BY HALIMAH EL KURGHALI
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Have you ever experienced feelings of regret in your life as a result of not quite having enough confidence to say something you really wanted to someone.. or experienced regret as a result of not having quite enough confidence to do/pursue something really important to you?
Have you ever struggled in your life with the difficult emotions that stem from having a lack of confidence such as fear and anxiety or low self-esteem and self-worth? Would you like to stop living with any more regrets and start feeling differently about yourself? Would you like to start living life more free?
Well in this video Halimah share with you 5 Quranic ideas on how you can practically go about building more self-confidence inshAllah!
Because who wouldn’t you like to experience more of that inner strength that you get in your body when you feel more confident, right? Who wouldn’t like to experience more of that joy being who they are in their own skin which you feel when you are more confident? Who wouldn’t want to experience more of that energy to pursue the things they love and are most important to them, which you gain when you have more confidence in yourself?
[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The QuranLifestyle Show by Halimah El-kurghali]
Asalamu Alaykum. Halimah here your Quran lifestyle coach. Today lets talk about how we can become more confident! Because why wouldn’t you like to experience more of that strength that you get in your body when your confident, why wouldn’t you like to experience more of that joy being who you are that you feel when your confident, why wouldn’t you want to experience more of that energy to pursue the things you love that you gain when you have more confidence in yourself.
Maybe you’ve experienced that sense of regret in your life before when you didn’t quite have enough confidence to say something you really wanted to someone in the past or experienced that regret in the past from not having enough confidence to do something you needed to or pursue something really important to you. Maybe you’ve struggled in your life before with the difficult emotions that stem from having a lack of confidence such as fear and anxiety or low self-esteem and self-worth for example and you would love to change things- you don't want to live with any more regrets, you want to start feeling different about yourself and start living life more free - you want to be more confident inshallah. Well, today I want to share 5 quranic ideas on how we can practically go about building more self-confidence inshallah.
Now to pursue confidence it's important we first define and understand what confidence actually is right? That way was not going to mistaken confidence for what some people superficially judge it to be- like never getting nervous for example which isn’t true or about it only leading to arrogance, on the other hand, etc. ok So in the world of personal development confidence is something that we humans are said to develop in our psyche and It's essentially defined as something we attain when we can genuinely express who we truly are and pursuing the things we truly desire. So it comes from having this cohesive sense of identity- an alignment of who we are, what we believe, our values and dreams, etc and we authentically live that, we live the best of who we are on a consistent base. Now for us to really be authentic for us to generate the ultimate levels of confidence it's going to naturally require tip 1 which is:
Now a lot of people might ask how they can increase their levels of self-awareness- to discover more about who they really are, their beliefs values and dreams in life- and the reality is that there are a bunch of ways you can- you could engage in more self-reflection, you could journal, you could get yourself a coach, you do some online personality tests for example- there are many ways you could learn more about yourself which is going to help you boost your levels of self-confidence. But I would say that the ultimate way to gain the highest levels of self-awareness, which I would argue surpasses all other methods.. is learning about yourself through learning about Allah SWT. There is a famous saying that states: men Arafa rubahu arafa nefsahoo- the one who got to know his master truly got to know himself. But this idea isn’t a cultural, its, in fact, something that Allah himself attests to in the Quran.
Allah SWT says in the Quran in surah taha that He "knows the secret and what is even more hidden”. Now a secret is something that you're conscious about but which you keep hidden inside you right? In this verse Allah SWT is saying that not only is he aware of those things but that he is aware of things that are even deeper inside of us- that impact the way you and I perceive things and the way we behave etc now- but that are in our subconscious, in the deepest recesses of our minds and memory that even we are not even aware of and which no one could fully comprehend about us- not even psychiatrist for example who spend there lives helping people explore and better understand deeper aspects of themselves to help ppl become more self-aware and best manage themselves. And Allah tells us this to help us realize that when we get to know Allah and remember Him- when we build a spiritual closeness to him then allows us to become more aware of ourselves in ways we never have been and never will be otherwise- than he SWT will open up for us our own levels of consciousness and allows us to discover deeper things inside of us so you can become a better, healthier, more authentic, happier and confident human beings.
And If this wasn’t true Allah SWT would have stated its opposite to be true elsewhere in the Quran. Allah SWT says in surah hash v19:
“Don't become like people who forgot Allah, so Allah made them forget themselves" So one of the incredible benefits of our close relationship to Allah is our own self-awareness and when we attain that and be authentic to it then that will become a tremendous source of confidence for us inshallah.
