Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Power of Thoughts
Uzma Mazhar
There are numerous verses in the Qur'ân that encourage us to think things through in a rational and logical manner; the significance it gives to our thoughts is a constant reminder that we must train ourselves to develop the kind of thinking that benefits us and to avoid that which harms us. Considering that we are prone to creating delusions for ourselves by giving in to our whims, desires, fears and doubts; this is a teaching worth holding on to.
Allah Ta'ala tells us that He is aware of ALL our thoughts... every single thought whether it is overt or covert, negative or positive, right or wrong, good or bad, petty or noble; even if it is hidden in the darkest recesses of our minds and hearts is known to Him.
Sûrah at Tawbah 9.78
Know they not that God knows their secret (thoughts) and their secret counsels, and that God knows well all things unseen?
‘Allah knows the secrets of the heart’ occurs in the following verses. 3.119; 3.154; 5.7; 8.43; 11.5; 42.24; 57.6; 64.4; 67.13;
The fact is that God is aware of our secret and hidden thoughts, even the ones that we ourselves may be reluctant to admit having are known to Him. Our noble thoughts we broadcast and don't mind sharing with others, but the ones that bring out our ugly and dark 'shadow' side we keep hidden from others, and most of the time even from ourselves. Allah Ta'ala is aware of these hidden secrets of the heart. This is an awe-inspiring realization!!! If we can integrate this concept in our life, really and truly believe and know that God is aware of all our thoughts, then we would, hopefully, try to become more conscious of the quality and direction of our thoughts. We would conscientiously examine our own thoughts and spend some energy in guiding and directing them.
Allah Ta'ala also tells us that not only is He aware of our thoughts but He also holds us accountable for them.
Sûrah al Baqarâh 2.284
'To God belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth. Whether you show what is in your minds or conceal it, God calls you to account for it....'
Just as Allah Ta'ala rewards us for our good intentions He holds us accountable for the negative thoughts since it is our responsibility to change them. (free-will comes with strings attached to it! ;-) This awareness is powerful enough to motivate us to develop and increase our efforts in purifying thoughts that are negative and harmful.
When the realization of God's presence and His awareness of all our inner thoughts sinks in, it is a powerful and moving experience. It puts everything into perspective. It makes us realize that since we are accountable for our thoughts and actions if these are not corrected we are the ones who will suffer the consequences of our own heedlessness.
Sûrah al 41.23
'But this thought of yours which ye did entertain concerning your Lord, hath brought you to destruction, and (now) have ye become of those utterly lost!'
Allah Ta'ala also tells us that the source of these evil or negative thoughts, feelings and desires is from the satanic influence in our nafs. Consider satanic in an abstract and comprehensive form, implying anything that separates us from our awareness of, reliance on and connection with God.
Sûrah al Nâs 114.4,5
'From the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after his whisperings)
(The same) who whispers into the hearts of Mankind.'
Sûrah Qâf 50.16
It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.
We know that human beings are given the ability to know right from wrong, to discern and with our free-will choose one of the two. For this interplay of right and wrong to unfold, the two sources of thought are positive and negative; one that guides and one that misguides. Responsible living requires we choose the one that guides and defy the one that misguides.
Allah Ta'ala then teaches us how to redirect our negative thoughts through the guidance He has sent us... and choose for our own good.
Sûrah al A'râf 7.201
' Those who fear God, when a thought of evil from Satan assaults them, bring God to remembrance, then they see (aright)!'
Sûrah an Nâzi'ât 79.40
'And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord's (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires...'
A willingness and a desire to know and follow the right path, despite the illusive desires that want us to believe something different from the truth, is necessary for our own self. We should be objective and rational enough that it should take us beyond our limitations, prejudices, stubbornness and whims.
Sûrah al An'âm 6.104
Now have come to you, from your Lord, proofs (to open your eyes): if any will see, it will be for (the good of) his own soul; if any will be blind, it will be to his own (harm): I am not (here) to watch over your doings.'
Sûrah az Zumar 39.41
'Verily We have revealed the Book to thee in Truth, for (instructing) mankind. He, then that receives guidance benefits his own soul: but he that strays injures his own soul. Nor art thou set over them to dispose of their affairs.'
This focus on taking guidance, purifying the soul or tazkîyah helps one develop sincerity of thoughts and actions, which is an integral part of Islâm. The 'Zâhir' (external/apparent) and the 'Bâtin' (internal/hidden) must be equally sound and pure... God doesn't buy any of this 'political correctness' thing. ;-) None of this 'say the right thing but do whatever when His back is turned' thinking works. Without sincerity of thoughts one cannot have right action.
Sûrah ash Shams 91.7-10
By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it;
And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;
Truly he succeeds that purifies it,
And he fails that corrupts it!

© September 2004 Uzma Mazhar

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