Islamic Meditation: MeditationExpert
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Islamic Meditation Both Shia and Sunni Muslims hold that the practice of 'Salat', (the reciting five times daily of devotional prayers) is the central tenet of Islamic faith after 'Shahada', the initial declaration of submission to the one God - Allah. On top of the five daily prayers ('Fard Salat') , which are compulsory, the 'Wajib Salat' are performed on special occasions, such as Ede and failure to partake in their recital renders one a sinner. Sunnah Salat and Nafi Salat are two further forms of devotional prayer that can be recited at specific times and which are optional.
Meditation Aside From Salat The intense concentration and ritual nature of Salat makes it comparable to many forms of meditation, and due to this nature may render meditation practice aside from prayer unnecessary for a full committed Muslim. However, the practice of meditation aside from the practice of Salat has its supporters within Islam, many of which point to positive role that meditation plays in helping to calm the mind. This is a gift that, arguably, God has bestowed upon man and can therefore be used wisely. However, detractors sometimes point to the fact that meditation can lead to partaking in rituals and practices not prescribed by the prophet Mohammed, and which may therefore distract Muslims from their duty to God. A difficulty arises here as there is no strict hierarchy in the Islamic faith, with all Muslims adhering to the Koran, which they believe to be the word of God communicated by their prophet Mohammed. In this case it is possibly best for the individual Muslim to focus come to an agreement in themselves of where the Koran stands in relation to meditation.
Sufi Islam and Meditation Sufi Islam is a wide definition referring to Islamic groups who do not adhere in their entirety to either Shia or Sunni practice. There are many different groups that fall under the banner of Sufism, making the name itself possibly inadequate as spiritual category. However, for now it will suffice to say that meditation other than the Salat is central to the practice of many Sufi Muslims. By meditating, these Sufi's aim to reach an awareness of their oneness with the universe, believing that in doing so we can attain fundamental truths that are within us, but often remain hidden. These belief's are close to Buddhist and Yogic practices and this may be accounted for by the proximity of many Sufi groups (in the far Middle East) to India. Sufi meditation is sometimes called Muruqaba which means 'to watch over one's soul'. By partaking in Muruqaba, one is able to develop along their spiritual path by developing a better awareness of their self in gradual stages ascending through into an awareness of the Universe and then of God. The final aim of Muruqaba is for the individual to become extinguished within God (Fanah Filla) before returning to their original state, but with their new knowledge of God and their place within the Universe. This is an egoless state much the same as that attained through Buddhist enlightenment. Many Sufi's who reach this state are capable of great creative acts, through which they can communicate the will of God. As stated earlier, Sufism is a very wide category and, furthermore, one rejected by many other Muslims. The identification of a trend towards Eastern style meditation practice within Sufism does, however, point to the fact that meditation may find its place in Islam either in this capacity, or as part of daily relaxation practice aside from the Salat, which, indeed, can itself be considered a form of meditation.
Islamic Meditation: MeditationExpert
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meditation in islam
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Meditation in Islam
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The relationship and attitude toward God is spelt out in the word 'Islâm' ... it has embodied within it, the complete technique of the highest form of worship as well as everyday living! Qur'ânic passages are self-explanatory in pointing out the way of worship by total effacement of the self in surrender and submission; to the exclusion of every other interest or entity; not only in prayer but in every aspect of life. Sûrah al Baqarâh 2:19-20. Lo! The religion before Allâh is surrender (Islâm)... if they surrender, then will they truly be rightly guided in prayer. Sûrah 23: 77 O, Ye who believe, completely efface your selves in self-surrender when worshiping your Lord, and do good that happily you may prosper. This excerpt is from the hadith about Islâm, Îmân & Ihsân: '...Then Jibraîl (as) asked: Tell me about Ihsân (goodness/beauty). The Prophet Muhammad (saw) answered: 'It is that you worship Allah as if you see Him, and even though you do not see Him, you know that He sees you....' This practice of visualization and being in the Presence of Allâh, in a meditative state as you offer your Salât, is a powerful experience to keep one's full awareness in prayer. Meditation is soothing for the mind and soul. It is a good way to get in tune with oneself. While in Mecca Prophet Muhammad (saw) used to go to Mount Hira and sit in the cave where he pondered and meditated.
