In my last article, we discussed the importance of self-confidence in the life of a Muslim, and that self-confidence isn’t contrary to tawakkul but rather branches out of it.
Today let’s look at that concept in a bit more detail. How does self-confidence branch out of confidence in Allah?
The more confidence we have in Allah, the more firmly we will believe what He says to us in the Quran. So when He tells us that a certain task is easy for us, we will firmly believe in our ability to do it (self-confidence). Once we accomplish that task, it will get easier the next time, and so on. It’s an ever-increasing cycle of tawakkul and self-confidence.
This applies more directly to our worship than our worldly tasks. When Allah commands us to pray five times daily, it means that we have the ability to do just that. If we didn’t, Allah wouldn’t have told us to do it.
“I used to be a very pious Muslimah,” a friend once lamented to me. “Now I just can’t do it anymore.”
Lack of confidence in the area of spirituality can be debilitating. It can stunt one’s spiritual growth and can even seriously endanger one’s Islam.
Lack of trust in one’s ability to be a good worshiper of Allah – it can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. In a hadith Qudsi, the Prophet (peace be upon him) paraphrased Allah thus:
I am to my slave as he thinks of Me. (Al-Bukhari 7505)
Some Tips to Increase Self Confidence in Worship:
1- Know that Allah has Chosen You
From all the creatures in the world, Allah chose you, the human being, to give the gift of intellect. From all the billions of human beings, Allah chose you, the Muslim, to give the gift of guidance, the ability to use your intellect.
Allah saw something special in you that maybe you yourself don’t see yet. You are a special choice of Allah. Have trust in Allah’s choice.
2- Know that Nothing He Asks You to Do is Beyond Your Capacity
And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. (22:78)
Someone once told me: “I pray all the prayers throughout the day, but I just can’t wake up for Fajr.”
Another person said: “I do pray all five prayers, but I pray them together at the end of the day. It’s not possible to pray them on time, my life’s so hectic.”
The thing is, Allah ordered us to pray all five prayers, and pray them within their proper times.
Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times. (4:103)
Do you think that Allah told you to do something that’s impossible for you?
Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned… (2:286)
When we have low self-confidence, even easy tasks can seem very difficult to us. That doesn’t make the task undoable; we have just tied our own hands, and all we need to do is untie ourselves.
Believe in Allah when He says you can do it. Believe Him when He says that He wants ease for you, not hardship. (2:185)
3- Befriend Confident People
Be with people who have self-confidence, because it’s contagious.
In the Prophet’s words:
The example of a good pious companion and an evil one is that of a person carrying musk and another blowing a pair of bellows. The one who is carrying musk will either give you some perfume as a present, or you will buy some from him, or you will get a good smell from him, but the one who is blowing a pair of bellows will either burn your clothes or you will get a bad smell from him. (Al-Bukhari 5534)
4- Know that All Your Negative Thoughts Are From Satan
Whenever you have the thought “I can’t do it”, remember that it’s not really your mind that’s speaking it; it’s Satan. How do you like the idea of having Satan inside your head, continuously discouraging you? How do you like the idea of obeying what Satan says?
Fortify yourself against Satan. Connect to the Quran and increase remembrance of Allah, especially in the morning and evening.
5- Beware of Perfectionism
“When I start wearing hijab, I will do it properly,” I have heard that excuse more than once.
“I will only give exam when I know I can get 100% marks,” if you’d decided that, would you even pass your first grade?
Does Allah want perfection from us?
So fear Allah as much as you are able and listen and obey and spend [in the way of Allah]; it is better for your selves…. (64:16)
When a child can’t swallow a whole medicine tablet, a wise mom breaks it into two or three pieces and makes him swallow one piece at a time. What would happen if she insisted that he’d grow up first so that he can swallow it whole?
It takes time for a seed to grow into a full-blown tree. Give yourself time. Just make sure that you’re making progress. Don’t compare yourself to other people, rather compare yourself to what you were yesterday.
“Allah Chose You”, Khutbah by Nouman Ali Khan.