Islamic Character Overcoming Hardships Spiritual Purification With the Divine

Thinking Well of Allah

How to Achieve Tranquility of the Heart Series: Part IPart IIPart III | Part IV | Part V | Part VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIIIPart XIV | Part XV | Part XVIPart XVIIPart XVIIIPart XIXPart XX

“I am at My servant’s opinion of Me.”

“Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (swt) probably hates me. I am so bad; I always mess up. I don’t deserve any good from Allah (swt), and as punishment, I probably will not be given success in my other endeavors.”

How many people have felt this way at some point? Sometimes, our sins weigh heavily on us. We recognize our mistakes but instead of turning back to Allah (swt), we turn away. We feel that we must be so bad that even the All-Merciful will reject us. Other times, we do not see the fruits of our perseverance and believe that we will not be given what we have worked so hard for. Perhaps we do not even begin an endeavor, thinking there is no use.

Unfortunately, when we do this, we attribute human qualities to Allah (swt). We act as if Allah (swt) has some grudge against us that  will heal as soon as He punishes us or rejects one of our requests. We act as though Allah (swt) is just waiting for us to slip up and say “Ha! Caught you!” We assume that we have to “deserve” the mercy of Allah by being almost perfect. This sounds absurd when articulated, but our actions unfortunately indicate that we believe otherwise.

What does this thought process actually tell us about ourselves? It tells us that we did not really have hope in Him to begin with. Rather, our hope was in what we believed to be our own good deeds or abilities. Once we slip up or feel that we do not have the strength to continue, we do not think well enough of Allah (swt) to believe that He will guide us through. We must understand that when we think well of Allah, that is what we will find.

Think well of Allah (swt) when embarking on something difficult, even if you fail

When the most beloved person to Allah (swt), the Prophet ﷺ, was thinking of migrating to Madina, he started talking to all of the different tribes that came for Hajj in the hopes that one of them would accept Islam or at least offer the believers protection. He spoke to twenty-six different tribes and was rejected by all of them. Some of the tribes even cursed and mocked him. Let’s stop here. He made da`wah (calling to Islam) to twenty-six tribes. Can you imagine the feeling of being rejected by five? What would happen after ten rejected you? How low would your morale be? When would you have given up?

Finally, he ﷺ met a few youth from Madina who believed in his message. He did not despair because he had a good opinion of Allah (swt), which motivated him; he knew Allah would not leave him ﷺ.

Many people give up in the face of something seemingly impossible. Sometimes, we give up on an individual level: getting married, getting that job we want; sometimes it is on a global level, such as injustice in the Muslim world. But as we read in Sr. Yasmin’s amazing article, the point of the struggle is to realize who is in charge. It is Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has told us that He is as His servant’s think of Him. If we think well, then that is what we will find. If we do not, then that is what we will find. Your opinion should be that Allah (swt) is so Merciful that He will come to your aid.

What happens when we are faced with failure? When one does not get something, even if their intention was for the sake of Allah (swt), they should not feel disheartened. You have a good opinion of Allah (swt); “failure” is just a minor setback. You need to be tested to strengthen your resolve. If you do not get that amazing job you want, know that Allah (swt) has saved something better for you. Only He knows what is best for you.

Think well of Allah when you sin

What about when we constantly slip-up and cannot leave a certain sin? For some of us, this makes us give up on ourselves; we believe we don’t deserve any good from Allah. We have to remember that Allah (swt) is al-Wadud (the Most Loving). His Mercy overcomes His blame. It is not about deserving. If you thank Allah, He gives you more. It is not because we deserve more, it is because Allah is that Great. He is that Generous. Shaytan (the devil) makes us focus on how bad we are in order that we despair of Allah’s mercy, when the Prophet ﷺ taught us: “All the children of Adam constantly err, but the best of those who constantly err are those who constantly repent.” [Tirmidhi]

The Prophet ﷺ said that “One of the signs of excellence of one’s worship is thinking well of Allah (swt).” [Ahmad] This does not mean that we should not reflect on our state. Al-Hasan al-Basri said “A true believer is one who thinks well of Allah (swt) and therefore does good, whereas the disobedient one thinks bad of Allah (swt) and therefore does bad.” If we think well of Allah, no matter how bad we are, we also have hope that we can be better and thus we strive to do good deeds. If we think badly of Allah, we assume that He will never forgive us nor can He make us better; so we continue to sin. However, we should not make a mockery of this concept and deliberately sin, thinking Allah (swt) will forgive us anyway. One of the key principles of repentance is regret. If we do not truly regret the sin, and simply ask for forgiveness to have that sin erased, we are paying lip service. Remember, “You will only get what you intend.” [Bukhari]

