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Being at peace with yourself: Psychological Approach towards Acceptance and Serenity


Imagine what your reaction would be if you saw your Muslim brother or sister verbally and physically abusing another Muslim that was feeling very depressed for making a mistake?

What if you heard them yelling, “ YOU STUPID IDIOT…..can’t you do anything right? Then punching him and saying, “YOU’RE ALWAYS MESSING UP!”  As he  tries  to catch his breath, he kicks him and says , “You are so WORTHLESS!”

Your heart would be overflowing with sympathy for the one oppressed and with absolute rage at the oppressor. The natural response would be to protect the oppressed, help him up  and tend to his wounds.  You would comfort him by explaining that we all make mistakes and we can always change.  As your nurturing slowly takes effect, your anger would be directed at the cruel, heartless person standing before you.  That person could be yourself.

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This is the way we usually react towards ourselves when we make mistakes and when we fall short of our expectations.  We beat ourselves up with abusive language which causes scars that last much longer than physical scars.  Negativity and hostility envelops us and we repeatedly kick ourselves until we are immobilized.  How is it that we were so sensitive and understanding towards our Muslim brother or sister yet we can’t tolerate the smallest mistakes from ourselves?  Why is it so easy to see the abuse of others and yet we are so blinded by the abuse we commit to ourselves on a daily basis?

There are many times when we may not feel good about ourselves.  It could be that we feel disappointed from repeatedly falling into the same error or extremely frustrated that we are not fulfilling our duties.  Sometimes we are not content with our personality – we may feel caged in by our shyness or out of control by our anger.  If it is not frustration or disappointment we are feeling, then it’s anxiety.  Many people suffer from anxiety which stems from fear of the future or fear of the unknown.   Whatever the circumstances may be, the reactions are usually the same.  We demoralize ourselves with negative self-talk which leaves us feeling miserable and hopeless.  Each time we make a mistake we are harsher and more severe which leaves us feeling more depressed and less peaceful.

This pattern has got to STOP.  We need to explore the many things that destroy our peace and techniques to use in order to gain that peace back.

Peace Slayers:

Dwelling Over The Past

There are times when people can’t forgive themselves for mistakes of the past.  It could be due to hurtful things they have said or done.  They spend all their time regretting the mistakes they have made. Some people can’t forgive the mistakes of others. Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the misguided. Surat Al-Araf 7:199  They have somehow been wronged either by their parents, spouse, relative, friend or complete strangers and they can’t go beyond this incident.  They end up clinging on to grudges and  they vow to never forgive the perpetrator. Living in the past prevents you from enjoying the blessings of the present.  By dwelling on the past and not being able to overlook the mistakes of themselves or others, they will rob themselves of the serenity they deserve.

2. Anxious About The Future

There are people who spend every waking moment worrying about the future. “Verily, We have created man in toil (a state of struggle and stress).” Surat Al-Balad 90:4 When will I get married?  Will I have kids? Will I pass my exam?  Am I going to get a job?  How will my kids turn out?  How will I pay for their tuition? Am I going to get sick or get a disease? What will happen when I retire?  The worries go on and on with no end in sight.  This constant preoccupation with the future makes them miss out on all the wonderful events of the present.

3. Comparing

Another way that people destroy their peace is by comparing themselves to others.  They look at the polished exterior of others and feel inadequate about themselves, their spouse and their children since they are aware of all their own flaws and shortcomings. Each person is a package deal so accept the whole package.  You may be admiring a person’s good looks not knowing how their heart is diseased. The wealth and possessions of others may impress you when you are unaware of the tests they may be encountering. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others that He may test you in that which He has bestowed on you.  Surat Al-An’am 6:165   Look not with your eyes ambitiously at what We have bestowed on certain classes, nor grieve over them. Surat Al-Hijr 15:88 Each time we compare, we are left feeling unhappy and anxious, depriving ourselves from being aware of all the wonderful things  in our lives.


The only time it is recommended to compare is when it has a positive impact on our lives.  We can compare ourselves to people more knowledgeable or more charitable in order to get us inspired to be a better person. Narrated by Abu Hurairah the Prophet (peace and salat upon him) said, “Do not wish to be like anyone except two men:  A man whom Allah has taught the Quran and he recites it during the day and night and a man whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it on charity.  Another permissible comparison is looking at people who are much worse off than us in wealth and health.  By doing this we instantly feel grateful and pacified.

