Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|[ARTICLE] Factors and Prerequisites to Happiness|
|04/03/01 at 02:14:17|
|Factors and Prerequisites to Happiness|
By Ghalib Ahmad Masri and Nathif Jama Adam
Note: The following factors and prerequisites of happiness are excerpts from the book ?The Way to Happiness? based on "Happiness Between Illusion and Reality " by Dr. Nasser Al-Omar and "Causes of Happiness" by Sheikh AbdurRahman Al-Sa?adi. The book was published by the Cooperative Office for Call and Guidance under the supervision of the Presidency of Islamic Research IFTA and Propagation, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Non-Muslim readers are invited to reflect on the very enlightening verses from the Qur?an and the authentic Ahadith quoted in this work -- all show that Islam is the right way to happiness.
1. Sound Belief
To build a happy life, you have to first lay a solid foundation for it otherwise it will subside. Therefore, we should seek such a solid unshakeable foundation on which we could build our wholesome life. There must be also a scheme by which the course of our life is to be guided and controlled.
Man possesses impulses, drives, feelings, desires and whims, which may influence his character and way of life. He is endowed with the ability to think, reason and perceive so that he could be able to control his will and emotions and direct himself into the course of action he believes to be suitable However, man?s mind and emotions may lapse and lead him away from the right path. Lute may stray unknowingly from the way to success and happiness and take the course to chaos and misery, thereby bringing suffering and destruction upon himself arid upon others.
Hence tile necessity for man to achieve a profound understanding of the Divine Guidance which leads his way to the plain truth about his existence in this world, his relation to the universe and to other creatures, the purpose of his creation, how he has come into existence, the Divine Will that controls him and directs his life, and the correct course and way that leads him to salvation and real happiness
Islam is the last and only universal religion and system or code of life revealed to mankind through the last Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the only faith with the Divine Revelation still kept intact in its original form, unlike the earlier revelations which were already lost, adulterated, interpolated changed and corrupted. Thus, the Islamic Faith proves to be the only correct foundation for man?s character and behavior and a mode of life necessary for building a sound and progressive society characterized by justice and peace which is in harmony with Allah?s will.
If we think of the backwardness of Muslim societies, we will find that the reason for such condition is mainly due to the deviation from this divine way of life. The calamities that caused the downfall of Muslim societies are by no means merely due to lack of scientific knowledge but rather to their deviation from Islam. In fact, when Europe was going through the so-called Dark Ages, the Islamic Nation, covering half of the world, was enjoying the most splendid and glorious civilization the world had ever known.
So the Islamic belief, when put into practice, leads man to the right direction and channels all his energies and efforts into a constructive scheme of life. To begin with, faith is complementary to reason. Therefore, reason is not the antithesis of faith as is the case in some other human beliefs and religions. Islamic faith helps to develop the human mind and does not impose any kind of illogical concept or undue restrictions on it. It leads man in the way of truth since he is guided by words and commandments of his Creator, Who knows what is best for him.
A basic Islamic principle of faith is related to harmony in this universe. Many scientists and thinkers believe that there is a conflict between man and nature and that man is struggling to overcome the powers of nature. Islam corrects this shortsighted notion. It states that everything in this world has been created to serve man, and man has been created to serve Allah. Therefore, the relationship between man and the universe is one of harmony and friendliness. This fact imbues man with peace of mind, satisfaction and happiness. It also frees his mind from worries, fears and feeling of hostility. His life would become inspired with love, hope, optimism, contentment and happiness that would enable him to face hardships with confidence and right discretion.
Belief in Allah and in His perfect attributes would deeply influence the Muslim?s character and his whole outlook on life. It brings him to acquire good qualities and aim for human perfection. This will undoubtedly achieve, for both the individual and the society, a life of ideal values and collective happiness.
Belief in the angels of Allah makes man feel that he is not alone in this universe and that it abounds with righteous friendly creatures. This would make life pleasant for him and enable him to achieve success and happiness.
Belief in the Day of Judgment drives man to control his behavior and life according to the Divine Laws of justice and righteousness. Without belief in this Day on which everyone will receive his just deserts (when the wrongdoers are justly punished and the righteous are rewarded bountifully), man would lose the impetus to behave fairly towards others and the oppressed would grow hopeless and miserable. Belief in the Hereafter is an essential element that helps to control human delinquency and establish collective happiness and virtues in society.
