How does Islam relate to one's character, personality, spirituality and development?

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ash92:)
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Hello all

The religion forum is swamped by debate with regards to Islam, which encourages Muslims and non-Muslims alike to overlook the essence of Islam. Some have distanced this so much from what "Islam" means to them that they assume "Sufism", in whatever shape or form they see it, to be the "only spiritual, peaceful, thoughtful, reflective type of Islam". Certainly, Islam and spirituality have always been intertwined, but perhaps the gap was created and is being widened much later on.

As such, this thread is for Muslims and non-Muslims alike to ask, learn about and discuss this significant aspect of Islam. Feel free to post quotes related to this subject too.

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Tawheed
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In the name of Allah, the most beneficent the most merciful,

It's a brilliant question, and a pertinent one too. I would argue that the essence of Islam is in knowing our creator, and through knowing him we know ourselves - what being a human actually means, the privilege, the higher purpose, the power coupled with the responsibility.

Through Muhammed pbuh, and his Ahlulbayt a.s, we can see individuals who lived ascetic lives, who strive for justice, equality for all. They were not simply individuals who stood on a prayer mat praying , rather, they were individuals who sought to bring reform and change of the society around them, and cultivate spiritually inside them.

Infact, spirituality, and the essence of Islam is in the potential of a single human, but also the potential of a collection of human beings, and what we can achieve, and what systems we can create. That is why in Islam, it is encouraged to pray in congregation, it is encouraged to keep family ties, social ties, to be forgiving, to have a sense of social and religious tolerance.

Through individuals such as Muhammed pbuh, Ali ibn Abu Talib a.s, and Hussain a.s, among others, we see men who were ardent adherents to the path of God, who cried out at night when many were sleeping , cultivating a relationship with their lord and of the pure spirituality inside. However, you did not see them confined to the mosques or in seclusion. They embodied the essence of Islam - a holistic, internal and external struggle for reformation, for change, to strive for Islam both in ones own soul and in ones own community.
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yo radical one
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It has absolutely no relationship with character at all.


There are Muslims who get drunk, take drugs, go clubbing, have sex, eat pork and I'm not telling them not to do those things, but this is why I laugh at the idea that in being a Muslim you are joining this family of people who are on this righteous mission out in al dunya.


Equally look at the I-Soc, it's just a bunch of people posting quotes and graphics they found on Google and you know this has no relevance to the world, it doesn't help poor people, it doesn't comfort people who are in despair, it has no relevance to anything.
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Tawheed
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(Original post by yo radical one)
It has absolutely no relationship with character at all.


There are Muslims who get drunk, take drugs, go clubbing, have sex, eat pork and I'm not telling them not to do those things, but this is why I laugh at the idea that in being a Muslim you are joining this family of people who are on this righteous mission out in al dunya.


Equally look at the I-Soc, it's just a bunch of people posting quotes and graphics they found on Google and you know this has no relevance to the world, it doesn't help poor people, it doesn't comfort people who are in despair, it has no relevance to anything.
I would say you have made a beautiful point. This is precisely why this thread poses such a beautiful question. Is Islam simply calling yourself a muslim, doing Eid, having a beard, or does Islam mean you realize the position of God, you understand the core tennents of Islam, and seek reform not only inwardly but seek reform of your own communities.

I argue Muhammed pbuh, Ali ibn Abu Talib a.s (his cousin,whom he adopted and was closest to him) embodied the one who inwardly sought spiritual cultivation and outwardly sought reform.

If you look on the ISOC at times, you will find individuals who really give posts where they reflect, input their views, and seek to cause not only and inwardly spiritual reform, but as i repeat, reform for society, for the human beings around them, muslim and non-muslim.

