Situations that create Determination

Dear brothers and sisters, we have all experienced feats of great achievements in life. Whether it is ourselves or people around us or even from what we see on the television, we have witnessed great accomplishments in life.

These accomplishments such as climbing a mountain or memorizing the Quran all have one thing in common and that is the self-determination of the person to achieve.

Everyone has it within themselves to achieve. This is something that Allah SWT tells us of in the Quran and one example of this is in reference to the story of the Pharoah and his persecution of his people at the time. Allah SWT mentions in Sura Al-Qasas, ayat 5:

And We wanted to confer favor upon those who were oppressed in the land and make them leaders and make them inheritors

Dear brothers and sisters, if we analyse this ayat we see that Allah SWT is telling us that despite the hopelessness of the situation they were in, with the will of Allah SWT they could overthrow the greatest of tyrants.

The point being made in the khutba is that there are essentially two types of people in the world when it comes to determination:

There is the first type who cannot do anything productive and is often found complaining about this and everything else that is going wrong with them. Not only is this negativity found in their actions and words, but they are also quick to pass it on to any plans or ambitions others have to.

The second type is the one who may also face obstacles and tests but instead took each and every setback as a blessing and as a lesson in the path to success.

Dear brothers and sisters, we spoke last week on optimism and how it inspires one to be motivated but this khutba goes further and speaks of how that optimism and motivation inspires one to be productive through determination.

So, what are the obstacles that get in the way of being productive? Well, the khutba mentions this and we hinted at it last week.

Our motivation, through our mood and our level of Optimism determines how motivated we are to achieve.

And who can blame us for having a bad mood these days? With all the bad news being shown, one may think ‘what’s the point?’. It all looks like it’s coming to a head with the Hour being almost upon us.

Dear brothers and sisters, this is not how we are to think as Muslims. First of all, only Allah SWT has knowledge of the Hour.

And secondly, as narrated in a Hadith, the Prophet SAWS has told us to carry on regardless even if that time is here. The hadith is translated as saying:

When the Hour comes, and if someone has a plant and he could plant it before the Hour then he should plant it.

Dear brothers and sisters, this is telling us that our mind is our most precious gift. We must protect it from negativity and pessimism and we must keep it active, productive and positive regardless of what is happening around us.

So, in conclusion to the khutba we outline the practical steps to Productivity that can be applied by all. There are 3 powerful elements of Productivity and without which one cannot achieve it.

  1. Knowledge

It all starts with knowledge. Understand what you need to do and how to do it. One of the main reasons people put things off is because they don’t know how to do it. Some ideas on acquiring knowledge are asking an expert, researching offline or on the net and of course, making dua to acquire knowledge.

  1. Action

The value of knowledge without action is zero. In fact, Allah SWT warns us in the Quran to not be one of those people who had knowledge but did little action. For example, a 60 minute task is only 10 minutes old and you start drifting away towards Facebook, TV or some other distraction. If this happens, split the task into only 10 minutes and give yourself 5 minutes break and then repeat.

The truth is our inner self is like a small child. We need to therefore treat it that way. A bit of encouragement, a bit of scolding, a reward here and there and it will co-operate eventually.

  1. Consistency

So one can get the knowledge, perform the action but after a few days quit. 90% of productivity failures are down to consistency. So how does one overcome this? Start slowly. Grow slowly. This is the key and Allah SWT has told us through the Prophet SAWS that the small but consistent actions are those which He loves the most. Alongside that, remind yourself why you are doing the action, what your reward is for completing it. Visualise the end and you will keep motivated to reach it. And above all else, consistently ask Allah SWT for help in achieving it.

Dear brothers and sisters, motivation and productivity is a battle of the mind. Once we understand this and take practical steps in nurturing our mind to becoming positive, we will find that we can achieve success in what we do and please Allah SWT in doing it.

May Allah SWT enable us to be productive through determination. May Allah SWT enable us to be positive in our thinking. And may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in doing this.

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Hope and Optimism

Each and every one of us has dealt with, and experienced, difficult times at some point or another.

Whether it is facing challenges relating to work, study, health or relationships, we are all expected at some time to face adversity and trials.

However, as Muslims we are blessed with the knowledge that every hardship will be compensated, even the pricking of one’s finger with a thorn, provided we bear it with patience.

Being patient and steadfast in times of hardship requires faith in Allah SWT and His decree and we should understand that we may be tested with various calamities.

It is perfectly normal at times to feel sadness in these situations and wonder why Allah SWT allowed us to go through these calamities.

Allah SWT reminds us in the Quran that this life is one of a test and that the manner in which we deal with the test determines our forever in the hereafter.

The Prophet SAWS was a practical example of this and there are many hadiths that demonstrate his optimistic nature. In fact, Allah SWT mentions that the Prophet SAWS himself is a sign of optimism and hope in Sura Saba’a, ayat 34:

And We have not sent you except comprehensively to mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know.

Dear brothers and sisters, if we reflect, we are being told that the test may appear difficult at times but the reward is immense.

And alongside the rewards from Allah SWT, we ought to remind ourselves in the wisdom of his trials. Some can educate us, build our character and help us develop patience, humility and strength.

S how does one do this though practically? Well, as with all things relating to our lives, we can take lessons from the Glorious Quran, such is its miraculous nature and blessing for us all.

In regards to this topic, the Quran reminds us that whilst we may be going through trials and tribulations, the Prophets of Allah SWT were put through tests that we would struggle with.

There are accounts in the Quran of Prophets who were afflicted with severe poverty, ailments, animosity and hatred. These are all challenges we may face in our everyday lives.

Dear brothers and sisters, it is only human nature to fall into the habit of focusing on our trials. They say that the human counts his blessings on his fingers and toes but his trials are counted using a calculator.

However, the Quran tells us how we can overcome these trials and their effect on our mind set through optimism and patience.

So what does this mean practically? What follows then to conclude are 5 reasons for a Muslim to stay positive.

  1. Allah SWT promises to make a way out. With hardship comes ease. This is told to us by Allah SWT and as Muslims we must believe it and reiterate it to ourselves when times get tough.
  2. A Muslim’s reaction to every situation is gratitude. Since we know that our life tests result in afterlife rewards, both good times and bad times should be met with an Alhamdullilah.
  3. Spread good news. Good news is so underrated but it can make all the difference. Use your networking to good effect by spreading good news or good reminders. Our FB page attempts to do that so join us if you haven’t done so already.
  4. An Optimist is an achiever. Remember that a pessimistic person sees the difficulty in every opportunity whereas an optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty. Focus on solutions, not problems. Look for opportunities, not excuses. Remember that a results-driven, positive attitude is the mark of an achiever in this life and the next.
  5. Allah SWT offers us a futuristic vision. Throughout the Quran, Allah SWT reminds us of the temporary nature of this life and that the real goal should be fixed on the next life through sound belief and actions. Therefore with the real success being in the hereafter, regardless of your situation today, remind yourself it won’t last long.

Allah SWT tell us to focus on the bigger picture, that compared to an eternity in the hereafter, this life is merely a comparative blink of an eye and that we should draw strength from that fact when we are faced with hard times.

Dear brothers and sisters, nobody is claiming that life is easy. It is a test and we must accept that. However, with the knowledge of what this test is, how it is being played out and the rewards of passing the test, we should take strength from that knowledge and use it to drive feelings of optimism and positivity.

May Allah SWT enable us to remain positive. May Allah SWT inspire us to spread optimism and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in positivity and optimism.

Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.

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