PERSPECTIVE OF A MUSLIM

BISMILLAH-IR-RAHMAN-IR-RAHIM

Being a Muslim involves looking at the world in a very different way.

The Prophet ﷺ tells us:

‘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 2999.]

A Muslim view this world as a means to fulfilling his/her purpose of creation;And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.’  (Qur’an 51:56)

A Muslim sees this life as a test. This lens is different from the one who sees life one for purely enjoyment.He is the One˺ Who created death and life in order to test which of you is best in deeds’. (Qur’an 67:2) ‘…the life of this world is no more than the delusion of enjoyment.’ (Qur’an 3:185)

A Muslim learns to be optimistic and positive. ‘I am just as my slave thinks I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him’ [Sahih Bukhari 7405]

To be patient. Patient in times of adversity. And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.’ (Qur’an 2:155)

To be grateful. Grateful in prosperity. ‘If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more. But if you are ungrateful, surely My punishment is severe.’ (Qur’an 14:7)

To live as a stranger/traveler “Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler along a path.” [Sahih Bukhari 6053]

To have an unconditional trust in Allah beyond your ability. Anas ibn Malik رضي الله عنه, reported: A man said, ‘O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?’ The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.” Sunan Tirmidhi 2517. This highlights the importance of putting your best effort in whatever you do because you cannot control the result. You can only manage the process. So, learn to focus on efforts and detach from results. Your intentions is something you can control. Work on it!

To see things as a means of earning reward and preparing for the hereafter.

Why is this so? Because life is a temporary abode, we are in this world to prepare for the eternal life. In this life we engage in actions as a means of getting closer to Allah ﷻ and prepare for the hereafter.

The way to attain this mindset and view this world differently comes from Knowing Him – Allah ﷻ!

How else do you think a Muslim should view the world? Share in the comment below.  

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A PROMISE FROM ALLAH  |  BARAKAH ACTIONS | RAMADAN PREP  |FULFILLING LIFE’S PURPOSE  |PERSPECTIVE: POSITIVE MINDSET  | SELF-REFLECTION

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Till next time Fi ammanillah

PERSPECTIVE: POSITIVE MINDSET

AS SALAM ALAIKUM WARAMATULLAH WABARAKATU
The Prophet (S.A.W) said:

 “Allah the most High said: ‘I am as MY slave thinks (expects) I am. [Sahih Bukhari]. (click for commentaries). 

This Hadith illustrates that Islam promotes having positive mindset. Applying this principle to the creation of Allah (S.W.T) 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 (S.W.T) says in the Quran: “O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicion is sin.” (Qur’an 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. Umar bin Al-Khattab said: ‘Never think ill of the word that comes out of your believing brother’s mouth, as long as you can find a good excuse for it.’ 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 (S.W.T) reminds us to be positive when things are not going our way “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you, Allah knows but you do not know.” (Qur’an, 2:216) Since, it is only Allah (S.W.T) that knows what is good for us, then why do we attach negativity to our situations? I gained more understanding from this phrase whilst reading Reclaim your heart by Yasmin Mogahed. She explains beautifully that anything that brings us closer to Allah (S.W.T), to achieve our purpose is ‘good’. While, anything that takes us from our purpose to worship Allah is ‘bad’. With this, getting rich, or having what you desire will be ‘bad’ if it takes you away from worshipping Allah, while losing something you want may be the greatest blessing if it brings you closer to Allah.
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 Khaf from verse 60- 82 (click to read full Tafsir) Prophet Musa (AS) delivered a speech to Bani Israel, and he was asked who is more knowledgeable, instead of him attributing knowledge to Allah he replied: ‘I am.’ Allah rebuked him and told him that “there is a servant of Ours who is more learned than you.” He met the servant of Allah named Al-Khidr. Upon Al-Khidr meeting Prophet Musa (AS), he said: “you will not be able to have patience with me”. Prophet Musa (AS) responded saying If Allah 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 exclaimed and rebuked Al-Khidr for his actions, thereafter Al-Khidr responded that Prophet Musa (AS) has broken the rule not to mention anything until he is told. Prophet Musa (AS) apologized immediately saying he forgot. Furthermore, Al-Khidr saw a boy who he killed. Prophet Musa (AS) exclaimed saying he has killed an innocent soul. Al-Khidr replied that Prophet Musa (AS) did not have patience with him. Afterward, Prophet Musa (AS) 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 (AS) surprise Al-Khidr found a wall about to collapse and he set it up straight. Prophet Musa (AS) 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 (AS) 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 neither saw the full picture nor understood the situation, and by the will of Allah he complained and lost his patience. Al-Khidr whom Allah 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 Allah.
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 decrees into your life is for your good to achieve your purpose in life. Looking at the story of Musa and Al-Khidr Allah 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, Allah has a plan for our life.
Just as Al-Khidr told Prophet Musa to not ask him any question and remain patient with him. We also have to learn to trust Allah 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 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 describe in the Quran “They think that every cry is against them” (Quran, 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 that Allah wants the best for us.
  • Condition yourself to think positive by avoiding negative thoughts and have Tawakkul (complete reliance and trust in Allah)
  • 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.

