Spirituality

The meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over time, and various connotations can be found alongside each other.Traditionally, spirituality referred to a religious process of re-formation which "aims to recover the original shape of man", oriented at "the image of God" as exemplified by the founders and sacred texts of the religions of the world. The term was used within early Christianity to refer to a life oriented toward the Holy Spirit and broadened during the Late Middle Ages to include mental aspects of life.
In modern times, the term both spread to other religious traditions and broadened to refer to a wider range of experience, including a range of esoteric traditions and religious traditions.

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Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 2 months ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. To diagnose spiritual traits a person needs to be aware of their actions, attitudes and states and then they need reflect on why they act or feel the way they do.
 

For this reflection it helps to understand some schemas of the soul and how personality development is viewed in Islam. When a person is aware of something that they would like to improve, the next stage is to seek methods that will facilitate that movement towards the desired outcome.

Sometimes simply being aware and controlling impulsive behaviour is enough to deal with some traits and at other times real life changes are the only way to get rid of persistent problems. The ones that need more work are the traits that are more deeply rooted. There are some fundamental changes a person can make to deal with a host of problems, but the development process is a life long journey, full of successes and failures, progression and regression, remembering and forgetting. At the same time, when meaningful change is achieved it results in coming closer to a truly Islamic personality.

May you always be successful 

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 4 months ago

Side by side with your medical treatment, you can get great benefits from remembering Allah. Remembering Allah is the best remedy for peace of mind. Allah says in Quran ( Surely, by remembering Allah hearts get peace.)(Sura 13, verse 28). These are some examples:
1. Reciting Quran with voice which you can hear or at least listening to Quranic recitation.

2. Reciting and repeating Salawaat and Estighfaar.

3. Reciting Du'a (Supplications) like Du'a Komail, Du'a Abi Hamza, Du'a Sabaah, Du'a Makaarim Al-Akhlaq etc.

4. Reciting Ziyarat Ashura every day.

5. Performing Salat Al-Layl (Namaz e Shab).

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 5 months ago

This is a very important question for those who really care to improve themselves and achieve a better degrees of success in this life and hereafter. These are few practical steps which can add to spirituality and Taqwa (Piousness):
1. Asking yourself before any act or word whether Allah (SWT) likes it or not? That is the best degree of remembering Allah (SWT) along with continuous remembering him in our heart and tongue.
2. Reciting Quran and Du'a with understanding and pondering and gifting its reward to Imam Al-Mahdi (AS).
3. Performing Nawaafil prayers especially Night Prayer ( SALAT ALLAYL or NAMAZ E SHAB) every night.
4. Talking to Imam e Zaman (AS) every day and night as he listens to us and responds to the pious believers. 
5. Gifting the reward of all our good deeds to Imam Al-Mahdi and all Ahlul Bayt (AS) which will not only multiply our reward, but also make us more near to them.
6. Having best Akhlaq (Manners) with parents, relatives especially your family members and with all people.
7. Being with Wudhu all the times as much as you can.
8. Trying to strengthen our will power by avoiding evil desires and performing good acts even if it can look like difficult like fasting, performing morning Prayer on its time, giving charity,etc. We need to control our desires and never allow our desires to control us.
9. Helping needy people in any possible way for the sake of Allah (SWT).
10. Trying to make believers happy by respecting them, caring for them, smiling in their faces and in any other act of generosity and kindness to them or their families.
11. Performing obligatory Prayers on time with out any delay. Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) performs every Prayer on time, so, your praying on time will make your Prayers elevated to Allah (SWT) with the Prayer of Imam Al-Mahdi (AS).
12. Keeping your most important supplication and wish, the reappearance of Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) and sincerely praying for him, more than praying for yourself and your family.
Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 6 months ago

Owning and using Credit Card is allowed as far as you utilize the money of non Muslim banks or financiers in lawful way.

Wassalam.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 10 months ago

When the Qur'an speaks of removing bad feelings in heaven (7:43), it speaks of it for all people in general, not only women. So one can assume that neither men nor women feel bad feelings like resentment or anger or jealousy in heaven.