When we do wrong, let us feel guilty, but let us also flee to Allah (swt). Have a good opinion of Allah (swt). If you are sincere, He will forgive you. He is that forgiving. He is that Great. He is that Magnanimous. Even when we commit the same sin again and again and again, our good opinion of Allah (swt) should let us know that as long as we constantly strive against our nafs (lower self) and against that part of us that wants to indulge in that sin, we have already been forgiven. At the end of the day, it is shaytan who wants us to go to hell, not Allah. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:


“Allah wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation.” (Qur’an, 4:27)

Shaytan does not just want you to go to hell, but also wants to ensure you live in hell in this world. Just like he despaired, he wants you to despair. Our good opinion of Allah (swt) should never allow us to do that. Allah (swt) wants to accept your repentance, because your repenting is recognition of His Name al-Ghaffar (the One who constantly forgives).

Just as the Prophet ﷺ  told us that Allah (swt) is too gracious to turn away the hand that asks Him , He is also too Merciful to disappoint you and your good opinion of Him.

Think well of Allah when you are tested

Tests come to us in a myriad of ways. We have already discussed why tests happen in a previous post, so I will not discuss it too much here. We should just know that thinking well of Allah (swt) should make us look beyond the test. This test is something from Allah (swt), and He wants to teach us, to purify us from sin, to strengthen us, and to bring us closer to Him. We do not have a cruel God; our God is the Most Merciful of those who show Mercy. When we approach our tests with that frame of mind, we cannot but gain from our experience, insha’Allah.

So what does it mean to think well of Allah?

It means to take that step. When we mess up, even if we messed up in a major way, we return to Him. We return to Him recognizing that what we did was truly horrible, but we ask for His forgiveness because we know He is that forgiving, and that His Mercy encompasses everything. When we mess up again and again, and feel sick of ourselves, we return to Him with a sincere du’a (supplication) to help us stop, knowing that He will respond. It means having grand hopes and aspirations, and working towards them knowing that Allah (swt) “will not allow to be lost the reward of any who did well in deeds.” (Qur’an, 18:30)

About the author

Jinan Yousef

Jinan's main interests within the field of Islamic Studies are the Names of Allah, the life and character of the Prophet ﷺ, tazkiya and Muslim personalities.


  • Assalam O Alaikum.
    One of the best article I have read. It just came at the right time.Its to the point and elaborated beautifully.

  • Assalamu aliekum sister Jinan!
    wallahi this article speaks volumes!
    jazaki Allah kheir!!!!
    very beautiful
    and touched straight home 😉
    i love you all in the path of Allah swt!

  • This is awesome.
    I love it. The writer did a great job mashAllah.
    I like how it is different from all the other articles and talks about how we all sin and should repent to the almighty Allah (swt)

  • Assalammualaikum, sis.

    “Unfortunately, when we do this, we attribute human qualities to Allah (swt). We act as if Allah (swt) has some grudge against us that

    • i agree. ma shaa Allah, article is xtremely good. It would reap more benefit if you learn more about names and atrribute of Allah Ta’ala as our salaf understood it. coz itz disrespect to use such words…(telling u wid good intention…no doubt other things were awesome)
      BarakAllahu Feek.

  • In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful. We must constantly repent and ask forgiveness.

  • Jazakunna Allahu Khair Sister Jinan! you have done it again, by the grace of Allah. going back to Allah knowing that he does want to forgive us is a sweet feeling. Allah loves to forgive. Alhamdulilah

  • Jazakallah Khair. Probably another inner meaning of the hadith “Allah created Adam in His image” is this. Whatever image we, the children of Adam(s), reflect Allah(swt) with, those attributes are reflected onto us and shelter us.

  • This reminded me of a time my mom was telling me about someone who wasn’t given the money he was owed. My mom said with complete certainty, “Allah WILL return the money to him.”
    At first I thought to myself that its better if she didn’t think that way, because that man may not get his money back, but then I realized that I was the one underestimating Allah. Like you said in the article, we should think the best of Allah, no matter what happens to us or no matter what mistakes we make, because Allah’s mercy and power is that great.

  • May Allah (swt) provide you with Jannat Al-Firdous. MashAllah this article has completely changed me and helped me in a way that I am grateful to have much a blessed Ummah.

