Guest Author: Asma Q. Fischer M.D.
The basic premise of Mindfulness in Islam is that there is a pure core (THE FITRAH) within every one.
Every child is born with it irrespective of caste, creed and religion. This purity can be accessed though the practices of Mindfulness.
If retrieved from the dark layers of life’s sullying experiences and polished, it will lift our heart, mind and body into wellness, peace and happiness.
This happens even though we may be surrounded by chaos and negativity.
Muslims believe that Adam (AS) was fashioned from various colors of clay by God.
He (the Almighty) blew His spirit into Adam making him a human rather than an inert clump of clay (dirt) (1). Thus it is this spiritual inner core that defines humanity within us.
Muslims believe that all the generations to come before they were even a twinkle in the eyes of their parents were raised by God and asked to witness.
God asked, “ Am I not your Lord” and they said, “Yes indeed you are”(2)
Thus every child born has a compass in his or her inner core that points to the Divine.
The Messengers throughout time are merely reminders of this inner source. (3)
Mindfulness represents the rays of an inner sun (the fitrah), which only seeks to bring light, growth and happiness to all that it touches.
The practices such as meditation, Salah (Muslim prayer), dhikr, and those listed below open the door to that inner source of Light and spiritual beauty. Thus when we go there we feel the warmth of the gentle sun and inhale the fragrance of purity, which refreshes our inner being. Our outer being then feels “well”
Every time we touch that spiritual part deep within us, we feel ethereal and free.
Mindfulness pivots on an inner moral compass which points to the Oneness of The Creator. Its practices accesse the inner purity of the fitrah which when touched and uncovered in its true essence is beneficial to both an individual and humanity at large.
Thus Mindfulness cannot exist without a moral compass. If there is no focus on a single Power, it would vacillate crazily as if thrown into a pile of magnets, pulling it in many directions and creating chaos instead of peace and stillness.
Mindfulness in Islam has six major components:
- TADABBUR (Seeking the wisdom in knowledge): To seek the essence of truth through knowledge in every act and being, i.e. keeping what is beneficial knowledge and letting go of that which is meaningless, trivial or harmful to your inner or outer being. PRACTICE: To gain a “regular diet of ilm” (4) (knowledge) every day and then to shake off the deleterious items and keep what is healthy and beneficial to the spirit.
- TAFFAKUR (Reflecting on what one knows and observes): Reflect upon what you have learned. Observe, study and release your inner spirituality to bring you into the field of wisdom. PRACTICE: This consists of Meditation and Dhikr, in focused planes of thought that takes you out into the subconscious and allows your spirit to be replenished by releasing what is toxic while tapping into your inner purity.
- TASABBUR (consistent patience with gratitude): Be patient with the world around you and with yourself. Do not seek immediate gratification, for it will not help you attain inner peace in the long haul. This is linked to the next two practices and requires constant reminders that the Divine is in charge and events happen according to His (The Almighty) timetable of planning which is hidden from us, and not according to ours. (5)
- TAZKIYAH (PURIFICATION OF THE HEART) there are five gateways to our spiritual heart (the five senses). Do not allow corrupting influences to enter your heart via these gateways. Guard them vigilantly and sift the entrants for clarity, beauty and sincerity. If the entrants do not qualify let them go. PRACTICE: (Here the practice points to ways of cleansing the heart). Cleanse the outer and the inner through fasting from dawn to dusk, retreat (even for a few minutes) from the hassles of daily life, eat pure (tayyab) and what is not harmful (halal)(6) and exercise to improve your stamina to practice all of the above T’s. Observe nature with gratitude and humility and acknowledge the one who created it. Avoid “israaf” (7) or wastefulness. Live frugally using only what is essential and letting go of things that burden you psychologically, physically or are eating up your time or money. Tazkiyah is the loofah that scrubs the heart till it glows like a polished crystal reflecting the light of the Divine, and becoming transparent enough to allow the Light to pass through to others. (8)
- TASHAKKUR: Gratitude in every breath will lighten your step, your life and your environment. PRACTICE: use a litany of words of gratitude daily as part of your normal vocabulary. Use words of gratitude after mundane acts of living like eating and after witnessing the beauty of a sunset and more. Inculcate it in your daily life.
- TAQWA:(Mindful of the Divine) Be aware of the Divine Presence in your life at all times, as a source of love, kindness and a guide to mindfulness. PRACTICE: remember to be where the Divine wants you to be present and be absent from where he does not want you to be. (9) He is our Creator and He, The Almighty knows best! Al -Khabeer. (10)
Bibliography can be requested.
Acknowledgements & References
The Holy Quran, Imam Al Ghazali, Sheikh Mokhtar Maghraoui, and Dr. Haifa Younis,
Marzia Hassan says
Thank you for this wonderful post. I work with my psychotherapy clients using mindfulness, positive psychology and CBT and sometimes am questioned on the Islamic view on mindfulness. This post certainly adds depth to my usual answer.
May I please have the bibliography? That would be very helpful indeed.
Mahmudah Institute says
The article is derived by the author after many retreats on Tazkiya tun Nafs from the Quran and Sunnah and the perspective of cleansing your heart.
Salam! Can I know your sources for this article?
an excellent article by the way 🙂