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There are different ways to meditate, and you can try each one to see which suits you the best or alternate each one. Prayer The best known and most widely practiced example of meditation is prayer.
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Contemplate Many people benefit from reading the Qur'ân silently or aloud, and taking a few moments to quietly reflect on the meaning that the words bring to mind. You may want to write your reflections in a journal. Visualize In this type of meditation you focus your attention on Allâh, weaving feelings of love and gratitude into your thoughts. You can also close your eyes and in your mind's eye gaze at the Asma al Husna as if written in air. You can choose a different one each day. Sensate Feel as if you are sitting in the Presence of Allâh, as if He is in front of you, you can feel His awesomeness, His grandeur, His grace and His love. Imagine He is watching you, you will want to hide from yourself as you become aware of how short we fall in our dedication and effacement in surrender, how full we are of our self and how little we think of Him as we go through our everyday living. (This does not imply imagining an image but focus on the awareness of His presence) -----------------There are two concepts or schools of meditation in Islam. One is that which is described in the Qur’ân and Sunnah, another is that which has been developed by the Sufis in later times (that is, after the first phase, considered the ideal phase of Islam).
meditation in islam
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The original concept of meditation is based on contemplation, called 'tafakkur' in the Qur’ân. That is, reflection upon the universe to gain food for thought. To put it differently, this is a form of intellectual development that emanates from a higher level, i.e. from God. This intellectual process through the receiving of divine inspiration awakens and liberates the human mind, permitting man’s inner personality to develop and grow so that he may lead his life on a spiritual plane far above the mundane level. The second form of meditation, the one developed by the Sufis, is largely based on mystical exercises. However, this method is controversial among Muslim scholars. One group of Ulama, Al-Ghazâlî, for instance, have accepted it, another group of Ulama, IbnTaimia, for instance, have rejected it as an innovation. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan http://www.alrisala.org/Articles/mysticism/meditation.htm ------------------Does Islam Permit Meditation? A Muslim need not go to any Ashram for meditation if he knows how to perform Salât. Salât is a meditation of the highest order but most Muslims have forgotten it. They read Namâz or recite Namâz or even offer Namâz but they do not meditate in it though it is a pre-requisite. A Salât does not even start without the state of meditation. The Prophet (Pbuh) instructed a person in Salât to meditate upon the presence of God who is watching the devotee. A state of trance is reached when he really meditates upon it. Then comes the voice of The Word of God from the lips of the Imam. If he really started Salât with a state of meditation, the voice of the Imam seems to be coming from a spiritual source. The words of the Qur’ân (if he knows Arabic) work as suggestions in a trance and he gradually starts believing in the orders and teaching of those words. There are repetitions of Allâh u Akbar and the Tasbihât of Ruku' and Sajda etc. They all work wonders in a state of trance. They are autosuggestions. An individual Salât (Sunnah and Nafl) is based completely on autosuggestions where there is no outside voice but his own recitation works as autosuggestion. Remember what Qur’ân said about Zikr (Remembrance and not merely chanting)? "Beware! In remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace" (13:28) Salât, while offered properly and associated with meditation of Allah's presence and His watchfulness is the remembrance of the highest order and must provide peace. Qur’ân proclaims: "Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee and establish Regular Salât: for Salât restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do." (29:45) Qur’ân announces that Salât will prevent you from shameful and unjust deeds. Please note that it is not said that a person offering Salât should restrain himself from committing shameful acts and unjust deeds. Salât will restrain the devotee from evil. On the other hand we observe people involved in shameful acts and unjust deeds though they may be regular Namazis for years! The claim of Qur’ân cannot be false. They in fact did not offer Salât in the prescribed manner. It is high time that camps of teaching Salât with meditation be organised. Alas all our books of Salât procedures, Salât taught to the children by elders in their homes and even Salât taught by Mullahs in Madrasah is comprised of recitation and postures only. There is no meditation and hence it is neither providing peace of mind nor restraining from unjust deeds. http://www.islamicvoice.com/april.2000/dialogue.htm ---------------We can understand "Dhikr" simply as the repetition of particular names of "ALLAH" or as the recitation of some prayers. In the second sense, "Dhikr" refers to remembering, mentioning and meditating.
meditation in islam
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In a superior dimension "Dhikr" is known as persisting, dwelling on a subject to the point of its full comprehension and meditating on it.
