Shereeza Ibrahim. B.A.Psych, M.S.W, R.S.W.
Clinical Counsellor and Author
Using “mindfulness” as way to deal with stress is very popular at the moment, but we’ve actually had this stress-reduction strategy built into our religious practice for over 1400 years.
In mindfulness, we choose to pay attention to our thoughts, emotions and senses. When we focus on our senses, we draw our attention away from the elements of our life that create distress. We do this when we recite the Qur’an or pray our salaat. It can be soothing to us, rather than something that we rush through like a task we want to check of on our ‘To-Do’ list.
Allah told us, “…recite the Qur’an in slow, measured rhythmic tones (73:4)”. By reciting the Qur’an in the way Allah asked us, we become attentive to the quality of our recitation.
Am I using beautiful and pleasant tones?
Is it slow and respectful to Allah and His revelation?
Am I pronouncing the words properly?
In addition to the quality of your recitation, I encourage you to learn the English translation of what you’re saying. By focusing on the meaning of what you’re reciting, it will cause you to feel more emotionally connected to it, and it will increase your concentration. If you are interested in the meaning of what you’re saying, you might even choose to learn verses that are personally meaningful to you. This way, you can select which verses you want to recite based on how you’re feeling or what you’re going through at that particular time.
If your recitation-style doesn’t soothe you, YouTube is an excellent resource for listening to recitation styles you might like. You can model your recitation after someone you like, and you will also likely refine your pronunciation and ensure it is being recited correctly.
By focusing on the quality and beauty of your own recitation, not only will it help your focus and connection during your prayer, but it will also be soothing and calming.
Lucky for you, you have been given this opportunity to disconnect from life’s stressors and keep calm and grounded five times throughout the day!
Author Bio: Shereeza is a clinical counsellor and award-winning author, whom offers low- cost telephone counselling through GTA Wellness Consultation. She has been with the Islamic Institute of Toronto community for over 10 years and is now a regular contributor to the IIT Newsletter.