One thing that many of us have heard about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is that he used to seclude himself in the Cave of Hira sometimes, and just meditate and reflect.
Personally, I have a really hard time trying to emulate this exercise. We live in such a fast-paced world that something as simple as thinking in silence, with no interruptions or distractions, can be difficult to do.
But this practice is something that all of us should try from time to time, even if it’s on a much smaller scale— for example, a few minutes before salah (prayer) time, or just before sleeping at night.
Ponder and Reflect
If we put our phones and devices away every once in a while and sit in silence for just five minutes, reflecting, it’ll benefit us at least as much as making dua (supplicating) does. Because sometimes, we get so caught up in the day-to-day affairs of this life that we forget what’s really important. And that’s when even our duas become shallow.
In order to truly revive our faith, we need to ponder over the reality of this world, the Afterlife, and faith itself. We need to talk to God, whether out loud or in our hearts, and acknowledge these realities.
We need to hear ourselves actually saying or thinking the beliefs we take for granted every day:
“Allah, I believe in You. You are the Ultimate Reality. I believe in the Eternal Afterlife. And I believe that You will hold me accountable for my actions. I believe in Your supreme Forgiveness and Mercy, but I also know that in order to qualify for them, I need to try my absolute best to please You, and that You and I both know when I’m actually doing my best.
I know that this life will end, but the Next one will not, so that’s the one I need to focus on the most. And I believe that the Quran is Your message to me and all of humanity. I believe in Heaven and Hell. And I believe that Your promise about the Day of Judgment is true. I believe in You.”
The Missing Element
Just like reflecting in the cave helped prepare the heart of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to receive Divine Revelation, if we reflect in a similar manner, our hearts will be ready to take in the Reality. If we sometimes feel like our prayers are empty, or the Quran isn’t affecting us deeply, this may be the missing element.
Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and (lying) on their sides, and deeply reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Master, You did not create this without purpose; You are exalted [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire. (Quran 3:191)