Psychological Muslim – How Our Words and Actions Affect What We Do

I have a thing for psychology. I find it extremely intriguing how our minds work and sometimes how counterintuitive they can be. But most of all what interests me is how our mental behavior affects our everyday life.

For instance, our thoughts alone don’t affect our actions. It’s the other way around as well!

Take the Benjamin Franklin effect. It says you can force someone into liking you by asking them to do a favor for you. When the very likable Benjamin Franklin wanted to get a political acquaintance, who hated him, to like him, he simply asked to borrow a book from the person’s library.

And after doing the favor, Franklin thanked him and the person in question was forced to align his actions to his beliefs, “if I did this guy a favor it means I must like him or at least I don’t hate him as much.”

Mission accomplished.

Like the Qur’an says:

And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. [41:34]

I always thought this verse meant how we react. But it could also mean adding a positive equation to our encounters and to do away with anything that is wrongful.

The Franklin effect perfectly sums up why the good and the evil are not equal and never will be. The next time you find it hard to deal with someone, try getting them to help you, then sit back and watch the tables turn ūüėČ

 

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image credit: pinterest

 

Words & the subconscious

Another thing I noticed is how our words can affect us.

As a now Muslim, when I meet up with old friends and I need to make some halal eating choices or schedule our meetings around salah times, it’s like my friends have come to believe that I am not *allowed* certain things. Instead of the fact that I am choosing to do something.

I don’t blame them. My language reflected passiveness.

And yes for a long time I kept up with it until I noticed the way Muslims are perceived. Instead of just Muslims, Islam is blamed for what happens around us. You would think Islam is imposing some things on us and a lightning bolt is waiting to strike us the moment we slip. And we are oh so obedient.

Sure we care about our accountability but the point is we do all of this out of our own choice and yet we fail sometimes. We do it out of awareness of the truth.

The moment I started replacing “I can’t eat this/ I am not allowed to do this” with “I won’t eat this/ I won’t do this” I was sending a message that I take full responsibility for what I do and I am *choosing* to practice my faith. The message was for both the people around me as well as my own mind (as I realized later).

I felt a certain empowerment and responsibility towards my faith. No one is forcing me! I choose it and if I have chosen it, it’s because I have sworn allegiance to it.

When you focus on this part, you can see your relationship with Allah clearly. You can see you are actively involved in your faith instead of having a passive mindset. And inshaAllah, it does wonders for your taqwa because you are aware you are constantly making some choices, choices that come from looking up and knowing Allah sees you, even if you don’t.

The angels are putting pen to paper every time I *do* something. It only makes sense to be aware of my free will and the responsibility of having one.

Also, it turns striving to become a better Muslim into such an experience. Give it a try.

Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself. And We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) as a Messenger to mankind, and Allah is Sufficient as a Witness. [4:79]

 

 

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Of Solidarity and Holy Seconds

I take delight in being a loner¬†but the otherwise ignored¬†magnitude of Ramadan isn’t lost on me.

Over a billion people fasting round the clock. Always the call to prayer going off, the prostrations, the raised palms, the empty hands somewhere.

The oft repeated invocations, the half remembered duas. The parched throats, sore legs from standing in prayer, the repentances, the remembrances, the recitations, the longing, the free flowing tears, the free falling egos.

Always someone down on their knees and foreheads begging for salvation. Or someone wetting their dry lips, water replaced with perspective.59e956e6f6ac4e4b1a298af663914e3a

Always the millions of those fasting whose fast is only between them and God. No one but God knows if there was a secret bite or a quick sip or the desperation and yet the sacrifice of both. Always someone hungry for food and forgiveness. Or someone holding their tongue, their eyes, their limbs, their whims.

Always the towering gratitude or the ocean deep regrets or the forgotten verses bought back to life, reverberating in now full masjids.

Always the Qur’an being recited somewhere, its¬†pages turning every minute.

The short nights, the relinquished sleep, the exhilaration, the awareness, the generosity, the charity, the feeding of the poor. Or the broken hearts being slowly healed.

Someone always lagging but not the only one to do so, someone learning the intricacies of patience, the joys of delayed gratifications, the learned control. The rows and rows of famished stomachs being replenished at the same time

The transformations, the second chances, the going back, the finding the way. Always the deeds ascending and the Light descending. Infinite.

The acute sense of our humanness, the brokenness, emptiness, the loneliness, the incompleteness, the void, the faults, the flaws, the falling, the rising, the despair. And yet always the unabridged hope. Round the clock, holy seconds ticking by ever so gently, scattering mercy.

The Prophet (saw) said “The fasting person has two occasions for joy, one when he breaks his fast because of his breaking it and the other when he meets his Lord because of the reward for his fast.‚ÄĚ (Muslim)

People united in hunger, prostration, goodness. Through ethnicities, generations, color, cultures, countries, continents, age, timezones, differences. Quietly proving God is One

May Allah accept from us. Ameen

The Most Important Call

Asalam alaikum!

Just sharing this cute video of a little American girl apparently hearing the azaan for the first time.

In many ways I feel I relate to this little girl. And may be we all will, in the way that we go through life wide eyed, following the most important of all calls and the inherent need to find the way back to our Creator.

If only we could keep our eyes open and ourselves stern enough to know that this is our most important calling and everything else just doesn’t matter..

Enjoy!

 

Islam: My Religion Of Peace

In the name of Allah, The Most Loving

Its so peaceful out here

A hurricane of rage and exasperation swirls off my mind. Feeling helpless in particular for those who don’t understand Islam, yet consider¬†themselves qualified enough to wave it off like an annoying fly. This is not a good feeling because this is how the devil rolls. Creating resentment in both sides Continue reading