As a child, growing up, I struggled with self- assurance. I was shy, both verbally and nonverbally; and as a result, I found it difficult to communicate with others. My timidity proved to be a negative attribute; however, one day as I watching a video about self-confidence, I was surprised to discover our problems and negative attitudes are correlated with a wrong way of thinking.
The purpose of this essay is to provide information on how to be positive in any situation while giving examples of how I gained confidence through studying the Holy Quran. However, in order to achieve this, one must first ask: “Why do I want to make such a change?” “Why do I want to be positive?” and “Who can prohibit me from achieving this goal?”
It is important to note, each individual will have a personal answer to these questions. For instance, if I were to reply to these questions, respectively, my answers would be: “I want to change to help others find happiness and internal peace”, “I want to be positive, so I can focus on setting and achieving life goals”, and “No one can prohibit me, if I have the desire to achieve.”
In the Islamic faith, there is the existence of one creator, Allah, the Most Powerful and Merciful. The Quran contains numerous Ayahs (verses), some of which speak on how to be positive, despite aversive circumstances. This essay will focus on six of those ayahs: (1) Don’t be sad. Allah is with us (9:40); (2) Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people (12:90); (3) Allah is with those who are As-Saabiroon (patient) (8:46); (4) Put your trust in Allah. Allah loves those that trust [in Him] (3:159); (5) and those who believe and do righteous good deeds, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise) (34:4); and (6) But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah (2:165).
Don’t be sad. Allah is with us. (9:40)
Everyone will, at some point, experience sadness and some of the derivative emotions that come with it; however, verse 9:40 in the Quran teaches us that Allah is with us in every situation. Therefore, believers can be very happy and optimistic, because He is the most Powerful and Merciful; moreover, He knows all things, including the problems we face.
Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, the word “sadness” does not appear in the Qur’an, except in the form of forbidding or negating it, because there is no benefit of having sadness in the heart. The most beloved thing to shaytaan is to make the believing slave sad by taking him off track. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) sought refuge in Allah from sadness.
Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah be have mercy upon him) said, sadness weakens the heart and diminishes determination and wanting to go forward. And there is nothing more beloved to the shaytaan than the sadness of a believer. For this reason, be happy, optimistic, and think well about Allah. Have trust in what Allah is able to do and depend on Him. Then, you will find happiness and pleasure in all situations. Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy upon him) also said, don’t ruin your happiness with worry and don’t ruin your mind with pessimism. Don’t ruin your success with deception and don’t ruin the optimism of others by destroying it. Don’t ruin your day by looking back at yesterday.
When I was in Ouarzazate, Morocco, I sometimes felt sad because I was alone and far away from my family. I came to Ouarzazate to continue my studies in foreign languages and commerce, so I would be able to obtain a good job in the future. In the beginning, I was so negative – I started university with no friends, participated in no activities, and found the system of education to be tough, due to my language level. All of these things took a negative toll on me; however, when I saw a publication on the internet of this particular ayah (9:40), I decided to change my attitude for the better. From that day, I made a conscious decision to try to be stronger than before.
Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people. (12:90)
Sometimes when we lose something, (work, studies, relationships, etc.) we became anxious, unhopeful, negative, and overall pessimistic. However, being pessimistic is a waste of time, because it can cause us to lose hope in the future and lose confidence in attempting something again. Understanding that each one of us can and will, at some point, lose in life is critical in maintaining a positive attitude.
Personally, when I finished my university studies, I felt so depressed, because I did not find a job. No matter how much I searched, I did not receive an offer. As I would pray, I would always ask Allah to help me find a job so I could help my family. One day as I was returning from the mosque, I met a person who asked me if I wanted to work as a teacher in an association for the French and English languages. I was so delighted he asked me, because it was an answered prayer.
This experience reminded me of the ayah that says, “indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah, except the disbelieving people” (12:90). In fact, if we, as believing Muslims, are pessimists, we become just like unbelievers. Therefore, in accordance with this ayah, Allah wants us to remain optimistic and avoid feeling gloomy, joyless, and hopeless.