  • I am so very deeply touched by this article and cried so much while reading it as it touched on many areas that I ponder upon. Jazakumu Allahu khayran for writing and publishing. I wonder if anyone can help with a few questions I have that I’ve spent years struggling with finding the answers:

    Isn’t there a Hadith about “if you find good, then thank Allah and if you find bad, then blame yourselves”? So when bad things happen, I tend to think I deserve them. I don’t know when something is a test vs. a cleansing of my own sins through hardship. This is backed up by another Hadith Qudsi where Allah – swt – states that when he likes a person, then he will rid him of his bad deeds in this life until when time to die comes, he will make the last dieing experience (Sakarat el-Mawt) a little harder until that person comes out of dunya with no sins left.

    What if the “bad” things and difficulties I encounter are due to the above concept even though I ask for forgiveness and make rememberance on almost daily basis except when I forget or get overwhelmed with life’s issues and even then, I catch myself being absent minded and ask Allah for refuge from heedlessness (Ghaflah).

    Anyone’s input is greatly appreciated wa Jazakumu Allahu khayran.

  • Asalam Aleikum. Jazaka Allahu Khayran. I could not have read this article at a more opportune time. Ive been despairing over somethings and so i must confess i was starting to think..” Allah must be tired of me”..Hw weak i was in faith. But not anymore. I will keep praying, repenting and seeking his mercy now and forever. Thank you for this beautiful article and reminding us of His benevolent love.

    • Salam Br. Ravi
      If you please don’t mind my asking as I read your name I could not help but ask – did you revert to Islam from another religion? If yes, I need some advice from you if you would kindly agree to help me help a friend who is struggling about reverting. If you are not comfortable discussing, then I apologise.

  • Lol, wallahi, i really loved this article. This, believe it or not, hits the main issue that many muslim youth and adults face. Jzk, I and probably others really appreciate this.

  • Masha Allha…this is so very beautiful….it gives me soothing pleasure to read it!!!Allah bless us all!!

  • Jazakallah khair. This really touched me…my tears were just streaming while reading this. May Allah make us of those who turn back to Him constantly and have a good opinion.

  • To Jinan Bistaki: You have no idea how much I was looking for an article like this. I spent weeks depressed over something because I can’t get it right. It’s something very fundamental to faith and so it depresses me so much that I can get it correctly, to the point that I think Allah does not accept me anymore. But this article has taught me to have hope in Allah, because as long as I will fight my nafs and try to get it right He will still accept me, even if I do it wrong. And this I believe is how we should all view Allah, He is all Mercy. This world is already so ugly and harsh, we need Him to at least give us hope in ourselves that we can become perfect Muslims and deserving of His blessings both in this life and the next inshaAllah. JazakaAllah kul khair for writing this series. Please continue writing more because your words give hope to the ones like me who have given up. Hope is Islam. To have hope is to be a Muslim.

    • JazakAllah khair for sharing your story. It’s so true what you said- as long as we keep struggling out of love for Allah and conviction in Him, every difficulty, every tear is appreciated by Him. That is what it means to know Allah is all-Merciful, because we realize that we are messing up, because we know that His Mercy encompasses us as long as we do not despair.

      Thank you again for sharing your story.

      • Honestly I think that this is one of the most important articles in this series. What is ironic is that we know this but yet we are in our actions as we don’t know. To read this article changed my perception of how I think about Allah in so many beautiful ways. The reminder is always beneficial to the believer, no matter how many times he receives it. Allahumma-arzuqnaa husn-u-dhannu bika…ameen

  • […] to Achieve Tranquility of the Heart Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX The Prophet ﷺ said: “All the children of […]

  • Assalammualaikum, sis.

    “Unfortunately, when we do this, we attribute human qualities to Allah (swt). We act as if Allah (swt) has some grudge against us that will heal as soon as He punishes us or rejects one of our requests. We act as though Allah (swt) is just waiting for us to slip up and say “Ha! Caught you!” We assume that we have to deserve the mercy of Allah by being almost perfect.”

    This is so, so true! Mashallah for this lovely article. I do agree with a comment above me which said that this article is different from those others that are around and about sins and repenting. This article, Alhamdulillah, actually goes deep into the crux of the matter and tells specifically what we do feel when we sin.I sincerely feel this everytime. I dread punishment, be it even for small sins. I wait this horrible wait, thinking that as soon as I sin, I am going to get it back in the future. Incidentally, are we still inflicted with hardships as means of punishment? When sins are forgiven, are we still inflicted by punishment? I may have missed a crucial point in your article, because you’re article emphasized that Allah’s Mercy is vast.