We often use the ISOC to gain gems of knowledge, to use it as a pass-time to get those little nuggets of spiritual nourishment, hence the videos and words of guidance through the hadiths.
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ash92:)
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Please be aware that this thread is not for debates between religion and atheism, nor for off-topic discussion. The Faith and Spirituality forum is distinct from the Religion forum in D&CA in this regard.
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ash92:)
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(Original post by generic_man)
As a non-Muslim, I believe Islam is detrimental to the character and personality of Muslims. If your religion teaches you that it's OK to kill people for being gay or to keep slaves then it's teaching you not to value human life.
Do you accept any part of Islamic teaching to be contrary to detriment?
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ash92:)
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(Original post by yo radical one)
It has absolutely no relationship with character at all.


There are Muslims who get drunk, take drugs, go clubbing, have sex, eat pork and I'm not telling them not to do those things, but this is why I laugh at the idea that in being a Muslim you are joining this family of people who are on this righteous mission out in al dunya.


Equally look at the I-Soc, it's just a bunch of people posting quotes and graphics they found on Google and you know this has no relevance to the world, it doesn't help poor people, it doesn't comfort people who are in despair, it has no relevance to anything.
It certainly does relate to character.

The subject of the thread is Islamic teaching, hence this is distinct from 'the unislamic actions of some Muslims".

As for the ISOC, I don't see what you have said as being substantial. It may be argued that a significant proportion of the stuff posted there does help poor people (by encouraging the users to do good, discouraging greed, advocating the striving for good in the afterlife and the dissociation from being engrossed by 'al dunya' [this world]). The case for comforting people is even stronger, as those who read posts and use the thread regularly are often comforted by some of the posts. An example of this is the following:

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وَالضُّحَىٰ
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا سَجَىٰ
مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَىٰ
By the morning brightness
And by the night when it is still (or darkens);
Your Lord (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) has neither forsaken you nor hated you.

[Surah ad-Duhaa]



"...This was the state when this Surah was sent down to console the Holy Prophet. In it, swearing an oath by the light of the day and the peacefulness of the night, he has been told: "Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor is He displeased with you." The relevance of the oath by these two things to the theme is: "Just as brightening up of the day and spreading of the night with darkness and stillness is not for the reason that Allah is pleased with the people during the day and displeased with them during the night but both states are based on supreme wisdom and expedience, so sending down of revelation to you at one-time and suspending it at another time, also is based on wisdom and expedience; it has nothing to do with Allah's being pleased with you when He sends down revelation and his being displeased with you when He suspends it. Besides, another relevance of the oath to the subject is that if man is constantly exposed to the light of days it wearies him; so, it is necessary that night should fall after the day has remained bright for a certain period so that man may have rest and peace in it. Likewise, if you are constantly exposed to the light of revelation, your nerves would not stand it. Therefore, fatrah (break or gap in the revelation) also has been provided by Allah on account of expedience so that the effects of the strain of revelation that you have to bear pass away and complete peace is restored to you. In other words, rising of the sun of -revelation is analogous to the bright day and the period of the fatrah to the stillness and peace of the night."

[Tafheem al-Quran]



"الضُّحَىٰ refers to the time of mid-morning when people begin their daily routines and after resting the whole night start their day with a new vigour.

The Qur’ān has presented the night as an evidence on various aspects depending upon the context, as is evident from this tafsīr. Here the wordsِ إِذَا سَجَىٰ qualify it. The word سَجَىٰ َ means “to become stationary” and “to come to a standstill”. This shows that that part of the night is implied here which becomes still and silent from the noise and clatter of the day and of the early part of the night and is able to provide comfort to man. In other words, in contrast to the part of the day which is referred to by the word الضُّحَىٰ َ
the words وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا سَجَىٰ refer to the corresponding part of the night.

