<strong><em><span class="c2">"Muraqabah is to be devoted to the names of the Watcher (Al-Raqib), the Guardian (Al-Hafith), the Knowing (Al-\u2018Alim), the Hearing (Al-Sami\u2019), the Seeing (Al-Basir). Thus, whoever understands these names and is devoted to fulfilling them will acquire muraqabah." - Ibn Al-Qayyim <\/span><\/em><\/strong><em><span class="c2">[<\/span><\/em><em><span class="c2"><span class="c2 c0">Mad\u0101rij Al-S\u0101lik\u012bn<\/span><span class="c8 c0">, 2:66.]<\/span><\/span><\/em>\r\n\r\nMeditation and mindfulness are hugely popular topics. In the Arabic language, it is referred to as <em>Mur\u0101qabah<\/em>. <em>Mur\u0101qabah<\/em> is the introspection of one\u2019s <em>nafs<\/em> (inner self) by observing <em>dhikr<\/em> with a view to connect the <em>nafs<\/em> to the divine injunctions of Allah. Other benefits of such meditation is to attain consciousness, a form of <em>taqwa<\/em> in order to feel <em>khushoo'<\/em> - a level of focus and humility in one's worship, \u2018Ib\u0101dah, etc.\u00a0 Having control over your thoughts and subsequently your actions, can only help make sense of the chaos of modern life and bring you closer to your Creator.\r\n\r\nThere are many benefits to be gained through meditation, but beginners often struggle to develop a meditation practice. There is a lot of confusion around the simple, but challenging practice of meditation. \u00a0A few tips can make a significant difference. Bear in mind, that the end-goal of meditation is not to solely gain solace and comfort; rather your intention to be to get closer to Allah by attaining spiritual excellence. The serenity, calm and solace felt by meditating are simply bonuses that will help you in all spheres of life.\r\n<h2><strong>Meditate more effectively and enjoy greater benefits:<\/strong><\/h2>\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>1. You don\u2019t need anything to meditate.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nIt can be nice to have a proper cushion, loose fitting clothing, and a quiet location. However, you don\u2019t need any of those things. You can meditate on the bus in your work clothes or even when you work out. You always have everything you need with you to meditate properly. However, you will benefit the most if you are in seclusion. Choose a quiet time like just before dawn prayer <em>fajr<\/em> if you can. There is something to be said for 'silence is golden.' When engaging in mindful exercise, the silence reinforces presence and 'being in the moment' rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>2. Start with a clear intention <em>niyyah<\/em> and focus on mindful breathing.<\/strong>\r\n\r\n<em>In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.\u00a0<\/em>Focus on your intention to connect with Allah (SWT). Be mindful of your intention to train your mind so that you can be more disciplined which will in turn enhance your daily worship and work.\r\n\r\nOther forms of meditation can require higher levels of focus and discipline. Arguably, mindful breathing is the most valuable form of meditation. Simply focus on your breathing. When your mind wanders, gently return your focus to your breath.\r\n\r\nThink of Allah's name. <strong><em>Allah<\/em> -<em>hu<\/em><\/strong>.\r\n\r\nWhen you breathe in - <strong><em>Allah<\/em> <\/strong>- and when you breathe out -<strong> <em>hu<\/em>.<\/strong>\r\n\r\n<strong><em>Allah<\/em><\/strong> (breathe in)<strong> <em>hu<\/em><\/strong> (breathe out).\r\n\r\nCommit to 5 minutes of this daily.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>3. Move if you need to.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nThat doesn\u2019t mean to squirm around in your seated position. Get up and talk a walk instead. Be mindful in your walking. Ideally, you can find a peaceful location where you can still focus on your breath, free from the worry of being run over by a car. The more distractions you have, the more challenging it will be. Try to find a posture that is comfortable but won't put you to sleep.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>4. Use a timer.<\/strong> Suppose you plan to meditate for 15 minutes. It can be very distracting to wonder how much time is left. So, you peek at the clock and mentally calculate how much time is left. Use a timer instead and keep your attention where it belongs. Beginners can start with 5 minutes and then build up to more.\r\n\r\n<em><strong>"Worship Allah as if you see Him, for if you do not see Him, He certainly sees you."<\/strong><\/em> <em><strong>[Sahih Al Bukhari]<\/strong><\/em>\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>5. Be mindful throughout the day.<\/strong> Use a timer app on your phone or computer to remind you to be mindful. Set the timer to notify you every 10 to 15 minutes. Take a few mindful breaths using Allah's name and return to your previous activity. Use your prayer times also to add to this mindful activity. As soon as the call to prayer <em>adhaan<\/em> goes, you can focus your mind before praying. Try to remain in this state of mindfulness during your prayers. When your mind wanders to other things, don't feed these thoughts by analysing them. Simply return your focus to Allah and turn away from the other invasive thoughts. Focus on Allah's qualities. Use His beautiful names to get close to Him by repeating them. The prophet Muhammad pbuh used to supplicate when he got distracted from <em>mur\u0101qabah: "Verily, at times there is fog over my heart, so I seek the forgiveness of Allah one hundred times in a day." [Sahih Muslim]<\/em>\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>6. Meditate several times each day.