Self Esteem – An Islamic Perspective Dr. Kanwal Kaisser

Self Esteem – An Islamic
Dr. Kanwal Kaisser
Session Overview
• Self-Esteem: What is it?
• Effects of High and Low Self Esteem
• Link between self esteem and Islam
• Secret to Better Self Esteem
Self-Esteem: What is it?
Self-esteem refers
to the way we see
and think about
Self-Esteem: What’s it made of?
• All the experiences
• Interpersonal
• Everyone you’ve ever
met has added to or
taken away from how
you see yourself!
Levels of Self-Esteem
The Personal Level
• A person might change according to
what an imperfect society or culture
sees fit.
• These changes happen to a person’s
philosophy, opinions, and values.
The Social Level
• In a social he is bound to suffer feelings of
• Peer groups or family members may bring about
gatherings where a person is harassed or mocked
for who he or she is.
• A self-esteem deficit here might lead a person into
depression or social anxiety.
Effects of High and Low Self Esteem
Characteristics of People With
High Self-Esteem
They like to meet new
They don’t worry about how
others will judge them.
They have the courage to
express themselves.
Their lives are enriched with
each new encounter.
Characteristics of People With
High Self-Esteem
They are nicer to be around.
Their ideas are met with
interest because others want
to hear what they have to say.
They are magnets to positive
People with high self esteem have an “I think
I can” attitude!
Characteristics of People With Low
They don’t believe in themselves.
They see themselves failing
before they begin.
They have a hard time forgiving their
mistakes and make themselves pay the
price forever.
They believe they can never be as
good as they should be or as others.
Characteristics of People With Low
They are afraid to show their creativity
because they will be ridiculed.
They are dissatisfied with their lives.
They spend most of their time
They complain and criticize.
They worry about everything and do
People with low self esteem have an “I can’t
do it” attitude.
Negative Effects of Low Self Esteem
of the
More Negative Effects of Low
Self Esteem
Leads to approval seeking and
attention getting.
Affects sincerity in
relationships: seek their
Insecurities distort our
intentions, they do not do things
for the sake of Allah.
Negative Effects of Low Self
We become competitive and constantly
compare ourselves to others
Sometimes we become judgmental in order
to make ourselves feel superior
Other times we compare ourselves
negatively to others and develop inferiority
This leads to envy.
What Caused Low Esteem?
• External forces and internal forces.
• Sometimes, people are highly sensitive and
internalize criticism. Take their criticism to heart.
• Sometimes we are taught to think about things in
distorted ways.
• Other times, we look for other people to validate
us, as opposed to turning inwards and turning to
Allah to make sure we are doing the right thing.
Self Esteem and Islam – What’s the Link?
Faith Adds to Self Esteem
• Faith adds an entirely new dimension
to our sense of self-worth.
• We exist because Allah willed for us
to exist
• We have a purpose in life because He
does not create aimlessly.
Faith Adds to Self Esteem
• The sense of self-worth comes from
the Divine rather than coming from
the human
• By focusing inward, connect with the
inner source of peace, happiness,
comfort, care, hope, and light that
characterizes our link with Allah.
Faith Adds to Self Esteem
• “We matter to Allah”.
• Even if no one else seems to care about us,
He does, and experiencing His love
towards us teaches us to value ourselves.
• Ultimately, faith and dignity are strongly
linked, so true faith can bring the deepest
sense of self-worth.
Self Worth Of A Muslim
• Muslims have countless reasons to
feel blessed, worthy and honored, and
never give in to despair, hopelessness
or self-hatred – resulting ultimately in
high self esteem.
