Imagine you decide to wake up with a different mentality. You reach the conviction that enough is enough: pessimism is not doing you any good.
You come to the decision that the glass is neither half empty nor half full. It is actually brimming over. And it has been doing so for ages, but you never noticed as you were so busy looking at the half empty one.
Allah Almighty gives us the glad tidings (interpretation of meaning):
For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. (Quran 94:5)
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gives us the absolute cure to depression:
Know that if the entire creation were to gather together to do something to benefit you – you would never get any benefit except that Allah had written (it) for you. And if they were to gather to do something to harm you – you would never be harmed except that Allah had written (it) for you. The pens are lifted and the pages are dried (At-Tirmidhi)
So, stop worrying and beating yourself up; it is all decreed. Be optimistic, all what Allah wills for you is best.
Who are the happiest people on this earth? Is it the richest? The ones with the best jobs? The most good looking ones? What makes people happy?
Psychologist Dr. Betty Phillips says:
Many people think that ‘the grass is greener’ for happy people. Research, however, shows that happy and unhappy people generally have the same number of adverse events in their lives. The difference is in their interpretation of unfortunate life events.
Optimistic people are willing and able to make positive life action plans to counteract negative events in their lives, while pessimists are more likely to do nothing, then find themselves sinking into negativism, lethargy, perhaps even depression. (Optimism and Happiness)
Omar Suleiman in his lecture, The Sunnah of Optimism, speaks of the analysis paralysis phenomenon. Basically, the more you analyze our present situation and you look around you and feel there’s no hope and give in to pessimism and get depressed and you rub it off on everyone else.
This is detrimental and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Whoever said that the people are hopeless, he is the one that is making them hopeless.
He adds how there have been worse times in the Ummah like for example how there was no Adhan in Masjid Al Aqsa for over 93 years! Yet, Salahuddin dealt with the situation with optimism.
We need to have an attitude of istiqama (stability) and be active Muslims to deal with our problems.
The Sunnah of Optimism
This takes us to highlight how essential it is to follow the Sunnah of Optimism. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) went through so much more than anyone of us will ever do and yet he always remained optimistic.
In the battle of Uhud, when his Makkan enemies attacked the Muslims, Prophet Muhammad suffered head injury and his front teeth got smashed. When the blood started to seep from his head, he swabbed it saying:
If a drop of my blood fell on the earth, those infidels will be destroyed by Allah.
Umar told him:
“O Messenger of Allah, Curse them!”
The prophet replied:
I wasn’t sent (by Allah) to curse. I was sent as a mercy.
Then he said:
O Allah, Guide my people! (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
Even at his deathbed (three days before his death) we hear him say:
None of you should die but hoping only good from Allah, the Exalted and Glorious. (Muslim)
An Attitude of Gratitude
Try thanking Allah for your blessings by writing them down. Your whole notebook won’t suffice!
Smile It’s A Charity
Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:
Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. And your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.
Abd Allah ibn Harith has narrated:
I have never seen anyone more in the habit of smiling than the Messenger. (At-Tirmidhi)
Dua for when you Feel Depressed and Hopeless
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is known to have said:
Whoever was afflicted with grief and distress and says (see the following Dua), Allah, the Exalted and Ever-Majestic, will remove his grief and will change his sorrow into happiness.
It was said:
“O Messenger of Allah! (Do) we have to learn these words?”
Yes, whoever hears them should learn them:
O Allah, I am your slave, the son of your slave. My forelock is in Your Hand. Your judgment of me is inescapable. Your trial of me is just. I am invoking You by all the names that You call Yourself, that You have taught to anyone in Your creation, that You have mentioned in Your Book, or that You have kept unknown. Let the Qur’an be delight of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness and the pacifier of my worries (Ahmad).
Beautiful Scholarly Reflections on A Qudsi Hadith on Optimism
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Allah the Most High said: ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’ (Al-Bukhari)
Imam Nawawi said:
“Al-Qadi ‘Iyad said that this means He will forgive him if he seeks such, will accept his repentance if he repents, will answer him if he supplicates, and will suffice him if he asks for something. It is also said that it refers to having hope and longing for relief, and this is more correct.” (Sharh Sahih Muslim)
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
“The more you have good expectations of your Lord and hope in Him, the more you will rely on and trust in Him. This is why some explained true reliance and trust to be having good expectations of Allah. In reality, having good expectations of Him leads to relying on and trusting in Him, as it is unthinkable that one can trust in someone that he has bad expectations of or no hope in, and Allah Knows best.” (Tahdhib Madarij as-Salikin)
Some of the Salaf (may Allah have mercy upon him) said:
“Whenever a crisis comes your way, utilize your good expectations of Allah in order to repel it. This will bring you closer to relief.” (Al-Faraj Ba’d ash-Shiddah)
‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said:
“By the One besides Who none is worthy of worship, the believer is not given anything good better than his good expectations of Allah, and by the One besides Who none is worthy of worship, no servant of Allah expects good of Him except that Allah gives him what he expected, since all good is in His Hand.” (Husn adh-Dhann bi Allah)