Saturday, September 27, 2008

Zikr, Quran and Brain

If we look into the Quran we will find that the word “Zikr” occurs 268 times in the Quran and has 63 derivatives used in the Book, the Quran. This word “Zikr” has many connotations in Islam. Its almost opposite is “Nissiyan” (forgetting). This verb occurs 45 times in the Quran; and 28 of its derivatives have also been mentioned in the sacred Book.

Zikr as a practice is simply the constant inward remembrance of ALLAH Names by the repetition of any of them or by the recital of some prayers in mind. When you practice Zikr, (similar to Meditation which the Western world is familiar with) you repeat continuously a given name of ALLAH such as AR-RAHMAN, AR-RAHIM, or Ghaffur, and so, a number of times usually daily with the help of worry beads or a counter. As concentration is not necessarily required, there is no requirement to start Zikr anytime, anywhere. Whether one believes or not, or whether he is aware or not, the related regions of brain become active when the task is achieved, so the resulting benefit is gained spontaneously. At the beginning, repetition might be pronounced by the silent movements of lips. Later when it gets easier the constant repetition is felt inwardly from the mind only. As it can be seen from the following signs in the Koran, without any restriction anyone can practice Zikr anytime he or she wants and anywhere (provided that a convenient list of Zikr words is advised to him or her according to their brain programs): “Meditate (Zikr) ALLAH standing and sitting and lying down” (Sura Nisa:103). ."those who meditate (Zikr) ALLAH standing and sitting and lying on their sides, and who reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth."(Sura Al’imran:190). [A. Baki]

Human beings are far from perfection and surrounded with limitations. Limitations brought on our perception by our 5 senses, for example, prevent us from understanding many phenomena in the cosmos, such as the righteous comprehension of our own reality, the consciousness and therefore of “Allah.” Thus we need to expand our perceptional range by increasing the capacity of our brains. Zikr is the way to do that.

All the activity in the brain is nothing but bioelectric activity in several distinct parts of it, among various sets of neurons (cellular groups) each assigned to a specific duty functioning as a whole. Each and everyday 14 million neurons that make up the brain, are in a constant interaction with 16 billion neighboring neurons. All our activities and our understanding, that is all the functioning of a brain is the result of countless bioelectric flows that are brought to existence in these sets of neurons occurring as a result of these interactions.

When you practice “Zikr” you repeat continuously a given name of Allah, —for instance, “Subhanallah” or “Ar-Rahman” or “Ar-Rahim” a number of times—, and therefore reflect a meaning that belongs to ALLAH.

During the repetition certain regions of the brain are engaged and become active, so there occurs a bioelectric flow in that neural groups of the brain. After that task is performed repeatedly (as you repeat on the same name or a group of names) the neural activity increases, and so does the bioelectric energy, which overflows and new sets of neurons are put to work and so, some other regions of the brain become active. And therefore the brain capacity starts to expand. The brain starts to bring out new meanings, perspectives and commentaries that it had not used before Zikr.

During this practice one is also in the continuous process of radiating spiritual energy, and loading it onto his hologramlike body of frequencies, his spirit, his eternal and imperishable existence.

The following is a passage taken from an article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN December 1993, describing complementary laboratory findings about this matter to prove this explanations, which was published seven years after Author Ahmed Hulusi’s first explanations on its importance:

“Complementary findings described this year by investigators at Washington University have emerged from PET scans of humans. (PET measures neural activity indirectly.) In the experiments, volunteers were provided with a list of nouns. They were required to read the nouns ., one by one, and to propose for each noun a related verb. When the subjects first did this task, several distinct parts of the brain, including parts of the prefrontal and cingulated cortex, displayed increased neural activity. But if the volunteers repeated the task with the same list of nouns several times, the activity shifted to different regions. When the volunteers were given a fresh list of nouns, the neural activity increased and shifted back to the first areas again.

Cingulate cortex part is related to reward and motivation whereas the prefrontal relatively deals with executive functions and decisions. One might wonder what are the reward awaiting those who performed zikr? Well, obviously the reward one gets by zikr is serenity and tranquility as revealed by Allah:

"Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction (Ar-Rad 13:28).

So, please remember Allah in everything we do because "Those who forget Allah are forgotten by Him" (At-Tawbah 9:67) and the worst part is "Allah then lets them wander in the web of their own self" (Al-Hashr 59:19)

Wallahu A'lam

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