4. Rejecting your destiny

The worst way of slaying your peace is by rejecting your destiny.  This is when a person is absolutely angry, upset and frustrated from the events of their life.  It may be that they have not gotten married or were divorced, they are unable to get a job, they have medical issues or they are unhappy with their spouse.  Whatever the circumstance- they are mad.  They feel it’s unfair.  They question why others have it easy and their life is such a mess.  It’s vital to realize that Allah is the Most Wise and if a person questions their life they are implying (Astaghfirullah) that they know better than Allah.  When people reject their destiny, they sentence themselves to a life of misery.  You may hate something when it is good for you, and you may love something when it is bad for you.  Allah knows, and you do not know.  (Surat al-Baqara, 2:216)

Ways to attain peace:

1.Relationship with God

When people have a strong, healthy relationship with their creator, they attain an infinite amount of peace.  It is Allah who sent peace and tranquility into the hearts of the believers, that they may grow more in their faith. (Surat al-Fath 48:4)  Their perspective is broadened.  They don’t only look at the circumstances and difficulties of their lives and despair.  Certainty in the promises of Allah fills their heart which makes them persevere with an unequivocal amount of patience when faced with the most unimaginable tests.  When people know the names and attributes of Allah – I mean really know them and understand them not just list the names- then they will not fall prey to the slayers of peace because they will not dwell over the past, won’t be anxious about the future, won’t compare and they definitely would not reject their destiny.  Without a well established relationship with Allah which involves obedience and commitment, no one can have true peace.  Behold! Verily on the ‘Awiliyas’ (friends) of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; those who believe and constantly guard against evil.” (10:62-63)


Acceptance is one of the most critical aspect of attaining peace.  There needs to be genuine acceptance  of everything in your life and that includes  your past, your present, your looks, your circumstances  and your destiny.  If you are unable to accept an event in your life and if you dwell on why things happened the way they did, then you will be filled with grief and anxiety.  Don’t grieve at the things that you fail to get, nor rejoice over that which has been given to you.  Surat Al-Hadid 27:23 As soon as there is acceptance, the peace immediately follows.  The focus of therapy in many instances is to help the client accept themselves and their lives.  It is amazing how a person transforms when they stop metaphorically having a tantrum by kicking and screaming and finally accepting their portion in life.

3. Internal Validation

Majority of people have very low self-esteem and the only way they can feel good about themselves is to try to gain the approval and acceptance of others.  This can be a very slippery slope depending on the people they are trying to impress.  Many teenagers are so desperate to gain recognition and approval of their peers that they will do absolutely anything. This of course is the extreme example where individuals put their ethics and beliefs aside simply to gain acceptance.  However; there is a more subtle, psychological issue which involves being unhappy unless a person receives compliments or validations.  They simply can’t feel adequate unless they get another person’s approval.  This will make a person extremely needy of others and they will never feel content or even peaceful unless another person gives them validation. That is why it is of paramount importance to give internal validation ; feeling good about actions because they are pleasing to Allah. There is no need to be dependent on others to feel good or worthy.  And they give food for the love of Him to the poor, orphan, and the captive saying, “We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only.  We wish for no reward , nor thanks from you.” Surat-Al-Insan 76:8,9)


The dialogue people have with themselves has been estimated to be about 600 words a minute!  What’s all the chatter about ?  Studies show that 85% of the self-talk is negative.  Once the self-talk is seen as a way to program the mind, it can be used to achieve peace.  When a person says comforting things to themselves rather than beating themselves up they will be in a much better state to reach their goals.  It is important to remember to be kind and understanding when mistakes occur and to always be aware of the internal dialogue.  When the self-talk is positive then a person can overcome any obstacle – if it is negative they will propel in a downward spiral of depression.   Whatever is said in this internal dialogue will determine the mood, the level of peace and the ability to achieve any goal so watch the self-talk.

