Taking steps towards Allah
Allah says: “Take one step towards Me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run to you.”
If you can do something that shows you are serious about wanting to turn to God, and about becoming a Muslim, then Allah will surely help you in what you are doing. He says that if you just take one small step towards Him then He will respond to you in a much greater way.
We would like to share some things from our personal experiences that you can do to take that step towards God. These steps have worked for us, they can work for you too.
You don’t have to follow all these steps at once to be able to get closer to God. You can start with just one and then add more steps as you progress along your journey.
The important thing is to make a start on your journey.
These suggestions are not a complete instruction manual on what you need to do as a Muslim. Inshallah when you do decide to turn to Islam, you can then learn the detailed way of how to perform these Islamic practices.
Cleanliness is very important in Islam.
Muslims wash themselves before approaching Allah in prayer or reading the Qur’an. We call this carrying out ablution and the Arabic term for it is performing ‘wudu’.
In it’s very simplest form this entails washing our hands, washing our arms, wiping our face with water, and washing or wiping our feet with water.
A Muslim will take great care in performing this cleansing with water and will carry out the washing actions in a set way.
You may not be a Muslim yet, but just try washing your hands, face, arms and feet before you begin a period of speaking to God, praying to God, or reading the Qur’an. Say ‘Bismillah’ before you start washing. This means ‘In the Name of Allah‘.
This washing with water is a means of purification.
After the Toilet
Cleanliness is extremely important in Islam and one of the things that a Muslim always does is to clean themselves after having used the toilet. After having urinated or defecated, a Muslim will use water to clean the part of the body that has been soiled.
For most of us today, water is readily available in our toilets, so use it to clean yourself after performing your toilet.
If you visit a Muslim house or property, you will usually find something like a jug sitting on the floor beside the toilet. This can be used for cleaning yourself after the toilet. If you have been fortunate enough to have travelled anywhere in Asia you may have seen these jugs being used all the time, and not just by Muslims. They are known as a ‘lota’.
In some toilets you may find there is a small hosepipe fitted right next to where you do the toilet and this can be used for cleaning your private parts or your backside. The French had the same idea when they invented the bidet.
The main thing is to be very careful of urine so that it doesn’t contaminate your underwear or clothing. Make sure your bladder has been fully emptied and then wash yourself. You can use toilet paper to dry yourself off.
Don’t forget to wash your hands afterwards.
You will find that Muslim men don’t stand at urinals to urinate – they will sit down. This is because you can get a splashback of urine, sometimes in the form of a fine spray, when you stand and use a urinal. It can get on your clothes and exposed skin.
When using public toilets which have no means of performing this sort of personal hygiene, you can carry a small plastic bottle of water with you so that you can clean yourself after using the toilet.
Buying yourself a prayer mat is a really good thing to do. You don’t need a prayer mat to pray on but using one can help provide you with a focus.
You can put the prayer mat down on the floor of your room and it can symbolise a time when you want to try and connect to God. If you are trying to read something like the Qur’an, it can also be a good idea to sit on your prayer mat for this because it is a way of focusing your mind on what you are doing.
If you can find the direction of Makkah, try and point your prayer mat and sit facing that direction – this is called facing the ‘Qibla‘. You can do that using an app on your phone, or by using a compass.
You can buy a prayer mat very cheaply online and have it sent to your home. They only cost a few pounds or dollars.
Asking God to Help You
As you reach out to God and ask Him for help in guiding you towards becoming a Muslim, the most important thing you can do is to recite the words of the first chapter in the Qur’an.
Do this in English – or whatever your first language is. It is a very powerful prayer.
Pray it as often as you can, especially when you have that quiet time before God when you try and turn your heart towards Him.
“In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise is to Allah, Lord of the Worlds
Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Master of the Day of Judgment
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help
Guide us on the straight path
The path of those upon whom You have shown Your Favour
And not the path of those who have angered you or have gone astray.”