A little deliberation shows that the day and the night are totally different from one another with regard to their outlook, nature and the effects they produce; however, despite this difference, man needs both, and this world, in its collective capacity, also needs both the night and the day for its sustenance. It is God’s great mercy that He created the night with the day and the day with the night, and both work in complement to each other to keep this world in existence. The Qur’ān has referred to this complementary nature of day and night at various instances:

He it is who has made the night dark for you so that you can receive
comfort in it and made the day bright. (10:67)

And of His mercy is that He has made the night and day so that you
can receive comfort in the night and seek His bounty in the day so
that you become grateful [to Him]. (28:73)

It is to validate this premise that oaths are sworn by various phenomena of the physical world in the previous verses. The implication is that just as in this world the heat and light of the sun are essential and so are the darkness and stillness of the night, in a similar manner, the trials of happiness and sorrow, ease and difficulty, affluence and poverty are essential for the spiritual and moral development of man. It is through these circumstances that the Almighty tests a person whether he becomes thankful in hard times and patient in bad ones. In other words, the Prophet (sws) is assured that if at that time he was facing stiff opposition and had little following and meager resources and divine guidance and revelation were also not to his satisfaction, then this does not mean that his Lord had abandoned him or was displeased with him: these circumstances are a trial and test to train and instruct him in order to fully prepare him to bear his responsibilities."

[Taddabur-e-Quran]



"This sūrah, in subject matter, expression, images, connotations and rhythm provides a touch of tenderness and mercy. It is a message of affection, the touch of a benevolent hand to soothe pain and remove hardship. At the same time, it generates an air of contentment and confident hope.

The sūrah is dedicated in its entirety to the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is a message from his Lord which touches his heart with pleasure, joy, tranquillity and contentment. All-in-all, it proffers mercy and compassion to his restless soul and suffering heart.

Several accounts mention that the revelation of the Qur’ān to the Prophet came, at one stage, to a halt and that the angel Gabriel stopped coming to him for a while. The unbelievers therefore said, “Muĥammad’s Lord has bidden him farewell!” God therefore revealed this sūrah.

Revelation, Gabriel’s visits and the link with God were the Prophet’s whole equipment along his precarious path. They were his only solace in the face of hard rejection and his sole comfort against outright repudiation. They were the source from which he derived his strength to stand steadfast against the unbelievers who were intent on rebuff and refusal, and on directing a wicked, vile attack against the Prophet’s message and the faith he preached.

So when the revelation was withheld, the source of strength for the Prophet was cut off. His life spring was sapped and he longed for his heart’s friend. Alone he was left in the wilderness, without sustenance, water, or the accustomed companionship of his beloved friend. It was a situation which heavily taxed human endurance.

Then this sūrah was revealed and it came as a river of compassion, mercy, hope, comfort and reassurance. “Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you. Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life. And, certainly, in time your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be well pleased.” (Verses 3-5) Your Lord has never before left you or rejected you, or even denied you His mercy or protection. “Has He not found you an orphan and given you a shelter? And found you in error, and guided you? And found you poor and enriched you?” (Verses 6-8)

Do you not see the proof of all this in your own life? Do you not feel it in your heart? Do you not observe it in your world? Most certainly, “your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you.” (Verse 3) Never was His mercy taken away from you and nor will it be. “Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life.” (Verse 4) And there will be much more: “And, certainly, in time your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be well pleased.” (Verse 5)

This statement, is given in the framework of a universal phenomenon: “By the bright morning hours, and the night when it grows still and dark.” (Verses 1-2) The expression spreads an air of affection, kindliness and complete satisfaction. “Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you. Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life. And, certainly, in time your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be well pleased. Has He not found you an orphan and given you a shelter? And found you in error, and guided you? And found you poor and enriched you?” (Verses 3-8) Such tenderness, mercy, satisfaction and solace are all felt in the sweet and soothing words which softly thread along the sūrah echoing the morning hours and still night, the times most conducive to clarity. During these periods one’s reflections flow like a stream, and the human soul is best able to communicate with the universe and its Creator. It feels the universe worshipping its Lord and turning towards Him in praise with joy and happiness. In addition, the night is described as growing still and dark. It is not the dark gloomy night as such but the still, clear and tranquil night, covered with a light cloud of sweet longing and kind reflection. It is a picture similar to that of the orphan’s life. More still, the night is cleared away by the crossing morning and thus the colours of the picture beautifully match those of the framework, making for perfect harmony."