5. Self-worth

A person’s self-worth is not based on some number – it’s not how much is in the bank account, IQ, size, GPA or salary.  When people start equating their worth based on these things they can feel extremely discouraged.  Self-worth is the ability for people to see themselves as competent, successful individuals that are able to deal effectively with the demands of their lives.  One of the biggest stumbling blocks to success is a lack of self-worth. The best way to feel worthwhile is doing everything in your life to please the creator. Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my death are for Allah, the Lord of mankind Surat Al-An’am 6: 162 In this way the action is done purely for Allah without longing for any recognition or approval from anyone else.  It is essential to establish an exemplary character which truly makes any individual an invaluable asset to have in any setting.  To foster a feeling of self-worth is to set small, achievable goals that will bring about a feeling of confidence.   Contributing time, money and talent in helping others will also develop a strong sense of self-worth.  Whosoever intercedes for a good cause will have the reward thereof Surat An-Nisa 4:85.


6. Forgiveness

The key to having peace within ourselves and with others is to be forgiving.  Grudges and animosity gradually diminish our state of tranquility just as a pristine piece of metal steadily rusts in harsh weather. If we view each event in our life as a test and we focus on passing the test then it is much easier to forgive.  When we forgive to only please Allah and to pass our tests peace descends upon our hearts. It is so incredibly liberating when we can let go of the hurt, throw out the emotional baggage and move on.  It will free our heart, our mind and our soul if we forgive and forget.  The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof; but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah.  Surat Ash-Shura 42:40

When you are faced with difficulties and disappointments make sure you avoid the peace slayers.  As you stay away from the things that rob you of peace, work hard on attaining it back through the above mentioned suggestions.  Each item in this article requires another article to elaborate on the topic in depth; however I wanted to give an overview of how peace can be attained since so many people struggle with it. There are multitudes of ways to gain peace – these were just a few. Share with us the ways you go about attaining peace.

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Haleh Banani holds a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. A faith-based counselor, life coach, and mental health professional who has served the community since 1998 by saving hundreds of marriages and helping thousands of people around the world overcome their challenges and become the most amazing version of themselves. The host of "With Haleh" on Al-Fajr TV and was a featured expert on Al-Jazeera international and other media outlets. She is an international speaker and writer.



  1. Syma Kashif

    April 18, 2011 at 5:33 AM

    JazakAllah khairan
    I really needed this reminder now!
    I already feel good Alhamulillah!
    JazakAllah once again! :)

  2. Amad

    April 18, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    Awesome mashallah.

    • Haleh

      April 19, 2011 at 4:07 PM

      Jazakallah khair!

  3. Sister

    April 18, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    Mashaallah..Jazkillahu khairaa ..Excellent article sister.

    • Haleh

      April 18, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      Alhamdulillah that it’s beneficial.
      Glad to hear that you’re already feeling better!

  4. Farhan

    April 18, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    AMAZING article. Very VERY good. There should be more things like this.
    Accepting Qadr is one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to do. Its difficult. But once you get past that, mistakes of the past are less painful and you can get through them with greater ease.

    • Haleh

      April 18, 2011 at 2:03 PM

      That’s excellent that you have had the strength and wisdom to accept your qadar and move on. It is so critical in attaining peace & happiness.

    • imran

      April 19, 2011 at 2:49 PM

      Accepting is easy, the problem is our family and friends. We can accept, but they will never or most likely accept because most of them don’t believe in qadr and are attached to the worldly life.

  5. Muhammad

    April 18, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Jazakillahu khaira. I needed that.

  6. UmmSarah

    April 18, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    I love the cartoon, hilarious.

    • Haleh

      April 18, 2011 at 5:24 PM

      I know… I loved it too :)

  7. Abdelrahman Yehia

    April 18, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Thank you for a great article.
    JazakAllah khairan!

  8. Humble Muslim

    April 18, 2011 at 1:35 PM


    What if you have an Islamic failing which you never seem to get over? A classic example for many people, myself included, would be getting up regularly for fajr. Trying any of the above solutions to get over the bad feelings which that leaves one with would be a cop out of your responsibilities toward the deen.

    • Haleh

      April 18, 2011 at 5:32 PM

      No one is saying to take your responsibilities lightly, but beating yourself up is destructive regardless of circumstances. You can feel remorseful, make tauba and take action to fix the problem. For instance you can do the following for waking up for fajr:
      1. Put multiple alarms and place them far away where you have to get up to turn them off.
      2. Have a reliable friend call you to establish the habit
      3. Sleep early so waking up will be easy
      4. Make your intention to wake up at night and ask Allah to give you tofiq

  9. The Shardul of Allah

    April 18, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    An excellent article. Jazakhallah. This was a much needed article for me.

