MUSLIM MINDSET (SELF-DEVELOPMENT IN ISLAM SERIES- ARTICLE #2)

The Good Muslim Mindset: 20 Types of Muslim Mindsets that Either MAKE or BREAK You (with Real-Life Examples)

This is the second article of the entire Self-development in Islam series. You can read the first article here: The Practical Guide to self-development in Islam for Young Muslims

In this article you will learn: 
  • What IS a Mindset
  • A unique quality specific to mindsets
  • major categories with different types of Mindsets
  • Real life examples of the different Muslim Mindsets
  • Muslim Mindsets mentioned in the Quran (with references)
  • A FREE Worksheet to note down your type of Mindset

Let’s get started shall we?

 

Grab your FREE “What’s Your Mindset?” Worksheet!

What is meant by the term: Muslim Mindset?

A mindset, generally, is a belief system that directs the way we act, react and handle situations. A point to note here is that mindsets are not only beliefs, but beliefs that govern our actions and reactions.

A similar concept is seen in Islamic literature. The word “AQL” is used by Allah in the Quran. It means the use of intellect.

Allah tells us in the Quran that we should use our Aql in order to see Allah’s signs and grow closer to Him.  So when a person is using his intellect to observe and understand Allah’s message, we say he has high level of Aql.

To a Muslim, Mindset roughly (for the sake of understanding) comprises of Aql + belief, both of which govern his actions. In other words, A Muslim mindset is his underlying beliefs and the use of his intellect (Aql) that orients his actions, reactions and tendencies. 

When your mindset translates actions into routines, or in other words becomes habitual, then it defines who you are. It defines your personality. 

Allah says in the Quran: As for him who feared to stand before his Lord and he restrained himself from his desires, then Paradise will be his refuge.”

[ Quran: Surah Naziat 79, Ayah 40]

To “restrain yourself from desires” requires both; a strong belief system + the use of Aql.

A unique quality specific to Mindsets..

The quality that differentiates mindsets from skills is the ability of mindsets to dramatically change in short moments. Whereas skills, habits, routines etc require repetitive cycles of practice and effort.

Ever wondered why that’s so? It’s because according to Muslims (like I mentioned earlier), Mindsets are comprised of 2 things: Beliefs and the use of Intellect (Aql).

The 2 reasons why a person’s Mindset can change quickly are:

1. The ability of underlying beliefs to change/ adapt, strengthen/ weaken. Guidance (beliefs) is in the hands of Allah. He guides whom He wills (He  only gives guidance to those who seek it).  And when a person receives guidance from Allah, his mindset changes immediately. 

Allah says in the Quran: “Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.” [Quran- Surah al-Qasas 28: Ayah 56]

2. The fact that Allah has blessed humans with Aql and given them full control over the usage of Aql.

Important point to note here is that the use of Aql could be triggered slowly over time or in a matter of minutes (when you get inspired by a person’s company or by reading something etc, and you start thinking differently) and accordingly the Mindset will change.

Allah says about AQL in the Quran:

[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded. [Quran, Surah 38:  Ayah 29] 

Now let’s have a look at some of the major different types of mindsets…

9 Different categories of Muslim Mindsets

These are the 9 major categories of Muslim mindsets that you come across generally, each with its own spectrum. The spectrum has two mindsets at the opposing ends grossly, and sometimes other types in the middle.

There’s no clear demarcation between the types of mindsets in one spectrum. Because the intensity & frequency of thoughts & beliefs in a particular mindset are best described over a range within the spectrum rather than as black or white.

Another thing to note is that one mindset can shift into another pretty quickly or shift back to the prior type. And even once a personality is formed, mindsets still possess the ability to change.

 

1st Category: GROWTH

A. Growth-Mindset

People with a growth mindset belief that all accomplishments are achieved through hard-work, consistency and dedication. They believe that traits can be molded or even changed over time.

