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Picking the Positive

Listen Here: “Picking the Positive” by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم  had a manner of treating people so that everyone around him felt like they were the most special person. Many companions thought they were as good as Hazrat Abu Bakr or Hazrat Umar (ra) because of the special treatment the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم gave them. In all of his actions, the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم exuded a positivity that transformed those around him.

Shaykh Husain relates a story of his teacher, Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad. He tells us that he observed a student come to Shaykh Zulfiqar and say that he is a student of knowledge and then list twenty deficiencies within himself ( i.e. I don’t study, I don’t pray on time, I barely read Quran etc.). Shaykh Zulfiqar patiently listens and makes sure the student has said everything he wanted to say. He then says, “When the general gets sick the whole army gets very concerned, but when a soldier gets sick it’s not such a big deal.” This means, by becoming a student of the deen, you are training yourself to be a general. Since you will be a leader in the community, Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ will make your cure very rapid and make sure that you’re cured because other people are dependent on you. Shaykh Zulfiqar basically just took the one positive (being a student of knowledge) amidst all the negativity and focused in on it. The student went on to finish his studies and become a scholar.

The positive is what the deen emphasizes. On the Day of Judgment, Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ will find an iota of good in a person and then use it as an excuse to forgive him. Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ has made it so that one prayer washes away the sins from the previous prayer, one month of Ramadan washes away sins from the whole year, and subhan’Allah Hajj wipes away everything. This is Allah picking the positive; He is taking our one miniscule good deed and highlighting it.

Just look at the famous hadith of the woman who took water out of a well and fed it to a dog. She was a prostitute, and just based on this one good deed Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ rewarded her and forgave her. Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ is basically using a scanner to scan through our lives and find one positive thing to use as an excuse to forgive us.

It is our deepest desire that Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ deal with us positively, we want, we need, Allah to overlook all the incomprehensible sins we commit. We don’t want Him to focus on our sins, we want to Him to pick out some positive deed, albeit minimal, albeit very limited, albeit very difficult to find, and use it as an excuse to enter us in to Jannah. Even if we spent our entire lives in prayer, it still wouldn’t be a fair exchange for an eternity in Jannah. And we want to enter Jannah with our minimal deeds! It is only through the mercy of Allah and Him just overlooking our negatives that we enter Jannah.

If you recognize the need for Allah to deal with you positively on that day, then you have to recognize that the mechanism in which you attract that positivity is to deal with others positively. If you can’t do that, then you’re gone. Look at the example of Abu Lahab, he must have had some good in him, he gave water to pilgrims, he gave charity, but when it came to be being positive with Prophetﷺ he was so negative, so negative, that it sealed his fate.

Anytime you deal with anyone, always pick the positive out of the situation. What is the secret to marriage? It is to accept the deficiency of a human being and to find something positive within him or her. When you put two imperfect people together, their imperfections get compounded; they are mirrors to each other. If you overlook mistakes, find the positive, and learn to expound and magnify it, then the rest will just dissipate. The same applies to every relationship, a little bit of positive reinforcement goes a very long way.

The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم was a master of positivity because he was a reflection of the deen, and the deen is a master of this. Even though he underwent such difficulties, war, poverty, etc, they were still happy. If we want happiness in our lives, in our homes, in our community, we have to be positive. We are dependent on being positive because we want Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ to be positive with us and we want happiness in our lives and all that depends on our attitude.

My thoughts: I don’t know how many Muslims realize that being a positive person in general is the sunnah. Being encouraging, happy, making people feel special are all essences of the Prophet’s صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم character. Subhan’Allah when you think of the Prophet’s character, your heart just melts! How could one man do everything so beautifully?  Of course thinking about his character makes you reflect on the perfection of this deen and ultimately Allah سبحانه و تعالى. We definitely want Allah’s سبحانه و تعالى merciful treatment on that day. And what a beautiful scheme He created, that if we’re kind, He’ll be kind, if we’re merciful, He’ll be merciful, if we forgive, He’ll forgive.

P.S. If you type in “I don’t pray on time” in Microsoft Word, it wants to change pray into pay. As if prayer couldn’t have a specific time!  If only you knew, poor Word.

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  1. June 10, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Salaam Sister. Are you a student of Shaykh Husain? He is a wonderful and gifted scholar mA.

    You stated above, “Anytime you deal with anyone, always pick the positive out of the situation. What is the secret to marriage? It is to accept the deficiency of a human being and to find something positive within him or her. When you put two imperfect people together, their imperfections get compounded; they are mirrors to each other. If you overlook mistakes, find the positive and learn to expound and magnify it, then the rest will just dissipate. The same applies to every relationship, a little bit of positive reinforcement goes a very long way.”

    Are these your words or his? I would like to use them on my blog as well.

    Jzk. Keep up the great work.

    • June 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      Wa-alaikumu’salaam wa rahmatullah sister,

      That’s definitely true but no I’m not a student of Shaykh Husain. The notes are not a transcript, they’re not his verbatim words, they’re just my notes, so sometimes I paraphrase and sometimes it’s a direct quote that I don’t put in quotes. Nothing in the notes are from my thoughts. So that quote isn’t exactly word for word what he said but it’s really close. You should definitely use it on your blog and attribute it to Shaykh Husain, but just add in that it’s not an exact quote.

      And, I really like your blog, can’t wait to read the next post!

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