A lot of us are struggling because of our overthinking… the chaos happening inside our heads (not the outside world).
Overthinking and wrong thinking are so dangerous and we need to recognise that we do these. It’s actually a very western and secular thing. I can’t remember which philosopher said “I think so I exist”.
Hmmm… no… The truth is, We exist so we think.
In Islam, we are actually required to be still and not to think about everything. For example: we are commanded to pray 5x a day and NOT think about anything except what we are doing and saying in that solah (الخشوع في الصلاه)
Islamically we also have:
Is the All-Powerful states that require you to get out of your mind and into your heart for the ultimate inner peace and contentment.
Also Read: Dalya Ayoub’s article on the Self–affirmations in Islam
There’s a fine line when it comes to thoughts that when we actually cross we harm ourselves, crash and become ill! Our human mind won’t be able to deal with this. Because our minds are not designed to think about everything…or to even understand everything. Honouring this design is honouring to oneself.
Anxiety and other challenges are related to thinking thoughts that are irrelevant to our wellbeing.
So we are not actually meant to be thinking about everything and need to be aware of our thoughts and stop ourselves when we do it… especially when overthinking about matters in the unseen (Ghaib) and future. That space is only for Allah (swt).
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For me to sit and think “what if x dies” or “what if the car crashes” is purely overthinking in a realm that is NOT mine in the first place and shouldn’t be done. It’s dangerous to one’s faith also, to think about such stuff, because these thoughts are not only your thoughts but an intervention from the shaytan who wants you to live in fear.
It’s like saying (in our heads) “I know what will happen in the future hence why I’m thinking it” (when we don’t know)… it’s weird how these thoughts can become a pattern (which the mind can believe and the body physically react to anxiety).
Also Read: 31 Positive Outcomes of Coronavirus
I recently visited a sister diagnosed with a rare type of cancer (May Allah give her complete shifa) and I asked her “if she knew 5 years ago this was happening would she have prepared for it?” And she said something profound… she said “you can’t prepare for struggles! Even if you were 100% about something happening (never) you still won’t be ready… you only deal when you have to deal with something… so thinking about this stuff is extremely irrelevant prior as it doesn’t help at all and doesn’t change anything at all!”
This was a massive life lesson for me and reminded me of what Brené Brown says: “you can’t dress rehearse tragedy”.
Thoughts that help us become better humans and live better lives are the only thoughts that we should allow in— stand guard to your mind… protect it so it doesn’t debilitate you. Use it how it’s meant to be used: to serve your Creator and serve you.
Don’t surrender to your thoughts… if you have done so in the past that’s OK. You can undo and you can unlearn that. The sahabah undid and unlearnt SO MANY difficult things when they became Muslim and knew what served them and what didn’t. Later becoming the giants they became. If they (humans) can do these massive changes, then you (human) can also unlearn the thought patterns you’ve been doing for years.
You have to believe that you can…It’s never too late… Keep on keeping on!
Dalya Ayoub is a Life Matters Academy director, community leader and educator. Life Matters Academy teaches personal development from an Islamic perspective and serves to inspire growth and change in the lives of its participants. She is a guest author on Halalop.
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