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Friday, April 24, 2020

Muslim Mindfulness Resources, for Ramadan and Throughout the Year

photo by abdulmeilk majed for Pexels

by Catharine Hannay

Ramadan Mubarak! 

Here is a collection of resources:

  • for Muslims who'd like to integrate mindfulness practices with Islamic prayer and meditation; and
  • for non-Muslims who'd like to understand more about Islam and about how mindfulness is practiced by people of different faiths.

Is It All Right for Muslims to Practice Mindfulness?

At, Maria Bhatti says, 
We often judge yoga, mindfulness, and meditation as being “new age” or “hippy”, without really trying to understand the benefits such exercises can have on our practice of Islam, if practiced within the boundaries of Shari`ah (Islamic law). In fact, such concepts are firmly rooted in our religion. Prayer itself is a form of meditation if performed correctly, and the more one studies mindfulness, the more one is reminded of the character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

How Do Muslims Already Practice Mindfulness?

According to

Mindfulness is inherent in the very foundation of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) would meditate, reflect and ponder the realities of his time. The five daily prayers (salat) is mindful movement, a meditation of gratitude and humility in front of our creator (swt). Mindfulness goes hand in hand with the pillars of faith and examples from the prophet's life (peace and blessings be upon him).

Why is Mindfulness Beneficial to Muslims?

According to Imam Justin Parrott, mindful awareness can be beneficial to Muslims through “the act of inward ta’amul, to continuously examine and observe our inner life in silent seclusion.”

The first stage of a thought is al-hajis, a sudden and fleeting thought ... we may not even notice... 
The second stage is al-khatir, a thought that we give attention... 
The third stage is hadith al-nafs... we pursue the thought and seriously consider acting upon it. 
The final stages are al-ham and al-‘azm, the decision and determination to put the thought into action... 
Mindfulness... is not about suppressing thoughts, but rather simply becoming aware of them and learning to let them pass... our involuntary thoughts are just ‘happenings’ (hadath) and do not necessarily reflect who we are.
(How to be a Mindful Muslim, section 4: 'Meditation in Islam')

How Can Mindfulness Help During Ramadan and Beyond?

Registered dietitian Norine Khalil explains, 

Ramadan is a great time to really begin to get to know your body in a new way, and get more comfortable identifying the types of hunger, so that when you are back to a regular eating pattern, you can practice mindful eating more often.

Zena Chamas found after last year's fast that she has a new appreciation of food and environmental responsibility: 

Ramadan hasn't just taught me the importance of mindfulness, but also the value of appreciating food and being conscious with waste... I’ve become more aware of what I eat and I’ve learned to take stock of the work that goes into every morsel of food I consume. 
I’ve learned to give more and eat less, and I understand the importance of preserving our environment in the best ways possible by avoiding useless plastic packaging.

Videos about Mindfulness and Islam

(7 minutes)

'Thirsty Soul,' a young woman from the UK, 
shares how mindfulness has helped her deen (religious practice). 

animated video by Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research
(This is connected to the article by Imam Justin Parrott.)

Videos about Mindfulness during Ramadan

(3 minutes)

explained by Sarah Sultan, 
for the Yaqeen Institute for Mindful Research

(4 minutes)

explained by Micah Anderson,
for Ta'leef Collective

(5 minutes)
by Amina Taki for Safeer Television

I hope these resources are useful for both Muslims and non-Muslims who are interested in the ways mindfulness can be integrated with Islamic practices. 

You may also be interested in a post here at about Religious and Spiritual Perspectives on Mindfulness, as well as the many other perspectives on practicing and teaching mindfulness and compassion.

About the Author

Catharine Hannay is the founder of and the author of Being You: A Girl’s Guide to Mindfulness, a workbook for teen girls on mindfulness, compassion, and self-acceptance. (Sales of the book help me continue to run with no sponsorship or advertising.)