Monthly Archives: November 2015

Always Keep Positive; Keep Focus on God

Always Keep Positive Keep Focus on God

No matter what loss you face, keep positive. By keeping positive, you’re keeping focus on God. Isn’t this the most peaceful state you could ever be in anyway? Compare this state of peace to the angst, anger, and all the unsettling feelings that come by focusing on loss.

When you focus on worldly loss, you’ve actually lost God—at least God-mindfulness anyway.

No matter what someone takes away from you by way of false accusation, crime, etc. always keep positive. If you are attached to what you’ve lost or may lose, you will never find peace. God, The Reality, is peace.

One of the most stunning forms of loss comes from “victim-blaming.” All oppressors and arrogant people do it. And what dishonest behavior it is. Imagine being African American. Their ancestors were literally robbed from their homeland and brought to the Americas, robbed of their freedom, robbed of any kind of compensation for their work, and yet, they are constantly portrayed as thieves by those who control the media. How absurd! It’s unfortunate how this subconscious programming affects us and why it’s done.1

No matter the depth of the loss, or the breadth of its injustice, keep positive, and focus on God. Be aware of the loss, as you would a compass needle pointing to success. Learn the lessons from the loss, but do not focus on it. If you do, it will consume you and strip you of your mindfulness of God. Forget the worldly losses because if you don’t, you, yourself, will be lost.2

Where in the Quran have we been taught this? The Quran is so relevant and gorgeous that we can even explore specific examples of “victim-blaming.” The response towards this type of loss or any other is still the same however.

Prophet Yusuf (the Arabic name for Prophet Joseph) is our beautiful example. So many perpetrated crimes against him, and these same people turned around to blame Prophet Joseph for the very things they did to him. The Prophet’s brothers threw him down a well and abandoned him because of their jealousy and desire for their father’s attention. Many years passed and they met Joseph as an adult, but didn’t recognize him. When his brothers speak about their long-lost younger brother, they call Joseph a thief (12:15)! These are the same people that abducted him and attempted to destroy his life. They stole him from his loving father and threw him into a dark well, all alone.

He experienced victim-blaming in another instance too. Prophet Joseph resisted the seduction of a married woman but when this incident came to light, the seductress accused the Prophet of trying to seduce her (12:23–26)! As a result, he was sent to prison and spent many years there, convicted of crimes others committed against him.

You’d think these were terrible losses. You’d be upset at the moments with his father that he’d lost, at his criminally-minded brothers who stole him as a child but blame him as a thief instead, at the years lost in prison when he could have been enjoying life. You would only think this way if you focus on the loss.

Always keep positive. Keep focus on God.

When you focus on God, watch what happens to our impression of the story. Prophet Joseph was never alone in the well nor in the prison. He always had God with him. His life was not ruined. Through his patience in the well, in servitude, and in prison, he earned honor. After being freed, he was even awarded a position of high ranking in the Egyptian government. (12:54-56). Prophet Joseph always kept focus on God. When the Prophet revealed his identity to his brothers, he didn’t use his power to imprison them or avenge any loss, but he forgave them and called them all to live in Egypt with him as a family (12:92 & 99). Can you believe that? You should 🙂

Through all of the worldly losses he faced, he kept focus on God. He knew that God, The Truth, would avail him.

To let others’ actions born of a lower mind state strip you of your God-mindfulness is the worst and most consequential impact of any perceived wrong against you.

We cannot focus on the loss, for whatever we lose always belonged to God anyway: “to God we belong and to Him we return” (2: 156).

And as we “return to God,” even if this return is not physical as with death but spiritual as with our mindfulness turning back towards him, we realize that we always have everything we ever need.



1. There is an insightful paper titled, “Seeing Black: Race, Crime, and Visual Processing” by researchers at Stanford, Yale, and a few other universities:

Their research shows that ordinary people regularly exposed to media programming make a split-second judgement upon Africans as being criminals—subconsciously! Sick ruling powers use these feelings of suspicion, frustration and hatred to divide the citizenry against each other. Why? To divide and conquer. It’s how such rulers choose to remain in power. There is a choice though. To choose to rule through fear and negativity is the path of least resistance. It’s easiest. Real strength and intelligence is exemplified by doing what’s considered impossible. Why not rule through humility and honesty?

2. This paragraph may seem a bit confusing. How can we be aware of the loss, but also forget it? We should ignore the negativity of the losses we experience but embrace their positivity. There is positive in everything because God is constantly teaching us. Learn the lessons we need and grow, but make sure to release everything else. Think of it like food. Keep what is beneficial and release the toxic.


