Islam and Meditation 

Syed Bukhari

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Islam and Meditation

Islam and Meditation – Meditation is an ancient practice that has been part of most major religions, including Islam. However, there has been some debate among Muslims on whether meditation is allowed in Islam.

Meditation can be defined as a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as mindfulness, focused attention or chanting, to train their mind and induce a mode of consciousness. The goal is often to achieve mental clarity, emotional calmness and spiritual growth.

In Islam, while meditation itself is not explicitly discussed, there are similar practices that share common purposes with meditation. These include spiritual reflection (tafakkur), remembrance of God (dhikr), contemplation (muraqaba) and self-inspection (muhasaba).

When analyzed in the light of Islamic principles, meditation can be considered permissible, as long as it fulfills certain conditions. Let’s explore this topic in detail:

Is Meditation Allowed in Islam?

The permissibility of meditation in Islam depends on the type of meditation and the purpose behind it. Many scholars have pointed out that meditation by itself is not prohibited, as Islam promotes taking care of one’s mental and physical health. However, certain types of meditation may be forbidden if they go against Islamic beliefs.

Some key principles to keep in mind regarding meditation in Islam:

  • No worship of other deities: Islam strictly prohibits worshipping anyone other than Allah. Therefore, any meditation practice that directs worship towards human beings, nature or idols would be forbidden.
  • No chanting of sacred mantras: Chanting mantras associated with polytheistic faiths like Hinduism or Buddhism would not be allowed. However, chanting attributes of Allah and Quranic verses is permitted.
  • No compromising Islamic beliefs: Meditation techniques that promote beliefs contrary to Islamic teachings, such as unity of existence or negating afterlife, are prohibited.
  • Maintaining ritual purity: One should maintain ritual purity through ablution before meditation, especially obligatory prayers.
  • Proper intentions: The aim should be seeking closeness to Allah, rather than worldly psychic powers which are considered non-Islamic.

Provided these conditions are fulfilled, meditation can be permitted as a healthy spiritual practice within the framework of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself would spend extended periods absorbing natural settings in deep introspection before prophethood.

Islam and Meditation 

Is Meditation Haram or Halal in Islam?

Opinions are divided among Islamic scholars on the permissibility of meditation. But the more accepted view is that meditation is permissible (halal) if it fulfills certain conditions.

Those who consider meditation absolutely prohibited (haram) argue the following points:

  • Meditation has roots in Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. Practices with non-Islamic origins should be avoided.
  • Meditation related to spiritual mysticism and attaining oneness with God goes against Islamic beliefs about creator-created distinction.
  • Paying undivided attention and devotion to anyone other than Allah in meditation is impermissible.

However, most scholars opine that meditation itself is not forbidden. Their arguments include:

  • The Prophet (SAW) would spend long periods in contemplation in solitude before prophethood, which was a form of permissible meditation.
  • The Quran encourages reflection and remembrance of Allah, without specifying any formats, which can include meditation.
  • Meditation has scientifically proven health benefits and Islam promotes maintaining good health.
  • Acts are lawful by default according to Islamic jurisprudence, except those specifically prohibited. Meditation itself is not overtly prohibited.

They contend that certain types of mantra-based meditation with ties to avodah zarah (idolatry) are certainly prohibited. But practices for mind-body purification would be permissible if fulfilling the right conditions.

This view reconciles the practice of meditation with Islamic values and allows Muslims to experience its benefits.

What Does Islam Say About Meditation?

While the Quran and Hadith do not directly address meditation, there are some Islamic principles relating to the practice:

  • Being mindful of Allah and seeking closeness to Him is greatly encouraged. The Prophet (SAW) would meditate in solitude through tafakkur and self-reflection.
  • Dhikr or remembering Allah through recitation of tasbeehaat (praises) and Quranic verses is an act of worship. Meditation accompanying dhikr is accepted.
  • Reflection over creation, life, death and the hereafter is repeatedly stressed in the Quran. Meditating over such topics would be worthwhile.
  • Deriving spiritual tranquility through remembrance of Allah is praised. Meditation often leads to such inner peace.
  • Healthy spiritual practices that are free from sin are permitted. Meditation is considered spiritually nourishing by many scholars.
  • Receiving divine inspiration through one’s spiritual heart is affirmed. Meditation can help attain this enlightened state of the heart.