  10. Umar Abdul latif

    April 18, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    JazakAllah khair 4 the advice, very nice, my problem is I percieve im gettin treated badly everywhere I go, not sure why. I went to the opticians and I know she was busy and couldnt be bothered dealing with me, but I got the feeling she was annoyed with me. I feel abit worhless, I know, I shouldnt and dont need anyones approval to be happy, but it would be nice 2 hav som company sometimes u know, how can I stop annoying people??

    • Haleh

      April 19, 2011 at 5:09 AM

      Something important to keep in mind is that it’s nothing personal. All the people you come in contact with each have their own set of problems and they are each in their own world so if they are not being kind or they act annoyed it might be that they are having a bad day. Try to make excuses for them.

      If you find that this happens only to you and the same person is kind to others and it’s not prejudism then ask a trusted friend or family member if they can be honest in giving you constructive criticism. Sometimes we may not realize how our actions affects others so we need someone who cares for us to tell us.

      Never ever feel worthless- you are created by Allah and you deserve to be kind and loving to yourself. Find ways to contribute to people who need it and see how empowered you will feel.

  11. Basheera

    April 18, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Shukran I really needed this life has really been rough, jazakhallah khaira may ALLAH reward you both in this lufe and the hereafter

    • Haleh

      April 18, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      Ameen! The tougher life is the more coping skills you need to make it through.
      May Allah strengthen you and lighten your load.

      • kareem

        May 3, 2011 at 9:37 AM

        Very motivating words, thank you.

  12. shibly

    April 18, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    Alhamdullilah – I usually dont comment – reading this i couldnt leave without saying JazakAllah. Just amazing..

  13. shibly

    April 18, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    Alhamdullilah – I usually dont comment – reading this i couldnt leave without saying Jazak Allah. Just amazing..

    • Haleh

      April 19, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      Wa iyyakom. Alhamdulillah that its useful.

  14. Maria

    April 18, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    Masha’Allah, very beautifully written!

  15. Omar

    April 18, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    MashAllah, awesome and very beneficial article,

  16. ummmanar

    April 18, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    mashallah very good article.I am trying so hard to forgive and forget by reading quran,going islamic classes,but every time I thought I am there something happens that puts me backward,Any advice how to achieve peace by forgiving others?

    • Haleh

      April 19, 2011 at 4:15 PM

      The act of forgiving requires a person to take several steps:
      1. Ask yourself what will happen if you hold on to this grudge? How will you feel about yourself?
      2. Now ask How will your life be different if you forgive? How will you feel about yourself and how will it effect your iman and your status with Allah?
      3. Once you realize the benefit of forgiveness wake up for tahajud and ask Allah to remove the anger, pain, hurt etc. and replace it with forgiveness.
      4. Then sit quietly, breathe deeply and make the decision to forgive with every ounce of your being
      5. Let it go…..don’t think about it and don’t bring it up

      Hope that helps you and anyone else who needs to forgive.

  17. SabrunJameel

    April 18, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    “And Remind for verily a reminder benefits the believer”

    MashAllah, GREAT reminder and post.
    May Allah reward you. Ameen.

  18. Carlos

    April 18, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Every day is a new beginning. If you failed to live up to your own expectations yesterday, use that as your motivation to carpe diem.

    • Haleh

      April 19, 2011 at 3:50 PM

      Masha’Allah that’s a nice, positive attitude!

  19. zaynab

    April 19, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    Excellent article! Well researched and beautifully written mashaAllah. May Allah increase you.

  20. Yasir Qadhi

    April 19, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    Ma sha Allah, great stuff!

    I look forward to more articles of this nature.


    • Haleh

      April 19, 2011 at 4:01 PM

      Jazakallah khair Sheikh Yasir – insha’Allah there will be many sequels.

  21. Sophina

    April 19, 2011 at 8:01 AM

    Masha Allah and Jazak Allah Khair for such a brilliant article. I can relate wholly to it and have experienced many of the feelings expressed herein. I can’t describe how much of a positive impact it has had as I related to each and every point personally, as if I was speaking out loud! Barak Allah Fik. Keep up the great work insha Allah.

    • Haleh

      April 19, 2011 at 3:53 PM

      Jazakillah khair for your encouraging words. Insha’Allah that the positive impact lasts and you can pay it forward.

