The Quest for True Happiness


dhikr tranquilty
HAPPINESS is the ultimate goal in life for almost all of us. It is the motive behind every action that is taken in this world. People eat, shop, study, work, marry or sometimes fall into forbidden relationships, go on vacations, throw lavish parties and sometimes go to weird, forbidden extremes just for the pursuit of happiness and delight. Eventually, there comes a time when they realize that these feelings are short-lived, temporary and bound to end at some point. So the question that arises is; what is it that gives one the feeling of everlasting happiness? What is it that would tend to make the heart content and at ease despite the day to day tests and hardships that life throws our way?
Simply put, true happiness is in realizing the purpose for which we were created. It is in worshipping the One who created us, that gives the hearts contentment and delight. It is in doing every action with the sole intention of gaining Allah’s pleasure, avoiding His Anger while following in the footsteps of His beloved Messenger (peace be upon him).
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim, said, “In the heart are disorders that cannot be remedied except by responding to Allah. In it is a desolate feeling that cannot be removed except by intimacy with Him in solitude. In it is sadness which will not leave except by happiness of knowing Him and truthfulness in his dealings. In it is anxiety that is not made tranquil except by gathering for His sake and fleeing to Him from His punishment. In it is a fire of regret which cannot be extinguished except by satisfaction with His commands, prohibitions, and decrees, and embracing patience with that until the time he meets Him. In it is a strong desire that will not cease until He is the only one who is sought. In it is a void that cannot be filled except by His love, turning to Him, always remembering Him, and being sincere to Him. Were a person to be given the entire world and everything in it, that would never fill the void.” (Madarij Al-Salikeen)
No doubt, this is the only reason our hearts are so much at peace and our souls so exuberant during Ramadan. It is because we spend the whole month busy in doing what we were created to do! We feel happy despite staying without food and water all day and despite exerting ourselves for extra prayer and worship.
We can actually maintain this state of peace and contentment throughout the year if we persist in continuing all the good acts that we do during Ramadan. The Creator and Master of everything that exists says in His Glorious Book: “Those who believe, and whose hearts find contentment in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment.” (Qur’an 13:28)
The contentment and openness of the heart are aspects of happiness which are achieved through keeping up the remembrance of Allah and through following the teachings of the Qur’an. It is something that instills happiness in us not just during the moments in which it is done but also later on. This is because; every type of pleasure is enjoyed only once, except for (the acts of) worship, which is enjoyed three times: when you do it, when you remember it, and when you are given the reward for it. (Abd-Allah ibn Wahb)
Allah tells us in more than one place in the Qur’an that the faces of the ones who believed and did righteous acts for His sake will be glowing with happiness and delight. He says: “(Some) faces, that Day, will be bright — Laughing, rejoicing at good news (of reward and Jannah).” (Qur’an 80:38-39).
“Faces, that Day, will show pleasure. With their effort (they are) satisfied. In an elevated garden (Jannah)…” (Qur’an 88:9-11)
As believers we need to know and have strong belief in the fact that life will not be a bed of roses for long and that we will be tested and tried till we reach our graves. If we look at the people around us, we will see people who are being tested in one way or the other. It will be either by missing out on something that they like, or going through that which they dislike.
Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) rightly said: For every moment of joy there is a moment of sorrow, and no house is filled with joy but it will be filled with sorrow.
Beautiful is the dua that the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us. He said, “If any Muslim is afflicted with distress and makes this dua, then his supplication will be answered:
dua distress
‘O Allah, I am your servant, the son of your servant, the son of your maidservant. My forelock is in your hand, your command concerning me prevails, and your decision concerning me is just. I call upon you by every one of the beautiful names with which you have described yourself, or which you have revealed in your Book, or you have taught to anyone of your creatures, or which you have chosen to keep in the knowledge of the unseen with you, to make the Qur’an the delight of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness and dispeller of my anxiety.’”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If he says this, Allah will remove his affliction and replace it with joy and happiness.” His They said, “O Messenger of Allah, should we not learn it?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Yes, whoever hears it should know it.” (Ahmad 3704)
Lastly, we need to understand that happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute doing good for the sake of Allah, it is in being grateful for whatever we have and in utilizing it all in being of service to the creation of Allah. May Allah grant us the happiness of this world and the next. Ameen.
-Written by Mariam Anwer
Originally published in Arab News
Advertisements