They have the following beliefs & characteristics:

1) They believe that with effort, hard work, and consistency their intelligence and abilities can be improved.
2) They believe failure is a chance to learn more and become better.
3) They are more likely to choose challenging and difficult tasks as well as take risks.
4) They see obstacles as problems to be solved, and continue their effort in the face of adversity.
5) They take critical/ negative feedback as a chance to become better and improve their system.

To summarize, they have a love of learning & growth.

B. Fixed-Mindset

People with a fixed mindset think that the basic qualities such as intelligence, talents etc are fixed traits which don’t have the capacity to change.

They have the following beliefs & characteristics:

1) They believe their intelligence and talents are inherited and can’t be changed or improved over time.
2) They believe failure is the end-point in the learning curve.
3) They are more likely to take the easy road and play safe.
4) They tend to give up sooner as they come across obstacles or at the first sign of failure.
5) They take critical/ negative feedback as personal hits and get offended.

THE MUSLIM MINDSET:

Quran is the only Book that has a guideline for each and every aspect of self-development. Most importantly it highlights that the purification of Nafs or Jihad Al-Nafs or Self-development (all are the same) forms the basis of success as a Muslim.

Reference:

 Allah Almighty said in Quran: “He has succeeded who purifies the soul, and he has failed who corrupts the soul.” [Quran, Surah 91: Ayahs 9-10].

And the mindset needed for self-development is (I’m sure you’ve already guessed) the GROWTH mindset.

Let me give you an example to help you understand better.

Example:  A very common example would be failing in your exam or test etc.

A fixed mindset response would be cursing oneself, quit taking the exam/class again and believing that “I” am a failure/ loser or simply not “smart enough”. 

The Good Muslim Mindset: Muslims should show a growth mindset response.  A growth mindset response would be to identify your weak areas and start working on them, put in more effort and time before taking the exam again.

Point to remember is that in either case, the feelings of low self-esteem, unhappiness or sorrow are NORMAL. The difference is in the way those feelings are directed; either towards growth or stasis.   

2nd Category: ENERGY

A. Optimistic/ Positive-Mindset

No rocket science behind this one.

Positive thinkers look at the bright side of things and expect good from life. They deal with negative outcomes by finding a positive aspect of the negative situation and focusing on that.

Positive thinking is contagious to the extent that sitting in the company of a person with a positive mindset can transform another person’s negative mindset into a positive one!

Positive thinkers experience pleasant feelings, more energy and a better health that the negative thinkers…

 

B. Pessimistic/ Negative-Mindset

Negative thinkers frequently experience negative feelings such as depression, anxiety, sadness, low self-esteem and enter into repeated cycles of depression as a result of negative thinking.

They either blame themselves or others, for every negative situation in their lives.

In other words, their attitude is either self-inflicting (blaming themselves) or they see themselves as victims (of assaults/ actions committed by others).

Related:  

THE MUSLIM MINDSET:

Islam teaches us that we have control over our thoughts. We might not be able to control the thoughts that pop up in our minds initially, but we have the full power to either pursue them or ignore them.  

Muslims believe that negative thoughts are the work of Shaiytan, the devil. He puts these “waswaas” into our heads and as a result we end up hurting our self by following those thoughts. 

And if an evil whisper from shaytaan tries to turn you away (O Muhammad, from doing good), then seek refuge in Allaah. Indeed, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.’ [Qur’aan, Surah 41: Ayah 36] 

Furthermore, Allah tells us to always expect the best from Him. Allah teaches us to have hope in the mercy of Allah no matter how difficult the situation is.

Allah the Exalted says: I am as my servant expects me and I am with him as he remembers me. [Sahih-Al-Bukhari 6970]

To constantly rid yourself of negative thoughts is a great struggle for the SELF. And that can only be achieved through positive thinking.

There should be no reason for a Muslim to pursue the negative thoughts that Shaiytan puts in his head or else a chain of thoughts will begin and lead the Muslim to committing a sin. 

 

Let’s look at an Example to understand better :

Both person A and person B applied for the same job with the same level of credentials.

Negative Mindset- Person A looks at his CV and figures he would never get the job because of his low credentials. He stays in a depressed state days before the interview, yelling at others for no reason (projection).

