By Maria Zain
The morning bustle, the politics at the office…
Advertisements are lacing the streets with pictures that are less than decent.
Pop culture is blaring away on the big screen, quarrels on the street.
Back-biting and gossip are everywhere.
Financial challenges crop up daily. Bad news in the newspaper – there’s never anything positive to share.
Personal problems, family challenges, issues with the neighbors.
How does one find the peace and tranquility in this modern and bustling world?
For Muslims, it was never meant to be easy. Allah, Glory to Him, has made it very clear that the world is but a distraction from our deen (religion) but we are here to worship Allah no matter how big a distraction this temporary abode becomes.
For those who find the peace and tranquility of faith, over and above the continuous disturbances in life, he or she is deemed victorious. And whoever gives in to temptation, or feels defeated by the worldly desires and negativities, spirals into the depths of the dunya (worldly life), forgetting the importance of keeping sights on the Hereafter.
Find Peace and Tranquility with a Positive Mindset…
No matter how difficult things become, no matter how strong the adversity is, no matter how big the temptation is, remember that no one went through a harder trial than Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his companions. Yet they persevered and helped spread Islam and it is because of them (through Allah’s permission) that you too are amongst the Muslim followers.
Keep a positive mindset when facing difficulties. Not only will this keep us reminded of Allah and the Qur’an and how Allah promises double ease with each hardship, but how we mould our thoughts affects us in every way possible.
Our thoughts affect the words we speak, and the words we speak become our actions and our actions become habits. Our habits, in turn, become our character. It all begins with how we shape our thoughts.
If we have positive thoughts, no matter how difficult a situation may be, we will be able to cope with the difficulty because of our trust in Allah. Positive energy can repel negative energy, as long as it is imbued with love and trust in Allah. As and when we are positive, we are able to use the strengths of our minds, provided by Allah, to overcome adversities. As long as our mind can conceive a positive outcome over and above a challenge, our bodies will be able to follow through, to accomplish such a result.
Keeping a positive mindset sets our sights on Hereafter as Allah promises rewards of Jannah (Paradise) to those who persevere in patience. By keeping positive, we are reminded that whatever problems we face are merely temporary hiccups in this journey through our temporary abode. As long as we are constantly praying, asking from Allah, enjoining good and shunning all that is non-permissible, Allah will open up the doors of Jannah for us no matter how bumpy the ride is.
Allah tells the believers in the Qur’an:
“Say, ‘Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector. And upon Allah let the believers rely.’” (At-Tawbah 9: 51)
On the contrary, if we are constantly negative, we become dwellers deeply rooted in the horrors of the world, a distraction that causes our faiths to flounder. The feeling of complete tawakkul (reliance on God) is lost. Negative energy enlists us to believe that bad things happen to us due to a curse, a burden we cannot bear, bad luck and so on so forth – all of which are untrue. Negativity brings out the worse of our beliefs and we forget that Allah is the most Merciful and most Kind and will provide ease – double ease – with any form of hardship, no matter how small.
Show Mercy and Kindness, No Matter What…
“God loves those who are kind.” (Al-Ma’idah 5: 13)
With Allah being the most Merciful and the most Kind, it is for us to also deal with hardships in a merciful and kind manner. No matter how much we are hurting, we need to be kind to others, for we do not know of their hardships and how Allah is testing their own patience. Sometimes the worse of enemies become the best of friends because one of them started to act in mercy and kindness.
“Allah is not kind to him who is not kind to people.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
We need to continue to be kind to everyone around us, because whatever we give, affects us in return. There is a saying that what goes around, comes around, and it is true, because Allah gives back to us in kind, whatever we give out.
“And (show) kindness to (your) parents and to near relatives, orphans, the needy and to the neighbor who is your relative and the neighbor who is not your relative.” (An-Nisa’ 4: 36)
Be kind to those who support you; your family and friends, throughout your problems. Refrain from blaming them or channeling negative energy to them, but be kind to them as they are there for a reason. Allah provides each one of us some form of support, even if it is in the form of just one friend. Be kind to those who do not understand what you are going through, because your paths may cross in the future and you may be able to help them or they help you – and you may learn from each other through each other’s lessons that you have already experienced.
“Those who are kind and considerate to Allah’s creatures, Allah bestows His kindness and affection on them. Show kindness to the creatures on the earth so that Allah may be kind to you.” (Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi)
Be kind to those who have been outwardly demeaning or negative towards you, as they are imbued in negative energy that is hurting them. Be kind and merciful towards them and perhaps one day they will learn their way out of negativity. Be kind to people of other faiths, because it is our responsibility to spread kindness to everyone and to represent our religion in its correct light.
Be kind to strangers, be kind to animals, be kind to the environment. And especially be kind and merciful towards the less fortunate. When we are filled with kindness and mercy, Allah will increase our ranks through our own humility, realizing that whatever problems we are facing, can be overcome by such a powerful force field that Allah has already fashioned. Being kind to the less fortunate, especially, remind us of how blessed we are and how we may be taking things for granted for something that we toss aside each day may be the subject of prayers of another person, a less fortunate being.
Always Have Gratitude…
Lastly, be grateful. No matter how difficult a situation is, how painful the headache is, how poverty stricken one feels, be grateful for what you have. Allah increases the wealth for those who have gratitude and punishes those who are not grateful. This is fruitful reminder that with each hardship, God provides the tools for that person to come out of their shell and heal. Whether it’s through different opportunities to earn a living, through different friendships we foster with people whom we have never known before, or through mended relationships with loved ones – all these come about through the feeling of gratitude.
“And remember when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you in favor; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe’.” (Ibrahim 14: 7)
Feeling grateful strengthens our relationship with God as it reminds us of His grandiosity and how He will always provide resolve if we ask and appreciate all that He has done for us.
There are so many things that we should be grateful for. There are so many things that we fail to thank Allah for. Little things we take for granted are like free time and our health. We have legs, we should be thankful that we can walk. We have eyes, we should be thankful for the ability to see. We have hands… so many things that we do with our hands that we simply take for granted.
So increase yourself in gratitude. Thank Allah sincerely everyday for every single thing He has provided, and Allah will continue to bless you in ways you cannot imagine.
Faith in a Modern World…
It may be difficult trying to find faith in a modern world as the minutes speed by and hours are filled with distractions. Yet it is not impossible to be at peace and in deep tranquility when we have the right mindset as to what a journey as a Muslim life entails.
Kindness and gratitude come from humility and they are amongst those virtues that we need to favor, if we wish for Allah to favor us with his blessings.
Taken with slight editorial modifications from onislam.net.
Maria Zain is freelance writer by night and a homeschooling mother of four by day. She currently writes for an assortment of publications but has a wish to dedicate more of her time to charitable work, while championing the message of Islam through her work.