Cultivating the spiritual journey of man is the bedrock of Muslim culture. But how can they suppress their desires and passion for the sake of strengthening their faith and obedience to God’s will?
It is a matter of submission. Technically, it is not the kind of task entailing one to jot down ideas on a piece of paper or the kind of compulsory action requiring one to do. Rather, it is professing faith verbally and physically, that there exists One True God and humans are His servants whose nature is to obey Him. Muslims prefer to consider God as Allah, the Arabic transliteration of the Supreme Being, because the word Allah remains singular in its omnipresence and is deemed omnipotent in the absolute sense.
With obedience, it pertains to certain practices humans observed in accordance to what the Prophet says. The salat (prayer) is a way of refreshing their minds to their real role—acquainting to their daily activities and constantly acknowledging the presence of Allah in their hearts. In the early morn of the day, a Fajr (dawn) prayer is said, followed by Dhuhr (noon), Asr (afternoon), Maghrib (evening) and Isha (night) prayers done anywhere one may please.
But it does not only stop in personal convictions. Getting rid of selfishness and greed is practiced in Zakat (charity) wherein a portion of income is given to the less fortunate, which can be compensated in alternative ways other than in kind. Muslims believe that it is even more detestable to indulge oneself into luxury while others suffer from the agonies of hunger and unemployment.
It is a matter of esteem. Portraits of any living thing is considered a taboo in Muslim culture and traditions, due to the belief that Allah is an entity that human minds cannot fathom. This is also to prevent any other prophet from being worshipped.
Modesty is emphasized in the Quran, the holy book. Men and women are equal in the sight of Allah; they must lower their gaze and dress appropriately. The wearing of the hijab in women is not to seclude them from other men, but to remind them that the adornment they possess is not a thing for sale—they should ensure moral boundaries simply to show that they must be respected. Although public interaction must be treated with modesty, singing and dancing for fun and celebration is not haram (forbidden) in Islam, as long as women still maintain decency and are not meddling with other men.
It is a matter of surrendering to sacrifices. It happens when one internalizes the essence of sawm (fasting) done during the Ramadan, a month-long fast wherein worshippers neither eat a single crumb of a delicious cookie nor drink from a single drop of water no matter how thirsty they may feel from dawn to dusk, and the Hajj (pilgrimage), where a long journey awaits the individual and proclaims the supremacy of Allah.
By definition, Islam is not just entitled to a certain race, culture or belief but rather, a descriptive title of an inclusive way of life. Muslims are not Muslims if they do not obey and wholeheartedly submit to Allah’s verbatim in the Quran. Thus, any form of transgression against the scriptures is a devoid act in the Islamic culture.
When we are deprived of the most basic necessities in life, we unconsciously build the unparalleled spirit of patience suppressing our own worldly desires and unearthly passions.