SELF-REFLECTION

As Salam Alaikum Waramatullahi Wabarakatu

I am excited to start my first blog with this topic- self-reflection.
I really do not know how to introduce this article other than to start with the conventional saying: look at yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself is the person you see who you want to be? We all want to improve to be better, but how do we identify what we need to improve and change?

Mostly, we do things over and over again, complaining of no positive result. We keep pushing, and moving, without taking the time to reflect on what can be improved. Not asking, what is going wrong? We are clouded with ‘I have no time to waste’. Forgetting that we need to identify what needs to change and what we need to keep doing. We need to determine what we can do differently to improve ourselves and be the person we envision ourselves to be. It is when we are able to reflect and look within ourselves that we will be able to identify what is lacking within us.

Self-reflection is something we don’t tend to do, which is a process of self-discovery. Although, it seems easier said than done.

Here are some motivations to enhance self-reflection.

Self-reflection brings about self-awareness which leads to self-improvement. With this we learn to be proactive not reactive. It makes us have a positive reaction to situation because, we have taken time to understand ourselves. We learn not to respond in the heat of the moment and this helps to guard against regretting our decisions. Self-reflection enables us to cope with personal challenges and we are able to know ourselves better.


To achieve a good self-reflection in ourselves we have to be genuine. It is something personal which is a means of improvement. For us to reflect properly, we have to be truthful to ourselves. Avoid trying to compare yourself to others when you are reflecting, because this is all about you. I say this often: ‘we are different, we want different things’.

Self-reflection from an Islamic perspective can be understood in various ways.

The Prophet’s (S.A.W) lifestyle is a perfect example of this. We know that he (S.A.W) was a man of meditation and reflection prior to Prophethood, because he (S.A.W) goes to reflect in cave Hira before he received revelation. The Prophet (S.A.W) was a man of thought who regularly visit Cave Hira. He goes there in seclusion. This was a means for him to escape from the corruption in the society. He was unhappy but, could do nothing to change the situation. This was a process of detachment. He needed to detach from the world by staying in seclusion to think, and reflect on the signs, greatness and wonder of Allah. This shows us the importance of seclusion when reflecting.


Furthermore, in the Quran Allah says: ‘Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): “Our Lord! You have not created this without purpose, glory to You! Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire’. (Quran 3:191) In this way, we are advised to remember Allah and contemplate upon His signs. Looking at the creation of Allah does amazing wonders in our lives. Just contemplating and looking at our surroundings makes us realize how magnificent Allah is: His ability to create so many things at the same time. The verse continues with Allah acknowledging that those who reflect and remember Allah know and say: ’Our Lord you have not created this without a purpose’. These people are able to reflect by looking at the creations of Allah, and they understand that every creation serves a purpose. This reminds us that we are created with a purpose, as we have something to fulfill on earth. It is up to us to engage in self-reflection to search our minds and discover the purpose of our creation. This brings the question, what is our purpose? Allah says: I created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me. (Quran 51:56) This implies that all we do should be an act of Ibadah. Little acts such as smiling, being kind, and so many more, are examples of how we can worship Allah.


Allah commands us to reflect and look at what deed we have prepared ahead of us. He says: ‘O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah and let every person look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.’ (Quran 59:18) Ahead of us is the day we will be alone in our graves, the Day of Judgment, where only our previous deeds will be of benefit to us. “And on the earth are signs for those who have faith with certainty. 21 And also in yourselves. Will you not then see?” (Quran 51:20-21).

Self-reflection brings about change. How can we change what is within ourselves? Through reflecting. We need to reflect and ponder in our hearts and identify what we need to change within ourselves as Allah says: “…Verily, Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of (goodness) themselves”. (Quran 13:11) This means that we have to put in an effort to change by reflecting and identifying the issues within ourselves. Thereafter we make Dua with sincerity for change and we take decisive steps to implement the changes.

Umar Ibn Khattab (RA) speaks about self-reflection. He said:

 “Take stock [account] of yourselves before you are brought to account; weigh yourselves before you are weighted, for that will make the reckoning easier for you tomorrow, if you take stock [account] of yourselves today and prepare yourselves for the great presentation on the Day when you will be brought to Judgment, and not a secret of yours will be hidden”. Narrated by Ibn Abi’d-Dunya in Muhaasabat an-Nafs (p.22).


How to self-reflect: 

Choose a time that is suitable for you, and try to be in seclusion.
Ensure to engage in self-reflection at the end of the day or at least once in a week. I advice you write down your thoughts instead of thinking about it. Have a personal journal. There are so many free Apps which can be downloaded on the App store, or preferably get a diary) where you document your day and take account of yourself.

Get questions to reflect on. Here are some questions that can be pondered over:

What are my strength and weakness? are my passion? What do I enjoy doing? What makes me happy?


How sincere are my actions? Why do I do them?

What sin am I committing that I need to change? What sin am I struggling to change? What am I willing to give up for the sake of Allah: knowing that He will replace it with something better. Make Dua to Allah to help you

I hope the above article was beneficial, which will help to engage in self-reflection.

Do you have any other tips on how to maximize self-reflection?

I’d like to hear your thoughts.