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Being confident takes courage. No matter how many articles, videos, inspirational talks you go through, at the end of the day it simply takes courage to open up to the world and show your potential. It takes courage to speak up your opinions and let them be known, to choose what you wear and without the fear being judged, to put out your work out there and not let the critics get you, to stand up for yourself when someone tries to bring you down, to do something different and not let societal rules bother you – it all takes courage.
Guidelines or tips to being confident about oneself are aplenty – not to compare yourself to others, sit straighter, get to know oneself, dress well and many more.
Although these are essential corners of being confident, one must own that being confident is something that goes deeper than this. It takes more reflection and analysis to find out what are the actual root issues that have stemmed in our society today, to the extent that almost every other person out there has doubts about themselves as a person or, rather has lost courage to portray their true self.
The most blunt way of advising someone to lift up their confidence is – To pray; taqwah.
Praying literally helps you gain confidence. Prayers helps you save yourself from fitnah, from trials and when you stand up in front of Allah, Allah gives you the strength and courage to stand up for yourself. Standing up for salah gives you the courage to stand for yourself, it builds confidence. Prayer and confidence might not seem to go together at the first glance, but it will make more sense in a minute.
On a daily basis, Muslims at schools, universities or workplace are afraid. What do they fear? For instance – It’s time for salah and you’re outside, but you’ll be very particular to find yourself a corner, to be as hidden as possible while praying. We’re scared to show people who we really are, it’s as if we are faking ourselves to the people. There are Muslim women who aren’t confident enough to wear the hijab.To announce to the world who you really are. And this is the first barrier that needs to be broken.
Muslims need to stop fearing people.
We don’t want people to look at us praying because we have thoughts like –
“What if they think I’m a terrorist?”
“ What if they report me?”
“What if I lose my friends if I appear to be very religious?”
– it’s the fear of people that we’re torturing ourselves with.
When you push all these thoughts aside and spread out your prayer mat and pray no matter how many eyes look at you, Allah instills in you the fear of Him and removes the fear of people. And once you become afraid of Allah, you lose the fear of people. And now that you’ve shown the people who you are, you gain confidence in yourself, your religion, your identity as a person. It all stemmed from praying.
وَلَا تَهِنُوا۟ وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا۟ وَأَنتُمُ ٱلْأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ (١٣٩
So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.
This ayah from Surah Al-Imran, is mentioning this in a nutshell – The true believers don’t weaken in front of people. When you have tawakkul, you are brave in the face of any worldly adversity, it doesn’t matter what amount of criticism you stand to face. A true believer has the fear of the Creator and not the creation – knowing too well that Allah will not burden a soul beyond its capacity and he or she is exactly where Allah wants them to be.
This Ayah was revealed during the battle of Uhud. When the sahabas were immensely aggrieved by the rumour that had spread out then regarding the death of our prophet Muhammad (SAW), they had lost confidence to move on and continue with their battle when they heard the rumour. And Allah here is refocusing the sahaba, that his true believers will not stop nor weaken, will not let their courage waver and continue the fight with confidence, on the decree of Allah and in themselves!
The sahabas did not let their confidence to fight dwindle on the news of failure.
There is a message here related to our confidence – Don’t let discouragements or critics or failure play with your confidence. Don’t let them meddle or even come closer to your courage. This also pulls to our attention that – Tawakkul in Allah makes you confident!
When you leave your house wearing your hijab, especially in areas where there is immense islamophobia or just fear of people, you are placing your trust in Allah that whatever happens, happens. And Allah is in control of everything. There is no need to fear the outcome of any matter in our life whether it be a presentation, a speech, an important examination, to confront someone, to confront societal norms, wearing your hijab etc because now we have placed all of our trust on Allah and everything will go in the best order, we have confidence in Allah.
All of these – Praying, fear the creator and the fear of creation will leave you (Taqwa), tawakkul – are all connected to your confidence. Islam has the answer to all our problems, and we’ve figured out the solution to one more of the most common issue.