He hardly puts any effort whatsoever in preparing for the interview thinking to himself, “What’s the point? Why should I bother putting in the effort when I know I would never get the job?”. When the day arrives, he doesn’t even go for the interview. 

The Good Muslim Mindset- Person B looks at his mediocre CV and feels a sense of low self-worth. But he puts his trust in Allah with the firm belief that whatever Allah has planned for me will be for my best.

He says to himself, “All I can do is pray and put all my efforts into getting the job. After doing that I’ll leave the rest on Allah”. He then plans ahead for the interview, wakes up at Tahajjud to pray Salatul-Hajat and goes for the interview.

Whether he gets the job or not, he followed the Positive Muslim mindset.

.  

3rd Category: GRATITUDE

A. Grateful-Mindset

Gratitude is practiced by people all over the world belonging to various different cultures and religions in different forms.

After years of research, even the scientists and psychologists agree on the amazing outcomes of the practice of gratitude. 

Practice of gratitude has a great positive impact on mental and physical health, relationships, happiness, self-growth, self-esteem, emotional resilience and productivity.

 

B. Ungrateful/ Greedy-Mindset

Humans have a natural tendency to be ungrateful.

“And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.” [Qu’ran: Chapter 14, Verse 34]

But that natural tendency does not justify ungrateful behaviour.

Gratitude is the key to happiness, satisfaction and growth.

Ungrateful behaviour only harms the person himself. It is associated with so many negative emotions including sadness, anger, hate, envy, jealousy, self-pity, arrogance, lack of kindness or sympathy towards others etc.

An ungrateful person rolls over in self-pity. He constantly compares himself to others above him and has a hard time feeling compassion for the ones beneath him in terms of provision.

THE MUSLIM MINDSET:

Islam teaches us to practice gratitude several times in a day. In fact, every situation for a Muslim is a win-win situation.

Suhaib reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “How wonderful is the affair of a believer, as there is good for him in every matter; this is not the case for anyone but a believer. If he experiences pleasure, he thanks Allah and it is good for him. If he experiences harm, he shows patience and it is good for him.”

[Source: Sahih Muslim 2999]

The concept of gratitude is slightly different for Muslims as compared to the followers of other religions as well as athiests.

For a Muslim, gratitude lies in the phrase “Alhamdulilah”. The first surah of the Quran- Surah Al-Fatihah begins with the phrase “Alhamdulilah- All prase is for Allah”.

For people of other faiths (except for the ones who believe in One God) the feelings of gratitude might be directed towards “life” itself, or the mother nature, or the earth, or a certain person (to the level of worshipping the person) etc, depending on their beliefs.

But to a Muslim, gratitude in reality means submission to the Ultimate Supreme Authority of Allah.

It means that no matter how good “I” get at something, there’s no reason for me to gloat about it since it’s a favor and blessing of Allah upon me.

And no matter what I “lose” in this life, I have nothing to be ungrateful for since it was of Allah’s in the first place- He is the owner of all worlds and beings including myself.

And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” [Qur’an: Chapter 14, Verse 7]

Example:

Ungrateful Mindset- Person A opens the fridge, sees some fruits, vegetables and bread there, goes to his parents and yells about how there’s never any decent food in the fridge. He then stays grumpy all day and goes out with his friends to eat “better food” at a restaurant.

The Good Muslim Mindset- Person B responds to a complete lack of food in the fridge by thinking about the needy who carry empty stomachs for days and feels extremely blessed to be able to eat a meal everyday. He then fasts on the days there’s less food, thanks Allah for every bite of his food and shares his food with the poor people in the neighbourhood. That should be the attitude of a Muslim. 

4rth Category: PRODUCTIVITY

A. Productive-Mindset

A productive mindset will make the most of resources such as time, energy, money etc. People with this type of mindset focus on goal setting, planning ahead and putting an effort in everything they do.

Being productive is the key to every kind of success.

Productivity keeps the mind and body healthy. Productive people keep their energy levels high by self-motivation and risk-taking. They are not brought down by failure, create opportunities to go after their dreams and are the doers in real life.

 

B. Lazy/ lethargic-Mindset

Lazy people, like the name suggests, are simply— LAZY.

They might dream, think and even plan. But when it comes to actually “putting in an effort” to achieve what they want… They either don’t want to try or are ready to give up at the first hint of failure.

They stay in a state of low self-esteem because of not achieving their goals and blame their lethargy to the lack of opportunites, unfavorable circumstances or “fate”.

THE MUSLIM MINDSET:

Islam teaches us that “Effort” is true success. Yeap, you read that right!

“And that his effort will be seen” ( Surah Najam: Ayah 40)

Allah doesn’t care about the outcome of all your efforts because whatever outcome is decided by Allah, there’s wellness in it.

So basically productivity in Islam is thinking about what you want to do, planning it well, putting in your best effort, having faith in Allah (Tawakkul) and leaving the outcome upon Allah.

And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives.”

[Qur’an- Chapter 53: Ayah 39]

[And it will be said], “Indeed, this is for you a reward, and your effort has been appreciated.” [Quran- Surah 76: Ayah 22]

Example:

Both Person A and B want to become successful in their career. 

Lazy Mindset- Person A spends hours day-dreaming about getting a promotion or excelling in his line of work. He wants career success so much that he can practically taste it. But what has he done so far to achieve it? Nothing. Except maybe an occasional dua to Allah. He’s not willing to put in the extra hours and says, “If success is in my Qadr (fate), I’ll get it no matter what I do.” (he has misunderstood the concept of QADR)

The Good Muslim Mindset- Person B stays late to work every night. He then wakes up in the middle of the night to pray Tahajjud and makes sincere dua to Allah. He wastes no opportunity to learn and work more. Even after being told repeatedly by the jealous critics that he’s not going to become successful, he continues to put in effort anyway. And after all his efforts, he sleeps with a light heart having complete faith in Allah (that whatever Allah gives or takes from him will be for the best). 

5th Category: EMOTIONS

A. Emotionally Resilient-Mindset

Emotional resilience is being able to control your emotions in tough situations that can normally cause emotional turbulence.

In difficult times, it is so much easier to let the bubbling emotions burst out in a matter of seconds.

You might be angry with someone, or hurt by something someone said, and you keep it inside you until a point comes when you need to let it out because the negative emotions are eating you up from the inside.

Two points to note (that DON’T fall under the meaning of emotional resilience): 

1. You can’t NOT feel negative emotions because they are NORMAL, natural emotions that are a part of human physiology.

Being emotionally resilient doesn’t imply that you don’t feel “negative feelings” such as anger, hurt, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression etc.

2. Also harboring negative feelings for somebody by being quiet outwardly and letting them reach the threshold also does NOT fall under the meaning of emotional resilience.

Then what IS meant by emotional resilience?

Emotional resilience is to be able to direct your emotions into the path of growth. It requires you to take value driven steps in order to deal in the best possible way with your emotions.

 

B. Emotionally Labile-Mindset

Emotionally labile people are, like I mentioned above, easily prone to letting their emotions control them.

They react to everything that doesn’t go their way in life. They will let their emotions (negative or positive) make decisions for them.

Expectantly, they are unable to take value-driven steps to deal the best with their emotions and ultimately become a victim of their own emotions. 

It is an unhealthy type of mindset.

THE MUSLIM MINDSET:

In Islamic terminology, emotional resilience is need to do “Sabr”. There’s a complete Surah of the Quran that has summarized the meaning of Sabr in 3 short Ayahs (verses). It’s Surah ASR.

The inadequate translation of this Arabic word “Sabr” is patience. It does not even remotely encirculate the entire meaning of the word “Sabr”.

Sabr has 3 major forms. They are:

1) Endurance required to obey the commands of Allah ( obligatory acts ).

2) Restraint from committing sins/ prohibited acts.

3) Acceptance of Qadar ( the decree of Allah ) in times of hardship or calamity

For doing all of the above successfully, emotional resilience is a MUST-HAVE.

To wake up for Fajr when you are massively tired, to stop yourself from backbiting about a person you truly dislike, to deal with the loss of loved ones or a bad marriage or loss of health in a graceful way…. ALL of the scenarios DEMAND that you keep your emotions in check.

And be patient over what befalls you.” [Qur’an: Chapter 31, Verse 17]

“Indeed, Allah is with the patient”. [Quran- Surah 8: Ayah 46]

A common Example:

Both Person A and B are being yelled upon by their parents. 

Emotionally labile Mindset- Person A shouts back, even swears and walks away. He then takes his anger out on the servants, slams the door of his room and stays in there for hours. 

The Good Muslim Mindset- Person B listens quietly while his parents are yelling at him and apologizes for upsetting them. He then enters his room and lies down to let go of his anger. He then drinks a glass of water, goes back in his parents room all calm and talks to them normally.  

6th Category: GENEROSITY

A. Giver-Mindset

Obviously as the name suggests, these people like the act of giving more than taking (and for good reason).

Giving could mean anything- giving your time, presence, effort, money, food or other material things all lie under the umbrella of giving.

Givers are the “helpers” in a society. They are the “voluntary workers”.

The act of giving makes a person humble, kind, soft, mindful and more grateful as a human. Generosity can pay back a person in this life and the next, in more than one way.

The cool part is- Giving also has a contagious tendency. It can inspire other people to become more helpful and generous.

The not-so-cool aspect of being a giver is.. you will “burnout” sooner or later if you are a dedicated giver who says yes to everything. 

B. Matcher-Mindset

When people with this type of mindset give, they will want something in return. This category was introduced by the psychologist Adam Grant.

These people have the tendency to give more when inspired by the company of givers.

They will do things for others but will “set expections” for the person whom they have helped. They will expect that person to help them back when in need.

Matchers believe in the concept of “an eye for an eye”. They believe on seeking revenge on the people who have wronged them.

This type of mindset is fairly common.

C. Taker-Mindset

These people are greedy and selfish.

They will go out of their way to help someone higher in the hierarchy so that they can gain some profit in return.

People with this type of mindset are nice to your face when they need something from you but will either ignore or pretend that you don’t even exist when you can’t give them anything.

They will never feel the need to “give” anything if they don’t see a profit in it for “themselves”. 

The act of “taking” could be small such as- taking time, energy, money or other assets of people by tricking them by being nice to them….

Or it could be as BIG as a crime such as- taking someone’s assets illegally or even taking someone’s life.

THE MUSLIM MINDSET:

Yet again, the teachings of Islam take you by surprise once you start seeing the logic behind them.

The concept of generosity and justice go side by side in Islam.

On the one hand, Allah has clearly set boundaries for the “takers” in an Islamic society by giving a full right for the victims of takers to ask for equal legal punishment. Allah says in the Quran:

We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives up his right as charity, it is an expiation for him. Whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

[Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:45]

The “eye for an eye” does not necessarily mean asking for the exact same punishment as the crime. The punishment would be decided by Islamic authorities accordingly to the nature of the crime and other factors.

On the other hand, the right to seek justice does not imply Muslims should lose their character or manners in the event of seeking justice.

Rather, Allah tells us in the Quran that the act of “giving” and “forgiving”(a type of giving) is dearest to Allah.

Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant. [Quran-Surah Al-A’raf 7: Ayah 199]

He commands us to forgive people for their evil actions, be merciful, patient and kind. These are the attributes of Allah and these are the attributes Allah expects from His beloved believers.

Now I know this might sound counterintuitive to some, but there’s a Hikmah (wisdom) behind everything Allah has declared in the Quran.

The right to seek justice ensures a just society, void of illegal activities of the takers.

The command of being forgiving makes the givers and matchers in a society more generous.

Example: 

Person A & B are two TOP grade students. Their attitude during exam preparation time is as follows…

Taker Mindset- Person A goes out of his way to make his teacher happy so he would let him cheat in exams. He also refuses to help other students who reach out to him to understand difficult concepts, since it would “waste” his time.

