Self Confidence

Tips on finding amazing friends

Tips on finding amazing friends

This article is extracted from my bestselling book on self-confidence, Best of Creation, available as part of the self-help bundle here, or individually here.

The Friend Factor

When it comes to self-confidence, company is critical. In many ways, our confidence is either built or destroyed by those who influence us. This begins at a young age with parents, older siblings, then in the schooling years, teachers and classmates play a role too. As we enter our teenage years and eventually adulthood, it becomes our friends, work colleagues and spouses who have the biggest impact on our confidence.

If you reflect back at your life, you will remember many incidents that had a major impact on your confidence. Whether it was confidence killers like a teacher teasing you, bullies beating you up or a parent calling you a stupid child, or confidence boosters like a supportive mother, an encouraging teacher who believed in you or an older sibling who was always there for you. There is no doubt that the company we keep is critical to our self-confidence.

While we have no control over our past and what the people in our past did to our self-confidence, we do have control over the present. We may not control who our parents are, who our siblings are or which school we went to but as adults we do control who we associate with, who our close friends are and who we marry. Your choice in this area is critical to your self-esteem

Good company is something highly recommended in the Qur’an and Hadith. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned us, “Every person follows the religion of his closest friend, so be very careful whom you take as a close friend,”[1]

Perhaps one of the best Hadiths on the topic of friendship is the following one in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) uses a very powerful metaphor:

A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.[2]

Comparing a good friend to a perfume-seller gives us a glimpse of how powerful good company can be. From among the benefits of righteous company are the following:

  1. They inspire you to be a better Muslim
  2. They remind you when you slip or stray
  3. They support you in all the good you do
  4. They motivate you, encourage and treat you with respect
  5. They want to see you succeed
  6. They serve as role models for you in their actions and lifestyles

Just like a perfume shop, a good companion has very subtle effects on you, and can improve you in very subtle ways. In terms of self-confidence, good friends are motivating and have a positive attitude to life that keeps you going and makes you feel better about yourself.

If you have such friends, treasure them. If not, I recommend finding such friends as they will play a major role in boosting your self-confidence.

Just as good company is important for self-confidence, bad company is terrible for it. Just like a blacksmith will get your clothes dirty even with minimum interaction, a bad friend can poison your heart in subtle ways.

Bad company are usually the type of friends who put you down and call you names if you don’t fall in line and do what they want. They can be vulgar, abusive and harsh. They do not allow you to be yourself, and they laugh at your goals and dreams. They have low self-confidence and feel threatened by anyone who doesn’t follow them, so they work to bring you down to their level through bullying.

Pessimistic and cynical people are bad company for someone striving to increase self-confidence. They view the world negatively and can only see the flaws in your goals and plans. They will drag you down to their level of negativity. It is better to keep a friendly distance from such people, and not allow them to mess with your head. 

Bad company can suck the joy out of life, kill any confidence you have and hold you back from chasing your goals. Worst of all, bad company forces you to live a lie, you put on a mask and pretend to be someone you are not, just to fit in and avoid criticism. As a result many people live their entire lives pretending to be something they are not, and there is no happiness in that.

Islam teaches us that having good company is a must, and having bad company is prohibited as it is a primary means of going astray. This does not mean that we are harsh towards any people whom we perceive as bad company. Rather, Islam teaches us to be friendly and influential with everybody. However, we have to be very careful who we allow to influence us. These are our close friends, our inner circle and they need to be people of righteousness.

Dealing with Bad Company

For most people who want to make a positive change in their lives, there comes a time when you need to let go of bad company and it often isn’t a smooth transition. This applies to people trying to improve their self-confidence as well.

If you are hanging around friends who constantly put you down, pick on you and hold you back, you will not be able to excel or grow into a confident person. Letting them go is essential to success.

Bad company includes any friendship based on sin or held together by the bonds of sin, friendships based on ulterior motives (eg: someone is your friend to exploit your wealth) and friends that are determined to hold you back from success. You need to let them go and replace them with better company, but this isn’t easy.

The first thing you need to do is honestly introspect the quality of your friends. Make a list of qualities you need in good company and evaluate if your friends have these qualities. It is not surprising to find many people who realize that their friends have the opposite of the qualities they need.

Once you identify which side of the fence your friends are on, you next need to remove from your close circle those who you have identified as bad company. But cutting ties shouldn’t be the first step in this process. The first step is to advice and offer assistance to your friends to help them improve. Perhaps even give them a copy of a book like this. Do whatever you can in a friendly manner to help them improve. Remember that if you are influencing them positively then they are in good company but if they are influencing you negatively then you are in bad company, so stay influential.

