Motivation for the Muslims (Part 2)

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Rahila Waqar

Director, Research and Teacher Development at Educational Research Institute (ERI)
Rahila Waqar is Deputy Director, Usman Public School and Lecturer at PAF-KIET.

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If intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivations are not suitable for Muslims then what type of motivation is suitable for them? Muslims are internally awakened to the reality that Allah is the creator. They believe in Tawheed and are therefore Akhirah Directed.

When Allah created the spirits He said Alastu Bi Rabbi Kum  – Am I not your Rabb ? All answered Balaa  Yes. This marks the beginning of ‘Perpetual’ motivation. This is the motivation that began with our creation and will exist eternally. It was there when Allah decided to create us and will continue to exist in the hereafter.

This motivation is awakened consciously in this world if parents do not distort the ‘Fitrah’ of a child. But if they do, it may awaken at a later stage when an individual’s distorted beliefs are challenged by some powerful external stimulus. These stimuli can be a person, a written text, a video, an observation of Allah’s Ayat (signs) etc.

Muslims, thus, are ‘perpetually’ motivated. Their target is to seek Allah’s pleasure and so are always ‘Akhirah’ directed for which they strive to constantly purify their intentions.



‘Perpetual’ motivation is a vector quantity. It has magnitude as well as direction. When it is directed towards the pleasure of Allah (swt) and then the success in the hereafter, it is positive and when it is derived by any other source like fame, money, pleasure, etc. it is negative.

‘Perpetually’ motivated individuals are not materialistic. Their target is not money, fame or praise. If their positive motivation is contaminated with these worldly desires their deeds will not be accepted and consequently they will fail the real test.

Untitledlseijrjei“When the Day of Resurrection comes, Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, will come down to judge between His slaves, and every nation will be kneeling. The first ones to be called forth will be a man who learned the Quran by heart, a man who fought for the sake of Allah, and a man who had a lot of wealth. Allah will say to the Quran-reader, ‘Did I not teach you that which I revealed to My Messenger?’ He will say, ‘Yes, O Lord.’ He will say, ‘What did you do with that which I taught you?’ He will say, ‘I used to read it night and day.’ Allah will say to him, ‘You have lied,’ and the angels will say to him, ‘You have lied.’ Allah will say, ‘Rather you wanted it to be said that so and so is a reader of Quran, and that is what was said.’ Then the wealthy man will be brought forth, and Allah will say to him, ‘Did I not give you ample provision so that I did not leave you in need of anybody?’ He will say, ‘Yes, O Lord.’ He will say, ‘What did you do with that which I gave you?’ He will say, ‘I used to uphold the ties of kinship and give in charity.’ Allah will say to him, ‘You have lied,’ and the angels will say to him, ‘You have lied.’ Allah will say, ‘Rather you wanted it to be said that so and so is generous, and that is what was said.’ Then the one who was killed for the sake of Allah will be brought forth and Allah will say to him, ‘Why were you killed?’ He will say, ‘I was commanded to fight in Jihad for Your sake, so I fought until I was killed.’ Allah will say to him, ‘You have lied,’ and the angels will say to him, ‘You have lied.’ Allah will say, ‘You wanted it to be said that so and so was courageous, and that is what was said.’” Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) struck my knee and said, “O Abu Hurayrah, these three are the first of the creation of Allah who will be dragged into the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.”

The above hadith makes it clear that Muslims need to be perpetually motivated to be in the positive realm. This becomes possible with a constant effort towards making ones intentions pure. It is possible that sometimes one digresses or forgets and starts moving towards the opposite direction in the negative realm but the sum of the motivation should always be positive to be successful in the hereafter. A good Muslim catches him/her self going astray and returns by repenting.


The value of repenting in Islam is in itself a motivator.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (sa) as saying: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: I live in the thought of My servant and I am with him as he remembers Me. (The Holy Prophet) further said: By Allah, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His servant than what one of you would be on finding the lost camel in the waterless desert. When he draws near Me by the span of his hand. I draw near him by the length of a cubit and when he draws near Me by the length of a cubit. I draw near him by the length of a fathom and when he draws near Me walking I draw close to him hurriedly.  (Muslim)

Say: “O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Az-Zumar 39:53) What else would the ‘Perpetually’ motivated Muslims want?



The expectancy theory states that the intensity of a tendency to perform in a particular manner is dependent on the intensity of an expectation that the performance will be followed by a definite outcome and on the appeal of the outcome to the individual. (Vroom)

For Muslims all those outcomes will and should hold value that lead to Allah’s pleasure, for example, the ones that keep them in the positive realm of the ‘Perpetual’ motivation continuum.  Muslims will strive to achieve them because they lead to a positive outcome in the hereafter. But Muslims’ formula for the pursuit will be different.

Muslims do not rely on just their efforts. They work hard to the best of their abilities and then leave the rest on Allah (swt).



Although, the above analysis has addressed only some of the theories of Motivation, it is evident that the secular and western rationalities cannot be the same as the rationalities based on the principles set by the Creator. Therefore, it is high time that the Muslims put on the lens of the Creator’s principles and redefine and reinvent the psychological theories that would be applicable to the Muslims society.

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