- A simple, straightforward answer to the question is: no. All things happen due to divine Will. Anything that happens is because Allah Willed it, not because of positive thinking.
- The truth, however, is a little more nuanced than that. Yes, of course, nothing happens except what Allah Wills. However, if there is no truth to manifesting what we want in life, why are we taught to make du’a?
- Going with this line of thinking, making du’a could be, in a way, manifesting what we desire in life. It isn’t quite the same as the concept of the Law of Attraction, but it is how it falls in with Islamic thinking.
Does the Law of Attraction have a place in Islam?
Salaam alaykum. Thank you for this question. There are several important aspects to cover in relation to the Law of Attraction. But first, the basics:
What is the Law of Attraction?
As a crash-course for those of you who may never have heard of it before, the Law of Attraction gained popularity a number of years ago through the book and eventually the documentary called The Secret. The basic premise is that through positive thinking and fixation, you can attract to you what you want in life.
One example given was a man who had written six zeros on a $1 bill so that it read $1,000,000. He would focus on that daily and consciously make it his goal to earn $1,000,000. Eventually he did.
Another aspect of the Law of Attraction is focusing on what you want and not on what you don’t want. As an everyday example: suppose you are approaching a traffic light and you are in a hurry. Rather than wishing and thinking “don’t turn red, don’t turn red!” you should instead say “stay green!”
This is a very basic summary.
Allah has all of the Power
A simple, straightforward answer to the question is: no. All things happen due to divine Will. Anything that happens is because Allah Willed it, not because of positive thinking.
The truth, however, is a little more nuanced than that. Yes, of course, nothing happens except what Allah Wills. However, if there is no truth to manifesting what we want in life, why are we taught to make du’a?
There is a lot of discussion across all religions regarding whether there is free will or if everything is preplanned by God. What I was taught is that we humans have free will, but God knows us so well (after all – He created us!) that He already knows all the choices we will make. In this line of thinking, things aren’t “preplanned,” so to speak, but Allah already knows what will happen.
Going with this line of thinking, making du’a could be, in a way, manifesting what we desire in life. It isn’t quite the same as the concept of the Law of Attraction, but it is how it falls in with Islamic thinking.
The Power of Positivity
Did you know that being positive and optimistic is a Sunnah? Regardless of whether the Law of Attraction itself has a place in Islam – positivity does! Remember that smiling is seen as an act of charity in Islam. The Prophet (saw) was known for being a force for positivity. Shortly before his death he said: “None of you should die but hoping only good from Allah.”
We are also encouraged to try to see the positive side of dark situations. The Prophet (saw) said “If something befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done such-and-such.’ Instead say: ‘It is as God decreed and He does what He pleases.’” Remember that if something seemingly bad befalls you, there may be a lesson for you to learn, or something worse may have been prevented for you.
Focusing on the positive and trying to shun negative thoughts can help us work to productivity. This is part of the Law of Attraction, in a way. That man who focused on his “$1,000,000 bill” put his energy into building his funds and reaching that goal. He did not bemoan only having X amount of money. Rather he focused on the goal and it helped him get there.
There is one more point I do want to make. Focusing on the positive and trying to see the good does not invalidate difficulties people face. One really toxic thing that some proponents of the Law of Attraction push is that bad things in your life happen because you don’t have a positive enough attitude.
I do not know if this is part of the “canonical” belief of the Law of Attraction, so to speak, but it is absolutely not true and that sort of thinking should be rejected.
In the documentary of The Secret, one woman speaks about how during her cancer treatment she and her husband only watched comedic movies, etc. But being positive does NOT guarantee a good outcome in illness, nor is illness caused by negativity.
Furthermore, for anyone suffering from depression – please know that depression is a medical condition that cannot be prayed away or alleviated with positive thinking. You are not weak of faith or lazy for being depressed. I, myself, suffered from depression for years. Please know that it does not make you a bad Muslim. Positivity can help you feel better from time to time, but you may need real medical treatment.
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch,
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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