Islamic Gratitude vs Toxic positivity

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

I recently read an article on toxic positivity which basically is referring to the denial of reality, the denial of the fact that in this life there is pain, there is grief, there is loss, disappointment, sadness etc.. Click on this link for more https://apple.news/ArqTxC03PTDyaaSfW6Xx6Ug.

I wanted to share my thoughts with you about that because I do coach on building a positive mindset no matter the situation we face and some may misunderstand it to mean ‘faking and denying your situation’, but I am not at all calling for denial of the reality. Some of my students even think that I am always cheerful and positive which is not the case at all. I have my lows and my ups like everyone else however, I don’t ‘stay’ in my lows, I do something about it. See the YT video I made on how I deal with a low mood at this link:

Embracing the reality while at the same time looking at it from a position that will actually benefit us in this life and the next is what I teach sisters to do in my coaching sessions.

This month in the membership club, we are going over gratitude and how to build the gratitude muscle from an Islamic perspective. Allah Azza Wajal calls us several times in the Qur’an to choose the path of gratitude and to recognize that He is constantly blessing us abundantly.

…And Allah is the possessor of bounty for the people, but most of the people do not show gratitude. (Qur’an 2:243)

Islam teaches us that we should expect loss, difficult moments, trials. Several passages of the Qur’an actually prepare us for it.

The Seerah of Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi wa salaam also teaches us how to cope with the hardships of life because his life was filled with trials from a very young age.

Watch this brief clip I made on positivity in Islam:

The article I read mentioned ‘tragic optimism’ which as it is quoted there ‘is a phrase coined by the existential-humanistic psychologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. Tragic optimism involves the search for meaning amid the inevitable tragedies of human existence….’  This is very close to the way Muslims are taught to deal with the difficulties of life. The Deen teaches us to give meaning to our pain and when we do we are able to bear the pain better.

Don’t sit with negative emotions but don’t ignore them either. Take them to Allah in your sujood, in your voluntary prayers, cry out to Allah, tell Him how difficult it is for you, ask Him to aid you, to make it easy and keep asking.

Do Count your blessings, appreciate what is working, what you have access to, what you are enjoying, embrace the present moment fully. There is no grief and sorrow in the present.

If you have to go to the past, choose the past difficulties you found yourself in and reflect on how Allah aided you in those moments.

Below is a du’a that Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi wa Salaam made at the battle of Uhud after facing many losses and it can be found in the tafsir of Ibn Kathir of suratul Hujurat .

I comment on this du’a at this link:A lesson in gratitude

اللْهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ كُلُّهُ 

O Allah! Yours is the praise.

اللْهُمَّ لَا قَابِضَ لِمَا بَسَطْتَ وَلَا بَاسِطَ لِمَا قَبَضْتَ وَلَا هَادِيَ لِمَنْ أَضْلَلْتَ وَلَا مُضِلَّ لِمَنْ هَدَيْتَ وَلَا مُعْطِيَ لِمَا مَنَعْتَ وَلَا مَانِعَ لِمَا أَعْطَيْتَ وَلَا مُقَرِّبَ لِمَا بَاعَدْتَ وَلَا مُبَاعِدَ لِمَا قَرَّبْتَ 

O Allah! There is none who can withhold what You send, or send what You withhold, or guide whom You send astray, or misguide whomever You guide, or give what You deprive, or deprive whom You give, or draw closer whom You cast or cast whom You draw closer.

اللْهُمَّ ابْسُطْ عَلَيْنَا مِنْ بَرَكَاتِكَ وَرَحْمَتِكَ وَفَضْلِكَ وَرِزْقِكَ 

O Allah! Bestow on us from Your blessings, mercy, grace and provisions.

اللْهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ النَّعِيمَ الْمُقِيمَ الَّذِي لَا يَحُولُ وَلَا يَزُولُ 

O Allah! I ask You for the eternal delight that never ends or fades away.

اللْهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ النَّعِيمَ يَوْمَ الْعَيْلَةِ وَالاَْمْنَ يَوْمَ الْخَوْفِ 

O Allah! I ask You for provisions on the Day of deprivation and safety on the Day of fear.

اللْهُمَّ إِنِّي عَايِذٌ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا أَعْطَيْتَنَا وَمِنْ شَرِّ مَا مَنَعْتَنَا 

O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the evil repercussions of what You have given us and from the evil of what You have deprived us of.

اللْهُمَّ حَبِّبْ إِلَيْنَا الاْيمَانَ وَزَيِّنْهُ فِي قُلُوبِنَا وَكَرِّهْ إِلَيْنَا الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ وَاجْعَلْنَا مِنَ الرَّاشِدِينَ 

O Allah! Make faith dear to us and beatify it in our hearts and make disbelief, Fusuq and `Isyan hateful to us, and make us among the rightly guided.

اللْهُمَّ تَوَفَّنَا مُسْلِمِينَ وَأَحْيِنَا مُسْلِمِينَ وَأَلْحِقْنَا بِالصَّالِحِينَ غَيْرَ خَزَايَا وَلَا مَفْتُونِينَ 

O Allah! Allow us to die as Muslims, live as Muslims and join us with the ranks of the righteous ones, without tasting humiliation or turmoil.

Aameen Aameen Aameen and May Allah give us tawfeeq to be among the Shaakireen.

Binta Umm Yahya is the owner of Al An 4 U Online Coaching which is an online platform for Qur’an lessons, Islamic studies and Lifecoaching for Muslimas and women interested in Islam. She has an ijazah in teaching Qur’an with Tajwid and  has been teaching Qur’an for over 7 years now and is an ongoing student of Qur’an with her husband imam Ahmed Abu Suhailah. She loves reciting, teaching and reflecting on the Qur’an. She is a Certified Master Lifecoach and a NLP Practitioner who absolutely enjoys coaching her sisters in faith to help them gain clarity, focus and understanding of their religion so they live their best life and connect to their Maker. Whenever she is not teaching or coaching, you can find her staring at the sky, reading or journaling with a big cup of tea. 🙂

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