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Be Spiritual in Islam

Islamic spirituality is totally based on One God, which in Arabic language refers to Almighty Alloh. Arab Jews, Arab Christians and Arab Muslims equally use the name of Almighty Alloh alike. With mounting tension between Arabs and Zionist communities, many Jews have immigrated to Jewish state of Israel where Hebrew name for Alloh refers to Elohim. Similarly, in Persia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (Almighty) Alloh is often translated or referred as Qhuda, which is a Persian word for God. In totality, all Muslims would use (Almighty) Alloh, as a Qur’anic world for The-God and none among them would have any reason to differ. Thus Muslims believe in One God (Alloh) who is One, No one is born from Him, Who is not born from anyone, Who is without any partner, Who Created whole universe, Who is The Master of the Day of Judgement, Who gives life and takes life, Who is Omnipotent and all of us shall return to Him for the final judgement on our fate. Almighty Alloh is The-God of first man Adam (PBUH) and The-God of whole Humankind and Universe. Thus Islamic spirituality begins with "I bear witness that there is no deity worth of worshipping other than The-God (Alloh) Who is One – Who has no partner – and I bear witness that Muhammad (PBUH) is His (Beloved) Servant and (Last) Messenger Prophet".

With reference to The Last Testament, the spiritual Muslim reads, recites, understands and strives to mould him / her as per the commands of Almighty Alloh. The basic spirituality starts with the following verse, which encompasses the level of spirituality step by step: The detailed discussion on Islamic spirituality is in Chapter 07 – of the book The Spiritual Intelligence.  

Alif Laam Meem: This scripture (The Qur’an) is infallible; beacon for the righteous; who believe in the unseen, observe the Contact Prayers (Salawat Al Qhamsa), and from our provisions to them, they give to charity. And they believe in what was revealed to you (O Muhammad), and in what was revealed before you (Torah, Psalm and Gospel etc.), and with regard to the Hereafter (the day of Judgement), they are absolutely certain. These are guided by their Lord; these are the winners (in this world and The Hereafter) {The Qur’an – Surah Al Baqarah (Chapter: The Heifer) 02: 01 – 05}.

Islamic spirituality is based upon the conviction that is what appears to us as mystery revealed itself as being Almighty The-God (Alloh). The Last Testament Qur'an is this revelation. The Qur'an instructs us in the foundational importance of awareness of “The-God” and the proper response to His Almighty. The Sunnah lifestyle or practice, of The Last Messenger Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) expresses and exemplifies this Qur'anic awareness of, and response to Almighty Alloh within actual, historical, phenomenal reality. This is the soul, heart and foundation of Islamic spirituality. The Last Messenger Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is considered to be a "Walking Qur'an".

Islamic spirituality fosters consciousness towards Almighty Alloh, which is called Taquwah (Piety), in and through all daily activities in addition to activities we usually identify as Rouhaaniah (spiritual) such as belief in One God, Contact Prayers, fasting, Pilgrimage and charity. It shuns any extremes. The religion of The-God (Alloh) is Islam (Peace), which envisages for Humankind and Jinnkind obedience for his/her life as a whole, for the material world as well as for the spiritual world. The word "Islam" means "submission to the will of Almighty Alloh” from where one attains peace of mind materially and spiritually. Sometimes it is also referred as Peace (within and with Almighty Alloh). It is thus not even a religion as we usually think of the term. It is more of an existential way-of-being in this finish-able worldly life. Both aspects of life combined form the backbone of a believer and there is no gap between the two; otherwise a man shall wonder in wilderness of this life half hungry, half hopeful and undecided of his certainty for the life wherever it matters.

But there is no denying the fact that owing to differences of individual temperaments, certain people would specialize in certain specialties and not in others though they would never be aloof of other parts, which remains a dormant part of their life. Even if one were to concentrate on the spiritual side of one's existence, he would still remain more or less attached to the other occupations of life for his day to day nourishments, for the sake of self-strength, societal obligations and to provide for the path of Almighty Alloh by helping the needy of the society. Materialism would not be seen as a dominant aspect of the life but its existence would form a very part of such people, otherwise they could cease to exist. What matters to them is what is necessary for the life and luxury hardly touches their interest. Thus the most important aspect of an Islamic spiritual life is to impart a preventive relief to sustain day to day life before an incident or disaster so that such events are prevented as well as to be ready for a relief aftermath of such events so that the needy servants of Almighty Alloh are not left alone but find comfort and assistance from their fellow brothers and humans with in a society.

