Spirituality is a beautifully vast term that includes the elevating experience of any person of any age and any faith. Something so intimate that those who haven’t experienced it themselves can never truly understand. Thus, spirituality tends to be a very personal and even subjective element of one’s experience.
To me, Islamic spirituality is the extent to which one fills his mind, his perceptions, his understandings, his worldview, and his life of God and God’s Grace. Spirituality is when you have an overwhelming consciousness of God, His Love, and His Presence. It is that when you look at the world around you, you see God’s beauty. When you look at the skies, you marvel at His Majesty. When you look at nature, you stare in awe, not because of the inherent beauty of nature, but because of the Architect responsible for the masterpiece.
In Islam, there is much emphasis on the heart. God says in the Qur’an (the holy Islamic scripture), “Unquestionably, in the remembrance of God do hearts find peace” (13:28). Elsewhere, God says, “They have hearts with which they do not think or understand” (7:179). In these two instances and many more, God refers to the heart as an essential component to an individual’s spirituality, an individual’s success, and his/her connection to God Himself.
The heart having such a large emphasis in the Islamic tradition influences my view of spirituality. It is for this reason and many more that to me, spirituality is love. One is equitable with the other. When you look at the person in love, whether it’s a new husband, wife, or parent, you see how immersed they are with the one whom they love. When they sleep, they think of their beloved. When they wake, they think of their beloved. Their days and nights, hours and moments, are all filled with an overwhelming consciousness and regard for the one whom they love. In the very same way, I believe spirituality is falling in love with God. It is the overwhelming sensation of seeing God in everything we do. The famous Persian poet, philosopher, saint, and scholar Rumi once said, “If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see God in it. Those who are not in love with God will see only their faces in it.” When one has this consciousness of God—as a result of his love for Him—then one is constantly driven towards goodness. With every act, every transaction, every relationship, there is always a realization that God is there, helping guide one towards the highest of ethical and moral practices.
If we continue this thought process, we realize that in the very same way that we try to improve ourselves for those whom we love, the lover of God embarks on a similar journey—of goodness, righteousness, justice, love, and compassion—for God’s sake. Thus, to me spirituality isn’t only the overwhelming love and consciousness of God, but also the drive to please Him through goodness, justice, and worship.
I hope that we all find our inner spirituality that leads us in a positive direction that can benefit ourselves, those whom we love, and the worlds around us.
-Salman Abdul Majeed