Jealousy is related to this life because of our restrictions due to our physical bodies and social factors, as well as things such as concerns over lineage, or fear of loss if one's spouse goes to another, but in Paradise, those are no longer considerations since the environment lacks the same restrictions as the material world.

My understanding of verses such as 36:55-57 which talk about spouses enjoying each other's company in Paradise is that it is a general use of the word "azwaj", meaning that human beings in general will be with enjoyable and appropriate partners, not that this is specifically referring to men and their earthly wives.

This is because most human beings have the inclination to unite with another because the human being is incomplete whereas Allah is complete. Therefore in Paradise they would also have the opportunity to unite with others, without the same social or material restrictions that they have here, although of course the greatest pleasure is to be in the presence of Allah.

This is similar to the apparent usage in 4:1 where it speaks of creating the soul and its mate (zawj) in an apparently ungendered fashion, albeit in practice many Muslims, including Yusufali in translation, render this as creating the man and his woman. But the actual language of the Book does not specify this distinction.

So, from this angle, one does not get the sense that specifically a man will be enjoying all the hur al ayns and the woman is bound only to her husband. In fact, that makes no sense because some women marry many times, and some marry no times. Some women also marry men like Yazid who is the last person they would ever see or want to see in Paradise. 

However, inshallah if someone wishes to be reunited with their husband or wife in Paradise, they will be able to do so and enjoy each other's company there. 

In any case, when we discuss the Hereafter, we really just take our best guess based on our understanding and what has been transmitted - none of us can say with entire certainty; what is certain is that we will find out.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 10 months ago

Laws of Shia Islam are available in many books in English under the title of Islamic Practical Laws. There are many websites having links to such books e.g. www.alsistani.org or www.Sistani.org

Wassalam.

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Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 1 year ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. A useful book to start with is Self Building by Ay. Ibrahim Amini (rA) and it can be found at the following link:

https://www.al-islam.org/self-building-ibrahim-amini

May you always be successful

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Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 1 year ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. The highest spiritual status for an individual is not defined as a specific station, as in the higher levels of spirituality as well as a vertical progression, there is a realization of a person's individual gifts. There is no competition as all are different flowers in the same garden. The journey to God is unlimited and the highest stations have been expressed as a type of oneness, where the individual ego of the wayfarer is annihilated and they subsist in the subsistence of God. But writers in practical mysticism acknowledge that only so much can be expressed past this level. So in this sense, there is no limit to a person's status as the journey is an unlimited one and a time comes where it is no longer dependent on effort either.

As for our levels compared to the Prophet (saw) and the Infallibles (as), they are the ones who opened the ways for the rest of us to be wayfarers. All that wayfarers experience of true unveiling and station is part of the Full Muhammadan Unveiling. Their (as) status before Allah is something that is unimaginable and a person should seek to fulfill their own path by their (as) help rather than aim to equal or overtake them (as). Perhaps, an individual will be granted a place amongst their (as) most humble servants, in their never-ending journey to the Beloved.

May you always be successful

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Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 1 year ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. The heart is a battleground for two types of love. Love of God and love of the world. In order to remove the love of the world from the heart, the heart has to be filled with the love of God and this is the main purpose of self-purification and refinement and is the crux of spirituality in Islam. In one narration Imam al-Sadiq (as) says: "Is religion other than love." 

It is achieved through battling the ego, with knowledge, faith and action. Through knowing the self and not succumbing to the desires of the lower self. By remaining patient in trials and tribulations and increasing one's hope and closeness to God. By realizing all of the ideals of Islam, its ethics and its practices.

May you always be successful

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 1 year ago

It is permissible. 

However, it should not negatively affect people who are financially dependent on you (that is, you should not voluntarily impose poverty on financial dependents such as a wife or children), and you also should not put yourself in a situation where you are financially dependent on people (for instance, taking state benefits by choice).

Also you should not make this into a religious requirement or ideal; rather just say to others and to yourself that it is your preference. 

Basically you can live according to any lifestyle you want, as long as it does not involve anything harmful or forbidden, and as long as you don't require it for others or become arrogant about it.

People have different personal and spiritual needs and perhaps some people do better spiritually with a simple lifestyle. However, it is good to remember that the Prophet (S) was both rich and poor, and his example was of being actively involved in society - including financial aspects - while maintaining spirituality.

