The world we live in is not conducive to attaining an optimal level of spirituality. That’s a fact of life that many Muslims either overlook or ignore entirely.
Let’s face the facts. We’re constantly bombarded with half-truths, fiction-over-fact and an overall disregard for religious matters whether in daily life or on social media. It’s difficult to escape and even harder to quiet those voices that seek to destroy your spiritual nature that pulls you back to your Lord.
As Muslims, many of whom live in non-Muslim societies, this is a great test. Holding onto your spirituality, and even increasing it, requires a deep commitment to your faith and a willingness to go the distance for the sake of Allah and your own salvation.
Remember that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
The people will see a time of patience in which someone adhering to his religion will be as if he were grasping a hot coal. (At-Tirmidhi)
The time is now. None of us know what tomorrow will bring as we prepare for Ramadan to approach. How many of us can guarantee we will be alive to welcome it?
Your spirituality is your responsibility to grow and nourish like a newly planted seed, thirsty for rain and sunshine. It’s also the responsibility of the Ummah to help those Muslims who are faltering in their spirituality and set them back onto the path.
Get Your Head into the Game
If you’ve ever watched sports or even played on a sports team, then you’ve heard this saying ad infinium: “Get your head into the game!”
It’s usually the plaintive wail of a desperate coach trying to get an important player to focus on the game and win it! However, this can also be applied to the spirituality of a Muslim. As Allah Almighty revealed in the Noble Quran:
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Quran 49:13)
All Muslims, whom Allah has blessed with the gift of reason and a limited free will, know the difference between right and wrong. You can spot a sin a mile away and you can even detect an avenue that could lead to sin even further away than that. It is the fitrah, innate nature, that makes a Muslim hyper-aware of sin well before falling into its clutches.
However, with life’s distractions and the normalization of sins committed out in the open, a Muslim’s heart can become so desensitized that the lines of morality and Islamic ethics become blurred.
Staying away from both minor and major sins is an absolute must for a Muslim seeking to increase his or her spirituality. Disengaging from harmful friends, deactivating social media accounts and safeguarding yourself from sin as much as humanly possible will help you build a solid foundation of spirituality that can withstand even the greatest of tests through Allah’s grace.
Attach Your Heart to Allah
Allah Almighty has guided humankind to seek an audience with Him five times a day through the obligatory prayers, which is in addition to the limitless opportunities available through optional prayers.
Through the Islamic prayer, the heart becomes attached to Allah as you connect with the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful in this beautiful act of worship.
However, you can deepen this bond and increase your spirituality by living in a state of Taqwa. Translated in English as “God-consciousness”, Taqwa also means piety and a fear of displeasing Allah which is akin to love.
To live in a state of Taqwa means that you recognize and are aware that you are in the presence of God during every second of every day and you live in accordance to His will which is clearly defined in the Quran and Sunnah.
As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Have taqwa (fear) of Allah wherever you may be, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out, and behave well towards the people. (At-Tirmidhi)
Forsake Your Bed
The only place most of us want to be at the end of a long day is in bed. After all, we’ve made our bedrooms into comfy havens that are sanctuaries of rest and relaxation which are far removed from the rigors of daily life.
However, too much of anything can be detrimental. And sleep has a way of sapping the spirituality from a believer and, over time, it can lead to laziness.
A great test lies in the comfort of your bed. In many ways, that comfort is a distraction from your Lord, Most High. Just imagine how much your spirituality would increase if you forsook your bed, just for an hour, to engage in acts of worship to glorify your Lord.
Known as Qiyam-al-Layl, it is a time during the night where a believer reads the Quran, prays or engages in Dhikr, or the remembrance of Allah.
As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
You should recite the Qur’an and remember Allah, for that will be light for you on earth and will be stored up for you in heaven. (Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Targheeb (1422))
Quite notably, when you forsake your bed, you’ll soon notice how the stillness of the night brings great comfort to your heart and affects your spirituality in a positive way as you worship your Lord during a time when most others are already fast asleep.
Remembrance & Reflection
Your spirituality is not set in stone. It will ebb and flow, peak and crash. It will appear and vanish many times throughout your lifetime. For this reason, a believer must work hard to be committed and devoted to this Deen (way of life) irrespective of those forces that seek to pull you away from it.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), our beloved teacher and guide, taught us the best way to be steadfast:
The belief of a servant will not be steadfast, until his heart becomes steadfast, and his heart will not become steadfast until his tongue becomes steadfast. (Imam Ahmad)
The spirituality of a Muslim is rooted in the heart and, as it blooms, the branches will grow and flourish in faith and obedience to the One and Only – Allah.