Ibnul Qayyim said, “don’t ruin your happiness with worry, and don’t ruin your mind with pessimism. Don’t ruin your success with deception and don’t ruin the optimism of others by destroying it. Don’t ruin your day by looking back at yesterday.” In essence, never give up. Some of us may lose more in life than others; however, we should never let feelings of hopelessness affect our positive energy.
Ibn Abbas reported, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was optimistic, he did not see evil omens, and he liked good names. Positive thinking and optimism are very important, as they relate to our prayers, supplications, and acts of worship. A prayer or supplication that is offered with certainty that Allah will answer is far more effective and beneficial than a weak prayer. For this reason, the Prophet told us to pray to Allah with the certain knowledge that He will answer.
Allah is with those who are As-Saabiroon (patient). (8:46)
Patience is the ability to endure; therefore, it is a very important quality to have. With patience comes strength. It causes us to mature as individuals and promotes room for us to realize our dreams and goals. The unfortunate thing is, many of us struggle with patience. However, beautiful things tend to emerge after patience is exercised.
Allah teaches us in the Quran to be patient. He says, “Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Saabiroon (patient)” (Quran, 8:46). Allah never leaves those who are patient alone; rather, He helps the believer who is patiently waiting upon Him. As believers, who pass through difficult times, we are assured it is only for a moment and something greater is yet to come.
The Holy Prophet (saw) says: “The believer who mixes with people and bears their annoyance with patience will have a greater reward than the believer who does not mix with people and does not put up with their annoyance.”
The Imām Fudayl bin Iyād has said: “I learned patience from a small boy. On my way to the Masjid one day, I came across a woman beating her son at home. As he was yelling and screaming, he managed to open the door and flee. So his mother locked the door on him. When I returned from the Masjid, I found the boy after having cried and wept, sleeping at the door of his home longing for his mother. So his mother’s heart softened and she opened the door for him.” Upon witnessing that, Fudayl bin Iyād cried until his beard became wet with tears, and then he said “SubhānAllāh! If only the servant was to be patient at the door of Allah, Allah would surely open it!”
As a high school student, in Tinghir, I knew a very poor, but patient man with special needs. Despite his difficulties and circumstances, he was helpful and worked hard in his studies. He was very intelligent and at the end of the year, he succeeded with good marks. This allowed him to continue his studies at a good engineering school. A few years ago, we communicated and he let me know that he is continuing his studies in French and despite all the challenges he faces, I know that he will be successful with his strong faith and patience.
Put your trust in Allah. Allah loves those that trust [in Him]. (3:159)
Trust in Allah is one of the most important components of a successful life. However, a lot of people today suffer due to the absence of confidence, which may be caused by many things including social and economic factors. To be confident requires one to change certain thought patterns and ideas that lead to freedom, new life, and happiness. A great solution to obtaining confidence is to trust in Allah, which requires one to be courageous and strong.
While I still a student in high school, I had a very shy friend, who found it difficult to participate in class discussions; although he always had good answers. The reason being, he was afraid of giving an incorrect answer and being teased by the other students. I let him know that he should not care about the opinion of others and freedom from this is found in trusting Allah.
The Quran says, Put your trust in Allah. Allah loves those that trust [in Him] (3:159). So if you trust in Allah my dear readers, Allah loves you, He will help you in everything and He will protect you from any things is bad to you.
The Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “A strong believer is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say: If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your ‘if’ opens the (gate) for Satan.”
We have to be strong believers by trusting in Allah in everything we do; whether it be in class, at work, or at home and remembering that Allah loves who those trust in Him.
Ibn Al-Qayyum said: “Putting trust in Allah is half the religion (i.e. Islam), and the second half is repentance; because, religion is seeking support and worship. As for seeking support, it is putting trust in Allah, while worship is repentance. The rank of putting trust in Allah is the supreme and more comprehensive rank, and it still has many servants because of the variety of the affairs that trust may be put in Allah for them and the abundance of the demands of the worlds. The pious servants to Allah put trust in Him for having faith, granting victory to His religion, raising His word, fighting His enemies, loving Him, and obeying His orders. In general, trust in Allah is very important when it comes to surpassing our difficulties and problems; however, it is important to remember that trust in Allah is work, hope, and tranquility of heart.”
