Islam Requires Positivity
To utter the phrase Alhamdulillah! in a spirit of thrill, you have to forget about all negativity, you have to be free of all hate and revenge. Once, a Companion of the Prophet asked him: “O Prophet, give me a master advice by which I may be able to manage all the affairs of my life.” And the Prophet replied: “Don’t be angry.”
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
The root word of the term Islam is silm, which means peace. Islam, correctly understood, is a religion of peace. In Islam, one name of God Almighty is As-Salam, which means Peace. So, God Himself is peace and is the source of peace. In the Quran, Paradise is called Dar us-Salam or the home of peace (10:25). In the Quran, the Prophet of Islam is referred to as rahmatunlil-alamin, meaning ‘a mercy to all mankind’ (21:107).
So, this is the real picture of Islam.
I think that peace is the summumbonum, the greatest good, because peace has no limit. We all say that we want peace. We never say that we want ‘limited peace’, because peace has no limit. Peace is indispensable for every sort of progress. Without peace, you can’t do anything properly, not even walk on a street with peace of mind. All positive activities will come to a halt if there is no peace. Whether it be in religion or in secular affairs, in every sphere of life peace is essential for progress. That is why it is the summumbonum.
All the verses of the Quran have a connotation of peace, either directly or indirectly. For instance, the Quran says as-sulhkhayr, “reconciliation is best” (4:128). It means peace is best. From this teaching, some Sufis adopted the formula of sulh-e kul, which means peace with all.
The very first verse in the Quran has a connotation of peace. It says: Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil Alameen, which means “All praise is due to God, the Lord of the Universe.” (1:2) here, praising God means giving thanks to Him and acknowledging Him. When you realize that God has created you, that He has created every single thing in the universe, you feel a certain thrill. You feel that God is so very great! You are amazed thinking of the many blessings He has blessed you with, and so you want to acknowledge this by praising Him. You express this acknowledgement by saying Alhamdulillah (praise be to God!).
Now, you can truly be thankful to God for His blessings in this way only when you are at peace, only when your mind is filled with positivity. Unless your mind is free from agitation, from conflict, from negativity, you cannot truly praise God in this way. If you are living in hate and violence, you cannot say Alhamdulillah! Or maybe you could do it only as a matter of lip-service, but not from the heart. To utter the phrase Alhamdulillah! in a spirit of thrill, you have to forget about all negativity, you have to be free of all hate and revenge.
‘Alhamdulillah’ requires positivity. It requires a positive mind. It requires a positive personality. So, in such a situation, terrorism has no place in Islam. Violence and hate have no place in Islam. Islam requires positivity.
Once, a Companion of the Prophet asked him: “O Prophet, give me a master advice by which I may be able to manage all the affairs of my life.” And the Prophet replied: “Don’t be angry.”
‘Don’t be angry’ means don’t be angry even when provoked. Anger is a reaction to provocation. Without provocation, there is no anger. So, what the Prophet was teaching was that even if you are provoked, you have to try to live without anger.
Since human beings are compelled to face negativity and provocation every now and then, how can they live without anger? For that, you have to learn the art of anger management. And the art of anger management is the art of converting your anger into forgiveness. You have to be able to respond positively even in negative situations. Then only can you can live without anger.
Alhamdulillah is the gist of all the teachings of Islam, of all the forms of worship in Islam. The greatest experience for us is that we are receiving great blessings from God at every moment. God supplies us with sunlight, without which we cannot see. God supplies us with oxygen day and night, without which we would die. We need so many things just in order to survive, and God gives all of these to us without us having to pay anything for them! So, when you feel you are a blessed person, that every moment you are receiving great blessings from God, then you say Alhamdulillah! This is the greatest worship, the greatest act of Islam. You cannot say Alhamdulillah in the true spirit if you are living in hate and negativity.
So, you can say that a true momin or believer is one who lives in positivity. A believer is a positive personality in the complete sense of the term. All the Islamic requirements—kalima (reciting the Islamic creed), salat (prayer), fasting, zakat (almsgiving) and Haj—can be properly performed only if you have a positive mind. All these teachings of Islam require positivity.