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Last Updated: 2011/10/23
Summary of question
What are the ways of strengthening one’s God seeking nature?
What are the ways of strengthening one’s God seeking nature?
Concise answer

The meaning behind the term of one’s God seeking faculty is that same internal (fitri) inclination and drive towards God the most high. This sense or faculty is a sort of inner call and its source originates in one’s inner nature (called the Fitrah in Islamic lexicon).

The existence of this faculty of attention towards God in human beings, which arises without any form of education or teaching, is an indication of its Fitri source. Of course, much like other human faculties, this faculty of God seeking can be awakened during certain situations.

In order to strengthen this faculty of God seeking, any inclinations towards evil, animalistic desires, or the getting stuck in daily affairs (which all contribute to taking man away from the recognition of God) must all be averted. Similarly, acting in accordance to the Sharia (the set of laws setup by God), taking inspiration from the verses of the Holy Quran, the words of the prophets (a), Awliya, and the leaders of the religion all aid in strengthening this faculty of God seeking and they help in strengthening our faith.

Detailed Answer

What is meant by the term God seeking nature is an internal inclination in human beings that drives them towards God. This is an internal call within the human being and it is none other than the force of human nature (fitrah); it is apparent without any training or education and it becomes even more manifest during the time of the maturation of man. Since this faculty is manifest without resort to any teaching and training it is evident that it comes from the inner state of man and it is even further awakened during certain incidents in the life of man.[1]

What is meant by saying that this inner faculty is present without any need for external training or teachers is that it exists without the need for any external influence (i.e. teachers or training), but at the same time, we must recognize that for full utilization of this faculty, without any deviation, then teachers and training are exceedingly valuable. In essence, full utilization of this faculty does indeed require learned teachers and training.[2] During certain times, this faculty can become covered, but it never can be eliminated completely. During times of difficulty, hardship, and struggle, this faculty is in fact strengthened and becomes more ‘finely polished’, and dominates over the spirit of man. Difficulties and hardships are some of the factors which help to awaken an oblivious individual from his deep materialistic sleep and helps to polish the rust which has formed over his spiritual heart. In addition, it helps to awake the sense of God consciousness which has lain dormant in the individual. It is due to this factor that many oppressive individuals, when faced with tragedies and difficulties, begin to remember God and sincerely become aware of him.[3]

In any case, there do exist ways of strengthening the sense of God seeking in the individual. They are as follows:

1-             Following the instructions of the Sharia (Islamically ordained divine legislation), taking inspiration from the verses of the Holy Quran, the words of the Prophets (a), Awliya, and religious leaders.

2- Putting a stop to base inclinations, animalistic desires, and occupations which busy human beings with other than God. These base and animalistic desires cause the faith of individuals to weaken or abate completely. Whoever follows his ‘NafsulAmmareh’ will allow them to predominate over him and this will close his eyes to the divine realities, thus weakening or potentially destroying his faith completely.[4]

3- Pushing aside the inattentiveness of the heart and increasing its attentiveness: In the ‘tradition of the ascent’ it has been narrated that God the Almighty said to the Prophet (s): ‘Oh Muhammad, put your effort on one thing and direct your speech to one direction, keep your body alive and never be inattentive; whoever is inattentive of me, it is not important to me in which pit of destruction he falls in.’[5] The advice of God to the Prophet (s) is that if the remembrance of God is not in one’s heart, then the body is dead. The human life of an individual is attached to his remembrance of God, and if one does not remember God, he will be deprived of life and his body will die. The human body remains alive only when the remembrance of God is constant, and it is inattentiveness that is the main cause of destruction.[6] Through following these instructions we can enliven and further strengthen our faculty of God seeking.

[1] Sobhani, Jafar, Iman va Aasaare Sazandeye Aan, pp. 25-30, with some abridgment, Imam Sadiq Institute Publications, Second print, 1384 (solar calendar); Sobhani, Jafar, Aqa’ede Eslami dar Partowe Quran, hadith and intellect, pg. 9, Library of Tebyan website.

[2] Sobhani, Jafar, Aqa’ede Eslami dar Partowe Quran, hadith and intellect, pg. 9, Library of Tebyan website.

[3] Sobhani, Jafar, Aqa’ede Eslami dar Partowe Quran, pg. 32; Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 16, adopted from pp. 340-341, Daar al-Kitab al-Islamiyyah, 1363.

[4] Mabani, Ravesha va Ahdaafe Tarbiyati dar Sahifeye Sajjadiyeh, pg. 9, Library of Teyan website; Misbah Yazdi, Muhammad Taqi, Akhlaq dar Quran, researched by Muhammad Husein Eskandari, vol. 1, adopted from pp. 196-209, Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute Publications, fifth print, 1380.

[5] Deylami, Hasan bin Abi al-Hasan, Irshaad al-Qulub, vol. 1, pg. 205.

[6] Misbah Yazdi, Muhammad Taqi, Darke Mahzare Khoda, pp. 1-3, with some change and abridgment, Library of Tebyan website; Misbah Yazdi, Muhammad Taqi, Raahiyaane Kuye Dust, pp. 250 and 251, Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute Publications, third print, 1376.

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