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: http://web.stanford.edu/~eberhard/downloads/2004-SeeingBlackRaceCrimeandVisualProcessing.pdf
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.