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Articles


Spirituality in Islam

Author : An Article by His Grace Shiekh Abdulkareem Al-Khasawneh

Date Added : 15-04-2014


I greet you with the greeting of Islam,. My deep respect and gratitude are extended to Mr. Bonn Clayton for giving me this opportunity  to try to reach a common ground between Muslims and Christians for the welfare of both religions since Muslim-Christian dialogue represents a new and major effort to understand and cooperate with others in increasingly interdependent and religiously diverse countries. I am very delighted to share the following ideas that address the issues concerning the spirit and the spiritualities.

Adam(PBUH) is the first man, and the creature that embodied Allah`s will and power. He is neither from the angels, nor the jinn, nor from any of the realms known at that time. He is rather a creature empowered by Allah to carry out the mission and shoulder the responsibility for which he was created in the first place. Our forefather Adam(PBUH)was afflicted with instinct, so he experienced inner conflict, but at the same time he was endowed with various sciences and disciplines of knowledge. He goes on living on this earth from which he was originally created, and under which he gets buried. He was also given means of subsistence while living on it. He was also resurrected from it  to the Hereafter. Hell and Heaven were created for his sake, and that going to any depended on his deeds. Realms were also created for him, and the angels of Allah were at his service day and night. His life span on this earth is measured by astronomic cycle, sunset, and the appearance of the Moon. He is Allah`s successor on earth, and this is documented in the last of Allah`s scriptures revealed to the seal of His Messengers Prophet Mohammad(PBUH).

 Allah, The Almighty, says: “So, when I have proportioned him and breathed of My Spirit in him, fall down in prostration before him!’”{Al-Hijr/29}.This is an honoring to man and an elevation of his status to broader horizons as Allah`s spirit is  breathed in him.

Allah foreordained for Adam to take over all the matters of this earth as the new comer who is to spread goodness, reform, and renovation. Through this blessed breath from Allah`s spirit, man was able to uncover the secrets and mysteries of this universe. He was also able to unleash its hidden powers and treasures, and by doing that he was able to fulfill Allah`s will.

As a starting point, we have to make a distinction between the spirit(Al-Rooh) and the spiritualities(Al-Roohaniat)  from the view point of language. Al-Rooh is what keeps a human being alive rather than dead. Allah has not uncovered this to any of His creatures for He says: “They ask thee concerning the Spirit (of inspiration). Say: "The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!)"{Al-Isra / 85}.

As regards spiritualities, Al-Azhar reported that Abo Al-Abbas Ahmad Bin Yahia said about the verse:” And thus have We, by Our Command, sent inspiration to thee.”{Al-Shoora /52}:It is the religion sent down through the angel Gabriel, and by which people led their life. This proves that spirituality means faith (Iman).

Faith is firm belief. Its pillars are : believing in Allah, believing in His angels, believing in His books, believing in His Messengers, and believing in divine decree. Allah says: “The Apostle believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in God, His angels, His books, and His apostles. "We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His apostles." And they say: "We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys."{Al-Baqarah /285}.

Some features of the spirit capable of regulating and governing man are: the mind and the heart. Each one of them has special constituents and authority. The constituents of the mind are the different fields of knowledge, and its function is to examine and investigate in order to perceive reality.

On the other hand, the constituents of the heart are: outflowing feelings and generous emotions. Its function is to uncover the beauty in everything and to achieve perfection.

A human being is demanded to balance between  the mind and the heart to avoid any clash  so as to reach the most elevated levels of dignity and prestige as well as to enjoy a double sense of happiness.

It has been deduced from the conditions of different societies during different times that true life can only be attained through maintaining a balance between these two spiritual aspects( the  mind and the heart). This is because if any outweighs the other, conflict is stimulated and divine chastisement is due as a repercussion.

The question that unfolds itself here is: Is it possible for the mind to be guided to the path of righteousness only by learning the various disciplines of knowledge and becoming perceptive and down to earth ?

The answer is no, because this is the argument of those who confined education solely to the mind. The proponents of this methodology  concentrated on acquiring knowledge and neglected the education of the heart. This resulted in the loss of balance between the mind and the heart which ultimately led to the rise of licentiousness which some have not only  adopted as a way of life, but have also started propagating. Licentiousness aims to establish physical pleasures and to give them a superior status in man`s soul, thus all the products of  the mind, in their different forms, celebrate the desires and whims of the soul.

The world of today is in a dire need for  spiritual education and  going back to spiritualities, or else there will be serious consequences that  proliferate  day after day particularly since the materialistic world has deep conviction that its  accelerating progress has attained perfection….However, the latest events on the international arena have altered such conviction.

Materialistic progress of this world has not paid off since it only resulted in misery and destruction caused by successive wars in addition to violence, terrorism, and extremism. All of this proves that the materialistic civilization lacks spiritual values.

Man is made up of two main components: The body and the soul. Divine religions balance between these two, so that they both remain  equal. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “{ Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds, And had preferred the life of this world,  The Abode will be Hell-Fire; And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, Their abode will be the Garden.”{Al-Nnaziaat/37,38,39,40,41}.The spiritual aspect whose reality is exclusively within the reach of Allah is the main factor in the actual emergence of man`s life where the soul is the container of the sound nature and the divine spirit which encourages man to embrace all that is good and righteous, and guides him to where he really fits. Allah says in this regard: “So, when I have proportioned him and breathed of My Spirit in him, fall down in prostration before him!’{Al-Hijr/29}.”Allah breathed the spirit in man to honor him/her. Therefore, it is not permissible to separate the spiritual and material aspects as it is incumbent on man to focus on the spiritual aspect and be close to God, The Almighty, for He says : “And they will question you concerning the Spirit. Say: ‘The Spirit is of the command of my Lord. And of knowledge you have not been given except a little’.”{Al-isra/85}.

These facts lead to the conclusion that faith is the essence of the spirit and its permanent objective. Therefore, the Quran came with a spiritual legislation based on believing in Allah and truly knowing Him so as for man to become a righteous individual in  society, and for his soul to be free of conflicts that overcome him due to his ignorance of this universe`s secrets.

Indeed, faith is a tranquility to the soul,  a guidance to the stray hearts, a light to the bewildered, and a safety  for the insecure.

Faith is the source of willpower because it is the corner stone for different virtues such as patience, resolution, perseverance, mercy, cordiality, sympathy, generosity, pride, and dignity.

Accordingly, it took the prophet(PBUH) a long period of time, at the beginning of the rise of Islam, to guide people to  Islamic creed and to  lay down the foundations of faith in the souls of his followers.

Finally, we conclude that spiritualities in different divine religions lead to the love of Allah, Prophets, Messengers, and humanity. True love will definitely lead to the prosperity of any society in this world; it will rather make the strong society give a hand to the weak society to make it stronger, and here lies true happiness which is aspired for by all religions. Moreover, the love of humanity can only be attained, as the Prophet(PBUH) said: “None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.”{Anas} , through paying attention to spiritualities celebrated by divine religions, strengthening them and eliminating all aspects of difference among them. Wasalmu alikum wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatoh.{Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all}.

 

  • This article is  based on His Grace`s participation in the Muslim-Christian Dialogue  of the United States on the topic entitled " Spirituality in Islam & Christianity . "

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