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.
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:
May you always be successful
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
as salam alaikum
thinking about the greatness and power of Allah removes despair in His mercy. Allah is far greater than any deficiencies we may attribute to Him; He is Self-Sufficient and He does not need anything/anyone that may cause Him to oppress His devout servants.
Sometimes we face difficult situations with wider meanings than the ones we ascribed to them but if we believe in Him and aim towards our final and everlasting abode, we will be satisfied by the fact that all troubles are temporary and they soon will end insh'Allah.
Personal attitude and positively moving forward even in harsh circumstances are key-factors to see Allah's mercy in action in the wider picture.
With prayers for your success.
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
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.
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.
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!
Thank for your question. Spiritual practices which result in certain spiritual powers and abilities are not to be attempted without guidance and so while there are books that include various practices in the field of ulum al-gharibah, they can be dangerous if used in the wrong way and induce many undesirable consequences. An expert is needed to help a person navigate such literature.
For a person to increase their spirituality they should stick to performing the recommended actions such as night prayer, reciting and pondering the verses of the Holy Qur'an, fasting, remembering Allah often, charity, good manners, while at the same time seeking knowledge and putting what they learn into practice. These practices result in the illumination of the spirit as well as peace and tranquility.
A book that can help in this regard is a Commentary on Forty Hadith by Ruhallah al-Khumayni (r), which gives advice on spiritual practice in the light of reported traditions and the general practice of Shi mystics.
May you always be successful.
I am not sure if it is possible for anyone to offer a conclusive viewpoint on the spiritual impact of using credit cards, since credit cards are quite new and are part of the institutional structure, as opposed to collecting interest from someone vulnerable in a person-to-person transaction.
However, at the least, having credit card debt causes a lot of stress, and having a credit card can also encourage overconsumption and spending beyond one's means, so it is good to be cautious of these things unless it is an emergency or there is no other option. No one ever not-regrets having to pay interest on a credit card.
As for interest in general, the Qur'an is quite clear about its impact. For instance: "Those who devour usury shall not rise except as one rises who is felled by the touch of Satan. That is because they say, 'Buying and selling are simply like usury,' though God has permitted buying and selling and forbidden usury. One who, after receiving counsel from his Lord, desists shall have what is past and his affair goes to God. And as for those who go back, they are the inhabitants of the Fire, abiding therein. God blights usury and causes acts of charity to grow...."(2:275-6)
In addition, it is related that Imam Ali (A) said: “The Holy Prophet (S) has cursed one who accepts interest, one who pays interest, one who buys interest, one who sells interest, one who writes the contract of interest and one who is the witness of this transaction.”
You can use a Debit Card which does not involve borrowing and keeps you away from the interest.
Yes of course. Allah, The Glorious, says in Qur'an (Surely, only by remembering Allah, hearts gain peace and tranquility) (Sura 23, Verse 28).
Remembering Allah and taking His names and repeating it is very useful in treating psychosis and any depression or anxiety or psychological problem. Remembering Allah keeps the heart peaceful and prevents the causes of psychosis.
More remembering Allah (SWT) brings more peace and comfort in the heart and mind.