There is a gem that we are spiritually hardwired and genetically programmed to uncover.
Our very nature demands that we find it. It is our soul’s most desperate desire and the crown jewel on the throne of our hearts. What is it? To search for our Lord and attain His nearness, so much so that He lovingly counts us amongst His chosen servants.
About this, the Promised Messiah(as) writes: ‘When we look into the faculties of man and try to discover what their highest reach is, we find that he seeks after God, the Exalted. He desires to become so devoted to God that he should keep nothing as his own and all that is his should become God’s… It is obvious, therefore, that the highest reach of man’s faculties is to meet God, the Exalted. Thus, the true purpose of his life is that the window of his heart should open towards God.’ 
Although this inherent desire exists within each one of us, how do we truly attain Allah’s nearness? What practical steps can we take to be counted amongst the chosen servants of the Gracious One?
Allah Himself outlines these steps in the Holy Qur’an as He details what actions His servants must take to count themselves amongst His chosen creation.
In his Friday Sermon delivered on 25 September, 2009, the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) expounds upon how Ahmadi Muslims can implement these steps within their everyday lives.
Thus, in the words of His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), here are 13 steps you can take to attain Allah’s Nearness and be counted amongst His chosen ones.
وَ عِبَادُ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الَّذِیۡنَ یَمۡشُوۡنَ عَلَی الۡاَرۡضِ ھَوۡنًا
‘And the servants of the Gracious God are those who walk on the earth in a dignified manner.’ 
‘Every single one of their decisions is based upon moderation. Undue anger or harshness, which then sometimes swells into arrogance, is not present in their personality. There should also not be any undue elasticity within their nature, which translates into shamefulness and complacency. This does not pertain solely to the individual, but rather, should be present on a communal level as well, meaning, Allah’s servants, as a community, should develop this trait.’
‘There also lies a prophecy concerning this [Qur’anic verse] that Allah’s servants will indeed meet with victory, and when they do, they should not be arrogant or egotistic. They should not seek vengeance or retribution and forget Allah the Almighty. Rather, they should focus on adopting humility and granting people their rights.’
وَّ اِذَا خَاطَبَہُمُ الۡجٰہِلُوۡنَ قَالُوۡا سَلٰمًا
‘And when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!”’ 
‘Every single servant of Allah should avoid conflict and gently advise those who are harsh and argumentative. Secondly, when you gain authority, remember the humility and dignity that you acquired by obeying Allah’s previous command [of walking with dignity and humility] and established within your community. Such obstacles will be placed in your path that may incite your emotions and passions. It will then be said about you, ‘Look how cruel and unjust these people are!’ In such circumstances, you must control your emotions. You must maintain the model that the Holy Prophet(sa) and his Companions(ra) displayed.’
‘Herein also lies a prophecy that the future circumstances of the Jama’at [Community] will indeed improve. However, at this juncture, the situation in some countries, especially Pakistan, is such that Ahmadis are persecuted. Their emotions are stirred.’
‘Enemies attempt to incite our Ahmadis to take the law into their own hands so that inevitably the law is used against them and they become a target of cruelty and persecution. You must act against these satanic plots whilst remaining within Allah’s servitude and whilst remaining within the bounds of the law. But you must not respond to filth with filth, lest even more issues arise for other Ahmadis and for the Jama’at. Thus, as for the present circumstances, I am advising Ahmadis to try to become so righteous that they attain a portion of Allah’s pleasure. As I previously stated, Allah the Almighty has placed a prophecy within this [verse] that you as a Jama’at will one day prevail and, God-Willing, at that time, you can show the world what true justice is, what it means to take other people feelings into consideration whilst in authority, and what it means to control your own emotions.’
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَبِیۡتُوۡنَ لِرَبِّہِمۡ سُجَّدًا وَّ قِیَامًا
‘And who spend the night before their Lord, prostrate and standing.’ 
‘Allah the Almighty did not say here that His righteous servants spend only a few days [in worship], but rather, they consistently pass their nights in worship and prayer. This is an extremely important responsibility for an Ahmadi, that he not only focuses on his obligatory prayers but also decorates his nights with Nawafil [optional or supererogatory prayers] and observes Tahajjud [voluntary pre-dawn prayers], especially in such conditions where all of the Muslim countries in the world are creating deterrents and difficulties for Ahmadis.’
