qur'an 34:37, Qur'an 10:2, Qur'an 35:10, Qur'an 18:110
  9. Qur'an 2:272, Qur'an 9:99, Qur'an 76:9, Qur'an 30:39, Qur'an 92:18-20
  10. Qur'an 4:172
  11. Qur'an 56:11, 88
  12. Qur'an 37:84, Qur'an 3:45, Qur'an 19:52, Qur'an 38:25

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from تقرب in Farsi Wikishia.