Also, there is an advantage to having wealth, if you are able to use it to assist the less fortunate or use it in the performance of religious acts (such as performing the hajj). For instance, Imam Hasan (A) would not have been known for his generosity if he did not have any wealth to give.

Overall, I think it is fair to say that, as an ummah, the Muslim world today is in greater need of overcoming mass poverty, than encouraging voluntary poverty. (Of course this is a complicated issue since one of the main problems in the Muslim world is the unequal distribution and misuse of wealth, not actual lack of wealth, and not all Muslim areas are poor, but it cannot be denied that poverty is a debilitating problem for too many Muslims. This is a social problem not an individual problem, but just putting it out there.) 

That being said, the Prophetic teachings discourage an overfocus on or overindulgence in wealth; rather, they encourage people to follow the path of moderation.

In any case, none of us is the Prophet (S), so we have to make the best decisions for our own lives in the matters which are left to our own choice. 

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Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answer updated 1 year ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. While everyone is responsible for their own actions, the journey towards Allah does not have to be alone. Most mystics have recourse to their teachers and fellow wayfarers on the path as well as their families and friends. The inner journey occurs within the individual, but that does not exclude companionship along the way. Indeed these relationships aid the spiritual journey.

May you always be successful.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 2 years ago

Excellent answer from Shaykh Zoheir Esmail, I also wanted to add that there is some indication in narrations that having faith and wilayah in the Imams (A) does develop this capacity to some degree. For instance, it is related, from Imam al-Sadiq (A), ‘Our followers (shi'a) have have four eyes: two eyes in the head and two eyes in the heart. Actually, all people have these, but Allah opened your sight.'

If one goes through what is found in the books of narrations, there are some pointers here and there on this topic. For instance, you may be familiar with the saying attributed to Imam 'Ali (A) saying 'lower your eyes and you will see wonders'. While this is often discussed in the context of having a chaste gaze in society, it can be taken on a deeper level to mean avoiding distracting one's self with the glitter of the life of this world to be able to understand beyond it.

It is my view (and by that, I mean it is my personal view and may or may not be the view of others) that both the formally prescribed practices of Twelver Shi'ism (such as prescribed du'as or a'mal as well as ziyarat to the holy sites) as well as the traditional practices (especially relating to majalis and azadari) do both facilitate a stronger sense of spiritual vision and understanding if one takes them seriously. After all, it is really not uncommon for Shi'is to experience, or at least say they experience, dreams, visions, miracles, etc, of Ahl al-Bayt when participating in these events. 

One can always pray for what one seeks, whatever it happens to be in life, including spiritual vision. One could recite one's own prayers in one's own words, or there are some snippets of du'as from Ahl al-Bayt (A) that could be considered appropriate such as from Munajat Sha'baniyyah.

Beyond that, many things in life are not really learned by books. One can get inspiration or some tips from books, but many arts really are passed on through a person to person basis. For instance, few people solely learn cooking or swimming from books, even though one can get tips and advice from cooking and swimming magazines. In the Islamic tradition, historically, there has been a strong emphasis on the person to person passing on of spiritual knowledge, and I think there is a virtue to this tradition. (Of course one should be cautious whom one seeks spiritual knowledge from and keep one's inner and outer eyes open, but it doesn't diminish the value of being able to take knowledge from another human.) It seems also that spiritual perception operates differently from person to person (for instance, for some people, it might be more direct whereas others more indirect, such as via intuition or dreams) and there isn't a one size fits all answer to be taken only from books, although books may have some things to offer.

At the same time, there are some basic things one can do regardless of what faith tradition one adheres to (if any) that aren't limited to Shi'ism, such as anything that develops one's sense of focus or reduction of unnecessary distractions in life, that are likely helpful along these lines. Also - as the narration says - most people have spiritual perception, especially people who already have an inclination towards religion and spirituality, and it doesn't hurt simply to pay attention to what is already there - especially in this busy day and age and age of secularism/materialism, a lot of people tend to just shut this sort of thing out.

Best wishes on your spiritual journey!