AS SALAM ALAIKUM WARAMATULLAH WABARAKATU
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“Allah the most High said: ‘I am to my slave as he thinks of Me.
(Imām Ahmad reports in the Musnad, no. 9076, saheeh)
This Hadith illustrates that Islam promotes having positive mindset. Applying this principle to the creation of Allah (ﷺ) helps us to think positive of people and of the situation. Although, we all have different perspectives and how we react to situations, but being positive helps to cope with negativity. It requires seeing things from a different and bright perspective, such as being optimistic and being open to change. Ask yourself, do you find the possible best interpretation of a situation or do you find the worst?
Positive perspective is enjoined upon Muslims as Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) says in the Quran: “O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed some assumption is sin.” (Al-Hujurat 49:12) This requires us to avoid doubts about the conduct of people and wanting to know what is going on in people’s lives. Therefore we should avoid suspicion without foundation. Have a positive attitude towards people. Avoid judging and criticizing others, by preventing your eyes from falling on anything but mistakes. Having negative thoughts of people display the negativity in our minds. If we think negative of others they will think negative of us.
Being positive is a choice we constantly have to be making. It is easier to remain positive when things are going our way. The test is when things are not going our way, and we have a choice to choose between being positive or negative. Choosing the former makes positivity seem to be a natural part of our life and we can easily adapt to it in difficult circumstances. It is not to say we won’t feel sad, get disappointed or be angry in some situations, but our reaction depends on our perspectives. If we cannot change a particular situation, at least we can change our reaction and mindset towards it.
Therefore Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us to be positive when things are not going our way “…perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not.” (AL-Baqarah, 2:216) Since, it is only Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) that knows what is good for us, then why do we attach negativity to our situations?
Always have the belief that Allah decrees the best for his servant and you will be content. As the prophetic narration goes: ‘Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him, and if he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him.’ [Sahih Muslim]
Talking about perspectives and positivity, I would like to make reference to the story of Prophet Musa (AS) and Al-Khidr. The story is in Surah Al-Kahf from verse 60- 82.
“And [mention] when Moses said to his boy [i.e., servant], “I will not cease [travelling] until I reach the junction of the two seas or continue for a long period. But when they reached the junction between them, they forgot their fish, and it took its course into the sea, slipping away. So, when they had passed beyond it, [Moses] said to his boy, “Bring us our morning meal. We have certainly suffered in this, our journey, [much] fatigue.” He said, “Did you see when we retired to the rock? Indeed, I forgot [there] the fish. And none made me forget it except Satan – that I should mention it. And it took its course into the sea amazingly,” [Moses] said, “That is what we were seeking.” So, they returned, following their footprints. And they found a servant from among Our servants [i.e., al-Khidhr] to whom we had given mercy from Us and had taught him from Us a [certain] knowledge. Moses said to him, “May I follow you on [the condition] that you teach me from what you have been taught of sound judgment?” He said, “Indeed, with me you will never be able to have patience. And how can you have patience for what you do not encompass in knowledge?” [Moses] said, “You will find me, if Allah wills, patient, and I will not disobey you in [any] order” He said, “Then if you follow me, do not ask me about anything until I make to you about it mention [i.e., explanation]. So they set out, until when they had embarked on the ship, he [i.e., al-Khidhr] tore it open. [Moses] said, “Have you torn it open to drown its people? You have certainly done a grave thing.” [Al-Khidhr] said, “Did I not say that with me you would never be able to have patience?” [Moses] said, “Do not blame me for what I forgot and do not overwhelm me in my matter with difficulty”. So they set out, until when they met a boy, he [i.e., al-Khidhr] killed him. [Moses] said, “Have you killed a pure soul for other than [having killed] a soul? You have certainly done a deplorable thing.” [Al-Khidhr] said, “Did I not tell you that with me you would never have patience?” [Moses] said, “If I should ask you about anything after this, then do not keep me as a companion. You have obtained from me an excuse.” So, they set out, until when they came to the people of a town, they asked its people for food, but they refused to offer them hospitality. And they found therein a wall about to collapse, so he [i.e., al-Khidhr] restored it. [Moses] said, “If you wished, you could have taken for it a payment.” [Al-Khidhr] said, “This is parting between me and you. I will inform you of the interpretation of thta about which you could not have patience. As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working at sea. So, I intended to cause defect in it as there was after them a king who seized every [good] ship by force. And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared that he would overburden them by transgressing and disbelief So, we intended that their Lord should substitute foe them one better than him in purity and nearer to mercy. And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphaned boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure for them, and their father had been righteous. So your Lord intended that they reached maturity and extract their treasures, as a mercy from your Lord. And I did not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience.” (Al-Kahf 18:60- 82)
Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) delivered a speech to Bani Israel, and he was asked who is more knowledgeable, instead of him attributing knowledge to Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ he replied: ‘I (am the most learned’ Allah rebuked him and told him that “there is a slave of Ours who is more learned than you’ He met the servant of Allah named Al-Khidr. Upon Al-Khidr meeting Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he said: “you will not be able to have patience with me”. Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) responded saying If Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ wills he will bear patience. Thereafter, Al-khidr gave him a condition not to ask about anything until it is mentioned to him.
