The Qur’an has many positive lessons for the one who reads between the lines and understands the meaning behind each verse and surah (chapter). It allows a Muslim to thrive and flourish which is a specific mindset that comes about by applying and practising a specific set of practices and habits that have been scientifically proven to help make life worth living and promote well-being. Allah says:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ لِلنَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِوَكِيلٍ
“Indeed We, We revealed to you the Book for [the] mankind in truth. So whoever accepts guidance, then (it is) for his soul; and whoever goes astray then only he strays against his (soul). And not you (are) over them a manager.” (Surah Az-Zumar 39:41)
Thinking positive can work miracles. You may have been told to “guard your thoughts”, but felt the advice to be pointless. After all, your thoughts are private. How can they possibly affect someone else? The fact is, thoughts do seem to boomerang in some mysterious ways. Science has not found a way to measure them as they have invisible sound waves. To understand how positive thinking works, and how to use it efficiently, it is important to understand the power of negative thinking. Allah says:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
“Indeed, Allah commands justice and the good, and giving (to) relatives, and forbids [from] the immorality and the bad and the oppression. He admonishes you so that you may take heed.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:90
These steps can drastically change your life for the better:
- Did you then think that We created you in vain and that you would not be returned to us? The Holy Quran 23:115
- And I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone). The Holy Quran 51:56
- The purpose of our life is the worship of our Creator in the many ways there are to worship Him (prayer, helping others, seeking knowledge, etc.).
- …Who has created life and death so that He may try you which of you are best in deeds…The Holy Quran 67:2
- Who will do the best works for the sake of Him?
- And We have not created the heaven and earth and what is between them in vain. That is the opinion of those who disbelieve. And woe to such disbelievers, because of the Fire. Shall we treat those who believe and do good deeds like those who spread corruption on the earth? Or shall we treat the pious as sinners? The Holy Quran 38:27-8
- The believers will not face the same afterlife as the corrupters. The pious will not be treated the same as sinners.
- And among the people there is he who sells himself for the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is Kind to His worshippers. The Holy Quran 2:207
- There has come to you from God-light and a luminous Book, through which God, by His grace, guides all who seek His good pleasure on the path of peace, and brings them out of the depths of darkness into light and guides them unto a Straight Path. The Holy Quran 5:15-16
- The pleasure of Allah should be our goal.
- About 50% of individual happiness comes from a genetic set point.
- About 10% of our happiness is due to our circumstances. Our age, race, gender, personal history, and, yes, wealth, only make up about one-tenth of our happiness.
- The remaining 40% of an individual’s happiness seems to be derived from intentional activity, from “discrete actions or practices that people can choose to do”.
- Seek the pleasure of Allah – nothing can make us happier than seeking the pleasure of Allah. Whether we are a university, home or on holiday never forget to seek the countenance of Allah.
- Be grateful – The more grateful we are to have the things we do, the more Allah will shower you with His bounties.
- Eat good halal pure food. Eating well maintains our physical well-being, this too keeps us happy.
- We know how to propel ourselves more quickly towards our goal.
- Eliminate the nonessentials
- Rid your life of negativity
- Be kind to others
- Avoid comparisons – do not look towards celebrities, rich or affluent people above you in worldly matters.
- Have no expectations in other than Allah– place all reliance and expectations in Allah alone, any favour that we do, and good character that we display is not for us to be met with the same.
- Serve others and cultivate good relations – We should have an altruistic nature always ready to share our warmth and support with others.
- Be in routine- If we are in the routine we will get adequate sleep and that solves half the problem!
- Promote brotherhood/sisterhood – feeling a part of a larger group gives us a sense of security and a safety net to fall onto in occasions of happiness and hardships.
“Negative thoughts and tensions are like birds. We cannot stop them from flying near us but, we can certainly stop them from making a nest in our mind.”The mind can be directed towards positive thinking or negative thinking. The power of thought is neutral. Allah says:
وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا
“And they feed them food despite love (for) it, (to the) needy, and (the) orphan and (the) captive.” (Surah Al-Insan 76:8)
Persistent inner work can change habits of thoughts. You must be willing to put energy and time to avoid negative thinking and pursuing positive thinking, in order to change your mental attitude. Think of those things which are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, in other words, to fill your mind with noble, good thoughts, leaving no room for negative ones to take root. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“O you who believe[d]! Is prescribed for you [the] fasting as was prescribed to those from before you, so that you may (become) righteous.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:183)
The Noble Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) has reported that ALLAH, The Wisest, said: “I treat my servant as how he thinks of Me” (Hadith- Bukhari/ Muslim). In other words, ALLAH TA’ALA treats His servant in the way how he thinks of ALLAH, what he hopes from and how he sets his hopes on ALLAH. So, those who come positive and with great hope to the door of Mercy of the Almighty Creator will Insha Allah not return empty-handed. Allah says:
وَإِذَا نَادَيْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ اتَّخَذُوهَا هُزُوًا وَلَعِبًا ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَعْقِلُونَ
“And when you make a call for the prayer, they take it (in) ridicule and fun. That (is) because they (are) a people (who do) not understand.” (Surah Al-Ma`idah 5:58)
The Quran teaches that “God does not change people’s condition unless they change their inner selves. The change has to occur inside us first, in our beliefs and attitudes, only then can it be seen on the outside. It also teaches how we can change our inner selves and thus improve our circumstances. Thus, the Quran is embedded with positive psychology which is for everybody and specifically designed to help all humanity achieve well-being.