Mindfulness is a mental exercise with growing popularity in the mental health world. Surprisingly, it has been used to improve physical health, too, by treating chronic diseases such as heart disease, insomnia, and blood pressure.
In Islam, mindfulness is not a new concept but rather a significant essence of Islamic teachings. Despite being a buzzword in today’s world, people are still unaware of the significance of this idea in Islam, ways for incorporating it into their lives, and its impact on life.
In this blog, we will explore the importance of mindfulness in Islam and provide a practical guide for Muslim women to implement this practice in their lives. Let’s dive in.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness refers to a mental state of refining and accepting your thoughts by focusing on the current moment. Unlike what the name appears to be, it is about separating all the thoughts in your mind and concentrating on one at a time.
In Islam, God is the center of focus in a mindfulness exercise, which is referred to as muraqabah. They focus on creating a bond between people and God by connecting them. It is concerned with improving emotional and spiritual well-being by connecting your soul, body, and mind.
Mindfulness in Islam is understood with reference to its four aspects.
- Knowledge of Allah
- Knowledge of the evil (Satan)
- Knowledge of your soul
- Knowledge of good deeds to be done for the sake of Allah
Why is Mindfulness Important in Islam?
The importance of mindfulness in today’s world is undeniable. In our hyper-connected world, the flow of ideas and thoughts is so fast that you keep mingling with various thoughts in your mind at a time. Most of the time, the mind is lost in thoughts while you do some work.
You rarely have your mind in the present all the time, and this affects your mental capabilities. Mindfulness is the solution to this situation. It is an exercise to bring the control of your mind to your hands.
In Islam, mindfulness is regarded as the foundation of the relationship between believers and God. It is a crucial concept in the Islamic faith and helps believers achieve piety. In practising mindfulness, the virtue of silence and seclusion plays a significant role in bringing the desired results.
The key differentiating areas in streamlined mindfulness and mindfulness in Islam are purpose, presence, and judgement. According to the Islamic perspective, all these areas are focused on Almighty Allah.
The Six T’s of Mindfulness in Islam
To understand the concept of mindfulness and its importance in Islam, you must understand its important components. The following six T’s refer to the most significant components of mindfulness in Islam.
The first component refers to seeking wisdom in knowledge. It means getting knowledge about something to understand the truth and implementing it in your life. You may collect a lot of information that might be beneficial or meaningless.
The idea of tadabbur is to let go of the meaningless bits and focus on what is important, true, and relevant.
The second component is about reflecting on the current knowledge to understand it from different aspects. Reflecting upon your learning helps you understand it better for lifelong learning. Activities like meditation are a source of self-reflection for releasing toxicity from your thoughts.
Tasabbur refers to patience. Once you have learned about something, you must be patient with consistency and practice gratitude for what you have. It gives you inner peace and satisfaction while motivating you to do more good.
The patience is fueled by the thought that everything happens for a reason and is from the Almighty. Since human beings have no idea of hidden planning, it is better to be patient during adversities and grateful for the blessings we have.
The Arabic word Tazkiyah means purification, and here it refers to the purification of the heart. The best way to follow this essential pillar of mindfulness is to refrain from corrupting your heart through your five senses.
The five senses influence the spiritual heart, so it is important to keep a check on them. Only allow positivity, peace, and serenity to reach your heart and mind. Let go of all other thoughts that disturb your peace.
A way to do so is by fasting regularly, showing gratitude, avoiding harming others with your words or actions, and spending your time and money thoughtfully. These activities keep your heart pure that only bring peace to you and others.
The fifth component is tashakkur or gratitude. If you look around, you will find countless things that are worth being thankful for. From daily necessities to your relationships and other resources, you have many things that support your life activities.
Recognizing the positives in your life and showing gratitude for them frequently keeps you humble. It prevents you from achieving pride and allows you to value your life.
The last component is an outcome of the other five components. It refers to piety and divinity that helps you through all types of situations. Following Islamic teachings, doing good, and refraining from bad helps you achieve taqwa.
Benefits of Mindfulness: The Islamic Perspective
There is much hype about the benefits of mindfulness, and you hear a lot of people presenting their perspectives about how it benefits your mental and spiritual health and well-being.
We have compiled a comprehensive list of benefits considering the Islamic perspective to help you understand the importance of mindfulness in Islam.
1. Helps you Connect with Allah
Mindfulness is all about becoming self-aware of your thoughts to refine them. This helps you identify when your mind is not concentrated on the Almighty. As a result, you try to remember Allah more in all situations and states.
For a Muslim, the biggest achievement in the world is to build a strong connection with the creator, and mindfulness helps you do that. Balancing life activities such as family responsibilities, education, self-care, and social relations can become challenging for Muslim women. Mindfulness keeps you connected with the Divine despite your challenges in life.
2. Better Focus on Prayers
Muslims are obliged to pray five times daily with complete focus and submissiveness. As a Muslim woman or man, you often face the challenge of distraction during prayers, as your mind is filled with thoughts.
