بسم الله الرحمٰن الرحيم
I was at the Haram (Shrine of Hadhrat Ma’suma (a,s)) the other day and there is only one word that can summarize the overall state-peace. The air was brisk, it was empty, it was quiet, and the overall aesthetic seemed to be boasting even more that day. I sat there in the empty mosque and an unusual amount of peace began racing through my veins-it was extraordinary. I sat there and couldn’t help but feel spiritual.
After and hour or so I left, and as I began to head for home my thoughts began to prepare for battle as I began questioning the feelings I had sitting in the mosque. Did those feelings of spirituality stem from misleading thoughts? Does this feeling hold any substantial value? This feeling stemmed from realities that were physical, do those physical realities hold any value? These questions began to pester me as I walked and it prompted me to search for answers.
As a student in Qom, I’m blessed to be surrounded by teacher’s and learned people. For this specific question I had the opportunity to consult someone who I have the utmost respect for-Agha Mujahidi. Agha Mujahadi was the student of Ayatollah Pahlavani who himself was the student of the late Allama Tabataba’i. It is a chain that I have no need to question whatsoever. Agha Mujahidi comes to deliver lectures at our school once a week and the students have the chance to consult him afterwards.
I sat down with him and asked him the same questions that pestered me the same day I visited the shrine. He told me that these feelings of spirituality aren’t feelings that are in our control, it is God that intervenes and places them in our hearts. This put me at ease as it assured me that it wasn’t my evil desires that led me to feel a certain way. This answer also meant that such a feeling must also have some sort of value. He mentioned that although these feelings come and go it is important to not let them pass our minds quickly and forget them. We should hold on to them as long as we can and use them as a means to continue on our path towards God. We want to reach the point of مقام, meaning that we want to reach a point that practices such as staying away from sin and enjoining in mandatory actions with pure intentions becomes established and fixed in our lives. This part is not only the most important, but is also the part which requires the most effort on our side.
It is very likely for someone like me to have such feelings and pass by them quickly and forget them. Why is that? Why can’t I keep that feeling in me at all times? Some people came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and addressed the issue to him similarly and he mentioned the reason for this.
الشاهد في هذا الحديث هو قول النبي (ص): ولولا تمريج قلوبكم، وتزيدكم في الحديث؛ لسمعتم ما أسمع).
The Prophet (s.aw.) mentions the two reasons we aren’t able to maintain a stable connection is that 1) we let everything in our hearts and 2) we speak too much. From what a trusted person explained to me, I understood that the first point means that we aren’t careful about the things that we see and hear. We need to be more careful about things that are unlawful as they have a direct correlation to our spiritual being. From the second point I understood that we are very free with the things we say and the amount that we speak. The lack of silence doesn’t allow us to contemplate on our own beings and hence bring reform in our lives. Working on these things may allow us to better understand the short moments of spirituality we experience and then work towards building a long-term relationship with our Creator.
Insha’Allah we pray that we can work towards understanding our nature as human beings, as Muslims, as servants of God and then create the relationship with the One who brought us into existence.
*Just as a separate بحث or discussion and more food for thought I wanted to bring up the ظاهري aspects of our religion and look into how they affect our فطرة (fitrat). Maybe it is something the reader can investigate as well. For example when it comes to things like weather, silence, architecture, sound, and many other things, I believe that they have some sort of reality when it comes to making us feel and pull us towards other realities.
*This is the reference to the Hadith I used: http://www.alseraj.net/cgi-bin/pros/av/SaharTextDisplay.cgi?print&32
-The same reference can be found in Al-Mizan (Allama Tabataba’i)