<\/strong> Use your trusty timer again. Perhaps you can meditate for one minute each hour or 10 minutes every 4 hours. The goal is to maintain a mindful state 24 hours per day. This is more easily accomplished if you meditate several times each day. As mentioned above, you can use your prayer times to mark these moments.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>7. Be gentle.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nMeditation isn\u2019t about forcing yourself to concentrate with tremendous effort. Meditation gives energy. It doesn\u2019t take energy from you. Use gentle, persistent attention. You\u2019ll be more successful and enjoy the process much more. Think about how Allah is watching us at all times and how your actions can be mindful. Use the <em>tasbih<\/em> "Glory and praise to Allah (<em><span class="gmail-c2">subhan Allahi wa bi hamdih<\/span><\/em>), and glory to Allah Almighty (<em><span class="gmail-c2">subhan Allahi al-\u2018Athim<\/span><\/em>) throughout the mindfulness as a form of dhikr. It weighs the heaviest on the scales in the Hereafter [al-Bukhari]. You can also do isthighfar (seeking the forgiveness of Allah) and the best of remembrance: "There is no God but Allah (<em><span class="gmail-c2">la ilaha illa Allah<\/span><\/em>), and all praise is due to Allah (<em><span class="gmail-c2">al-hamdulillah<\/span><\/em>)," [al-Tirmidhi].\r\n\r\n<em><strong>\u201cRemember that God knows what is in your souls, so be mindful of Him.\u201d [Baqarah 2:235]<\/strong><\/em>\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>8. The longer you meditate, the more important your posture becomes.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nAlmost any position can be comfortable for a few minutes, but few positions are comfortable for 20 minutes or more. Even your comfy couch is inadequate. It\u2019s important to maintain a well-supported position with a straight spine. Leaning or slouching will create tension and discomfort.\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Have you ever wondered why the full-lotus position is so popular in meditation? It\u2019s because your ankle bones aren\u2019t digging into the floor like they would be if you had your feet folded underneath you. It\u2019s also very stable and allows for a straight spine. An ideal position is sitting cross-legged with a pillow as a backrest.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>Find a position that works for you. Consider using a wooden chair if you\u2019re unable to find a comfortable position on the floor.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>9. Avoid meditating after a large meal.<\/strong> Meditation isn\u2019t a form of sleep. A big meal can make you sluggish and uncomfortable. If you are fasting, then your mind will be even more elevated and ready to connect to Allah. Eating well, eating pure and good foods will all benefit your mind and body.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>10. Add time to your meditation practice slowly.<\/strong> Avoid pushing yourself. Five minutes is a good start. Add a few minutes each week. A long session of 30 minutes per day is a worthwhile goal to work up to. Don't give up or if you feel you have not achieved what you wanted from the exercise, don't convince yourself that it isn't working. The first and foremost target is to complete the meditative moments as planned. Each attempt to focus your mind to the present, will strengthen your discipline and resolve. And don't forget, any form of dhikr or tasbih, supplications and recitation of Allah's Names, is a written reward in your book of good deeds.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nMeditation is a subtle skill that requires time and practice. Many beginners give up before realising the benefits that meditation provides. Make meditation one of your daily habits. It won\u2019t take long before you consider meditation to be one of your most important activities and through repetition, can have many benefits.\r\n\r\n \r\n<h1 style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Meditation is a simple and free tool that can enhance your life in many ways.<\/em><\/strong><\/h1>\r\n \r\n<p style="text-align: center;">Below we discuss a few ways in which it can have a profound impact on your life if implemented consistently.<\/p>\r\n<strong>Meditation can increase self-confidence.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nMeditation can help to remove self-doubt and self-criticism. You will become more accepting of your shortcomings. When you are able to accept yourself, you believe that others will accept you, too.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Meditation reduces stress and anxiety.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nDuring meditation, you focus on something to the exclusion of all other thoughts. It\u2019s not possible to feel stressed about your finances or your love life when 100% of your attention is focused on something else. You develop the ability to regulate and moderate your emotions through meditation.