The Spiritual
Training System

The Egyptian Society for Spiritual and Cultural Research

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The basic chain key concepts, handled in the previous section, form the base on which the system of spiritual training, commonly known as rituals was founded. Prayers Salat, Fasting Sawm, Alms giving Zakat, and Pilgrimage Hajj together with the Testimony of La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammad Rasulu Allah are called the five pillars of Islam. They share the fact that they train man to experience her/himself as spirit, and not to be indulged in her/his earthly desires. They are rich in symbols, which can be decoded continuously for those who practice them with dedication and look for enlightenment of hearts.

While the concepts beyond all those rituals exist in all revelations, Islam as revealed to The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) revives the old concepts through a comprehensive system that echoes in man's life in a wonderful way. This system continuously nurtures man's spirit and can turn her/his whole life to be spiritually fruitful. They follow the natural order, al-Fitra because they are arranged according to the cosmological order, and because they respond to man's spiritual needs in a practical way.

While Al-Shahada comes on top of these pillars, all the pillars represent the Shahada in essence. Al-Shahada, in essence, is a point of departure and the end goal at the same time for any person who seeks the truth and wants to be on the Righteous Path.

A seeker of truth is not satisfied with uttering the words, not even with believing in them, but s/he looks forward to living them. The worship system that the Divine taught The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and commanded him to teach to his followers supports man through that endeavor. Each pillar has a place in the whole structure and the structure will not be complete unless with the four pillars.

In dealing with those pillars, we have to exclude the imposed phony goals and search for meanings that are related to the main concepts;glossary namely, how to surrender to Allah, to live the Shahada, to be on the Righteous Path following the Quibla, and to be the Servant of Allah and His Vicegerent.

The four pillars of Islam are symbolically performed according to Muhammad's guidance. He was the one who used to teach them to Muslims as soon as he received the guidance of the Divine through the Revelation. In essence, those pillars were introduced as reminding symbols that awaken man's consciousness when s/he is about to forget her/his old covenant with Allah. Each symbol explains others and each of them says the same thing in a different way. They all confirm that there is one Truth, one God, and one Goal, and one Religion.

The Messenger of Allah has come to guide the humanity to achieve the goal that is meant to be, that is, to surrender to the Divine Law. Harmony is another word that explains how to surrender. Harmony is the nature of things because everything is in complete surrender to Allah’s Will:

Seest thou not that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the hills, the trees, the animals? (HQ: 22: 18).

Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare the Praises and Glory of Allah: to Him belongs Dominion, and to Him belongs Praise
(HQ: 64:1).

Because man is given a will and a choice, s/he needs a struggle from within for not to hurt her/himself by her/his ignorance of the Law of life. S/he needs to know how to link her/himself to her/his origin in order to be in harmony with the Divine Law. Al Shahada, which is expressed by the different tools through the four pillars, is meant to tune man to be in harmony with the Divine Law. That is the only way that s/he can be spiritually alive and gradually achieve being ‘Abdullah (Servant of God).

Without the awareness of the limitations of living on earth, man can be indefinitely indulged in fulfilling her/his earthly requirements and succumb to her/his growing needs. Consequently, s/he may forget her/his real mission on earth; why s/he came here and where s/he is going. The individual person, as such, may throw her/himself in the abyss of spiritual death. The beautiful thing about those pillars lies in the fact that they echo in man's life in a specific order and interrupt the flow of mundane life according to certain system. Each of these pillars has their parallels in other revelations. In the Revelation to Muhammad (PBUH) , that interruption is meant to remind people of the core reason of their existence and to make their life a continuous communication with Allah. Actually every aspect of worship is a means of getting a human exposed to God’s graces and blessings, which nurture her/him and lead to spiritual growing. Also they purify one’s soul, and help a human handle her/his daily life from a proper perspective.

“Your Lord makes His Graces available during certain times. So, get yourselves exposed to them” (PH).

Narrated by Al Tabarani


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