Today the long-cherished goals of mankind — love, peace, prosperity, security, equality, justice, freedom of conscience, social harmony and peaceful co-existence — are in jeopardy. In place of peace and harmony, one observes chaos and conflict day in, day out. It is too difficult to come by good news in the morning. This sorry state of affairs is largely because of man’s rigid insistence on the denial of spirituality and practice of materialism.
Modern man takes great pride in unparalleled scientific achievements. Of course, s/he has every right to do so, but s/he should also feel impelled to find out as to why the spirit of life is being trampled underfoot in a way that not even the darkest period of human history has a parallel. The reason is simple. Spirituality, which was the essence and basis of human life as enshrined in all faiths and traditions, is being undermined today.
The reason why we need a spiritual foundation for our life is that only this can help us attain a meaningful social life. In other words, there is no social life without spiritual understanding of life as such. Therefore, man needs to be in constant search of spirituality that can provide a sound psychological foundation of human unity, which is only possible with the perception that all human life is spiritual in its origin.
Also, there is an integral relationship between spirituality and unity of mankind. One can easily find and strengthen this spiritual foundation, for instance, in the basic Islamic tenet Tawheed, the foundation for global unity. According to the Tawheed doctrine, God is the ultimate spiritual basis of all creations. And loyalty to God virtually amounts to man’s full synergy, spiritual symbiosis and harmony with all his creations.
Due to practical reasons, spirituality brings optimism, enriches interpersonal relationships, creates support systems and enhances the quality of life. Numerous scientific studies and reviews have returned the result that greater the amount of spirituality people have, greater are the positive effects on their mental health. Recently, in a review of scientific literature, researchers reviewed 115 articles to determine the relationship between spirituality and adolescent substance use, anxiety, depression, delinquency and suicidal tendencies. They reached the conclusion that 92 per cent of the articles demonstrated a significant relationship between spirituality and improved mental health.
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an alim (classical Islamic scholar) and a Delhi-based writer. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org