‘Waking up at night [for prayer] is to crush one’s ego, and this is exactly what Allah the Almighty instructs. If we sincerely enter into Allah’s Presence by dedicating our nights for His worship, then this very deed will be the means to eradicate the difficulties the Jama’at faces. You must keep in mind that you should not merely wake up [for worship] at night for your own personal reasons, but to also gain Allah’s pleasure and to pray for the Jama’at’s progress and advancement. If every Ahmadi in this world were to sincerely make compulsory upon himself at least two Nafl [optional prayers] seeking Allah’s pleasure, and praying for the progress of the Jama’at, then we shall indeed witness how Allah’s help skyrockets from before, and how Allah will eradicate the enmity of the opponents…’
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ رَبَّنَا اصۡرِفۡ عَنَّا عَذَابَ جَہَنَّمَ ٭ۖ اِنَّ عَذَابَہَا کَانَ غَرَامًا اِنَّہَا سَآءَتۡ مُسۡتَقَرًّا وَّ مُقَامًا
‘And who say, “Our Lord, avert from us the punishment of the Hell; for their punishment thereof is a lasting torment. It is indeed evil as a place of rest and as an abode.”’ 
‘There are two types of Hell, the Hell of the Hereafter wherein one will receive the punishment of his sins, and the Hell of this world where one faces the negative consequences of his evil actions. Hence, Allah’s righteous servants must constantly remain engaged in Tawbah and Istighfar [seeking repentance and forgiveness from Allah]. They must strive to remain within Allah’s protection. They must pray to Allah that He saves them from the humiliation of this world and the next.’
‘May He protect us from every type of worldly difficulty. May He save us from being slaves to the lusters and inclinations of this world, lest they distance us from Allah the Almighty in this world and condemn us to the Hell of the Hereafter. We must also pray that our worries regarding our children be dispelled and that our hearts do not burn in the fire of restlessness and worry because of them.’
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اِذَا اَنۡفَقُوۡا لَمۡ یُسۡرِفُوۡا
‘And those who, when they spend, are not extravagant.’ 
‘They neither waste their personal money on items in order to flaunt nor do they recklessly spend Jama’at funds. A prime example of wasting one’s personal money for flaunt that is becoming all too common is wedding festivities. In order to display wealth and garner attention, many different types of food are cooked and extravagant shaadi [marriage] functions are held, both here [in the West] and in Pakistan. Then the walima function [marriage banquet celebrating the couple’s union] is held [in an extravagant manner]. There is no harm in holding a function, but it can be done in a simple fashion. Nowadays, the custom of having a mehndi has become popular, in which the bride’s family members hold a function [to adorn the bride with henna dye] under the pretense of celebrating their happiness.’
‘In this, an absurd and reckless amount of money is spent and cards are made and distributed and people are invited for a function. If you desire to hold a mehndi, then only women or the bride’s female friends should gather and hold a function. However, even with this [concession, it is noticed that] the showmanship and flaunting is being expanded and amplified daily.’
‘Another custom that has been borne [amongst these festivities]is that the groom’s family holds a function before the wedding under the pretense of celebrating joyfully. I have seen that this custom is wrong; rather it is a Bid’at [an innovation], in which even sincere individuals well versed in religion get involved. And whoso does not hold so many functions (and we should in fact think they are not doing so for the sake of virtue), then people begin to gossip about them, claiming they are cheap or miserly. In particular, people go to Pakistan from external countries and spend absurd amounts on functions, jewelry, clothes and gifts, and every single person is spending more than the next. This is all extravagance. All of this money can be saved and used instead for the benefits of the needy. It can be used to help the poor get married. So much of this wealth can be used to look after orphans and for other virtuous deeds. In this way, if you have the sensibility to save this money [and use it for virtuous deeds], then this indeed can make one Allah’s righteous servant.’
وَ لَمۡ یَقۡتُرُوۡا وَ کَانَ بَیۡنَ ذٰلِکَ قَوَامًا
‘They are not miserly but moderate between the two.’ 