  22. Shiraz Mahkri

    April 19, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Amazing article, incredibly beneficial! The tips are very practical and I hope to apply them as much as I can. Waiting for more stuff on that.

  23. Danish S.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Two thumbs up!

    • Haleh

      April 19, 2011 at 5:35 PM


  24. Zakwan

    April 19, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    This is a great article especially for us who are striving towards changing ourselves yet falls occasionally to the challenges of this dunya. Barakallah =)

    P.S: Oh, and I’d like to point out a teeny mistake there (under Ways to attain peace: 2. Acceptance), Surah Al-Hadid is chapter 57 and not 27

    :) Salaam wa jazakallah khair.

    • Haleh

      April 19, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      Jazakallah khair for making the correction- must have been a typo!

  25. Ibn Adam

    April 19, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    SubhanAllah, understanding and accepting Qadar is indeed one of the hardest things to cope with. I hope that we can see more articles dealing with this issue!

  26. kfa

    April 19, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    mashAllah great article!!
    one thing about forgiving is that we want Allah to forgive us of all our sins(major/minor)
    but we r not willing to overlook any mistakes of people around us

  27. Suzan

    April 19, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Masha’ALLAH, masha’ALLAH, masha’ALLAH – yet another very useful and relevant topic. We all can, and should, continue to strive for and maintain inner peace and you have suggested so many practical ways of doing this!

    Thanks for opening up the discussion at the end of your article for all of us to share how we attain inner peace.
    One of my favorite ways is simply giving to others – time, a helping hand, a listening ear, a shoulder. Being in tune to the needs of others and trying to fulfill them actually results in more self fulfillment and inner happiness.

    Jazakee ALLAH khair my dear sister. :)

    • Haleh

      April 20, 2011 at 6:11 PM

      Thank you for your continuous support Suzan. You are absolutely right about gaining peace and fulfillment from altruistic acts. Nothing comes close to that helper’s high. You truly have expertise in being there for everyone masha’Allah!

      It’s awesome to have a sister like you!

  28. CW

    April 20, 2011 at 5:02 AM

    As been mentioned before

    “And Remind for verily a reminder benefits the believer”

    Jazakum Allah khairan for great topic & presentation

    Hope fore more topics with reflections on our lives, as what is our roles, how to be part of the ummah, organizing &helping each other in projects through different skills,..

    If possible to include quotations for all verses so to distinguish the beginnings

  29. Quaiser Abdullah

    April 20, 2011 at 7:54 AM


    This is excellent stuff… Anyone who is reading this and has an opportunity to relay the information, should try to share it…

    I look forward to more of your work!

    • Haleh

      April 20, 2011 at 6:36 PM

      As Allah says in the Quran: Raad: 11

      Allah does not change the condition of the people until they change themselves

      If each of us gets engrossed with improving ourselves then Allah will not only ease our path, but improve the entire ummah insha’Allah…..So pass it on!

  30. Sadaf Farooqi

    April 20, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    Excellent article, Haleh! Like a soothing balm for all kinds of emotional wounds on the soul….
    May Allah place barakah in your work. I look forward to reading more such wonderful pieces, insha’Allah.

    • Haleh

      April 20, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      JazakAllah khair

      Like a soothing balm for all kinds of emotional wounds on the soul….

      I like it – very poetic
      I’m going to use it ;)

  31. azan

    April 20, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Masha Allah a very helpful article…
    But we should make sure dat we give our best for everything we do in life and then accept Qadr. We should not be lazy and inefficient and then go on saying we should accept Qadr…

    • Haleh

      April 20, 2011 at 6:21 PM

      I’m so glad that you pointed that out. It is essential to strive to do our utmost in every situation. Striving and accepting have to go hand in hand or else it will be learned helplessness.

  32. Mouyyad Abdulhadi

    April 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    Mashallah, Great article, this is very valuable in our ever changing world. Achieving peace in our daily lives is what helps us progress forward. These are also great lessons to be learned in leadership and future leaders that represent our community. We try to instill these values in our Young Leaders Summits ( ) and help our future leaders effectively carry themselves in order to effectively represent the community.

