Witnessing the presence of Allah in our actions and worship is important to acquire a ‘taste’ of spirituality in Islam. It is from the routes in recognizing the love of Allah for us and recognition for our efforts in this life. It is one of the ways to also prove Allah’s existence to ourselves, although there are other often more important ways, such as through reason, science and the sacred texts, and this is often done through study of Islamic theology, as opposed to Islamic spirituality.
Even if a Muslim’s knows in their mind that Allah exists, they may be prevented from ‘knowing’ Allah spiritually and having a personal relationship with him for a number of reasons:
1. Sins. If you are missing prayers and committing sins by leaving obligations or doing impermissible acts, this darkens the heart and prevents it from witnessing the Creator. Also it invites the displeasure of Allah, leading Him to prevent the person from knowing and witnessing Him in this world and thus the hereafter.
2. Desires. A person whose attention is mostly attuned to their desires will be distracted from the Creator and from protecting themselves from sins. Desires are mostly about fulfilling physical and material needs, even if permissible. A human being needs to rise above their material self to witness the presence of the Creator in their life.
3. Heedlessness. A person who is distracted from seeking the Creator and instead obsessed with other things such as useless information, the empty and vacuous ideas and ramblings of entertainers and musicians etc, will be unable to focus their heart on witnessing the Creator.
4. Psychology. A person who had a spiritually lacking upbringing or who has a mental illness may suffer from insensitivity to their soul and spiritual self. Many Muslim parents stress outward deeds to their children and not the love of Allah and His Messenger, as that is all they know of spirituality. Our environments and cultures are largely materialistic, secular and spiritually dead. Mental illnesses and mental stress can also cause people to lose emotional intelligence or becoming nihilistic in their outlook on life. Such can distract or prevent people from a healthy spiritual outlook in life and in their relationship with their Creator.
So the solution is:
1) Cease sinning. Instill in yourself feelings of regret and ask for His forgiveness, especially in the times where Dua is more likely to be answered, such as during a prolonged sujud. Read the stories of the righteous or accompany and meet them for inspiration.
2) Regulate your desires, look beyond merely fulfilling your physical and material needs and try to explore your soul instead (not the same thing as the mind, it requires more abstract thought rather than logical).
3) Focus your heart on trying to witness Him. Allah will not reveal Himself to someone who doesn’t seek Him in their heart. If you turn away and care little for Him, He will turn away from you and care little for you.
4) Fix your humanity before attempting to connect to the Creator. The best Muslims are those who first have the purest connection to their human selves and are untainted by the spiritual, mental and emotional diseases of modernity, materialism and individualism. One only needs to look at the Sirah and see how the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was a moral and ethical human being in touch with his fitrah before he even became a Prophet.
Spirituality is something you have to actively engage in for it to work. For some people it comes more naturally, but for some they have to work a bit before they ‘taste’ it. When they do however, it’s impossible to go back except out of laziness or another spiritual disease.