The things that prevent happiness are worrying, hatred, jealousy and anger. They are forbidden things because one would lead a troublesome life if one lived with these negative feelings.
One of the biggest diseases of this day and age is the disease of worry, or anxiety: Fear of what the future holds.
What will happen tomorrow? What will happen to my children? What will happen to me? I see masses of people who are unemployed – thinks the first year of university student – so when I graduate in four years, I won’t find work, nor will I find food to eat; I’m worried.
There are people whom their fear of the future compound to such an extent that they only anticipate negative outcomes in their future: what if I die, what will happen to my children, where will they find food to eat, who will take care of them after I die. They live their fears. And due to this, their productivity levels decrease, they behave irrationally, and feel depressed. In essence, they are slowly killing themselves everyday.
Whether it is worry of ‘dunya’ (this world – money, children, family, job, etc), or worry of ‘deen‘ (religion – sins not being forgiven, shortcomings in worship, going to Hell, torment of the grave, etc), we will all die one day, why insist on killing our self everyday due to worries and anxiety?
A man who was suffering from excessive worry and anxiety went to a psychologist to seek help. The psychologist said I can give you medication, or I can tell you about a way of worship that if you followed it, you will feel better.
This is the worship that Amr Khaled talks about in this lecture. An act that allows you to worship Allah, gain rewards (‘thawab‘), achieve Allah’s contentment (‘rida’), and live happily. This is a truly amazing act of worship.
Acts of worship are of two types:
1) Faculties worship – worship that you use your bodily limbs to perform. These include praying, fasting, performing Hajj or Omra
2) Heart worship – worship that can only be performed by your heart
But, can worry and anxiety be alleviated by an act of worship? Yes, in fact, it is an act of worship that will enable you to live a life of happiness, beyond your expectations. Worry-free.
This act of worship is an act that can only be performed by the heart. As opposed to worship by the faculties – once you say the ‘salam‘ after ‘tashahud‘, your prayer has finished; once you break your fast, your fasting has ended, and so has your ‘thawab‘ for those acts – worship of the heart is endless, and so is its ‘thawab‘. You could be sleeping, and just because you slept with the intention (‘niyyah’) that you are worshiping Allah with your heart, your ‘thawab‘ will continue to rise as your soul ascends.
Instead of walking down the path of fear, worry and anxiety – there is a more positive and easy approach: the moment you perform it with your heart, you will be engulfed with relief and you will feel happy. Your fears, depression, anxieties and worries will be transformed to happiness.
Unfortunately, this act of worship has become very rare; very rarely do people worship Allah in this way.
This act of worship is called: having a positive belief of Allah (حسن الظن بالله).
What is your opinion of Allah? What do you believe Allah will do to you?
Do you believe Allah will be generous with you? Do you believe Allah will forgive you? Do you believe Allah will give you good health? Do you believe Allah will elevate you higher? Do you believe Allah will protect you? Yes? Then Allah will.
Do you believe Allah won’t forgive you? Do you believe Allah won’t be generous with you? Yes? Then Allah won’t.
عن أبي هريرة – رضي الله عنه – قال : قال النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : يقول الله تعالى : ( أنا عند ظن عبدي بي ، وأنا معه إذا ذكرني ، فإن ذكرني في نفسه ذكرته في نفسي ، وإن ذكرني في ملإ ذكرته في ملإ خير منهم ، وإن تقرب إلي بشبر تقربت إليه ذراعا ، وإن تقرب إلي ذراعا تقربت إليه باعا ، وإن أتاني يمشي أتيته هرولة ) رواه البخاري ومسلم .
This hadith is what this lecture is based on; and this is what having a positive belief of Allah is based on. This hadith is a hadith Qudsi, so Allah is in fact saying this to us. And the meaning of this hadith is, indeed, the cure for worries and anxiety.
Why are you worried? Why are you afraid of the future? Can we try having a positive belief of Allah? It is an act of worship. In fact, Allah wants us to worship him this way. In effect Allah tells us that He wants us to worship him this way; He will give us rewards (‘thawab’) and eliminate our worries and fears.
Try it – you will see the effects immediately.
” فليظن عبدي بي ما شاء”: What does this mean?
It means, think of Allah however you want to think.
“فإن ظن بي خيرًا فله وإن ظن بي شرًا فله”: If he (the slave) thinks positively of Allah then it is for him, and if he (the slave) thinks negatively of Allah then it is for him.