Islamic spirituality does not gauge its development and growth upon subjective experience, but on the degree to which one abides with The Last Testament Qur’an, Sunnah Al Mu’akki’dah and on optional basis Sunnah Al A’daat. Evil is that which is contra to “The Qur'an” and Sunnah - it has nothing to do with subjective experiences of pleasure or pain, laughter or tears, nor does it have to do with social experiences such as riches or poverty. All of these social and subjective states are somewhat equivalent in Islam. They all originate by the will of Almighty Alloh for the purpose of testing the Muslim's use of freedom. The Muslim submits to the will of Almighty Alloh with patience.

Islamic spirituality encourages science and scholarship in that “The Qur'an” repeatedly exhorts humanity to observe the signs of Almighty Alloh in creation, in history, and in one's self. It also encourages social activism. That is, jihad - the struggle of good against evil. Any Jihad, which creates terror in the non-combatant, non-aggressive civilian society, is never a Jihad but a blatant terrorism and Muslim scholars must condemn such activity with the cooperation of their governments and peace loving public.

“The Qur'an” is more than a book of laws, but a tool for spiritual advancement, moral advancement and clinical therapy for the sick.

In his celebrated exposé of his teaching on faith and submission and the best method of these two, The Last Messenger and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) defined this last point in the following terms: "As to the embellishment (Ihsan) of conduct, so render thy service unto Almighty Alloh as if thou sees Him: even though thou does not see Him, yet He seeth thee." This beautification, the unsurpassed and most gorgeous method of dedication or service unto Almighty Alloh, is the spiritual background of Islam. "Obedience to Almighty Alloh” is a most comprehensive term, and includes not merely the party of The God loving people, but also relates to human conduct throughout life. The most cultured from the spiritual point of view, are those who abide most closely by the will of Almighty Alloh in all their acts, thoughts, beliefs and live by it without wavering. 

Questions concerning the obedience of Almighty Alloh form the subject matter of mysticism are to gain the acceptance of Almighty. A believer heeds to the commands relating to his day-to-day life, at the same time he remains submerged in Zikrulloh as long as he is with consciousness of his mind. The term 'mysticism' has several synonyms in Islam: Mo’ahid (Strictly following Monotheism: Tauheed) Ihsan (which we find also used in the above-mentioned exposé of the Prophet), Qurb (or approaching Almighty Alloh), Tariquat (road, i.e., of the journey unto Almighty Alloh), Sulouk (journey, i.e. unto Almighty Alloh), Tasawwuf (which etymologically means: to put on a woollen cloth and remain concentrated towards Almighty Alloh) Faqueeri (devoting all deeds to help Mankind and expect nothing in return except from The Sole Creator Lord Almighty Alloh who provides in this world and in the world of eternity). This last term is, curiously enough, the most obvious but rarely found in open gatherings. They do not declare but they could be recognised by depriving the luxuries of this life and sharing whatever they have with the servants of Almighty without any reservations whatsoever.

Differences of individual temperament, character, personality, spirit, humour, and disposition, have existed in the human race at all times. It goes to the acknowledgment of Islam that it has revealed certain parameters, which it could impact on each and every person, irrespective of their traits, a minimum necessary to be shared and practised in common for the benefit of whole Mankind. This minimum necessity is inclusive of spiritual and material needs. In order to understand it well, it may be noted that all agree that the best Muslims are the immediate disciples of The Last Messenger and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) namely his household (Ahle Al Bait) and companions (As’haab). A study of their lives shows that from the very start they were possessed of a variety of temperaments. There was Qhalid Bin Waleed (RTA), a warrior, and an intrepid soldier, on whom the Last Prophet (SAW) was pleased, in admiration, to confer the title of "the Sword of Almighty Alloh". There were 'Othman Bin Aff’aan (RTA) and Abdul Rahman Bin 'Auf (RTA), who were rich merchants and The Last Messenger Muhammad (SAW), had announced the glad tidings that they too belonged to the people of the Paradise. There was also Abu Dhar who detested all property, and preferred an ascetic life of mortification. We may recall a Bedouin nomad, who had visited The Last Messenger Muhammad (SAW) one day, in order to learn what the minimum duties to merit Paradise were.

