Islamic Spirituality – A Khutbah By Imam Marc Manley

Spirituality is often conveyed as an abstract notion. We don’t know what it is and thus we tend to make it all about ourselves; our feelings. Spirituality in the Islamic context can be thought of as being concerned with what Allah thinks about you on a daily basis.

Spirituality is a daily practice. A discipline. Not something we simply turn to when in the mood. This is why for some, their inability to connect with God isn’t due to them being cursed or not being enlightened; it’s that they have not established and regular relationship with Allah. Such persons tend to shun God when things get tough instead of shunning those things which interfere with one’s relationship with Allah:

تَتَجافىٰ جُنوبُهُم عَنِ المَضاجِعِ يَدعونَ رَبَّهُم خَوفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمّا رَزَقناهُم يُنفِقونَ

“Their sides eschew their beds as they call on their Lord in fear and ardent hope. And they give of what We have provided for them.” Qur’an 32: 16

Being concerned about the one you love.

When you’re young and you desire a pretty girl or a handsome boy, this desire has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you.

Real love is when you are concerned with what the other thinks about you.

Spiritual discipline (Qur’an 70, verses 22-34):

  1. Salah: be consistent. In fact, be consistent in all of your devotions.
  2. Charity: give often or as much as you can, even if it’s little. The poor have a God-given claim to it: those who ask and those who are too shy to ask up front (Zakah). It is also good for your heart.
  3. Accept the reality that there is going to be a day of Judgement: don’t lie to yourself or anyone else, either through words or actions.
  4. Acknowledge who Allah is and that Allah’s promise is true: being fearful of Allah’s punishment in the fire does not preclude one of loving God. Imagine if one just runs around and cheats on his or her lover, all the while still claiming to love them?
  5. No one is safe from Allah’s displeasure/torment.
  6. Protect your private parts, except with your spouse, with whom you may indulge yourself.
  7. Going beyond this makes one a rule-breaker. God’s rules.
  8. Be respectful of the trusts and agreements you are given/participate in.
  9. Those who stand for the truth when they testify.
  10. And who guard their prayer (consistent with it and guard it.

Those who accomplish this will be the companions of the Garden. Respected and loved by God.

Part of the discipline of spirituality, of being concerned with how Allah thinks about you, if Allah loves you, if focusing your attention and your efforts on Him and not being distracted by the nonsense and foolishness of the world.

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