Maintaining Spiritual Enthusiasm and Commitment

Maintaining Spiritual Enthusiasm and Commitment
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Question: Although we initially engage in altruistic services with great love and excitement, over time, this love and excitement can fade, and sometimes one can feel completely outside the circle. What do you recommend in this regard?

Answer: Indeed, when many people first encounter the cause of serving faith and the Qur’an, everything seems very original, new, and fresh. They perceive what they see, hear, and read in a very different way. These things affect their hearts, souls, and emotions. However, after a certain period, they succumb to inertia and become victims of familiarity. Although the truths they encounter are fresh and original, because they cannot renew themselves, they cannot feel and perceive them with the same freshness and originality; other considerations take precedence, and priorities change.

Reflect on Your Intentions and Priorities

In this regard, the first thing we need to review is our intentions, goals, and priorities. Are we truly prioritizing the things that Allah prioritizes? What are we desiring, seeking, and pursuing? Are we showing the same enthusiasm for the cause of elevating the word of Allah as we do for worldly matters? What do we value the most, and what do we want to achieve? What are our emotions, thoughts, inner demands, excitements, and dreams revolving around? All of us should first answer these kinds of questions honestly, and if we cannot find the answer we are looking for, we should reassess ourselves.

If what we passionately desire and pursue is not the cause of faith, the knowledge of Allah, the love of Allah, or the longing and eagerness to meet Allah, we cannot escape the fatigue of the journey. If we are not piercing through our sleep at night, placing our heads on the prayer rug, and saying, “O Allah, I am not important, nor is my world. Since You created us to know You and worship You, please, I implore You, grant me the ability to worship You properly!” it is very difficult to maintain our vitality. This means that these have not yet become our primary issues and priorities.

Deepening Knowledge of Allah (Marifetullah)

On the other hand, maintaining one’s love and excitement in both personal worship and services performed in the path of Allah depends on deepening one’s knowledge of Allah. Marifetullah (knowledge of Allah) is achieved, increased, and developed through continually reading and discussing works written about faith, engaging in both internal and external contemplation, and transforming every environment we are in into gatherings centered around the love of Allah. Everyone should reevaluate their daily conversations, dialogues, agendas, and activities accordingly. How much do the topics we discuss or engage in daily relate to our fundamental issues? How much time do we waste on current events that do not concern us directly and that we follow purely out of curiosity?

Just as many problems related to religion stem from weak faith, a person’s succumbing to familiarity and habit is also related to this. Unfortunately, there is a severe weakness of faith today. It is not possible to say that we believe in the unseen truths to the extent that we should. Along with this, we have various weaknesses, gaps, and defects. Sometimes we are crushed under our pride and arrogance, sometimes we succumb to our selfish desires. We cannot rid ourselves of the viruses that can pierce our spiritual world. When a lack of faith is added to all these, we become like buildings on the verge of collapse; we live constantly on the brink of falling and crumbling. When we say “My Lord,” our hearts do not tremble. Our relationship with the Prophet (peace be upon him) is not very strong. In this respect, strengthening our faith must always be our priority and foremost issue.

I believe we need to make a serious commitment to ourselves to be a servant worthy of Allah and remain steadfast in this commitment. Afterwards, we should live our lives like the insatiable seeker of knowledge described by Bediuzzaman in his treatise, Ayetü’l-Kübra. We should pour heaps of knowledge from the pages we read, from the book of the universe we observe, from the discussions we participate in, into our hearts and souls. We should turn this knowledge into love, burn with the love of Allah, but never find this sufficient and continue to say “Is there more?” and repeat the same things the next day. Even if we meticulously examine the signs of creation, analyze and synthesize them in detail, and find a path to walk towards Allah from every letter, word, and line we read in the book of the universe, we should never be satisfied and should continue to seek new beams of knowledge the next day.

In essence, ambition for worldly things is not a commendable feeling. However, the ambition shown in the subject of Divine knowledge is praiseworthy. This feeling that Allah has given to man should be used to deepen our knowledge of Allah, burn with the love of Allah, support the cause of elevating the word of Allah, and pursue Divine pleasure.

Embracing the Ideal of Giving Life

Another important aspect to consider is the ideal of giving life. If you want to revive or stay alive in terms of emotions, thoughts, heart, and soul, you must be an apostle of revival. There is nothing that contributes to one’s own revival as much as the effort to revive others. As you awaken hearts to Allah and remove obstacles between hearts and Allah, bringing them together with Him, Allah will not leave you unsupported. Besides divine support, it is important to remember that a person who strives to spread the sacred name of Allah, who dedicates their life to guiding people towards the paths to Paradise, and whose mind is always filled with such thoughts, cannot let themselves go or fall into inertia.

Concern for Spiritual Life

One of the most important dynamics that can be utilized in this regard is suffering. Unfortunately, I must express that we do not feel the sufficient spiritual angst or pain of the problems we are experiencing. We are not disturbed by our familiarity and habit, by losing our excitement. Even though our religious enthusiasm has faded, we can comfortably continue our lives, eat and drink with ease, and enjoy ourselves. We do not concern ourselves with our religious life as much as we worry about our worldly matters, nor do we carry as much concern for our spiritual future as we do for our worldly future. We do not feel the unrest for the problems related to ourselves or our families as much as we do for the deviations in the faith and religious life of humanity as a whole. However, if we could turn to Allah in a state of spiritual distress, whether verbally or in practice, Allah would respond to the prayer of the distressed.

Combatting Lack of Enthusiasm

A lack of enthusiasm is a cursed affliction. In addition to losing religious excitement, excessive enthusiasm for worldly matters is another confounded affliction. Even if a person believes in Allah, goes to the mosque to pray, or circumambulates the Kaaba during pilgrimage, they can still be defeated by these afflictions. Lack of enthusiasm acts like a slope, preventing a person from ascending to Allah, holding them back, and perhaps even sinking them lower.

Knowing what truly constitutes a concern and what does not requires a different kind of knowledge. For example, a person who cannot taste the pleasure of faith, who cannot say “Praise be to Allah countless times for creating us as believers!” every day, who lives unaware of the spiritual pleasure of the faith in their heart, who cannot feel the pain of the problems humanity faces today, and who suffers from excitement fatigue is in great trouble. A person who pursues secondary and external matters and seeks to satisfy their bodily and physical pleasures while such troubles persist lives in the iron grip of affliction.

Conducting a Serious Self-Assessment

If we see stagnation and dullness within ourselves, if we think we have lost the excitement of the early days, if we cannot display the same vitality we once did, we should examine the issue with fairness and subject ourselves to a serious accounting. Because it means there is a problem originating from us. Have we fallen into heedlessness, started living crookedly, become captives to comfort, or distanced ourselves from our sources of nourishment? What is the cause of this slackness in us? We must diagnose the problem as soon as possible and look for its treatment. If we do not do this, we are wasting ourselves. If it is not possible for us to overcome the problem on our own, we should consult a competent spiritual doctor [-guide] and explain our troubles to them. We must address the issue before the disease metastasizes and take our precautions. Otherwise, the deviation that starts at the center will slowly widen as it extends to the surrounding lines, creating a great distance that will make it difficult to close and return after a while.

By reflecting on your intentions, deepening your knowledge of Allah, embracing the ideal of giving life, addressing spiritual distress, combating lack of enthusiasm, and conducting a serious self-assessment, you can revive and sustain your spiritual enthusiasm and commitment in your spirituality and voluntary altruistic services.◄