In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

"Meditation"- Is it in Quran?


- Continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation
- Devout religious contemplation or spiritual introspection

The word "meditate" is broadly used in the English translation of Quran. Aside from what the word means in English dictionaries or how meditation is taught or practiced in society, it is crucial to our souls to search for the divine command expressed by God, in perfect Arabic, in the following verses. It is a command to practice what appears to be different from what is generally accepted or known as "meditation":

[73:1] O you cloaked one.
[73:2] Meditate during the night (qum al-layl), except rarely.
[73:3] Half of it, or a little less.
[73:4] Or a little more. And read the Quran from cover to cover.
[73:5] We will give you a heavy message.
[73:6] The meditation at night is more effective, and more righteous.
[73:7] You have a lot of time during the day for other matters.
[73:8] You shall commemorate the name of your Lord, to come ever closer and closer to Him.

In the above group of verses, the word used by God for meditate (in 73:2) is "qum al-layl" which means stay up and observe the night. Right after indicating, roughly, for how long we should stay up at night (73:3 and beginning of 73:4), God states what to do: READ QURAN (rest of 73:4). Right after that (73:5), God confirms what we will encounter when we READ QURAN : a HEAVY MESSAGE. Then, in 73:6, God explains how effective it is to read Quran at the night time, when there is silence, peace and clarity of mind. Then, 73:8, states that commemorating God's names will just come along with the reading - all of God's attributes are embedded within the context of Quran; almost each verse, directly or indirectly, speaks for His attributes and greatness. The fruit of such READING & COMMEMORATION is our closeness to the Most Gracious which is a higher rank and a boost for our spiritual status.

It is noteworthy that 73:20, in the same chapter, states and confirms the same exact command: staying up and observing the night to READ what we can of Quran. The same exact root and verb used in 73:2 (qum) is also used in 73:20 (taqoom):

[73:20] Your Lord knows that you meditate (taqoom) during two-thirds of the night, or half of it, or one-third of it, and so do some of those who believed with you. GOD has designed the night and the day, and He knows that you cannot always do this. He has pardoned you. Instead, you shall read what you can of the Quran. He knows that some of you may be ill, others may be traveling in pursuit of GOD's provisions, and others may be striving in the cause of GOD....

Although 73:1-8, 73:20 confirm the dictionary/English meaning of meditation as a continued or extended thinking/reflection/contemplation, God specified for us what we should do to be engaged in such deep reflection or contemplation : READING QURAN

Then, we have these two powerful and linked verses :

[17:78] You shall observe the Contact Prayer (Salat) when the sun declines from its highest point at noon, as it moves towards sunset. You shall also observe (the recitation of) the Quran at dawn. (Reciting) the Quran at dawn is witnessed.
[17:79] During the night, you shall meditate (with it) for extra credit, that your Lord may raise you to an honorable rank.

The Arabic wording that is used for the command translated as "meditate" in 17:79 is significant and clear. They are the three words: "tahajjad behi nafelatan" . "Tahajjad," means nothing but staying up at night in contemplation. "behi" is a crucial preposition that exists in original Arabic text and means "WITH IT". It refers, grammatically, to the word Quran that is mentioned in the verse before (17:78). In other words, God is telling us to observe the night READING QURAN. "Behi" excludes all other sources, and point at one source and tool, QURAN. "Nafelatan" means extra credit or bonus. The three dynamic words together confirm over and over the manner of what is described in the English translation as "meditation": READING QURAN.

The same root for the same verb is also used in 25:64, 26:218, and 39:9 to stay up during the night, and is translated as "meditate", while the tool and the manner is detailed in the above verses.

READING QURAN as commanded by God in the above verses is often mentioned side by side with observing the contact prayers, paying our obligatory charity, and leading a righteous life:

[3:113] They are not all the same; among the followers of the scripture, there are those who are righteous. They recite GOD's revelations through the night, and they fall prostrate.

[73:20]....You shall read what you can of it, and observe the contact prayers (Salat), give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and lend GOD a loan of righteousness. Whatever good you send ahead on behalf of your souls, you will find it at GOD far better and generously rewarded. And implore GOD for forgiveness. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

[29:45] You shall recite what is revealed to you of the scripture, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), for the Contact Prayers prohibit evil and vice. But the remembrance of GOD (through Salat) is the most important objective.* GOD knows everything you do.

[35:29] Surely, those who recite the book of GOD, observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and from our provisions to them they spend - secretly and publicly - are engaged in an investment that never loses.

Having the command of READING QURAN side by side, and next to the command of observing our obligatory practices only affirms how crucial to our salvation it is to "meditate" with it. It also eliminates all the interesting practices that have been creeping into our communities of Submitters to promote so-called techniques of meditation that are not authorized by God (including but not limited to breathing, closing our eyes, stretching certain muscles, focusing on a certain thought...etc). In Quran, as explicitly expressed in all the above verses, we are commanded to contemplate with and reflect at night on Quran ; READING QURAN.

Is this surprising? Isn't this falling in place with how Quran is healing, mercy, beacon, and guidance, and how it provides us with the details of everything we need to progress on God's path? If we do not "meditate" on Quran, with Quran, and through Quran, how can we ever achieve that balance to simultaneously grow in spirituality and deal with our earthly needs and/or our difficult path every day? If Quran is not our source of "meditation", how can we cope with our daily tests, benefit from them, and be in continuous touch with the basics as well as the details of our religion?

It is through the READING OF QURAN that we stay focused on all the elements of righteousness and be truthful in fighting our weaknesses. READING OF QURAN is the daily spark that stimulates us to develop more interest in learning and reveals new perspectives and values. We thus move from stage to another, change our wrong patterns, and recognize our deviation (8:53). It is through the perseverance in READING OF QURAN that we transform in a way to align ourselves and design a life style that conforms with the righteous choices and actions. We thus advance from being submitters to the higher ranks of reverence. Isn't this the higher rank promised in 17:79 when we READ QURAN?

It is through the READING OF QURAN that we learn the righteous and the best words of praise, glorification, imploring, and commemoration; based on the word of God.. Quran teaches us all these words.

We learn to let go of all the negative around us, and all the insecurities within us only because the teachings of Quran, through our constant READING, become like a melody that resonates in the body, the mind, and the spirit. A constant reminder, comfort and growth & progress.

[17:79] During the night, you shall meditate (with it) for extra credit, that your Lord may raise you to an honorable rank.

[84:16] I solemnly swear by the rosy dusk.
[84:17] And the night as it spreads.
[84:18] And the moon and its phases.
[84:19] You will move from stage to stage.
[84:20] Why do they not believe?

[10:57] O people, enlightenment has come to you herein from your Lord, and healing for anything that troubles your hearts, and guidance, and mercy for the believers.

[17:109] They fall down on their chins, prostrating and weeping, for it augments their reverence.

[20:113] We thus revealed it, an Arabic Quran, and we cited in it all kinds of prophecies, that they may be saved, or it may cause them to take heed.

[17:9] This Quran guides to the best path, and brings good news to the believers who lead a righteous life, that they have deserved a great recompense.

[15:97] We know full well that you may be annoyed by their utterances.
[15:98] You shall glorify your Lord by praising Him), and be with the prostrators.

[20:130] Therefore, be patient in the face of their utterances, and praise and glorify your Lord before sunrise and before sunset. And during the night glorify Him, as well as at both ends of the day, that you may be happy.

Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.