The external teachings of religion should be matched by a reflective, inner spirituality because ultimately that is what all of the teachings of religion lead to. We are not who we are because of our bodies but because of our rūḥ. Allāh created the rūḥ first. It is the rūḥ that was breathed into the womb of the mother, it was the rūḥ that was caged in this body, and that travels through this life. Whereas the body will die, the rūḥ will be transported in to the grave, to barzakh, the intermediary world between this world and the afterlife. It is the rūḥ is the essence of life and it is what makes us who we are, not the body.
The remarkable thing about our body, from the scientific perspective, is that the cells in our body are constantly being replaced. Some cells have a lifespan of just a few days. Others have a longer life span but still only last a matter of weeks or months. These cells are constantly dying off and being regenerated. Even our skin is constantly being shed as the cells in the superficial layers are constantly replacing themselves. We could therefore say that the body that we have now is not the same body we had some time ago, nor is it the body we will have in the future. Given that our body will continue to change, we should realise that is the rūḥ that matters not the body. The rūḥ is the essence of life and that is what we should be focussing on.
May Allāh make us from amongst those who look beyond the appearance and the exterior of religion and ilm, and make us those that appreciate the inner dimension of faith and work on it.
[This short excerpt is based on a majlis (gathering for spiritual training) delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Sunday 12th January 2020].