Pleased with Allah’s Decree


contentment

‘WHEN there is just one son, parents have to make him live with them; when there are several, it’s easier, as some of them can go abroad. After all, parents should not be left all alone. That is why one should have many children,’ says a mother-of-five empathetically. I remain silent, not agreeing with her simply because not everyone is blessed with children.
My mind shifts to some childless couples and unmarried people I know. If Allah has kept them barren, what should their outlook be on life during old age? Should they constantly be complaining to Allah for the fate decreed on them, or should they accept their fate and be content with it, achieving peace of mind?

Almost anyone and everyone can choose to be ungrateful. A short person may wistfully look at taller people and lament on his or her natural stature; a pauper sitting on the curb may stare enviously at the glamorous cars passing by; a blind person can very well gripe about not being able to see; and of course how slightly dark-skinned people wish they had fairer skin.

If one were to cave in to negative thinking, ungratefulness and wistfulness for the blessings one has supposedly missed out on in life, he or she would be losing on something greater: the blessings they have been granted by Allah! Life’s just too short to lose the good moments wishing for what was not meant to be yours in the first place.

The tendency to be ungrateful and negative in thinking is admittedly more common in women; this is a fact that has been mentioned in several Ahadith.
It is common to behold an unmarried girl, desperately wondering why a decent proposal has not come her way. As years pass by, the pressure to marry her off mounts on her parents.
A married woman who has not conceived a child will despair hopelessly, as she hears of the third pregnancy of a friend who got married a year after she did.

Another mother-of-three, standing in her tiny kitchen, may be crying hot tears of envy at thoughts of how other women her age live in compound villas with 24-hour maids. The cycle of ingratitude continues throughout some people’s lives: want something – pine, despair for it – achieved it and forgot about it; want something else – pine, despair for it – got it and forgot about it.

“And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favour/blessings of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.”
[Surah Al Ibrahim,34]

There is great Divine wisdom behind the concept of being pleased with Allah’s decree, known as
“Al-Ridaa Bil-Qadr”. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prayed for this blessing in one of his ‘masnoon’ dua’s. It is indeed the requisite ticket to blissful peace of mind and unparalleled contentment of soul during this world’s life.

2dua soul

“O Allah I ask you for a reassured soul, that believes in meeting you, and is pleased with Your Decree, and is content with what you have bestowed [on it].”

But how does one achieve this desired goal?
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us a strategy to acquire this state;

“Do not look to those above you. Look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of Allah’s favors bestowed on you.”

(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah [subhanahu wa taála] says;
“And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Indeed, Allah is ever, of all things Knowing.” [Surah An Nisa,32]

“…But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not.”  [Surah Al Baqarah, 216]
Also, we are encouraged to look up to those who do good so that we can try to be like them.

Allah [subhanahu wa taála] says;
“Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting. And we will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do. Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer — We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” [Surah An Nahl, 96-97]

If one persistently refuses – for Allah’s sake – to wistfully or enviously look at, or think about, people who are better off than him in worldly blessings, eventually he will reach a point when he will never be bothered by, or concerned with, what others have. Instead, he will focus on the good deeds he can do that will grant him a good destination in the Hereafter – the eternal life – where happiness and blessings are everlasting, not fleeting.

On achieving Ridaa Bil-Qadr, an unmarried woman will not feel anything when she hears of girls younger than her getting married or having babies; a childless man will not feel any regret or rancor when his brother begets his tenth child; an old woman, who has outlived her spouse and all her children, will not feel anything when she hears of other families gathering together on Eid. They will instead be content with what Allah has decreed for them and have a kind of peace and calmness inside them that cannot be bought with all the wealth in this world.

Allah [subhanahu wa taála] says;
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” [Surah Ar Ra’d,28]

Know that the life of this world will throw trial after trial at you until you reach your grave. So take your time to smell the flowers and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!!!
–Suzan Hallak,
Al Huda Institute, Canada