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!

Let’s clear our minds with tea – my current top five

Tea, glorious tea!

We’ve all been so stressed recently. We survived the end of mercury retrograde, a super full moon, a full moon in virgo and information overload about a certain issue that has taken over our lives, newsrooms and conversations.

I’ve been feeling so helpless and stressed recently and herbal tea has been one of my go-to’s to calm me down. Herbal teas have different benefits which work to detox your body, but they’re also so good for your mind and soul.

Even the process of making tea is soothing. Putting the kettle on, pouring it into a mug, holding the mug and letting your hands absorb the warmth whilst it infuses, smelling the tea as it brews… God ❤️

You can find the teas mentioned in most places, especially health shops. I’ve posted links below, but you can get them anywhere.

Tulsi clarity by Pukka

This is one of my newly discovered favourites. I chose this first because I’ve been managing extra stress and when a friend gave me a sachet, it calmed me right down. I was initially sceptical about the taste, but it has a mild herby taste and takes to the sweet side.

Stress attacks the immune system and that makes us vulnerable to illnesses — something that we’re trying to stay away from in this current climate. Without mentioning the illness, we do need to take to herbs and hydration to keep our minds and bodies at optimum level.

Tulsi tea also has practical benefits for the immune system, because the plant itself is an immunomodulatory. It helps prevent certain respiratory illnesses (which is what the current pandemic is) ranging from coughs and the common cold to bronchitis and asthma. Tulsi fights inflammation, regulates blood sugar and fights oral bacteria so it’s another herbal way to keep your mouth nice and fresh.

It’s also good for your skin and amazing for people with acne!

Click here to buy

Moroccan mint green tea by Dragonfly

A friend at work gave me a tea bag of this and I’ve been obsessed! Once one of my many boxes of tea runs out, I’m adding a few boxes to my tea collection. A lot of my Moroccan friends and relatives use gunpowder green tea for their atay, so when I was brewing it, my expectations grew.

It tasted amazing. Usually, I find the mint overpowers the tea. There are times I love it, but other times, I want a more subtle minty taste. Gunpowder green tea has a smokier flavour, which I also love. The brew doesn’t taste exactly like atay, but it’s still yummy!

Gunpowder green tea has a higher percentage of caffeine so it’s great for energy. It’s also good at reducing cholesterol, good for the immune system, anti ageing and keeps your cells nice and healthy!

Click here to buy

White tea

White tea is a God send! I remember finding out about it around 10 years ago when someone tweeted about Clipper’s white tea with vanilla (yummy) and I was so curious to try it that I took myself to a health shop to buy a box.

After that, I began learning about different types of tea and herbal infusions. It’s similar to green tea but it is more concentrated in antioxidants (the same type, albeit) and is sweeter. It’s also slightly lower in caffeine.

For those who dislike green tea, white tea is something to consider. I hated green tea for the longest time (partially because I didn’t know which brands of tea to go for) and only stuck with white tea.

Click here to buy

Choco Chili by Yogi Tea

Yogi tea is one of my favourite tea brands. Their range is organic, ayurvedic and delicious and I loveeee how their tea labels have cute mantras. Tea is a relaxing experience and drinking it with nuggets of wisdom makes drinking tea so much more valuable.

Choco chili is my favourite tea of theirs right now. It tastes like a chocolatey chai, with spicy and sweet undertones to it.

The mixture contains cocoa seeds, chilli, liquorice, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, carob, anise, barley malt, cloves, cardamom and vanilla beans. It’s very rich in flavour but is also high in antioxidants, has anti inflammatory properties and has herbs that have been used to treat symptoms of cold and flu.

It’s inspired by the xocolatl drink, something the Aztecs and the Mayans considered a drink of luxury and one for extra strength and endurance.

It’s also perfect with milk. I add a splash of plant milk, mix it up and enjoy.

Click here to buy.

Ginger Lemon by Yogi Tea

Disclaimer: I really don’t like ginger and lemon. But it’s so good for you and we’re all trying to boost our immunity. I bought this for my mum because she likes ginger and lemon tea, but if I’m going to review it, I have to make a cup myself. Here goes.

There are lots of ginger and lemon blends out there, but this stood out because it has liquorice root, lemongrass, peppermint leaf and black pepper — all of which are good for you and means you don’t get that typical isolated ginger and lemon taste (PRAISE DA LORD).

Lemongrass is amazing at reducing inflammation, works as a pain relief and helps to reduce fevers. Peppermint is good for headaches, clogged sinuses, low energy, helps fight bacterial infections and is good for menstrual cramps. Black pepper is also an anti inflammatory ingredient, high in antioxidants and improves brain function. Liquorice tea helps to reduce sore throats, protect the stomach lining and is good for your skin and teeth.

