Ilyas Reyhanoglu

Each week we highlight a student and their idea of spirituality. This week our spotlight is on Ilyas Reyhanoglu, the student who helped begin on-campus Jum'ah (Friday congregational prayer for Muslims) this quarter. In response to what spirituality means to him, Ilyas says: "It is a balance between the materials and pleasures of this world and our awareness of God and to follow the conduct God has directed for us." If you would like to nominate someone to be highlighted, please contact us at
Publisher's note: No one person speaks on behalf of an entire religious, spiritual, or phiolosphical tradition. All views presented are those of the student according to their personal experience of their tradition.
What does spirituality mean to you?
IR:  To me, spirituality in Islam means the connection and linking of our actions to the purpose of our life and betterment of our character-- all to seek the pleasure of God. It is a balance between the materials and pleasures of this world and our awareness of God and to follow the conduct God has directed for us. To me, spirituality doesn't mean locking oneself in a room to exclusively perform worship for the rest of one's life. Nor is it excessively immersing oneself in the activities of this life while lazily performing Islam's 5 daily prayers. Spirituality is a balance. To me, an example of this can be found in food. Those who identify with a religion have some knowledge of their religion and awareness of God, but they may be ungrateful of their food or just view food as something to fulfill hunger. Others may be very appreciative and enjoy their food, but they neglect to attribute the food to God as a mercy and gift from God. Spirituality is that balance. It is the mentality of enjoying the food and being grateful for it while realizing that God, by His grace, allowed us to have that meal. It is that mentality that we should consume what is lawful with our lawfully-earned money to please God, and that by doing so, we receive God's pleasure.
How do you practice your spirituality on a daily basis?
IR: I attempt to better myself in faith by trying my best to link my actions and thoughts to pleasing God. This encourages me to remember that whatever I may do, God will hold me accountable for it in the afterlife, so it encourages me to shape and pursue my motives in a correct manner that will please God.
Have you learned anything about yourself through this/these practice(s)?
IR:  I believe that making the sincere effort to please God in my regular actions and performances of worship further internally establishes what my purpose in life is-- to worship and please God in preparation for the afterlife. It has made me become more content, resolute, and given me a moral foundation to act upon.
In what ways do you believe practicing spirituality connects us with something greater than ourselves?
IR:  By practicing spirituality, a balance between justly pursuing our goals in our lifetime and pleasing God should exist. That makes us free to attempt to leave behind a legacy for others to follow, but through this effort, we are connecting ourselves to something greater. This connection becomes a constant reminder of God and that God will hold us accountable for all of our actions, encouraging those who exemplify spirituality to act with justice.