From a young age, I have always loved the idea of starting my own blog. I thought it would be wonderful to look back at old posts and recall what I was going through and how I felt at different times in my life. But every time I got excited about the idea of starting my blog, I was hesitant – scared – you could say. What if I regret it later? What if someone doesn’t like what I have to say? What if, what if…
My life seems to have revolved around ‘what if’s’ for as long as I can remember. The fear of potential negative repercussions has paralysed me for far too long. I have let great opportunities go for the fear of ‘what if’ it goes wrong. This mentality took over my life, to the extent that even during assignments at school and university, I would procrastinate writing essays and doing exam revision, because I thought: “What if I study really hard, and still do badly?!”
Enough is enough
I am tired of feeling unaccomplished because I never give myself a chance to be brave and dive in to new challenges. The truth is, for every negative repercussion that I imagine may result from my ventures, there are so many great opportunities for success and fulfilment and in the very worst case scenario: growth!
If you, reading this, relate in any way to what you have just read, then I invite you to come along with me, and decide that enough is enough! Instead of thinking, what if I fail? Think:
What if I learn valuable skills?
What if I gain confidence?
What if I meet new people?
What if I succeed?
What if I gain a sense of fulfilment?
What if I become more productive?
What if this is the start of something great?
These are all very real, POSITIVE possibilities. Let’s focus on these whenever we hear that nagging, negative voice in our heads, trying to get us to procrastinate, to put it off until tomorrow, or the day after that. Or the next week. Or month. Or year.
Allah wants us to be productive people!
There are so many Qur’anic verses as well as Hadiths, which teach us the importance of thinking positively. They teach us how to use our time wisely, to not let our precious time go to waste through negative anticipations of the future.
النَّبِيَّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قَالَ ”الْمُؤْمِنُ الْقَوِيُّ خَيْرٌ وَأَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِ الضَّعِيفِ وَفِي كُلٍّ خَيْرٌ احْرِصْ عَلَى مَا يَنْفَعُكَ وَلاَ تَعْجِزْ فَإِنْ غَلَبَكَ أَمْرٌ فَقُلْ قَدَّرَ اللَّهُ وَمَا شَاءَ فَعَلَ وَإِيَّاكَ وَاللَّوْ فَإِنَّ اللَّوْ تَفْتَحُ عَمَلَ الشَّيْطَانِ”
In a Sahih Hadith, our beloved Prophet (pbuh) said:
“The stronger believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to seek that which will benefit you and do not feel helpless. If something overwhelms you, then say: Qaddarallah, wa ma sha’a fa’al (It is the decree of Allah and what He wills He does). And beware of (saying) ‘If only,’ for ‘If only’ opens the door to Satan.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah]
Ours is a religion of positivity and productivity. There in no human on the face of the earth more positive, productive and beneficial to the world than the believer who adheres to his faith and obeys Allah in all of their actions. Islamic history is rich with examples of such people, whose accomplishments exceed what the mind can imagine!
Allah has ordered the believer to always think positively. It is not a recommendation, it is a command!
Our beloved prophets were the epitome of what a positive person is. They had unshakable faith in Allah, which translated in their life as a positive outlook in the face of the greatest adversity.
Perhaps one of the most incredible examples of this is what Prophet Ya’qub (pbuh) said to his sons when he told them to look for their younger brother Prophet Yousef, who had been missing for years and presumed dead:
يَا بَنِيَّ اذْهَبُوا فَتَحَسَّسُوا مِن يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلَا تَيْأَسُوا مِن رَّوْحِ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَا يَيْأَسُ مِن رَّوْحِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
“My sons, go and seek news of Yousuf and his brother and do not despair of Allah’s Mercy, only disbelievers despair of Allah’s Mercy.”
To despair is to be doubtful of Allah’s omniscience. It is to doubt that Allah truly knows what is best. It is to doubt that Allah’s plan far excels anything that we seek. To despair is to question if Allah is truly Merciful towards His slaves. How ungrateful, ignorant and blind a person would have to be to think that Allah who has protected them and given them everything good that they have is not the most Merciful. It is no wonder then, that it is only the disbeliever who despairs of Allah’s Mercy.
The greatest motivation
“النَّبِي صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: “إِنْ قَامَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَفِي يَدِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَسِيلَةٌ، فَإِنِ اسْتَطَاعَ أَنْ لاَ تَقُومَ حَتَّى يَغْرِسَهَا فَلْيَغْرِسْهَا.
Anas ibn Malik reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said:
“If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.”
There is no greater motivation than this! Essentially, what we learn from this Hadith is that what we are responsible for is being proactive in doing good. The result is not in our hands – it is Allah who makes the tree grow from a seed. But we have part to play in the growth of that tree, which the act of digging a hole and planting the seed and watering it.
It is by Allah’s Mercy that He does not reward or punish us based on whether that tree grows or not.
Allah wants you and I to try, that is all.
This is the start of something amazing
I refuse to sit on my dream of starting a blog any longer. Neither you nor I can guarantee to live another day. We simply cannot afford to keep procrastinating and allowing our life to drift aimlessly, like leaves blowing in the wind.
Plant that seed. Start that blog. Pursue passions that bring you closer to Allah and provide value to people around you.
What if… it is this deed that grants you to be entered by Allah’s Mercy into the everlasting gardens of paradise.