Saturday, November 22, 2014

More on Finding Inner Peace

Get rid of anxiety now

To find peace, we need to stop worrying about tomorrow.

Do your best effort then be content with what God chooses for you.

Ask Him for help and guidance, and be pleased and content with whatever happens in the future.

With this attitude, you will find more inner peace, and when anxiety has gone, it will be replaced with contentment.

Peace and best wishes.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Inner Peace After Ramadan

The feeling of peace we felt in Ramadan can easily continue after Ramadan

To do that, we need to continue what we did during 30 days and nights, praying extra prayers, reading more Qur'an, doing more good deeds and having a daily spiritual retreat with Allah.

Keep your heart attached to God, be God-conscious and continue on His Path

Continue asking Him for help and guidance, and always remember that His doors are wide open

If you are really searching for peace, continue your journey on His Straight Path till you meet Him in the Hereafter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Finding Peace in a Turbulent World (Part 2)

Self-Development & The Impact of Faith on Inner Peace

A believer's inner feelings towards life, like contentment, patience and thankfulness, are crucial for finding inner peace.

Part 1 of this article listed a number of reminders for dealing with the practical side of life and increasing in inner peace when dealing with the external environment.

The second part of the article highlights the positive impact of faith on inner peace, with reflections on how a Muslim increases in peace through self-development and a stronger faith.

1- Sincere Intentions
The key for any good deed in Islam is having a pure intention, and being sincere for the sake of Allah. Sincerity in dealing with other people is very important, but it is even more important in a believer's relation with God. Sincerity of intention is the basis of how our actions will be judged by Allah, as only God knows our true intentions. God only accepts sincere actions which are purely for His sake, and these are the ones which bring us closer to Him and increase us in inner peace. Anything we do or say to show-off, (like showing-off knowledge, generosity, prayers, piety, … etc), will be rejected on the Day of Judgment, and won't bring real benefit, neither to our level of faith, nor to our feeling of peace.

As no one is perfect, we can all make an effort to improve and refine our intentions, and get rid of any hypocrisy we may have in our hearts, in order to increase in faith and come closer to Allah. Remember that God sees each thing we do and hears each word we say and knows what is in our hearts, so don't even try to mix good intentions with bad ones, if you are searching for peace. Only sincere deeds will be accepted.

2- Seek Knowledge
Seeking knowledge is a high priority in Islam, for a number of reasons. On one hand it helps a Muslim understand the divine Guidance God has revealed for us to live a happy life here and in the hereafter. Getting to know Allah makes a believer come closer to Him, and this increases faith and inner peace.

On the other hand, knowledge helps us deal with doubts which Satan, our worst enemy, tries to whisper to us in order to make us deviate from the Straight Path of Allah. Satan has two main avenues to deviate the sons of Adam, either through doubts or through unlawful desires. By gaining knowledge, a Muslim can clear all doubts and refute all suspicious matters he may come across, thereby reaching peace of mind and a stronger faith.

But seeking knowledge also has other important benefits, as Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said:

"When a group of people assemble for the remembrance of Allah, the angels surround them (with their wings), (Allah's) mercy envelops them, sakinah, or tranquility descends upon them and Allah makes a mention of them before those who are near Him.'' (Hadith in Sahih Muslim)

When angels descend and surround people with their wings, a deep feeling of peace fills the hearts of believers, a feeling which is difficult to describe and can only be experienced. This tranquility makes one feel inner peace and contentment, and somehow all worries disappear. This feeling may not last for long, as once one is out of the mosque and on the street we have to face real life again with all its problems and worries, but going to the mosque on a regular basis and attending gatherings where the Qur'an is recited and Allah's name is mentioned helps one charge the spiritual batteries, and increase in peace.

3- Remember Allah
In order for the feeling of peace and tranquility to continue after leaving the mosque, a believer continues remembering Allah throughout the day and the rest of the week, by reading the Qur'an, praying at night when other people are asleep, and praising Allah especially before sunrise and before sunset.

A strong faith leads a believer to love Allah, his Creator, and when he loves Allah he remembers Him all, or most, of the time, when free and also when busy, when working and when resting, at all times of the day and night. And this continuous remembrance brings peace to the heart, as Allah describes it in the Qur'an: (with the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace) (13:28)

4- Remember the Hereafter
Nobody lives for ever, and remembering that this life is a transition, like a bridge we walk over to go from one side of the river to the other, is an important wake up call when one is too occupied with worldly matters.This is an important reminder that helps self-development, as remembering the Hereafter, is one of the six articles of faith. This world is a transition, so don't be fooled by its glitter, and don't be attached to its material aspects. Wealth, fame, power, beauty, cars, houses, ... etc. are the glitter of this world. A wise believer deals with these worldly matters with caution, making sure to be in control of them, and not allowing them to take over one's life.