  33. umm_ismael

    April 20, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Asslam u alaikum wr wb
    JazakALLAH Khair- my husband calls me a tension magnet- really need such reminders all the time :)

  34. Bisma

    April 20, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    I’m depressed, and doubts are just making it worse.
    I don’t think Allah will ever forgive me, I’m such a terrible Muslim.
    It’s just impossible for me to even think about thinking positive.

    Jazakum Allah Khairan for the article.

    • Haleh

      April 20, 2011 at 6:27 PM

      It’s never too late to make a change. If you reflect on all the verses that emphasizes mercy and forgiveness along with all the hadith on forgiveness your heart will be softened. You will see that there is always hope. All it takes is to do the following:
      1. Make tauba & be sincere
      2. Forgive yourself
      3. Make a fresh, new start from this moment (regardless of what you have done)
      4. Surround yourself with support (righteous friends that will inspire you)
      5. Busy yourself with LOADS of good deeds

      Before you know if you will be feeling much better inshaAllah

  35. umeabdallaah

    April 20, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    This is what ShayTaan wants you to feel sister Bisma, Allaah swt says:
    Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Zumar: 53]

    Do not ever lose hope in Allaah’s forgiveness.

  36. Carlos

    April 20, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    The first sentence of the article reads . . .

    “Imagine what your reaction would be if you saw your Muslim brother or sister verbally and physically abusing another Muslim that was feeling very depressed for making a mistake?”

    Why is the word “Muslim” necessary in this sentence? Would you not feel sympathy and rage if the victim (or the perpetrator for that matter) was non-Muslim? Would you feel less sympathy and rage? Why or why not?

    Is in-group morality moral?

    As to Bisma, cheer-up, sister. Every day is a new day. If you failed to live-up to your expectations yesterday, make that your motivation to try harder today. You can’t change the past. The future is a different matter.

    • Omar

      April 20, 2011 at 7:31 PM

      Good question Carlos. The simple answer is a Muslim cares for all humanity, but a special care and bond is given to other Muslims, who submit to their unique creator. Hence the concept of the Ummah, the global Islamic family.


      • Carlos

        April 21, 2011 at 1:04 PM

        Thank you, Omar, for your clarification. This article reminds us that it is important not to beat ourselves up just because we are not perfect, as long as we make sincere efforts to improve ourselves.

        I have some follow-up questions, Omar, if you would be so kind as to enlighten me some more:

        So, if the victim of this physical and verbal abuse is wearing a taqiyah that is embroidered with the words “100% certified member of the Ummah,” it is appropriate for a Muslim to be fully sympathetic and outraged, correct? If the victim is not so attired, the level of sympathy and outrage should be, say, three-fifths? Is that close? If the victim is wearing a necklace with a cross or a Star of David, and his T-shirt says “Authentic Person of the Book,” should the level of sympathy and outrage increase to, say, four-fifths? What if the victim, while being beaten, yells to the witness that his paternal grandfather was Muslim, and that he sometimes reads quranic passages for inspiration?

        For each of the categories of victim above, is the appropriate response of a good Muslim to:

        (A) Run fast to intervene, and offer aid and comfort;
        (B) Walk briskly to intervene, and offer aid and comfort;
        (C) Walk at a steady pace, express stern disapproval to the perpetrator and sincere words of sympathy and encouragement to the victim, both for his plight and for his spiritual journey toward Islam; or
        (D) Shout to the victim to hang in there while the witness goes to consult appropriate Islamic scholarly texts to determine the correct amount of sympathy and outrage the witness should feel and act upon?

    • Haleh

      April 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      Hello Carlos and welcome to the discussion! 
      In Islam we see everyone as our brother and sister in humanity. If we see anyone in any form of danger or harm we would react regardless of their beliefs or creed. This is exemplified in the verse of the Quran surah( chapter) 5 verse 32

      If anyone was to kill one person it is as if he has killed all of mankind but if was to save one person then it is as if he saved all of mankind.

      You may have missed the point with the introductory story- it was all a metaphor about destructive and abusive self-talk – it did not imply any violence towards another person -it was just an approach for people to look  within and since the majority of the readers are Muslim I specified that for effect.

      Hope that clarifies things!


  37. Annie A

    April 21, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    As Salamu Alaikum wa Rehmatulahi wa Barakatuhu

    JazakAllahu Khairan… A very good article.
    My heart attains peace through reading Quran… it lightens the burden, lifts my spirits and gives me liveliness, pleasure, hope, energy and peace and I look forward optimistically and cheerfully to the upcoming days.