The Good Muslim Mindset- Person B goes out of his way to help other students as much as he can. He takes out time every day to teach his fellow classmates and never denies a single one of them despite the fact that he himself “needs” to study in that time. During exams, even though he doesn’t know the answers to some questions, he still doesn’t resort to cheating. 

7th Category: CONFIDENCE

A. Confident-Mindset

There’s a clear but fine line between confidence, overconfidence and arrogance. People with a confident mindset have less insecurities, higher self-esteem and a deeper level of self-acceptance.

Confidence is the pillar of strength that you need in order to get past your fears and take control of your life.

It is strongly related with optimism.

Another thing to note is that being confident means being vulnerable and admitting your mistakes.

With a confident mindset you will be able to acknowledge your weakest areas and accept your humanly ability to fail.

Overconfidence is usually a product of immaturity and self-deception. This type of mindset can cross the line and enter the territory of arrogance.

 

B. Arrogant-Mindset

Arrogance stems from insecurity and inability to accept your personal weaknesses.

Arrogant people survive by feeding off the self-esteem of others. Their way to establishing self-esteem is through walking over the esteem of others and “winning” or becoming “better” than others around them.

This type of mindset generates a false sense of self-worth by putting itself in a game of comparison with others.

 

C. Fearful-Mindset

Fearful mindsets suffer from low self-esteem and are unable to overcome their insecurities.

They wallow in despair over their shortcomings and failures to the point that it gets extremely difficult from them to take risks or keep moving forward (from the fear of failure).

Their self-worth has a flawed perception and is a victim of itself.

This is an unhealthy type of mindset that does more damage to the person himself than others.

THE MUSLIM MINDSET:

For a Muslim, self-confidence and self-esteem arise from the following concepts: 

1. The fact that Allah has created humans in the best of form.

“We have certainly created man in the best of stature;

[Quran- Surah At-Tin 95: Ayah 4]

2. Allah has stated in the Quran that humans are responsible for their actions and this sense of responsibilty builds an understanding of “self” for Muslims.

As a Muslim, you will begin to realize that what you do or think is actually “in your control”. And with control comes confidence. 

This will motivate you to let go of the feelings associated with low self-esteem and become confident to “take charge of your own life”. Hence, the concept eliminates the “fearful type of mindset” from Islam.

“….. And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you concerning that over which you used to differ”. [Quran- Surah Al-An’am 6: Ayah 164]

3. Allah repeatedly talks about “Tawakkul”- Trust in Allah. This is the most important of all concepts to understand.

When you set out to do anything, you do your best and leave the rest to Allah. This “Tawakkul” in Allah removes the “fear of failure” from a Muslim’s mindset. Allah becomes the support system of the Muslim.

Remember two of your parties Meditated cowardice; but Allah was their protector, and in Allah should the faithful (Ever) put their trust. [Quran- Surah Al-Imran: Ayah 122]

If Allah helps you, none can overcome you: If He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? in Allah, then, Let believers put their trust. [Quran- Surah Al-Imran: Ayah 160]

4. According to Islamic teachings, brewing insecurities inside is a form of “ungratefulness towards Allah”. When a Muslim deeply connects with the phrase “Alhamdulilah”, he leaves no room in his mind for the insecure thoughts to habitate.  (See the “grateful-mindset” mentioned above)

5. Finally, the arrogant mindset is strongly associated with “Shaiytan- the Devil” in Islam. He compared himself to Prophet Adam A.S and refused to bend. His behaviour was a result of deep-rooted insecurity that he, as a Jinn, was supposed to be “better” than mankind.

This is the worst quality a Muslim can possess according to Allah, so it’s best to rid yourself of it if you suspect you have this type of Mindset.

