Spirituality is an inner feeling mixed with one’s Fitra (nature) that creates positive characteristic, and moral and behavioral developments in mankind. It gives one a set of attributes life self-confidence, Ikhlas (purity of intention), and hope that helps to improve his or her social relations and reduce social harms. In other words, spirituality develops one’s character in certain areas.
Islam emphasizes that one of the major behavioral attributes of a spiritual person is that he or she feels responsibility towards others. They also have other characteristic that are underlined more in religious spirituality than non-religious spirituality, qualities like Tawakkul (putting one’s trust in God), commitment, self-sacrifice, and being happy.
Martyr Motahhari considers man’s Fitra as the main factor behind his feeling to need spirituality. He says inclination to worshipping God is manifested within a concept named religion, while spirituality is manifested in areas such as ethics, behaviors, and character. Because it is spread in various areas, today’s humanity thinks spirituality is a non-religious issue whereas proclivity to spirituality is Fitra-based and the movement of spirituality is toward religion.
One way of reaching spirituality is worshipping God. Worshipping is a comprehensive program designed by God for man’s movement on the path of growth. It is a complete program aimed at materializing the objective of man’s creation: “I have not created mankind and jinn except to worship Me.” (Verse 56 of Surah Adh-Dhariyat)
Another way for achieving spirituality is having Ikhlas and abandoning pretension and hypocrisy. Man will not be ready to accept the divine light unless he frees himself from attaching too much importance to worldly desires and considers worldly issues as a means not an end. Many Shia and Sunni Arifs (mystics) consider Zuhd (Asceticism) to be necessary for achieving spirituality.
Moreover, religion considers sympathy and empathy with the destitute and less privileged as a necessary pre-condition for reaching spirituality.
In any case, one should first choose Islam in order to be able to achieve spirituality based on the factors and components defined by the religion.