If you find yourself unsuccessful in influencing them positively, do not despair. It is very common for such situations to occur and you are not alone. The next phase would be to maintain a friendly distance. A friendly distance works with family members who are bad company too, since it is not permissible to cut ties with family. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Allah said about family ties, “I shall keep connection with him who maintains you and sever connection with him who severs you”[3]

A friendly distance means that you are friendly to the individual, and maintain a limited friendship like meeting up for short amounts of time in a good environment, but at the same time you maintain a distance by not letting that person take up too much of your time or influence you negatively.

For example, if you have an aunt who always criticizes you and makes you feel bad whenever you meet her, you cannot cut ties with her and you have been unable to influence her, so what do you do? You continue to treat her well while maintaining a distance, meeting her only when necessary and only interact as much as needed, not giving her any time to lash out at you with her tongue. In this way, you fulfil the obligation of family ties without allowing her to influence you negatively.

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to maintain a friendly distance with everybody. There are some people who will become hostile and aggressive to you if you start practicing Islam or attempt at any positive change. Such people are obstacles that need to be overcome, and sometimes we have no choice but to cut such people out of our lives completely.

An example of this is Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). He lived in a city full of disbelievers, and his own father was an idol maker. He tried his best to convince them to give up idol worship, but they grew aggressive and hostile. The hostility reached such a high level that they imprisoned him and threw him into a fire, but Allah miraculously saved him by causing the fire to become cool for him. Eventually, he left the city with his few followers and searched for a better environment.

The final bit of advice in dealing with bad company is to remember to be assertive. The very nature of bad company is one of bullying. A bully only has power over someone who lacks confidence and is unable to stand up for himself. Do not give them this kind of power over yourself. Be like the people of the cave and Prophet Ibrahim. Stand firm on the truth regardless of what they say.

Standing up to bullies and leaving bad company is in itself empowering. You feel a sense of self confidence that you are no longer judged by their standards and can finally be yourself without being fake. Use this feeling of confidence to help you take the next important step, finding good company.

How to Find Good Friends

“It is so hard to find good friends these days,” I heard this statement many times from young people desperate for good company. Yet, reality is that if so many young people are looking for good company, shouldn’t they find each other and befriend each other.

Many of us cling to some of our cultural standards in choosing friends. We claim to be looking for righteous friends, yet we still focus only on finding righteous friends who are from our tribes, race, country or friends who are good looking, wealthy or famous and we ignore the rest. You need to let go of this attitude if you want to make genuinely good friends.

The Quraysh of Makkah would criticize Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for being friends with the poor and weak like Bilal and Ammar Ibn Yassir. It was because of such criticism that some scholars say Allah revealed the following verse:

Remain constantly in the company of those who call on their Lord day and night, seeking His Face (Pleasure), and do not turn your eyes away from them to chase after the beauty of the worldly life. And do not obey the one whose heart has become heedless to My Remembrance, who followed his desires and whose deeds have been wasted.[4]

In order to find good company, we need to first change our standards of who is good company. Good company are the righteous people who motivate you to be the best you can be, and avoid negative speech and deeds. They can be found across all backgrounds and cultures, and will be loyal to you even in the most difficult of times.

It is important to look in the right places. You are not going to find righteous company hanging around street corners or at the local clubs. You will find them frequenting the local Masjids and Islamic Centres, attending Islamic events, and volunteering for humanitarian work.

If you want to make good friends, you need to step outside your comfort zone and volunteer to assist at the local Masjid, Centre, Islamic event or project. It is almost guaranteed that you will meet amazing people at such places and a new friendship will be sparked. It will be a genuine friendship based on pleasing Allah and helping each other succeed in life. Who knows, you might even meet your future spouse at such an event!

When looking for good company, you need to be picky. The kind of people you hang out with, invite to your home and allow to influence you must be beacons of light in your world. It is one area of life in which we have to be extra careful in our choices. This goes double for when choosing a spouse.

Cultivating Friendships

“Surround yourself with great people and value them. Tell them, show them and do it often. Valuing is pushing them to do their best.”[5]

It is not enough to make good friends, as friendship is something that needs to be cultivated. Any successful relationship is based on mutual respect and benefit. Nobody likes to feel used, neglected or like dead weight. It is important that we invest in our friendships and family relationships so that they can blossom into something special.

One way in which we can do that is to help them overcome their problems and achieve their goals. Be supportive of your family and friends in all noble pursuits, encourage them and motivate them to be their best. In return, you will receive the same from them, and if not from them directly then Allah will send others into your life to motivate and support you, because Allah does not leave any good deed unrewarded.

Friendships should never be ego-driven, in which all the focus is on yourself at the expense of others. Such a friendship is bound to implode and cannot lead to anything positive. You need to give as much, if not more, than you receive.