Meditation; Submitters Perspective November 2002
November 2002: Page 1, 2, 3, 4
Meditation Another great way to worship God God has created so many wonderful ways for us to worship Him and come ever closer and closer to Him. The religious duties and laws which form an integral part of our lives help us do this all the time. As yet another great way to worship God and strengthen their souls, God has enjoined believers to meditate, several times in the Quran. If believers wish to be raised to an honorable rank in God’s eyes and earn His mercy, they should make the most of this opportunity (25:64, 9:112). [17:79] During the night, you shall meditate for extra credit, that your Lord may raise you to an honorable rank. [39:9] Is it not better to be one of those who meditate in the night, prostrating and staying up, being aware of the Hereafter, and seeking the mercy of their Lord?… The dictionary gives us several meanings for the word meditate, some of which are ‘reflect, contemplate, ponder and think over’, all of which indicate that meditation involves a state of conscious and focused thinking or reflection about something. Since our salvation is highly dependent on our thinking about God as much as we can (2:152, 33:41-42, 62:10), obviously, the requirement to meditate (or
meditate on His name, and after prostrating. [3:190-191] In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are signs for those who possess intelligence. They remember GOD while standing, sitting, and on their sides, and they reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth....
Meditate on God It is necessary to realize that the objective of meditation talked about in the Quran, must be meditation (Zikr) on God. This is a very important aspect because when most people refer to meditation, they are not referring to a plan to meditate or reflect upon God. Some people spend hours and big amounts of money learning various forms of meditation in the hope that they can concentrate better on things or be more at peace with themselves because of pressures created by excessive worldly pursuits. The methods involve adopting rigid postures, reciting mantras, attempting trance-like states or even making the mind go completely blank, but never with the objective of consciously remembering or commemorating God. Why would believers want to deliberately make their minds go blank and unaware when they could use the same precious moments to consciously remember and be aware of God? [7:205] You shall remember your Lord within yourself, publicly, privately, and quietly, day and night; do not be unaware.
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How does one meditate; what is the technique? [3:191-194] They remember GOD while standing, sitting, and on their sides, and they reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth: "Our Lord, You did not create all this in vain. Be You glorified. Save us from the retribution of Hell.... As we see from the above verses, there is no particular position or technique for meditation or reflection upon God, and believers may have different ways to enjoy this. Some may prefer to lie down; some may choose to go for a walk or a drive in the car while thinking about all His wonderful creations; some may fall prostrate (recommended in the Quran) or be with a group of believers and sing His praises (15:98). While any time is always the best time to think or reflect upon God (3:41, 19:11), the Quran makes specific mention of meditation at night and dawn. [3:17] They are steadfast, truthful, submitting, charitable, and meditators at dawn. [73:2] Meditate during the night, except rarely.... [73:6] The meditation at night is more effective, and more righteous.... [73:20] Your Lord knows that you meditate during two-thirds of the night, or half of it, or onethird of it, and so do some of those who believed with you...
Though we are free to meditate as we wish, believers should also take note of the references in the Quran about falling prostrate before God and seeking His On the other hand, believers get mercy, in addition to the the best of all benefits when
Meditation; Submitters Perspective November 2002
reflect) in the Quran means that we must meditate on God. The meditation can be upon His name, His great attributes or His wonderful creations; anything that makes us reverently conscious of Him, remember Him and love Him for what He really is.
they meditate on God because they get to develop the soul as well as experience a sense of relaxation, assurance and happiness (20:130).
