23 January 2018 / 5. Jamaad-Ul-Awwal 1439

Posted by assistantwebmaster on October 20, 2016

Impact of the thought process on daily life with Zakira Tahera Kassamali

Zakira Tahera Kassamali is one of the most learned female scholars of the community. She studied in Khum for many years, and has since been self-studying to a very high level. She is not only a role model to muslim women, but also to mothers and grandmothers.

 

Who we are and how we lead our lives entirely depends on your inner thoughts. It tells us that there is an amazing power in us that can change the way that we look at life. The idea is that if we can change the way that we perceive ideas and thoughts, we can reach a really high status. This is why Islam so highly emphasises Tafakkur (thinking).

 

Conscious reflective thinking, controlling and disciplining our minds is extremely important in changing our quality of life and relationships, as well as in understanding who we really are.

 

What is a thought? 

1. An idea in our head. However, is that idea always true? What are our ideas based on?

Our perception of things depends on our pasts and memories. We have a lot of baggage that we carry, and most of our thoughts are based on that past baggage and experiences. However, each of us carries such different baggage that our perceptions may not be the same, which can be the cause of conflict; some people aren’t willing to accept that the thoughts of people have causes.

 

2. A thought is an idea, plan, opinion, picture etc. that is formed in your mind.

Sometimes we should empty our minds and put a stop to the inner voice creating thoughts in our head. We should watch the thoughts that are coming in, and stop any negative thoughts from coming into our mind. Think of your mind as a garden, and negative thoughts as pests. In order to keep your garden beautiful and pure, you have to make sure to stop any pests from getting into the garden.

 

We all seem to think that we are our thoughts, however we’re not. We need to take our thoughts and look at them as an outsider to filter out the bad thoughts from coming into our mind. We can do this through practice.

 

3. Thoughts create insight

 

4. Imam Ali (AS) said that there is no worship like thinking. We all have physical bodies that god has created as a shell for our souls, however how does our body gain contact with our soul? Through thinking. Thinking therefore allows us to gain an insight, and using our thoughts we can better ourselves, mind and body.

 

There are so many hadith that emphasise thinking as it can change us to become better people.

Every action that we take is formed by a thought. When we keep thinking a thought it becomes an emotion, and when we indulge in that emotion and let it come over us then we end up acting according to that emotion. It’s all linked. Therefore, to stop a negative action, we need to stop it at it’s root: stop the negative thought.

 

We all carry a lot of baggage, and we need to understand this, and that it’s going to have an impact on us and how we deal with other people and our surroundings. However, we must be aware and alert at all times, and we must counter our baggage to give people the benefit of the doubt, and enter positive.

 

To stop bad thoughts we should:

. Recognise the baggage that’s coming in with us

. Counter the negative thoughts

 

A thought can have a lot of power of us if we allow it, however those thoughts won’t produce negative emotions if countered.

 

Thoughts have an impact on:

- Perceptions

We all have different baggage, and so have a different perception to life. A believer will always think of excuses to be positive to a situation, no matter the baggage he carries relating to it.

 

“O Allah, show me things the way they are” - Holy Prophet.

 

- Problems: creating and solving

We can create problems from thoughts by overthinking them, independent of how trivial the matter may be.

 

- Decision making

The more that we think about decisions, the less able we are to make that decision. Once that decision is made, we shouldn’t dwell on it or look back on it, as we have already made that decision based on certain ideas, and trusted in God with that decision. We shouldn’t then go back and backtrack our decision.

 

- Positive/Negative outlook on life

Our outlook on life is all to do with our thoughts. We take our thoughts too seriously sometimes, so instead we should think more positively and see what happens. The good that comes out of us will come back to us; we will have a more pleasant and harmonious atmosphere in our home and a better relationship with our family.

 

However, where do you draw the line? Can you really stop your thoughts? It’s hard, especially to recognise. Islam says that thinking about the right thing is emphasised: thinking about progress towards Allah, thinking about others etc. These types of thoughts are recommended, however thoughts such as overthinking decisions aren’t recommended.