And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise). (34:4)
Doing good in life is one of the most beautiful things one can achieve. It is also a good feeling to help others through acts of service and time.
When I was a child, I saw a person help a woman and her children on the street. He gave them some money and I felt so delighted to see such an action take place; although it was done in secret. This also motivated me to want to help others. When you do good things for others, you set in motion a cycle that encourages them to do the same, if they have the means to do so. It is also a source of happiness and peace, to know someone is suffering less because of you. For this reason, we have to be good people, who volunteer to make our society better.
Allah says, “and those who believe and do righteous good deeds, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise)” (34:4). Therefore, doing good (charity, reading Quran, giving gifts, enjoying time with your parents, ect.) has a positive effect on this life and leads you to jannah. May Allah to guide us to Jannah.
Ibn Qayyum said, a friend will not (literally) share your struggles, and a loved one cannot physically take away your pain, and a close one will not stay up the night on your behalf. So look after yourself, protect yourself, nurture yourself, and don’t give life’s events more than what they are really worth. Know for certain that when you break no one will heal you except you, and when you are defeated no one will give you victory except your determination.
Your ability to stand up again and carry on is your responsibility. Do not look for your self-worth in the eyes of people; look for your worth from within your conscious. If your conscious is at peace then you will ascend high and if you truly know yourself then what is said about you won’t harm you.
Do not carry the worries of this life, because that duty belongs to Allah. And do not carry the worries of sustenance, because it is from Allah. And do not carry the anxiety for the future, because it is in the Hands of Allah. Carry one thing: How to please Allah, because if you please Him, He pleases you, fulfills you, and enriches you. Do not weep from a life that made your heart weep. Just say, “Oh Allah compensates me with good in this life and the hereafter.”
Sadness departs with a Sajdah. Happiness comes with a sincere Du’a. Allah does not forget the good you do. Nor does He forget the good you did to others and the pain you relieved them from. Nor will He forget the eye which was about to cry, but chose laughter instead.
Live your life with this principle, “be good even if you do not receive good, not for the sake of others, but because Allah Loves those who do good.” Finally, if you do good be assured Allah bless will never let you fight in life alone. He will always be with you and He will give you more than what you want.
But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. (2:165)
One of the best feelings in life is love, with love life continues and we live in happiness. They are a lot of types of love in our religion, but the best is to love your creator Allah and we must always prove that we love Him by obeying Him and respecting His commands.
Allah says, “But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah” (Quran 2:165). If you love Allah, He automatically loves you, as He naturally loves you first. He says, “He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers (5:54).” When Allah loves you, people love you. When Allah loves someone, He protects them and gives them good things both in this life and the afterlife.
Ibn Qayyum says, “so the lover is the one who desires Allah. The one who is concerned with works is the one who desires what Allah has. And the one who is satisfied with this life, in neglect to the hereafter is the one who desires other than Him. The person whose desire is for Allah alone, Allah with suffice him from every concern, take on all of his affairs, deflect from him what he is not capable himself to deflect, protect him like the protection of a father to his child and preserve him from all afflictions. And whoever prefers Allah to all others, Allah will prefer him to others.”
The second type of love is to love our Prophet (Peace be upon Him) by heart and by respecting his recommendations. Allah says, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (3:31).
The third type of love is to love your parents, your wife, your children, and all people who have peace and tolerance in their hearts. The following ayahs serve as examples:
For parents: “Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour” (17:27).
For couples: “and he placed kindness and mercy between you” (30:21).
For children: “O ye who believe! save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded” (66:6).
For people: “O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible), for suspicion in some cases is a sin. And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it…But fear Allah. For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful” (49:12).
So dears readers love Allah, the prophets, your parents and family, because with love life is most beautiful and wonderful and remember that life without faith in Allah is meaningless.
In conclusion, I hope that I can show you a little part about thinking positively in the Quran. Islam teaches love and compassion and positivity for every human being, no matter their religion.