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requirement to meditate on God (3:113, 7:206, 9:112, 25:64, 39:9, 50:40, 53:62, 76:26, 96:19). Cont’d on page 4
[50:40] During the night you shall
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In the name of GOD, Most Gracious, Most Merciful There is no other god beside GOD
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Quranic Verses Encouraging Meditation [3:17] They are steadfast, truthful, submitting, charitable, and meditators at dawn. [9:112] They are the repenters, the worshipers, the praisers, the meditators, the bowing and prostrating, the advocators of righteousness and forbidders of evil, and the keepers of GOD's laws. Give good news to such believers. [17:79-80] During the night, you shall meditate for extra credit, that your Lord may raise you to an honorable rank. And say, "My Lord, admit me an honorable admittance, and let me depart an honorable departure, and grant me from You a powerful support." [25:63-66] The worshipers of the Most Gracious are those who tread the earth gently, and when the ignorant speak to them, they only utter peace. In the privacy of the night, they meditate on their Lord, and fall prostrate. And they say, "Our Lord, spare us the agony of Hell; its retribution is horrendous. It is the worst abode; the worst destiny." [26:217-220] And put your trust in the Almighty, Most Merciful. Who sees you when you meditate during the night. And your frequent prostrations. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient. [39:9] Is it not better to be one of those who meditate in the night, prostrating and staying up, being aware of the Hereafter, and seeking the mercy of their Lord? Say, "Are those who know equal to those who do not know?" Only those who possess intelligence will take heed. [50:39-40] ... praise and glorify your Lord before sunrise, and before sunset. During the night you shall meditate on His name, and after prostrating. Sura 73 verses 1 through 8, and 20 United Submitters International The world wide web of those who Submit to God Alone and advocate the worship of God Alone All Praise Be To God! Email: [email protected]
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Interlude Meditation Archive
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Considering Islam Westerners traveling to Muslim countries have been known to notice the absence of alcohol. Also absent is entertainment to stimulate the libido. Some Westerners find it surprising that a good number of Muslims like it like that. In the West, we have all sorts of ways to alter our inner states. If we are understimulated we have stimulating drinks, drugs, foods and entertainment. If we are over-stimulated we have drinks, drugs, foods and entertainment that will mellow us out. Many of us get in the habit of taking a stimulant, like caffeine, in the morning and depressants, like alcohol in the evening. In between, we clumsily tweak our alertness by changing our blood sugar levels by eating sugary food, and we tweak our neurotransmitters by watching soap operas, sitcoms or sports. Much of this activity is habitual, that is to say it is unmindful and compulsive. It involves adjusting inner states by external means which sort of works. It works to the extent that we are rewarded for the behavior by the change it induces and so it becomes habitual, but it is ineffective in that it gives us only momentary satisfaction and does not increase our mastery of our inner states. Perhaps practicing Muslims can tolerate the absence of alcohol and other mood changing features of Western culture because they have something that actually helps them feel well. One significant feature of Islam is prayer 5 times a day. The practitioner washes beforehand, even symbolically when water is not available, an act that is obviously cleansing, but also stimulating to the hands and face in a selfnurturing way. The person praying orients toward Mecca, so he or she knows where on earth he or she is. Then prayer includes an affirmation, not of one’s self, but of God’s greatness and centrality. The praying is done in community, which gives one a sense of belonging and connection. The words of prayer are performed in a sequence of standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting on one’s heals that is physically stimulating and grounding. Five times a day, one stops every piece of business or distraction and re-orients oneself to place, relationship to God, relationship to the community, to the earth and to ones own body and mind. We are in a time of increased focus on the Muslim world. We who are not Muslims would be wise to learn to understand the nature of that culture, and if we are very wise, we will use this time to consider what gifts Islamic culture might hold for us. Some questions one might start with are:
How can I integrate my spiritual practices more fully into my daily life? Would I be willing to stop what I am doing more frequently to collect myself, re-orient my mind and body, and reconnect with God, the Earth, the human family, my own body? Would I be willing to be more mindful of how I modulate my consciousness
Interlude Meditation Archive
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with stimulants, amusements and distractions?
When I am more aware of these habits, would I be willing to choose to be less dependent on external resources to modify my inner experience? What practice could I integrate into my life that would help me unify mind and body?
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