ALTERING THE ATTITUDE OF MIND
Dr Suhaib Ashraf Bhat
Thinking about the matters of our daily lives, and our private and public affairs is something that is essential and important, it is necessary in order for us to deal with these matters and benefit from them in the appropriate manner.
Thinking in and of itself is not a problem, rather it is required, important and essential,
This “thinking” may become a psychological or social problem if it prevents a person from playing his natural role that is expected of him in life.
Such as thinking that things are more serious than they really are, or thinking too much about matters where thinking about them will not change anything at all, rather that only causes distress and becomes an obstacle prevents one from taking any initiative, and make him hesitant and confused, and unable to take any decision.
With regard to thinking a great deal about everything and worrying about every problem, this is to some extent a natural thing, so long as it does not prevent you from living your lives in a natural manner. What I mean here is, is this thinking helping you to come up with solutions to these problems that you are facing? Do these situations deserve all the time that you are spending on thinking about them? If the answer is yes, then there is no problem! But if the answer is no, then you yourself are admitting that they do not warrant that, and then you are halfway to solving the problem, which is to identify the problem and take a decision concerning it. Because when we know what the problem is, it is easy for us to find the right way of dealing with it.
Overcoming these problems needs some discipline and some time. You can make the decision to start and you are able, with the help and support of Allah swt, to do that. You have to trust yourselves in this regard!
I suggest to you that you divide your concerns and problems into three categories or levels:
1. Concerns and problems that have a direct impact upon your lives in a serious manner that may lead to breakdown in your happy lives. These must be given their due measure of objective thought and you should try to reach an agreement and settle the matter. They should not be ignored for so long that it becomes too difficult to deal with them.
2. The second level is concerns or problems in which the positive and negative aspects are equal and in which you are involved. In these cases seek help from Allah swt and it is o.k. to consult others concerning them and to weigh up alternatives, then decide what you think is the solution, bearing in mind without going to extremes in worrying about it.
3. The third level is concerns and worries that do not concern you at all, because they have to do with other people. It is better not to get involved in them and waste your time with them, because they simply do not concern you and your opinion does not matter.
The concerns and matters of our daily lives inevitably fall into one of three categories:
1. Matters which are in the past and are over and done with. We should not worry about these too much, except to the extent from which we can learn from our mistakes and experiences when dealing with things in the future. The past cannot come back and there is no need to worry about things that are over and done with.
2. Matters which lay ahead in the future. It is more appropriate not to think about these a great deal before they happen, because the future is part of the unseen, and all that we have to do in this case is to examine the choices we have in this matter if it comes to pass. When the time comes, we have to put our trust in Allah swt and take a decision.
3. Matters of day-to-day life. This is where we attempt to weigh up all the available alternatives, and it is fine to consult others with regard to these things and to exchange ideas without going to extremes or worrying too much.
Do not be sad, because sadness cause you to regret the past, to have misgivings concerning the future and to make you waste away your present. Do not be sad because grief cannot return the one that is lost or is gone away. Have faith, Give your life a second chance. Keep your eyes open. Lost will be replaced with something best. See upon you the signs of blessing, How many have been deprived of that which we already have? Lock your blessing up and keep them safe by being thankful.
Past is gone, future is unseen, so all you have is present. Are you the one who created human? Are you the one who grants them provision? Are you the one who is taking care of their needs?
No, it is Allah swt, Who does all that, Who is more merciful towards them than you are. Have complete trust that Allah swt will never cause them to be lost, may He be glorified and praised. This matter is not up to us at all. If all the people thought in this way no one would have any peace of mind. But praise be to Allah swt Who has guaranteed provision for everyone. Allah swt says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And no moving (living) creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah swt. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit (in the uterus or grave). All is in a Clear Book (Al‑Lawh Al‑Mahfooz — the Book of Decrees with Allah swt)” [Hood 11:6]
So cast these thoughts away from your mind.
Maybe you have a day coming up that will be your first free day in a long time, and you want to make the most of it. Maybe you’re thinking about those days you wake up and feel weirdly present, happy about the sunshine, singing to yourself, and want to know how to have more of them. Let today be the day you let go of worries and embrace pleasure and contemplation. Let go of yourself, get lost, slow down, and enjoy the moment. The one who seeks happiness and success in this world has to have a balanced approach without letting the one outweigh the other. In this manner he can strengthen his heart with faith and find peace of mind in doing that which he is required to do. You know that death is an inevitable reality that will come to every living thing, and no one will be spared that, no matter how noble his status before Allah swt. Allah swt said to His Prophet, the noblest of all creation (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, you (O Muhammad) will die, and verily, they (too) will die”
And Allah swt says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing)” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:185]
And the poet said:
Every son of a female, no matter how long he lives, Will one day be carried on the bier.
Every day doctors and scientists engage themselves in finding out ways by which life can be extended as much as possible. Life includes happiness and sorrows. Those are called the ups and downs of life. Without them, life is just an endless battle that can always be won. It is however important to find happiness in life to overcome one’s sorrows. Only then life seems to be beautiful.
Some people believe the purpose of life is getting wealthy. However, what will be the purpose of their life after collecting millions of dollars? If the purpose of life is to become wealthy, there will be no purpose after becoming wealthy.
In fact, here lies the problem of some people in the last stages of their lives. After they have collected the money which they dreamt of, their life loses its purpose and they live in tension, restlessness and suffer from the panic of nothingness.
Can attaining wealth be an aim?
We often hear of wealthy people committing suicide; sometimes, it is not the wealthy person himself but members of his family – his wife or children. The question is: Can aiming for wealth bring happiness to the individual? In most cases, the answer is ‘No’. Is the purpose of collecting wealth a long-standing purpose?
As we know, a five-year-old child does not look for wealth: he prefers a toy to a million dollars. An 18-year-old adolescent does not dream of wealth because he is busy with things that are more important. A 90-year-old does not care for money; he is more worried about his health. This proves that wealth cannot be a long-standing purpose in all the stages of an individual’s life.
Conclusion: People have different purposes at different stages in their lives such as collecting money and property, indulging in sex, eating and dancing. However, all these purposes are temporary, they come and go. Money comes and goes. Health comes and goes. Sexual activities cannot continue forever. All these lusts for money, food and sex cannot answer the individual’s question to himself: what next?