Belief in Divine Destiny is a major element of a stable and composed personality. When you submit yourself to the Divine Decree and Will and feel positively certain that ?What befalls you would not have missed you and what misses you would not have befallen you?, you would certainly grow stronger in the face of calamities, face them with patience and courage and not succumb to them or be paralyzed with shock or despair.
Lack of such element of faith creates a vacuum in man?s heart and life that cannot be filled up with all the riches and pleasures of the world. It is this kind of emptiness that drives many; even the wealthy and the pleasure seekers of the world to collapse or even commit suicide.
2. Worship and Devotion to Allah
?Not for (idle) sport did We create the heavens and the earth and all that is between?(Qur?an, 21:16)
So creation is not for idle sport or play, Allah has a serious purpose behind it. What is it? Allah has revealed to us His purpose in the Holy Qur?an:
?I have only created Jinn (i.e., genies) and men, that they may serve Me!? (Qur?an, 51:56)
Everything and everyone in the Universe are created by Almighty Allah, and all submit to His Will. Have a glance at the physical world. You will find everything controlled and directed in accordance with Divine Order and Laws. There are laws that govern every area or domain of nature, such as the laws of gravity, motion, relativity, etc. These prevailing laws testify to the fact that the universe is in total submission to its Creator, Almighty Allah, Who has originated its laws. But man has been endowed with Free Will, a privilege not given to the lower forms of creation, so that his obedience to the laws of his Creator should be more sensible and not a kind of blind obedience like a robot following the commands of the computer operator.
Besides, he is also endowed with the faculty of thinking and reasoning so that he could be able to decide and shoulder responsibility. Therefore, man will be able to achieve full harmony in his life if the intellectual and spiritual side of his character comes to coincide with the physical side which is already ruled by natural or physical laws ordained and fulfilled by Allah Glory be to Him)!<O:P</O:P
Thus, he would abide by the Divine Law, listen to the commandments of his Rabb (Sustainer) and respond willingly, and worship in all humility and reverence the only true deity, Allah, Who alone is worthy of worship.
Obedience and worship of Allah are a major and comprehensive source of contentment and happiness for man. On the personal level, it gives man the feeling that he is close to Allah and such nearness to his Rabb (Sustainer), consequently, provides him with guidance, wisdom, strength, confidence, steadfastness, security, joy and satisfaction. Acts of worship have many positive aspects in human life. In prayer, man communicates with his Rabb (Sustainer) directly and establishes the most exalted relationship that infuses him with satisfaction and peace of mind. He feels that Allah is with him: He hears him, responds to him, accepts his prayers and good deeds and forgives his sins.
This would elevate his spirit to perfection. He would contemplate the verses of the Glorious Qur?an that are recited and realize their implications as well as the general aims of the prayer. He would be moved to comply with their injunctions and commandments. He would feel the power of Allah dominating him as well as the whole universe.
This would make him humble and cause him to abstain from wronging or trespassing against others. When he acquires such traits, he would become the epitome of love, mercy, justice and guidance. He would become a man of good manners and refinement, in full control of his desires and whims. Further, he would be able to channel all his feelings, efforts and actions in the proper constructive way.
Prayer purifies the soul of error and the gloominess of sins as water purifies and refreshes the body. It refines mans character and inculcates in him the excellent virtues of truthfulness, honesty, modesty and humility. It keeps man away from falsehood and from all forbidden actions and evil deeds.
On the collective level, prayer achieves for the community a high degree of perfection and leads it through the way to collective happiness and success, as it has realized for the individual a feeling of happiness as well as consistency, dignity and integrity.
This act of worship contains many elements of success and social welfare. Congregational prayer is, in fact, a school for social upliftment, where man can exercise order and unity, and equality is fully realized with no traces of discrimination whatsoever. Those who perform prayer in the right way shall find their way to salvation, success and eternal happiness.
What applies to prayer also applies to other acts of worship, which, together, contribute to the building of spiritual, social, political, economic welfare and solidarity.
In fact, that is the secret behind the standard of superiority achieved by the Muslim society at the Zenith of its development, power, and prosperity.
