Spiritual Guidance: Mind control in Islam

Spiritual Guidance! What should we do to distance ourselves from unbelief? We must be truth seekers. Before we can reach the truth, we must be truth seekers and love the truth.

Imam Baqir (as) and Imam Sadiq (as) said that when Prophet Ibrahim (as) saw a star, he said, “This is my Lord. This is so bright and beautiful. This is my God.” In another verse of the Qur’an, it is said,

فَلَمَّا جَنَّ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلَّيۡلُ رَءَا كَوۡكَبٗاۖ قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّيۖ فَلَمَّآ أَفَلَ قَالَ لَآ أُحِبُّ ٱلۡأٓفِلِينَ

Falammaa janna ‘alaihil lailu ra aa kawkabaan qaala haaza Rabbee falammaaa afala qaala laaa uhibbul aafileen.”

When the night covered him over, He saw a star: He said: “This is my Lord.” But when it set, He said: “I love not those that set.”

Surah al-Anam 76

Let’s see what Imam Sadiq (as) said. He said, “Whoever seeks to reach his Lord will not become an unbeliever.” This means a person seeking the truth does not become an unbeliever.

“If someone thinks like this, he will be like Prophet Ibrahim.” “That who is my Lord?” Think about who your Lord is. The phenomena in the world will show you.

Spiritual Guidance through Mind control

Just like you work out to make your muscles strong, to grow your spiritual strength, you start with exercises for your mind.

Training our minds is like guiding them. We should not let our thoughts wander off. Our thoughts should follow where we lead them. Just as exercising makes our arms strong, Allamah Tabatabai teaches us ways to guide our minds.

Allamah Tabatabai teaches us in his book “Risalah al-Wilayah,” “Find a peaceful spot where there are no distractions like bright lights or loud sounds. Sit down in a way that you won’t get distracted or start doing something else. Close your eyes.”

Imagine the letter ‘A’ or one of the Names of ALLAH (ﷻ) with your full attention. Ensure that no other imaginary figures enter the shape of the ‘A.’

In the beginning of your path, you will notice some unseen imaginary figures trying to distract you. They might make your heart feel confused and lost. Many of these thoughts will be hard to understand. They come from your everyday wishes and dreams.

Imagine you are thinking about who you will meet soon. While you do this, just focus on the shape of the letter ‘A’ in your mind. These troubling thoughts will stay with you for a while.

So, if you keep pushing away these bad thoughts and cleaning them from your mind, you will see them getting less and less over time.

Every day, these bad thoughts get less, and your mind gets bright. It feels like your heart and mind are full of light as if you can see it with your eyes. They decrease every day, and your thinking becomes luminous. Then, slowly, these images go away more and more.

Until there are no more images with the shape of ‘A.’ Don’t let bad words come to your mind. This is the key. You should control your mind. Controlling your mind means no one can pull your attention where you don’t want it to go.

If someone wants your attention, they need your permission. You should be able to redirect your attention when you want. Mind power means you can think about something as long as you want. Mind power means that you are able to think about a subject as much as you want.

If you want, you can think about it for one hour or two hours. As much as you want, one hour or two hours. Being able to control your mind means you can think deeply, not superficially. It means you can focus deeply.

Just like you exercise to make your muscles strong, you can increase spiritual power with mind exercises. Exercising the mind means controlling it. Your mind should not wander everywhere. Your mind should go where you tell it to go.

Handling Insecurity for a good mood

One of the main reasons people feel bad is feeling insecure. Feeling happy comes from feeling safe. When you feel insecure, it can really make you feel bad. Being in a good mood is the result of feeling secure from all worries of this life. Feeling insecure truly ruins a person’s mood.

Who feels bad? Someone who hasn’t dealt with their feelings of insecurity. They try to ignore it and don’t want to face it. What makes a person feel insecure?

For example, when will you die? I don’t know. I might die at any moment. No one can promise me when.

We all feel scared about dying maybe due to being anxious about death. Because of this, we don’t feel good. We need to stop seeing death as something bad and scary. In Islam we don’t look at death as a danger and insecurity anymore.

[As a poem says,] “If death is daring, tell it to come to me so that I may embrace it tightly.”

Yes, then death won’t make us feel scared. Besides enemies and death, sad things in life also make us feel insecure.

These sad things make a person’s life feel unsafe, so they start feeling bad.

[One might say,] “We get worried when you talk like this.

But you can’t feel safe unless you solve these problems. Only ALLAH (ﷻ) can help with this. He has not created people in a way that they can feel good without Him.

It’s impossible. You ask, “So all the unbelievers and those who don’t care about such things feel bad?!

But I can see they’re laughing and enjoying.”

The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (as), said,

المُستَمتِعونَ بِالدُّنیا تَبکِی قلوبُهُم و إنْ فَرِحُوا

The hearts of the people who seek this world are crying although they appear to be laughing.

و یَشتَدُّ مَقتُهُم لأنفُسِهم و إنِ اغتَبَطُوا ببعضِ ما مِنها رُزِقُوا

They are not satisfied with themselves although others may envy them because of the blessings they’ve been given.

They have nice things ()In materialistic way), so others think, “Lucky him! Look at his fancy car!” This shows that people might envy them for what they have, but they aren’t happy themselves.

The Commander of the Faithful (peace be upon him) describes these people like this. One big reason why faith is called “Iman” is because a believer feels safe.

The Holy Qur’an says

ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَلَمۡ يَلۡبِسُوٓاْ إِيمَٰنَهُم بِظُلۡمٍ أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ لَهُمُ ٱلۡأَمۡنُ وَهُم مُّهۡتَدُونَ

Allazeena aamanoo wa lam yalbisooo eemaanahum bizulmin ulaaa’ika lahumul amnu wa hum muhtadoon.”