On their journey, they were given a free ride on a boat and Al-Khidr damaged it. Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) exclaimed and rebuked Al-Khidr for his actions, thereafter Al-Khidr responded that Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) has broken the rule not to mention anything until he is told. Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) apologized immediately saying he forgot. Furthermore, Al-Khidr saw a boy who he killed. Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) exclaimed saying he has killed an innocent soul. Al-Khidr replied that Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) did not have patience with him. Afterward, Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) said: “If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company; you have received an excuse from me”. They proceeded and they came to a town where they asked for food and the people refused. To Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) surprise Al-Khidr found a wall about to collapse and he set it up straight. Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) responded to this action saying Al-Khidr could have taken money for repairing the wall, since the people were inhospitable. The impatience of Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) responding to these incidents made Al-Khidr tell him that this is the parting between them and he explained reasons for his actions. Destroying part of the boat, prevented it from being seized. Killing the boy was to prevent the parents from being kuffar, and mending the wall was to protect the hidden treasures of the Orphans left by a righteous father.
The reason why this story is mentioned is that it serves as a reminder for us to look at the bright side in unpleasant situations. Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) neither saw the full picture nor understood the situation, and by the will of Allah he complained and lost his patience. Al-Khidr whom Allahسُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ blessed with wisdom and understanding, did something that seems to be wrong, but was for the good. This is what Allah does to our lives. We need to accept and realize that we cannot always understand the decree of Allahسُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ.
Our boat may not get capsized and we may not lose a loved one, but we will have setbacks. How many people have missed a flight, and we hear that the plane crashed, or got delayed and was saved from a bigger disaster. In that situation of difficulty we complain of losses, because we are unable to understand what is happening. Be positive and condition yourself to think that everything Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ decrees into your life is for your good to achieve your purpose in life. Looking at the story of Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and Al-Khidr Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ teaches us that we may see that Al-Khidr is doing something bad, but in reality it was for the ‘good’ This teaches us the importance of trusting the process, because, Allahسُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ has a plan for our life.
Just as Al-Khidr told Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) to not ask him any question and remain patient with him. We also have to learn to trust Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ with his decree and not question Him, but be patient with His decree. For us to see things from a positive perspective, we must remain patient, have perseverance and think positive, with the understanding that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ is preparing something good for us.
Being positive is not only towards ourselves, we must also be positive of people and have good opinion toward others. Don’t think you are the only good person around, the flawless individual. Thinking that others are against you. We will neither be happy nor achieve contentment if we think that people are against us. We should not allow ourselves to be like the hypocrite Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ describe in the Quran “…they think that every shout is against them” (Al-Munafiqun, 63:4)
Tips on how to have a positive perspective:
- Try to always remember the Hadith: the Affairs of a believer is always good. This enables us to realize and internalize that Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ wants the best for us.
- Condition yourself to think positive by avoiding negative thoughts and have Tawakkul (complete reliance and trust in Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ)
- Change your language by using positive words and be grateful for little things.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Go easy on yourself; things happen and we will never understand why. Always try to see the good in a situation, see that it could have been worse and be content with whatever you have. Trust Allah and Make DUA
- Avoid comparing your situation to others: everyone has a different journey
Hence, I conclude with a quote from “How Man Thinks” by James Allen:
‘Man will come to know that each time he changes his opinions and thoughts concerning things and other people, those same things and people will in their part also change… Therefore, the sacred thing that shapes our goal is our own selves.’
I hope the above article was beneficial? Do share it as a reminder to friends and family
Do you have any tips on how to be positive? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
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