‘Some people are so close-fisted that they do not even spend when it is appropriate and necessary to do so. They reach the pinnacles of miserliness for the sake of accumulating money. Some are so cheap that they will neither spend on their own personal requirements nor help their loved ones or the needy. Their nature is such that they do not even sacrifice for the sake of the Jama’at. Thus, those individuals who are wealthy and have the means to spend and yet still do not, cannot be counted amongst Allah’s righteous servants. Where Allah the Almighty has expressed His displeasure for those who are extravagant and has expelled them from being counted amongst His righteous servants, He has also expressed His extreme displeasure with those who are close-fisted.’
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَدۡعُوۡنَ مَعَ اللّٰہِ اِلٰـہًا اٰخَرَ
‘And those who call not on any other God along with Allah.’ 
‘Idolatry is the gravest of sins in the sight of Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty states that all sins can be forgiven, but idolatry cannot be forgiven. Allah’s righteous servants not only abstain from explicit idolatry in which physical statues are worshipped, but they also shun unapparent idolatry. Their worship and the other tasks they render are consistent with Allah’s commands, and they very carefully take into consideration that no action of theirs comprises any type of hidden idolatry. They also ensure that their jobs or careers do not become hindrances in their worship of Allah…’
وَ لَا یَقۡتُلُوۡنَ النَّفۡسَ الَّتِیۡ حَرَّمَ اللّٰہُ اِلَّا بِالۡحَقِّ
‘They do not a kill a person that Allah has forbidden’. 
‘If the Holy Prophet(sa) did fight wars, or if his Companions, his Khulafa Rashidin [Rightly Guided Caliphs], and later Muslims did fight wars whilst maintaining the standard of taqwa [piety], they only did so because of transgressions and to stop the persecution they were suffering at the hands of their enemies. They all strove to, rather the Holy Prophet(sa) and his Khulafa [Caliphs] all commanded that no child, woman, religious leader, priest, ascetic, etc. who was not involved in the war shall be killed. In contrast to this, we see that only in the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians were murdered.’
‘Even today, under the guise of establishing peace, innocent lives are thrown to the banks of death through attacks made by fighter jets. This is the state of those people who raise allegations against Islam. But those individuals who believe in their hearts that they are Allah’s servants also shed innocent blood through their suicide attacks. Yet, the bloodshed happening in the name of Islam and religion is another painful and alarming story [to be told at another time]. Indeed, Allah the Almighty has decreed that such people cannot be considered His true servants.’
وَ لَا یَزۡنُوۡنَ
‘They do not commit adultery (or fornication).’ 
‘This includes committing adultery in a practical sense as well as gaining pleasure from obscene programs and scenes. Nowadays, the internet and some programs that play on television are such that they induce mental and visual adultery. Thus, Ahmadis must especially abstain from these things.’
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَشۡہَدُوۡنَ الزُّوۡرَ
‘And those who do not bear false witness.’ 
‘Dishonesty plays a massive role in the destruction and downfall of nations. Allah’s righteous servants and His divinely guided jama’ats [communities] must strive toward the heights of progress, for Allah the Almighty has promised them the heights of success which they must strive to achieve. If dishonesty seeps into them, then they no longer remain Allah’s special servants whom Allah showers His Grace upon and whom Allah has promised to continue to shower His Grace upon. Thus, Ahmadis must adhere to complete honesty when giving testimony and when presenting their case or story, for example in family and marital matters.’
‘At the time of Nikah [Muslim religious ceremony in which the marriage is legally solemnized before an Imam], the parties are uniting under the oath that they will adhere to Qawl-e-Sadeed [the right, straightforward word]. They will speak with such truthfulness that there remains no suspicion or doubt within their words in which other interpretations or meanings may be taken. Their words are simple and clean. However, [we find that] the groom and bride have been dishonest with one another, and that their in-laws have been deceitful to one another, thus causing cracks within relationships and eventually ending them. Families are being torn apart merely because of personal egos and desires. If these couples have children, then this progeny is also destroyed. I have already spoken innumerous times about this. Hence, it is absolutely necessary that a believer hold immense hatred for every kind of dishonesty in order to be counted amongst Allah’s righteous servants, to give Allah His due rights, and to give His creation their due rights.’
