“So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.” [Qur’an; 3:139]
”For those whose hopes are in the meeting with Allah (in the Hereafter, let them strive); for the term (appointed) by Allah is surely coming and He hears and knows (all things).” [Qur’an; 29:5]
“…And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” [Qur’an; 65:2-3]
“…Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.” [Qur’an; 65:7]
“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship]. And to your Lord direct [your] longing.” [Qur’an; 94:5-8]
“…O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Qur’an; 39:53]
“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said, “When is the help of Allah?” Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.” [Qur’an; 2:214]
“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. And when the believers saw the companies, they said, “This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth.” And it increased them only in faith and acceptance.” [Qur’an; 33:21-22]
“We have given you good tidings in truth, so do not be of the despairing.”….. “And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except for those astray?” [Quran; 15:55-56]
“Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope.” [Qur’an; 18:46]
It was narrated that Jabir said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: ‘No one of you should die except thinking positively of Allah.’” [Ibn Majah]
Anas bin Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Allah, Blessed is He and Most High, said: ‘O son of Adam! Verily as long as you called upon Me and hoped in Me, I forgave you, despite whatever may have occurred from you, and I did not mind. O son of Adam! Were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky, then you sought forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you, and I would not mind. So son of Adam! If you came to me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you met Me not associating anything with Me, I would come to you with forgiveness nearly as great as it.’” [Tirmidhi]
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Allah says, ‘If My slave intends to do a bad deed then (O Angels) do not write it unless he does it; if he does it, then write it as it is, but if he refrains from doing it for My Sake, then write it as a good deed (in his account). (On the other hand) if he intends to do a good deed, but does not do it, then write a good deed (in his account), and if he does it, then write it for him (in his account) as ten good deeds up to seven-hundred times.'” [Bukhari]
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Allah said, ‘I am to my slave as he thinks of Me, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him). (See Hadith No. 502) [Bukhari]
Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them). [Sahih Bukhari]
“No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” [Sahih Bukhari]
It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed Al Khudri said, “Shall I not tell you what I heard directly from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? I heard it and memorized it: ‘A man killed ninety-nine people, then the idea of repentance occurred to him. He asked who was the most knowledgeable of people on earth, and he was told of a man so he went to him and said: “I have killed ninety-nine people. Can I repent?” He said: “After ninety-nine people?!” He said: ‘So he drew his sword and killed him, thus completing one hundred. Then the idea of repentance occurred to him (again), so he asked who was the most knowledgeable of people, and he was told of a man (so he went to him) and said: “I have killed one hundred people. Can I repent?” He said: “Woe to you, what is stopping you from repenting? Leave the evil town where you are living and go to a good town, such and such town and worship your Lord there.” So he went out, heading for the good town, but death came to him on the road. The angels of mercy and angels of punishment argued over him. Iblis (Satan) said: “I have more right to him, for he never disobeyed me for a moment.” But the angels of mercy said: “He went out repenting.” (One of the narrators) Hammam said: “Humaid At-Tawil narrated to me from Bakr bin Abdullah that Abu Rafi said: ‘So Allah (SWT) sent an angel to whom they referred (the case). He said: “Look and see which of the two towns was he closer, and put him with its people.” (One of the narrators) Qatadah said: “Hasan narrated to us: ‘When death came to him he strove and drew closer to the good town, and farther away from the evil town, so they put him with the people of the good town.” [Ibn Majah]
Narrated Ali (may Allah be pleased with her): Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her) complained of what she suffered from the hand mill and from grinding, when she got the news that some slave girls of the booty had been brought to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). She went to him to ask for a maid-servant, but she could not find him, and told `Aisha of her need. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came, Aisha informed him of that. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to our house when we had gone to our beds. (On seeing the Prophet) we were going to get up, but he said, ‘Keep at your places,’ I felt the coolness of the Prophet’s feet on my chest. Then he said, “Shall I tell you a thing which is better than what you asked me for? When you go to your beds, say: ‘Allahu Akbar (i.e. Allah is Greater)’ for 34 times, and ‘Al hamdu Li llah (i.e. all the praises are for Allah)’ for 33 times, and Subhan Allah (i.e. Glorified be Allah) for 33 times. This is better for you than what you have requested.” [Bukhari]
Fear and hope are like two wings of a bird. By maintaining a balance between these two states, one can avoid falling into the extreme of despair or the extreme of audaciousness.
We do not hope to enter Paradise through our good deeds alone, but we hope to enter through Allah’s mercy. And for this, we work hard to do good and steer clear of evil.
Yahya ibn Mu’adh is reported to have said, “To me that person is a more a fool who hopes for forgiveness while remaining engrossed in sins without doing virtuous acts, who hopes for the fruit of Paradise after sowing the seeds of Hell, who hopes for the rank of the pious by doing sinful acts.”
It is reported that Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “A learned man is he who does not prevent people from the mercy of Allah and does not guarantee them the wrath of Allah.”
Medicine is required for two types of patients in this regard. Despair is strong for patients of the first type that they give up worship. Fear is so strong for patients of the second type that they strive hard in worship and thereby they destroy themselves and their family members. These two types of people are far away from the middle path and go to one of the two extremes. So medicine is necessary for them in order that they may walk along the middle course. Whoever entertains false hope and commits sins, believing in the mercy of Allah and turning away from worship, the medicine of hope for him is as destructive as poison, which is sweet to him like honey.
A results-driven and positive attitude goes a long way towards achievement in this life and in the hereafter. Optimism depends on one’s level of faith and reliance (tawakkul) on Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).
Narrated Abu Bakr, “I was in the company of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the cave, and on seeing the traces of the pagans, I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) if one of them (pagans) should lift up his foot, he will see us.” He said, “What do you think of two, the third of whom is Allah?” [Bukhari]
Even secular studies indicate that a positive thinker tends to have a better quality of life in terms of overall physical and emotional health in addition to being more resilient during difficult times. Positive people attract the goodwill of others, whereas negativity naturally drives others away. Thus optimism and positivity in day-to-day dealings enable the development of a support network that one can turn to in times of need.
Tips for Developing Optimism
- Tawakkul (trust in Allah)
- Daily connection with the Qur’an (reciting and pondering over it)
- Focus on solutions rather than problems
- Keep your eye on the bigger picture instead of being overcome by specific stumbling blocks
- Engage in regular physical exercise
- Smile more–it’s also charity!
- Limit exposure to media and current affairs