Some believe, anything that touches on the fringes of crucial, analytical opinions of a subject or a person, is thinking negatively. Which in most, if not all the cases must be avoided without fail. Few people view anyone who has a ‘realistic thinking’ ability, is in essence harbours a bad trait that is bound to drag him/her to the lowest bowls of Hell! – chuckle.
Overwhelmingly, the majority of the times, those within the Sufi circles see only two ways. That is, either you think positive all the time or it’s opposite. Which is of course is, negative thinking. Few days ago during iftari, what ensued was an interesting series of discussions. One of them, happen to be on the concept of negative thinking. Can we be assumtive of people or any given subject? Those opposing the opinion, which celebrates that we can indeed be assumptive of people or a subject say its outright negative thinking. We should not be assumptive of people. In turn, anyone who wishes to express this has to hang his head in shame. They label everything in their misunderstanding, anything that is contrary to positive thinking is ‘negative thinking’.
Well, frankly these people are very primitive in their thinking, and are simpletons. Who, in all honesty need to grow up and see the world through the glasses of realistic thinking. – Not everything is black and white. Right and wrong. The world is more vibrant than this.
Firstly, let me explain. Although at most situations the two commonly known thought processes: the negative & positive thinking outplays any other. However, there is something which in behavioural psychology known as ‘realistic thinking’. Which teaches the idea that, along side having the two widely known ideas of thoughts: the negative & positive. There is also a third. Which is, ‘realistic thinking’. Or, in other words critical thinking.
Where real life situations, are held to account before any action or ‘thought’ is taken.
For example, the scholars of the ummah use the following to explain:
If a burgler comes to your house you won’t, or should not think, he has come to say hi or hello. But, rather to burgle your house. To think naively that he is a good person and has come to say hi. Will be in many ways sinful in that situation. As you should realise his motives. That, in this case you should be assumptive of him and his ulterior motives. Beinging naive in this case will not only bring harm to you but others who are living with you also. Simply because of your arrogant mistake and serious error.
Another example is, if an enemy is coming to murder, rape and torture you and your family. It is wrong to think he or they, are going to invite you to a dinner party! – Just out of fear that you do not want to be seen as thinking negatively.
The above to examples illustrate how ‘realistic thinking’ comes into play. Assessing the situation, and the background of a person, or a place allows you to make room for the outcomes of an action. In these cases to be assumptive of a person is praiseworthy and islamically good adab (manners). It also goes to show how things are not always positive or negative thinking.
When the Muslims had taken up battle positions at badr. It was musab ibn umar (ra) who suggested that there be a horse kept in reserve for the prophet (saw) just in case should the Muslims lose the battle. The prophet (saw) could use the horse, – a fast horse, to go back to madinah and get reinforcements. Prophet (saw) approved this idea.
Now, despite having been guaranteed victory by Allah. The Muslims still had a plan B. The prophet was happy with the idea. Although the Muslims had a advantage on the battlefield. He (saw) did not turn around to musab ibn Umar (ra), a celebrated ansari, and say ‘don’t think negatively! Don’t you know we have been guaranteed victory by Allah. Don’t you believe in the positive outcome!’ In fact the prophet (saw) praised musab ibn Umar (ra) for the ingenious idea.
What we learn from this is that, no matter what, as Muslims we should always have a plan B, a contingency plan. Secondly, we also learn how the prophet (saw) is teaching the ummah to have a backup plan. To plan for the worst case scenario. He (saw) did not approve musab ibn umars plan because he thought it would be a great escape route for him. (nauzibillah!!) but, the prophet (saw) was teaching us, always be ready for the worst case scenario.
In summary, a person cannot label everything as either thinking negatively or positively. It is not as straight forward as this. The world is more vibrant and colourful than wht you are making it out to be. – black and white, ying and yang.
There are many sufis who view, in their simple inderstandings of life anything and everything either constituates postive or
Negative thinking. Simply becusse they have learnt this fancy new idea. Painting everything with the same brush.
The above examples illustrate how this notion is completely silly and frankly, childish!
In the end, this is my opinion, you can choose to accept it or do as you see fit. But remember, that they are based on scholarly reasonings/opinions and the prophetic sunnah.