by Rushna Ali Khan
When we look around, we see smiling faces but empty hearts. There is materialistic abundance in people’s lives but no satisfaction. Outer chaos has conquered inner peace. Why? Why is there emptiness, lack of happiness and displeasure? We call this “spiritual emptiness.” Materialism and worldly pleasures have created “spiritual holes” in people’s hearts. They have forgotten the spiritual realm, which is the driving force behind our lives and health.
The biopsychosocial model (Moreira- Almeida & Koss-Chioino, 2009)
This spiritual void can be filled and peace can only be achieved through submission to Allah and Islam. The word Islam means “submission, surrender” and comes from the three-word root seen-lam-meem, which can also mean “well-being, perfection, freedom and peace”.
Do they seek a way other than the Religion of Allah? –-While all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His will ( Accepted Islam), and to Him they shall be brought back.(Surah Ali’ Imran, verse 83)
Turning to Allah and following the path of Islam can fill the void in our hearts. Peace and contentment cannot be achieved materialistically or through worldly pleasures but through our reunion with Allah. Aisha Rosalie, a former British actress now a Muslim, says in one of her interviews: ” I’ve tried so many things in my life to find contentment, find happiness and God has given me that with Islam.”
Below are some steps and practices that can help us in our spiritual journey and fill the void within us.
Finding Purpose and Meaning
Everything that surrounds us serves a purpose. The sun rising in the east and setting in the west is the manifestation of days and nights. Bursting clouds and rain fill the barren land and cause trees to grow. The food chain and food cycle maintain the ecological balance in this world. Everything has meaning. Likewise, our existence and life have a purpose.
Did you then think that We had created you without purpose and that you would never be returned to Us?(Surah Al Mu’minun, verse 115)
I did not create jinn and humans except to worship me
(Surah Adh-Dhariyat, verse 56)
From the above two verses of the Holy Quran, we can know the purpose of human existence. We are created to worship Allah and return to Him. This life is temporary and the next life is permanent. When we understand this and develop a purpose, we can stay grounded in our lives. By accepting that our lives have a purpose, we feel directed to return to Allah. It gives us a spiritual purpose to work towards and helps us prepare for the hereafter. It keeps us focused, away from the distractions and evils of this dunya, which can cause spiritual hollowness in our hearts.
Love of Allah and Love for Allah
Love is powerful. When we are loved, cared for, and attended to, we are joyful. Love is something everyone needs to give and receive. The catch is that our spiritual emptiness can only be filled if we love Allah and accept love from Him. No human love in its various forms can bring us the fulfilment we so desperately crave. Humans sometimes seek total tranquillity in the affection of other people and neglect the fact that Allah is Al Wadud (The Most Loving). There is no parallel to the love that Allah has for His slaves. If we knew how much Allah loves us, our hearts would melt and explode.
“When Allah loves someone He calls to Jibreel’ alayhi salatu wassalam( Allah be pleased with him) saying, ‘O Jibreel, I love such and such a person, so love him.’ Then Jibreel will call to the angels of the heavens, ‘Allah loves such and such a person so love him.’ And the angels will love ( that person).And then Allah will place acceptance on earth for that believer.“(Bukhari and Muslim)
Loving Allah and accepting that Allah loves us creates a sense of wholeness in us. We do not look to others for confirmation, trust and care, but to the one who created us. We understand that our Creator loves us abundantly, even more than our mother. This kind of love and affection helps us feel content.
Salah, Zikr and Quran
Salah and Zikr are powerful spiritual tools that help us stay connected to Allah SWT. They are our means of communication with Allah.
Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest(Surah Ar-Ra’d, verse 28
It is clearly said that we find peace in the remembrance of Allah. As mentioned by many scholars, salah and zikr are forms of meditation. We feel relaxed and calm when we pray. These spiritual exercises are a source of peace and tranquillity in our lives. Many have found peace after reading the Qur’an. And why not? It is a divine revelation that tells the truth and guides everyone. In my own experience, reading the Quran with a detailed explanation (tafseer) removed tightness and sadness from my life. This book gives us the basis for a complete relationship with Allah. This is truly a book of healing that cannot be disregarded.
Verily, your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him (in supplication), He becomes Shy to return them empty(Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)
Duas have a lot of power and can change our qadr. Duas can change the direction of our life. They remind us of Allah’s closeness to us. What better way is there to ask Allah to fill our spiritual voids, Subhan’Allah!
Allah eases the suffering of the distressed. When we make dua to Allah, He listens to us and grants us ease.
“Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth?”( Surah An-Naml, verse 62)
The spiritual void has permeated the ummah, and many are suffering. It is time to examine our hearts and souls. We must cultivate a strong bond with Allah SWT, and begin our spiritual journey because emptiness can only be filled by Allah.
Truly in the heart, there is a void that can not be removed except with the company of Allah.
And in it there is a sadness that can not be removed except with the happiness of knowing Allah and being true to Him.
And in it there is an emptiness that can not be filled except with love for Him and by turning to Him and always remembering Him.
And if a person were given all of the world and what is in it, it would not fill this emptiness.
-Imam Ibn al Qayyim
- Helwa, A. (2020, February 20). Secrets of Divine Love. In A Spiritual Journey into the Heart of Islam
- Yousef.J. (2021). Reflecting on the Names of Allah