Seeking Attention: How Can I Get Rid of Bad Habits?

06 November, 2018
Q Assalamualaikum. I'm a 20 years old girl pursing medicine. Whenever I listen to people talking about the girl who is beautiful for example miss of our class, I feel like that to be called beautiful by everyone in the class and gather attention of boys by dressing up well. I wanna become famous by doing something. I want people especially in class to recognize me and talk about me in a good way, and value my words. Basically I'm an introvert. I know all my thoughts of gathering attention are wrong, but how can I overcome this? This problem seems so simple but it's bothering me a lot... please do answer. How can I stop thinking all these non sense? And how could I have a strong bond with Allah? And is that thought of becoming famous wrong? How can I be successful in everything? Is playing sports wrong? Please do answer. Waiting for reply... salaam... jazakallah

Answer

Short Answer:  I advise you to look deep within your heart and ask yourself why you want attention. In Islam we aren’t supposed to purposely attract the opposite sex. Men and women are told by Allah to be modest in dress and manner. I advise you to examine your intentions.

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Salaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

First of all, thank you for submitting your question.

There seem to be several different questions intermingling, so insha’Allah I am going to break my response down into several different sections.

Is Playing Sports Wrong?

I am going to start with this question because it is the most straightforward.

Simply put: no, playing sports isn’t wrong.

So long as everything is done in accordance to Islam (e.g. proper dress both for female and male athletes, no contact sports between men and women), then insha’Allah, there is no inherent harm.

Sports even have the potential to be beneficial, since engaging in sports and other physical activities can improve your health, which could be considered an act of worship with the right intentions.

Is Seeking Attention Wrong?

This question is a little more complex.

As with many things in life, it comes down to your intentions.

You mentioned in your question about someone in your class trying to seek attention of boys. But in Islam we aren’t supposed to purposely attract the opposite sex.

Men and women are told by Allah to be modest in dress and manner.

But not all attention-seeking is bad. Even in some areas where we are usually told not to seek attention, there is sometimes benefit to it.

For example: giving charity.

Abu Huraira (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) mentioned among those whom Allah will shade on the Day of Judgment:

“…A man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity…” (Al-Bukhari)

But there is also a story about Abu Bakr (ra) competing with Umar (ra) in giving charity.

He was bringing attention to himself in order to inspire others to be charitable.

I mention all of this to illustrate that the answer cannot be a simple yes or know.

It depends not only on the kind of attention you are seeking, but also your intentions behind seeking it.

How Can I be Successful in Everything?

Unfortunately, I think the answer to that is: you can’t be.

No one is successful in everything – not even our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).

No one in this world is perfect or free of struggle.

I advise you to make duaa to Allah to help you be successful and trust in Him to guide you to the areas where He wants you to succeed.

How Can I Overcome My Introversion?

This is a tricky question to answer simply because it depends so much on you as an individual.

Introversion and extroversion are not black and white, so overcoming introversion might be dependent on how much of an introvert you are.

Furthermore, introversion is not the same as being shy.

Being shy is difficult to change because it is something more like a fear of socializing, whereas introversion is typically just a preference not to socialize.

Introverts can often behave like extroverts given the right circumstances, but switching off shyness is not so easy.

If shyness is what you are hoping to overcome, I suggest you start by putting yourself in low-risk situations, for example behaving in a bolder way around friends or family who you know won’t judge you harshly.

You might also make duaa that Allah will help you overcome your shyness.

But again, I do advise you to examine your intentions.

Are you hoping to overcome introversion/shyness to seek bad attention?

If so, then your shyness is a protection for you and a Mercy from Allah.

How Can I Overcome My Desire to Gain Attention?

This question I addressed because in your submitted questions to About Islam, I didn’t understand whether you were hoping to overcome your introversion or your desire for attention.

If it is your desire for attention you are hoping to overcome, I suggest you embrace your shyness.

I, myself, am an introverted person, and I find a lot of joy in doing quiet things by myself.

I listen to a lot of educational podcasts, read books, knit, write.

You could try to throw your passion into your medical studies, rather than your desire for attention.

At the end of the day, sister, I advise you to look deep within your heart and ask yourself why you want attention.

If your desire for attention is due to Shaytan tempting you then insha’Allah, it is the perfect time to try to reconnect with Allah and try to improve yourself.

If your intentions are pure then insha’Allah, Allah will allow what is best for you.

I hope you find some peace, sister.

Salam and peace keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Competition and Showing Off – Any Difference?

Importance of Intentions in the Revival of Hearts

Bad Manners? Don’t Pretend to Follow the Sunnah

 

About Leah Mallery
Leah is a Muslim convert of almost a decade. She has two kids, an intercultural marriage, and half of a French degree in her back pocket, looking to switch gears to science and medicine. She has lived abroad for over a decade, having just recently become reacquainted with her roots in America. She currently lives in Michigan near her family and – masha’Allah – a sizeable Muslim community.