Make quality time for your family and friends. You don’t need to spend a lot of time with them but you need to make sure it is quality time. Quality time means that you give that person undivided attention for a few minutes and make them feel special. A few minutes of quality time is far more memorable and beneficial than hours of time spent with someone while mentally elsewhere.

When your family or friends speak to you, give them your full attention. Put your phone or tablet away, look them in the eyes and pay attention to their words. Attentive listening is a skill that everybody must learn. It benefits your family life, friendships and work life. By listening attentively, we respect the other person, understand better and avoid miscommunication. This is especially important for men since it is so easy for us to lose concentration and become deaf to the conversation. If you a married man, active listening is one of the best skills you can learn to win your wife’s heart over.

Good friends advise each other sincerely, yet gently. Adopt an open-to-correction style relationship with family and friends. Make it clear that you will correct them when they stray, and they should correct you too when you stray.

Do not take their corrections personally, and they too will follow your lead and won’t take your corrections personally. This level of openness is crucial in a real friendship and separates the genuine friendships from the fake. True friends are not afraid to let each other know the truth, even when it is bitter, but they know how to present it gently.

Be there for your friends in difficult times, and Allah will be there for you in difficult times and send you support from where you never expected. Do not expect from anyone except Allah. Be the best friend you can be, but expect Allah to reward you for it, not your friends. Inshaa Allah, if you have good friends, they will return the favour.

Motivate your friends to be the best they can be. Be a source of positivity and optimism wherever you go. Do not speak negatively or put people down. Motivate them, encourage them, help them pick themselves up after they fall. This is what we all need in friends. By doing this, you increase their self-confidence as well as your own.

Being a good friend is actually even better for your confidence than having good friends. Most of the time, if you are a good friend, you will receive goodness in return.

However, it is important to only expect from Allah because human beings are weak and tend to forget the good others do for them. If a friend doesn’t appreciate what you did for them, do not take it personally. Ask Allah to forgive them and seek your reward from Allah alone.

Good friends may be rare but they exist. Make dua to find them, search for them in the right places, be a good friend yourself, and Allah will send them into your life. Good company is a gift from Allah and one of the strongest sources of self-confidence. Good friends motivate us when we are down, encourage us to chase our dreams and help us see and overcome our flaws. Investing in good company is one of the best things you can do to improve your self-confidence.

To learn more about this topic, get the full ebook, Best of Creation, as part of the self-help bundle here, or individually here.

[1] Sunan Abu Dawud

[2] Bukhari and Muslim

[3] Saheeh Bukhari

[4] Surah Al-Kahf 18:28

[5] Mirza Yawar Baig, 20.10.2010-55, p. 23

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Self Confidence, 3 comments
The Nature of This Worldly Life

The Nature of This Worldly Life

This article is an extract from my 2015 book on Self-Confidence. The book has been published under three different names over the past six years including Best Of Creation, Self-Confidence, and Self-Confidence: The Islamic Way. In light of current world events, I wanted to share this chapter for free due to its relevance to our times.

Many of us are afraid of this world. We don’t understand it and fear what it might bring tomorrow. This fear cripples us and makes us retreat into our own bubbles. We avoid taking risks, trying new things or going to new places out of fear of what could go wrong, thinking it is safer to stay at home and avoid the world.

But avoiding problems is not possible, even if you enclose yourself in a tiny bubble. Becoming confident enough to chase your goals requires coming to terms with the nature of this world.

There are few things about this world that we all need to embrace and understand in order to move forward.

The first is to understand the purpose of this world. In the previous chapter, we learned that Allah created us to worship Him. Now let us reflect on why He created this world.

This is summarized beautifully in Surah Al-Kahf in which Allah says;

“Definitely, I made whatever is on this earth beautiful to test which of them are best in their deeds, and I will make all of it into dry soil,”

Surah Al-Kahf 18:7-8

This verse summarizes four important qualities about this world all of which are relevant to this topic i.e. that this world is beautiful, a test, changing and temporary.

The Test of the Beauty of this world

There are many places in the Qur’an in which Allah uses the word beauty to describe this world, and it truly is beautiful. There are many types of beauty in this world, including pure beauty, deceptive beauty and tempting beauty.

Pure beauty refers to the Halal and beneficial things of this world like Halal wealth, children, a beautiful spouse, a beautiful home or nature in general. These are things which Allah created and made beautiful for the believers to enjoy. The test in these cases is to thank Allah for these gifts and not allow them to distract us from obeying Him.

Regarding this, Allah warns us:

Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard in His Cause , then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah does not guide a rebellious people.

Surah At-Tawba 10:24

All of the things listed in this verse are Halal and good things. Yet, loving any of them more than Allah and His Messenger is problematic as it corrupts our intentions and goals, and it diverts us from the purpose of life. In this way, the good things in our life are a test.

