In this current age of materialism and pseudo-spirituality, it can sometimes be difficult to effectively establish a spiritual connection with our Lord. When "religions" such as Scientology and Satanism are widely practiced and accepted nowadays, it can be confusing for those traversing on the spiritual path to sift through all the intellectual garbage we are constantly presented with. Fortunately, Islam provides the most clear and effective path to spirituality in a world where true spirituality is tough to come by.
The main questions that drive the quest for spirituality are "Why are we here in this world?" and "Where are we going after?" In Islam, spirituality is based upon the teachings of the Qur'an and the practice of our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) and his Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them), and they provide the answers for such questions. In the Holy Qur'an Allah states, "And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should serve Me." (51:56) The Holy Prophet also states, "I have been sent only for the purpose of perfecting good morals." This provides the basis of Islamic spirituality which is to get closer to Allah by perfecting our character.
The question arises as to how we can get closer to Allah in such a world as today – particularly in such a place as the West, where good morals are hard to come by and corruption of the soul is rampant at every turn. There are a few simple things that we can do in our hectic day-to-day lives to strengthen our bond with our Creator. The main thing to keep in mind is that we need to make time for these simple steps and give them priority in our lives:
Unplug Ourselves. Just in the past decade or so, our dependence on the Internet has taken up a large portion of our day. Between our cell phones, computers, televisions, and various Apple products, many people are victims of sensory overload. Let us take a few minutes each day to put everything down and shut everything off, and to just listen to what is going on inside of us. This can clear the mind and open up the heart for the remembrance of Allah. As it says in the Qur'an, "Surely by Allah's remembrance are the hearts set at rest." (13:28)
Stop and Smell the Roses. Most of our daily lives are spent driving and walking from place to place, unaware of our surroundings. Those beautiful roses and that sparkling fountain are just blurs for us as we pass by them without a thought. By just stopping or even walking a little slower, we can start to appreciate all the bounties that Allah has put around us for our use. Slowing down and pondering over Allah's bounties is conducive to a higher spiritual state and increasing our remembrance of Allah.
Take a Hike. Similar to being more aware of our surroundings, being out in nature can help calm our senses and heighten our awareness of Allah. It is an innate fact that we humans love looking at beautiful things such as green fields, blue skies and colorful plants. Allah has created this fondness in us to help us get closer to Him. Next time when we have a free day, we can use it to walk in the park, go on a hike and just appreciate nature for what it is.
Turn the Radio Down. Many of us have a routine as soon as we get into our cars. We tune in to a specific station, set up our iPods and such, all without skipping a beat because we instinctively do the same things day after day. Once in a while, we can turn the radio off and just recite the praise of Allah with our tongues. Pick one of your favorite names of Allah, and slowly repeat it to yourself as you think about its meaning. This simple act of remembrance of Allah's names can feel enlightening and increase our love for Allah in our hearts.
These are just some humble suggestions on how we can find some spirituality in our hectic world. Pondering over our existence and the bounties we have been given is the practice of our Prophets and Imams (peace be upon them all), and we would do well to emulate such noble personalities. Any more suggestions to increase our spirituality are welcomed in the comments section.