Positive Begets Positive: Breaking a Negative Cycle
by Shaykh Muhammad Carr
In the Name of Allah, the Encompassingly Merciful, the Particularly Merciful. All praise belongs to Allah. May the best of blessings and most perfect of peace be upon our master Muhammad, and upon his followers, his companions, and all those guided by his teachings.
At the weekly Friday sermon (khutbah) at Masjid Al Jaamiah, South Africa, Shaykh Muhammad Carr addressed the congregation on constantly striving to maintain a positive attitude and to interrupt a negative cycle with bouts of positivity. This article is based on the session recording.
A Ray of Hope
“Though I have killed ninety-nine persons, is there a chance of repentance for me?”
In an authentic narration of the Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), there once lived a man amongst the men of Bani Israel who had murdered ninety-nine human beings. Thereafter, this murderer encounters a pious person and asks concerning his repentance despite his hideous crimes. The pious person responds that there is no possibility for repentance. The murderer, seeing no change to his situation, takes the pious man’s life and continues his journey. For the second time, he comes into contact with a pious person, repeats the question, receives a similar response and proceeds to claim another victim. As the murderer faces a third pious person, he asks again, but this time the answer is different.
“What possible barrier can be between yourself and forgiveness (tawbah)? There is no barrier. You may have killed a hundred people, but if you turn in repentance to Allah Most High, He is more than willing to forgive you.”
Creating Positivity Out of Negativity
When glaring bad habits emanate from our family, friends and colleagues, how do we treat them? Do we add fuel to the fire? According to Shaykh Muhammad Carr, the Qur’anic advice declares that when we decide to intervene, negative situations should not be remedied by increasing the gloom, but by exercising a positive interruption. With this attitude, there is hope that people will change and hope that Allah Most High will change their lives.
Beg for Forgiveness
Just as Allah chose His final Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), so too did He choose the companions (Allah be pleased with them). Allah Most High is pleased with the companions and they are pleased with Him. Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali were people of integrity and truthfulness. They were also human beings who, when erred, followed up this negative deed with a positive one; they begged for forgiveness. Allah Almighty in His wisdom revealed a beautiful positive response in the Holy Qur’an.
“We sent no messenger save that he should be obeyed by Allah’s leave. And if, when they had wronged themselves, they had but come unto thee and asked forgiveness of Allah, and asked forgiveness of the messenger, they would have found Allah Forgiving, Merciful.”
Follow Up a Bad Action with a Good Action
Our teachers often counsel us when we are supplicating, to ask the Creator to deal with us according to His justice and not according to ours. Why is that? Allah Most High says in the Qur’an:
“Good and evil could never be equal. Respond to evil with what is best.”
Shaykh Muhammad Carr explains that the verse refers to following up a bad deed with a good one. The good deed is not a numerical one, but rather Allah Most High considers it the best of actions. There is only one punishment for a bad action, but when a good action is done, rewards can range from ten to more than seven hundredfold. Hence a good action can never equate numerically to a bad action because of Allah’s bountiful mercies.
The Holy Qur’an and the Hadith have given us clear signs and examples of how to inspire people to break any negative cycles within themselves through approaches filled with hope and possibilities.
Despite the ups and downs of everyday life, Shaykh Muhammad Carr refers to the positive psychology of Islam which teaches us to always do our best. For the believers, he highlights that we should strive to be of that elite group of people whom when Allah Most High is mentioned, our hearts tremble out of awe for Him. When the verses are presented to us, our belief increases. When belief increases, positivity increases. Strengthening our faith (iman) is a sure proof method for improving the outlook on our own lives and those with whom we associate.
Shaykh Muhammad Carr
Shaykh Muhammad Carr completed Qur‘anic memorization at Dar al-Ulum Zakariyyah in 1997. He has a certificate in the Arabic language from Damascus University in Syria. He completed an Alimiyyah course at Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in 2007 in South Africa. He subsequently taught there and at Dar al-Na’im. He is one of the SeekersGuidance internal scholars.
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