Deceptive beauty refers to the evils of this world that are disguised as beautiful. The modern marketing industry is famous for this. It packages all forms of sin as good and beautiful and this leads many people down the wrong path towards self-harm and destruction. The test here is to recognize the evil hidden underneath the layers of beautiful wrapping and to avoid it as much as possible. Do not fall for the devil’s deception, as it will lead you down a part to darkness.

Allah warns us about this and says:

And I have appointed for them companions (from among the devils) who made their past and future sins seem attractive.

Surah Al-Fussilat 41:25

The worldly life has been beautified for those who disbelieve, and they mock the believers. But those who believe will rise above them on the Day of Resurrection, and Allah provides for whom He wills without restrictions.

Surah Al-Baqarah 2:212

Tempting beauty are things of this world which are indeed beautiful, but their beauty might be so overpowering that people are willing to violate the laws of Allah to have it. The two most common scenarios are women and wealth. Men are tempted to have beautiful women, and many do not have the confidence to do it the right way by marrying them and treating them equally, so they go down the path of evil to get what they want.

Likewise, people desire wealth and many don’t have the patience and trust in Allah to earn it the Halal way, so they take Haram shortcuts like dealing with Riba (Interest); and they end up with cursed wealth devoid of any blessings.

Yes, this world is beautiful but in this is a test for mankind. We are to enjoy the pure beauty of this world moderately, and to be patient with the prohibited. This patience will lead to even greater and more beautiful things in Paradise.

Allah says about this:

For mankind, (Allah has) beautified a strong love and desire for women, children, heaps of gold and silver, fine branded horses, cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of the worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.

Say: Shall I inform you of something better than that? For those who fear Allah will be gardens in the presence of their Lord, beneath which rivers flow. They will dwell therein forever, and have purified spouses and Allah’s pleasure. And Allah is All-Seeing over His Servants.

Surah Aal-Imraan 3:14-15

The World is a Test

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth, lives and fruits. So give good tidings to the patient.

Surah Al-Baqarah 2:155

It is not only the beauty of this world that tests and tempts us. Everything in this world is a test. Just as good things are a test of gratitude, difficulties too are a test from Allah. In order to build our confidence, we have to accept the world the way it is. The world is not perfect, just like we are not perfect.

The world has beauty but it also has difficulties. Difficulties are a fact of life that every human must face and deal with. Nobody can go through this world without facing some kind of difficulty at one point or another. Running away or hiding in your home will not chase away the tests of life, rather it will bring the tests into your home.

We must understand that this world is a testing ground and we cannot escape that. This means whether we go out and live life, or stay at home afraid, either way tests will come our way. So why stay at home then? There is so much to do in this world. So much good that we can do. So many lives that we can touch. So many ways in which we can make this world a better place.

Yes, there will be trials along the way. This is the nature of the world. Life goes through cycles, we will have good times and we will have bad times. Utilize the good times to maximize your efforts and push on through the bad times too as they too will end sooner or later. Reality is that we can’t change the way the world is, we can just change how we approach and deal with the world. Allah has blessed us all with great skills and talents, use those skills to help His Creation and make this world a better place. That is how we can be among those who are best in their deeds.

The Temporary Nature of this world

And do not call on another god with Allah. There is no god except Him. Everything will be destroyed except His Face. His is the judgement, and to Him you will be returned.

Surah Al-Qasas 28:88

Everyone upon the earth will perish, and there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honour. So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?

Surah Ar-Rahman 55:26-28

This world will end, and our time in this world will probably end long before that. This is reality, and we must embrace it in order to stop fearing the unknown. Accepting that this world will end means accepting that it is constantly changing and that nothing we have will last forever.

Many people live frightened lives because they are afraid of change. The idea of anything in their life changing terrifies them and as a result, they are always anxious and disappointed because change is guaranteed to affect each and every one of us.

We change, our spouses change, our children change, our economies change, periods of peace and war interchange, presidents change, technology changes, careers and jobs change, nothing is guaranteed to remain in one constant state forever.

Change doesn’t have to be something bad. Change is what you make of it. In the 13th year of prophethood, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions were forced into exile and had to flee to Madinah, leaving behind their home town, families and possessions. This was a drastic change and one that could have been perceived very negatively.

Yet, the Prophet (peace be upon him) embraced this change as a part of Allah’s place for him, and looked for ways to make it a positive change. He saw it as an opportunity to build a Muslim community and with much effort, Madinah became the first Islamic State and his new home. It remained his home even after Makkah was conquered, and it remains the most beloved place to Muslims in the world, even today 1400 years later.

In this story, the situation of the Muslims changed many times. From being an oppressed minority, to being in exile, to migrating to a new land, to establishing an Islamic State, to going to war against the aggressors, to peace treaties and finally to victory and conquest. In these 10 years, the only thing that was constant was change. Yet each change was embraced as something positive that will lead to a greater good. As a result, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions accomplished more in two decades than many do in a lifetime.

