Having too many expectations

Muslims holding hands together in prayer
Muslim of islam praying hands concept © Razihusin | Dreamstime.com

Expectations lead us to eventually either be happy or disappointed about an outcome. We know that these two outcomes are the only possibilities, or that we will not really understand what we feel at all. We must understand that developing a mentality in which we already teach ourselves not to have expectations, can only bring about good for us.

This because if something bad happens in our lives, we already did not have expectations, so we will feel less affected. On the other hand, if something positive happens, we will be surprised by it and be all the more grateful to Allah for what He has written for us. We read in a hadith:

“How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.” (Muslim)

When we expect to earn a lot of wealth and have many material things, we will be disappointed if this doesn’t happen. We learn from our surroundings that working leads to earning money which results in us being able to increase our wealth. We must be careful about having the mindset in which we are already anticipating what will happen next, as it encourages us to think we know what the future holds.

We must remember that our wealth and what we own is already written for us by Allah. He blesses us. We should not allow ourselves to think that everything we have is through our own hard work only. We have what Allah writes for us to have, and what Allah has not written for us, we will never have. We read in the Holy Qur’an:

“Indeed, all things We created with predestination.” (Qur’an 54:49)

Even with regards to timeframes in our lives, we may have a picture in our minds of how exactly we think things will pan out. We should strive to understand that having expectations like these can be damaging as, the truth is, we do not know what the future holds. We do not know that graduating university by a certain age will be good for us. Neither do we know for sure that getting married at the age we have in our minds will be good for us. Allah – our Lord and Creator – knows what is best for us.

We must place our complete trust in His Power and Knowledge, accepting that only He knows what is truly best for us. We read in the Holy Qur’an:

“But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.” (Qur’an 8:30)

The more we become accustomed to not setting expectations in our minds, the more positive we will feel when we are blessed with something. For example, when we do graduate from university or get married, regardless of our age or other people’s reactions, we will be grateful for the blessing itself. We will understand that these are things bestowed upon us by Allah. Focusing on our expectations will cause us to lose sight of the blessings granted to us by Allah.