 

Anger shuts down your brain and proper thinking- it’s like an intoxication. Imam Ali (AS) says that a sane person will regret after anger. To counter this, we stop even the thought of anger before we experience the emotion. It is like a disease; if we’re alert we can recognise it before it affects our actions. We should try to excuse people and their actions, and try to be grateful for everything rather than jumping to conclusions.

 

If you’re thinking bad thoughts about someone, make sure that person is paying the rent to stay in your brain. If not, kick them out.

 

 

Group activity:

1. What are the thoughts conveyed in the verse?

2. What are the sources of the thoughts?

3. How could this be countered, if necessary?

4. Apply this to a present day situation that could occur in our lives.

 

 

5:28  لَئِن بَسَطتَ إِلَيَّ يَدَكَ لِتَقْتُلَنِي مَا أَنَا بِبَاسِطٍ يَدِيَ إِلَيْكَ لِأَقْتُلَكَ ۖ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“If you should raise your hand against me to kill me - I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah , Lord of the worlds.”

1. Forgiveness and revenge. The fear and mercy of Allah which highlights his magnanimity and that God is bigger than thoughts. We should always think of the consequences of our actions.

2. Jumping to conclusions, and how you perceive situations. 

3. If you do think bad thoughts, you should look to see the bigger picture and rise above.

4. Any situation where you react to anger, or to someone who has wronged you in any way.

 

12:8  إِذْ قَالُوا لَيُوسُفُ وَأَخُوهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَىٰ أَبِينَا مِنَّا وَنَحْنُ عُصْبَةٌ إِنَّ أَبَانَا لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ

“When they said, "Joseph and his brother are more beloved to our father than we, while we are a clan. Indeed, our father is in clear error.”

1. Strength is equal to worthiness in the eyes of the brothers. They believe their father is wrong.

2. Due to their difference in perception, and difference in past relationships and presumptions of worthiness.

3. Given the benefit of the doubt, and looked at from different eyes. 

4. Generally any situation where people make assumptions based on what they know.

 

11.27  فَقَالَ الْمَلَأُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن قَوْمِهِ مَا نَرَاكَ إِلَّا بَشَرًا مِّثْلَنَا وَمَا نَرَاكَ اتَّبَعَكَ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ هُمْ أَرَاذِلُنَا بَادِيَ الرَّأْيِ وَمَا نَرَىٰ لَكُمْ عَلَيْنَا مِن فَضْلٍ بَلْ نَظُنُّكُمْ كَاذِبِينَ

“So the eminent among those who disbelieved from his people said, " We do not see you but as a man like ourselves, and we do not see you followed except by those who are the lowest of us [and] at first suggestion. And we do not see in you over us any merit; rather, we think you are liars.””

1. Arrogance and contempt in the way they treat the prophet. Trying to protect themselves by saying the prophet isn’t worthy.

2. Due to culture and their beliefs that have to change if they accept the prophet. People don’t wan’t to accept what they don’t perceive to be right.

3. Be more open minded, and listen to the perception, views and argument from another.

4. Applies to any new situation or relationship where there is a new way of thinking.

 

19:46  قَالَ أَرَاغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ ۖ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْجُمَنَّكَ ۖ وَاهْجُرْنِي مَلِيًّا

“[His father] said, "Have you no desire for my gods, O Abraham? If you do not desist, I will surely stone you, so avoid me a prolonged time.””

1. Negative thoughts, not listening and discussing.

2. Close mindedness and a fear of change- linked to perception of past.

3. Put yourself in the other persons shoes and have an open mind. Don’t be stubborn.

4. Many times where people have different opinions to others and reject their thoughts because of it.

 

26:18  قَالَ أَلَمْ نُرَبِّكَ فِينَا وَلِيدًا وَلَبِثْتَ فِينَا مِنْ عُمُرِكَ سِنِينَ

“[Pharaoh] said, "Did we not raise you among us as a child, and you remained among us for years of your life?””

1. Thoughts of anger, and that prophet Musa was being ungrateful. Expectation of return, and pride.

2. Expectation of return

3. Find out the reason behind other people’s actions, it may not be what you perceive it to be.

4. A parent with a child, where they don’t follow the path you want them to take and you’re unhappy as you’ve done so much for them and you expect in return.

 

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