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Meditation provides a method for learning about yourself.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nMost of us possess a certain amount of blindness when it comes to our thoughts, behaviors, and tendencies. Meditation encourages self-examination and detachment.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Meditation can help you to see the truth.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nMeditation seeks to remove all of your preconceived ideas and put your emotions on the back burner. Without the influence of your beliefs and emotions, it\u2019s much easier to catch a glimpse of reality. Your ability to make effective and intelligent decisions will grow, affecting all spheres of your life. Gaining control over your thoughts and emotions will hone your skills at disengaging with negative or sinful thoughts, pre-empting any action. This in turn will train you to notice and focus on your good thoughts, nurturing this and acting positively.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Meditation gives your brain a rest.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nYour brain is constantly working. There\u2019s not one moment of the day your brain isn\u2019t running at full speed. Even while you\u2019re dreaming, your brain is busy creating your dreams.\u00a0When you become an effective meditator, your brain finally gets a chance to rest. You\u2019ll be surprised how good just five minutes of meditation can feel. Many experienced meditators find that one minute of meditation per hour is very beneficial.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Meditation can improve concentration.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nMost forms of meditation require focusing on a thought or object, commonly your breath. All of this concentration practice will bleed over into other parts of your life. You become good at what you practice. This is especially true of prayer. Your presence in prayer will get stronger eventually achieving <em>khushoo'<\/em>.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Meditation can make you more accepting of others.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nWhen you\u2019re more able to see your own shortcomings compassionately, you\u2019ll extend that same compassion to others and become more forgiving, less judgemental. What would happen if everyone took the time to meditate?\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Meditation can prolong your life.<\/strong>\r\n<p style="text-align: left;">Meditation has been shown to slow the aging process, both physical and mental. It\u2019s possible this could increase longevity. At the very least, you\u2019ll feel, look, and think better!<\/p>\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Meditation can boost your level of creativity.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nBy eliminating your negative thoughts and beliefs, you\u2019ll have greater access to your creative abilities. Lower levels of stress also increase the opportunity to put your mind to good use. You might be a lot more creative than you\u2019ve given yourself credit for in the past!\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Meditation can enhance your health.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nIn a 2008 study (University of Kentucky), 40 of 60 patients were able to eliminate the need to take blood pressure medication after learning to meditate. Meditation has also been shown to enhance the function of the immune system. Consider that one of the signs of aging is a decrease in immune function.\r\n\r\nMeditation is one of the most powerful self-development tools available. A short meditation session each day can provide profound results. The human soul needs nourishing and cleansing. Al-Ghazali likens the heart to a mirror and states that being mindful of Allah will polish the heart to shine as brilliantly as a mirror.<span class="gmail-c4"> He says [<em><span class="c2 c0">I\u1e25y\u0101\u2019 \u2019Ul\u016bm Al-D\u012bn<\/span><\/em><span class="c8 c0">, 3:12]<\/span>:<\/span>\r\n<blockquote class="gmail-xl:pl-18 gmail-xl:pr-18 gmail-bg-yaqeen-primary-500 gmail-p-10 gmail-text-base gmail-xl:text-xl gmail-text-white gmail-font-semibold gmail-leading-snug gmail-my-3 gmail-mb-10">\r\n<p class="gmail-c7 gmail-c18"><em><span class="gmail-c2">The heart is in the position of a mirror that is surrounded by influential matters and these traits proceed to the heart. As for praiseworthy traits that we have mentioned, they will polish the mirror of the heart and increase it in brilliance, light, and radiance until the clarity of truth shines from within it and the reality of the matter sought in religion is unveiled.<\/span><\/em><\/p>\r\n<\/blockquote>\r\nThe benefits aren\u2019t limited to your psychology. Studies have demonstrated physical benefits, too. Consider adding meditation to your daily routine for 30 days and see the results for yourself. If you are blessed to start this in time for the holy month of Ramadan, what better time than then to start?