Ok so how do we do it then?- how do we learn about Allah and build a relationship/closeness to him that can lead to greater self-awareness and confidence? Well Allah SWT says in Imran 103
"And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together” now a rope it connects two things to each other, it to hold them together. Right? The actual expression hablullah the rope of Allah grammatically in Arabic it's actually an Ithafa meaning these two words are inseparable- so its as if Allah is saying this rope it directly connects to Allah and you should hold onto it because if you do you will be directly connected to Allah too. But what is this rope exactly? Well, the prophet pbuh said it is the Quran itself. You know this notion of the Quran is our ultimate connection to Allah is also echoed in Hadiths of the prophet pbuh like when he said
"You will not come back to Allah swt with anything better than that which came from Him i.e. Quran"(Sahih: Al-Hakim)
And this vital teaching was something the prophet also made sure to deeply ingrained into the heart and practice of his companions too- for example, khabab ibn alert he beautifully said: “do whatever you wish to get close to Allah SWT but know that you will never get closer to him with something more beloved to him than his own word”.
So ask yourself, how’s strong is your relationship with the Quran in your life right now? Ask yourself What small but significant action could you take today to start building a greater relationship with it inshallah? Because I’m telling you walahi when you start reading the Quran and you come across ayaht like surah teen where Allah SWT tells you that he molded you in the best of forms when you study the Quran and come across verses like in surah hajj where Allah swt teaches you that he actually sees something in you, potential, that qualifies you to struggle in service to him and that why He personally selected you to have la ilaha ilAllah Muhammadan rasula, when you study the Quran and come across surahs like surah muminon where you learn that Allah has already created for you a house in the highest part of Jannah in Jannat ul firdows, because he knows your capable. After all, he has such high expectations of you and has provided for you every opportunity possible for you to attain it .. you will not be able to feel anything less than the greatest levels of confidence- because these aren't things that you've read in a book or have been told to you from others which may or may not be true but facts are being stated by the ultimate source of knowledge and truth- from your creator Allah swt.
Before I move on there is one additional thing I want to quickly add here ia that's super important to us as Muslims which I believe we shouldn’t overlook concerning self-awareness. in the world we live in today there is a lot of talk of being authentic to 'who you are' and 'what your ‘calling/purpose’ is, for you to be happy right? But we have to realize that a lot of the self-discovery taking place to discover these things are completely self-determined right? And so its important we acknowledge the simple flaw in this pursuit- because like we see explained in those two Quranic verses I previously shared our knowledge of our true selves is limited.
And what’s more, we must realize that even what we do know or assume of ourselves right now in our lives is not actually permanent either. Because I’m sure ten years ago you probably identified as a diff person to how you would describe yourself today or at least you maybe wanted different things in life then you do now right? That's because we humans naturally grow and develop over time- nothing stays stagnant in life. But Despite this reality of us all evolving in our own ways and at your own paces as we embark on our individual paths in life there is one aspect of our identity, of who we truly are& what we will all truly want whether we realize this right now or not -that is forever constant and so its the most authentic aspect of our being and so its actually then the secret to our ultimate happiness and confidence...and that is being a slave of Allah and aspiring to be with him. And the best way of learning more about and reminding ourselves of this most liberating and confident boosting reality, once again is the Quran inshallah.
Now this very powerful first quranic idea for becoming more confident through self-awareness, its something that we work on the long term, but there are some practical techniques we can use right now to immediately help us feel more confident too inshallah and one of those that we are now going to talk about is:
Now Our brains are bombarded with hundreds of pieces of information at any time, and for it to avoid being overloaded and to maintain functioning healthily, it has a filtering system that helps it filters all the pieces of information and that extract what’s the most important pieces of info for us to focus on at this moment. And it's important to know that whatever we choose to focus on from the information we are exposed to around us, whether positive or negative, we actually program our brains into directing all our energies and drive to achieving that result. And that's because where focus goes energy flows.
Now we see the power of focus demonstrated for us in the Quran through two contrasting examples- through the focus of Musa and the focus of firown. Now many of you know that firown once had a dream, a premonition that one day a man from bani Israel would overthrow him right? And he made a choice to focus on this fear of his- he consciously dedicated all his lifelong thoughts and actions to try to prevent this prophecy from coming true. And He began his mission by ordering the death of all the male children that had been born to the Bani Israel (Quran 2:49) But subhanallah it was his very actions which stemmed from his obsessive focus on his fear that actually resulted in that child being delivered to the very doorsteps of his palace, and led Musa to grow up in the household of Firown as a son and eventually led him to being overthrown and destroyed -because his order to kill the sons of bani Israel led to Musa's mother placing him in the basket down the river nile in the first place. Subhanah
Now if you look at Musa on the other hand, one of the primary goals and focus of his prophethood given to him by Allah was to free Bani Israel from the tyranny of Frown right? And when we look at his story we see the powerful effects of his positive focus and the impact it had on his levels of confidence too. when Musa fled Egypt with his people and they reached the Red Sea, they became lodged between the sea, a mountain and the oncoming army of Frown right? Now Despite the bleak outlook and the negative questions and doubts that came from some of Bin Israel when they found themselves in that dire situation, we're told that Musa because of his positive focus he consistently moved through the crowds of ban Israel with haroon and yushab focused on finding a solution to free his people (Quran 26:62) and the impact that his positive focus had on his levels of confidence can be seen in the profoundly beautiful statement he said in response to bani Israels worries when he said ‘qula kala inamaiya rubi sayehdi’.
