Mindfulness, mental health and prayer

It is an important pillar of Islam and for good reason. Prayer is like a present to us. Well, we should try to view it as a self-gift. Those few minutes of the day where we can reward ourselves by checking out from the rest of the world and its weariness, start up a conversation with the One who we obey, as well as ask Allah for anything in a humble position. Focusing on prayer and being humble therein are among the most important matters, and this is the essence of the prayer.

“Certainly will the believers have succeeded:
They who are during their prayer humbly submissive [khaashi‘oon]”

Qur’an 23:1-2

The word khashi’oon comes from the Arabic word khushoo’, which simply put encompasses a form of worship by having a proper focus of mind, peace and humility whilst praying.

We live in a hyper-connected world where we are continuously distracted by our thoughts and technological comforts. It is rare to be “present and mindful” 100% of the time.

Mindfulness linguistically means “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something,” and more specifically, “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness of the present moment.”

Numerous peer-reviewed studies show that mindfulness practices (such as relaxation or meditation) help to reduce stress, boost memory, enhance focus and concentration, decrease emotional reactivity, and improve personal relationships.

In Islam, the five compulsory daily prayers are meant for taking the time out from busy schedules, thus freeing our minds from worldliness and all its worries and concerns, thereby putting trust in Allah (God) as the Rabb (Lord) that He would take care of our needs and problems.

Know that Allah, the Exalted, Knows your every saying, action, or belief,

“And put your trust in the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful – Who sees you when you stand up (for prayer) and your movements along with those who fall prostrate.”

Qur’an 26:216-218

Mindfulness in Islam (al-muraqabah) is a conscious state of full awareness of Allah (and His attributes) and our inner states in relation to Him. In its complete form, it is the highest spiritual state attainable—the perfect realisation of excellence in Ihsaan (faith). Modern science has demonstrated the efficacy of mindfulness exercises in securing several health and wellness benefits, even in a non-religious context.

Nevertheless, much research carried out for the last many decades have identified a relationship between mental health and religious convictions; in particular, various religious practices has been found to be instrumental in the promotion of mental health.

One study into mindfulness in prayer and its association with mental health found that the mean score on mindfulness and mental health was significantly higher for those who were offering prayers as compared with those who were not offering it regularly. Moreover, those who were offering prayers with mindfulness had also significantly better mental health compared with those who were offering it without mindfulness. The present study indicated that individuals who offer prayer regularly and with mindfulness have better mental health as compared with those who do not offer it regularly and with mindfulness. The findings of this study urge to spread awareness regarding offering prayers regularly with mindfulness for the better outcome of mental health (Ijaz, Khalily & Ahmad, 2017).

Do you have any tips on how to be mindful in your five daily prayers?

Hamida Moulvi

Hamida Moulvi

Hamida has a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree, having studied modules concerning Emotions and Mental Health. She is passionate about giving back to the community as it is important to benefit others - every little helps, in inspiring changes and raising awareness, especially within Muslim communities where many cultures can believe mental health isn't a real problem. She has a love for the way Islam guides, inspires and heals (HasbunAllahu w ni'mal wakeel) and is also interested in languages, being multilingual. She believes words have a powerful impact whether that be in written or spoken form, and that we are all here to learn, implement and share so helping write articles would achieve this also.

4 Comments

  • Nurat Adelopo says:

    This message is really important in our lives. Truly we all pray Salah, but sometimes the Khushoo might be lacking especially when you’re in anticipation and hoping to receive blessing from Allah.
    Mental health and being present during our supplications shows that our connection with Allah is the truth and reality. Then hope is certain, and that’s where tranquility lies.

  • Amanda says:

    Jazak Allah Khayran! I loved reading this article this morning. Absolutely true, being mindful is so very important on so many levels. May Allah grant us all the ability to be mindful of him all the days and all the prayers be not only mindful but completely present. Thank you for writing about this. Salaam.

  • Mufti Qammar ul haq says:

    Very very important thing that you are talking about. It’s the backbone of Islam. I appreciate you writing on it.
    Regards.

  • yasmeen khan says:

    Thank you for writing on this very important topic. Mindfulness is the key. Taqwa is also about mindfulness because Taqwa is God consciousness in our daily lives. Its important to understand the words you are using in the salah and understand what the body postures/positions signify. I would appreciate tips on improving mindfulness in prayer. Its a very important subject.

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend