بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
We hear so often about how the Muslim community isn’t doing as well as it should be; how lots of Muslims aren’t more active in their community; how more young people should be becoming successful high-fliers; and how many Muslims are said to be living and ‘hiding away’ in ghetto-like areas of the city.
There are obviously lots of reasons for these problems but I believe that our lack of confidence is a major impediment to us reaching our goals and ultimately being the best Muslims we can be.
Being part of a minority community certainly puts us in a weak position to start with. Bullies tend to intimidate their victims by ganging up on them, as the victim is more likely to lose confidence if they are in the minority. The phrase ‘strength in numbers’ also illustrates the idea that the majority is stronger than the minority. This, however, does not mean that the Muslim community, where it is a minority, cannot be strong.
The teachings mercifully given to us by Allah (swt) give us excellent support and are key to building our confidence. If we seriously reflected upon some of these, who knows what we could achieve!
Just to mention some of these teachings:-
• Faith in Allah (swt):
This is an obvious but important one. A story which exemplifies the power faith in Allah can have is when Umaya, a merchant who owned Bilal (ra) ordered him to strike one of the Prophet’s (pbuh) companions, firmly believing that a slave would not disobey his master. But Bilal (ra) was strong in his belief in Allah. He dropped the whip Umaya had given him, and had the confidence to refuse to do as he was told. Immediately the merchant had Bilal (ra) thrown in prison, and his execution was ordered. Bilal (ra) was staked to the ground and beaten. Then heavy rocks were piled on him, to crush his body. All that could be heard by those who went near was Bilal’s (ra) deep, strong voice saying “One God, One God.”
The beautiful verse ‘… Nay, verily with me is my Lord. He will guide me.’ (Ash-Shu’raa’ 26:62) comforts us and is invaluable in building our confidence in our actions as we know that the All-Powerful is with us.
• Unity and brotherhood:
‘And hold fast, all together, by the rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves…’ (Al –E-Imran Verse 103). It’s not the quantity – it’s the quality that matters! We may be a minority in terms of numbers, but if the bonds between ourselves are strong and the quality of the relationships we have with our brothers and sisters are in accordance to our Creator’s teachings, we can be confident of the support that will be given to us from our community. We need to move beyond petty arguments and unite as brothers and sisters who believe in One God, and that Muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of God.
The knowledge that everything has already been decreed by Allah (swt) should give us great confidence. Nothing can happen without the permission of Allah, and we know that whatever happens was meant to happen. On our end, we must strive and use the means that we have, because those were given to us, and then leave the result to Allah.
• God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear, as said in the Qur’an, Surah 2, verse 286:
This verse gives us the strength to cope with difficult situations and the confidence to take them on. We know that however difficult our circumstances, Allah (swt) has given us the capability of overcoming them.
Being part of a minority can, in fact, never be an excuse not to achieve if we consider how much the first muslim community of Medinah were able to do. Their faith was kept strong and this gave them the strength and confidence to act on their beliefs, to spread the message of Islam and eventually go back the city of Makkah, from which they were first driven out.
Other ways Allah (swt) helps us to believe in ourselves are:
• Through the quranic verse ‘…any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.’ Surah Al Maeda Verse 69
• With the examples of the Muslim achievers of the Islamic golden age (dated approximately from the 9th to the 15th century). Howard R. Turner writes, “Muslim artists and scientists, princes and laborers together made a unique culture that has directly and indirectly influenced societies on every continent.”
We therefore have many reasons to be confident in ourselves as Muslims. Allah has blessed us with so much guidance and support that we should have very little problem believing in ourselves.
A quote which I read somewhere and which has since stayed with me is:
‘Not to believe in yourself is not to believe in a sign of Allah’
Most people only achieve a very small percentage of their full potential – don’t be one of them!
May Allah (swt) allow us to reflect upon the teachings of Islam, build confidence in ourselves to strengthen ourselves and our communities and be rewarded for our efforts.