And with the permission of Allah, we see the successful results that his positive focus and confidence yielding in freedom bani Israel.
Ok with that said - if in your mind you're focusing all the time on your fears and what you're worried about if internally your constantly question your own self worth and self-esteem, how can you expect to feel more confident in yourself? You can’t right? Ok, so how can we effectively direct our focus than in a more empowering and positive way to help us feel more confident inshallah? Well, we can manipulate our focus through the use of strategic questions- questions are very powerful and that's because when we ask our brain a question it will always provide you with an answer. and that's actually why we find Allah SWT constantly asking us questions in the Quran right?- Allah is always positively guiding our focus in a productive way.
Ok So instead of asking yourself disempowering questions like 'Why am I so rubbish at this?’, ‘why can’t I ever do things right’, 'what bad thing is going to happen if I try x,y,z’? Which will only impact your levels of confidence in negative way, as our brains will then provide answers to support such beliefs- we need to start programming ourselves to start asking ourselves more empowering questions such as 'What am I focusing on right now that's making me feel or act with a lack of confidence?’ And ‘What could I be focusing on right now that will help me feel more extraordinary levels of confidence in myself?’ I would personally suggest you keep a journal detailing just 2 or 3 empowering questions you can ask yourself daily to positively direct your focus to help you become more confident inshallah and get in the habit of regularly asking yourself those questions.
Ok so the reality is that a lot of people they wait around for certain events or experiences to happen to them in life to feel confident in themselves- so they think they will feel more confident with they attain a certain qualification, or when they lose a certain amount of weight or get verbal acknowledgment or love from a certain person, for example when the truth is that you can instantly create feelings of confidence, or any feeling you want in fact, by consciously utilising your physiology and that's because motion creates emotion. Because when you choose to embody the typical physiology/physical traits that define a certain emotion, whether positive or negative, you instinctively create and amplify those associated feelings.
We can see the effects that our physiology has on our emotions demonstrated for us In the Quran in two contrasting incidents. if we revisit the story of Prophet Musa (as) in surah naml were told about the incident in which Allah spoke directly to Musa (as) and during that meeting, Allah showed Musa a miracle in which his staff transformed into a snake and were told that Musa was so scared by that that he physically ran away (Quran 27:10) Now when you feel scared what kind of bodily traits do you experience- increased heart rates, breathlessness, adrenaline pumping around your body right? When you physically run what things happen to your body as a result? Your heart rate increases don’t it?- you become more breathless, there is an increase in adrenaline etc. so Musa's physical response to his fear do you see how it only intensified his fear and trapped him in that negative emotional state? We're told in that verse that he never came back because of it SubhanAllah.
Ok Now contrast that to the incident mentioned in surah taha (20:67) when Musa was confronted by the magicians of Egypt and they had this public dual before all the people of Egypt. Allah tells us once again that Musa naturally felt fear right?- some mufasireen say there could have been up to 15,000 magicians he was faced with in front of the watching crowds subhanAllah. But there was a difference highlighted here- in this verse Allah tells us that Musa chose in his incident to conceal his fear. How did he conceive fear only in his heart? by not allowing those emotions to be visibly transferred onto his limbs. So instead he chose to display physical characteristics of confidence and strength in standing tall and firm for example. And in doing so it allowed him to control and lower the intensity of his fear, to potentially eliminate it even. That's the power of physiology
So to free ourselves from the emotions associated with a lack of confidence like fear and worry for example then we must consciously choose to break free from the associated physical states e.g. so we need to stop with our shallow and rapid breathing, stop our curled up body posture, stop crossing our arms and legs that were used to protect and comfort ourselves were we trying to mentally block things out, we need to stop with the nervous fidgeting and biting our nails, etc- because these physical characteristics will only imprison us in our feelings of anxiousness. Instead, we must choose to embody the physiology that encourages the positive feelings of confidence that we want to experience, to actually be felt- so by standing taller, lifting our heads up a bit more, by opening up our bodies, adopting gestures like the steeple hand gesture, maintaining stronger eye contact, breathing more deeper, etc. remember motion creates emotion.