Around a century later, another great figure had to embrace change when Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz, the governor of Madinah, was removed from his position and forced to move to Damascus. Umar was very sad to leave the beloved city and move to a more materialistic location but he accepted it as Allah’s destiny for him and embraced the change.

Within a few years of moving the Damascus, the centre of the Caliphate at that time, Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz found himself embracing another change. He was declared the new Caliph on the order of his dying cousin, King Sulaiman Ibn Abdul Malik and became one of the greatest rulers the world has ever seen. Had he not embraced the change of moving to Damascus, he might not have become the Caliph.

History has proven many times that every time someone embraced a change that Allah sent into their lives, it led to amazing things that the person never imagined. This is why change is not something to be feared, it is simply something to be accepted as a part of life that everybody experiences.

For whatever is in your capacity to control, make sure the changes are positive. For whatever is outside your control, accept that Allah knows what is best for you and embrace the changes in your life as new opportunities.

Accepting the temporary nature of this world also makes us work for a higher purpose. We will all leave this world one day, so why do we make it our biggest concern?

What we should really be concerned with is our Afterlife. Yes, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the Halal things of this world but they should not distract us from our purpose.

Compared to Paradise, the things of this world are worthless. Whenever there is a clash between what we want in this world and pleasure of Allah, always choose the latter.

Focusing on the Afterlife also helps us get through difficult times. We understand that nothing in this world lasts forever.  Good times won’t last, enjoy them and be grateful to them. Bad times won’t last, push through them hoping to be rewarded in the Afterlife for your patience.

Focus on the Afterlife and don’t make the problems of this world your main focus. Enjoy the good that Allah sends you, and don’t forget to thank Him for it.

Pursue goals that will make this world a better place and that will count on your scale of good deeds on the Last Day. And take the bad days as they come as simply another test and opportunity for growth. After all, if we don’t have bad days, we wouldn’t appreciate the good days.

You Can Do It

Allah does not burden a soul beyond its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.”

Surah Al-Baqarah 2:286

This is the promise of Allah and it should keep us strong during difficult times. Understand that if Allah has sent a specific test into your life, it is because you have the capabilities to deal with it and pass it.

Allah would not have given you that specific test unless you were the right person to deal with it and overcome it. Remind yourself of this verse every time you are in a jam. There is no test in your life that you don’t have the ability to pass, and every human has been given the capabilities to be successful in both worlds.

Reflecting on this verse should give you confidence in your ability to overcome your current predicament. Allah chose you for it, because you have what it takes to deal with it, even if you haven’t discovered that yet. This belief should empower us to dig down deep and do our best in every situation.

The Win/Win Formula

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something good befalls him he is grateful and that is good for him. If something harmful befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him

Saheeh Muslim 2999

This Hadith is very powerful in helping us embrace this world with all its flaws. As believers, we must look at everything that happens to us as something good. When things go our way, it is a gift from Allah and we should be grateful to Him for it, and this is good for us in both worlds.

When things don’t go our way, we must be patient, solution-focused and ready to learn some life lessons through the experience, and that too is good for us in both worlds.

This means whatever happens to us in life is good for us, so why fear living. Go out there and make every day count. Be the best you can be. Accomplish whatever you can and be ready to face any setbacks or trials along the way.

There is no reason to avoid our duties and goals out of fear. Doing so won’t hold back the tests but it will hold you back from accomplishing anything worthwhile.

Allah created this world to test us. We are tested with good and with difficulties too. Things are always changing and nothing in this world is constant or eternal. Embrace the nature of this world and you will live a happier life and be able to accomplish more. Do not fear trials, failure or death. These are all natural parts of our experience in this world and unavoidable. Live each day as if it is your last, but make your plans for doing good deeds being optimistic that you will live a long time. Even if you pass away before accomplishing all your goals, Allah will accept your noble intentions and might even use others to accomplish your goals for you.

A Word about Death

“Remember often the destroyer of pleasures,” Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him”

Ibn Majah 4258

Fear of death holds many of us back from doing anything. We fear our own deaths and the deaths of our loved ones. This fear is good if it stops us from doing foolish things that risk our lives like driving recklessly and consuming intoxicants. However, too many of us use it as an excuse to hold ourselves or our families back from doing good deeds.

Death is inevitable. Everybody you know will leave this world one day, as will you. There is nothing we can do to change that. Most likely, everybody you know will not be on this earth in a hundred years’ time and an entirely different generation will populate this earth. Fearing death is not going to change that or stop it from happening. The fact is that every human experiences the death of loved ones multiple times in his/her lifetime, unless that person died at a young age.