  38. mariam nabeel

    April 21, 2011 at 9:47 AM



    MashAllah very well written article . You hav done an excellent research on this self improvement topic and provided such useful solutions aswell. . very informative .

    jazakallah khair for sharing.

  39. Caroline

    April 21, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Jzk. I really needed to read this.

  40. ibnabeeomar

    April 22, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    great article, looking forward to more like this inshallah

  41. lost

    April 23, 2011 at 4:21 AM

    Salamu Alaikum Haleh, I really loved your article mashaAllah. I have a question to ask you. I am constantly worried about two things: becoming a kaffir one day and thus dying a kaffir; and that the bad things happening to me are punishments for Allah and not really trials to test me. This is causing me much depression and anxiety that it makes me cry and lose sleep at night. What do you recommend so that I can achieve internal peace?

    JazakaAllah kul khair

    • Haleh

      May 7, 2011 at 3:58 PM

      Wa alaikomos salam,
      Thank you for your comment. As far as your fear of becoming a kaffir I have three pieces of advice:
      1. What you spend your time thinking about will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let me ask you this: what would happen if you constantly feared getting into a car accident? Your fear would probably decrease your self-confidence which could lead to an accident. Therefore this kind of thought process is self-destructive.
      2. Strengthen your iman – channel that fear to doing more acts of worship and surround yourself with righteous friends.
      3.Keep in mind that this fear is from the shaytan to immobolize you and make you hopeless so the best way to combat this is to take positive action & have hope in Allah.

      As far as the fear of being punished versus being tested I ask you if you have repented for any past mistakes? If you haven’t then do so now and if you have then your sins are forgiven and you will not be punished. It seems that you are in the habit of beating yourself up – ease up on yourself, do your best and put your trust in Allah.

      Wishing you peace,

  42. Cucumberr

    April 27, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Wonderful piece mashaAllah. Loved the pictures :)
    Can’t wait to read more.

    Jazakillah Khair :)

  43. Mehreen

    April 29, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    JazakAllah Khair for the amazing article. I think the hit point of the article is the ‘forgiveness’ part. Most of the times, we are not just willing to let go, to forgive others, and be at ease with ourselves. It’s just incredible how forgiveness can do wonders for you. And you should always be expecting from Allah, not from people.

  44. SoLost

    May 5, 2011 at 5:21 AM

    Jazak Allah khair for this amazing article which came in time to remind us of what we should be.
    But I think we can’t skip past totally coz mistakes or bad choices will always haunt us, I made one bad choice and got married to a person who doesn’t have a strong faith in Allah in addtion he practices all what mentioned above on me (peace slayers) the result my relationship with Allah is weakening day by day and I’m not able to find a solution.

    • Haleh

      May 9, 2011 at 5:39 AM

      Your so welcome! You have brought up a very important issue of being married to a non-practicing spouse. This can really effect a person’s motivation and decrease the level of iman. First, we need to realize how critical it is to choose a spouse that is already righteous not one that you will somehow change.

      Since you understand your mistake now you need to learn to cope. One way is by surrounding yourself with righteous sisters, attending halaqas, attaining Islamic knowledge & listening to CDs or DVDs. Try to increase in your worship even if he is not very active. Tell yourself that you will only be effected by the positive things you see and hear from others and that will create an invisible fortress that will protect you from the negativity and apathy of your husband. Get up and pray tahajud and ask Allah to guide his heart – it is amazing what supplication in the middle of the night can do.


  45. sabah

    May 9, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Lovely piece of article, mashallah! :) I have gone through anxiety, depression for a certain in my life, but alhamdulillah, thankful to Allah from keeping me away from bad, evil acts, n hope my relationship with Allah strengthens inshallah!

    May Allah bless our entire ummah! inshallah!

    Need prayers for my well-being :)

  46. Bint Alam

    June 15, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Excellent mashaAllah, may Allaah accept it from u sister, perfectly suits my situation now :) Indeed I am proud to say that Islam and only Islam has given me the strength to change that inner self of demoralisation to a personality who can now be never stopped for any work illaa maa shaa Allaah….truly Islam has changed my life Alhamdulillah…may Allaah make us die on the straight path, ameen.

