[Poem] Opt for Optimism


                                                           Image Courtesy www.inc.com

When the optimism fades,
Hopelessness is what prevails.
When the happiness subsides,
Even the blessings hide.
When the darker sides reveal,
Wounded relations don’t tend to heal.
When the rainbows decolourize,
And the colours fail to combine.
Just when your faith dies,
His mercies break the ice.
Nothing in this world will ever remain-
It’s Him and His affection that you can only attain.

10 Reasons to Be Positive in Life

optimismIt has become a very common thing in our lives that if we face discouragement, disappointment or a set-back, we simply move towards the “negative zone”- that is towards the dark side of our existence. We tend to believe that it is the last stop of our life, and no good will ever happen to us again. But, we forget that life is a road of opportunities- one goes, other comes. Moreover, while being in the zone of negativity, we overlook the good things that have or had happened to us in our lives. This negative zone lead us to the path where we start to believe that “We are good for nothing”, and nothing good will happen to us again. It is the height of negative thinking.

Instead, after a disappointment or a set-back, people should remain positive. It will help them remain calm and composed emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Also, it will bring a new outlook of life which will be based on optimism.

Here are the ten incredibly motivating reasons to acquire a positive approach towards life.

1. Feel Better

One of the peaceful reasons of being positive is to feel better.  During a set-back or hard time, you usually feel down and powerless, because negativity is all around you- making feel like nothing will ever change. But, if you remain calm and take that set-back or hardship as a phase which will fade away. Then, this thought would surely make you feel better.

2. Ability to cope up

Well, hardships are a part of life. They will never go away. But, with positive attitude, you can cope up with the hard times which will help you to remain strong, calm and compose during tough times.

3. Motivation

Your positive approach will help you stay motivated towards your goal or aim in life, and no obstacle or hardship will ever de-motivate you.

4. Regain self-esteem

With positive attitude- you believe in yourself; you value yourself; you do not underestimate your potential or strengths, and you trust your decisions.

5. Attain Good Health

Positive approach keeps you away from tension, depression, and many mental illnesses. It gifts you a good health.

6. Happiness all around

Optimism is one of the charms that even during hardship, it keeps you happy and content with your life.

7. Gratitude

Positive perspective makes you grateful, thankful and pleased with all the blessings and gifts you have. It creates a huge distance between you and negativity or ungratefulness.

8. Gift of Courage

While acquiring this beautiful approach in life, it grants you one of the tremendous tendencies such as courage. It helps you to remain strong against every obstacle; it gives stamina to keep on fighting and eliminates our fears.

9. Make impossible, possible

Whether it is a test, exam, interview or an assignment, sometimes we feel it is impossible to accomplish. But, with positivity we can make impossible, possible.

10. Farewell to Stress

Usually, we feel stressful during important tasks or difficult times, which disables us to remain focus and determined. But, with optimistic attitude, we can say farewell to stress and welcome a happy life!

Perceptions Matter

half-full-half-empty-480_tcm93-135472I often wonder, isn’t it optimistic to claim that “glass is half full,” when actually it is half empty? My inquiring mind argues whether it is possible that two people could be saying two different things altogether; in meanings and words, yet they could both be correct? If I am right, does that necessarily prove the other person wrong? Is it not possible that two people may have two different perceptions of the same thing, as in the example quoted above, yet isn’t the latter statement that “half the glass is empty” also correct?

Perceptions are prevalent in different paradigms, which influence peoples’ lives, one way or the other. We can consider any situation starting from home to our religious and social lives; perceptions keep building up and breaking down, moulding and transforming, guiding and sometimes misleading us to believe that which is not true; while at other instances hiding the truth and negating reality completely.

My life changed completely with the new homecoming in my religious life that I underwent some two-and-a-half years ago. In fact, my closeness to Allah (swt) and awareness of Deen changed my perceptions drastically, to the extent that I now have a completely new vision and sight of anything I see and undergo; be it people, situations, circumstances, incidents in my life or other’s. This feeling is beautiful. I cannot explain the peacefulness that now surrounds me, because of the change that has occurred in the way I see things.

I don’t know, if many people undergo the same transition. I strongly feel, however, that this new lens to see the world is truly a blessing in disguise. Suddenly, every test in my life now seems Allah’s (swt) mercy over me that it shall give me a chance to apologize to Him for all my wrongdoings in life. Every trial that I now face seems like He is choosing me over others; because He truly loves me and wants me to draw nearer to Him. Everything that happens against my wish or will strengthens my faith in the fact that all that happens in our lives is indeed Allah’s (swt) decree and no matter what our plans are, He alone is the Master Planner.

I now completely lay my trust in Him and see, what I was never able to before; the fact that not everything we like for ourselves is for our betterment. A lot of the things are beyond our comprehension, especially when they happen; however, time proves that in fact what happened was good for us. Even if we fail to understand in this world the logic behind an occurrence, I am sure that we shall receive answers to all our questions, in fact also the unasked ones, on the Day of Judgment, when all curtains will be raised between us and our Creator, Insha’Allah.

