I remember when I first started awakening, I remember coming across meditating and hesitating at the thought. As a practicing Muslim, I pray five times a day. Through my prayers, I should be connected to God and reach the epitome of spirituality.
But anxiety crawled all over my body. I had no idea what inner peace felt like because my mind was on autopilot, thoughts unregulated and my ego (nafs) was
Let’s go to the Qur’an: “Indeed he succeeds who purifies his own self” (Surah 91 (Ash-Shams The Sun), Verse 9). Meditation is an exercise that helps you know, understand and purify yourself. When you sit and give yourself that gift of introspection, what you’re doing is tapping into the subconscious that records every bit of information you’ve taken in. We never forget, we only bury information. This is why you end up randomly remembering things from events that took place years ago that you haven’t thought about since it happened. Where’s the haram?
I’ve had people talk about them not needing to meditate because they have prayer. To me, that’s like saying you don’t need water because you have prayer. Each has a different purpose and the spiritual purpose of meditation is to work with your mind, work through your thoughts and understand yourself through the record of data that has been collecting our entire lives. We shut off our talking, egoic mind and we tap into the quieter mind that explains why we react the way we react.
Nowadays, many of us find it harder to mentally and spiritually commit to our prayers, even if we do all five, and then some. We were born and raised in a heightened state of capitalism. We grew up around computers and machines, fast food and having everything at our fingertips. Yes, living in the most digitalised era in human history yet has its perks, but it also means we’re functioning through basic physical needs and ego as opposed to feeling through higher states of being.
Meditating improves our concentration, it helps us enter within. Instead of thinking about what we want to “fix”, we slow down. We allow ourselves to process. We allow our mind to reorder and we tap into the deepest realms of our consciousness. We let go of worries, we let go of anxiety and we allow ourselves to just be. This is why when we’re stressed, we find it more difficult to focus on our prayer. We can’t just be, because there are so many things going through our head.
The same way you can actually use the anxiety in prayer and pray through the anxiety by asking God for answers, we do it in our meditation practice and intend to release and trust that the answers will come. When you’re in a heightened state of being, you have access to parts of your subconscious mind that can explain. You’re not idolising your mind, you’re not praying to a different entity, all you’re doing is trying to get to know yourself better.
From what I’ve seen by having discussions with many Muslims, they fear the guilt of potentially finding peace with meditation that they might not be able to access through prayer. Meditation is an exercise that helps you expand your perspective and tap into the energy of being closer to God because you’re not operating from anxiety. You’re training your mind. You’re connecting to your spirit and you’re by default bringing yourself closer to God.
You’ll find it easier to switch off and focus on your prayer when you’re praying. You’ll find it easier to be in the moment and have trust and faith that everything will be okay. Tawakkul is a much loved characteristic of the believer and it’s achieved when turning off your fight or flight and you enter into flow state.
You shouldn’t gaslight yourself or spiritually punish yourself if you can’t enter these stages. You shouldn’t normalise not being connected to your emotional and spiritual selfs. You should take steps to learn about yourself and connect to your intuition. You should have so much inner peace and your mind’s eye so clear that you are able to receive messages from God because you won’t be clouded by your anxiety.
Peace is a birthright. Happiness is a birthright. Manifestation is a birthright and it is all done by the will of our kind, benevolent Lord. Dua changes qadr, after all. Incorporate it into your spiritual wellbeing, work on turning off your fight or flight and allow yourself to receive the blessings of your Lord as you purify your soul with the intention of getting close to Him.
It’s our duty to tap out of the materialistic world. It’s our duty to meditate and enter flow state. You’ll find yourself accepting, receiving and perceiving from a place of love as opposed to anxiety. Your relationship with yourself will change, which will ultimately change your relationship with God.
Remember, He’s closer to us than our jugular vein. Your intention is everything. You’re not worshiping some deity or taking an alternative route to faith by meditating. Meditating is an exercise that has effects on your mind body and soul. Allow yourself to just be.
So, short answer: NO!