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The Secrets of Muraqaba –the Sufi Science or technique of Meditation
Bismillah –in the Name of Allah
This article is aimed at non-Muslims as well as Muslims who are new to Sufism and interested in Sufi Meditation
Collated by Muhammad Sajad Ali – Abu Izzah Ali – 28th April 2010
In a nutshell
Muraqaba is the Science of Sufi Meditation. It’s more like visualisation/image practice based on the Name of Allah or the deep visualisation or watching of the Sufi Master’s face. The Word means observe, guard or control or vigilance or being aware, in this context referring to controlling and guarding one's thoughts and desires. Muraqaba or visualisation is setting aside some private time to sit and reflect on Allah meaning-( al-the ilah-God Allah is a proper noun , there is only One and Unique Allah it is the ancient Semitic name that has been used by all Prophets from the beginning of time to call upon the Lord of universes, but the word God references many things and can cause confusions ).
The exercise the seeker strives is to empty the heart of all thoughts and images and allow blessings and mercy of Allah to enter the heart by erasing its darkness. As if in gratitude to being cleansed of darkness, the heart joyfully calls out the Supreme Name-Allah or the formula Kamila-testimony of unity - La-e-laha ill-lallah -(there is nothing to worship but Allah) over and over again. Muraqab-visualisation is keeping an image of the shaykh’s face in your heart, mind and thoughts while repeating the invocation of the Supreme Name Allah or testimony of unity- La-e-laha ill-lallah with deep contemplation and stillness until the falling away of attributes and the secrets are revealed. The secret of Muraqaba- visualisation or watching is mushahada-witnessing (That is, the secret of watching is witnessing.)
Before explaining Muraqaba in full
Before explaining the full secrets Muraqaba-visualisation, I want to share show thoughts and points that we all may have had experienced and do already but just don’t realise. And this will make understanding Muraqaba- visualisation more simpler to some degree.
If you’re female (even some males), but mainly females will have had this experience, you’re sitting down in class or lecture or somewhere in a public place and suddenly you feel the sense that someone is looking at you, you turn your head and your eyes lock on that person straight away, you will feel heat on your upper back and neck and the feeling being watched your soul will feel that person, what happens is their Aura is touching your Aura. Now nobody told you who it was, if the room was full of say 20, 50 maybe 100 people or more, how did you know who to look at, who told you it was that person, think about that for a moment.
Also have you ever walked into a room when people are talking and they suddenly stop and change the subject when they catch sight of you, and you can Feel they were talking about you and when you look at them, they look all shifty.
Again who told you they were talking about you, yet you can feel it in the room and similarly when you walk into a room and the people there don’t like you and you can feel they don’t like you, nobody has to speak it’s in the air, ‘ you can cut the atmosphere with a knife’, is the expression it means it’s a very tense and difficult atmosphere.
Nobody has taught you any of these feelings, you didn’t read it in a book or learnt it from school. So how do you know about these moments when they happen? Simple, we all have an Aura and that has a basic defence shield when we are in trouble it will turn on more, it says the Aura can travel about 12-20 feet in a straight line and about 6 feet in a round circle. We subconsciously turn it on, when the aura feels threaten or disturbed, our subconscious or the automatic mental process of reactions takes effect or simply kicks in.
So in modern terms our Aura’s can network or connect with each other, This can be trained and enhanced to open up at different levels, so consciously we are aware or in the mode of Muraqaba. This happens with the help of visualisation (of the shaykh) meditation which opens the doors to the Spiritual Heart-Basirah and it has eyes, ears and a brain-( the heart has 40,000 neurons-nerve cells which scientist discovered) ( Basirah is the ‘eye of the heart’ a term that is used in the Quran)
The Spiritual Heart, when trained can network and access others just like the internet someone from one part of the world can make contact or connect with someone from another side of the world or any were else that allows the connection. The connection is made through the telephone to connect to the internet. The spiritual heart when connected or even looking for a signal is like that it can send and receive messages. Just like email the heart receives 70,000 Khawatir-thoughts or messages a day which are of four categories either;
2 from the Ego –desires,
3. Angelic or
(most of these thoughts are the same thoughts we have through the day or days that go past) the same way we get emails which are either useful from friends and get junk emails or messages. The Heart is the same we need to learn how to filter and delete junk mail thoughts from real mail thoughts and images. (Please see below links about 70,000 thoughts and NLP-Neuro Linguistic Programming, in NLP they teach you about visualisation and how to achieve your goals successfully through visualisation, it has dramatically changed many people’s lives and habits and mental problems too)
Introduction to understanding Muraqaba
Muraqaba is the most powerful method of spiritual contemplation through which man is able to Gain the primordial knowledge of his Ego, Self, or Soul. After gaining that knowledge, anyone can Gain Access to his Ego or Soul. The main objective of Muraqaba is to understand the spiritual mysteries of the Self, Universe and to experience an eternal life in union with God.
