The Story of A Farmer and His Donkey - A Motivational Story about Positive Thinking


As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,

Yesterday I went to visit my uncle who just came back from Hajj. Alhamdulillaah, he looked great, with shiny face and cheerful smile. I could see that he felt so blessed after returning from performing his fifth pillar as a Muslim.

The whole time I was there, he was relating his experiences to us all. What a wonderful and glorious journey he had! MashaAllaah. I could feel my heart aching and desiring to perform Hajj so much. I made an intention and prayed to Allaah so that He would award me the soon. Ameen.

What is amazing about my uncle is that just about a year ago, in the middle of the night, he suddenly had a heart attack and as a result of that, he had a stroke. His stroke was pretty severe, paralyzing the right side of his body. He was devastated given that he was an active and busy person, holding important positions in many organizations.

I remembered visiting him many times and saw his tears. He looked so helpless then. He couldn’t even get the words to come out right. Not only that half of his body was numb, but, his speech was affected too. My aunt had to interpret what he said then conveyed them to others. He became totally dependent and powerless. A state which I had never seen him in before.

Then, just about a week into the stroke, he decided that he wanted to go for Hajj the very next year. He was already on the waiting list. He knew that he needed to pass the minimum medical examination to entitle him to perform the Hajj.

Once the doctor allowed, he started his physiotherapy exercises. There, he was asked to perform a few exercises for the duration that he could endure. By that, the therapist meant like 15 minutes. But my uncle went on for hours. He pushed himself to the edge. He would sweat just by lifting his right paralyzed arms. He didn’t allow anyone to help him. If he was on the bed, he would do some leg exercises. He would try to walk very slowly, push hard, pull something heavy just to make sure his muscle is always moving. Sometimes his leg gave way and he fell. But he didn’t care. He was determined.

And now, he just came back from Hajj. It was a personal victory for him. Looking at him joyfully giggling away at his house that day made me realized the truth about the power of our mind over matters, MashaAllaah. The power of positive thinking.

In the Glorious Qur'an, Allah Almighty says:

Indeed those who say, 'Our Lord is Allah,' and, further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): 'Fear you not! (they suggest), Nor grieve! But receive the Glad Tidings of the Garden (of Bliss), that which you were promised!' We are your protectors in this life and in the Hereafter: therein shall you have all that your souls shall desire; therein shall you have all that you ask for!' A hospitable gift from One Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful! (Surah Fussilat 41: 30-32)


I read and re-read this verse over and over again. It feels like Allaah is talking to me and telling me to persevere in whatever good that I am doing. Persevere as in stay committed, persistent, continuous, unrelenting, determined and be constant in what I do. MashaAllaah, such a positive string of words and I loved it!

And I know that I am not to be afraid because as long as I say Allaah is my Lord, I shall be protected in both worlds, this life and hereafter.

Isn’t that awesome? A protector for me, everywhere I go, across dimensions. And what do I have to do? Only one thing, say Allaah is my Lord and of course, do what He says. That’s all it takes. Easy yet rewarding.

This verse alone could make me charge the unknown territory with full confidence. Assurance by my Lord that whatever happened, I shall receive glad tidings and reward from Him, so long as I remain His devoted servant. What is better than that? What would be better than the fact the I was promised victory no matter what happened as long as I stay steadfast?

Doesn’t that feel like music to your ears too?

And there was also a promise that no matter what, I shall have all that my soul desires and all that I have asked for. If not now, it would be in the Garden of Bliss. And the verse is ’signed off’ by saying it’s a gift from my Lord, Allaah…

Isn’t this wonderful? We, Muslims had received instruction from our Lord to stand still and be focused in whatever that we do. Be steadfast and stay positive. Always think of good things. And don’t worry, be happy because we have our own Protectors in this world and hereafter. We would never lose, no matter what. What an optimistic way to think…

I have learnt by heart this verse which has given me peaceful sleep at night…

Allaah has said that,
It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. God knows and you do not know. (Surat al-Baqara: 216)

This is so true. Upon reflection, there are many instances when I wanted something so much but I didn’t get it. As any normal human being, sometimes I cried, got sad, frustrated and discouraged, but, never for a long time. It just took me a few moments to remind myself that this is the decree; this is the plan of my Lord. Who am I to question His Wisdom, right? And I believe that He knows what is the best for me. He loves me and thus, this is His sign of love.

