Spiritual Development is a Life Long Process
Spirituality is one’s connection with his Creator. It is one of the natural needs of human beings to identify themselves and feel a contact with the One who created them and is in charge of their lives. As we grow up, we get caught up in a great number of worldly affairs and our connection with our Lord weakens. Spiritual development is often neglected by us when, in fact, it needs to be worked on continuously.
Below is a list of steps to help you in your spiritual development and encourage a stronger bond with Allah.
1. Make sure you never skip any obligatory prayers. Take out time whether you are at office or at home, playing or sleeping, offer your salah every time.
2. Try your best (absolute best) to pray each salah as soon as the time for it commences. Also, pray in congregation. If it is not possible to go to a mosque, gather the Muslims around you and pray together.
3. Once you are firm with obligatory prayers, start praying Sunnah as well.
"Allah will build a house in Paradise for a person who performs twelve rak’ah of prayers other than fard prayers during the day and night. They are the following prayers: two rak’ahs before the morning prayer, four rak’ahs before the noon prayer, two rak’ahs after the noon prayer, two rak’ahs after the evening prayer and two rak’ahs after the night prayer." (Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Majah)
4. Recite Qur’an every day. If you cannot take out much time, start with five ayahs each day. The cleansing effect of everyday recitation is incredibly amazing.
“[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” (Al Qur’an 38:29)
5. If you do not understand Arabic, take out some time to read translation of Qur’an as well. You may download some tafsir lectures on your phone and listen to them on your way to and back from work or school. This helps you understand Allah’s words better and is very likely to bring you closer to Him.
6. Ponder on Allah’s words. Observe the things He created. The truth of His existence and power will be felt forcefully.
7. Charity is a crucial step in spiritual development. Give out from what Allah has blessed you with.
8. Make conscious efforts to realize the blessings you have. The small things which are so often taken for granted must be acknowledged to be able to be thankful to the One who bestowed them upon you. Thank Allah for at least one blessing each day. They are uncountable!
9. Repent! As humans, we sin, intentionally and unintentionally. Ask for His forgiveness as much as possible. If you know your sins, you are likely to make conscious efforts to avoid them.
"Every son of Adam sins, the best of the sinners are those who repent." (Tirmidhi)
10. Remember Allah Ta’ala as much as possible. Tasbih and zikr help one feel closer to His Lord.
"Only in the remembrance of Allah (SWT) will your heart find peace" (Al Quran 13:28)
11. Make dua. Ask for everything you want from Allah Ta’ala. Your efforts and dua, on one hand, will help you achieve your desires and, on the other hand, will boost your spirituality.
"Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer)” (Al Qur’an 40:60)
12. Learn some verses from Qur’an and recite them in your prayers. You must remember some of them by heart already, but learn some more and know their meanings. Reciting different verses in your Salah, especially the ones you understand, help you concentrate on your prayers better.
13. Learn duas for everyday tasks, like sleeping, eating or traveling. These duas help you remember Allah Ta’ala and also helps you acknowledge the blessings He has provided you with.
14. Talk to Him in solitude. Pour out your heart’s desires and sufferings to Him. He listens and can help you. Trust Him and let Him be your confidante.
“No one besides Allah can rescue a soul from hardship.” (Al Qur’an 53:58)
15. Volunteer to help those in need. Your Lord has blessed you with knowledge, education and other facilities; utilize them to help the ones who are less privileged. Such a step helps you realize your blessings, develop empathy and be down to earth.
16. Read about the life of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H), his companions, and other Prophets, too. Their lives are perfect embodiments of spirituality, faith, and thankfulness.
17. Make sure you are aware of all that is halal and haram. Your income, food, and actions must all fall within the limits of halal as are mentioned in Qur’an and Hadith.
18. Practice what you preach. Do not be a hypocrite; be truthful to yourself and others. Hypocrisy is despised by Allah Ta’ala.
“Do not forget your own self while preaching to others.” Umer Ibn Khattab (R.A)
19. Do not upset Allah Ta’ala to please others. You must be sure to make your Creator your priority and pleasing Him should be your prime concern.
20. Cleanse your heart of envy and jealousy. Understand that Allah distributes His blessings among His creatures and He knows what is best for whom. Do not hate anyone for his success or happiness; find yours in what Allah has blessed you with.
Spirituality provides you with incredible peace of mind; strive each day to achieve your spiritual goals.