If the love of these worldly matters take control of your heart, you will not have room left for the love of God. Money comes and goes, power comes and goes, so do all of the rest of these worldly matters. What really counts is faith and being close to God which leads to peace of mind, contentment and inner peace.

Remember also that all your deeds are recorded, so have taqwa (piety), and know that you will be held accountable for them on the Day of Judgment.

(So whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it. And whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it.) (99:7-8)

It is part of human nature to forget that we are on a journey to the Hereafter, but when we remember we come closer to God, and this reminder helps us regain the right balance and find inner peace.

5- Be Patient
The past can't be changed, no one knows the future, the length of your life and sustenance has already been decided, … so submit to the will of God. Life has its ups and downs so be patient.

Patience is an important virtue which God loves, and is mentioned in the Qur'an in many verses. When faced with hardships, a believer should be patient and have faith in that all what happens in this life is by Allah's decree. Belief in qadar (measured destiny) is one of the important six articles of faith, and has a strong impact on how a believer acts in life, as Allah (SWT) said: (Say, "Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector." And upon Allah let the believers rely.) (At-Tawbah, 9:51)

With this knowledge and certitude, a Muslim is patient and content with what Allah has decreed, knowing that after hardships come times of ease, as Allah promised in the Quran (For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.) (Ash-Sharh, 94:5-6)
So if you go through a difficult time, like illness for example, remember that in addition to the hardship itself there is an opportunity to strengthen your faith and to come closer to God, which means a higher level of inner peace.

6- Avoid Sins & When you Sin Repent Immediately
No one is sinless, and all people make mistakes, some are intentional sins and others not intentional. God loves those who repent when they sin.

A quick return to God's Path after sinning is very important, as delaying repentance makes it more difficult, as illustrated by this example:

When you finish a meal, if you immediately rinse the plates, they will be much easier to wash compared to say leaving them till the following day. Same here, repenting straight after a sin makes the return to God's Path much easier, and this makes the level of faith and closeness to God remain reasonably stable, which leads a believer to not lose his/her level of inner peace. Following a sin with a good deed for the sake of Allah helps erase it, as advised by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

7- Control Wealth and Don't Let it Control You
A believer finds inner peace from within, i.e. from the tranquility of his/her soul, not from external factors

A believer has faith that God is The Provider (Al-Razzak). He provides for all His creatures, and our provision (rizk) is part of our destiny which is determined before we were born

What a believer is required to do is make his/her best effort to earn a lawful living, and part of a strong faith is to be certain that we will not earn more than what is written for us, and that at the same time nobody can take away what Allah has granted.

Based on this certitude, a believer controls wealth and does not let it control his life. Wealth and its love should therefore never be inside the heart, only in our hands (i.e. in our control). If it increases, we should not rejoice and if it decreases we should not be sad.

Accepting destiny (after doing one's best) is an important factor for finding inner peace and tranquility, so don't panic if your wealth decreases, and ask Allah for all your needs, He will answer you.

8- Be Thankful
Satisfaction is achieved when one is pleased with what Allah has ordained. When one distances himself from wanting what people have, and submits to the will of Allah, they will achieve pure satisfaction. Remember this hadith: "Whoever spends his night safely in his home, with a healthy body and enough provision for his day, it is as if he has gained the world in its entirety"

Every time I read or listen to this hadith and think of its words for a few moments, a feeling of peace enters the heart. There are many people around the world who are deprived of shelter, food, security and health, and we should be thankful for what we have.

What else does one really need from this world other than these three basics: security, health and provision? Thinking of what may or may not happen next year, or even next month, and worrying about it is not a wise position for a believer to take. Why?

First of all we don't know for sure whether we will be around next year. So why worry about something which may not be valid?

Second: A believer knows that God is The Provider. He will provide next year (if we are still here) as He has provided this year. Provision may be more or may be less, but at the end we trust that God will provide.

Third: As for good health, that is something beyond us. We thank God for the health He has bestowed on us, and we ask Him to cure us if we are not well. After a certain age however, we know that it is normal for our general health condition to gradually decline till we reach old age. That is life: all creatures start young, mature then get old. We can't reverse the clock and we accept it as part of our journey in this life. So the best approach is to take this phase in life wisely without complaint, if we want to be content. Being content is an important key for inner peace, and we should thank God for what we have.

9- Do Your Best to be Among Those Whom Allah Loves
In order to find true happiness and inner peace, be one of those God loves, whom He mentioned in the Qur'an.

God loves those who are patient, those who are just, those who trust in Him and those who do good and those who seek perfection in their deeds. He also loves those who purify themselves, and those who repent to Him and have taqwa (piety) in their hearts.