Allah’s (swt) reminders in the Quran now seem to be a source of solace. They ease my pain in tough situations, Subhan’Allah!

“….and it may be that you dislike a thing, which is good for you and that you like a thing, which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (Al Baqarah 2:216)

This shift in paradigm from negative perceptions to positive has indeed brought a favourable outlook to my life. I don’t blame Allah (swt) for everything that goes wrong in my life any more. I rather choose to be sensible and deal with it patiently. As a result, I am less miserable and more optimistic. A mishap in life doesn’t seem to be Allah’s (swt) punishment for a sin that I did in the past, any longer. It rather feels like a chance to repent on past mistakes and resolve not to commit the same again.

No longer do I feel that Allah (swt) doesn’t love me and He has left me to struggle in this world all on my own. I look at the brighter side now and feel happy about the fact that the more He tries me with tribulations and problems in this life, the easier my eternal life would be Insha’Allah. I shed tears and my heart aches, and all of that is a means of expiating sins from one’s life – Allah’s (swt) promise to us all.

Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger (sa) said: “For every misfortune, illness, anxiety, grief, or hurt that afflicts a Muslim – even the hurt caused by the pricking of a thorn – Allah (swt) removes some of his sins.” (Bukhari)

I understand the logic behind testing those whom He (swt) see fit to be capable of bearing the burden, as oppose to those who will probably go astray and rebel and react in an ungrateful and rather impatient manner.

“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope.” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)

I now have the courage to smile in tough times and persevere in tougher ones, Alhamdulillah. I now don’t give up praying or making Duas only because “He doesn’t listen.” In fact, I increase my supplications when I desperately want something, because I am now more hopeful in life and can see the brightness a single ray of light can bring in a dark pit. By the grace of Allah (swt) I am able to see the bliss in the Quranic verse: “And He found you lost and guided you.” (Al-Araf 7:93)

Perceptions may make or break lives and even change lives forever. May Allah (swt) grant us all the wisdom and guidance to keep a positive perception about all matters in life rather than jumping onto hasty, insensible, unrealistic and biased conclusions about anything or anyone (Ameen).

Who knows what Allah (swt) “perceives” us as?


Seeing the Glass Half Full

Winning story of “A Life-Changing Experience” Story-writing Competition Organized by hiba

glass half full

“Oh no! Another pimple on my face!” I exclaimed.

During my teenage years, I had something to whine about every day: my short height, my plump physique, why I was not as fair as snow or why Allah (swt) had given pretty eyes to my best friend instead of me. And oh yes, if I spotted a fresh pimple on my face in the morning, my mother wouldn’t hear the end of it. She would often tell me that I was very beautiful the way Allah (swt) had created me. However, for me, being as beautiful as all the ‘picture-perfect models’ was terribly important.

“Beauty lies in the inner self. Make your soul beautiful and people will love you for it,” my mom would often say. “See how intelligent Allah (swt) has made you. Just look at your academic results! You should be one grateful girl, sweetheart,” my dad would say in order to lift my spirits.

But nothing worked for me. The inferiority complex had totally overtaken me, and I had become a miserable teen, who envied every beautiful girl around. Materialism and glamour had made me a thankless creature.

Sometimes, we experience events that have a huge influence on our lives. No matter how long we live, some particular incident becomes deeply engraved into our memory, leaving a lasting impact. The same happened to me, when Allah (swt) decided to help me out one day.

In 2004, I decided to attend a training workshop by an NGO named LIOCS (Leading Institute of Competitive Skills), which was arranged by a young team led by two visually impaired youngsters. They believed in the philosophy: “If we can’t see the world, then let us do something, so that the world can see us.”

During one of the lunch breaks at the workshop, the most unforgettable activity took place. In the conference room, all the participants were blindfolded and asked to find their way to the kitchen, where lunch was served for them.

“It will be a lot of fun,” I thought, as I happily put on my blindfold. After all, the kitchen was just two minutes away. But, to my profound surprise, that two-minute walk from the conference room to the kitchen turned out to be the longest walk of my life.

It was strange, how a mere blindfold had deprived me of my entire confidence. With a feeling of helplessness sweeping all over me, I slowly set off for this ordeal that seemed to go on forever. Mumbling ‘sorry’ and ‘excuse me’ every four to five steps, as I stumbled and banged into other participants or the door or a pillar, was very embarrassing for me and many others.

The sound of the kitchen door being banged with a saucepan by one of the trainers was the only ray of light in the pitch black darkness that surrounded me.

The entrance to the kitchen came as a big relief, but the nightmare wasn’t over yet. The worst was yet to come. We had been briefed about the location of lunch boxes, salad, paper cups and drinks. However, I lost my orientation upon entering the kitchen and couldn’t make out, where the things were. When after multiple attempts, I finally got hold of the lunch box, I squatted onto the floor and started to eat the rice.

Suddenly, I heard the trainer say, “Hey, you, why are you sitting in the doorway? Do you want someone to trip over you?”

Red-faced, I stood up apologetically. On the other side of the kitchen, the second trainer was ridiculing another participant: “Tsk, tsk, it seems you cannot see, you poor boy!”

