I miss you all. Sorry for not posting as regularly recently, we went into lockdown in November and my creative drive just plummeted. I love this blog and love you all too much to churn posts for the sake of doing so. This is our sacred space.
I recently read a post by Sabrina in which discussing fitting Islam with New Age spirituality and it was very well referenced and had a lot of nuance to it. One of my besties, Yasmina, sent me this post and asked me what I thought of it, which inspired this post. Sabrina’s main point is that the two are incompatible — something that I, as a Muslim who actually takes inspiration from a lot of New Age thinkers agree with when it comes to the ontological perspective of the practice.
For many Muslims, the main issue with New Age philosophy is there is a lack of spiritual accountability, which is the reason I stuck to my Islamic truth. I believe my relationship with the Divine should be one of give and take. I have a code from God that I try to live by in exchange for endless doors to mercy and forgiveness, as I navigate life in my very human way. I have this, with the infinite possibilities that are available to me by simply asking the creator of all things.
This to me is manifestation. Sabrina herself likened such practices to Islam, but to associate manifestation with the “secularisation of spirituality” remains somewhat of a blanket statement and only through the perspective of the intrinsically secular New Age movement. The truth is, the manifestation process is powerful because it works. It’s the rule of God. We ask and we receive. Even when it comes to perceived failure, reasons behind us feeling like our prayers weren’t answered and our manifestations haven’t come into fruition are usually the same:
- We weren’t in the right frame of mind when we were trying to bring something into our lives. Just as there’s an etiquette to dua, there’s an etiquette to manifestation (positivity, conviction, gratitude, etc)
- We were asking from the nafs (ego), or a place of a lower vibration. We may want something, but it’s coming from a space that you can’t see beyond what you want for something greater to come to your life (see: Qur’an 2:216)
- Right request, wrong timing
This means manifestation transcends the material world because it means you’re having to understand why you want what you want in order to undo the subconscious blocks to allow it to come into “fruition”. It offers the same wisdom behind Allah knowing which dua to answer and in what way. We trust that Allah knows best, but we use our God-gifted curiosity to understand why things are the way they are.
We are always manifesting
By definition, manifestation is the deliberate creation of circumstances using your thoughts and feelings. The reason we have certain situations repeating through our story is that thought patterns and attachment styles is that they are embedded in our subconscious mind. We view things a certain way because that’s the story our egos are telling us.
Manifestation gives you control of the story you tell yourself (eg: if you tell yourself you’ve got bad eating habits, you automatically manifest an unhealthy lifestyle because that’s your story). It forces you to dig deep and ask yourself what story you’re telling yourself so you can heal trauma and rearrange your subconscious mind. This changes your perspective, which leads to you changing your results.
This happened to me with my friendships, my relationship with myself, my relationship with God (I had a story in my head that my duas are never answered and I had to reprogramme my mind to think otherwise through working on my issues with self-worth and rationalisation that Allah answers all duas), my relationship with food and many more things in my life.
When I decided to take control over the narrative I told myself as opposed to letting my ego run on autopilot and speak through trauma, doors opened for me like never before.
Where does qadr come into this?
In Islam, there are five pillars of Islam and six pillars of faith. One of them is to believe in qadr, which is to believe in the divine decree of God. For many, believing you can manifest your reality contradicts the whole concept of believing in a divine decree. In my opinion, qadr is something that on one can play with. Qadr is in the present moment and it’s the reason we are where we are today.
Rather than philosophising on this, let’s go to the words of the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) himself.
“Nothing can change the Divine decree except dua”. [Musnad Ahmad, 5/677; Ibn Majah, 90; Jami` Al-Tirmidhi, 139. Classed as hasan by Albani]
“No precaution can protect against the decree of Allaah. Du’aa’ is beneficial with regard to what has been decreed and what has not been decreed. The du’aa’ meets the calamity that has been decreed and wrestles with it, until the Day of Resurrection.” [Narrated by al-Tabaraani, 2/800 (33)]
“Whoever has the gate of du’aa’ opened to him, has the gates of mercy opened to him. Allaah is never asked for anything that He gives which is more beloved to Him than being asked for good health and well-being. Du’aa’ is beneficial with regard to what has been decreed and what has not been decreed. So, O slaves of Allaah, you must make du’aa’.” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3548]
So yes, we do believe in a divine decree or qadr, but we also believe that our journeys can be shaped with our own intention through connecting with the Divine. Allow God to listen to what you want and answer your prayers. Follow the example of the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) by being in constant communication with the Divine.
Also, how do we know which event is a part of our qadr and which event is something that God tested us with to turn back to him through connecting with our higher self? Accepting qadr means accepting the present moment, so do that and shape your future through action and prayer, believing your future is in the hands of a benevolent power that knows us better than we know ourself.
Why do we need manifestation techniques if we have Islam?
I’ve asked myself this question many times and to answer it, I had to actually take part in manifesting and understand what it gave me. When I found myself writing down what I wanted as if it already was here (scripting), it made me feel better and put me in the right frame of mind to make my dua. When I made my yearly vision board, I entered a space of understanding my feelings better. How did I feel when I was sticking a photo of something onto my board? What does that say about my blockages? What do I find easy, what do I find difficult?
I use the tools to take me out of the yearning of the past and the anxiety of the future and I bring myself into a state that allows me to find adventure in the future instead of fear. This is called entering flow state and it’s an exercise that helps you flex the spiritual muscle that is tawwakul (trust in God). Not having tawakkul doesn’t make you a bad Muslim, it just means you’re too scared to trust. Working on it is a form of jihad.
All of this boils down to knowing yourself, understanding your blocks and tapping into a space of peace and positivity. The manifestation techniques are real because they help you enter a space of allowing yourself to receive.
Using the term “universe” to describe the Creator is just another way to secularise this spiritual practice that is embedded in all religion. To me, this isn’t a bad thing because it makes God accessible to people who have no religion, are starting their spiritual journey, or want to find the meaning of life in their own way. For those who have attained spiritual trauma under the hands of corrupt religious authority, this is perfect for them to bring a power higher than themselves into this healing journey.
Personally, as a follower of Islam, I prefer to refer to the limitless creative power as Allah or his 99 names. This is what works for me and these manifestation tools help me tap into a headspace that takes me out of my fight or flight mode by learning about myself, my fears, my blocks and my desires so I can train my mind to connect to my heart and tap into a place of meaningful connection with Him.
It’s no secret that New Age spirituality is secular, but that doesn’t make it bad. It just means some of its elements are incompatible for religious people. That’s fine, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use aspects of it that don’t contradict with religious beliefs to understand ourselves better.
I love you all so much.