Tawassum means to elicit spiritual lessons from material experiences. That is, to draw spiritual lessons from material events or experiences. Anyone who wants to live as a spiritual person must develop himself as a person who can engage in tawassum. He must enable himself to draw spiritual lessons from the non-spiritual experiences of daily life.

Everything depends on the human mind. If you are a materialist, you will learn materialistic lessons, but if you believe in God, you will start learning divine lessons. When one prepares one’s mind in terms of spirituality, one will be able to take spiritual lessons from every event. For example, if you take a glass of water and drink from it, you can also take a lesson from this. An awakened mind will reflect on how water was created: how two gases could combine and form a beneficial liquid (H2O). This will become a way to discover and remember God.

You can take spiritual lessons from every experience you have: the rising of the sun in the morning, the continuous supply of oxygen from the air, the flying of birds in the sky, green trees standing on the surface of the earth, flowing streams, and so on. If you continue your thinking process and continue to take lessons from nature, you will have a high level of spiritual development.



The believer, according to the Quran, must be a traveler (al-saihoon) (9:112). This is not just in the sense of one who goes on journeys: it actually means one who learns spiritual lessons through tawassum (15:75), i.e. through reflection on material experiences. Guidance to this effect is set forth in the chapter Al-An‘am (The Cattle) of the Quran. The translation of the relevant verse is as follows:

         “Say, ‘Travel about the land and see what was the end of the deniers.” (6:11)

A believer is one who is always in a state of contemplation. When a believer is on his travels, his mind is always in the contemplative mode. Whatever a believer sees around him turns into a spiritual experience. A true believer’s mind is like a spiritual industry. He sees everything with a divine eye and learns spiritual lessons through tawassum. His travelling thus becomes ibadat, or worship, in that it serves to remind him of God.

This process is integral to the workings of the mind of a true believer—a spiritually hungry person, who is constantly trying to derive spiritual lessons from everything. Naturally, this process continues during his travels. There is a formula for this which can be summarized thus: siahat plus tawassum is equal to maarefat.

Source: Leading a Spiritual Life

The British writer Walter de la Mare (1873-1956) wrote a poem called ‘Miss T’. A few lines of the poem are presented here: “It's a very odd thing - As odd as can be - That whatever Miss T eats Turns into Miss T.” The poet suggests that as long as food is on the table it has an identity as an edible item. But once Miss T eats them, they become a part of her. This is a form of conversion, through which a material substance is changed to become a part of the human body. But there is another aspect of this change. This aspect relates to the human consciousness.

Pondering over material experiences can transform them into a means for the development of our consciousness. When we see various material things around us, they are just objects. But when they enter our minds, they can be transformed into a source for the development of our consciousness.

A conscious person might wonder on the creation and existence of various materials on this earth. Their compatibility with humans go to form a fascinating life support system. Exploring further, one begins to discover the meaningfulness of God's creation and can see the Creator through His creation. This experience is a means to develop intellectually and spiritually.

Source: Spirit of Islam July 2015

The universe has been fashioned by God in a way that it may become a source of spiritual inspiration for man. According to the Quran, it is the quality of ‘tawassum’ that enables one to find inspiration in the universe. Tawassum is the ability to understand the signs of nature. That is, to observe the phenomena of the universe in order to draw lessons from them and receive spiritual nourishment from physical events. God is so generous that He has created the whole universe to be at our service, day and night. Spirituality is based on taking lessons from God’s signs spread in the universe (Tawassum) (15: 75) which means converting every material event into a spiritual lesson. Tawassum is, in a sense, a matter of conversion, on a parallel with grass entering the body of the cow and through a natural process being transformed into milk. Similarly, the truly religious person is like a divine industry. He is able to convert physical events into spiritual lessons. He extracts spiritual nourishment from material things. True spirituality is that which leads man to intellectual development.

Source: Spirit of Islam April 2013


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