    Thank you very much for this article, as it deeply moved me. And for the Salah series. I’m changing my mindset. You’ve earned a fan! But more appropriately, Alhamdulillah for this. 🙂

  • W alaikm isalam w rahmat Allah

    JazakiAllah khair for your comment! Allah tells us that as long as we constantly return to. When bad things happen, in that case, they could be tests and not necessarily punishments. The mindset we should have when we sin is firstly recognizing that we have done something wrong, sincerely regretting and turning to Allah for forgiveness and trying not to make the same mistake. When someone asked the Prophet (pbuh) “what happens when i sin?” He replied “it is written as one sin for you”. So the man said “and if i repent?” The Prophet (pbuh) said “it is erased”. “And if i commit a sin again?”. “it is written”. “and if i repent?”. “It is erased.” And the cycle goes on.

    I remember once when I was younger, I was a little annoyed at a family member and i stormed away from them. As soon as I did that, i hit my leg on the corner of table and got a huge bruise. I knew that that was a punishment! But it was a blessing, because I ended up apologizing to that relative and asking forgiveness- so I pray that Allah accepted it from me and I won’t have to face it on the DoJ!

    Allah may draw your attention to a sin you may have been committing that you haven’t realized, but that is out of His love for you so that you know to stop it.

    I hope that helped!


    • Sis Jinan, thank you for sharing that experience of yours. Thank you very much for that elaborate answer. May Allah Bless you always. 🙂 To clarify my earlier question to which you replied, I was wondering if we are inflicted by punishments even after we ask for forgiveness (and are forgiven?)? You narrated an example where you learnt from your mistake. However, let’s say I’m aware of my mistake right after I sin. This is the case almost always. I immediately repent. I do feel guilty. And like I said, I feel that horrible dread in awaiting punishment. I feel restless sometimes. Am I still inflicted with hardships as repayment?

      • Punishment is a response to sin- so if we repent sincerely, then we are forgiven and inshAllah there is no need for punishment. Whatever hardship we go through may be considered as tests to raise us and elevate us inshAllah. That said, as the Prophet (pbuh) told us, all the children of Adam constantly make mistakes, so while sins should make us feel bad, they should not incapacitate us.

        Moreover, we have to remember that one of Allah’s Names is al-Haleem (the Forbearing). Therefore He is forbearing with us when we sin, and so He does not punish us immediately, but allows us the time to seek forgiveness and to erase the bad with good deeds that we do. And we should always think well of Allah- He is not just waiting for us do bad so that He can punish us. Rather, he wants to accept our repentance, alhamdillah!

  • […] How to Achieve Tranquility of the Heart Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part […]

  • […] How to Achieve Tranquility of the Heart Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part […]

  • […] How to Achieve Tranquility of the Heart Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX| Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part […]

  • Thank u so much :)May Allah give u a beautiful place in Jannat for giving us this great information. I will start thinking alot more positive now JazakAllah

  • Absloutly fantastic need more people who can enlighten our hearts in respect to the lord rather than telling us be all and end all we are doomed thank you again !

  • No matter how big your sin except syirik, always remember Allah’s mercy is even more bigger than you thought.^-^


  • I think I am being punished for not praying to Allah SWT at all (except for Jumuah prayers). I have been unemployed for a year now and think I will always be punished until I establish prayers. Is this true? Does it mean that I am punished for my actions or is it rather a test of patience?

    • Brother, it seems to me you already know the answer. Job or no job, you need to pray 🙂 you owe it to yourself.

  • Jazakallah for educating us, we are surely lost without Allah.. We can only gain by getting close to him

  • Assalamu alaikum,

    Thank you for this great reminder. May Allah SWT rewards your good deeds, aameen. I feel so happy 😀 and brought in tears how much I’m not thankful to Allah SWT. Thank you for reminding me.

  • Assalamu alaikum sis Jinan

    MashaAllah. you have a very good understanding in deen. To the best of my knowledge only a few were and are known about this. And much is not talk about and write about this topic.

    Yet it is one of the core principle in deen. I forgot a very long hadhees that talks about thinking well of Allah swt.

    Go ahead my sister. Ya Allah teach her the book and the hikmah.

    Assalamu alaikum

  • MashaAllah. Shukran jazeelan, Sister! جزاك اللهُ خيراً
    Indeed, “Allah (swt) has told us that He is as His servant’s think of Him.” This text truly helped me.

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