Contemplation is one of the great actions of the heart and best deed. Contemplation is the key to the light of guidance, the starting point of certitude and the source of knowledge and understanding.
Definition of contemplation: Linguistically it means to think, reflect, and observe. It is extracted from the word Fikr. Terminologically it is when the heart searches for implications of what it observes. It was also said that it refers to the heart searching for the meaning or essence of things.
The ruling of contemplation: Many evidences prove that contemplating is an obligation upon the believers, whether it is upon the Qur'anic verses, the creation of Allah, one's own creation, the punishment of Allah, the fire of Hell, or upon the reward of Allah and His Paradise. Contemplating leads the person to realize the importance of sincerity when performing good deeds. Contemplate on Quran is most important.
Types of contemplation and its fields: Contemplation has boundaries which a Muslim must know and stay within, and not allows himself to go beyond these limits. One may contemplate over things that are useless both in this worldly life as well as the Hereafter and it could reach to the forbidden contemplation and are dispraised.
The most beneficial contemplation is on the things that would result in a benefit for the Hereafter and the way to attain such benefits.
1. Contemplating over one's own self: Contemplating over one's own self is worthier than contemplating over other creation. Contemplating over one's own self includes the following:
i. Contemplating over the way Allah created man, his body, his shape, and instilled his sense of hearing and sight.
ii. Contemplating over one’s faults to discover his mistakes, work on changing himself and refrain from committing them again.
iii. Contemplating over his family, wife and children.
iv. Contemplating over the creation of the heavens and the earth and the wonders of the universe.
v. Contemplating over the favors of Allah.
Things that are prohibited when contemplating: There are many other matters of the Unseen whose reality man can never discover, like the angels, Jinn and so on. These are matters which a Muslim should refrain from contemplating over and limit him to things which Islam allows and not go beyond them, simply because they are from the Unseen which can never be discovered through experiments or contemplation.
What can help one to contemplate? Contemplating is an action of the heart, and one can attain it through different means, such as the following:
i. Seeking refuge in Allah from Satan.
ii. Shunning sins.
iii. Visiting the graves.
The benefits of contemplation: Our righteous Salaf R.A were conscious of the great benefits of contemplation and its fruits, and thus they encouraged themselves and others to contemplate. Benefits of contemplation are:
i. Exerting more efforts.
ii. Fearing Allah and realizing His greatness.
iii. Loving the Lord.
iv. Increasing faith.
v. Knowing one’s reality and reforming it.
vi. Improving the status of the Muslim Nation.
vii. Increasing one’s knowledge: Wisdom, chastity, strength and justice can be achieved through contemplation.
viii. Solving difficult issues.
Combining between worship and contemplation: A Muslim should combine between the two actions and should not pay attention to one and neglect the other because this could lead him to error. Our Salaf did contemplation and set examples for us.
Conclusion: The heart which does not contemplate over the creation of Allah and His signs is a dead heart. Beneficial contemplation is that which one does with insight and aims at taking lessons. A person should contemplate a lot, because it leads to the pleasure of Allah, comforts the heart and brings tranquility to it, and results in fearing Allah and makes the person gain wisdom, knowledge and insight and revives his heart.