The Quran contains details of the previous nations so that we may take heed and not repeat their mistakes. Allah (swt) mentions the tales of both the obedient and the disobedient, giving us a choice as to which group we want to be from.
When the obedient people received a command from Allah (swt), they surrendered before Him and accepted it right away. For example, when Prophet Ibrahim (as) was asked to submit: “He said: I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).” (Al-Baqarah 2:131) No further questions.
When the other group was commanded to do something- they transgressed, rejected and ridiculed the message. For example: “And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow. They said: Do you make fun of us? He said: I take Allah’s Refuge from being among Al-Jahilun (the ignorant or the foolish).” (Al-Baqarah 2:67) A prophet does not make fun of others. He is sincere to his cause and wishes the best for everyone.
Why did they deduce a different meaning than the one intended?
The problem was in their thinking. They did not give due respect to their messenger; they always undermined his sincerity and harmed themselves.
Often in life, we make the same mistakes. Without understanding the intentions of others, we engage in arguments, risk relationships, and see only one side of the coin. This is called mental slavery. Generally, people fashion their thoughts based on their experiences and not the truth. This promotes racism, hatred, and other evils. But, we do not need to live in this slavery – we can change it.
And here is how:
1. Study Your Thoughts
Before you react to a conversation or any event, pause and think. What makes me think what I am thinking right now? Is that really the truth or am I being biased? Recognize your biasness. And throw it out.
2. Restrict the Ego from Taking Over
Social media threads and political talk shows often end up in arguments and severed ties because each participant allows his or her ego to take over. Allow other people to have their opinions. The way your thoughts were shaped by your environment and experiences, the other person went through a similar process. He is entitled to think differently. Give respect. Do not abuse.
3. Broaden Your Information Sources
Diversify your information bank. Do not always read or follow opinions that match yours. Pick up a book or listen to someone who thinks differently. Similarly, improve your company. Seek learned, truthful, respectful, and positive thinkers. Seek the truth, not attention.
4. Stay Busy
Knowing that every word spilling off our tongues is being recorded should encourage us to speak only when spoken to. Speak a good word, and do not always be opinionated.
5. Study the Seerah of the Prophets
Learn from the best. Allah (swt) chose and shaped the prophets to overcome life’s challenges and carry forward His message. The Companions adopted their teachings and moulded themselves. Study their lives. How did they live in this world while focusing on the hereafter?