Without being able to see the food, my appetite was already half gone. Above all, the trainers were amplifying our frustration with such shameful remarks as: “Can’t you manage such a little thing?” and “Maybe Allah (swt) has taken away your sight for the sins that you have done!” and other mean remarks. (This was all part of the programme.)

That was the turning point in my life; it was the moment that changed my perception about life. I realized for the first time, what a marvellous gift is sight, which I had always taken for granted. When we were finally allowed to take off the blindfolds, the relief I felt was beyond words.

In an instant, the darkness vanished and the world became so colourful, so bright, so… worth living!

That day, as I drove back home, I was a transformed person. I was a totally new Iram, who could empathize and be thankful for Allah’s (swt) blessings. On my way, as the traffic signal turned red, I saw a crippled beggar, who made me wonder: “Iram, what is there to feel sad about, if you can’t afford the latest fashion heels? At least you have a perfect pair of feet for walking and running and a dozen pairs of other sandals.”

I had learnt my lesson. So what if I am not a beauty queen? At least Allah (swt) is generous enough to bless me with all five senses. Every organ of my body is functioning perfectly. So what if I don’t have beautifully coloured eyes? I still can see what an amazing and colourful place this world is.

So what if a pimple appears on my face once in a while? Thanks to Allah (swt), I look prettier than countless others with skin diseases. Visit a hospital some day, and you will come across hundreds envying you, ready to exchange places with you. Walk a mile in the shoes of those who sleep on roads, and you will know how lucky you are.

I have finally begun to appreciate Allah’s (swt) countless blessings.

It’s all about seeing the glass half full.

Did you know?

  • 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.
  • 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss.
  • Over a billion people, about 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability.

(Source: World Health Organization)

Optimism – the Beauty of Islam

optimismThe tumults arising here or there in the Ummah have led the majority of the Muslims towards a defeatist attitude. It is not to say that Muslims shouldn’t realize their shortcomings, which are further exploited by their enemies, but they shouldn’t dwell upon pessimism, which only adds to the overall sense of despair and apathy. Rather, they should co-ordinate all their efforts towards a workable solution to overcome the problems.

Our beloved Prophet’s (sa) Sunnah teaches us remarkable optimism; maybe because he had an unshakeable faith in Allah (swt), which many of us lack today. We have forgotten who has control over everything in this universe; instead, we keep fearing Islam’s worst imaginable end.

When the intensity of trials increased and the enemies allied against Muslims everywhere, the Prophet (sa) was eager to give glad tidings to his companions and to inspire the hope that Islam will prevail. What was required was a constant and consistent struggle through patience and perseverance.

Khubab Ibn Al-Arat (rta) said: “We complained to the Messenger of Allah (sa), as he was sitting in the shade of the Kabah. We said: ‘Will you not pray for victory for us?’ He said: ‘One of those, who came before you, would be taken, and they would dig a hole in the ground and put him in it; then, they would bring a saw, which they would bring on his head and cut him in two. Or they would use an iron comb and separate his flesh from his bones, but that would not make him give up his religion. By Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will complete this matter (i.e., Islam) until a rider will be able to go from San’aa to Hadramot (cities in Yemen), fearing nothing except Allah (swt) and the wolf’s attack on his sheep. But you are trying to hasten matters.’” (Bukhari)

This also occurred during the campaign of Al-Ahzab; when the enemies were invading Madinah from all sides, once again the Prophet (sa) revived this concept. This was when the companions were unable to break a rock, while digging the defensive trench around Madinah. The Prophet (sa) struck it three times and it crumbled. Following the first blow, he said: “Allahu Akbar! I have been given the keys of Syria and, by Allah, I can see its red palaces this hour.” Then he struck it a second time and said: “Allahu Akbar! I have been given the keys of Persia, and, by Allah, I can see the white palace of Al-Maad’in (the capital city of Persia at the time).” Then he struck it a third time and said: “Allahu Akbar! I have been given the keys of Yemen, and, by Allah, I can see the gates of San’aa, from where I stand this hour.” (Ahmad, An-Nisai)

The Quran mentions situations such as these: “They said: ‘This is what Allah (swt) and His Messenger (Muhammad (sa)) had promised us; and Allah (swt) and His Messenger (Muhammad (sa)) had spoken the truth.’ And it only added to their faith and to their submissiveness (to Allah).” (Al-Ahzab 33:22)

Abdul Aziz A.Saleh explains: “The hearts of the companions were filled with so much pain and fear, but those promising words came to offer consolation and peace of mind to them.”

Ibn-ul Qayyim said, commenting on the story of Ka’b Ibn Malik: “In the race between the horse-rider and the one, who climbed the hill of Sala to tell Ka’b the good news, we see evidence of the people’s eagerness for good news, and how they raced and competed to break good news to one another.” (Zaad Al-Ma’aad, 2/585) And what news could be greater than that of the victory of Islam?

Muslims today should be of good cheer. They should highlight the good efforts of one another and try spreading hope within the Ummah. This will help others to come back to the straight path. Optimism will brew further optimism. A true believer knows that ultimately only Allah’s Deen will stand victorious.