A sister emailed me about how to stop herself from negative reactions… she said she tries a lot but then one way or the other she gets so overwhelmed by her feelings that her behaviour does not remain polite and pleasant… this makes her lose heart and she feels really bad for not remaining true to her intention… of always talking and behaving in a soft manner… so how can she come out of this pattern? 

So I sent her the following response:

Negative reactions happen due to the negative thoughts we have about people… For every person we have created a certain picture in our hearts and then we react according to this picture… if the picture is good then we don’t have to make any effort to always react in a positive way… but if this picture is not good then there are two situations: when the mood is good… emaan is strong then we can succeed in looking beyond this negative image and behave nicely. But when the mood is not good… emaan is weak… then we cannot see anything good about that person and so the reaction comes out in unpleasant words and expressions… Our problem is that we worry more about the reactions but don’t have any long term plan to change the pictures in our hearts… 

I wrote about it before but I will repeat myself for my own benefit because I have not even myself acted on this plan yet… this idea I got many years ago that I will write about the people in my life… one by one… beginning from parents, siblings and then husband, children, in-laws, other relatives, friends… it will be a diary in which I will write the good things about each person… how they are good in themselves and how they benefited me with their qualities over the years… I will also write my duas for them… daily I should spend 10 to 30 minutes on this exercise… I think this will make my mind active in the positive direction because I will be constantly remembering their goodness… not only when I am writing but also in my thoughts… gradually the old pictures will be replaced with new ones… good ones… in sha Allah… In one way it will increase my gratitude for Allah that he blessed me with these people… they are blessings but we only recognize this fact when they are gone… so lets not waste them while we have them…

Secondly in every prayer we should ask Allah to help us to develop positive feelings about people… we have to accept that all our efforts can be successful only with Allah’s help.

Thirdly we should remember that seeking forgiveness from Allah is the key to success… and Allah loves it so much that he didn’t make us error-free… we keep making mistakes so that we can feel the guilt and come near to Allah knowing that only he has the power to forgive us… also these mistakes are a means to keep us humble before Allah… otherwise we would become arrogant which is the greatest sin…

So it is All the mercy of Allah that he allowed to us to think, evaluate and make plans… then he gave us the ability to act on these plans and make efforts… and his third gift for us is the freedom to make duas anytime we want…. duas for help and for forgiveness…  So whoever uses these three gifts is a fortunate person!

There are many duas of istighfaar to choose from… one of my favourites is that of Prophet Adam (a.s.)

Rabbana zalamna anfusana wa in lam taghfirlana wa tarhamna la-nakunanna minal khasirin…

Our Lord we have done zulm on ourselves and if you don’t forgive us and have mercy on us then surely we will be among the losers.

And also of Prophet Yunus… La ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu minaz zalimin…

There is no one worthy of worship except you, How perfect you are… indeed I am from the wrongdoers.

And the dua which Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) taught abu Bakar (r.a.) to read after every salah: Allahumma inni zalamtu nafsi zulman kaseeran faghfir li maghfiratan min indika warhamni innaka antat tawwabur rahim…

O Allah certainly I have done great deal of zulm on myself… so forgive me with a forgiveness from yourself and have mercy on me… surely you are the most accepting of repentance and merciful.

In the Quran Allah prescribed for the prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) to say:

Rabbighfir warham wa anta khair-ur-rahimin…

My Lord forgive and have mercy and you are the best in being merciful

So you can just say these duas and be genuinely guilty and promise never to repeat it again… giving some sadaqah also saves us from Allah’s displeasure and reconnects us to him again (like putting some little money in a box or throwing some bread for the birds or keeping a pot of water for the birds to drink or helping someone do something which is not your duty but you do with the intention of sadaqah or writing a few lines on your blog with the same intention even if you don’t feel like it) If you are able to do this then realize that you have won a battle with the devil because it is he who uses your weaknesses to make you feel bad and doesn’t want you to connect to Allah or do any good thing…. so make a checklist of these tips on a paper and keep it under your pillow or in your closet… and tell me if they were helpful or not:)

And yes the most important step I forgot… it is the daily recitation which you must never give up no matter what… whether you know tajweed or not… but you must absolutely must read the Arabic and also the translation… DAILY… even if it is half a page or one page or two or five or ten… this is the ultimate form of connecting with Allah and so you should give yourself no excuse… the best time is to open the Quran as soon as you get up from the fajar prayer… if you have other things to do… even then you should open the Quran… read one line and then go do what is so urgent… then come back and complete whatever portion you have fixed for yourself… half page or one or two or whatever… but fix one portion and stick to it… 

learning to recite properly is very important… so go to this link and start doing these lessons one by one… you will enjoy so much that you will be sorry why you never did this before!!!

And reading translation only can be beneficial to some extent but the real miracle and rewards are for the Quran itself which is in Arabic only… translations cannot be called Quran… But Allah can give rewards to whatever he likes… I am mentioning only what is in my knowledge… certainly Allah knows best.

May Allah help you and me to do what is most beneficial for this life and the next… may we value life while we have it… ameen



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