So, what is your belief of Allah – or what do you think? That Allah will give you generously? He will. And if you believe that Allah won’t – then He won’t.
“انا عند ظن عبدي بي” – Now, if we look at the word ‘عند’, it emphasizes that it is in your hands: It’s up to you to think positively or negatively of Allah.
Why is having a positive belief of Allah a form of worship? If you worship Allah while having a positive opinion of Him, then you will have truly understood Allah: The Generous that gives, The Great, The Merciful, The Forgiver that forgives, The One where all goodness comes from.
So, what is your belief of Allah?
That He will give generously. He will forgive. He will allow those who wanted to go Hajj but couldn’t because they did not have the means, to go to Hajj. He will protect. He will bless offspring and protect them. Even during the economic recession He will guard and provide with means. He will bless those who are unmarried with a pious partner.
One may have made mistakes along the way, but we should never despair – always have a positive opinion of Allah, for he will never leave us.
Do you still feel fear? Do you know who is behind our fears and worries?
‘Shaytan‘ wants to see mankind sad, fearful, anxious, worried and depressed.
People usually have the understanding that ‘Shaytan’s‘ only aim is to drive man to Hell. But that’s not his only aim. ‘Shaytan‘ wants to make man’s life on this world a sad one because ‘Shaytan‘ despises and envies man: When commanded by Allah to bow down to Adam (PBUH), he refused.
Here are some more hadiths on having a positive belief of Allah:
أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو الْعَبَّاسِ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ الْحَاجِّ بْنِ يَحْيَى الإِشْبِيلِيُّ , قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا الْقَاضِي أَبُو بَكْرٍ يُوسُفُ بْنُ الْقَاسِمِ بْنِ يُوسُفَ الْمَيَانِحِيُّ , إِمْلاءً بِمِصْرَ , قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ طَاهِرِ بْنِ أَبِي الدَّمِيكِ , قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ الْفَضْلِ الزَّيْدِيُّ أَبُو الْفَضْلِ , قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ , عَنْ هَمَّامٍ , عَنْ قَتَادَةَ , عَنْ أَنَسٍ , أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ , قَالَ : ” مِنْ حُسْنِ عِبَادَةِ الْمَرْءِ حُسْنُ ظَنِّهِ ” .
The goodness of a slave’s worship is his positive belief in Allah.
عن جابر قال : سمعت رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قبل موته بثلاثة أيام يقول : ” لا يموتن أحدكم إلا وهو يحسن الظن بالله “ . رواه مسلم“
Do not die without a positive belief of Allah.
So, every time you get a negative thought of worry, anxiety or fear, immediately worship Allah in your heart: O Allah, I believe that you will be generous with me, and that you won’t leave me. O Allah, I believe that you will forgive me and that I will go to Heaven (‘Jannah’). I believe that you will guard me, protect me and bestow upon me your blessings. All my thoughts and beliefs about You are all positive.
It is also worth noting that excessive worries and fear cause pains and damage in our psyche and heart. The best cure for these ailments is having a positive belief of Allah (حسن الظن بالله).
The word (ظن) in Arabic is a very extraordinary word as it holds dual opposite meanings: certainty and suspicion.
In this Ayah (Surat Al-Baqarah, Ayah 249):
Here the word (يظنون) means they are certain that they will meet their Lord.
Whereas here in Surat Al-Ahzab, Ayah 10:
The word (تظنون) here means the opposite: suspicion.
It is quite extraordinary how one word in the Arabic language can hold two opposite meanings at the same time. This is because its meaning is based on what is happening in the heart. If you hold a positive belief of Allah in your heart then it means certainty. But if you hold a negative belief of Allah in your heart then it means suspicion.
But holding a positive belief of Allah is based on a prerequisite: to believe that Allah will answer you, you have to have made Duaa first; to believe that Allah will forgive you, you have to have asked for forgiveness first, to believe that Allah will bless your work, you have to have worked consciously in your job.
Thus, take a step first then follow it by the positive belief that Allah will grant you what you want. No matter how many mistakes one may have committed – having a positive belief in Allah gives hope and does not allow one to fall into despair or unwarranted anxiety and worry.
Scientists say that in one day, a human can go through 60,000 thoughts, both positive and negative. But if one’s mind is predisposed to negativity (fear, worry, anxiety, etc), all thoughts will be negative and the mind will not be clear. But if one’s mind is predisposed to positive thinking and as a consequence, has a positive belief of Allah – all the negative thoughts and imagined fears will disappear.