A final word on worship as a source of success and happiness is that worship in Islam includes every action a Muslim performs only for the sake of Allah (Glory be to Him) and in accordance with His commandments. This not only covers ritual acts like prayers performed in the Mosque, fasting during the month of Ramadan or the performance of Hajj; it also includes all human activities, such as learning, training, eating, sleeping, working to earn a living for the sustenance of the family and all other constructive activities necessary for the improvement of human life. This provides the Muslim with a treasure of good deeds tat contribute to the realization of an integral and righteous character and enhances his chances of attaining an everlasting blissful life in the Hereafter. The following verse from the Holy Qur?an guides man to the way of prosperity and success:
?0 ye who believe! Do your duty to Allah, seek the means of approach unto Him, and strive (with might and main) in His cause: that ye may prosper.? (Qur?an, 5:35)
?Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new life, a life that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions. (Qur?an, 16:97)
Faith, if sincere, means right conduct. When these two confirm each other, Allah?s grace transforms our life. Instead of being troubled and worried, we have peace and contentment; instead of being assailed at every turn by false alarms and the assaults of evil, we enjoy calm and attain purity. The transformation is visible in this life itself, but the ?reward? in terms of the Hereafter will be far beyond our deserts. The Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
?Happiness, all happiness, is long life (full) of obedience to Allah.? (Narrated by Quda?i and Daylami on the authority of Ibn Umar)
It is worth mentioning that obedience must be based on sound knowledge; for ignorance may distort the spirit of godliness and deprive worship of its meaning, and render it fruitless and almost futile. There is a common saying, which runs as follows:
?I do not feel that happiness consists in the amassment of a fortune; it is the righteous and godly who are happy!
3. Remembrance of Allah
Closely akin to the above in spiritual and devotional aspect is the remembrance of Allah (Glory be to Him), Rabb (Cherisher) and Sustainer of the Universe. Associated with it are supplications, prayers, and celebration of Allah?s praises and recitation of the Glorious Qur?an. Having seen the influence of faith and righteousness on man?s character and life, we find it relevant here to cite two Qur?anic verses which combine in the same context the elements of faith and righteousness with that of remembrance of Allah:
?Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. For those who believe and work righteousness, (enjoy every) blessedness and a beautiful place of (final) return.?(Qur?an, 13:2829)
When man becomes conscious of the bounties and favors bestowed by Allah upon him and feels that his very existence, body, spirit, intellects and faculties am granted to him out of generosity, he will naturally be moved to celebrate his Creator?s praises and be grateful to Him. He acquires this satisfaction and blessedness and inward joy, which is difficult to describe in words. This blessedness and satisfaction is also felt on reciting or listening to the words of Allah (Glory be to Him). Receiving and reading a letter from a person you love and respect would fill your heart with comfort and happiness, which could not compare to the level of comfort, happiness and spiritual bliss that one, would feel in the words and name of Allah (Glory be to Him).
Shunning the remembrance of Allah and His revealed message to humanity deprives man of that transcendent joy and satisfaction. It causes constriction in the chest, a feeling of spiritual void and depression, a desolate and desperate life full of worries, and ultimately wrath and eternal punishment in the Hereafter.
?But whosoever turns away from My Message, Verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment.? (Qur?an, 20:124)
4. Goodness and Kindness to Others
This emanates from the very essence of faith. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
?All creatures are dependants of Allah, and the most favored among them by Allah is the one who is most helpful to His dependants.? (Narrated by Tabarani, Abu Naeem and Bayhaqi)
Thus, active faith turns man into a mercy to himself and to others. There are many forms and manifestations of goodness that are based on the Muslim?s being a mercy to humanity. This is represented by his natural inclination and keenness to save other people from error and lead them to salvation. However, this can only be achieved if he is a real embodiment of his faith. The tendency towards kindness emanates from human reciprocal relations for man?s delight depends on the delight of others and vice versa, and this reciprocity provides happiness for both the individual and the society as a whole.
