The ignored sickness: An unpredictable state of mind

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• What is the underlying cause of the way that some people suddenly become infuriated or emotional and start weeping or behave in some unexpected way in the face of day-to-day events?
• Why is it essential to avoid falling prey to this disorder, which mainly damages the victim himself and is generally described as someone “having a hair trigger?”
• What must be done to free oneself from the condition?

Some people live their lives according to rules they themselves have invented. These people can easily make concessions regarding these rules when it comes to their own worldly desires. Because they have no guide who will direct the course of their lives, ensure they maintain a stable character, and whom they have a total belief. For that reason, their characters are prone to sudden variations. Among the distinguishing features of such people are, for instance, their suddenly slamming doors and acting aggressively towards people around them or shouting in a loud voice although they had been sitting perfectly calmly just five minutes ago, or suddenly bursting into tears having just said how happy they were.

The fundamental reason for this behavioural defect that all believers must scrupulously avoid, is that such people fail to frame their behaviour, speech, actions, thoughts and reactions to events in the light of the moral values of the Qur’an.

The Obstacles to a Balanced Nature

I. Following One’s Worldly Desires

In the Qur’an, Almighty God reveals that people have been created with a tendency towards selfish passions. If someone permits his worldly concerns to rule him, then all his behaviour will be shaped by selfish wishes. These selfish desires will prevent him displaying a stable, consisted and balanced nature. As a result of the prompting of worldly concerns he may suddenly become enraged, or emotional, or sulky, or jealous and start taking sudden decisions in the light of these emotions. His character will always come as a surprise, therefore, to those around him. There will be no consistency between one moment and another. His state of mind, thoughts, feeling, decisions and perspectives can change at any moment. Because of his unbalanced and inconsistent behaviour, such a person will always inspire feeling of unease and distrust in those around him.

One often comes across such characters in societies that are far from religious moral values. People with such a character are far removed from the mindset bestowed by Qur’anic moral virtues and therefore permit themselves to be ruled by their own desires. This, in turn, distances them from reason and encourages unbalanced behaviour. In such situations, Muslims’ guide is the Qur’an. In the Qur’an, God warns us that worldly passions will always encourage one to evil and that Shaytan will oblige people to behave inconsistently, irrationally and emotionally, as dictated by their desires. He also imparts the glad tidings that people who adopt the Qur’an as their guide in the face of this, however, and who act according to the stirring of their consciences, will achieve the ideal character and enjoy superiority in both this world and the hereafter.

A believer achieves this strong and superior character by following the path shown by God. Since the Qur’an is his guide, his behaviour and reactions in the face of events are always shaped according to Qur’anic moral values. How he will behave, his perspective on events and the logic he adopts will never come as a surprise to those around him. His mind, conscience, behaviour and speech always reflect the stability required by Qur’anic virtue, and his nature is therefore always to be trusted.

II. Acting Emotionally

Emotionality is not regarded as undesirable in societies oblivious to religious moral values. Indeed, it is generally believed that a certain amount of emotionality in a person’s make-up is an important attribute. According to that way of thinking, the behaviour caused by emotionality is human feelings that need to be let out. For that reason, character defects stemming from emotionality, such as “touchiness, dissatisfaction, sulking, weeping, an introverted state of mind, apathy, jealousy or anger,” are encouraged by suggesting they are “emotions representing human nature.” Nothing could be more wrong, however.

Emotionality that is widespread in societies oblivious to the moral values of the Qur’an lead to people having weak characters. Since people react to events in the light of their own emotions, they tend to act irrationally. They become unable to think logically and accurately or to make sound deductions. And this leads to people being unpredictable and inflicting material and psychological damage on themselves and those around them.

However, since the Qur’an rules the whole of a believer’s life and character, he possesses the most accurate knowledge regarding the promptings of one’s passions and how to combat it. He knows that emotionality clouds one’s reason, prevents one thinking straight and seeing the truth, and also makes one weak and lacking in resistance. He is also aware that the sentimentality also equated with this weak character, grieving, weeping, ranting and raving, anger, jealousy and self-centredness, are all traits that will ill-befit him. That is because all such behaviour must be avoided as it is displeasing to God.

The Solution to an Unpredictable Character is Love of God

Sincere devotion to God, genuine submission, and knowing that everything transpires under His control and that everything is for the best prevent one falling prey to one’s emotions and behaving badly. Because of his powerful love and fear of God, the believer scrupulously avoids all forms of behaviour that might result from emotionality. He aims, with all his behaviour, character and lofty virtues to be a role model for others, as revealed by God in the Qur’an (Surah Furqan, 74). And by God’s leave, this endows him with a strong character that never collapses under any circumstances.

Believers regulate their whole lives according to Qur’anic moral virtues. They know that avoiding the defects of personality prevalent in societies devoid of faith and exhibiting a strong character will serve as a role model for others and behave in complete awareness of that responsibility. As God reveals in the Qur’an in the words “It is the people who are safe-guarded from the avarice of their own selves who are successful” (Surat al-Hashr, 9), they strive to cleanse their desires of evil. God has revealed that in return for that effort believers will enjoy peace, blessings and happiness in this world and the hereafter: “What is with you runs out but what is with Allah goes on for ever. Those who were steadfast will be recompensed according to the best of what they did. Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did.” (Surat an-Nahl, 96-97)

All the negative behaviour manifesting an unpredictable state of mind stem from defects of faith and a failure to fully comprehend certain realities.

People who are prone to enormous distress, who fall prey to weeping or rage or jealousy, or who sulk in silence and become totally introverted are unaware of God’s might, that He has created all things with goodness, wisdom and justice, that He can perform whatever He wishes whenever He wishes, and that He will heed people’s prayers.

All sorrow, anger and jealousy stem from weakness of faith and errors originating from that perspective.

2008-07-22 19:42:15

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