    • Haleh

      June 15, 2011 at 6:55 PM

      Alhamdulillah that you have found your strength in Islam to gain more peace. May Allah keep you and all of us strong on the straight path!


  47. struggleswidasmile

    June 16, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    JazakAllahu khairan sister Haleh….wonderful and timely mashaAllah….I was feeling down in the dumps the last couple of days…but Alhamdulillah this article lifted up my mood a bit…lots and lots of work to do… :)

  48. Haleh

    June 17, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Alhamdulillah :) when there is a lot of work to be
    done it’s time to get EXCITED because you are getting
    ready to grow on many different levels. I wish you the BEST!

  49. sameera

    June 21, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    This is the absolute perfect article for me. I always feel so insecure of myself and worrying and regretting ALL THE TIME. I don’t want to hurt myself anymore.

    • Haleh

      June 24, 2011 at 8:12 PM

      Good for you Sameera! Once you decide to be good to yourself, the peace will envelop you inshaAllah and you will attract more positive people in your life :)

  50. Mohamed

    June 30, 2011 at 6:31 AM

    Salaam Sr. Haleh,

    It’s indeed one of the most amazing articles I read. I need your help. I am not sure how can i get a hold of you but my email is listed. May you please email me your contact info.

    May Allah reward you the best of the best, Ameen

  51. Portiagalore

    February 6, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Brilliant article!!

  52. Bilal007

    February 13, 2012 at 5:56 AM

    Mashallah, May Allah reward you for helping us all and give you more knowledge so you can pass it on to others in your special way.. I have learnt many lessons from reading your article and they will be with me forever, i dont normally leave comments but i have been truly inspired and am already using what iv learnt into practice.. Jazzakallah/Thankyou!

  53. Brother

    March 4, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    For some reason, I feel the article might have been corrupted a little, there seems to be a lot of unnecessary symbols that make the rea a little less enjoyable, and I would appreciate if it was cleaned up. JAK

  54. Anika bintee Siddique

    March 14, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    masAllah …jazakillahu khairan

  55. Zeehaun Choudhary

    March 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Thanks you sister for your article it is going to change my life, May Allah s.w.t give you a long life so you can keep doing your good work.

  56. Kathy

    July 15, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Best article Ive ever read thanks

  57. kugan pillay

    September 14, 2012 at 4:24 AM

    loved the article,,although it seems to be based (and i say seems) at Muslims, i as a hindu feel that all said is true, we as humans(irrespective of faith colour or creed) should look deep within our selves and we will find the true person that we are and realise that we can achive more by just being at peace with ourselves..this a 5 star article..

  58. Talibatul 3ilm

    December 22, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Sister Haleh,

    May Allah reward you in abundance insha’Allah.
    These articles are greatly beneficial and it’s truly inspiring to see a Muslim woman in the field of clinical psychology. It is my ambition to work towards that and, by the will of Allah, be a guide to our youth in the future insha’Allah.
    Make du’aa that Allah makes it easy for me, since i lack hope and optimism at times!

  59. Maryam

    March 23, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    As Salaamu Alaikum. May Allah reward you for your helpful advice. A question though. How do you forgive someone who is still constantly, purposely, hurting you? Others make excuses for them, as I imagine I should as well, but it can be difficult to do when you are their emotional target.

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  61. Pingback: Being at peace with yourself: Psychological Approach towards Acceptance and Serenity - Haleh Banani

  62. riasat hussain

    December 16, 2014 at 4:20 AM

    Sister Haleh,

  63. riasat hussain

    December 16, 2014 at 4:32 AM

    Sister Haleh,
    I am a practising muslim having full faith in Allah. However, from past two years I am facing acute financial difficulty and finding it hard to meet my ends. I am losing my inner peace and do not see any way out at the moment. Creditors are haunting me and I am being embarrassed. I am crying for help to Allah; however Allah seems to be angry with me. Please suggest as I am losing it day by day. I always remain irritated and depressed.

  64. Pingback: Being at peace with yourself: Psychological Approach towards Acceptance and Serenity | Haleh Banani

  65. Rebellious believer

    June 28, 2016 at 11:23 PM

    Great article, may Allah give you reward for this effort.

  66. Jassim

    March 22, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    Mashallah.. Beautiful article.. Helped me a lot.. May allah bless you.

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