To gain closeness to Allah taala a person should do the following things:
 A believer should make it his/her habit to recite a portion of the Holy Qur’an every day. Recital of the Qur’an is also a strong means in cleansing the hearts of the dirt of sins.
 Stay away from all sins, especially back-biting, slandering and telling tales, as the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, taught not only do these things deaden the heart, and thus lead a person to commit more sins, moreover they are the main cause for believers being punished in the Nextlife.
 Spend as much time as you can in the Dhikr of Allah taala. Specify an hour in the day and sit down and recite as much as you can, the Kalima; LAA ILAAHA ILALLAH, pondering over its deep meaning. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him, said it is the best of Dhikrs. Start by reciting it one hundred times and then the easier it gets the more you can increase the number.
 One of the most important things you must do, which sadly many people neglect, is that you should avoid bad company. People you should avoid taking as friends are those who speak too freely, who miss Salah, who do not dress modestly, who backbite etc. The company of such people is poison; just even sitting and talking with them will lead one to commit sins. Just as a person who sits for a longtime with a perfume seller begins to smell nice, and a person who sits by a gutter cleaner begins to smell awful, similarly a person who spends time in the company of the wicked eventually gets affected badly by them. Rather, you should seek out pious friends who fear Allah taala and who have the qualities of humility, charity, compassion, modesty and knowledge. If you sit with them you will always benefit and they will be a means for you to get closer to Allah taala.
It was the practice of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him, to ask Allah taala for forgiveness (by saying ASTHAGHFIRULLAH) a hundred times in a day. Our Messenger, peace and blessings upon him, was innocent and free of sin yet he did this, why? The scholars explain the reason he would ask Allah taala for forgiveness so frequently was because the act of turning to Allah taala and humbly seeking his forgiveness in itself is highly beloved to Him and thus is a means to get closer to him. We who sin day and night, are more deserving of making this a part of our daily routine.
Mufti Mohammed Sajjad
Wallahu Aalam bis-sawab
Source: As-Suffa Institute