"One hour of meditation-muraqaba is better than 70 years of worship." – Hadith-Tradition
Muraqaba improves human memory, mental concentration in and boost spiritual energy in individual. You will experience well being and glow by the spiritual enlightenment of Muraqaba. Muraqaba can help you to develop paranormal abilities like extrasensory perception and clairvoyance as well, this happens by focusing and tuning on the spiritual teacher (which is the actual method of Muraqaba) to make the transfer of spiritual knowledge possible from master to student, focus of mind on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to make the transfer of private spiritual knowledge from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to student possible and above all focus on the Mind of God by following the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Thus there are 3 levels to Muraqaba.
1 st stage Fana fil Shaykh – attaining ‘annihilation in the Shaykh’
2 nd stage Fana fil Rasul – attaining ‘annihilation in the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).’
3 rd stage Fana Fillah – attaining ‘annihilation in Allah-God’
And so the goal and purpose of Sufi Meditation is to manifest Hadra-(perpetual presence) in the reality of the Shaykh-the Sufi master. The more one keeps to this vital practice, the more its benefits will manifest in ones daily life to the point that he reaches fana’ fil-shaykh-(the state of annihilation in the Shaykh) the first stage.
One must know that the Shaykh is the bridge between illusion-(The World) and reality-(Allah-God) and he remains in this world only for this purpose. The Shaykh is thus a unique rope like the Quran says ‘And hold fast, all of you together to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves’ (3:103).
The Shaykh is the rope to any who seek freedom from this world, he is the link between this world and the Divine Presence. To be annihilated in the presence and reality of the Shaykh is to be ( Fana Fillah)-(annihilated in reality, in Allah-God), in the Presence of the Divine, for this is precisely where the Shaykh is, in the court of the Divine.
Although the principal goal of visualization is establishing and maintaining a connection with Allah-God, for the seeker to begin he starts with the form of the shaykh’s appears or face, by placing it in their heart to assist the seeker. Later, the shaykh’s heart spurs or pushes the seeker’s heart leading to the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) presence or the 2nd stage Fana fil Fasul-attaining ‘annihilation in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The novice, having the picture of his shaykh’s face in his heart at the point, is assisted by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to arrive at Allah-God. Divine grace is then transmitted from the Prophet’s heart (pece be upon him) via the Sufi master at the seeker’s heart. The last stage is the Seeker becomes blessed and now is covered in saintly energy and not many can reach the 3rd stage Fana Fillah - attaining ‘annihilation in Allah-God’ and if they do, they reach real sainthood. For many the 1 st stage is enough to aim for and try to perfect to some level or another.
Muraqba in Islamic history
The description of muraqaba is taken from a certain hadith-tradition. When the angel Gabriel came to visit the Prophet, peace be upon him, he asked him about Islam-Surrender, Iman-Faith, Ihsan-excellence. This is part of the answer concerning Ihsan- excellence, that we should worship Allah as if we saw Him, because if we do not see Him, He sees us. This is the practice of Ihsan-Excellence. All of tasawwuf -(Sufism) is contained in this description of Ihsan-excellence. In a certain way, tasawwuf can be seen as the practice of Ihsan- excellence.
That makes tasawwuf nothing special outside of religion, but it rather is one particular level of practicing in our religion. It is the highest. For this level of practice Allah has the greatest Reality. What is that Reality? To worship Him as if you see Him and if you do not see Him He sees you. To be always aware that although you do not see Him, He sees you.
