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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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 8 hours ago

Best books which can uplift and reform us are:

1. Quran especially when you recite it or listen to its recitation with pondering. It is very useful to recite or listen to Sura Qaaf which  is Sura 50 and Sura Yaseen and Sura Arrahmaan.

2. Saheefa Sajjadiya which has got great supplications narrated from Imam Al-Sajjad (AS) in different situations and for different needs. It is a miracle in its meanings and effect on the heart and mind.

3. Sermon of Ameerul Mo'mineen called Sifat al-Muttaqeen which in Nahjul Balaghah.

4. Jaami' al-Sa'adaat book by al-Naraqi. It is translated and published in English.

5. Mir'aat al-Rashaad by Shaikh Abdullah al-Mamaqaani.

It is very useful for uplifting Sprituality to repeat Istighfaar, Salawaat and Laa Ilaaha Illallah as many times as you can, day and night especially in the Sojood (Prostration).

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 3 weeks ago

Sometimes some activities have this effect such as spending time with animals or children, with close friends, or in nature. Sometimes it is helpful to listen to, ponder on, or look at the Names of Allah. One could also simply sit and spend some time in the darkness and see if an inner light eventually emerges. Shedding tears for Imam Husayn (A) likewise often has this effect. 

Everyone's heart is different, some hearts are more naturally open than others, and sometimes it also depends on our current situation in life, as sometimes we close our hearts to cope with challenging situations around us. 

I am sure there are other responses too that will be helpful.

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I agree with the viewpoint that you said regarding Imam Ali (A) loving his wife greatly, and it seems that the Prophet (S) and his family had very open hearts, and also that love for their families was part of their spirituality and perfection. So I would not say that, in the tradition ascribed to them (A), there is an ideal of cutting of love for one's wife and children.

As I am sure you know, there some clear narrations on this topic attributed to the Prophet (S) such as "I was made to love three things - perfume, women, and prayer", and as related from Imam Kazim (A) "whenever a man's faith increases, his love of women increases." Of course this should not be a haraam love whereby one does illict acts in the name of love, but, rather, the capacity for love and connection with and appreciation of the opposite gender increases, perhaps as part of spiritual growth. It is not a sign of spiritual growth to be cold and standoffish with one's lawful spouse (unless there are serious marital or personal problems that cause that, unrelated to this subject).

Of course, there are many approaches to mysticism and gnosis, and sometimes people prescribe other approaches according to their understanding for their own reasons even if the are somewhat different from the above.

However, perhaps one can glean from the Qur'an and hadith that (a) although it is good to be open to one's spouse and children and love them, one should not grow overattached to them to the point where they place them above Allah, whatever that means to a person in practice, (b) one should not be attached to the worldly life, although one can take comfort in the knowledge that human relationships can outlast the worldly life, and (c) sometimes we are tested by these things, and we are also tested by what we love most. For some people, their greatest tests in life relate to their family or children. Inshallah you will be protected from this. 

In my view - and this is just my view, it may irk others - in some Muslim spiritual circles there is a sort of cynicism when it comes to human love, and an emphasis that this world is just for tasting the delights of Allah or the hereafter, and we should not dwell on these things or expect to have them. I have often suspected that this may be rooted in some of the social restrictions and disappointments relating to worldly life that some people have had, especially in the older generations - for instance, feeling compelled to marry someone who one didn't really want to be with, or other such problems. And to some degree, a way to deal with this is to look to what is beyond this world spiritually and not focus on it. I am not saying this is the situation with everyone but perhaps it is a factor. 

 

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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 4 weeks 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 4 weeks 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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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 2 months ago

The status of the believers depends on the degree of their knowledge, dedication and submission to the will of Allah (SWT). The degree of Salman is greater than the degree of Abu Tharr as the Hadeeth sated that Salmaan is on the tenth degree of Imaan while Abu Therr is on the ninth degree of Imaan (Al-Khisal by al--Sadouq). Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (AS) was asked: Why do you repeat mentioning the name of Saman al-Farisi? He replied: Don't say Salman al-Farisi but say Salman al-Muhammadi. Do you know why I repeat mentioning him?  For three reasons: First: His love to Ameerul Mo'mineen that he used to avoid what he used to like for the sake of his love to Ameerul Mo'mineen, the second is his love to the poor and choosing them as friends leaving the rich and powerful persons,the third: is his love to the knowledge and knowledgeable (Ulama). (Amaali al-Tousi 83).

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 5 months 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 7 months 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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Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answer updated 9 months ago

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.

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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 11 months 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.