[Fee dhilal al-Quran]


As such, it seems more relevant than some may assume.
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generic_man
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(Original post by ash92:))
Do you accept any part of Islamic teaching to be contrary to detriment?
I'm not sure what you mean, could you phrase your question in a simpler way?
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aifas72
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Let me guess you're shia


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ash92:)
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(Original post by generic_man)
I'm not sure what you mean, could you phrase your question in a simpler way?
Ok. Is there any part of Islamic teaching, aside from things that you personally see as problematic and detrimental, which you feel to be good, agreeable and beneficial with regards to one's character, one's behaviour, one's interaction with others, one's thought and 'spiritual' (as opposed to materialistic) development? Is there any aspect of Islamic teaching that you think encourages one to be a better person? Or is there any aspect which possibly fits but you feel you don't really understand it?

(Original post by aifas72)
Let me guess you're shia


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No, I'm not shi'a. I have no idea why you would assume this from the subject of the thread.

It is the sense of bewilderment from the internal aspects of Islam that this thread aims to discuss.
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ash92:)
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ash92:)
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It was narrated that ‘Abdullah said:
“The Prophet (ﷺ) lay down on a reed mat, and it left marks on his skin. I said: ‘May my father and mother be ransomed for you, O Messenger of Allah! If you had told us we would have provided you with something that would save you this trouble.’ The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘What is there between myself and the world? This world and I are just like a rider who stops to rest beneath the shade of a tree then goes and leaves it.’”

[Sunan Ibn Majah]
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ash92:)
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It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Richness is not an abundance of worldly goods, rather richness is contentment with one’s lot.”

[Sunan Ibn Majah]
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ash92:)
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It was narrated from Salamah bin ‘Ubaidullah bin Mihsan Al-Ansari that his father said:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Whoever among you wakes up physically healthy, feeling safe and secure within himself, with food for the day, it is as if he acquired the whole world.’”

[Sunan Ibn Majah]
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ash92:)
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Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of Allah.”

[Sunan Ibn Majah]
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ash92:)
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It was narrated that Abu Hurairah, who attributed it to the Prophet (ﷺ), said:
“Allah does not look at your forms or your wealth, rather He looks at your deeds and your hearts.”

[Sunan Ibn Majah]
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ash92:)
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It was narrated that ‘Aishah said:
“We, the family of Muhammad (ﷺ), would stay for a month during which no fire would be lit (for cooking) and we had only dates and water.”

[Sunan Ibn Majah]
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ash92:)
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‘Umar bin Khattab said:
“I entered upon the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) when he was (sitting) on a reed mat. I sat down and (saw that) he was wearing a waist wrap, and there was no other barrier between him and the mat but his waist wrap, and the reed mat had made marks on his side. And I saw a handful of barley, nearly a Sa’, and some acacia leaves, in a corner of the room, and a skin hanging up. My eyes flowed with tears, and he said: ‘Why are you weeping, O son of Khattab?’ I said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, why should I not weep? This mat has made marks on your side, and this is all you have accumulated, I cannot see anything other than what I see (here), while Chosroes and Caesar live among fruits and rivers. You are the Prophet of Allah and His Chosen One, and this is what you have accumulated.’ He said: ‘O son of Khattab, does it not please you (to know) that (these things) are for us in the Hereafter and for them in this world?’ He said: ‘Yes.’”

[Sunan Ibn Majah]
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ash92:)
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‘Umar said:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘If you were to rely upon Allah with the reliance He is due, you would be given provision like the birds: They go out hungry in the morning and come back with full bellies in the evening.”

[Sunan Ibn Majah]
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ash92:)
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It was narrated that Abu Ayyub said:
“A man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, teach me but make it concise.’ He said: ‘When you stand to pray, pray like a man bidding farewell. Do not say anything for which you will have to apologize. And give up hope for what other people have.’”

[Sunan Ibn Majah]
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