Contained in this hadith -tradition there are two names. These names are the description of two main practices: mushahada- witnessing, to be as if you see Him, and if Allah grants it, it may actually be as if we actually see Him. You must always try to be as if you saw Him. This is not easy. It requires constant discipline and reminding. This is witnessing or mushahada. Muraqaba refers to the second part: to always be aware that He sees you. It comes from the word al-Raqib- The Watchful, from an ayat-Signs in the Qur’an.
God Said: “And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks.” – In a Holy Tradition
In the time of Prophet Yusuf ibn Ya’qub- Joseph son of Jacob , there was a time of seven years of plentiful food and seven years of starvation and this was seen in a dream, ‘The king dreamt that seven lean cows were eating seven fat ones and that there were seven green ears of corn and seven dry ones. He asked the nobles to tell him the meaning of his dream if they were able to. They replied “it is a confused dream and we do not know the meaning of such dreams.” - Quran Surah Yusuf 12:43, 44
In the years of starvation or famine, people for other areas came for food and there was not enough food for them. One of the main secrets of Prophet Yusuf-Joseph, was his great beauty, it says that he was blessed with 9/10th of all beauty . He had to wear a Niqab-face veil. When people were in starvation they had to stand in front of him, he would lift his face veil, the beauty from his face would fulfil their hunger. They just had to look at his face .
Looking at the face of Sayyiduna Ali is Ibadah- worship, looking the your Parents is Ibadah-worship and looking at the Holy Ka’baah-the House of God is Ibadah- worship. This from Hadith-Tradition
So looking at the face of Ali is Ibadah -worship, - Thus his title is –( Karam Allah Wajhu- may Allah ennoble his face). Sayyiduna Ali by blood lineage is 1st cousin to the Holy Prophet (peace be upn him) and also his Son-in-law and the 4 th Islamic Khalifah. He was born inside the Holy Ka’baah-the House of God, and didn’t open his eyes for three days until the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) held him and only then did he open his eyes and the first glance he gave was to the face of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) , it says that he also never looked at this part privates ever.
He also has the title of Gate of knowledge-Babu ul ‘ilm - The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "I am the city of knowledge and `Ali is its gate.’ When you teach someone Knowledge even if it’s one letter of Quran or some Islamic knowledge the shaykh gives birth to your spiritual journey to your Lord, through their teachings you’re nourished and grow and so the shaykh gains the same respect and honour that due to one parents. And so the shaykh becomes your spiritual father and must be honoured like your worldly father.
As for looking at the faces of your parents, it says; "If a person looks with love at his parents, Allah-God writes in his favour the reward equal to the performance of one Hajj." – Hadith-tradition. Someone asked, "Will this promise be good if one looks at his parents one hundred times a day?" The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him ) replied, "even if one does so a hundred thousand times a day, Allah-God gives the reward accordingly."
When the Muslims conquered Mecca, Bilal was told to stand on top of the Holy Ka’baah-the House of Allah-God and give the call for pray. He asked the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) which way should I look, for when one calls people to pray you have to Face the Holy Ka’baah-the House of Allah-God, which is called Qibla-direction. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) told Bilal to look at his Face . So from this we have the saying the Ka’baah of the Ka’baah is the face of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).
So looking at the face of Sayyiduna Ali has the reward of worship (for he has holy blood and has been blessed by God and so have his descendants who are from the daughter of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) ) and looking at the holy face of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) is looking at the holiest of the holy. It is know that all Holy saints of Islam or Sufi Masters have this secret for this secret is part of what is given to them by the holy Prophet’s (peace be upn him) Nur-Light. And more the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) companions were around him and showed him love and honour by following him the more they drank this Light which has come down from Sufi master to Sufi Master to this present day.
The Actual Method of Muraqaba - Technique for Visualizing the Shaykh
(if you have a shaykh already then use your shaykh’s picture otherwise email me )
First find an empty quiet room, ideally start off with the lighting being dim. Sit in the position either crossed legged or in the sitting on your knees and your hands on your thighs.
Precondition -(that is before you start): Make sure you have had a bath and are wearing clean clothing, or the least is to be in ( Wudu-Ablution- how to make wudu-WikiHow ) also see this flash video guide to Wudu and clothing ) as the proverb says ‘ Cleanness is next to godliness’. One needs to be clean outwardly so they can clean inwardly.
As you sit in the empty room, empty your mind of all thoughts and breathe slowly.