However, there are also times when I accept the fate gracefully too. But, no matter how I reacted, later down the road I would find out the reasoning why I did not receive what I wanted. Truly, at that point of time, this verse really made my eyes watery… God knows and you do not know.

In the end, this is what I should always remember in my heart that no matter what, I must trust my Lord, think positively of His Plan and know that He is always there for me…

Say: "Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Maula (Lord, Helper and Protector)." And in Allah let the believers put their trust. ( Surah, At-Taubah 9:51)

Ya Allaah. This verse tells me that things that are happening around me, are all as per planned. They are not accidental, not coincidence. Allaah has arranged it that way.

So, why do I have to be upset or angry or depressed when things don’t seem to go my way? Trust Him, says Allaah. Because nothing that happened escapes Allaah’s knowledge. It was He who planned everything. Trust Him. Think Positively of Him, our Lord…

Let me share with you a story about a man and his donkey…

An out-of-towner accidentally drives his car into a deep ditch on the side of a country road. Luckily a farmer happened by with his big old donkey named Benny.

The man asked for help and the farmer said Benny could pull his car out.

So he backed Benny up and hitched him to the man's car bumper. Then he yelled:
Pull, Nellie, pull!

Benny didn't move.

Then he yelled"

Come on, Pull Ranger!

Still, Benny didn't move.

Then he yelled really loud:

Now pull, Fred.... pull hard!

Benny just stood there.

Then the farmer nonchalantly said, Ok, Benny... now pull.

Benny pulled the car out of the ditch.

The man was very appreciative but curious. He asked the farmer,

‘Why did you call your donkey by the wrong name three times?’

‘Old Benny is blind. If he thought that he is the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try!’ said the man

Isn’t that cute? The power of positive thinking. Benny did not have to know what was the actually truth. He just had to think it was the truth. There were no Nellie, Ranger nor Fred. There was just Benny, the Donkey.

But what happened? He believed that the other three were actually three and he managed to pull the car out.

I asked myself this very question. Were there times in my life episodes that I could actually do something, but I didn’t simply because my mind told me I couldn’t? Were there times when I doubt myself even though Allaah has given me the blessing of a full human to perform my responsibilities and to be much more than I thought I could be?

The question for my moment of truth is this- Have I ever been, or still am, behaving like Benny?

If I am, I think I should make sure that I have someone around me like the farmer. Someone who could remind me time and again that I could do the almost impossible by simply thinking it is possible. Not to deceive me, but, to make me believe in myself that I am capable of pulling that car on my own. It is mind over matter thing.

What about you my friends? Are you Benny? If you are, what are you going to do about it?

Tell you what, I am looking for my farmer and I bet your would want to find one too. Let us cut to the chase and be each other’s farmer. Do you want to? I know I do! 

Sis Zabrina

~ Your Source for Islamic Motivational and Inspirational Stories ~

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Anonymous said…
What a beautiful post, and a lovely donkey tale :) Thank you so much these words of inspiration. They are indeed a blessing. Alhamdulillah!

Ya Haqq,

Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum brother Irving,

And thank you to you too for the many words of encouragement to young writer like me. Indeed you are also an inspiration, MashaAllaah. The donkey tale is kinda cute, right? I especially loved the Green Benny pic i found on the net, grinning in silliness and cheekiness... Too many times in life we self-doubt and discount ourselves, which is a totally wrong way to go in life. I wrote this story to remind myself and others that our mind is the most powerful weapon that we have. What we put in it, is critical.
Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I look forward to it every time! Salaam

Sis Zabrina
Anonymous said…
Sis Zabrina, I thank you for those wonderful words. May Allah bless you for what you are doing, for I have changed my perspective on life. I have been too focused on doing well in this life, sometimes I forget that this life is just a bridge connecting me to the other life. again, Thank you wassalam.

Sis. Hariaty
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Dear Sis Hariaty *hugs*,

Jazakallaah kheyran. Welcome to my blog! :)) You are most welcome.

Alhamdulillaah sis, all of us needed reminders every so often because we are really prone to becoming Benny. Whenever i am slipping, i would remember Benny and reminded myself to stay steadfast, InshaAllaah. Its true what you said. Life is a bridge to the other side. We are all crossing that bridge. Some of us are still far from the end, while some of us are very close to the end of the bridge. We just dont know which position we are.

Subhanallaah, you just gave me an idea for a new story! Thanks sis! May Allaah bless and reward you for your feedback which has triggered this idea. Ameen.Salaam

Sis Zabrina