Trust and Peace of Mind
By: Ayatullah Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari
Man needs stability more than any other thing in his life. Those who struggle to achieve their goals without being stable in their lives would face failure and defeat. Moreover, as one's responsibilities increase his need for stability increases too. Therefore, it is everyone's duty to learn how to avoid anxiety in order to gain stability in his life.
Struggling to acquire wealth, power, fame, and other material gains is nothing but falsehood. Man's happiness lies in his own soul, just as the spring of misery lies deep in one's heart. The medicine to man's problems, according to the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), is within a man's own soul. Therefore nothing outside man's soul is as effective as the soul itself; because such outside things are temporary and they cannot lead man to complete happiness.
Besides it must be admitted that rapid technological advances are not enough to create a worry-free life. On the contrary, such advancements have created new uncertainties and worries.
Therefore, man needs having and developing a clear mind if he is to free himself from continuous sufferings. It is this that can secure him happiness. Having a clear mind will, in fact, prevent man from becoming a puppet in the hands of money. In other words, only whose minds are the sources of their existence can face problems and solve them with a firm determination.
Moreover, in order to safeguard ourselves against difficulties
we must be able to judge our conducts thereby guiding our souls to the right path. This will help us to defeat anxiety and our problems.
In this connection a leading Western scholar says, "Perhaps we are unable to elect the counted individuals whose conducts and ways of thinking are similar to those of ours, but we are free to select our thoughts. We are the judges of our minds. We may choose that we deem appropriate. The external causes and influences which we observe are not part of us that they may control and force us to think in a certain way."
He adds: "Therefore, we must choose the correct way of thinking. Our souls are directed in the path of our thoughts. In other words, our thoughts direct us in any manner they wish. Therefore, we should not allow ourselves to hold any evil thoughts or to occupy our minds with that which we resent. Such (evil) thoughts can make us victims of different kinds of misery. We must struggle, continuously, to achieve perfection and because the secret of success and happiness only lies in righteous thinking."
The Effects of Optimism
In the same manner in which one's body system is disturbed by various illnesses, different factors and evil traits can disturb harmony in one’s way of thought. Thus, one has to eradicate the roots of those traits that blacken one's comfort and happiness.
Optimism and positive view toward life as well as others are the two elements that help one create a harmonious thinking and therefore a stable life. On the contrary, pessimism and ill-thinking about others reduce one's ability to move toward perfection.
Optimism can best be described as light in darkness. It enables man to see a more beautiful color of life. It helps him see people with a new outlook. It helps him judge people in the right way. And the sufferings of an optimist vanish easily and his hopes increase.
In other words, nothing like optimism can reduce the number of problems in a man's life.
Happiness can be seen in the face of an optimist who will also win the trust and confidence of others. This is a fact that has its direct influence on the happiness of both the individual and the society. Trust among the members of any society is an important factor in the advancement of that society. But, mistrust is always a destructive element in the future of any social entity.
In fact, peace in any social life can only be enjoyed if the relationship between the members of that society is built on affection, trust and good expectations from others. A scholar says: "Good expectation is a feature of belief, and nothing can be achieved without belief and hope." When one's trust in others increases, his trust in himself also increases; and this is natural to all societies.
Of course, it should be noted that there does exist a big difference between optimism as well as trust in others, and an unreasonable quick belief in somebody. Trust does not mean that a Muslim should totally submit to those he does not know or listen to what they say without delving into their authenticity. Rather, he must act with precaution and carefulness, and his actions have to depend on careful examination of the issues.
Islam Calls for Optimism and Trust
Islam has planted root in the believers by filling their hearts with faith. It is in this manner that our religion leads its adherents to comfort and stability. The Qur'an sates that the Honorable Messenger of Allah (SAW) was so confident that the hypocrites criticized him for it.
Islam commands its followers to trust each other, and to assume that another's intentions are good. Therefore, it is not permitted for anyone to judge a Muslim's actions as corrupt without proper evidence for such a judgement.
The Prince of the Faithful, Ali (AS) said:
"Expect good from your brothers, unless something happens that makes you rule otherwise; and do not assume a word of his is evil when there is still the possibility of it being good." (See Jami as-Sa'adat, vol. 2, p. 28)
When people trust each other, it increases their love towards each other and brings harmony into their lives. The Muslims' Imams expressed the importance of trust in many ways.