Therefore, forms of meditation focused on Islamic ideals and remembrance of Allah, without contradicting any beliefs or rituals, would be permissible according to the objectives of Islamic rulings.

Meditation Practices in Islam

While an exact equivalent of meditation is not found, the spiritual tradition of Islam offers its own meditative practices:

Dhikr Meditation

Dhikr means remembering Allah through reciting his names, attributes and verses from the Quran. In Sufi orders, it involves repetition of specific formulas like the names “Allah” or “Hu”. Dhikr of longer phrases like tasbeehat are also recited in meditation.

Quranic Meditation

Meditating over the verses and meanings of the Quran allows deeper reflection. Verses can be repeated in a meditative state to internalize their essence. Listening to Quranic recitation is also a powerful meditative practice.

Mindfulness Meditation

This focuses on moment-to-moment awareness both inwardly and of the surroundings. The aim is recognizing the presence of Allah at all times through conscious presence.

Breath Meditation

Rhythmic breathing exercises are used to concentrate focus. Slow deep breathing helps calm the mind. Breath control has been associated with Islamic spiritual retreats.

Sufi Meditation

Practices include repeating holy names (zikr), spiritual dancing and music (sama) among Sufi orders, and concentration on mystical poetry and esoteric meanings.

Nature Meditation

Contemplating the beauty of Allah’s creation and names through phenomena like starry skies, oceans, landscapes and wildlife. This instils a deeper sense of spirituality in nature.

Metta Meditation

Involves cultivating attitudes of loving-kindness, compassion, appreciation and equanimity towards all creation, including enemies. This emulates prophetic character.

Tafakkur

Reflecting over spiritual matters leads to greater enlightenment. Tafakkur or deep introspection is close to meditation. The Quran praises those who ponder deeply.

Muraqaba

Focuses on realizing that Allah is omnipresent and watches over us at all times. One aims to be in constant awareness of Divine gaze.

Benefits of Meditation in Islam

In addition to spiritual benefits, regular meditation that aligns with Islamic values can also provide the following benefits for Muslims:

Develops Taqwa (God-Consciousness)

Strengthening awareness of Allah through dhikr, Quranic recitation and reflection during meditation nurtures taqwa and vigilance over one’s actions.

Inner Peace and Contentment

The tranquil, mindful state achieved in meditation leads to reduced anxiety and inner contentment. This replaces restlessness of daily life.

Purification of the Heart

Sincere meditation under Islamic guidance purified the heart or qalb from spiritual diseases like arrogance, jealousy, greed, etc. and ornaments it with wisdom.

Self-Discipline

Developing the commitment needed for regular meditation instills self-control against evil temptations and also greater willpower.

Detachment from Dunya

By emptying the mind from material worries during meditation, one can reduce attachment to the temporal world and reinforce trust in the eternal afterlife.

Improved Mental Health

Meditation can relieve psychological pressures, depression and addictions that are prevalent today, as endorsed by many mental health experts.

Physical Relaxation

The relaxed state of meditation releases bodily tension leading to lowered blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones. This promotes overall health.

Islamic Meditation Techniques

Meditation methods that align with Islamic teachings about mindfulness and remembrance of Allah can include:

  • Sitting alone in silence and focusing completely on the presence of Allah.
  • Reciting Quranic verses and names of Allah slowly and absorbing their meanings.
  • Visualizing scenes from paradise or the prophets’ lives.
  • Chanting praises upon Prophet Muhammad (durud), astaghfar.

You can learn ,IS YOUTUBE EARNING HALAL OR HARAM?

FAQs

Q. Is meditating haram?

A. Meditating is not haram if it aligns with Islamic principles and does not involve worship of other deities.

Q. Is guided meditation haram?

A. Guided meditation is not haram if it does not involve invoking other deities or religious figures.

Q. Is it haram to meditate?

A. Meditation is not haram if done with proper Islamic intentions and does not contradict any beliefs or rituals.

Q. Is breathing meditation haram?

A. Breathing meditation is not haram if not associated with worship of other deities.

Q. Is meditation sunnah?

A. No, meditation is not a sunnah or Islamic ritual itself but can be practiced for spiritual benefits.

Q. Can I listen to Quran while meditating?

A. It is best to refrain from listening to Quran during meditation, as full attention cannot be given to understanding it.

Q. Did Prophet Muhammad use to meditate?

A. No, Prophet Muhammad did not formally meditate but spent time in deep contemplation.

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