Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Is meditation to improve mental health allowed? I want to try it to reduce the stress linked to studying and relax my mental state overall. The meditation is me trying to disconnect from negative thoughts and try to feel the present and further condition my mind to have positive thoughts about a matter (i.e. studying, waking up early, being “not stressed”).
I pray you are well.
‘Clean’ Meditation Is Permissible
Yes, it is permissible to engage in meditation, and it can be beneficial in achieving the goals you mentioned. It’s worth bearing in mind that meditation has many forms; some involve just mindfulness, and others involve repeating statements such as ‘Om.’
It’s possible that these statements could have religious connotations, so you should not say them. A short form of dhikr will be much more beneficial. Short forms like ‘Subhan Allah, al-Hamdulillah, La ilaha illa Allah, and Allahu Akbar are easily said, and they bring much good in this life and the next. They are frequently referred to as ‘al-Baqiyat al-Salihat’ – the Abiding Good Deeds.
Another dhikr that is very beneficial is the blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Any wording will suffice. A quick and simple wording is: ‘Allahumma salli ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammadin wa alihi wa sallim (O Allah, bless and give peace to our Master Muhammad and his followers). Do so out of love and gratitude for the blessings of guidance and mercy.
Any other practices rooted in other religions should also be avoided. Many cultures based such practices in their belief systems, such as the Yoga poses that are centered around the sun. Doing them would be impermissible.
There are now technologies that can aid in this activity, such as the use of binaural beats. ‘The New Science of Super Awareness’ is an excellent work in this field, and it presents a lot of research and results practitioners have found. It’s worth having a look at it.
Don’t forget to turn to Allah through obligatory and voluntary prayers – which can be done at almost any time. They are also useful in realigning one’s being with Allah and one’s purpose of existence.
Whatever you do, intend to strengthen yourself to worship Allah and to serve His creation better. Every part of it will be worship that way.
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.