Why Allah created us with emotions

emotions-zakia-usmani

EMOTIONS control our thinking, behavior and actions. They affect our physical bodies as much as our body affects our feelings and thinking. There are only two basic emotions that we all experience, love and fear.  All other emotions are variations of these two emotions. Thoughts and behavior come from either a place of love, or a place of fear. Anxiety, anger, control, sadness, depression, confusion, hurt, lonely, guilt, shame, these are all fear-based emotions. Emotions such as joy, happiness, caring, trust, compassion, truth, contentment, satisfaction, these are love-based emotions.

Emotions seem to rule our daily lives. We make decisions based on whether we are happy, angry, sad, bored, or frustrated. We choose activities and hobbies based on the emotions they incite.

It’s important to realize that Allah has created us with emotions, and they serve a purpose that is ultimately to our benefit. Uncontrolled emotions can greatly wear a person out, causing pain and hatred. The Prophet ﷺ‎ said: “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he should not oppress him nor should he hand him over to (his satan or to his self which is inclined to evil). Whoever fulfills the needs of his brother, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and whoever covers up the fault of a Muslim, Allah will cover up his fault on the Day of Resurrection.”[1]

Like everything else we were given, emotions were created to enhance healthy living but it also carries the potential of being abused. Ignoring, dismissing, or repressing our emotions, can set us up for physical illness. Therefore, the Islamic system aims to create balance in a Muslim’s life, by putting life matters into perspective. We submit our will to Allah alone and no one else, and we believe and trust that He will take good care of us.

As a Muslim, we get affected by life’s troubles and disturbing thoughts like everyone else, but we’re well equipped to deal with them because we have a clear roadmap of where we came from, where we’re going and why.

“Seek the life to come by means of what God granted you, but do not neglect your rightful share in this world. Do good to others as God has done good to you. Do not seek to spread corruption in the land, for God does not love those who do this.”[2]

Islam doesn’t require us to be superhuman. If one experiences negative feelings, he is encouraged to resist them with positive thoughts and actions if possible, or to seek professional help if the case is clinical, exactly like any other form of illness.

We’re required to take charge of our lives since we’re accountable for our deeds and decisions, both for ourselves and for others who will be affected. We’re not allowed to hate or harm ourselves; instead we’re taught dignity, self-respect and protection; both as a right and a duty: “And make not your own hands contribute to your destruction; but do good; for Allah loves those who do good.” [3]

And even if we’ve committed the worst sins, we always have hope of Allah’s mercy:“And never give up hope of Allah's soothing Mercy: truly no one despairs of Allah's soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith.” [4]

There is no place for despair in Islam because we have confidence in knowing that it’s Allah Himself who is in charge of everything, the All Seeing, All Knowing, and All Fair and Wise God: “And for those who fear Allah, He always prepares a way out, and He provides for him from sources he never could imagine. And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is Allah for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.” [5]

About anger, Allah says in the holy Quran, in praise, “And those who suppress frustration and the pardoners of people. And God loves the benevolent.” [6]

What Allah and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ‎ demand of us is not that we never get angry, it is a natural tendency from which even the Prophet ﷺ‎ were not exempt. What we are required is not to lose control over ourselves when provoked with anger and avoid behaving in a way that is offensive.

About the fear, Allah says, “ … And whatever good you do – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah. And fear Me, O you of understanding.” [7]

There are two types of fear, positive and negative. The positive kind of fear is that which make us check ourselves and watch ourselves. This fear is that which makes us keep away from sin and persist in praying for forgiveness and repenting. As for the kind of fear that makes us panic, and feel helpless, is a negative and blameworthy kind of fear; and must stay away from it.


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References

Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya, Riyad-us-Saliheen, Darsusalam Publishers.

Islamq&a.com

Dr. ‘Aid al-Qarni, Don’t be Sad, International Islamic Publishing House, Edition 3 (2008).

http://psychology.about.com/od/emotion/f/what-are-emotions.htm

[1] Al-Bukhari and Muslim

[2] Al-Qasas 28:77

[3] Al-Baqara 2:195

[4] Yousuf 12:87

[5] At-Talaq 65:2-3

[6] Ale-Imran 3:134

[7] Al-Baqara 2:197

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