Our minds are like gardens – we either grow flowers or fill it with pest control. It really is up to you what grows there.
There are three types of beliefs.
1) Positive belief of Allah
2) Negative belief of Allah
3) Detestable belief of Allah
How did the prophet (PBUH) worship Allah in this way?
من حديث أنس بن مالك عن أبي بكر الصديق- رضي الله عنهما- قال : ” نظرت الى أقدام المشركين ونحن في الغار على رؤوسنا فقلت : يارسول الله , لو أن أحدهم نظر الى قدميه أبصرنا تحت قدميه
In one of the most difficult situations, in the cave of Hiraa, when the prophet (PBUH) and Abu Bakr (RA) were hiding from Quraysh, Abu Bakr (RA) whispered to the prophet (PBUH) that if any of the men of Quraysh looked down at their feet, they will see us.
The prophet (PBUH) replied to Abu Bakr:
فقال : ياأبابكر ! ماظنك باثنين الله ثالثهما
“O Abu Bakr what is your thought about two people and Allah is the third of them”
The context here is that the prophet (PBUH) and Abu Bakr (RA) immigrated from Makkah to Medina for the sake of Allah, so the prophet believed that Allah would surely protect them and keep them safe.
Another situation, also when the prophet (PBUH) was immigrating from Makkah to Medina, and Soraka Bin Malik was chasing after him to capture him so that he can take the prophet back to Quraysh and Soraka can reap the reward of 100 camels (Quraysh’s reward to whoever captured the prophet (PBUH)). Soraka was on horseback, and Abu Bakr (RA) can see Soraka coming closer to them. Abu Bakr (RA) tells the prophet (PBUH), “He will catch up with us!”
The prophet, undisturbed, replies:
(اللهم اكفنيه بما شئت وحيثما شئت وكيفما شئت وأينما شئت انك على كل شىء قدير)
This is also a Duaa to be said whenever you are being chased by someone and afraid that they will harm you.
When the prophet (PBUH) said this Duaa, Soraka fell off his horse. Soraka gets on his horse again, he is getting closer. The prophet (PBUH) says the Duaa, and again, Soraka falls off his horse.
Another story is of one of the Sahaba, Anass Ibn El Nadr. El Nadr was a very wealthy family in Madina. Before Islam, it was very common to own slaves and servants, and to treat them disrespectfully. Anass Ibn El Nadr’s sister Rabia had a servant who one day upset Rabia. So Rabia, a woman of high status, slapped the servant’s face and broke her tooth.
The servant went to the prophet to complain about what Rabia did, and to get justice – her right: Rabia’s tooth. The prophet (PBUH) said yes, this is your right. Upon hearing this, Anass went to the prophet in disbelief, how can Rabia’s tooth be broken for a servant?! The prophet (PBUH) was adamant that justice is served – yes, Rabia’s tooth will be broken. It is only fair.
Anass tried to pay the servant instead. She refused. He asked her to forgive his sister, Rabia. She refused again. The servant insisted: A tooth for a tooth.
Anass then went back to the prophet (PBUH) – but the prophet (PBUH) did not change his mind. So Anass said, ‘By the name of Allah, Rabia’s tooth will not be broken!’
Anass did not say this to provoke or oppose the prophet (PBUH – but Anass was so certain that Allah would protect his sister and her tooth would not be broken.
And as he said this, the servant came towards Anass and the prophet (PBUH), and said: ‘O prophet of Allah, I have forgiven Rabia’.
The prophet (PBUH) laughed, and said:
“إن من عباد الله من لو أقسم على الله لأبره”
“There are people (the people of Paradise), who if they swear by Allah’s name to do something, Allah will fulfill it”
One of the ways to develop a positive belief of Allah is to remember Him a lot. Why? The Hadith says:
(قال النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : يقول الله تعالى : ( أنا عند ظن عبدي بي ، وأنا معه إذا ذكرني
“وأنا معه إذا ذكرني” – And I am with him, if he remembers Me. So, the more you remember Allah, the more you will have a positive belief of Allah.
And also, make it a habit to remember what blessings Allah has bestowed upon you in the past. You will find that Allah has been with you all the way, and has never left you.
The prophet (PBUH) was afraid that the angel Jibreel would no longer visit him, then Allah reminded him:
Thus, whatever you believe, and to what extent you believe – it will manifest: positive or negative. But you have to take the first step and inshallah you will be happier!