Devotional: Five aspects of spiritual development

Published 9:50 am Saturday, June 3, 2023

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Having been born into an African Methodist Episcopal family and later converted to Islam, I have found commonalities in both belief systems. 

People of faith can view the Almighty’s protections much like a huge Revival Tent. It has a large center pole and shorter poles on each of its four corners. The canvas cover protects worshipers from excessive heat from the sun and keeps them dry in the rain.

I think of excessive heat as hedonistic behavior that threatens to destroy the moral underpinning of our lives. I understand rain to represent stormy circumstances that shake the substructure of our existence. Navigating the ups and downs of life necessitates Divine protection metaphorically presented here as a tent.

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The large center pole represents the core of our beliefs. There is only one Creator. His Prophets and Messengers are of a single spiritual brotherhood modeling excellent human character. 

One corner pole represents the importance of prayer. Sometimes we think that we know all of the answers to our problems. But we do not. As we reach the limit of our human reasoning abilities, prayer for Divine intervention is often our only salvation.

A second pole suggests the importance of charity in human affairs. All that we possess are gifts from our Creator. Our knowledge, wealth, influence, and even our time are entrusted to us to use wisely. We should not horde any of His blessings. 

A third pole of our Revival Tent represents the lessons internalized from fasting. Mastering the art of self-restraint by denying our physical appetites satisfaction, strengthens our resolve to abide by Divine dictates.

The last pole suggests to us the importance of pilgrimage: a journey that is undertaken to develop unity of purpose and direction. Believers travel to a single, sacred location forming a huge congregation of dedicated worshippers. Regardless of the difficulty of the journey, success in this undertaking requires patience, empathy, and tolerance.

The five aspects of spiritual development mentioned herein, are significant in the lives of believers. They form a bedrock for Divine Guidance that is able to bear tremendous loads faced by humanity.  

The importance of our collective strength as God-conscious people cannot be overstated. Those on the far right and extreme left polarize our nation. Our children are dying in school shootings. Now is a good time for the spiritually-guided masses in the middle to make their voices heard.

Qadir Abdus-Sabur, Ph.D. is an Imam at the Islamic Center of Prince Edward. His email address is