When one says the word “meditation,” several ideas come to mind. It can be understood as a way to train one’s senses or take a break from the stresses of daily life. Mindfulness, focus, and concentration are often central concepts that are brought up when discussing meditation. In Sufism, however, the commonly understood version of meditation does not actually exist. For Sufis, the goal is to look beyond everything created and reach the Creator. To that end, muraqaba, the Sufi form of meditation, is practiced.
Muraqaba literally means to be vigilant, to be aware. The founder of Sufism, Nabi Pak Muhammad ﷺ, was once asked about the three levels of spiritual awareness. When asked about the third level, ihsan, he said:
"It is to worship the Divine as if you can see Him, and if you do not see Him, then [be aware of the fact that] He surely sees you." (Bukhari, Muslim)
The Sufi path stresses that the Creator is very close to His creation. The Divine Himself says:
We have surely created man and We know what he whispers to himself, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein. (Quran, 50: 16)
Muraqaba is the practice used to deepen this connection to the Creator. The founder of Sufism Nabi Pak Muhammad ﷺ once said:
Be aware of the Divine, and He will be mindful of you. Be aware of the Divine, and you will find Him in front of you. (Tirmidhi)
The Sufi begins by recognizing the signs that the Creator has left for him. The Almighty says:
We shall show them our signs on the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is reality. (Quran, 41: 53)
For the signs within oneself, one must turn inward. Muraqaba, then, is to focus on the heart so that the Divine light can manifest within him. The Divine says:
Is the one whose chest Allah expanded for submission and is therefore upon a light from his Lord [like the one who is unaware?] (Quran, 39: 22)
As this light increases, one begins a very subtle correspondence with the Divine. Eventually the light becomes so bright that one cannot perceive anything except the Divine presence. The founder of Sufism Nabi Pak Muhammad ﷺ says that the Divine says:
My Servant does not stop becoming closer to me by voluntary acts until I love him, and when I love him, I become the hearing by which he hears, the sight by which he sees, the hand by which he grasps, and the foot by which he walks. (Bukhari)
One of the earliest and most prominent examples of muraqaba was the one practiced by the Penultimate Master of Sufism Hazrat Ali. It is related that he would dig a grave, enter it, and focus for hours on his death and meeting the Divine. When he would emerge from the grave, he would say to himself, “Ali you have come back, so how will you spend your second chance?”
Sufism is the path of Divine friendship. Each Sufi master through the ages has developed his own personal friendship with the Divine, and to that end, different practices have been formulated by different Sufi masters. The practice of muraqaba is no different. Each master has developed his own style and method of muraqaba according to his own experience and journey. The Almighty says:
Those who struggle in Our way, We will surely guide them to Our paths. (Quran, 29: 69)
This is why you will see some Sufis chanting loudly and others chanting softly, some moving and twirling, and others sitting silently.
Waqar Faiz Sufi Meditation is a special method of muraqaba practiced by students of Murshid Waqar Faiz. This method of muraqaba was received by Murshid Waqar Faiz from the Penultimate Master of Sufism Hazrat Ali and is the result of many years of intense devotion to the Divine.
The purpose of Waqar Faiz Sufi Meditation is to turn the natural human process of reflection inward towards the soul and to align the soul with the Divine.
Whatever our goals or purposes may be, Murshid Waqar Faiz teaches us that they are all found with our Creator. When we make Him our main goal, we will find that all of our smaller goals will be accomplished when we walk the path that leads to Him. The students of Murshid Waqar Faiz experienced these truths firsthand, so, with his permission, they have begun to offer this practice all over the world for anyone interested in the path of Sufism, strengthening the bond with the Creator, or simply finding inner peace.
This meditation is an introductory practice. Its primary aim is to provide the participant with a basic understanding of the experiential knowledge that is gained from traveling the Sufi path, which is why it is open for all regardless of one’s background. For those interested in delving deeper into the path of Sufism, it provides an example of what the path has to offer.