Why you’re sending good vibes to yourself when you send them to others: a tawhid perspective

My loves, I hope you’re well.

This is inspired by the beautiful Agyeiwaa (@twerkgirlghana on Instagram – follow her!). We had a mini discussion about sending good vibes to those out there and hoping someone who needs it will catch it and I made a small comment about how important this is to me because one of the fundamental aspects of my faith is tawhid, Arabic for oneness.

With Islam being a strictly monotheistic religion, believing in the oneness of the Divine is a non-negotiable credence. Anything otherwise takes you out of the fold of Islam, and doing so is the only action or belief that does this. Growing up, I thought this was simply a boundary of religion, but it’s so much more than that.

As I embarked my spiritual journey, I found out about the law of unity, which is essentially oneness. The creator is one and the creation is one synchronistic wave of life. We have different organisms, different people, even different quantum realms, but essentially, we are all one, creations of Oneness and connected to this Oneness. Some people who talk about the law of unity also interpret this as being one with the creator, but that’s a different story altogether.

Knowing from my faith, fairy tales and all sorts of life lessons, I grew up believing that when you do good, it comes back to you. When you pray for others, the angels make the same prayer for you and when you give, you receive in abundance. No matter what our belief system is, we have all been cautioned about hurting others in case it comes back to you at some point in our lives.

Think about it. Almost 90 percent of all atoms are made up of hydrogen, an element which is present in all the fluids of the human body and can even be found in outer space. The Qur’an states that “the heavens and earth were joined together as one united piece and were then parted” (21:30), which means that even the angelic realm which we cannot physically access is part of this oneness.

The Qur’an also says that we as individuals were first created as one before being scattered into souls and beings.

“He created you from one soul. Then He made from it its mate, and He produced for you from the grazing livestock eight mates. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, within three darknesses. That is Allah , your Lord; to Him belongs dominion. There is no deity except Him, so how are you averted?” — (39:6).

The lesson here is that while we are in separate bodies right now, not only were we created by the same source, we started out as one. This might explain why the hydrogen in our bodies can also be found in space.

Just how iron is at the centre of our earth at the core, iron is the centre of our bodies because it’s what our heart pumps blood to keep us alive, to which iron is an essential element of. This is in the same way, Surat al Hadid (the chapter of iron) is the 57th chapter out of 114 chapters of the Qur’an, with it being placed in the centre of the holy text.

You don’t have to be a believer to appreciate the synchronicity. It’s just there in its sweet manifestation of the universal concept of oneness and is one I am using because it resonates with me. It’s also an example that I view as the “heart” of my faith because as an atheist teenager, the story of iron was one that blew my mind and rocked my rational thought process.

Cue kindness and actions. If the ultimate law of the universe is oneness and we are all connected to the same divine source even though we are in different physical bodies, our actions bounce back to us because we only have one source managing the workings of everything and anything.

When we send love, we’re not actually sending it to something outside of the system in which we live. We are reflecting this love onto the universe that is ultimately within us and sending love to a person that was once the same soul as us. We may be physically parted, but whether you believe we were once one at the core, or are managed by one Divine source (or both), under tawhid, nothing we project to others enters into an abyss of nothingness. It comes from within and it returns to within.

Before we do anything, we say bismillah al Rahman al Rahim (in the name of God, the most Merciful and most Gracious). Al-Rahman (merciful) and al-Rahim (gracious are two of Allah’s 99 names. In Arabic, every word has a root and Rahman and Rahim have the same root word: rahm, which Arabic for womb.

Two of the most widely used names of Allah are rooted in a name for where life is created inside a woman’s body where the fetus is coddled in a bubble of safety, connection and unconditional love. As a woman, I can’t help but marvel at the sheer divinely appointed power and glory of feminine energy. No wonder patriarchy tries to suppress femininity in its corrupt pursuit of control.

So, if rahm is the root of al-Rahman and al-Rahim, we are all coddled in the same bubble of safety, connection and unconditional love. We are created with love (funnily enough, another one of Allah’s 99 names is al-Wadud, which means ‘the giver of love’), therefore when we send love, we receive more loving creation because love is a feeling that breeds creation in a physical and metaphysical sense.

(I have goosebumps right now)

Before I finish, I want to talk about overgiving. When we give from an empty cup and from the space of exhaustion, fear and anxiety, we produce more of that. Tawhid does not call for enmeshment and destroying your boundaries, nor does it call for manically giving just so you can recieve. It calls for mindfulness and surrender. When you fill your cup with love and give with love, you get love. When you empty your cup due to anxiety and give whatever you have inside, you get less until you ask for help and set a simple intention to operate from love. This is when your journey to awakening begins.

Know when you want for someone else what you want for yourself, you are a true believer, as said by the beloved Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Also know that you must seek your right with honour, as also said by our final messenger. After all, he did tell us that a nation will not be sanctified if the weak cannot take their rights without surmounting obstacles. The balance is there.