As there is no escaping death, we have to embrace it as a part of life. Eventually, we all will leave this world and when our time is up, it doesn’t matter whether we are out trying to make this world a better place, or cowering at home, either way we will have to face reality.

Remember that nobody has control over when they die, but we do choose how we live, so live!

Don’t be dead inside while your body is alive. Live your life and do whatever you can to leave this world a better place than you found it. Live such a life that when death comes, you are pleased to meet your Lord and He is pleased to meet you. You can’t escape death but you can turn it into a beautiful transition from this world into somewhere better.

[To the righteous it will be said], “Oh soul that is at peace, Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], so enter among My [righteous] servants And enter My Paradise.”

Surah Al-Fajr 89:27-30

To read the full ebook, get your copy here or for the best value, grab our Self Help Starter Pack here.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Self Confidence, 0 comments
Misconceptions about Self-Confidence

Misconceptions about Self-Confidence

Misconceptions about Self-Confidence

This article is an extract from Best of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence, which is currently available on sale for only $2.50 here.

Some Muslims shudder at the words ‘self-confidence’, because of a confusion that links self-confidence to arrogance. This is due to a misunderstanding regarding the concepts of humility and arrogance.

Islam teaches us to be humble and that arrogance is one of the greatest sins. In fact, arrogance is regarded as the trademark quality of the devil and the Pharaoh. When Allah told the angels to bow to Adam, they all did so. Only Iblees, who was a Jinn, refused to bow and said the famous words “I am better than him,”[1] to justify his disobedience. He became Shaytaan (Satan) and this marks the beginning of a long history of people turning evil due to arrogance.

Pharaoh was one of these people. When Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) brought him the message to worship God alone, he replied, “I am your Lord, the Most High,”[2] His claim of divinity is one of the worst acts of arrogance and defiance.

Another example of this is Abu Jahl, the leader of the disbelievers of Makkah. He knew that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was truthful and would never lie, and that his message was good and true, but he rejected it out of arrogance and preferred to die a disbeliever, rather than admit that he was wrong.

With these examples, it is clear why arrogance is something detestable to believers. Arrogant people are difficult to deal with, difficult to correct and tend to be nasty and tyrannical. However, self-confidence is the opposite of all this. People who are confident tend to be easy to deal with, open to correction and very well mannered. The two concepts may seem similar on a basic level, but in reality they are worlds apart.

It seems that this confusion was held even by some of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and he had to teach them the difference. The following narration is a beautiful discussion between the Prophet and his companions which summarizes the differences between Self-Confidence and Arrogance.

Abdullah ibn Masood reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” A man said, “Indeed, a man loves to have beautiful clothes and shoes.” The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.”[3]

In this narration, the consequences of arrogance are clearly mentioned. The companions then asked about dressing well. Dressing well is an important part of self-confidence that will be discussed later in this book. The Prophet (peace be upon him) clarified that dressing well is actually something Allah loves, so having self-confidence is a good thing.

He then summarizes arrogance in two broad points that cover every aspect of arrogance: Rejecting the truth and looking down on people.

Rejecting the truth

Arrogant people believe that they are above correction and feel ashamed of being wrong. They refuse to accept any correction, no matter how strong the evidence that they are wrong is. This is a major cause of many people going astray. Many people recognize the truth but refuse to embrace it because that would mean admitting they were wrong all along, and they can’t handle accepting that.

A confident person, on the other hand, has embraced the fact that he is a human and is not perfect. He is comfortable with the fact that he makes mistakes and is always learning. As a result, he is always open to correction, and to constructive criticism, and he has no problem admitting when he makes a mistake. He is confident in his ability to learn from his mistakes and build upon his experiences.

Accepting the truth is crucial for success in both worlds. Every human alive today makes mistakes, has wrong ideas and wrong beliefs. This is a fact of life and we must accept that we too have such faults. The only way to overcome them is to be open and willing to learn from others, and to embrace the truth when we find it.

Looking down upon others

Some arrogant people are actually very insecure and have a constant need to compare themselves to others and put others down. They need to feel superior to others in order to feel good about themselves, so they look for reasons to judge others and put themselves on a pedestal.

This judgment takes many forms. It comes in the form of sectarianism, racism, sexism, tribalism, nationalism or judging people for their sins. Arrogance in this form is a disease and a major cause of disunity in the ummah today. Muslims no longer look at each other as brothers, but as the other. This has divided the ummah on so many levels that many Muslims are constantly in a state of internal bickering, and waste all their time in arguments and refutations, instead of using their time productively.

These judgments need to stop. They are wasting the ummah away and weakening us. How many generations have been lost in tribal, sectarian and racial wars? How many families have suffered from seeing one parent mistreat the other? How long will we continue to fight each other over the smallest of things?

