Choose your interpretations wisely (DW# 917)

We are exploring verse 12 from Sura Hujarat where the Quran cautions the believers: O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion. Indeed some suspicions are sins. [Holy Quran 49:12]

Yesterday we spoke about how the human mind is a meaning-making machine and how most of our assumptions are negative.

Here is the thing, though: since most of our interpretations are based on our own world view, way of thinking and past baggage, they have little to do with the other person.
The good news is that we can change this habit of our mind and practice choosing more helpful interpretations.
The Quran alludes to this in Sura Nur when it says:  When you [first] heard about it, why did not the faithful, men and women, think well of their folks (Holy Quran 24:12). The verse cautions the believers about believing their own negative thoughts and advises them to think well of others, have positive interpretations and even when they hear something scandalous about others, not be so quick to believe it.
Psychology teaches us that people who are serious about their own wellbeing and their relationships with others, learn not to believe every thought that they have.  In other words, when we notice ourselves having a negative thought, we need not assume that it is true. We could just acknowledge it as a passing thought and pay little attention to it if it is not helpful to our lives. We do not need to hang on to it, nurture it, buy into it and allow it to colour our perceptions and dictate our behaviour.
Perhaps this is what the Holy Prophet (saw) meant when he said: when you assume [negatively], do not make it a reality.

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