Category: Basic Tenets of Faith
Fatwa#: 39976
Asked Country: United Kingdom

Answered Date: Mar 19,2018

Title: Is the “law of attraction” which states that positive thoughts alone attract positive experiences compatible with Islam?

Question

There's a universal law called the "Law of Attraction".

The big scientists and great philosophers believe that whatever you have in your life, it's not by default, you have attracted it according to your thoughts.

If you have negative thoughts with negative feelings, you will attract negative things into your life, if you have positive thoughts with positive feelings, you'll attract positive things into your life.

This is a universal law, and been there for thousands of years, this is the secret to achieve anything in your life, and 97% of the population don't know about this secret.

Most of the times, the universe will give you what you think and feel about, if you hold an image in your brain and constantly think about it, and feel possionate about it, normally that's what you'll attract.

(This is how they have explained this law)
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My input in this is that yes perhaps it might be true that you'll attract things according to your thoughts and feelings, but what you attract is with the will and command of Allah.

Thoughts and feeling plays a role as sabab, the same way we choose physical asbaab to achieve something, you could choose a mental asbaab, and that's thinking and feeling good and positive.

Let me know if my input is right and according to Islaam? if not then what will be the clear and true answer to this law called the "Law Of Attraction"?

Also in general, let me know, if someone believes in the law of attraction, will this be against the Quran and Hadeeth?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

The “Law of Attraction” which states that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts alone, you will attract positive or negative experiences to your life is not a law. Rather, it is a “new age” concept that is completely incompatible with Islam.

 

It is irreconcilable with Islam because at its core the “law of attraction” assumes man to be the ultimate master of his own destiny with complete control of his own life – meaning that man can decide to have whatever he wants whenever he wants using only his “positive energy” to attract it – a method referred to as “like attracts like”.

 

Further, if you strip this aspect of man's ultimate control away from the “law of attraction”, it no longer remains the concept that its practitioners promote – because this so-called law is built entirely on the false assumption that man is in total and complete control.

 

This view echoes to an extent, the erroneous belief of the Qadariya sect that erroneously and arrogantly assumes that man has absolute free will and that there is no design of Allah in man’s actions. Whereas, Allah states in the Quran:  “While Allah created you and that which you do?” [37:96].

 

The correct and Islamic view is that one takes all practical and permissible steps [tadbir] to achieve one's goals, but relies on Allah to ultimately grant him success knowing that the outcome has already been written [taqdir].

 

Until the outcome is known – for example: whether one gains entrance to a particular university or not, whether one gets his desired job or not, whether one recovers from his illness or not – the slave of Allah should continue to take all permissible means at his disposal to attain his goal. Only after the action has been taken and the outcome becomes known does one resort to taqdir. [i][ii]

 

The “law of attraction” does not take into account tadbir or taqdir, and in fact its proponents take the false concept of man being in ultimate control much further by promoting disbelief [kufr] and associating partners with Allah [shirk]. [See relevant quotes from books that promote the “law of attraction” in the footnotes].[iii][iv]

 

High is Allah above whatever they associate with Him! [27:63]

 

According to the “law of attraction” if something dreadful were to happen to you, then you attracted it with your negative thoughts. Likewise, if you are unsuccessful in life despite your best efforts, according to this so-called law, it's your fault. Proponents of the “law of attraction” state that if you are suffering, then you are not pure. [v][vi]

 

The absurdity in this worldview is that if a person were to get in a car accident or happens to get sick – then it's entirely his fault since he thought about it, meaning, he “deserved” it due to his negative thoughts which attracted that negative event.

 

This claim is easily refuted when one ponders over the sheer number of accidents that occur everyday in which the person was not at all aware of what was going to happen – then how could he have thought about that accident and brought it into reality then?

 

Further, the Prophets (peace by upon them all) are the best of creation, sinless and unflinchingly positive in their outlook. For example, in the Quran, the Prophet Yaqub (peace be upon him) states: “O my sons, go and find out about Yusuf and his brother and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” [12:87]

 

Yet, we also know that the Prophets (peace be upon them all) were the most tested among all the creation of Allah. These tests were to raise their ranks and to emphasize their human nature because if they were not afflicted with trials and difficulties, they would have been accused of being divine (and exalted is Allah above having any partners!). The Prophets (peace be upon them all) were also tested because they are the ultimate role-models for the rest of the creation. By examining their lives we can take comfort and solace in the challenges we face, knowing that the best of men endured much more than us. [vii]

 

How could we reconcile this so-called law with the fact that the Prophets (peace be upon them all) suffered persecution, poverty, sickness, etc. – in spite of the fact that they were positive in their outlook?

