God, the merciful and compassionate, revealed in the Quran that He is close to man and will answer people when they pray to Him. “If my servants ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond to Me and believe in Me so that they will be guided aright.” (2: 186)
So God is close to everybody. He has knowledge of everyone’s wishes, feelings, thoughts, every word uttered, anything whispered and even what is concealed deep in one’s thoughts. Consequently, God hears and knows everyone who turns to Him and prays to Him. This is God’s blessing on mankind, and a manifestation of His mercy and power.
Every being, every object, from the seemingly most powerful people to the greatest riches, from the magnificent celestial bodies to a tiny animal on Earth — all belong to God and are all under His complete will and control.
The Quran reveals further: “If there be (but) the weight of a mustard-seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth, Allah will bring it forth: for Allah understands the finer mysteries, (and) is well-acquainted (with them).” (31:16)
“No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension yet is acquainted with all things.” (6:103)
Imam Muhammad Haq, Anniston Islamic Center
The nature of God
When posing such a question, it is perhaps best to start by attempting to understand God’s nature.
Traditional Christian theology attributes three characteristics to God (all of which have room for nuance and interpretation): omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
Omniscient simply means “all knowing,” which can lead one to find comfort in knowing that God knows what we are going to pray before we pray it.
Omnipotent means “all powerful,” which means God has the power to look into our hearts, to see past the stilted words of our traditions or our murmured confusion to the very core of our concerns when we pray.
Omnipresent means “ever present,” and it is that particular aspect of God that I find most comforting when I pray.
God’s omnipresence means that God is with me when I pray — God is with each of us when we pray.
God hears the words as we say them, kneels with us by the bed of our cancer-stricken loved one, paces the floor with us while we pray about how to keep the lights on.
We may question how God can be all-knowing and yet give us freedom. We may doubt how God can be all-powerful and yet allow hunger, hatred, greed and pain to rule so much of our world. We may even wonder how God can hear our prayers among the billions of other voices in this world.
We may question, doubt and wonder, but let us find comfort in knowing that God hears our prayer — all of our prayers — for God is ever with us.
Chris Thomas, Fairview Heights Northside Baptist Church, Anniston