My 5 year-old daughter Fatima and I were discussing her questions about Islam, and she asked a question that really got my reflection juices flowing. We were talking about Shaytan (Satan) and how he is bad and wants us to do bad things.
She then asked, “Is it good for us to say, ‘Shaytan is bad, Shaytan is bad,’?
I told her that as Muslims, we do not say this a lot. Instead, we say “Praise be to Allah,” or “Glory be to Allah” or “Allah is the Greatest.” Even though it is 100% true to say that Shaytan is bad, as Muslims, we are not encouraged to say this a lot, but instead we remember Allah’s goodness rather than Shaytan’s badness.
This idea relates to the importance of focusing our attention on the good. Focusing on what is good is a key principle of being a Happy Muslim. Even though there are bad things in the world and in our lives, the better behavior is to remember the good things.
In Islam, we are not encouraged to repeat a dhikr (remembrance of God) that focuses on Shaytan’s badness. We focus our remembrance on God’s goodness. Also, in life, we must train ourselves to remember the good things and blessings in our lives. It seems silly to think of doing a prayer that focuses on Shaytan’s badness. Yet, in our daily lives, we tend to pay attention more to what is wrong and bad.
When we choose to focus on the good in our lives and in others, it is like focusing on Allah’s goodness to us. We will become more thankful to Allah, and Allah will be more pleased with us, insha’Allah.
“If you are thankless—Allah is in no need of you—yet He is not pleased by ingratitude of His worshippers. And if you are thankful He is pleased by it in you…”
–The Holy Quran 39:7