By doing one's best to acquire these qualities, a believer comes closer to God through the door of love, and this is the highest level of inner peace.

Some Muslim scholars describe this stage as Paradise on earth.

Part 3 will look more closely at a believer's relation with Allah ...

(To be continued In-Shaa-Allah ...)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finding Peace in a Turbulent World (Part 1)

The Practical Side of Daily Life and Inner Peace

In the turbulent world of the 21st. century, it is not easy for many people to find peace. Conflicts, protests, struggles and human tragedies are spread around the world, and most of humanity, especially since the start of the global financial crisis in 2007, are living in a state of economic fear and instability.

What will happen tomorrow? Nobody knows.

In this environment where external peace is difficult to find, a Muslim can at least focus on searching for inner peace. There are many elements needed to reach a state of inner peace (al-nafs al-mutma'inna – the reassured soul – mentioned in the Qur'an), and knowing the main ingredients required for finding peace makes it easier to reach the right destination.

So what are the main ingredients of inner peace?

1- As regards day-to-day life, finding peace of mind is an important key for reaching a state of inner peace, and this involves many practical details such as lowering expectations of this worldly life, living a sustainable life free of debt and therefore free of worries, and other matters to be detailed.

2- A believer's attitude towards life, such as patience, and inner feelings, like thankfulness and contentment, are crucial for finding inner peace.

3- One's relation with Allah, trusting Him, and doing one's best to come closer to Him, are all required elements for finding peace, as at the end of the day, as mentioned in the Qur'an, (with the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace) (13:28)

The Practical Side of Daily Life

Part 1 gives ten suggestions for finding inner peace, and starts with the following question:

What are the most important worries the majority of people have in their daily lives?

People have many worries, including debts, finding good friends, dealing with other people, and sometimes losing temper, injustice, not having enough time, too much work, worrying about the future, dealing with life's problems, and in general being dissatisfied with what they have.

Each of these worries has a remedy, and the following ideas are reminders that aim to help us find inner peace and tranquility.

1) Get Out of Debt
One of the main concerns most people have is being in debt and being worried about how to pay the next due payment, whether for credit card debts, bank loans, or similar obligations. The consumer society of today encourages us day and night to buy products, many of which we don't really need, and through aggressive marketing campaigns a lot of people find themselves gradually going into increasing levels of debts, month after month, and year after year.

Being caught in the debt trap takes away part of a person's freedom, and when this happens one finds that there are too many debts to repay, and that monthly expenses no longer balance with monthly income. At this stage, one's peace of mind totally evaporates, as worries turn into being a nightmare, and may reach the point described in this hadith “When a man gets into debt, he speak and tells lies, and he makes a promise and breaks it.” So the first important advice is don't get into debt.

2) Keep Good Company
Meeting friends and relatives on social occasions and during weekends and holidays gives an important dimension to our social lives. By sharing and caring, one gets away from the daily routine of work and study and is linked to a wider circle of people one loves.

But be careful. A good friend no doubt helps his friend on the path towards Allah, and vice versa. So be very careful who you take as a close friend. The best friend is the one who reminds you of God when you forget, and encourages you to do good to others and live a decent life that pleases Allah. Keeping away from bad friends and company is therefore very important for finding inner peace.

3) Do Good to Others and Deal Kindly with People
We live in an age where most people don't have time for others, and where violence, crime and selfishness prevail in many locations on our planet. In such an environment it is not easy to be unaffected, as what people around us do has a direct and indirect impact on our lives. In any case, as a Muslim it's important to maintain good manners and to deal with people in a kind way, even those who are hostile towards us. This needs a lot of patience, but God loves those who are patient.

Doing good to others is a high priority to please Allah (SWT). A good deed brings light both to the heart and to the face. Doing good deeds results in being blessed in one's sustenance, and the hearts of people are naturally attracted to the doer of good.

4) Don't Get Angry
Another important ingredient for inner peace is to be patient with people and to avoid anger and negative feelings. Anger takes away part of our feeling of peace, and often makes a person act in an irresponsible way. Allah praised in the Qur'an those who are patient, and those who are able to control themselves and suppress their anger and forgive others. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was a very calm person, and he always advised his companions not to get angry.
If you do feel yourself on the verge of anger, try to make wudu' (ablution), or if you are standing sit down and seek refuge from shaytan (Satan). When a person gets angry, Satan has a strong impact on him, as anger takes away part of one's good manners and one's sensible way of reasoning. So if you are searching for peace, do your best to be calm and patient

5) Forgive and Don't be Unjust
Taking patience in dealing with people one step further, do your best to forgive and never be unjust. The path of injustice is a path which takes a person away from God. If you are searching for inner peace, forgive and overlook people's mistakes, and don't take revenge for your personal satisfaction. Be patient and fair, and Allah will love you, bring you closer to Him and increase you in inner peace.