A Muslim?s goodness is not only limited to brothers in faith; but, it also extends to cover every being, human or otherwise. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
?Every Muslim should do an act of charity.? ?Suppose he couldn?t afford that? People said. ?Let him work with his hands and give out charity,? he answered. ?Suppose he couldn?t afford it? They said. ?Let him help the grieved and needy,? he answered. ?Suppose he couldn?t afford it,? they said. ?Let him do good and avoid evil, it is an act of charity for him.? (Narrated by lmam Bukhari)
But such charity must be based on sincerity and be free from any kind of hypocrisy, bad intention or ulterior motives:
?0 ye who believe! Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury.? (Qur?an, 2:264)
5. Renunciation of Too Long Term Hopes and Grieves of the Past
Many people spend most of their time worrying about their future life and keep regretting past mishaps. They live in continuous worry and misery. A good solution to this source of worries is to live within the limits of today. This does not mean to neglect the future and stop planning for it, nor does it involve failure to draw lessons from past experiences. It aims at ridding our life of obsession with futile cares that lead us only to stress and frustrations. According to one thinker:
?We should not look forward to a goal that looks faint in the distance; in fact, we have to complete the clear works that we have in hand.?
?Life is short, we must not make it shorter by care and troubles.?
Living within the limits of today is consistent with the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):
?He who is safe (in his home), healthy (in his body), with enough provisions for the day, is like one who possesses everything in the world.?
You will possess the basic elements of happy life in this world if you acquire the requirements of safe and happy living such as:
1. Physical (residential, social, political and military) security;
2. Health security; and
3. Food security.
So why worry? If you let yourself be haunted with fears and worries about the future all the time, you will not be able to enjoy the present. Plan for the future, no problem, and draw lessons from the past, but never be too absorbed in worrying about your future life or dwell too much on your past glories or shortcomings.
Some people underestimate the safety and peace they enjoy. They may even scorn these great favors and exaggerate the effects of their misfortunes. This contempt is a denial of reality and a major factor that spoils the life of the individual. Happiness is relative and is not dependent on the degree of wealth. A wealthy man who is deprived of contentment leads a life of misery, while a man of average or low means will lead his life happily if he is Contented and has a realistic View in life. What helps man to get rid of frets and worries is a complete trust in his Bountiful, Almighty Rabb (Sustainer). The Holy Qur?an point out the benefits of faith and trust in Allah (Glory be to him):
?And for him who fears Allah (and observes his duty to Allah), He (ever) Prepares a way out, and He provides for him from (sources) he never could expect. And whoever puts his trust in Allah He will suffice him. For Allah will surely accomplish His Purpose. Verily for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.? (Qur?an 65:2-3)
It is this kind of trust that, at once, fills one with peace of mind and contentment along with the realization that everything is within the Power of Allah (the Creator) and drives One to be more optimistic about life, active and hardworking, not idle or suffering from inertia.
Speaking of short-term hopes and aspirations, let?s cite the following invaluable words of the holy Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):
?When you pass the day and arrive at the evening, do not expect that you will pass night and hope to reach morning, and when you arrive in the morning do not look forward to the evening. While in health, be ready for illness, and while alive, prepare for death.? (Bukhari)
On the transience of human life, the Prophet (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said:
?I am in this world like a rider who halts in the shade of a tree for a short time, and after taking some rest resumes his journey and leaves the tree behind.? (Narrated by Tirmidhi)
You would appreciate the real meaning of the above words if you meditate on the reality of life and conceive of it as a film that lasts for some time presenting a whole life or episode of life. The similitude of human life is as follows: Days go by like a film and when you grow old and took back on your past life, you review it like watching an exciting movie. Yet, this does not imply that man should be distracted from leading an active life or entertaining legitimate aspirations of life for the future. It simply means that you can always live your life and plan for the future with confidence and persistence, but let everything be in your hand and do not allow anything in the world to possess your heart and dominate you like a slave. Be a master of yourself by controlling your desires but not the other way round. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was quoted as saying:
?May he perish who is the slave of dinar and dirham* of black and striped sheets of cloth ** ( Bukhari) (Notes: *Dinar and Dirham currency used during the time of the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), which resembles the dollar and Cents? or the pound and pence. ** Black and striped sheets of cloth: precious cloth, symbolizing luxury clothes and costumes.)
An essential prerequisite of happiness is the understanding of the role of man in this world and his position and function as a servant of Allah on the one hand and a trustee of Allah on earth on the other hand. Thus, man would be ruled and guided by divine light and would behave with a sense of responsibility so a Muslim strives to make the best of his time to produce for himself and other people what is useful for them and to prepare himself for the future both in this life.