 

We know from an authentic hadith that a slave has a rank in the Hereafter that he cannot reach with his actions, so he is afflicted in his body, his wealth or his offspring and then granted patience so that Allah makes him reach the rank that has been determined for him. [viii]

[3] Another absurd aspect of this so-called law is that it makes one despise and look down upon the poor and the helpless.

 

If one were to listen to proponents and practitioners of this law, he or she will have no compassion for the poor and the needy since according to this so-called law, it is their fault that they are in such a condition. Some books on the “law of attraction” explicitly advise readers not to involve themselves in any charitable work. [ix][x]

 

The importance and virtues of charity in Islam is very well-known so how can the “law of attraction” ever be reconciled with Islam, which has emphasized compassion and assistance to the poor as one of the central aspects of faith?

 

We have to love the poor and care of them. In fact, in one of the supplications [dua] that we have been advised to make, it is explicitly mentioned we ask Allah that He place in our heart, love for the poor [masakin].

 

It is true that in Islam we should have optimism [tafa'ul] and think good thoughts about how Allah will treat us [husn al-zann], but there are also real steps we have to take towards achieving our goals: supplication [dua], permissible physical means, and not just mere thinking. However, taking all the necessary means does not guarantee a particular result, as we are not masters of our own destiny, rather slaves of Allah.

 

In conclusion, if we do not get what we want, it is not because we are lacking the desire or the positive feelings to attract it. Rather, if Allah chooses not to give us something in this dunya, it is in our best interest. He is the King of Kings and His treasures are infinite. He does not withhold because of a lack of means. His not giving us something is also in one sense giving since He is the All-Knowing and knows what is best of us.

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best,

Mufti Sohail ibn Arif,
Assistant Mufti, Darul Iftaa
Chicago, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 

تحفة الألمعي ٥/ ٤٨٤ - ٤٨٥ زمزم [i]

رحمة الله الواسعة شرح حجة الله البالغة ٣/ ٩٤ - ٩٥ مكتبة حجاز ديوبند [ii]

[iii] “So we are the creators not only of our own destiny, but ultimately we are the creators of Universal destiny. We are the creators of the Universe.” Bynre, Rhonda. The Secret. pg. 160. 2006. Atria Books. Beyond Words Publishing.

[iv] “You are God in a physical body...You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet.”  ibid. pg. 164.

[v] “You cannot “catch” anything unless you think you can, and thinking you can is inviting it to you with your thought. You are also inviting illness if you are listening to people talk about their illness.” ibid. pg. 132.

[vi] “Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the Law of his being. The sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify, to burn out all that is useless and impure. Suffering ceases for him who is pure.” Allen, James. As a Man Thinketh. pg. 13. Enhanced Media, 2016.

ولأنهم لو لم يبتلوا لتوهم فيهم الألوهية، وليتوهن على الأمة الصبر على البلية [vii]

مرقاة المفاتيح، ٤/ ٣٥

 

إنَّ العبدَ إذا سبقت له من اللهِ منزلةٌ لم يبلغْها بعمله ابتلاه اللهُ في جسدِه أو في مالِه أو في ولدِه ثم صبَّره على [viii]

 ذلك حتى يُبلِّغَه المنزلةَ التي سبقت له من اللهِ تعالى.

سنن أبي داود، الرقم ٣٠٩٠

[ix] “If you have any lack, if you are prey to poverty or disease, it is because you do not believe or do not understand the power that is yours.” Bynre, Rhonda. The Secret. pg. 150. 2006. Atria Books. Beyond Words Publishing.

[x] “Do not talk about poverty; do not investigate it, or concern yourself with it. Do not spend your time in charitable work, or charity movements, all charity only tends to perpetuate the wretchedness it aims to eradicate...The poor do not need charity; they need inspiration.” Wattles, Wallace. D. The Science of Getting Rich. General Press. 2016

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