“You shall not treat the people with arrogance, and walk not on earth haughtily; for God does not love anyone who acts proudly and boastfully. Be modest in your bearing and lower your voice; for the ugliest sound is the donkey’s braying.” [Surah Luqman 31: Ayahs 18-19]

Example:

Arrogant/ over-confident- Person A is a talented girl who walks into an interview, knowing she will get the “position”. She says to the interviewer, “You will not find anyone smarter than me for this job”.  

The Good Muslim Mindset– Person B, an equally talented girl, walks into the interview confident and prepared. She says in her interview, “I have been blessed by Allah with the skills needed to work here, and will work very hard to prove that I’m suitable for this position”.  

8th Category: THOUGHT

Mindfulness is the ability to connect to the present, the surroundings, personal feelings, and events through the active process of “Contemplation”.

This type of Mindset is set on asking the questions, WHY? and HOW? 

Mindful people think beyond the superficial, common thoughts that cross the mind of every human, such as “I have to eat something because I’m hungry”,  or that “I need to wake up early because I have work”.

Contemplation begins where the everyday common thoughts end.

 

B. Wandering-Mindset

Do you think about how you are able to breathe every second and the moment you hold your breath for longer than a few seconds, you start panicking and losing your mind?

Or maybe you take a minute to ponder about why you feel depressed when you have everything to be grateful for?

Most of the time our minds are wandering in self-created dreamlands.

Our minds are either taking a walk on the roads in past or cruising through the future-land. 

This type of mindset is a wandering mindset or mindlessness. They fail to live in the present most of the time or contemplate about the realities of life.

Another aspect of mindlessness is actively choosing “not to think”, specially when there are some unpleasant feelings associated with those particular thoughts.

You will choose to ignore thinking about death or life because the feeling of “uncertainty” or “fear” or “emptiness” creeps inside you.

And how many a sign within the heavens and earth do they pass over, while they, therefrom, are turning away. [ Quran- Surah 12: Ayah 105]

THE MUSLIM MINDSET:

I’m pretty sure it must be obvious by now the type of mindset Islam speaks about.

Allah talks about the act of contemplation- Tafakkur and Tadabbur- multiple times in the Quran.

Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation off the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.

[ Quran-Surah 3: Ayah 191]

 

Mindfulness should be an essential and integral part of daily life of a Muslim.

Without actively contemplating, a Muslim’s mind will begin to wander in the direction of Shaiytan’s Waswaas.

Besides, contemplation is the first step to correction. If you don’t think about your mistakes, your achievements and your failures, you will never be able to move into the direction of growth. This type of mindset is strongly related to the growth mindset (mentioned above).

The cool part is- You carry your mind everywhere with you (Do you though? I hope you do :D).

On a serious note- Because your mind is a part of you, you have the ability to begin contemplation “anytime” and “anywhere” (except obviously in a comatose state or under General Anesthesia- The doctor in me takes over sometimes. -_- )

Example:

Mindless/ wandering Mindset- Person A rushes through the day on autopilot. He wakes up, prays in a habitual robotic way, eats breakfast, works all day in a rush, comes home, eats dinner, watches some TV to relax and escape the stress that has been piled up inside and sleeps. 

The Good Muslim Mindset- Person B wakes up, prays and goes out to take a walk in nature. He writes in his journal, observes the beauty of nature, reflects upon Allah’s signs and does Zikr of Allah every morning for an hour. He then continues his usual activities of the day. Before going to bed, he reflects upon the activities of the day. He then recognizes all the mistakes he made that day, makes a resolution to not repeat them, empties his mind of evil thoughts for others, does Zikr of Allah and sleeps.

9th Category: PURPOSE

A. Purposeful-Mindset

Purposeful mindsets have designed for themselves a purpose in life that directs their day-to-day actions. They don’t live, think or work aimlessly.

There life is brimming with energy and passion.

To become purposeful…the first step is to begin contemplating (mentioned above).

Therefore, the purposeful mindsets are also the contemplating mindsets.

These type of mindsets truly “live” life to the fullest and become the pioneers, the leaders and the ambassadors in whatever they choose to do in life.

 

B. Confused/ Aimless-Mindset

The opposite of purposeful could be either aimless or confused.

The difference between aimless and confused is that the confused mindset “wants” to be purposeful but doesn’t know “how” to.

The aimless mindset is “okay” with living a purposeless ordinary life.

Aimless people have no plan in life or no direction in which they can regulate their energy and time.

“Why would anyone choose to live so aimlessly?”, is a question I often ask myself.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that people with such mindsets find it “easier” to live aimlessly.

They just want to go with the flow, fit in their environment and continue to live life the way it unfolds.

They will not choose to step out of their comfort zone to grow nearer to their purpose (since they don’t have one). They don’t feel the need to “do something” in life, since it’s easier to “not do something”.

Confused mindsets are always on the lookout for “the missing element” in their life.

They want to find a purpose that aligns specifically with their desires, skills and knowledge. They just don’t know how to find it or how to follow the purpose they have decided upon.

THE MUSLIM MINDSET:

The purpose of life of a Muslim is pre-defined in the Quran by Allah.

“I have created the jinn and humankind only for My worship.”

[Quran- Surah 51: Ayah 56] 

However, that does NOT imply that Muslims don’t have to “contemplate” to find their purpose. With the purpose said above, Allah has blessed each and every human with a unique set of qualities, talents and skills.

Muslims have to complete the second step of finding their purpose through contemplation and application. 

“How will I worship Allah to the best of my abilities?” is a question every Muslim needs to ask him/herself.

Example:

Purposeless Mindset- Person A lives by the motto “YOLO (You only live once)”, and loves to live life “in the moment”. According to him, the moment is fully lived by doing “what you want.” When asked about his purpose, he says “My purpose is to LIVE life, get a money-making job, marry a decent woman, raise a family, buy a house and save some money for retirement.”

The Good Muslim Mindset- Person B lives by the motto “You DON’T live once (there’s HereAfter), but you are given only ONE life to prove yourself to Allah”. Person B has defined a purpose larger than his personal life goals. A purpose that will help Islam, the Muslim community, and leave Sadqah-e-Jariah behind so that his purpose is being served even when he dies. He reminds herself of his purpose everyday, breathes it, lives it and takes action on it every. single. day.

Under EACH category, Which TYPE of Mindset do YOU possess?

ACTIVITY: Write down each type of mindset you possess in this free worksheet I’ve created for you. (It’s NOT a quiz, it’s a worksheet you can print and keep with you as a reminder).

You will need to write: 

  1. Your mindset under each of the 9 different categories
  2. A 9-Word summary of the type of Mindset you possess
  3. The type of Mindset you need to work on! (your weak areas)

All in ONE place! 🙂 Awesome-sauce?? Yesss!

Grab your FREE “What’s Your Mindset?” Worksheet!

……

But wait..

Is that ALL about Mindsets??

Nope… There’s MORE! *oh yes!*

What’s NEXT?…

Practical tips on how to attain the Muslim Mindset! 

In the next article of the series, I will show you simple practical ways on how to develop the Muslim Mindset. It’s going to be a short, practical article with tips you can begin applying the same day! 🙂

Wrapping up… What can you expect from this Self-Development In Islam series

In this particular series, I will cover topics under emotional, physical and mental aspects of self-improvement.

The article updates will be delivered IN your INbox via our MYP-Weekly Newsletter ; ).. Yes we are cool, we have a newsletter B )

FYI.. Most of the content I write is exclusive to my mailing list crew– I love them to bits! You may see an article here on the blog every other week or so—BUT— I send a value-packed email every week to my list. Join in so you don’t miss out on all of the good stuff! 

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And Allah knows best!

Did this post get you started on thinking about your mindset? Let’s chat in the comments below! 🙂

KEEP READING…

Founder & Author l Muslim Youth Programme
Aimen is a Medical Doctor who teaches self-development to young Muslims struggling with the fitnah of this century. Her aim is to educate and empower Muslims with practical advice on self-development, productivity, studies and health, with insights on Islamic psychology. Jumpstart your productivity and take action on your goals by signing up to her latest FREE productivity Bootcamp for Muslims.
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