Its when we stop having momentum in life that we begin to experience feelings of being lost or confused and we start feeling down about ourselves- we can experience a lack of confidence. You know A lot of people think that it's simply just the decisions they make in life that is the most important thing, that it's their decisions that define who they are and that will determine their success when that isn’t completely true- because although intentions are a necessary and very powerful first step towards moving forward in any direction, the truth is that a lot of people decide to do a lot of good things in life or decide to become someone better, but they don't actually do it right?- so some people decide to become a more patient and loving parent or decide to lose weight or they decide to read more Quran but they actually don't end up doing it.
And That's because the act of making a decision of having an intention alone (although its important praiseworthy and something that's beautifully rewarded In Islam) it doesn’t directly cause something to manifest into something real right?- that happens when you have disciplined action (and that's why you get another reward in Islam when you actually act on your good intentions and why interestingly in Islam iman/faith is defined as that which is the heart and the limbs together SubhanAllah)
So what I’m saying is that you can choose to be confident in your life right now if you wanted to simply by having the intention to and it helps yes- but if you really want feelings of unbreakable confidence to start naturally emanating from within you consistently long term then you will achieve that when you start moving forward towards your goals through taking consistent action and gaining momentum. Because when we take consistent action and have the momentum we progress in and so we begin hitting milestones, experiencing small wins. We also allow ourselves to develop our competency too along the journey where we get to regularly acknowledge and connect with our strengths, and so all these things empower us and help us to naturally build our levels of confidence.
Now some people will say well how can I start taking action, and creating momentum for myself Halimah when I don't know what the bigger picture is, I don't have a clear plan and vision of where I’m going, I haven’t quite decided what that is for myself- so they get stuck, they linger in this state of procrastination, they kill their levels of confidence. Well, what a lot of people don't realise is that often some of the best decisions we make in life actually come after we have momentum at something because we gain some more perspective. Instead of waiting for the perfect plan, the perfect time, the perfect person or things in your life to then decide to pursue a goal or dream- instead of being at the whim of the external world which will only dampen your confidence, it's important that instead, you ask yourself -“What can I do right now to begin? Even if you're unsure of the big picture and the whole path. Because when we start moving things become more apparent, you gain better perspective like I said which can lead to better decisions and more confidence- you know you can stand far from a road sign trying to squint your eyes and figure out what the sign says when if you actually just started moved forward along the road you’ll be able to read those road signs clearer right?
That's why we have the Hadith of the prophet pbuh, he told us that the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few. You know Vision can bring you a sense of direction and inspiration even, but momentum is what’s going to give you the confidence to pursue it in the first place.
To illustrate this quranic teaching I want to share with you two similar verses of the Quran- one found in Surah Baqarah and the other is found in Surah Anfal. They both deals with fighting in the path of Allah and These context of these ayat relate to the first battle of Islam, the battle of Badr.
For those who don't know the context, Muslims had been harshly oppressed and had been unjustly expelled from their homes. And so without having initiating violence themselves, they were justified in fighting back for their homes. But the reality was that they were very few in number with very little military resources whilst their enemy the Quraish were very powerful in resources and manpower. Now in Surah al Baqara Allah says to the Muslims: “Fight them until there is no more tribulation and the deen (religion/way of life) belongs to Allah”/ and in Surah Anfal Allah SWT says “fight them until there is no more tribulation/corruption and the religion in its entirety belongs to Allah.”
Now although these verses sound very similar because they deal with the same context, as you will have noticed there is a difference in the command Allah SWT issued to the Muslims within these two verses right?- one is to fight until the deen belongs to Allah while the other is to fight until the deen in its entirety belongs to Allah. And interestingly this difference is because of a difference in the timing of the revelation between these two verses. the verse in Surah Baqarah was revealed before the battle of Badr whilst the ayah in Surah Anfal was revealed after the battle.
Now when Allah told the Muslims in Surah Baqarah to fight until the religion belonged to Allah it's important we understand that when anyone at that time of revelation, in that region thought of deen/religion they all immediately would think of the Kabah/Makkah because everyone's religious idols resided in Makkah - so the Muslims understood this ayah to mean that they will need to fight yes because they were being oppressed and expelled but they will need to continue fighting until Makkah belonged to Allah until the house of Allah/ Kabah is cleansed and restored to the original legacy of Ibrahim- because the tribulation/corruption mentioned in the verse that needed to be overcome is talking about the spread of false religion. Now when the ayah in surah Anfal was revealed, it told them they would actually need to continue fighting until the religion in entirety belongs to Allah- meaning until the whole of the region was cleared of false religion, not just the Kaba and Makkah- and that's a substantially weightier commandment/ bigger goal right?