Those who believe and did not tarnish their faith with wrong-doing for them there is security, and it is they who have been guided to the right way.

Imam Ali (as) said,

لأنَّ مُفارَقَةَ الدِّینِ مُفارَقَةُ الأمنِ

If one distances himself from religion, he will not feel secure anymore.”

If you want to feel deeply secure, there’s no other path than worshipping and believing in God. You might know there’s a God, but truly believing in Him is different. Some are certain of God’s existence but act as if they don’t believe.

Believing in God goes beyond just knowing He exists. When this belief settles deep in one’s heart, it’s called faith. This brings a strong sense of security.

Children are similar. When their parents are with them, they feel safe. They play and check on their parents often, depending on their age. “Are you here?” “Yes.” For instance, children feel secure about tomorrow’s food. Why? They think, “My mom or dad will give me food.

What about it? They never think if their parents have food or not. Ayatollah Bahjat said, “If we believed in God like children believe in their parents, everything would be better.” Who feels good?

Someone who, like a child finding comfort in their parents’ care, finds comfort in the God of the universe, and so they feel good. God made people so they can’t feel good without Him. It’s not possible. Feeling bad gets better only with God.

Belief vs Knowledge: understand faith

This world is alive. We live in a world that’s alive and follows certain rules. When we act badly, everything around us turns bad too! Have you noticed this ever? If we commit even a small sin or we act badly with our parents we start feeling that negativity has sorrounded us? (Status of Parents in Islam)

When we don’t turn to ALLAH (ﷻ), when we don’t strive to reach Him, and when we don’t move towards Him with love, everything turns against us. Everything becomes bad for us!

When we don’t read the Qur’an, we become spiritually dark because everything else is reciting it.

هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡخَٰلِقُ ٱلۡبَارِئُ ٱلۡمُصَوِّرُۖ لَهُ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰۚ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُۥ مَا فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ

Huwal Laahul Khaaliqul Baari ‘ul Musawwir; lahul Asmaaa’ul Husnaa; yusabbihu lahoo maa fis samaawaati wal ardi wa Huwal ‘Azeezul Hakeem.”

“He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”

Surah Al-Hashr 24

Everything praises Him, loves Him, and moves towards Him. When you’re not paying attention, they notice. They’re all alive. Your clothes turn bad with you. Your body turns bad with you. The walls and roof of your house turn bad with you. Even the food you eat turns bad with you.

When you become good, all these things become good with you. When you mention ALLAH’s (ﷻ) name and strive towards Him, you’ll see that everything becomes good with you. Your clothes, the water you drink, all become good with you.

You’ll witness the universe’s kindness towards you! Everything in your home becomes good along with you. Loneliness and fear fade away. You won’t feel sad or alone. This world is alive!

ALLAH (ﷻ) has often spoken about the world being alive. Astaghfirullah! God doesn’t say anything meaningless. Even the rocks praise Him. “People might say, You’re saying something very strange! What are they doing? How do they praise Him?”

But they truly do. We live in this world, which is alive and follows certain rules. When we become bad people, everything turns bad with us!

ALLAH (ﷻ) says in the Holy Quran,

وَلَا يَحۡسَبَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَنَّمَا نُمۡلِي لَهُمۡ خَيۡرٞ لِّأَنفُسِهِمۡۚ إِنَّمَا نُمۡلِي لَهُمۡ لِيَزۡدَادُوٓاْ إِثۡمٗاۖ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٞ مُّهِينٞ

“Wa laa yahsabannal lazeena kafarooo annamaa numlee lahum khairulli anfusihim; innamaa numlee lahum liyazdaadooo ismaa wa lahum ‘azaabum muheen.”

“Do not let the, unbelievers imagine that the respite We give them is good for them. We give them respite so that they may grow in wickedness. A humiliating chastisement lies in store for them.”

Surah Al-Imran 178

When a person turns bad, the world seems to want to destroy them.

“ALLAH (ﷻ) won’t allow it. He says, ‘Let him live for ten more years.'”

In simpler terms, it’s like saying, “Hey, don’t harm him. Cancer, hold off for now.”

“He’s turned bad. Let’s break him down and ruin him with the first bite of food.” The food and water seem to say this themselves.

But ALLAH (ﷻ) intervenes, saying, “No, hold on. Why the rush? If it’s like this, everyone will return to Me.” ALLAH (ﷻ) extends their time in this state. Wait. Wait. Wait. He keeps it that way. That’s why Sabr has been given such importance in Islam and we all know the best of best planner is no other than the greatest, the most merciful, the kindest, the king of all kings.

He created a being that can praise ALLAH (ﷻ) if it chooses to. “Is that possible?!” The angels were puzzled. “What if they don’t praise ALLAH (ﷻ)? They’ll destroy themselves and others.”

Everything praises Him, loves Him, and moves towards Him. They are all alive. When you become good, all these things become good with you.

When you say Allah’s (ﷻ) name and try to go towards Him, you’ll see that everything becomes good with you. You’ll witness the universe’s kindness towards yourself. This world is alive!


  • Arish Husain

    Assalam Alaikum beautiful people! someone who loves Prophet Muhammad and his family a lot. I like finding new ways to teach important stuff, so everyone can understand what Allah wants from us and His plans. We learn to listen for whispers from Allah, understand big plans, get ready for whatever Allah has for us, and try our best. I hope Allah's blessings guide us on this special journey.Allah hu Akbar!

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