Listen to this golden rule of happiness in the words of Allah?s Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):
?Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your senility; your health before your sickness; your wealth before your poverty; your leisure before your occupation; and, your life before your death.? (Ahmad, Baihaqi and Hakim)
Youth, which is the prime of man, should be used in fruitful and constructive competition strife; health, the golden opportunity in life, should used for the prevention of diseases; wealth, is also an opportunity which must be used for protection from poverty; leisure, which is a major problem of our contemporary world, must he treated wit a sense of responsibility and must be used only for activities which are constructive and worthwhile; and, finally, the whole life is the greatest opportunity for man to make provision for the final journey into the future world, in the Hereafter in accordance with the Divine Will.
Preparation for the Day of Judgment and the attainment of eternal happiness does not involve the neglect of this worldly life. It requires the full exploitation and improvement of our Society as well as the building of a lofty civilization based on the Divine Guidance as revealed by Allah unto His Messenger, Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
6. Forgetting about people with higher standard of living
A major source of discontent and unhappiness as the feeling of inadequacy and incapability, while opulent people enjoy the pleasures and luxury of life. The most effective solution to such a source of uneasiness and suffering is to forget about people with higher standard of living; for if you compare yourself with such people you will only incur misery. You would find solace when you discover that you are endowed with more blessings by Allah than many others. We have already been guided to this golden rule given by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the following words:
?Look at those inferior to you, and do not look at those superior to you. Thereby, you would be able to appreciate better the benevolence of Allah bestowed upon you.? (Bukhari and Muslim)
On another occasion the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ?When any of you happens to see one on whom Allah has bestowed more riches and a finer physique, he should look at one who is inferior to him (in this respect).? (Bukhari)
A Muslim is generally satisfied with his lot from Allah regarding such matters, which fall outside and beyond his means and ability. This, however, does not indicate any defeatist attitude or fatalism in its passive denotation; rather, a Muslim exercises his free will actively and enjoys a dynamic personality. As part of his faith, a Muslim believes in the Day of Judgment and in the Divine Justice which gives him relief in cases where he finds no way to the fulfillment of justice. After all, everything in this world is ephemeral and What matters is not the worldly possessions one may hold but the right preparation for the Hereafter, in which the faithful and guided believer enters into the Eternal Abode of Bliss, where there shall be no bitterness or misery. This fact gives him a complete consolation and relieves him of his suffering For he is conscious of the fact that on that day justice will prevail and everybody will be able to receive his due, and no one will trespass on him, wrong him or boast over him. This awareness helps a lot to protect man from much anxiety and uneasiness.
In matters of religion, piety and acquisition of knowledge, we had better look at those superior to us in good deeds, upright behavior and in the pursuit of useful knowledge.
7. Building of better understanding of things and getting rid of misconceptions and superstitions
Building of better understanding of things and getting rid of misconceptions and superstitions deliver man from ignorance, illusions and baseless worries that spoil his tranquility and happiness. On the contrary, ignorance of realities entices people to take wrong avenues and draw them into troubles, ridicules and undue sufferings. Take, for instance, the case of a child who develops fear of certain tame animals, or the case of some women who get scared of harmless creatures or even the case of some men who are haunted by fear of bad omens or by the belief that men are intrinsically evil. Such notions would undoubtedly cause the individual to behave erroneously and lead a very miserable life, which may have unwelcome effects on his character and environment. They may lead to the development of such abnormalities as depression, anxiety, hallucination, schizophrenia, neurosis, psychosis, etc.
8. Achieving harmony within oneself and with the outward world One important step on the way to happiness is to work towards harmony within oneself and with the outward world: in the family, at school, in the office, in society and more generally, in humanity. The achievement of such harmony requires the building up of one?s personality so as to become stable, confident, consistent, flexible and adaptable. Character building could be achieved by adopting the Islamic educational system, which helps man to acquire a balanced and sound personality and coexist and adapt himself easily to other people and things around him so that he could help to create a happy environment.
9. Good health, time, affluence and sound (constructive) reasoning
Access to happiness can also be obtained through several factors necessary for a successful and happy life, namely: good health, time, affluence and sound (constructive) reasoning provided, however, that these are supplemented with inner wealth through spiritual guidance without which such elements would be only a source of evil and destruction. Without the inner wealth and contentment, all riches and treasures of this world would not suffice to make a man happy. Islam takes a positive view of life with virtue lying not in shunning the bounties of Allah but in enjoying them within the framework of ?righteous living? through which Islam seeks to promote human welfare:
?0 ye who believe! Make not unlawful the good things, which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no excess: for Allah loves not those given to excess. Eat of the things which Allah has provided for you, lawful and good; but fear Allah, in Whom you believe.? (Qur?an, 5:8788)
Islam also lays a lot of stress and emphasis on the need for simultaneous enrichment of both material and spiritual values to be deeply infused into the individual?s life.