There is a great lesson for us to learn in the fact that Allah gave the Muslims an order on two different scales according to two time periods of their journey. The first ayah was revealed as I said before the Battle of Badr, where the situations of the Muslims looked bleak, the Muslims weren’t sure how things were going to turn out- the odds were not in their favor as they numbered around 300 whereas the Quraish no apron 1000, etc. But as you know Allah SWT granted the believers an extraordinary and tremendous victory at the battle of Badr and it was after that that Allah SWT revealed to them once again the same verses as a reminder that they would need to continue to fight but their task this time was greater they had a heavier duty to fulfill and the reason Allah SWT waited to reveal the full extent of his commandment till after the battle was because the Muslims has now been empowered and were more confident in their abilities as a result of the actions and momentum they had developed- so they felt capable of moving ahead with this even greater challenge.
Had the verse of Surah Anfal been revealed to the Muslims before Badr the likelihood is that they would have just been intimidated by that vision Allah had for them, it would seem like too big a goal that they wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue? But as a result of their actions and the momentum they gained first- where they got to experience a smaller more immediate milestones and win, it helped the Muslims achieve greater levels of confidence in their abilities to go on and achieve even greater things, to cleanse the entire region of shirk subhanAllah.
So Allah in his perfect knowledge of us as his creation, he demonstrates for us in the Quran in these verses how we as humans, best operate on a cognitive level- it teaches is that although vision is key to us having the direction and inspiration we need, momentum is key to us attaining the confidence we need to pursue our goals and dreams in life.
5) Your Companion
You know We all need people around us who are positive and supportive who can see and appreciate the good in us and the good we do. Because sometimes its hard for us to see the picture when we are part of the frame right? Meaning when we are going through the motions of life we can sometimes lose sight of these things ourselves isn’t it? Being able to have People that we can reach out to and share our struggles, our failures and fears with- because we're human and we all have them! who can then offer us encouragement and remind us of our worth and abilities is important in helping us sustain our levels of confidence.
Sometimes its simply easier for others to see things in us that we don't see in ourselves and when they share those with us and bring these facts into our perspective and into our line of focus it can help us better internalize and integrate those strengths and successes within us. we also need people who can cheer us on along the journey and with who we can meaningfully celebrate our small and big wins with too- as all these things essentially help to boost our confidence.
If we look into the Quran we see the impact and importance of company to our levels of confidence again in the story of Musa (as) for example- you know when he was given the mission of prophethood and was told he would have to deliver the message of towhead to frown and demand the release of bani Israel Musa (as) he expressed to Allah SWT his genuine fears and worries that we're going to naturally impact his levels of confidence and as such he immediately then asked Allah SWT for the assistance of his brother Harun who became a prophet too and who joined him on his mission- and this naturally help increase his confidence.
If we look at the life of Muhammed PBUH when he came down from the cave of Hera upon receiving revelation for the first time we learn that he was scared and confused right?- he really doubted and questioned his own sanity we see that he immediately went to his wife Khadijah for comfort and support- and in her beautiful statement to him she reminded him of the good he possessed, the good that he would do towards others and reminded him of his worth with Allah SWT didn’t she? And Khadijah even then took her husband to her cousin Dwaraka to offer him more clarity and support to help build his confidence even further SubhanAllah.
Now If you don’t have such a supportive community, you don't need to wait around for people to show up, my advice would be to go find people and create your community. Go to events, go the masjid, go volunteer alongside others for a good cause - go get around amazing confident people who will help you with and inspire you with the development of your own confidence inshallah. And of course, don't underestimate the power of dua either- ask Allah to connect you with the best of the company that will benefit your Dunya and akhirah inshallah.
Ok so in conclusion- when you build your levels of self-awareness through your relationship with Allah via the Quran when you choose to productively manage your focus through the asking empowering questions when you build momentum by starting to take small consistent action and you get around more good people- you realize that with the help of the Quran you manage to have all the confidence you were hoping you one day would Alhamdulillah.
Ok so If you enjoyed this video make sure you share it with those you love and be sure to subscribe to the Quran rehab channel- when you press the icon button then you will be notified whenever I release more content like this inshallah. I hope this video as always remind you that when you truly transform your personal relationship with the Quran, you can truly transform yourself and your life for the best- that you can start living what I can the Quran lifestyle inshallah. Until next time inshAllah, Take care! Asalamualykum.