Arrogance is destroying the ummah, but confidence can actually unite us. A confident individual feels no need to compare himself to others. He is focused on pleasing Allah and being the best he can be. He knows everybody else is traveling on a similar road but at different levels. He tries his best to be his best, and help everybody he meets to do the same.

The Key Difference

By now, you can see a trend. Arrogance by its nature is destructive and leads to problems and chaos. Confidence, on the other hand, is productive and leads to good for oneself and whoever you interact with. The two concepts are not linked. In fact, many psychologists link arrogance to low self-confidence. In reality, confidence is actually linked to humility, not arrogance.

Humility Explained

Just as arrogance is misunderstood, the same can be said about humility. When we think of a humble person, many people picture a poor man in shabby clothing who is weak and content with his current situation. Yet, this is not how the prophets, companions or great scholars lived and they were the greatest role models of humility.

The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) dressed well, worked hard, supported a large family, walked with confidence and led by example. He was the very example of a confident, yet humble, individual. His companions were the same.

The problem is that many of us look at humility as an external condition indicated by a person’s dressing and behaviour, while in reality humility is a state of being, a condition of the heart. Humility means to free your heart from prejudice and judgment, to look at all people as equal with equal potential of a good or bad ending, and to be willing to accept correction. In short, it is the opposite of arrogance.

Humility has nothing to do with how you dress, walk, talk or work. These may give away whether a person is arrogant or humble, but the heart is what matters. People can spot when someone else is faking humility. Their true self gives itself away under the fake smile and pretense of piety. If you wish to become humble, you shouldn’t focus on what you do, but more on what you think and feel about others. Changing that is essential, and it is directly linked to confidence.

The Best of Creation

When Allah told the angels to bow to Adam, it was a symbol that humans are the best of Allah’s creation. Allah informs us in the Qur’an that those humans who choose to live lives of obedience to him are “The best of creation”[4] while those who choose to disobey Him are “The worst of creation”.[5]

If you are striving to be the best of creation, be confident that Allah has given you the ability to do so. We must also understand that we are Allah’s creation and we are not allowed to mistreat the Creation of Allah, and that includes our own selves.

Just like we are not allowed to harm ourselves physically, we are also not allowed to harm ourselves emotionally. Negative thoughts are a trick from Shaytaan to stop us from excelling and being the best we can be.

Shaytaan knows that people with low confidence can’t accomplish much, so he whispers evil thoughts into our minds and tells us that we are weak and sinful and that we will never be good enough for Allah. In this way, we believe our own minds and give up on our noble pursuits. If we can recognize these evil whisperings of the devil and learn to ignore them and block them out, our confidence in our ability to be better will increase.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us many things that help us to remain confident and all of it is proof that confidence is part of Islam. He taught us to walk properly, sit up straight, groom ourselves, wear our best clothing, treat people with respect, be dignified in our manners and speech, keep positive names for our kids, avoid negative speech about anybody including ourselves and to think positive thoughts about our Creator, as well as His Creation.

All of these points that be found in Hadiths too numerous to list here. These teachings are clear evidence that believers are supposed to be confident, just like the companions were confident. Our confidence is directly linked to our trust in Allah as will be explained later in more detail.

On one occasion, when the Muslim army was greatly outnumbered, the great military leader Khalid Ibn Waleed rode right through the enemy ranks and back to boost the confidence of his army. Khalid Ibn Waleed was an excellent example of the confidence of early Muslims. On another occasion, he needed to take his army from Iraq to Syria via the shortest route possible.

The guides explained to him that the shortest route was very dangerous and smaller groups died along that route, so an entire army would not be able to survive. Yet Khalid was confident in his army’s ability to survive the route, he made some plans to deal with possible setbacks and led his entire army to Syria in record time without any casualties. This is an amazing example of the confidence of the early Muslims, and the kind of confidence their leaders instilled in their followers.

Confidence and Arrogance should not be confused. One is a positive trait necessary for success, the other is a negative trait that will destroy you and anything you attempt. This book will focus on confidence as understood from an Islamic perspective, free from ego and arrogance and rooted in Tawheed because for Muslims everything goes back to Allah, The Creator, and Master of the universe.

This article is an extract from Best of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence, which is currently available on sale for only $2.50 here. To learn more about self-confidence in Islam, purchase the full ebook here.

Best of Creation Ismail Kamdar
Currently Available for only $2.50! (Offer expires end of November 2019)

[1] Surah Al-A’raf 7:12

[2] Surah An-Nazi’at 79:24

[3] Saheeh Muslim 1:91

[4] Surah Al-Bayyina 98:7

[5] Surah Al-Bayyina 98:6

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Self Confidence, 0 comments
Why Self-Confidence Tips Don’t Always Work

Why Self-Confidence Tips Don’t Always Work

Sometimes it can be really frustrating to read self-development material. You may read an article/book/course on self-confidence, digest it completely, feel a momentary boost, then…nothing. It just doesn’t work. You are still stuck as the same self-hating loner as you were before you read the book.