6) Slow Down and Don't Overload Yourself with Responsibilities
We all have responsibilities in life, and in the modern world of today life gets more complicated each year, with more speed, new and faster technologies, and more stress all the time for most people. In such an environment one needs to find the right balance in order to live a life of peace, and taking on too many responsibilities is often counter-productive

Try to reduce your daily load till you reach the right balance, and don't be in a hurry, as it's best to do a small number of tasks well than doing too many under stress and without perfection. Remember, this life is a mere transition, and we won't take our wealth with us to the Hereafter, so live a balanced life if you are searching for peace.

Sometimes we go through weeks and months when we are running most of the day, either due to a high work load or too many engagements and matters to attend to, or both. When life gets too busy and you can't find peace, try to slow down a bit. Driving when you are relaxed and not in a hurry is very different from driving when you are in a hurry and pressed for time. The same applies to all other life activities: walking to the train with serenity is not like running to catch that train. All these details accumulate and at the end of the day one ends up either stressed or at peace. So try to slow down if you are searching for peace, it will certainly help.

7) Take Time Off
Take time off when you need it. After a busy time at work or studies for exams, it's important to take some time off to recharge the batteries; both spiritual and physical. Taking time off gives a chance for reflection and deep thinking, a chance to refresh one's ideas and clear pending matters. Time off also allows for contemplation and being closer to God, the only real source of peace.

8) Take Life One Day at a Time
Sometimes we feel like there are so many problems to deal with this week, next month or next year, but we forget that each problem has a solution, and that we don't cross our bridges till we get there. When feeling stress due to future problems, it is a wise thing to unwind by taking it one day at a time. Yes, one should plan ahead and do one's best, but at the end of the day it is Allah who decides, so we need to ask Him to guide us to what is best for us in this world and in the Hereafter.

9) Look at the Positive Side of Life
Being positive most of the time is one of the ways which leads to inner peace. Each event we experience has its positive and negative sides. Sometimes the positives are greater than the negatives, and in some cases it's the other way round. Even when a believer experiences a negative event, he/she is advised to look at its bright or positive side, as only focusing on the negative side leads a person to losing hope.

We must remember that there is always hope, and even if we can't immediately understand the positive side of the matter we face, it is there, and by thinking and reflecting we can benefit from lessons learned, even after weeks or months, and gain more experience. So be positive and patient if you are searching for peace

10) Be Content and Satisfied
Even if the external environment is bitter or hard, a content believer would still be happy.


Because happiness comes from the heart, it comes from the inside. If the external factors are good, this would help increase happiness, but if they are unfavorable if one is content one would still be happy. If you are searching for real happiness, not temporary pleasures, start by refining your heart and coming closer to God, and when you become content with what God has provided you and the many blessings you have you will find inner peace. An important way to achieve that is to lower expectations regarding worldly matters, and to remember those who have less than you and thank God for His bounties.

Part 2 will look at a believer's attitude to life, and elaborate on the last point above, how to be content and find inner peace ...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Social Justice and the Banking System

Social Justice and the Banking System

Social justice in society is a must, as without justice people become insecure and society eventually declines.
The problem with the current global economy is that it makes the rich richer, and the poor poorer, which is an unsustainable situation on the long run.

The current interest-based banking system does not help, as it is designed in an unfair way as it is tilted in favor of the owners of capital.

In order to achieve social justice, one of the important elements which need to be adjusted is the banking system, in order to give all parties in business a fair chance of making a profit. This adjustment would make the system a win-win system, instead of it being a win-lose system for the majority of people.

The key change needed is to move it from being an interest-based financial system to it being an equity-based financial system, where the banks provide finance to new business ventures as equal partners with entrepreneurs.

More on social justice to follow in due course

Friday, November 12, 2010

Be Content

Be Content with what You Have

Be content with the job you have, your car, family, house, ... and you will find that your heart will be at peace

This does not mean you should not do your best to improve, but means that after doing your best, be pleased with the outcome

This feeling of content and gratitude leads to peace of mind, as Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: (Be contented with what Allah has apportioned for you and you will be the richest of people).

He also said: (Richesness is the richesness of the soul)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Inner Peace

How to Find Inner Peace?

In the modern world of today, it's not easy to find inner peace, as we are most of the time running from one place to the other, under pressure most of the time at work and in the traffic ... etc, with many worries and anxieties about the future

So how does one get out of this vicious circle?

The only way out, from a Muslim perspective, is through faith and trust in Allah. He is The Creator and He knows what is good for us, so seeking His help and guidance is the answer, and remembering Him day and night is what brings peace to the heart.

There is no other answer ...