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We All Have Self-Confidence

Heart with light beaming from within

Self-confidence is worth so much, yet you can’t put a price on it. It can’t be bought. It’s the very definition of priceless 🙂

Self-confidence means not only to believe in yourself—that you can succeed in anything—but also to regard yourself. It goes deeper than that though. Self-confidence doesn’t come from just your material accomplishments, your material losses and gains. It doesn’t come from your association with a tribe, society, language, or government (see 49:13 for clarity). These are all hollow forms of self-confidence because they’re material—they’re all worldly. The material world and everything in it is ultimately an illusion. Don’t take my word for it:

[…]the life of this world is nothing but the wares of illusion. (3:185)

Your self-confidence should not be based on an illusion. That’s the definition of being delusional. Some people may give an air of self-confidence, but it’s actually a facade covering their arrogance. We’ll touch on the distinction between these below. Everything material is dependent and will all fade away:

All that is on (the earth) will pass away. Yet the face of your Lord, full of majesty and honor, will remain. (55:26-27)

Real self-confidence springs from something much greater than material. Self-confidence can’t be bought or pretended. It’s something known. It’s innate. And not just to a few of us either, but self-confidence is innate to all of us.

Here’s the proof 🙂

We are all the creations of God, al-Haqq (the Truth).1

That’s the answer. Pure and simple. That is the source of all our self-confidence, or at least it should be.

If we lack self-confidence, yet we believe in God, the Truth, then that’s a sign that something needs improvement.

We can’t have low self-esteem if we know who created our “self” the first place. Malcolm X once said, “You can’t hate your origin and not hate yourself.” He was talking specifically about how people of African origins are taught to hate Africa, but it also applies in a larger context. We can’t hate ourselves and not hate God, our Originator (even though this hate can be subtle). We can’t think of ourselves as deficient and not think of our Creator as deficient. We can’t think of ourselves as inherent failures without implicating God in the process.

Yes, reproaching yourself for a wrong that you’ve done is essential and absolutely healthy. Acknowledging your mistakes and your failures is necessary. But the sum of all your failures still doesn’t mean you should hate yourself, because your essence, your spirit, is from the Divine. Your self-esteem should always be rooted in this. You must know who you are: the creation of the Divine.

You are not perfect, but your Creator is. And his creation of you is perfect!

God did not make a failure, although you do fail at times. Acknowledge when you do and grow from it. That is how we achieve “perfection” as human beings.

And herein is the beautiful balance. Esteem yourself, because your Originator is the most high. But the moment you esteem yourself based on the material, lower desires, you will unavoidably become arrogant and detach yourself from God, the Most High.

Let’s look at how majestically God reminds the material-minded of this fact. The following verse is about as divinely ironic as I can think of! Since they worship the material, then why don’t they consider from what material thing they were created?

So let man consider from what he was created. He was created from a fluid issuing out. (86:5-6)

Arrogance is based on the material, so let them remember that they were created from an ooze of sperm. That should check anyone’s arrogance—if they are honest. (Since things are rarely black and white, there are material-minded people with self-confidence not based on the worldly—see footnote 2).2

Yet for those who worship the Independent, their self-confidence springs from the Truth, the Reality beyond all material: that they are indeed creations of the Most High.

Believe in yourself like you believe in the sun rising. Believe in your abilities like a bird believes in its ability to fly. Neither can the sun nor the birds explain how they do what they do. They are just thankful to their Creator, know that they can, and do! As human beings we have the ability to become the best of creation or the worst (98:6-7). We learn and grow, perfect and improve. Believe in yourself and strive to do all that is best (2:148)!

See you next post, God willing 🙂




1. The Truth, the Independent, the Originator, the Most High: these are all some of God’s beautiful names.

2. The Truth manifests itself in our lives in many ways. A material-minded person can have sparks of true self-confidence if it is based on the truth he’s experienced. For example, everyone has the innate knowledge of God in their hearts, even if they don’t consciously express it. They will believe in themselves because of something special within. Something they know for certain within them that’s special. By it’s very nature, the “special” within cannot be material! In fact, it is the light of our Creator. This point is so ironic. Even a zealous materialist who knows there is something special within him or her must admit that it’s not material! Wow! Reminds me of the verse where God says that we submit to him willingly or unwillingly (3:83)   🙂


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Trust & Denial, Iman & Kufr

Iman is rooted to the ground and strecthes far above.

Iman is quite important in Islam. It nourishes our conscious connection to the Creator. It’s usually translated as belief or faith. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “lost in translation.” Well, it definitely applies here because iman means so much more than its common translation. It also means confidence and trust.