So what went wrong? And does everybody have the same experience? I’ll answer the second question first. No, not everybody has the same experience. Take me, for example. When I was a little kid, I was a shy quiet boy with no self-confidence. This remained the case right into my mid-twenties. Then I read a series of self-confidence books and everything changed.

Today, I am a confident public speaker, teacher, author, freelancer, and entrepreneur. I have even written a book on self-confidence that has helped 1000s of readers do the same. But I’ll get to the book later. Let’s discuss the bigger issue; why don’t these books work for everybody? Well, I have several theories. Let’s see if any of them apply to you.

1. You skimmed through the book

Action-based books like self-confidence guides are meant to be studied in-depth, analyzed, understood and implemented. if you just skim through the summaries of each chapter, you will not get the full and proper benefit from the book. The book must be read and studied seriously in order to thoroughly boost your self-confidence.

2. You thought reading it is enough

Even if you read a book thoroughly, it isn’t enough to boost your self-confidence. Books like these are meant to be acted upon. It isn’t enough to read the book, you must try everything the book suggests, and implement as much as possible. This is where the real work lies. In order to boost your confidence, you must take action. There is no other way.

3. You missed some crucial sections

It may be that you read the book and tried your best to implement it, but for some reason, you may have skipped a paragraph or two that was necessary for understanding its content. Try going back and reading the book again to find if you missed anything necessary to improve your confidence.

4. You just need an excuse to not take action

Its easier to blame a book for not being beneficial, than to hold oneself accountable for not taking action. The actions required to build one’s confidence can often be scary and difficult. This is why many people find it easier to simply say that the book/course wasn’t beneficial than to put in the effort to upgrade to the next level of life.

5. You haven’t read the right book yet

Some books are all fluff and theory and don’t give enough action points to actually make a difference in your life. This is why I wrote Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence. This book was designed to give you practical advice that is simple to implement and genuinely works. Over the years, thousands of readers have benefited from Best Of Creation, and now it is your turn.

Today, I am offering you an eBook copy of Best Of Creation with two huge bonuses; an accompanying workbook full of practical activities to boost your confidence, and 10 video lessons based on the eBook. The total package is worth more than $100, but I am offering it today for only $10. You can learn more about this offer here.

Best Of Creation eBook
Click on the picture to learn more.
Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Self Confidence, 0 comments

Black Friday Sale – 90% Off Everything

Black Friday Sale

Black Friday Sale: 90% Off All Courses And eBooks

This Black Friday, access the following online self-study courses at a 90% discount:

  1. Self-Confidence
  2. Time-Management
  3. Homeschooling
  4. Social Media Mastery
  5. Self-Publishing
  6. Public Speaking

NOTE: 30 Day Money Back Guarantee on all courses, if they don’t fulfill their objectives.

Purchase any of our eBooks at PayHip with a 90% discount by using the coupon: BlackFriday

Reviews Of Islamic Self Help’s Products:

“When I say that Ismail Kamdar was, all things considered, the best teacher I had…and one of the best teachers I had the blessing of studying under, I am in no way exaggerating! I really take Ustadh Ismail as a role model in character, patience, as a teacher, and as a writer who extracts productivity lessons from the Quran and Sunnah, and is qualified to do so by his long years of studying and teaching Islam.” (Tabassum Mosleh)

“Sheikh Ismail Kamdar is highly professional, dedicated, disciplined and knowledgeable. He is one of the very best tutors…We got excellent feedback on him from his students also. I surely would recommend him!” – Yasmeen Mansoor

Alhamdulillah, this is the third course I am taking at Islamic Self Help and really enjoying it. I never thought I would have the patience to write a complete book mainly because I didn’t know the sequence and details so it is a big help and encouragement for me.

The steps are very detailed, clearly explained and easy to follow and provide valuable information on the whole process of writing and self-publishing. Insha Allah with the help of this course I will be able to publish my first eBook in 2017 and maybe even two or three.” – Muna Bushra

90% Off – This weekend only!

Don’t miss this opportunity to get every course and eBook at a 90% discount. Available from Thursday, 22 November 2018 until Monday, 26 November 2018. Offer expires Tuesday.

Access the discounts here:

  1. Self-Confidence
  2. Time-Management
  3. Homeschooling
  4. Social Media Mastery
  5. Self-Publishing
  6. Public Speaking

NOTE: 30 Day Money Back Guarantee on all courses, if they don’t fulfill their objectives.

Purchase any of our eBooks at PayHip with a 90% discount by using the coupon: BlackFriday

Offer expires Tuesday

Posted by Ismail Kamdar, 0 comments