Prophet Muhammad Teaching Spirituality

At the beginning of his mission, Prophet Muhammad called on his friends and family to accept Islam and change their entire lifestyle.

The connection between the people and their Creator became the focal point and Prophet Muhammad taught the fledgling nation to obey and please God in all their endeavors.

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Every act no matter how small, or how big, could be viewed as an act of worship. Modern scholars suggest that Prophet Muhammad’s insistence that every person was accountable to God rather than then established tribal hierarchy shook the Arab society to its very core.

How did Prophet Muhammad become a social reformer whose societal changes continue to echo down through the centuries?

He changed a well-established mindset by encouraging his followers to explore and feel comfortable with their own spirituality and connection to God, their Creator, the only One to whom they owed allegiance. 

Building a Strong Relationship with God

Prophet Muhammad encouraged spirituality and did so by advising and demonstrating how to begin communicating with God. He took the lessons he was learning every day, grappled with understanding God’s will, and then passed on his knowledge.

O God! To You I have submitted, and in You do I believe, and in You I put my trust, to You do I turn, and for You I argued.”[1]

Prophet Muhammad’s relationship with God was one of complete faith, absolute sincerity, true love, obedience, submission, and surrender.

That is the pinnacle of belief and Prophet Muhammad honed his spirituality by endeavoring to obey God and please him with every act.

The Source of Spirituality

The primary source of Islam is the Quran and the source of Prophet Muhammad’s spirituality is Quran. His connection to God and Quran was so complete that those who knew him best described his character as Quran.

One of the first Muslims spoke to Aisha, the wife of Prophet Muhammad, saying:

“O mother of the believers, tell me about the character of the Messenger of God.”

Aisha said:

Have you not read the Quran?

He said, “O course.”

Aisha said,

Verily, the character of the Prophet of God was the Quran.”[2]

At this point it may be beneficial to revisit the definition of spirituality that we outlined in part 1

Spirituality is the state or quality of being dedicated to God, religion, or spiritual things or values, especially when contrasted with material or temporal things or values.[3] If we ponder this definition and then compare it to Prophet Muhammad’s connection to God, we find that he is the personification of the teachings found in the Quran.

“Indeed, God conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves, reciting unto them His verses (the Quran), and purifying them, and instructing them the Book and the Wisdom, while before that they had been in manifest error.” (Quran 3:164)

Prophet Muhammad knew that God would guide him, and that God had a purpose for him, indeed he understood that God has a purpose for every human being. And the pinnacle of a person’s life is when an unbreakable connection to God is established.

A spiritual need is fulfilled when we link our day-to-day lives with actively trying to please our Creator.

Trusting God

Prophet Muhammad did not automatically understand what was happening to him, or the great responsibility he was shouldering. He did however understand that God would not let him down and therefore had absolute trust in God.

Prophet Muhammad encouraged and advised the people around him to trust God implicitly. His whole life was an example of this concept.

During his lonely years in Makkah, when he was in danger, and was watching the persecution of his followers; and during the many trials and tribulations he faced, Prophet Muhammad demonstrated complete trust in God.  It was the dominant feature of his teaching.

Mindfulness

Prophet Muhammad encouraged his companions to be mindful of their own spirituality and to put their relationship with God above all other relationships, familial, tribal and societal.

This was how he fed his spirituality and thus he knew that for others to feel the sweetness of faith they must also put God first.   

One of the close companions related how Prophet Muhammad advised a young man.  He said:

Young man, I will teach you some words. Be mindful of God, and He will take care of you. Be mindful of Him, and you shall find Him at your side. If you ask, ask of God. If you need help, seek it from God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together in order to help you, they would not be able to help you except if God had written it so. And if the whole world were to gather together in order to harm you, they would not harm you except if God had written it so. The pens have been lifted, and the pages are dry.” [4]

This piece of advice reveals core truths about the nature of our relationship with God. If this relationship is our priority our spiritual needs will be satisfied.

And by way of an extension to a fulfilling spiritual relationship, our physical and emotional needs will also be satisfied, and our hearts will become, and remain content.

How Do We Know This?

Because Prophet Muhammad’s connection to Allah was unbreakable, his spirituality was of such a high level that those who knew him best described his character as the Quran.

The Quran is our key to achieving any level of a satisfying spiritual relationship.

The believers generally seek closeness to God as a safe haven in times of distress; they use God as their secure base for living in the world; and view their relationship with Him in terms of dependency, closeness, and alleviation of anxiety.

Living for God

A great deal of spiritual salve can be obtained from religious formalities. The religious rituals that Prophet Muhammad wove into the fabric of the Muslim nation were those integral to his own spirituality.  

Therefore, when we attempt to assure our connection to God, we must follow the advice and guidance found in the Quran, and in the sayings of Prophet Muhammad.

 God, the most mighty and majestic, says:

I am present in my servant’s thought of Me, and I am with him when he remembers me.”[5]

If he (my servant) approaches Me by a hand’s breath, I draw near to him by an arm’s length, and if he draws near to Me by an arm’s length, I draw to him by a fathom. If he comes to Me walking, I come to him running.[6]

Prophet Muhammad’s spirituality can be understood in these verses from the Quran.

Surely, my prayer and my devotion, my life, and my death are all for God, the Lord of the worlds. He has no partner, and this is what I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims (Quran 6:162-163).


[1] Sahih Bukhari

[2] Sahih Muslim

[3] From Dictionary.com

[4] At Tirmidhi

[5] Sahih Muslim

[6] Sahih Bukhari

(From Discovering Islam archive)

About Aisha Stacey
Aisha Stacey is the mother of three adult children. She embraced Islam in 2002 and spent the next five years in Doha, Qatar studying Islam and working at the Fanar Cultural Centre. In 2006 Aisha returned to university for a second time and completed at Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Certificate in Writing. Aisha is also a published writer in both internet and print media and in 2009 -10 she was the Queensland editor at a national Australian Islamic newspaper ~ Crescent Times.