Morality is a Part of Faith

Thinking Well of God

Islam encourages positive thinking, being optimistic, thinking well of others and seeing the good in things. It encourages us to find strengths and advantages rather than faults & weaknesses. To avoid gossip & backbiting or accusing someone of bad or evil motives and to avoid suspicion of plots & conspiracies. We are encouraged instead to think the best, be hopeful and upbeat as the hadith of the Prophet states. The state of the Muslim is always good no matter what befalls him.  Allah says:

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَبْ بَعْضُكُمْ بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَنْ يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌرَحِيمٌ 

“O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion a great deal: for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And do not spy on each other nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would hate it…so be mindful of God: For God is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.” (Quran 49:12)

Nothing relieves the heart and makes one happy more than thinking well of others. It protects one from the harm of worrisome thoughts that disturb his peace of mind and exhaust the body. Thinking well of others leads to a sound heart, strengthens the ties of cordiality and love among the individuals of a community. If each one of us puts himself in the place of his brother when the latter does or says something, this will help him think well of others. Allah says:

قَالَ هَذَا مِن فَضْلِ رَبِّي لِيَبْلُوَنِي أَأَشْكُرُ أَمْ أَكْفُرُ وَمَن شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّي غَنِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ

“This is by the Grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his self, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his himself). Certainly! My Lord is Free of all wants, Bountiful.” (Surah An-Naml 27:40)

Showing gratitude to others makes them know you appreciate them. You may think it, but if you don’t express it they won’t know and may even think that you don’t like what they have done or think it is not good enough. In this way gratitude increases love, friendship and goodness amongst a family, community or people, bringing them together and creating a positive atmosphere where everyone feels valued and noticed. Allah says:

إِنَّمَا أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ رَبَّ هَٰذِهِ الْبَلْدَةِ الَّذِي حَرَّمَهَا وَلَهُ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ وَأُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

“Only I am commanded that I worship (the) Lord (of) this city, the One Who made it sacred and to Him (belongs) all things. And I am commanded that I be of those-who-submit/Muslims.” (Surah An-Naml 27:91)

But gratitude is more than saying “Thank you” it is about going beyond words and should affect our outlook and actions. When we truly understand & appreciate what we have & use it to the best of our ability, then we express gratitude. We should look for what might work rather than what might go wrong, the constructive and helpful rather than the gloomy and pessimistic. Allah says:

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

“And when proclaimed your Lord, “If you are thankful, surely I will increase you; but if you are ungrateful indeed, My punishment (is) surely severe.” (Surah Ibrahim 14:7)

If we think well of God, no matter how bad we are, we also have hope that we can be better and thus we strive to do good deeds. And if we think bad of God, we assume that He will never forgive us nor can He make us better; so we continue to sin. However, we should not make a mockery of this concept and deliberately sin, thinking God will forgive us anyway. Allah says:

لَّوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بِأَنفُسِهِمْ خَيْرًا وَقَالُوا هَٰذَا إِفْكٌ مُّبِينٌ

“Why not, when you heard it, think the believing men and the believing women good of themselves and say, “This (is) a lie clear?” (Surah An-Nur 24:12)

This is one of the greatest causes that help one think well of others. One leaves the intentions to the only One who knows them: Allah The Almighty, for He did not command us to check each others’ hearts and intentions, and thus we have to avoid harbouring ill-thoughts about others. Allah says:

وَالْقَوَاعِدُ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ اللَّاتِي لَا يَرْجُونَ نِكَاحًا فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْهِنَّ جُنَاحٌ أَن يَضَعْنَ ثِيَابَهُنَّ غَيْرَ مُتَبَرِّجَاتٍ بِزِينَةٍ وَأَن يَسْتَعْفِفْنَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُنَّ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“And postmenopausal among the women who (do) not have a desire (for) marriage, then not is on them any blame that they put aside their (outer) garments, not displaying their adornment. And that they modestly refrain (is) better for them. And Allah (is) All-Hearer, All-Knower.” (Surah An-Nur 24:61)

When we do wrong, let us feel guilty, but let us also flee to God. Have a good opinion of God. If you are sincere, He will forgive you. He is that forgiving. And He is that great. When anyone says or does something that annoys or grieves one, he should try to find excuses for him and recall the status of the righteous who used to think well of their fellows and make excuses for them. He is that magnanimous.

