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From the Islamic perspective, happiness is not merely a temporary state of joy and delight, rather it is a lifelong process aiming primarily at:
It is commonly believed that happiness can be achieved through the accumulation of wealth of material possession, as a result of power, through fame, recognition, satisfying one’s each and every sensual desires.
Materialists tend to disregard the spiritual aspects and view life as nothing but a means to satisfy ones’ whims and desires. This is a common trend in the west, which led to abandonment of religion.
Statistics reveals that the highest suicide rates, divorce rates, run-ins with the law, drug problems and rehabilitation problems are always rampant in the rich and elite of society.
Many people attempt to follow complex paths in order to achieve happiness. However, they fail to see the easier path that is Islam.
Happiness can be achieved by:
These things have the potential to make our hearts truly happy.
True happiness and contentment, is the result of a number of factors and can only be achieved by striking a balance between the material and spiritual aspects of life. If we overlook the spiritual aspect of life, it will result in the illness of the soul, which is a common spiritual disease. The cure is quite to believe in God Almighty and to accept the faith that He has approved for mankind.
“There is no Muslim servant who says in the morning and the evening three times: I am content with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion and with Muhammad ﷺ as my Prophet, except that it will be a right upon Allah to make him content on the Day of Judgment.”
A believer does not believe in gathering as much wealth as he can in this life, for the Prophet (SAW) said,“This world is the prison of the believer and the paradise of the non-believer.”(Sahih Muslim 2956)
“And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah) (i.e. this Qur·an and worship of Allah) , We appoint for him Shaitan (Satan devil) to be a Qarn (an intimate companion) to him.”
A content believer relies on Allah SWT, puts his trust on Him, which, ultimately result in warding off his worries and distress, relieving him of mental and physical sickness leading to comfort and happiness to the heart.
A believer becomes mindful of the fact that Islam does not order its followers to become monks or to distance themselves from worldly pleasures; on the contrary, it obliges a believer to exploit whatever worldly possessions they have in a legitimate way to obtain true happiness.
Belief plays a vital role in a believer’s life to make him feel content with things that have been destined for him. It is through this that one can enjoy the blessings of this life and everlasting bliss in the world to come.
It drives him closer to Allah and makes him turn to Almighty when faced with trials seeking His help to alleviate the problems that he faces. Polytheism, not believing in God ultimately results in anxiety and misery.
The Qur’an portrays the life of the misguided and wicked ones as “the mutual rivalry for piling up (worldly gains)” (al-Takathur, 1), and “play and amusement, a show and boasting among yourselves, a quest for greater riches and more children” (al-Hadid, 20).
“But, as for those who desire the life to come, and strive for it as it ought to be striven for, and are true Believers- they are the ones whose strivings find acceptance and reward.
A true believer appreciates all that Allah has bestowed on him; body, mind, faculties and property, and utilize them towards his real objective and that is to earn the pleasure of Allah and the rewards of Jannah.
A true believer loves the Hereafter more than this worldly life and prefers it to all that exists in this world. For such believer, Allah has promised a great reward. Allah S says in the Quran, “God will say, ‘This is a Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness. They will have Gardens graced with flowing streams, there to remain for ever. God is pleased with them and they with Him: that is the supreme triumph.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:119)
The gateway to achieve the happiness and contentment of the heart and its tranquility and satisfaction is abundant remembrance of Allah SWT. Remembrance of Allah results in bringing expansion and tranquility to the heart, and eliminating worry and grief from it.
If due care is not given to suffice the soul, it will ultimately lead to great worries, feelings of discontentment and unhappiness.
“When disaster strikes them, they say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy and it is those who are the rightly guided.”
‘Whoever abandons habits for the sake of someone or something other than Allah, will surely suffer hard and difficult times. However, whoever abandons habits for the sake of Allah sincerely from his heart, he will not suffer from leaving it except at the beginning so that his credibility will be examined. If he bears this pain it will be turned into pleasure, and satisfaction within his heart, its strength, activity, happiness, and contentment.’ (Al Fawaid)
It is wisely said that in three situations our relationship with our Lord gets justly determined: when listening to the Qur’an, during gatherings of remembering Allah, and during times of solitude. If we do not find our heart in these three situations, better to ask Allah to grant us with a heart, as we do not have one.
The feeling of insufficiency and incapacity is the major source of discontent and unhappiness. We tend to look at people above us and desire to be like them.
Islam advises us to look at those below us and feel content at what Allah has provided us. The most effective way is to forget the people with higher standards of living. Allah says in the Quran, “Do not strain your eyes in longing for the things that we have given to some groups of them to enjoy, the splendour of the life of this world through which we test them. The provision of your Lord is better and more lasting.” (Quran 20:131)
Happiness has more to do with human mind and heart. Hence peace of the mind and psychological security play a key role in the attainment of happiness. That is why we see that many affluent people do not find the way to happiness despite all the prosperity and luxury they enjoy.
One of the useful ways to attain the happiness and tranquility is to have self-confidence and strong will. These are the leading factors to develop and direct the life of the individual toward success and happiness. They are also instrumental to get rid of the hardships and difficulties of life and endure all odds that hinder the way towards the achievement of happiness.
One of the greatest injustices we do to the Quran is that we treat it as if it was a thing of past and of no relevance to the present. The ideal way to benefit from the Quran is to read it thinking as it is being revealed to us. We must feel that we are in conversation with our creator. It is imperative to make sure that we are not only reading it rather we are living by what it invites us to. It must have the impact upon your actions.
