Meditation in Islam
Today I would like to talk about the concept of meditation in Islam. Is a concept that is in tune with Shariah? How do we look at other meditation techniques such as yoga?
Meditation is a rather broad term, which includes a variety of techniques and practices depending on its religious or traditional roots. It is used for a number of reasons ranging from disciplining ones inner self to being a mode of worship. Therefore, the word ‘meditation’ carries different meanings in different contexts.
Sharī’ah also supports meditation. It is referred to as Murāqabah in the Arabic language. It refers to inspection and introspection of one’s Nafs (inner self) with certain forms of silent dhikr in an attempt to bring the Nafs in line with the injunctions and commands of Allah. It is also used for other benefits, such as creating the consciousness of death, increasing ones concentration during ‘Ibādah, etc. However, it should be noted that Murāqabah itself and gaining solace and comfort from it is not the objective. The main objective is to create a bond with Allāh and discipline one’s inner self. The peace of mind, comfort, serenity, and solace one gains from Murāqabah are a bonus.
One should intend to gain the greater benefits when carrying out Murāqabah, and the smaller benefits will automatically be achieved. As Murāqabah includes Dhikr of Allāh and He states in the Qur’ān:
“Lo! In the remembrance of the name of Allāh do the hearts find peace”
therefore, through Murāqabah, one will certainly attain peace and comfort.
Generally, Muraqaba is carried out by clearing one’s thoughts of everything besides Allah. Thereafter, a person turns his spiritual gaze and attention completely and exclusively towards Allāh. He meditates upon the fact that Allāh is constantly watching every single move he makes and every thought that crosses his mind. Similarly, one can also focus his/her mind on death, the burial process and the questioning of the grave, etc.
Meditation that is linked to any religious or cultural group general contains acts, positions or chants that reflect that particular religion or culture. Such practices mostly contravene the laws of Shari’āh. Hence, any such type of meditation that reflects any aspect contrary to Sharī’ah or has links to another religion, such as yoga, will be impermissible in Sharī’ah. It is necessary to stick to the Islamic method of meditation.
May Allah Subhaana ta’ala give us to the strength to connect to Him.
By Rahil Mumtaz