A Muslim has high self esteem because he…
1. Is honored by Allah
‫َولَقَ ْد َك َّر ْمنَا بَنِي آدَ َم َو َح َم ْلنَا ُه ْم فِي ْالبَ ِ ِّر َو ْالبَ ْح ِر‬
َّ ‫َو َرزَ ْقنَا ُهم ِ ِّم َن‬
‫ير ِ ِّم َّم ْن‬
ِ ‫الط ِيِّبَا‬
َّ َ‫ت َوف‬
َ ‫ض ْلنَا ُه ْم‬
ٍ ‫علَ ٰى َك ِث‬
ً ‫ض‬
ِ ‫َخلَ ْقنَا ت َ ْف‬
• “We have honored the children of Adam and
carried them by land and sea. We have
provided good sustenance for them and
favored them specially above many of those
We have created” (Al-Israa 17:70)
2. Isn’t Weighed Down By Guilt
ُ َ‫علَ ٰى أ َ ْنفُ ِس ِه ْم ََل ت َ ْقن‬
‫طوا ِم ْن‬
َ ‫ي الَّ ِذ‬
َ ‫ين أ َ ْس َرفُوا‬
ِ َّ ‫َر ْح َم ِة‬
• “Say: O my servants! who have acted
extravagantly against their own souls, do
not despair of the mercy of Allah.” (AzZumar 39: 53)
3. Knows There Is A Way Out
‫ق اللَّـهَ يَ ْجعَل لَّهُ َم ْخ َر ًجا‬
ِ َّ ‫َو َمن يَت‬
• “And for those who fear Allah, He always
prepares a way out,.” (At-Talaaq 65: 2-3)
4. Knows Relief Comes With
• “So, verily, with every difficulty, there
is relief: Verily, with every difficulty
there is relief.” (Ash-Sharah 94: 5-6)
Steps to High Self Esteem
Three Key Themes
• Conscious
• Spiritual connection
with Allah
• Emotional balance.
#1 – Personal Evaluation
• Perform a personal ‘Strengths’ and ‘Weaknesses’
• The best references for evaluating yourself are the
Quran and Sunnah because they are the manual
for right and wrong.
• Once you’ve reviewed your weaknesses, cross out
the word and rename it ‘Challenges’ – these are
the areas to work on to transform.
#2 – Develop a Muslim Psychology
• Boost your faith (Imaan).
• You should not pay heed to the worldly standards.
• Know that you are a creation of The Majestic
Creator; and secondly, you are of the Ummah of
our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon
#3 – Develop Positive Skills and Habits
• Enrich your mind through recitation of the Quran with
translation and Tafsir.
• Establishing Salah.
• Initiate your own project.
#4 – Personal Grooming
• Dress code in deen
• Looks??????
• Habits
#5 – Find Birds of a Feather
• Find a supportive peer group.
• If your gatherings are full of folks that ridicule your
beliefs and values, then you are bound to feel
• Mingle with the righteous who acknowledge your
worth, help you identify your weaknesses, and are
indulged in productive and wholesome habits.
#5 – Find Birds of a Feather
• If you have good friends who relax and enjoy
themselves within the wise bounds that Allah
(Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has set, and your productive
activities include:
Attending halaqas
Praying in congregation at the mosque
Discussing Iman
Understanding and memorization of the Quran
Similar positive topics
• Then you are bound to feel secure and benefit from
the gathering.
#6 – Develop Your Defense
• Perform a simple self-check: test your
response to wrongful criticism.
• You should speak calmly and articulately,
assertively and firmly, with the Quran and
Sunnah as reference.
• Remember being assertive and firm does
not mean speaking harshly or rudely.
Other Ways to Increase Self
Engage in
Follow the
The key point to remember when trying to
build self worth is…
Don’t Base Self Esteem on
External Factors!
social class,
educational level.
Don’t Base Self Worth on
External Factors!
• We can lose everything external.
• So basing our self-worth on transient things
is extremely dangerous
• Allah often tests us by taking those things
we are most attached to.
Final Thought…rememberrrrr
• Very low self-esteem…….. Corrosive.
• Too much self-esteem…….extremely destructive.
• Measure your self-worth by Islam and not by
• Sync your life with your faith, you can overcome
the self-esteem deficit soon.
• You are a unique individual. No one else is
like you in the whole world. This makes you
special already!
• Our time in this world is limited. Make it
happen for you so you leave your mark in
Jazakallah Khairan!
Dr. Kanwal Kaisser
May 2012
Resources Used From the
Following Places
Dr. Kanwal Kaisser