Practicing mindfulness helps you achieve “khushu” in prayers which is one of the best achievements you wish for. Mindfulness allows you to be mentally present during the prayers to improve them.
3. Improved Anger Management
Anger is one of the worst emotions that destroy your relationships, mental health, and productivity. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or work 9-5 in a typical job, it seems challenging to control your anger. Mindfulness makes it easy for you to think about a situation patiently without reacting to it.
This helps you in many aspects, improves your personality, and helps you become more disciplined personally and professionally. Also, Islamic teachings advise Muslims to control anger in all situations, so it is a win-win for you.
4. Promotes Feelings of Gratitude
One of the upsides of living in the present moment and avoiding past regrets and future worries is that you acknowledge the blessings you have today. Instead of complaining about what you need, you gradually become thankful for your life.
This is how a true Muslim must be. When you start to notice good things around you more, you ultimately boost your productivity. And it needs no mention that the more thankful you are, the more you get!
5. Increases Compassion
Being a critic of your own thoughts and actions is good up to a certain limit but being over-judgemental of yourself or others is never a good idea. If you face this challenge, mindfulness is for you.
Mindfulness promotes your acceptance towards your thoughts and also towards others. It teaches you to listen to others, understand them, and analyze a situation from different angles to understand different perspectives.
6. Promotes Good Behavior
As a Muslim, your foremost duty is to avoid sins and do good deeds. We often commit various sins unconsciously in our daily lives. One great way to avoid them is to be more conscious about your thoughts.
Mindfulness does exactly the same to increase your self-control. It provides you with the strength to think and act responsibly. You can leverage the power of mindfulness to get rid of bad habits like, addiction, back-biting, and even suicidal thoughts. On the other hand, it encourages you to do as many good deeds as possible.
7. Facilitates Self-Care
In your busy routine, you often forget to take care of yourself. This self-care includes the well-being of your body, mind, and soul. Mindfulness serves as a detoxifying exercise to purify your mind and deal with daily burnout.
Shifting your focus from scattered thoughts to the present moment makes you better aware of your needs. As a result, you can take some time out for yourself to relax and refresh your mind from the hectic routine.
How to Practice Mindfulness?
The compelling benefits of mindfulness make it an attractive mental exercise that people include in their lives. If you are also curious about it, here are some simple ways for practicing it.
- Sit in a quiet place with a calm and clean environment. Close your mind and think about something positive in your life. Avoid any other thoughts that distract you from your focus point but don’t force yourself. Begin doing it for five minutes and gradually increase your time.
- Sit (or stand) away from any kind of disturbance and notice what you see around you. You may also consider anything that you hear, or that comes to your mind. This disconnects you from your mind “full” of thoughts and brings you to the present moment.
- Sit alone and observe your thoughts. Don’t judge, and just observe your thought patterns. You would notice a collection of different motions in your thoughts. You can then channel your thoughts to avoid impulsive decision-making.
Whatever method you choose, there are some considerations that help improve the outcomes. The following are some ways to be mindful:
- Choose a time of the day and try to practice mindfulness at the same time daily
- Sit in a comfortable position
- Before beginning the exercise, normalize your breathing by practicing deep breathing for a few seconds
- Focus on your intention throughout the exercise to maintain concentration
- Take a few minutes to reflect on yourself, your thoughts, and your actions
- Try to be mindful in your daily activities
- Avoid multitasking
The Islamic perspective about mindfulness emphasizes on maintenance of good mental well-being to get peace of mind. It is a great way for Muslim women to use as a coping strategy to deal with the challenges facing them. They can use this guide to understand mindfulness and make the most of this technique to improve their lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it right for Muslims to practice mindfulness?
Yes, it is absolutely right for Muslims to practice mindfulness. Rather, this concept is firmly rooted in Islam since it focuses on improving concentration on positive thoughts. Daily prayers and meditation endorse the idea of mindfulness in Islam.
Is mindfulness a religious idea?
The idea of mindfulness has diverse aspects, including the religious one. The practice is found in many religions as well as modern-day traditions. It is an age-old practice with several spiritual and mental health benefits.
Does mindfulness improve physical health?
Yes, mindfulness helps improve physical health in several ways. It helps relieve stress, improves breathing, improves blood pressure, reduces pain, and improves sleep quality.
Why is mindfulness beneficial to Muslim women?
Mindfulness is beneficial for Muslim women in several ways.
- It helps correct negative thinking
- It helps in anger management
- It improves concentration in prayers
- It helps feel grateful about life
- It helps refrain from sins and practice good deeds
How can I be mindful in Salah?
You can be mindful in Salah by doing meditation before performing Salah. While performing prayer, you must connect yourself with Allah by being mindful that you are standing in front of Him. Pray in a calm environment and understand what you recite during prayers.
Why is mindfulness important?
Mindfulness is important due to its significant benefits for health and well-being, improved self-esteem, and giving a better perspective on life. It helps people cope better with mental and physical illness to become a productive member of society.