By Oldham Community Health Services
“Trance” is the name given to any state of mind in which a person has a narrow focus of attention. Typically, in the trance state, the subject is very relaxed, has a quiet mind and is aware of what is going on. In the state of trance (altered state of conscious awareness), the subject is provided with powerful hypnotic suggestions which act as a healing therapy for the individual. Contrary to common belief, there is nothing stopping the person from being able to reject any suggestion or awaken at any time -- unless the subject believes otherwise.
There are lots of myths, misconceptions, and false information about hypnosis compared to other subjects. This is due, in large part, to movies (stage hypnotism) and novels that make no attempt to be truthful in dealing with hypnosis.
Hypnosis is erroneously associated with occult, witchcraft and a form of mind control or brainwashing. Unfortunately, many Muslim ‘scholars’ and others who have not studied this subject have associated hypnosis with the use of Jinn, giving utterly out of the ordinary explanations. Having studied Hypno-psychotherapy in the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, in one of the oldest Hypno-Psyotherapy School in the UK, as well as having studied world-renowned books of Hypnosis, I can confidently pledge that hypnosis has no connection with Jinns, not to mention myths and misconceptions surrounding it.
People think that the hypnotic phenomenon is something that happens when you go to a hypnotherapist. This is not so. Hypnosis is a naturally occurring phenomenon. It happens regularly, on a daily basis. Every time we daydream, every time we feel sleepy at the wheel, every time we space out in front of the TV, every time we lie relaxed, every night just before we go to sleep, we are already in a hypnotic state. The hypnotic state simply means your brain cycles are slowing to below 14 or so cycles per second. This occurs when you are relaxed.
Hippolyte Bernheim, one of the great early pioneers of hypnosis, defines hypnotism as the
‘induction of a peculiar psychical condition which increases the susceptibility to suggestion.’ (Bernheim, 1888)
If we analyse prayers and meditation, we will see that most of us go into an alpha state when we have a quiet, meditative prayer time with Allah (swt). We are actually already in a hypnotic state. It is in this state that I believe our spirit becomes open to the spirit realm.
Salah (Prayer) in Islam is the highest form of worship. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
“Prayer is the ascension (Mi’raaj) of a believer”.
Salah is the Mi’raaj in which Allah (swt) watches His spectacular art in the heart of the believer. It is the sultanate of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in which people are transmitted to the meaning in their entirety and the infinite universes with their bodies.
Furthermore, the Prophet (pbuh) said:
“The first thing a person will be questioned on the day of resurrection will be concerning Salah.”
The primary objective of prayer is to remember Allah (swt). Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:
"...And establish prayer for My Remembrance." (20:14)
Prayer acts as a shield against all evil. Allah Almighty (swt) says in the Qur’an:
"...Verily, As-salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse etc) and al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed etc.)..." (29:45)
Concentration (Khushoo’) in Salah is similar to the process of hypnotic trance, if performed with all the qualities. A person in prayer is required to meditate in his mind that he is standing before Allah (swt). The voice of Imam in an impressive Qir’at (recitation) reverberates in his mind, especially in Salat-ut –Taraweeh in the blessed month of Ramadhan. If he has really started the prayer with the required meditation, the person is in a trance, listening to the message of Qur’an and absorbing it. He goes from one posture to the other with each sound of Allah-u-Akbar, and he is trained to come out of the trance with the pronouncement of Salam by the Imam.
Unfortunately, many Muslims do not know the Arabic language and therefore may not completely benefit from Salah. However, even if they do not know Arabic, they can still learn the meaning of Allah-u-Akbar (Allah is Great), Sami’-Allah-u-Liman-Hamidah (God heard him who praised Him) Subhaan-a-Rabbi Al-Adheem and Subhaan-a-Rabbi Al-‘Ala (Holy is my Lord the Great and Exalted). The Qur’anic language is so touching and moving that even without understanding it, it penetrates into the heart and brings tranquillity to it.
If an individual knows the meaning of the recitation, then these verses will be engraved in their mind and hearts and will have a positive affect, provided that they are in a state of trance. The state of being in a trance cannot be achieved unless the Salah is started with the pre-requisites of concentration and full devotion (Khushoo’ and Khudoo’) in the presence of Allah (swt).
Unfortunately, many Muslims are not told about these pre-requisites, and therefore do not practise them. Hence they do not achieve all the objectives of Salah. Therefore Salah becomes a regimental objective in one’s life.
After the congregational obligatory (Fard) prayer, people can offer their individual Sunnah (emphasised) and Nawaafil (recommended) prayers, which they complete on their own. The Prophet (pbuh) encouraged both men and women to offer these individual prayers in the solitude of their homes, in order to build the Islamic household where both the husband and wife prayed together.
When a person has reached his/her specified height of spirituality, it provides them with an inner peace and contributes to their mental well being.
For further information about general BME Mental Health, please contact the BME MH Development team on 0161 621 7157/7161
Article written by (Hafiz) Mohammed Mujahid Ali
(BME Mental Health development worker)
(Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist, DHP (NC))
Oldham Community Health Services – Part of Oldham Primary Care Trust.
Bernheim, H. (1888) Hypnosis and Suggestion in Psychotherapy: A Treatise on the Nature and Uses of Hypnotism. London. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1964.
Dr. Taqi ud –din (Translator) (1996) The Noble Qur’an in the English language. Maktaba Dar-us-salam Saudi Arabia.