Tawhid is an action and a belief, but it also reflects a system in which the Divine chose to fashion everything and anything. This is why healthy boundaries create healthy results, but also why we focus on the oneness via the Divine as opposed to enmeshment with creation in this earthly realm.

For me, knowing that there is connection and oneness everywhere helps to explain the workings of the realm that I’m navigating and helps to keep me mindful and aware, but the glorification of this magical system is something I owe the Creator. I do this as a duty every time I say Allahu Akbar (God is great), but it’s also a way to detach, release resistance and surrender as love, light and abundance effortlessly flow to me through the ultimate source energy.

You are one with your needs and desires, the boundaries you place and the love you send out to others. No good deed will go to waste. Internalising this protects you from lower vibrational emotions such as fear and envy because you know you are already one with everything you desire.

PS: I know this comes from a Muslim perspective, but I truly hope those who don’t follow the faith can too take from this ancient and divine wisdom.

Instagram: @flowerknafeh
Twitter: @superknafeh
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Is meditating haram?

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.

PS: I wrote an article on meditation tips here

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.

Guilt

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!

Too anxious to meditate? I got you. Here are some tips

Hello lovely people.

I’ve had some people ask me about mediation and visualisation. Last week, I tweeted that I managed to treat my PMS cramps with visualisation when I was tucked into bed and was too tired to get pain killers. Since then, people have been wondering how to tap into this energy themselves.

Honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of doing this. I practice yoga all the time and I love meditation and mindfulness. I also believe in the power of the mind as a mechanism of healing, but I didn’t think I was spiritually awakened enough to to see results of pain relief if I tried it at this so-called “stage” in my spiritual journey.

But here we are. God really showed me the power of my own mind right there.

Before I do a deep dive, I want you all to understand the difference between fight or flight and flow state. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand mediation.

The ability to meditate is our birthright. Naturally, we find adventure in the unknown. We’re able to close our eyes, allow our bodies to fall into sync with our higher selfs and trust. The reason so many of us find it so difficult to meditate is because our fight or flight is perpetually on and we can’t reach flow state.

Living the lives we do, we’re conditioned to be in a perpetual state of anxiety. We always feel as though we have to defend ourselves from something. This is when our fight or flight is on. It’s supposed to be a temporary state to get us out of extreme danger. But in this day and age, it’s the default.

Naturally, our default is supposed to be flow state. Rather than fearing the unknown the way the human body, humans are supposed to find adventure in the unknown. As opposed to associating the unknown with anxiety, we are supposed associate it with peace and enjoyment. Naturally, we’re supposed to trust it as a process and trust in the benevolence of the destination.

So where does meditation come into the picture?

If you cannot enter flow state, you cannot meditate. If you find yourself in your state of anxiety/fight or flight, all you need to do is recognise it for what it is and observe it.

How does this feel? Which parts of my body are tensing up? Am I shaking anywhere? How fast am I breathing? What may be happening?

Approaching your anxiety with a sense of curiosity calms it. Focus on how your body is feeling and be aware of the sensations. When thoughts come through, simply be aware of them too. Don’t fight your thoughts because they will fight back. Let them sit. And breathe. They can’t defend themselves when you’re flushing them out with breath-work.

There are many breathing techniques out there. One of my former yoga teachers taught me the 4-7-8 breathing technique, which I used when I had anxiety.

Breathe in for four seconds, hold for second seconds, out for eight seconds. Repeat until you feel better.

Breathing is core to meditation.

When you focus on your breath, you’re focusing on the energy that is connecting your body to your soul, thus keeping you alive. You can simply meditate by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath.

You can also look up different meditations. In kundalini yoga, there’s a plethora of meditations we use (if you belong to a religious faith and you feel uncomfortable with some of the chants, you can omit them or do a different meditation).

If you want, I can make a list of different breathing techniques.

Okay, but how do we visualise?

I taught myself visualisation through using guided meditations. Look them up on YouTube, Spotify or even yoga/meditation websites and find videos for different occasions or feelings.

When I visualised my PMS cramps away, I put my hands on my belly and imagined a warm gold ball loosening my muscles just because I felt like it. I could have imagined a red ball, I could have imagined massaging hands, the only restriction was my mind.

The trick is, I entered flow state through my breath. This is where beginners may need help because they need to be guided into relaxation. I still use guided meditations when I can’t seem to relax, want a fresh visualisation or want to do a yogic meditation.

See it in your mind’s eye/third eye

You don’t have to, but you can also use your pineal gland. Close your eyes, breathe and focus your eyes between your eyebrows. This is a very powerful state because you’re opening your third eye chakra.

Use healing/relaxing sounds

If you want relaxing sounds in the background, but not necessarily a guided meditation, you can use healing frequencies. I made playlists for each chakra you can use. You can even use playlists to time your meditation.

Most importantly, don’t worry about the amount of time you meditate. Just do it. Even if it’s for a few minutes. Progress is key. The last thing you want to do is stress about a mechanism we use to intentionally help us relax, heal and manifest.

Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact me on my socials if you have any questions xox

Instagram: @flowerknafeh
Twitter: @superknafeh

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Can’t control your sons? No problem, shame their daughters.

It’s no secret that misogyny is within the very fabric of our societies. As women, we feel as though we are being watched over. We have to assess our surroundings and if we want respect, we act according to their norms, customs and values. We’re left confused and anxious because if we don’t calibrate our moral compasses with the norms of another individual, or society, we are unfairly targeted and shamed. It gets scarier knowing that the vast majority of the shaming happens behind our backs.

It’s even more perplexing when we find ourselves in a situation in which we are subject to the insecurity of others. For example, there could a particular person who may have a son that drinks, smokes and doesn’t believe in God. The parent of the son could be religious and would deep down condemn the actions of their son, but would not outwardly oppose him. So to compensate, the parent would focus on other girls and the daughters of others, as objects of honour and shame.

الْخَبِيثَاتُ لِلْخَبِيثِينَ وَالْخَبِيثُونَ لِلْخَبِيثَاتِ ۖ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ لِلطَّيِّبِينَ وَالطَّيِّبُونَ لِلطَّيِّبَاتِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ مُبَرَّءُونَ مِمَّا يَقُولُونَ ۖ لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ
Bad women are for bad men, and bad men are for bad women; and pure women are for pure men, and pure men are for pure women. They are free from the slanderer’s accusations; for them there shall be forgiveness and honorable provision from Allah.
The holy Quran – Surat An-Nur, Verse/aya 26.

The aya is crystal clear. The problem with the way it is interpreted many times is that people think it’s a flat out promise from God, implying the people we have in our lives are a reflection of God’s opinions of our actions. It isn’t; it’s a warning from God, telling us to stay around good people.

The previous verses in the chapter were defending Aisha (RA), the wife of the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) when she was accused of committing adultery and was ostracised from her community. The verse that I just quoted is a follow up of God defending her against the rumours flying against her. Ultimately, it was revealed as a form of advice for Aisha (RA) and to all humans who would then find themselves being accused and shamed the way she was.

The underlying message is we do not need to conform, nor impress. If bad people around you talk about you, stay away from them, not just if you’re innocent. Even if you slip up and make a mistake, you do not deserve to be reminded about it and punished for it constantly. We’re all human and we’ve all screwed up.

If someone has malicious intentions, there’s no need to prove yourself. Stay away and surround yourself with good people who forgive, motivate you to do good and elevate you.

The problem is, this is easier said than done and not only because we don’t always know who our real friends are. Because the shaming of women is normalised, we often subconsciously try to conform to their neurotic demands. We allow their norms to define who we are and we have been conditioned to accept their opinions of ourselves. Even if we’re doing nothing wrong, we have it ingrained that no matter how erratic or hypocritical they may be, the morals of others should define our behaviour and that they have a right to shame us accordingly.

In our culture, a man could drink, smoke and do all of the impermissible things under the sun and his mother (for the sake of embodying my point, of course fathers do this too) may not say a word to him. She may even go above not condemning him and would even full on accept his lifestyle. That’s between the mother, the son and God. No one has a right to speak about them. The problem is, however, is when the mother accepts her son’s lifestyle, but holds her daughters, or the daughters of others to account.

She would not condemn her son for having a girlfriend, or for drinking, but would condemn his girlfriend for being a girlfriend and would condemn a girl who drinks with her son. It doesn’t stop there. Usually, when this particular type of mother or auntie possess such attitudes, it’s as a result of an inferiority complex, which means her judging, double standards and hypocrisy know no limits.

She could speak to the mothers of girls who have done nothing wrong and belittle them and their parenting. She could make innocent girls or women feel disgusted by themselves, for no reason at all. How? By creating a bubble of her own scattered norms, which are derivative from her own double standards and facilitated by structural misogyny.

These attitudes must be directly resisted. We must make a conscious effort to unlearn the culture of shame that society has forced us to internalise. We must trust our own judgement and moral outlook. This doesn’t necessarily mean fighting every auntie that speaks ill of us. That gets tiring. The battle is an internal one that focuses on self love, self trust and the dismissal of nonsense. She is wrong, not you. She is wrong for talking about you, twisting your innocent actions or dwelling on your mistakes. We must refract, not reflect on the negativity of others.

Maybe at times you would want to, or even need to get into confrontations. When you feel it is right, don’t shy away. For the most part, rather than fighting everyone head on, simply ignore them. Do what you want and follow your own moral compass. Ignore and isolate those who shame you, even if it is almost everyone in your community. Don’t feel the need to justify your actions, or to impress them. Be yourself and don’t allow yourself to be a victim of the insecurity and hypocrisy of others. Only when you stop caring is when you find true contentment and peace and is when you’re secure enough to only allow those who truly wish you well and accept you for who you are to be a part of your life.