In this exceptionally competitive world where we are busy competing with each other in acquiring higher societal statuses through materialistic means, living a spiritual life sometimes seems farfetched.
However, according to Islamic teachings, the best competition is when a person competes with others by trying to attain a higher spiritual status rather than a materialistic one.
ان اکرمکم عند الله اتقاکم (الحجرات
The best amongst you are the one who are most pious
How can we achieve a certain spiritual level recommended by Islam? We firstly need to know the right path taught by Islam. Thereafter, we need to train ourselves to stick to this right path.
Islam doesn’t only focus on an individual’s spiritual elevation, rather, the elevation of a whole society’s spirituality. Sometimes when we hear words like “mysticism” and “gnosis” we interpret them as terms implying seclusion from society. However, those terms actually refer to a individual’s spiritual growth and their connection to the collective growth of a society.
Tahzeeb–e–nafs, which means the cleansing of one’s soul, should be done by an individual living and taking part as a productive member of an Islamic society. This is evident from the teachings of Islam and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (s.a.w.s) and his progeny. If leading a ‘spiritual life’ is interpreted as a life separate from our regular everyday life, then it is incorrect. Our everyday life should be a ‘spiritual life,’ which can be achieved by making our intention (niyyah) pure for Allah’s pleasure.
قل ان صلاتی و نسکی و محیای و مماتی لله رب العالمین
“Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.” (Anaam 162)
Here, the Quran teaches us that our ‘life and death’( محیای و مماتی) should be for Allah’s sake.
A busy life tends to lead us to forgetting our focus in leading a spiritual life. This loss of focus not only leads us to forget our goal but to also indulge in practices that take us away from our goal. That’s why tahzeeb–e–nafs is an essential practice of a Muslim’s life. Even if we are not suffering from spiritual ailments, keeping our nafs in check is recommended by Islam–alike having routine checkups performed by a physician.
In this series of articles focusing on Islamic akhlaq we will be discussing:
- Figuring out how Islam defines a particular spiritual disease
- How to recognize spiritual diseases like: pride, backbiting, anger, etc.
- Recognizing the types of a particular spiritual disease
- What Islam recommends for curing these spiritual diseases
- How to secure ourselves from impure intentions and wrong deeds
May Allah the Almighty give us the opportunity to improve our akhlaq and create a more harmonious environment for ourselves and our families.
Editor’s note: Islamic Insights is honored to host the “An Ethical Life” column by esteemed guest contributor and student from Qum, Brother Raza Rizvi. Besides being a medical doctor educated and trained in Pakistan, Brother Raza is now pursuing his bachelors degree in Fiqh and Usool from the Amir-ul-Momineen Seminary in Qom, Iran. His column will focus on discussing the recognition, types, consequences, and cures for spiritual diseases from the Islamic point of view.