Relax and keep your mind clear, look and focus on the picture of the Shaykh, focus your mind on this face, now close your eyes and see his face in your mind.
Do this for a few seconds or more, if you cannot see his face in your mind keep focusing on the picture and again close your eyes and focus on his face until you can see his face in your mind. Practise this for a few seconds or minutes. (Remember to breathe slowly). As soon as the mind is focused, the spiritual eye of the heart starts to be activated. The conscious mind is not used to see through the spiritual eye of the heart, so concentration comes and goes. Gradually, the mind gets used to these kinds of visions and the mental focus is continuous.
Now begin to gaze at the point between the shaykh’s eyes, this is the holy area of Wisdom and Light. Why, when you prostate yourself in pray to Allah-God, there are 7 parts of the body that must touch the ground; 2 feet 2 knees 2 hands and 7 th the forehead and ridge of nose.
Now when in prostate this is the most humbling position man is to his Lord, When man is in Sajda-prostate, he is surrendering himself to his Lord and is the highest position spiritually. And when in prostration, man is at the court of his Lords presence and in that presence all the spiritual energy from Heaven is transferred to the forehead the Taj-Crown of Man.
This is why when you look at the face of the shaykh concentrate on the looking at the point between the shaykh’s eyes, keep focusing there. If this is difficult than just the face.
Now, try placing the picture of the Shaykh into your heart, this can take time for some people to practise, if your thoughts wonder off refocus your thoughts and only see the face of the Shaykh. Open your eyes if you lose the image and look at the photo until you can transfer the image into your mind and then your heart. (if you have problems placing the picture into your heart, then the least is to make sure you can see the image – picture is firmly placed into your mind and that you can see it too.
The technique of breathing -Inhale and Exhale
Now start by inhaling from the right nostril consciously, slowly and deeply breath and slowly pull as if you’re pulling the energy from your right toe, breath and push it up until you can feel it reach your forehead, hold it for second or more and release from the left nostril again consciously, slowly and deeply breath out and as if you’re pushing if your into your left toe, keep your mind and heart at ease and keep the picture of the Shaykh in your mind and especially in your Heart, do this for a minutes or short while.
Now you may Inhale and Exhale the Sufi meditation formula of remembrance:
Once you can see the shaykh in your mind and Heart then start to read the dhikr-remembrance , formula, which is split into two halves ;
La-e-laha and slowly releasing out ill-lal-lah as explained above.
Read like this breath in Laa-e-laahaaaaa and exhale; ill-lal-laaaaaaah and keeping in mind the picture of the shaykh. (Prolong the second part of ill-lal-laaaaaaah, see note below) Read this for a few minutes . Start breathing more slowing and deeply the words need to come from inside do not open your mouth and say the words.
Note: Lengthening the Pronunciation of La-e-laha ill-lal-lah -'Erases 4,000 Grave Sins'
....("No god except God" and lengthens his pronunciation intending thereby to magnify God, God will forgive for him Four thousand grave sins with it, and if he did not commit Four thousand, God will forgive the difference for his family and neighbours. -hadith-tradition
It is related in the hadith: "Whoever says "No god except God" and lengthens his pronunciation intending thereby to magnify God, Four thousand of his sins are astruck thereby from the register of his sins." hadith-tradition
Whoever says "No god except God" in astonishment at something, God creates from each letter of his utterance a tree with as many leaves as the days of this world, each leaf asking forgiveness for him and praising God on his behalf until the Day of judgment."... It has been related that this phrase has on the side of Iblis-(the devil) the effect which a gangrenous sore would have on the side of a human being.
God has created a pillar made of ruby and light whose foundation is the pillar beneath the seventh earth and whose top winds around the base of God's throne. Every time a servant of God says: "There is no god but God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God," the earth, the whale, and the throne move, and God says: "Be still!" and the throne replies, "By Thy might, not until you forgive the one who said "La ilaha illallah."" But God says: "Be still, for I have made a covenant with Myself before I created My creation, whereby I shall not cause it to be spoken by the tongue of a servant of Mine except that I have forgiven him even before he says it.".... Taken from Shahada has 24 Letters and 7 words each letter forgives every hour of each day.
Once you feel like ending the Sufi meditation session , just stop saying the words and breathe normally, keep your eyes shut and feel the moment you’re in and taste that moment.