The Last Messenger Muhammad (SAW) had replied: Faith in the One God, prayers five times a day, fast during the whole month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage and payment of Zakat-tax if one had means thereto. The Bedouin embraced Islam, and burst forth: By Almighty Alloh! I shall do nothing more and nothing less. When he departed, The Last Messenger Muhammad (SAW) remarked: Whoever wishes to see a man of Paradise let him look at him! (Bukharie and Muslim). -06Be it the warrior Qhalid Bin Waleed (RTA), or the wealthy 'Othman (RTA), they never neglected the essential duties of Islam and its spirituality. Similarly Abu Dhar, Salmon, Abu-Darda' and others who liked asceticism, sobriety, abstinence and temperance, did not obtain permission from The Last Messenger Muhammad (SAW) to lead, for instance, lives of recluses, to fast perpetually, to get castrated in horror of carnal pleasures, etc. On the contrary, The Last Messenger Muhammad (SAW) enjoined them to marry, and added: Thou hast obligations even with regard to thy own body.' (Ibn Hanbal), According to Islam, one does not belong to one's self, but to Almighty Alloh; and it is not permitted to misuse the trust which Almighty has reposed in us.

It is true those Muslim mystics - even as their counterparts in other civilizations - are not very eager to divulge their practices and their peculiarities to those outside the restricted circle of their disciples or confreres. This is not because there are scandalous secrets, but probably because of the fear that the man in the street may not understand why they undergo so much "useless" pain by renouncing the luxurious amenities of life; and also because ordinary people do not believe in the personal experiences of the mystics. The eligibility to become mystics requires sacrifice not from the jurisprudence point of view but from the point of Piety (Taquwah). So the mystics think it is better to conceal Taquwah from them and from those who are unable to appreciate or understand them. Their eagerness is to be accepted by Almighty Alloh Who in turn appreciates them through spiritual strength and empowerment, which cures material failures and succeeds where materialism ends. Incidentally it also happens that if a thing is enshrouded in secrecy, it becomes so much more cherished by those who are in search of it, yet majority of the people wander all around even after abundance of luxurious life to find peace in their hearts and minds. Those who do cherish absolute materialism as a source of peace to their senses, assuredly realise in their last moments of life that whatever they collected is left behind what goes with them is their deeds and creeds they cherished most.

The people in Islamic faith who remove all worldly attractant barriers and bring the human being closer to The Lord Creator Almighty Alloh by maintaining Taquwah are called Muttaqueen. Muttaqueen focus and concentrate towards Almighty Alloh the Ultimate Lord and through their love, affection and sacrifice, attract Almighty Alloh's attention toward them. Indeed, these are the people who really satisfy the thirst of human being in the real sense and achieve satisfaction. In their company one can get real love, affection and real peace. Even though this world has acquired all luxuries but still one could not get the real peace. This is because the human being is running after things, which are not everlasting, and they try to get peace from such non-lasting things. When these things go away then they have to face great pain and uneasiness due to the loss of such non-lasting thing.

However, Muttaqueen sacrifice all the luxuries of life and worldly affair, and focus on everlasting Lord Almighty Alloh through their love and affection. Though they do not leave the necessary worldly requirements but pleasure of world do not attract them except which is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. They take shelter with the Lord who is the Creator of real peace and satisfaction. Hence, whenever a disturbed and uneasy person takes shelter with the teachings of The Last Messenger Muhammad (SAW), he also gets the impact of love and satisfaction. The disturbed and uneasy person feels achieving peace and it appears that his thirst of getting closer to Almighty Alloh is satisfied. He also tends to sacrifice all the worldly things and achieves real peace and satisfaction. These personalities are present in this world to carry out the teachings of The Last Messenger Muhammad (SAW), and bringing the human being closer to Almighty Alloh and will be present till the end of this world. When they will not be present in this world, the world will also end. This is not a new group of people or division, which needs any introduction.

Qamrul Khanson                                                    July 01 2005

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