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The Meaning of Spirituality vs Religion vs Revelation


With English captions and Russian subtitles.

What do we mean exactly when we use the terms “spirituality,” “religion” and “revelation?”

What are the differences? Sidi Farhat Jouini replies to this quesion.


Madad ya saidi, Destour ya rijal Allah. Assalam alaikoum wa rahmatullah. A’udhu billahi min ash-shaytan ar-rajim. Bismillahi-r-Rahmani-r-Rahim.

Welcome to you. Ahlan, ahlan! Marhaban! May these short meetings be fruitful to all of us insha’Allah.

People generally speak about spirituality. They speak about religion, they speak about revelation. You hear us saying noble revelation, spirituality this, spirit… and then think where are we at exactly?

What are the differences? What are we talking about? It’s an important question obviously, very important, as it permits us to know exactly or as clearly as possible what we are talking about. First of all, let us see what are these three ideas.

What is Spirituality

Spirituality is the teaching, the holistic teaching, claiming to lead us as a total, as a body, emotions, psychology, psyche and spirituality and spirit, so accepting admitting that humans, we are many dimensions and many levels in one little package, and claiming to give therefore teaching which takes, which answers to the needs of all these dimensions. So this is spirituality.

What is Religion?

Religion is spiritual teaching made into a tradition and in some cases, not in all cases, becoming an identity. So that’s why we talk about religion as spirituality versus religion as social identity.

Social identity, you can know it when somebody tells you, defines oneself by polarization, by saying I am NOT that group, I am this group. We are, we have this particular relationship to the eternal. The dangers of social identity obviously is to turn religion into a tool of exclusion instead of what in the origin is a teaching of, is an inclusive teaching, is a calling teaching, which takes people one stage at the time, to show them the path of growing, and the path of our totality which is also our eternity. That’s religion.

What is Revelation?

Revelation. Noble revelation, holy revelation – we mean by that the teachings through the holy teachers, messengers, generally we call the messengers, prophets, their teaching received from the Source of all life and the Source of all teachings and the Source of all guidance, from the Divine to us so we have to believe there are channels to these teachings or to the first version of these teachings, if we believe that some traditions continue to have living teachers, and teachers are representing the original teachers, so they may not be direct channels but they may be interpreters of the original teachings, giving living guidance with their living experience. So that’s the revelation.

Sometimes revelation and religion kind of point to the same thing. So revelation and spirituality for some people point to the same thing. Now for spirituality, we have to say something important.

Spirituality is not a mind construct. It is not a product of the mind. It’s a product of the heart, of the intellect, of the spirit. It’s a much wider teaching than what the mind can bring. The mind deals with everyday life, deals with material life, deals with material solutions, deals with our survival. But spiritually deals with our totality. And often with spiritual teachers, with genuine grandteachers, the mind expands enough to go in a way at the same step, at the same rhythm as the teachings of the heart.

But in general, that’s why we generally say this is from the mind, this is from the heart, this is from the spirit, because we realize there are different sources of information and different sources of knowledge, there are different sources of direction, and when these sources work  together, to the betterment of our life and for our growth, then we’re talking about holistic spirituality, spirituality including, all inclusive of all our capacities or power. At our time,  people through their own effort try to build some kind of teaching they call spirituality. But we can tell the difference between genuine spiritual teaching, even if it’s personal. Versus imagined, imagination products or illusion products.

And that’s generally a problem, to realize we may have it, you know, on our table today. Us humans, when we are materialistic, we don’t believe in spirituality. But sometimes when we do accept spirituality, we will accept anything based on the unseen. But the unseen is energy. It can be lower energy, it can be higher energy, it can be angelic energy, it can be demonic energy, it can be illusion energy, just imagination, just people… you know.. floating there. And so we say… obviously people are free to pursue what they see is good for them, but we say that generally genuine spirituality takes you out of your comfort zone.

Genuine spirituality does not try to please your ego, to please you. Genuine spirituality tries to push you to grow, to invite you and then push you to grow in the right direction obviously. Genuine spirituality challenges you to break away from easy ways, to look into or to question, to question things we will just accept because our society or our environment accepts them, and generally to have the courage to knock on the new doors, and that needs lots of courage and lots of humbleness, really. So these, anyways we wanted to say a few words about these three ideas or three concepts, to be able to know what we have when we are dealing with something, what we have the exactly.

May Allah Azza wa Jalla bless all of us. May Allah Azza wa Jalla bless especially those who taught us.


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