Not bad for additives to your typical ginger and lemon! This can also be another tea for PMS symptoms.

It’s been brewing for around 5 minutes. I definitely don’t feel disgusted by the taste, the way I usually do with ginger and lemon, but I don’t see myself drinking it for the taste. It feels healing to swallow and I’m loving the way the spices are warming my food pipe and chest.

Click here to buy.

There are so many more, but those will be for another post. Follow me on my Instagram for more tea-related fun and to join in our conversation on wellness! xox

Instagram: @flowerknafeh
Twitter: @superknafeh

PS: Affiliate links used in this post.

Why asking ‘why’ will get you what you want

Those who know me know I’m a serious believer in the fact that our spirituality is paramount to manifesting our external experiences. I’m consistently talking about manifesting, energy, kundalini, etc but at the same time when I’m alone or with my closest friends, my overthinking can go into overdrive.

Even though I know I shouldn’t, when I’m attached to an outcome, I go crazy with overthinking. I find it hard to calm my mind – this is especially the case in social situations. At times, if I’m expecting a very important call, I obsess about it until I’m forced to forget about it. The moment I go about with my day because I get busy is usually when I get the call. This happened to me with a parcel I was expecting recently and oh my God!

Even though I’m well versed about these laws of life and I’m very in tune with my spirituality, I’m human. But to get what I want, it means I need to not fight, but manure around my thoughts. One way to do this is to ask myself: why.

Think about it this way: when a thought sprouts, we grow it by answering one of these six questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

Say you’re trying to manifest a certain amount of money and you find yourself getting anxious over it, you tend to get anxious over when it will come to you, who will give it to you, where it will come from, how it will come to you and what the process of this money will look like.

By answering these five questions, you’re wasting your energy on the outcome. You’re entertaining your anxiety and you start overthinking which goes against the laws of the universe. The more you stress about something, the more you block it from coming into you.

So when you want to entertain a certain thought, what’s the best thing to do? Ask why.

Why do I want this money? Why do I want to do ____ with this money? Why will it make me feel good? Why do I want to feel good?

Then you can enter the what’s and who’s sporadically if it serves the exercise by asking stuff like: what will this make me feel?

The point of this is to take your mind away from the process of things happening – they tend to just happen in weird ways. I got my first journalism job after I was crushed when Al Jazeera (yooooo guys no hard feelings – God had a plan for me) rejected my internship application. Yes, I wanted to work for Al Jazeera but I wanted to work for them because I wanted to work in a Middle East journalism and I wanted to be free about being pro-Palestine affffff.

I didn’t get Al Jazeera, but I got a different job and that led me to working in a pro-Palestine news outlet and I got to write about Middle East everything. The what, who and how, when and where didn’t work out, but the why did. Eventually.

I wanted to make a difference with this blog, but last year, it was going on a completely different path. I had a very long period of writer’s block and I was very frustrated that I couldn’t write. Then, I changed. My inspiration changed and my vision for the blog changed because of my life experience. Yeah, it’s different, but the “why” behind my intention of blogging, which is to help others and to hash out my own thoughts coherently has manifested. Just in a different direction.

Let go – faaackkking hate it

This essentially, is what letting go is. Don’t let go of the desire. Just let go of the outcome. The problem is, because everyone talks about it, it seems impossible and unattainable.

All you really need to do is get the tools to re-train your mind. This shit takes time so please don’t beat yourself up. First of all, you need to understand that you need to train and re-direct your mind and thoughts to get this peace. Set an intention and do it.

This is why it’s so important to observe your mind and thoughts. I read this all the time but earlier on, I used to observe my thoughts and shrug.

“Okay, whatever I am observing me being an anxious wreck what the hell now ya flipping books/youtubers/etc???”

The thing that many forget to tell you is that when you observe, you need to do it with an aim. Allow the negative energy to pass through you but then you need to use the model of “who, what, when, where, why and how” to organise your thoughts and see what exactly is the source of the anxiety.

So, you could be anxious about timing, or a specific person, it could be you believe it’s unattainable. It could be anything. Then go in and thank the thought because it’s coming from your ego and as much as we like to demonise it, without it, we would be dead. A certain amount of fear is healthy after all.

After you thank it, you can either speak to the thought as if it’s a child and calm your mind down “I get you’re worried about ____ but this isn’t your job right now” or you can return to the original topic and instead of thinking about the outcome, you enter a state of flow by asking why you want what you want and continuing to ask why to each answer of each question.

When you do that, rather than attaching yourself to the outcome, you become in line with the emotion. That, along with a lot of conviction and patience is where you need to be for things to come into your life.

Guys, trust me, I know this is frustrating but we’re human. It’s easier said than done and I know this because I am still training my mind. Don’t give up though! xoxoxox