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How Islam Sees Visualization

Question and answer details
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2012/08/30
I just finished reading the book Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. The book talked about visualization (using your imagination to create what you want in physical reality). It basically says that if you have faith and belief in something that you imagine in your mind and hold it long enough, you will get it. For example, if I want a computer, I hold the idea of the specific computer that I want in my mind when I am sitting/laying down and relaxed, think about it like I have it already during the relaxed time and throughout the day, and expect it to come to me and it will. The book also went into journeying the depths of the mind. You can create your own sanctuary which you use to contact your higher-self or subconscious mind, whatever. This can become a person or animal you meet in your imagination. This may seem new age and wrong, but please don't dismiss it entirely. The main questions I'm asking about are:1) is using visualization haram? As I was researching, I came across an article suggesting that this was magic and I was unsure. But I searched Onislam.net website and found news articles talking about how they used visualization for regaining health.2) what is this 'person' or 'being' or 'guide' that is met in your mind when you visualize a nice setting for yourself? Is this haram? Is it a jinn I have practiced visualization and I personally do not find that it is magic, but that it is a powerful psychological tool.If you think positive thoughts, you will get positive things. I reasoned like this: Allah talks about people who have a disease in their hearts. They have a disease because they think bad things. Aligning yourself with what is right is what will make you better in sha' Allah. Thank you and please pray to Allah for me.
Waleed Ahmed Najmeddine
Answer
Salam dear questioner,


Thank you for your interesting question.

There is no doubt that being positive is beneficial to the mind, and soul. Having an optimistic outlook on life can only produce positive results because we focus on the good in things around us, instead of the negative.

It is like the old question regarding a glass that has some water in it. Negative people will see the glass as being half empty while positive people will see it as being half full. The glass and its contents are described differently by different people, yet the amount of water is unchanged by their view.

Judging by what you have described about this book you are reading on visualization, it seems to be from the ideology that claims that all problems can be overcome by our minds; that the power of the mind is largely untapped by human beings. All we need to do is concentrate, meditate and focus on what we want and those things, through the power of the mind alone, will come to us.

This way of thinking has its roots in Hindu philosophy and for Muslims, should be avoided. Islam teaches that nothing and no one has the power to help anyone in their lives except for the One Who created them: God.

Therefore, all we need to do is having faith in Him and follow His commands and we will only benefit as a result. Allah says in the Qur'an what means:

*{When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: Let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.}* (Al Baqarah 2:186)

Allah also says what means:

*{Their limbs do forsake their beds of sleep, the while they call on their Lord, in Fear and Hope: and they spend (in charity) out of the sustenance which We have bestowed on them.}* (As Sajda 32:16)

Although it is always better to remain positive, it is important to remember that it is only our Creator, Allah, Who grants us good or withholds it from us according to His Divine plan. We can dream and hope for many things but Allah has written what our provisions will be before He created us.

When we call upon Allah for our needs, He may answer our call in full as we intended, or by granting a similar good in some other way, or an evil of similar proportion can be alleviated, or the reward can be held for the Day of Judgment. The main thing to remember is that when we raise our hands to Allah, we must have complete faith that He will not turn us away empty-handed.

But when it comes right down to it, nothing produces results like good old-fashioned planning and hard work, which are both recommended in the Qur'an and in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). You can read in the Qur'an:

*{… surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition.}* (Ar-Ra`d 13:11)

Setting goals in our lives is something few of us do. Choosing achievable goals and developing sensible plans for reaching those goals is absolutely necessary for us to succeed in this life and the next. If all this is done with faith in Allah and staying within the limits He has set for us, then we will be sure to succeed in reaching our goals.

Maybe it would be better to spend your energies in a way that will produce positive results every single time. Nothing will be more beneficial to us than drawing nearer to Allah the Almighty. By drawing closer, you will be given knowledge and insight and be able to see with Allah's sight, hear with Allah's hearing and work with Allah's Hands.

The Prophet Muhammad once said:

"Allah the Almighty has said: 'Whosoever acts with enmity towards a close servant of Mine (wali), I will indeed declare war against him. Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory prayers so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it." (Al-Bukhari)

Those of Allah's servants who fulfill their obligations to Him in performing their five daily prayers, paying zakah, fasting the month of Ramadan and making pilgrimage to Makkah, have taken the first steps towards drawing nearer to Him.

What brings us even closer to Him, to the point that He loves us, is when we offer more than what is required. Extra prayers are mentioned in the above authentic hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a way of achieving Allah's love.

When performed solely to please Allah, our extra prayers draw us nearer to Him so much that whatever goodness we ask for will be granted. Imagine being able to hear with Allah's hearing. Not being fooled by the lies of others, only listening to what benefits us and ignoring vain speech or that which is harmful to our minds and souls.

Imagine being able to see with Allah's sight, to see wrongdoing for what it is or being able to see good even though others may try to convince us that it is wrong.

Working with Allah's Hands will enable us to produce long-lasting, beneficial results for ourselves and those around us. How could we possibly do better than that?

Visualization techniques, although they seem to have a germ of truth in terms of positive thinking, seem to merely be a human invention that will produce human-level results. Why not spend our time following Allah's Guidance and Techniques to achieve much higher level results? There is nothing to lose and Paradise to gain by following Allah's Commands and Guidance.

The ideas of human beings with their limited capacity to see, hear and comprehend can never lead us to the ultimate destination of creation: back to their Creator, and His Pleasure.

I hope this has helped you and please keep in touch. May Allah guide us all to what pleases Him.

Salam.

Useful Links:

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