Why do faith and belief not do iman justice? Because faith and belief have a popular connotation, an underlying sense, that you can believe in something without experience and proof (actually this meaning has become an entry in the dictionary.)1 We can have faith in something absolutely imaginary, like having faith in the Easter Bunny, Spiderman, our own prideful nature. Confidence and trust have a different connotation. Although one of the meanings of confidence is to be presumptuous, the overall connotation of confidence gives another sense. When you’re confident in something, you trust in it based on previous experiences. This is the aspect of iman that’s lost in translation.

Iman is not about having blind faith in the Creator. Iman is to have faith based on experience and evidence. Notice in the Quran that whenever God calls people to have iman, he says things like, “Remember when we did this for you,” “Do you not see how we do this for you?” and “Think about what we do here.” Here are some examples:

Have they not considered how we drive water to dry earth and produce harvest from which you and your livestock eat? Will you not see?” (32:27)

[…] When (the mother) has become heavy (with child) the parents call out to God, their Lord, “Give us a healthy child and we will indeed be grateful.” But when he blesses them with a healthy child they ascribe partners to the (blessing) which He gave them. God is above all the partners they ascribe. (7:189-190)

And (remember) when we established the (sacred) house (in Mecca) as an abode for mankind and made it secure, and (said), “take the station of Abraham as a place of prayer.” […] (2:125)

Here’s a quick but very insightful side note. My friend Adib made a great point: Every instance God says, “Remember” and follows it by recounting some gracious event, like “Remember when we saved you from the Pharaoh” (14:6), God isn’t just talking to the Children of Israel, but he’s also reminding us of some favor he bestowed upon us like the time he saved us from some type of oppressive influence in our lives, for example. The Quran is, after all, a book made for each and every reader’s own, personal growth. Let’s get back to the point about iman 🙂

Iman isn’t a baseless belief in God, but it is a trust and confidence in God that’s grounded in reality and consistent experiences.

There are certain things that we have confidence in. For example, the sun rising. We don’t know for a fact that the sun will rise tomorrow. But, it’s been shining for so long, so routinely, that we have confidence that it will rise tomorrow. Because it’s so consistent, our confidence in it is very strong. This is the kind of iman that we’re called to in the Quran. It’s a confidence and trust in God, in the unseen, based on all the things that we do see and experience all of the time. God constantly shows us these things. This is why, in chapter 55, he repeatedly asks,

Which of your Lord’s favors will you deny? (55: 18)

The fact that the favors exist are not disputed by the ungrateful. They can’t deny the shining of the sun, nor the purity of water, but they can deny being grateful to God for these things. And this is a terrible state. It’s a state of dishonesty. In the Quran, this state is described by the word kufr which means to deny the truth of something and be ungrateful.

Even if you are an atheist you should still recognize the countless favors you experience. And if you do recognize them, shouldn’t you at least be thankful for them? To whom should you be thankful? To the being that created them. That is the most honest thing to do because we know, each of us, that we did not create these things.

Remembering God’s favors is the basis of our iman. See you next post, God willing 🙂



1. In modern usage, the word faith has taken a bit of a negative connotation. For example, one definition for faith via is “belief that is not based on proof.” For this reason, using faith or belief as translations for iman do not do this Quranic term justice.


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With Every Loss, We Can Gain 2

Tree During Fall/Spring

Ever wonder why

The tests are in our lives?

“We will surely test you by fear and hunger; and loss of property, lives, and fruits. Yet give good news to the patient. Those who, when difficulty afflicts them, proclaim, ‘We belong to God and to Him we will return’” (2:155-156).

Every test, every fitnah, happens by the Will of God. God is not guilty for any test He wills for us.

“He is not questioned about his acts, but they will be questioned about theirs” (21:23)

He is the Creator. He made us. We belong to him. So he can do with us whatever He pleases.

He is Independent.

It is we who are dependent.

We submit to Reality,

Either willingly

Or unwillingly,


He never wills as a sadist

He always wills what’s Best,

Trust Him.

Everything that happens to us,

Everything lost

Is a reminder

not only of Everything we have,

“If you were to count God’s blessings, you would never be able to. God is indeed the Forgiving, Merciful” (16:18)

or where we are in our journey,

(Are we so pained by the hurt in our past

That we hurt ourselves and others?)

More important than that,

With Every loss, we can Gain.


We are not defined by what we have.

Perhaps it takes loss for us to realize that.

We are not defined by what we’ve lost.

Perhaps it takes acceptance

and patience for us to realize this.

Everything we’ve lost was given to us by God

In the first place.

It is His to give

and His to take.


Everything we lose,

if we accept it and trust,

Have hope in our Creator,

He Will Produce Something Greater,

Allahu akbar :

God is Greater


For with every loss, we can Gain:

Know better where we are:

dishonest, pompous, hopeless?

Humble, Hopeful, Honest?


With every loss, we can Gain

A Gain that is greater still—

One never lost—

So Great


Is God, The Greatest



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