Meditation is normally seen as a Buddhist thing but is there any scope for meditation in Islam? Does it already exist, and if so, what is it called? How can we use this to gain a better understanding of Islam/our relationship with our Creator? Is there anything we should definitely NOT do?
Thank you for your question. Meditation is of many types but the most commonly discussed is where a person watches over their thoughts without judging or trying to stop them. With the passage of time, those thoughts become more silent and a person can reach a heightened state of calmness.
This type of meditation is called Muraqaba in Islamic spirituality, which literally means watching over one's self. In the beginning, muraqabah is over one's actions, it then moves onto thoughts, then a person's states and then into deeper aspects of the heart. Muraqabah is usually discussed in a three-stage system of Musharata (making conditions), Muraqabah (watching over one's self) and Muhasabah (taking one's self to account). The important point is that a person should not rush to stop thoughts or to be heavy in judging themselves negatively. Some Islamic mystics have said that Muraqabah is the most important discipline in self-purification and is applicable at every stage of the spiritual journey.
Some scholars have also recommended spending a few moments clearing your thoughts before starting the obligatory prayers. While clearing the mind is an end in some traditions, it is an introductory aspect to worship in Islam as the mind must be ready to start to comprehend the secrets of worship.
When using techniques from any other tradition it is important to stay within the bounds of the Shariah and therefore, especially with some forms of Buddhist meditation, you must be careful not to call on anyone other than Allah in the mantras that are sometimes recited.
There is much more that can be said on the topic but I hope this answers your question.
May you always be successful.