We must understand that when we think well of Allah, that is what we will find:

  1. Think well of Allah when embarking on something difficult, even if you fail
  2. Thinking well of Allah (SWT) should make us look beyond the test
  3. Think well of Allah when you are tested
  4. Think well of Allah when you sin
  5. The test brings us closer to Him
  6. Think well of Allah when you are tested
  7. Test purify us from sin, to strengthen us
  8. Test messed up in a major way, we return to Him
  9. The test is something from Allah (SWT), and He wants to teach us

Even when we commit the same sin again and again and again, our good opinion of God should let us know that as long as we constantly strive against ourselves and against that part of us that wants to indulge in that sin, we have already been forgiven. At the end of the day, it is Satan who wants us to go to hell, not God. It means to take that step. When we mess up, even if we messed up in a major way, we return to Him. We return to Him recognizing that what we did was truly horrible, but we ask for His forgiveness because we know He is that forgiving, and that His Mercy encompasses everything. Allah says:

وَاللَّهُ يُرِيدُ أَن يَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَيُرِيدُ الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الشَّهَوَاتِ أَن تَمِيلُوا مَيْلًا عَظِيمًا

“And Allah wishes to accept repentance from you, but with those who follow the passions that you deviate – (into) a deviation great.” (Surah An-Nisa’ 4: 27)

The one who thinks ill of others lives in endless trouble and grief, to say nothing of the fact that he loses all those who socialize with him, even the closest people to him. It is natural that people make mistakes, even unintentionally. Accusing others along with thinking well of oneself is one of the evil consequences of thinking ill of others. This is one way a person may be guilty of ascribing purity to oneself that Allah The Exalted forbade in His Book. Allah says:

وَمَا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا

“And not for them about it any knowledge. Not they follow but an assumption. And indeed, the assumption (does) not avail against the truth anything.” (Surah An-Najm 53:32)

Tests come to us in a myriad of ways. We should just know that thinking well of God would make us look beyond the test. This test is something from God, and He wants to teach us, purify us from sin, strengthen us, and bring us closer to Him. We do not have a cruel God; our God is the most merciful of those who show mercy. Gratitude is an aspect of both the creation and its creator. It is essential for attracting happiness, prosperity, peace, and success.

When we approach our tests with that frame of mind, we cannot but gain from our experience:

  • In today’s society, we are surrounded by desires and doubts. Shaytaan is constantly engaging in was; telling people it’s okay to engage in haram to cope with life.
  • Shaytaan then whispers to the individual that perhaps they are the problem, causing them to become depressed and the like
  • Shaytaan then whispers to the individual that they are being tested beyond what they are capable of and that Allah is the problem in one’s life (‘A’ūdhu billāh). This can lead to the individual leaving Islam and denying Allah’s existence entirely because they believe Allah hates them and does not want good for them
  • Thinking evil of Allah is a detestable action and it has a lofty opposite action of the heart: thinking well of Allah

Positive thoughts and actions are contagious and spread like sunshine. If we think the best then that is reflected in our reality. Most importantly this is also the case when it comes to God himself. Thinking well of others requires extensive training and striving against one’s self, particularly because the devil is inseparable from a man like the blood that runs through his body. He never stops his attempts to sow dissension within the Muslims and stir up disputes among them.  Allah says:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ إِنَّا لَا نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ مَنْ أَحْسَنَ عَمَلًا

“Indeed, those who believed and did the good deeds, indeed, We will not let go waste (the) reward (of one) who does good deeds.” (Surah Al-Kahf 18: 30)

Being positive and grateful trains our minds to focus on effective and fruitful responses to life. When we let our minds look for problems, we will find plenty of them, but if we look for possibilities and solutions, we will find those too. Being positive & grateful are essential tools that enable us to deal with life’s difficulties and motivate us to do better. Thinking well of others is one of the greatest means to block this way before the devil. We ask Allah The Almighty to Grant us sound hearts and Help us to think well of our brothers and sisters.