وَ اِذَا مَرُّوۡا بِاللَّغۡوِ مَرُّوۡا کِرَامًا
‘When they pass by anything vain, they pass on with dignity’ 
‘They are not overwhelmed by their worldly desires and do not fall victim to the vanities of this world. The vanities of this world, as I have already mentioned, are the Internet and television channels that broadcast unnatural programs. [We also see that] young men and women mix freely with one another at colleges, schools, and in groups. They go to clubs and dance together. They make social programs with one another, and make plans to go to concerts together. All of this is vanity for the believer. We pledge to do Bai’at [spiritual allegiance] at the hands of the Promised Messiah(as) and to become Allah’s righteous servants, yet despite this, we drown ourselves in such vanities that certainly deteriorate our moral states. Thus, a true Ahmadi must abstain from these things. Vanity also includes quarrels and argument…In fact, anything that hinders and hampers the peace of a society is vanity…’
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اِذَا ذُکِّرُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِ رَبِّہِمۡ لَمۡ یَخِرُّوۡا عَلَیۡہَا صُمًّا وَّ عُمۡیَانًا
‘And those who, when they are reminded of the Signs of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat’ 
‘When the verses that Allah the Almighty has revealed are recited, such people do not fall blind and deaf to them; rather, they open their ears and listen attentively. They strive to act upon the teachings that the Holy Qur’an has prescribed. They attempt to strengthen their spirituality. Thus, in order to become Allah’s righteous servants, it is necessary to try and fulfill every kind of pious guidance…Do not give importance to who is giving you guidance. Give significance to the fact that you must act upon Allah the Almighty and the Prophet’s (sa) wisdom that the counsellor is referencing. Otherwise, refusing to act upon the wisdom [because of one’s dislike for the one stating the wisdom] can cause one to stumble and deviate [from the right path]. Not only will such a person be removed from those who are counted amongst Allah’s servants, but such a person will also inevitably become distant from the Jama’at [Community].’
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ رَبَّنَا ھَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ اَزۡوَاجِنَا وَ ذُرِّیّٰتِنَا قُرَّۃَ اَعۡیُنٍ وَّ اجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ اِمَامًا
‘And those who say, ‘Our Lord grant us of our spouses and children the delight of our eyes, and make us a model for the righteous’ 
‘This is an extremely important [spiritual] prescription to maintain [the success] of future generations. Where there are apparent plans and efforts being made to ensure that our children are attaining both worldly and spiritual success, there must also be prayers. Inevitably, it is Allah the Almighty who yields excellent fruits to one’s efforts. If one imagines that they are raising their children well solely due to their own efforts, then this thought is entirely wrong. Such people who incline towards the world who see that their children are achieving success should know that this is certainly due to the Rahmaniyat [All-Encompassing Grace] that Allah the Almighty has showered upon them. Inevitably though, such people only see worldly success. They cannot be counted amongst the righteous servants of the Rahman [the Gracious], for Allah the Almighty has not granted them the honour of being the leaders of the believers.’
‘As a result, their attention is not focused on enhancing their Taqwa [piety]. Yet those who pray fervently that their children increase in their righteousness not only pray for the worldly success of their children, they pray for their children’s spiritual success as well. Such a person [who prays for his child’s spirituality] will also himself strive to enhance his own spirituality and will achieve Allah’s blessings.’
In explaining these 13 qualities, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) has laid clear the practical steps necessary to discover and attain the gem that is Allah the Almighty. These steps will help all seekers develop the faculties to see Allah in this very world.
As the Promised Messiah(as) writes:
‘When a person is overcome to this degree by his love of God, all his passions are burnt up by the fire of love and a great revolution takes place in his nature. He is bestowed a heart that he did not possess before, is bestowed eyes that he did not have before, and is so deeply inundated by certainty that he begins to see God in this very world.’ 
About the Authors:
Labeeda Rashid holds an undergraduate honors degree in English and History, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Education. She has previously served as the president for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Student Association at York University in Canada.
Frasat Ahmad serves as an Imam at the US National Headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.