Imam Ali (AS) once said: "He who trusts others gains love from them." (See Ghurar al-Hikam)
Dr. Mardin is quoted as saying:
"When you establish a friendship with someone, try to observe only his positive points; then try to appreciate in your consciences those good traits you have found in him. If you are able to center this advice in your mind, you will live a good and satisfactory life, and will discover that everyone presents his good and kind sides to you while trying to win your friendship for himself."
It is even possible that optimism and trust effect the thinking and conduct of the misguided ones. In summary, they (trust and optimism) provide grounds for the salvation of such people.
Imam Ali (AS) once said: "Trust rescues him who indulged in sin."
Mr. Louis, a social psychologist, has said:
"If you interact with an unstable, ill-natured man and are trying to lead him to goodness and stability, try to make him feel that you trust him, treat him like a respected and honorable man. You will find that he tries to keep the trust that you have placed in him. Consequently, in order for him to prove that he is worthy of your trust, he will try to do what makes him qualified for your trust."
Dr. Gilbert Roben wrote:
"Trust children. What I mean is deal with them as if they have never made a mistake. In other words erase their past and forgive their wrong conduct. Try to assign important duties to those who do not behave well. With every new job that you give them make it appear as if they have improved their behavior, and that they have become qualified for the job you have given them. It is possible to remove the obstacles, which stand in the way of correction by good conduct and trusting the ones to be corrected. From here we can say that most of the unwanted actions are but reactions to fill space in the lives of the individuals."
Sir Yal Bint used to suggest trusting children who have a habit of stealing with some money, and give them jobs, which conform to the ability of those who are lazy.
Trust guarantees comfort to the person.
Imam Ali (AS) said: "Trust reduces depression."
Dr. Mardin said:
"There is not a thing that makes life more beautiful in our eyes, reduces our sufferings, and paves the way for success like optimism and trust do. Therefore, be careful of painful thoughts just as you are cautious of illness and their dangerous effects. Open your minds to optimistic thinking and you will see how easily you can rescue yourself from existing thoughts."
It is essential for Muslims to behave with each other in such a way that does not leave room for ill expectations to penetrate their society. Imam Ali (AS) on these subjects, used to advise the Muslims to think positively about each other and not to act in a manner would make others mistrust them. He also recommended that people should avoid places of suspicion. He is quoted as saying:
"He who holds hope in you has given you his trust, therefore, do not disappoint him." (See Ghurar al-Hakim, p. 680)
Imam Ali (AS) made the judging point for man's reason his thinking about others, when he said:
"Man's expectation is the scale for his reason, and his conduct is the most truthful witness to his authenticity." (Ghurar al-Hakim, p. 474)
Because an individual whose expectations of people is negative, lacks the ability to reason logically.
Imam Ali (AS) made the Muslim's refusal of ill-thinking a sign of their spiritual power. He (AS) also said:
"One who refuses ill expectations of his brother, has healthy reason and his heart is at peace." (See Ghurar al-Hikam, p. 676)
Dr. Samuel Smiles, said:
"It has been proven that those who have strong natures and spirits, are naturally happy and hopeful in life. They look at everyone and everything with trust and ease. Wise men see beyond every cloud a shining sun, and realize that behind every misery and infliction exist the happiness they long for. These people find new power every time they are inflicted with a new problem; and find hope with every depression or sadness. Such nature enjoys real happiness, and its advocates are lucky. The light of gladness shines in their eyes and they can always be seen smiling. The hearts of these individuals sparkle like starts and they see everything with an understanding eye and with the color they wish."
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (AS) considered good expectation to be one of the Muslim's rights on each other.
"Among the rights of a believer to another believer...is not to doubt him." (See Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 394)
Truly the element most capable of giving man optimism and trust is faith. Had all people been one nation who believed in Allah, His Messenger, and the Last Day, it would have been natural for everyone to truly trust each other. The lack of faith among people is the reason for the acute disease of mistrust in society.
A believer, whose heart is comfortable with belief and trust in Allah, depends on the unlimited power whenever he is inflicted with weakness. He seeks refuge in Allah during hardships; this trains his soul and deeply affects his morals.