The Importance of “Muslim Mindfulness”
The Quran is “The Reminder.” Our leader, the Prophet Muhammad, (A.W.A.S.), was sent to deliver a message. That message is “The Reminder.”
Of what are we being reminded? Allah says in His Holy Quran, “Remember Me and I will remember you” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:152). So, we are being reminded of Allah. But what does this mean– to be “reminded?”
To “re-mind” is to bring-back-to-mind. However, due to Allah being The Absolute Truth, He is primary. Therefore, rather than saying “bring-back-to-mind,” it is more appropriate and perfect to say, “bring-the-mind-back” to Allah. After all, The Holy Quran tells us, “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:156).
This message delivered by the Holy Prophet, (A.W.A.S.), and the very purpose of revelation, is to bring our minds– indeed even our very souls– back to Allah!
What happens to the mind at this moment of encounter; when we return to the Presence of God?
The normal activity of the un-awakened mind in this world serves to veil our awareness of the Truth. However, the closer we come to Allah’s Divine Presence, the more our mind submits, becoming quiet. This allows for Allah to disclose Himself to the awareness of our still, awaiting hearts.
Recognizing in all humility that our finite mind can never fully realize the infinity of Allah we, nevertheless, inquire as to His nature and attributes. Our very profession of faith tells us, “La illaha illa’llah,” there is none to adore but the One to adore.
Of Allah’s many names depicting His unlimited attributes is Al-Khabir, The All-Aware. This could also be stated in the form of a testimony, “The One we are aware of is the One who is aware of, there is none aware, but He!”
So, our Prophet, (A.W.A.S.), is bringing a message to remind us to be aware of the One who is aware of us. Indeed, He is aware of everything in the heavens and the earth! He is Awareness Himself! And, we are to be aware of His Awareness– ever mindful– conscious of Allah as the only One to adore.
Why is this so important to Allah? The answer is really quite simple, and yet incredibly profound. God wants us to be aware of Him— our very source of awareness— in all His Majesty and Glory, simply because HE LOVES US!
Being All-Knowing, Allah is Ever-Aware of how we are created, formed, and fashioned– and to what purpose. We were created to worship Him (Surat -Dhariyat 51:56); to adore Allah. When we are aware of who He is we cannot help but fall down in prostrate adoration! He alone is adorable; which is to say, He is the only one worthy of worship.
Because we are made for such recognition through re-awakening our awareness, Allah knows there is no other way for us to be satisfied. Without an awareness of this awareness there is no possibility of peace or contentment—no hope of happiness.
To try to please a soul without Awareness of Allah is analogous to trying to please a fish without providing water. The only source of satisfaction for the fish is to be immersed in water. Likewise, there is no pleasure for the soul, except that he be immersed in the Awareness of Allah!
Ridwan’llah is the Pleasure of Allah. Our whole point and purpose of existence is to please God. It pleases Him when we remember Him. Meditation is one of the best ways to do this.
So, why would a Muslim meditate? Simply because, it is one of the best ways to please Allah!
How is a Muslim to Meditate?
Now that we can clearly see that it pleases Allah for us to remember Him through meditative practices, the question beckons, how is a Muslim to meditate?
As in all things we follow our Prophet Muhammed, (A.W.A.S.), who is the perfect example of how to be a Muslim in all circumstances. Let us take a closer look at how he received guidance.
When the Revelation of The Quran came to Muhammed, (A.W.A.S.), he had gone into seclusion. He got alone. So, we can initiate our practice by following his example. We find a quiet place to be alone.
The next thing we know is that the Prophet heard. To hear requires us to be listening; so, we get still and quiet. We simply remain in this awareness, waiting for Allah to reveal Himself to us, as He revealed Himself to Muhammad, (A.W.A.S.). We bow the mind and all its seemingly incessant activity to the Presence of Allah. In Islam we call this type of observance Muraqaba. It simply means to sit still in quiet observation.
Since we do not find ourselves elevated to the status of prophethood, we may want to prime our hearts and help to still our minds by calling upon our Lord, BEFORE attempting to enter into His Presence with Muraquba. We do this with a practice known as Tasbeh.
Tasbeh involves repeating various names of God, or phrases of Truth. This is done in order to associate with and surrender to Allah in all His attributes. And, while this is usually done with the aid of beads, or counting on the fingers, there are no hard and fast rules. The Quran reminds us of the crucial activity when it says, “Call upon Me and I will respond to you!” Only those who are too proud would reject such an invitation (Surah Al-Ghfir, 40:60).
Are these the only ways we are reminded? No. In fact, all of Islam is a reminder to submit our own self-centered will to Allah. Our prayers five times daily are periods of reminding. These practices of meditation prepare the heart and mind for such blessed conscious connections. As we engage in Muraqaba, such periods of stillness are likely to calm our minds and raise our awareness. This allows us to develop a much deeper appreciation of one or many of the various aspects of Al-Haqq, The Truth.
If, during Muraqaba we are reminded of a particularly profound Truth, we can then further our meditative practice with Tafakhur (continuous contemplation). When this contemplation is directed towards the character of those who live this truth, such as the Prophet, the Companions, or our own teachers, this form of communion becomes known as Murabita.
In conclusion, a Muslim will meditate when s/he understands remembering Allah is what provides the power to surrender. Calling upon the Divine Names and attributes of Allah pleases Him. Thus, He is quick to respond to those who call upon Him. The response of His Presence brings a peace to calm the restless mind. When the mind is calm, one can see more clearly through the veil with the awareness of the heart.
When one looks in this way one is able to dive deeper into the contemplative depths of Allah and His associates. This practice then further empowers the process of surrender, allowing the practitioner to attain higher and higher degrees of appreciation for Allah’s Divine Majesty and Transcendent Glory.
With all this being said, perhaps we have been asking the wrong question. The question is not, “Why Would a Muslim Meditate?” The question is why would s/he NOT?