(Once you are strong enough you may move into a mixed room of people if you want or stay in an empty room to do this.)
A general scientific principle states that whenever a vacuum (vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially ' empty' of matter, the word comes from the Latin term for ‘ empty’) is created, something comes into fill it and therefore the vacuum does not stay as is. Similarly when we sit and strive to remove all thoughts from our heart the aim is to create a void-(a clearing out) that will hopefully be filled with thoughts of God and the Shaykh.
Darkness and light cannot coexist in the same space. Hence the more we strive to rid our hearts of filth, the hope is that divine light, goodness and blessing will enter to replace the darkness that was there. This is why it is extremely important to do muraqaba in abundance. Wherever in the Holy Quran we find the command to practice dhikr-remembrance, the word is accompanied with the adjective signifying abundance, thus dhikr kathir-abundance of remembrance.
A tradition says ‘If your hearts were always in the state that they are in during dhikr, the angels would come to see you to the point that they would greet you in the middle of the road.’ -(Sahih Muslim). Commenting on this tradition Imam Nawawi says: "This kind of sight is shown to someone who persists in meditation (muraqaba), reflection (fikr), and anticipation (iqbal) of the next world".
The experiences that may happen.
In the beginning the experience’s can vary from person to person, some people can feel a connection happen straight away. As soon as they put the picture into their minds consciously, they feel the energy of the Shaykh come into them. For some this experience can be overwhelming and even startling.
Some of the first feelings will be that you’ll feel the face of the shaykh transfer onto your face, you will feel the shaykh is inside you, you’ll feel connected with his presence. You’ll feel his light is covering you; it will enter from all sides. You’ll feel a spiritual electric energy pass through you, you may start to make movements like the shaykh like blinking, yawning smiling, talking etc.
One of the interesting experiences, is that of the unseen world of dreams, some people after a muraqaba session will start to experience dreams and this is where some will connect and communicate with the Sufi master.
(Some people will see and meet the shaykh in dreams by either watching a video or going to a lecture others will get affected by meeting the followers-Mureeds of the Sufi master. The Sufi master is like a spiritual magnet and we are like raw metal whoever touches or goes near will became spiritually magnetised some more than others, so sometimes he will communicate through a follower-Mureed to get a message across too).
Some people may feel their (inner eye of the heart-Basirah) unlocking which will allow the window of extrasensory perception to open or some level of clairvoyance or 6th sense of readying thoughts, or feeling of inspiration-ilham coming from the Sufi master ilham- inspiration is a type of way the Sufi master is talking through you or to you as well. The aim is to connect with the Sufi master to have a conversation or to feel this presence with you, which will take time to do and reach, practice this method every day in all you sufi dhikr-remembrances, do it daily for just like medication, it must be taken on a daily basis to have any effect.
And finally NLP-Neuro Linguistic Programming is about having positive thoughts with image therapy it helps those who are traumatised or emotionally having worldly problems. Were muraqaba is more than that is the highest level of Sufi therapy were one nourishes the Soul, Mind, emotions and Heart they are drinking from a divine heavenly source, the Sufi Masters Nur-Light energy
If this text has effected you or you would like to information about my Tariqah or joining then see below:
(I'm officially not allowed to mention the name of my Shaykh or Tariqah, on 'DeenIslam.co.uk' as Deenislam is a personal site which reflects my personal thoughts and comments, for information about or to Join my tariqah please email me on; email@example.com or ring me on: Contact: 07960-85-85-42 UK - (non-UK): +44 7960-85-85-42
Contact: 07960-85-85-42 UK - (non-UK): +44 7960-85-85-42
( the secrets of saying the Kalima Testimony to the Unity:-La-e-lahaa ill-lal-lah read this link)
Every day 70,000 Khawatir (thoughts) pass through the heart
NLP: Neuro Linguistic Programming
Listen to Your Thoughts & Beliefs
Before You Think That Next Thought!
Muhammad Sajad Ali
Sufi Webmaster / Instructor, Herbalist and Healing Therapist
Uns Foundation UK- Uns means-'Spiritual Love'
and its through Spiritual Love we are helping to heal broken souls and hearts
If you suffer from any physical pain or emotional issues and need help Sufi Healing Project- Uns Foundation-Muhammad Sajad Ali
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