By Naila Naiyyar
Husn udh-dhann billah means having a good opinion of Allah. It refers to being certain of receiving only good from Him; to have positive thoughts about Him, believing that He will deal with us in the best of ways. Allah says, “I am as My servant thinks I am”. (Bukhari) That is, in order for us to expect something good from Allah we have to truly believe that He is capable of giving that good.
Thinking well of Allah is a fundamental aspect of our worship. How can we worship Him the way He deserves to be worshipped when we are not aware of His Attributes or when we think that He is akin to the people around us?
One of the main causes of lacking husn udh-dhann billah is our comparing Allah and His Attributes to those of humans, wrongly assuming that Allah will not be good to us because we ignored Him; or that He is One who takes pleasure from our sufferings and will not listen to our pleas because we disobeyed Him (na’udhubillah); or that since we have indulged in the worst of sins, He will put us in the blazing hell-fire, wondering why will He even consider us for heaven as there are so many pious people that already exist! All such thoughts indicate that we do not know who Allah actually is or how Just and Merciful He is.
In order to avoid all these negative thoughts, we need to study and know the Attributes of Allah. Allah is nothing like any of His creation. He is free of defect and deficiencies. His Promise is always true and He never forgets. Even the tiniest of our deeds does not escape His Attention. He is never too busy to ignore us. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him, nor sleep. He always remembers us no matter how many times we forget Him. We need to firmly believe that Allah answers our duas, forgives us and that He is enough for us. Count all your Blessings and ponder over your past, recounting all the moments that Allah never let you down.
This lack of education on our part helps shaytaan play with our minds and heart. This creates hopelessness in us and we begin to despair the Mercy of Allah.
I will share two great examples of this from the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) set out of his home with Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) as his companion to migrate to Madeenah, while the Quraysh were conspiring against him. They hid in the cave of Thawr, and Abu Bakr said to him (peace be upon him) “If one of them looks down at his feet he will see us.” He (peace be upon him) said, “What do you think, O Abu Bakr, of two the third of whom is Allah?”
This is an example of nothing but having a strong conviction that Allah is the Most Powerful and the One in control of everything. Allah mentions this historical event in the Quran:
“If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down his Tranquility upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the Word of Allah – that is the Highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Quran, 9:40)
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was having his mid-day sleep under a tree, with his sword hanging on one of the branches. A Bedouin suddenly came and took the Prophet’s sword. The Prophet (peace be upon him) woke up and the Bedouin asked him, “Who will protect you from me?” He (peace be upon him) replied, “Allah”. The sword fell from the bedouin’s hand and the Prophet (peace be upon him) took his sword. (Bukhari)
Benefit of having good opinion of Allah
It makes life easy and productive. When we have husn udh-dhann billah, we’d have a sense of peace and inner calm which pushes us to do good with the belief that Allah will reward us and grant us success.
Husn udh-dhann billah also increases our tawakkul (trust) where we do our best and then leave the result up to Allah. If we had a bad opinion of Allah (soo’udhann billah) then we wouldn’t strive hard in life, nor would we wish to achieve anything because we would not expect anything good to happen to us.
We also need to keep in mind that good opinion has to be followed by good actions. We can’t be mean to people or disobey Allah and then expect that He be kind to us.
“And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out and will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent”. (Quran, 65:2-3)
How to Develop Husn udh-Dhann Billah
1) Making du’a with certainty
Making du’a is not only action of the lips but also includes the intention in one’s heart. People may raise their hands in making du’a but may not be sincere in asking Allah. They either make their minds up that Allah is never going to answer, or they preoccupy their minds so much with worldly thoughts that making dua becomes merely a ritual.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Call upon Allah when you are certain of a response, and know that Allah does not accept any supplication from a heart that is unfocused and distracted.” (Tirmidhi)
2) The intention of our deeds
Performing deeds solely for Allah’s Pleasure and having firm belief that Allah will accept them and reward us in the best way are yet other ways of imbibing husn udh-dhann billah. Else, we would never attempt at anything good or we may easily give up half-way questioning ourselves, ‘why bother when our actions are not bringing instant results or the way we want them to turn out?’
3) Belief in Allah’s Promise
Husn udh-dhann billah also refers to believing that Allah always keeps His word and will grant us all that He promises. For instance, if He Promises ease with every hardship, then indeed we will have that ease. If Allah Promises us increase in our sustenance if we spend in His way, then we must have firm belief in that too.
4) Repenting & seeking forgiveness
Allah says, “O My servants, you commit error night and day and I am there to Pardon your sins, so beg pardon from Me so that I should Grant you Pardon.” (Muslim)
This teaches us to sincerely repent and seek forgiveness from Allah with the hope that He will accept our repentance and forgive us. If we did not have this certainty in our hearts, then we will never seek forgiveness and perhaps will keep on sinning. Not expecting Allah to Forgive us or Grant us what we ask him is despairing of His Mercy and not believing in His Word.
5) Trials & tribulations
The most crucial stage to have a good opinion of Allah is when calamity falls upon the believer. It is very easy to complain at that time, lose hope and be in the worst state of negativity. But a believer knows that trials occur only due to Allah’s infinite Wisdom, and to purify and increase us in closeness to Him. We might not understand why we are suffering but being positive in those times will help us to accept Allah’s Decree and make us realize that tests from Allah are in our best interest which we may comprehend only later.
The Prophets and Messengers of Allah had pinned all their hopes onto Allah, most especially when all odds were stacked against them. The fire was cooled for Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Yunus came out of the belly of a fish and Prophet Zakariya was blessed with a child even though he was old and his wife barren. Why? Because they knew that Allah would respond to their pleas and get them out of every situation no matter how impossible they seemed.
“Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” (Surah Yusuf: 87)
6) Remember death
Finally, we are encouraged to remember Allah’s Mercy & Forgiveness on our death beds so that when we leave this world, we are hopeful of meeting our Lord.
Three days before Prophet (peace be upon him) passed away, said: “No one of you should die except thinking positively of Allah”. (Muslim)
Husn udh-Dhann Billah and Positive thinking
Having good opinion of Allah has one major byproduct – it makes us positive about life itself. This positive mindset will help us in keeping calm even during turbulences and help us get rid of pessimistic thoughts.
Having a positive outlook is the most important thing to bring ease in life especially when everything around us seems unbearable. It is the good belief that Allah is the Most Powerful, the Giver, our Savior & our Provider which will stop us from fearing people, and fear Allah instead. It will help us be consistent in our worship and teach us to ask from Allah alone rather than tiring ourselves in struggling to gaining acceptance from people. It frees us from the need of other human beings, and liberates us from following shaytaan and all those who follow him.
You may wonder: What if you did not experience success even though you worked hard and had good opinion of Allah? Well, remember that what seems like failure to us now will in fact bring only the best – even much better than what we had initially anticipated. It might be that Allah is saving us from something not in our knowledge. So we have to do our best in everything and accept His Divine Will that whatever we get is in our best interest and are thankful to Allah.
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” (Quran: 2:216)