One of the prime reason for rampant anxiety, grief, unhappiness, in every society, is abandoning the Quran and our grave negligence towards the rights of the Quran. We must observe what it enjoins and avoid what it prohibits. If we are impacted by Quran, and start sincerely changing our lives according to its commands, Allah will certainly help us in finding the peace and tranquility of happiness.
It is completely ordinary that man wants to possess as much as possible. However, an enlightened, guided and spiritually charged individual never deeply attach to worldly affairs so that it holds their lives. It is due to the occupation in the hearts that people cling to this worldly life. The strong desire in this life undermines the very purpose of our creation and diminishes the real desire for the Hereafter.
The more firm we are in this material world, the more we are cut off from the Hereafter. This inevitably increases the people in uncertainty and discontentment.
The desire to acquire more and fear to lose are the real causes of feeling unhappy and uncontended. Therefore, the remedy for this decrease is to know that Allah SWT has allocated for us our provision. As long as one strive, one will get what is written for him.
“Know that even if the whole community were to gather together to benefit you with something, they would not benefit you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded for you; and that if they gather together to harm you with something, they would not be able to harm you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded against you.” (Tirmidhi 2516)
The aforementioned narration is profound to enlighten us. A true believer is aware that everything that happens is by the permission of Allah (swt). Therefore, the intelligent person finds his heart attached to the highest aim (the Hereafter) which potentially removes all the pains and regrets. A believer never seek help except from Allah.
It is therefore of utmost importance for a believer to ensure that he is not attached to the worldly affairs to the extent it starts controlling his life and distracting him from the real goal of Hereafter. Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “Desiring the Hereafter can only be achieved by eschewing life of this world.”
An intelligent person does not put money high on their priority list, which are the main causes of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Thus if one intends to achieve the contentment, he has to repel the greed of want of more.
The prophet (SAW) said, “Be happy, and hope for what will please you. By God, I am not afraid that you will be poor, but I fear that worldly wealth will be bestowed upon you as it was bestowed upon those who lived before you. So you will compete amongst yourselves for it, as they competed for it and it will destroy you as it did them.”(Sahih al-Bukhari 4015)
It will be wrong to assume that we should not enjoy the good things of this world. Rather, we are encouraged to strive to achieve our career goals and acquire possessions that will earn us the pleasures of this world provided we remain mindful of our Allah.
There is no true enjoyment of the good of this world if we do not strive for the Next world.
A believer is aware that his very existence and his unending sustenance are only dependent on Allah. All the praises, therefore, are due to Him alone.
Therefore, a believer is always grateful to Allah for all the blessing he received and patient over calamities he is afflicted with or tribulation he is in, and as a result, finds perfect peace of mind and happiness. Every person experiences both the conditions. Hence, neither a state of affliction nor a state of prosperity mean we are ultimately successful, or ultimately doomed. Allah has already made that clear to us.
It is incumbent upon every Muslim to exercise endurance to compel his self into obedience to Allah. Almighty says, “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe’, and that they will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make fit] known [the truth of]those who are true, and will certainly make [it] known [the falsehood of]those who are liars [although Allah knows all that before putting them to test].” [Surah Al-‘Ankabut (29), Ayah 2-3.]
Seeking beneficial knowledge brings happiness. The angels flutter their wings and keep records of those who seek knowledge. Occupying oneself with useful knowledge is among the means of warding off anxieties and eliminating what is distracting the heart from being in peace and tranquility. However, what is integral in seeking happiness through knowledge is having good intention of doing it with sincerity and seeking the pleasure of Allah.
Being rich is all about the soul and mind. The Prophet (pbuh) once explained that whoever makes this world, rather than the Hereafter, his most important matter, God will confound his affairs and make poverty appear before his eyes (Sunan Ibn Majah), so wherever he wants to look, he will see only poverty. Poverty will become his greatest fear.
But whoever makes the Hereafter his most important matter, the Prophet (pbuh) continued: “Allah will settle his affairs and make him content in his heart and the world will come to him although he does not want it.”
“Richness does not lie in the abundance of (worldly) goods, but richness is the richness of the soul (the heart)” (Sahih Muslim 1051).
The constant nagging in the heart for more is what makes the people unhappy. We see many among us who possess the material goods of the world and yet not happy, rather they are often the unhappy people. Therefore, we find that those who have little but feel no need for more do not feel this nagging in their heart. Certainly, the richest person is not the one who has the most, but the one who is content with what he has.
“today people spend more, but have less, they buy more, but enjoy less. They have bigger houses, but less warmth and smaller families in them, more conveniences, but less time. They own houses, but not homes. They have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment and wisdom, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. They have multiplied their possessions, but reduced their values. They have learned how to make a living, but not a life. They have done larger things, but not better things.”
True happiness is not about acquiring the wealth, fame, prestige, status, and satisfying one’s desires. Rather, it is achieved by accumulating the pleasures of the body, heart and soul.
Almighty said, “But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’an nor acts on its teachings) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.”
The humanity is desperately looking for the solution to all the problems the world is facing today at every front. The remedy is with Muslims, the carriers of the last Divine message, the Quran. It is high time to reach to humanity reeling from the illness of body and soul, and convey the sole message of Almighty guaranteeing the peace of mind, tranquility, eternal happiness and contentment in this life and everlasting bliss in the Hereafter.
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