10. Social solidarity
Social solidarity is based on cooperation and the presence of altruism and civil spirit. Such elements were never deep-rooted and in full force anywhere in the world as they were in the early ideal Muslim society. That civilized and lofty society was a living reflection of the active faith of Muslim believers and of the commandments revealed by Allah and preached by His last Prophet to humanity, Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); the result, of course, was collective prosperity and happiness:
?Help one another in righteousness and piety, but help not one another in sin and rancor.? (Qur?an, 5:3)
?A believer is like a brick for another believer, the one supporting the other.? (Bukhari and Muslim)
?The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, and fellow feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.? (Bukhari and Muslim)
?None of you is a perfect believer until he desires for his brother believer that which he desires for himself.? (Bukhari and Muslim)
?A Muslim owes six obligations towards another Muslim, namely: 1. When you meet him, greet him by saying: "Peace and blessings of Allah be on you". 2. When he invites you, you should accept his invitation; 3. When he solicits your advice, advise him sincerely; 4. When he sneezes and praises Allah, respond with supplication: May Allah have mercy on you; 5. When he falls sick, you should visit him; and, 6. When he dies, join his funeral.?
?One who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment must not cause hardship and inconvenience to his neighbor; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day must honor his guest, and he who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment must speak well or keep quiet!? (Muslim)
Omar bin Al-Khattab, the second Caliph after the death of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), refused to eat fat and meat until all people have had enough to eat. (Bukhari and Muslim)
A society with such standards of education and altruistic spirit, with such solidarity and harmonious relations, with such excellent manners and self-sacrifice, such a society is really a very happy one.
11. Stability of the human Personality
Stability of the human Personality is one of the essential elements of happiness both or the individual and the collective levels. How could we attain a stable, well-balanced personality? Let?s refer to the words of Allah in the Glorious Qur?an and trace some of the important constituents of such character:
Seeking guidance from the Holy Qur?an:
?Verily this Qur?an does guide to that which is most right (or stable)....? (Qur?an. 17:9)
Forbearance and deliberation:<O:P</O:P
Haste is a danger to the stability of human character. Man in his haste may unwittingly mistake evil for good. Haste and impatience, due to failure to attain one?s ambitions or desires, may move one to pray for evil instead of good or be contented with the immediate little gain and give up the greater future gain.
A child is born with an intact nature that grows in a stable upright manner until he/she reaches maturity. Deviation of the character takes place as a result of external factors. Therefore, the Qur?an provides remedial doses for the achievement of character stability and virtuousness, and the treatment of evils of deviation and corruption before they become out of control. It has made clear the straight path of righteousness and warned against the ways of error. Moreover, it has also pointed out that man is endowed with the faculty of distinguishing right from wrong.
?By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it; and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right. Truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!?(Qur?an 91:710)
The above passage draws the attention of man to the role of self-purification and stabilization in the achievement of success and happiness. Man should learn and understand that his success, prosperity and salvation depend on himself; on his keeping his soul as pure as Allah has made it on the other hand, his failure, decline and perdition depend on his soiling his soul by choosing evil.
An outstanding feature of a well-balanced personality is moderation in all fields of life in general and in the financial field in particular.
?And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer: but squander not (your wealth) in the manner of spendthrift.? (Qur?an, 17:26)
?Make not thy hand tied (like a niggard?s) to thy neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach, so that thou become blameworthy and destitute.? (Ibid, 17:29)
We are not to be so lavish as to make ourselves destitute and incur the just censure of wise men, nor is it becoming to keep back our resources from the just needs of those who have a right to our help.
A stable character keeps man away from degradation and crimes, such as lying, murder, suicide, adultery, drug addiction, fraud, rape, robbery, theft, usury and other sins which are in contradiction with a stable personality and ?deprive the society of its stability and peace.
12. The feeling of peace and security or freedom from fear and anxiety<O:P</O:P Happiness springs from inside the human mind and heart. Therefore, peace of the mind and psychological security play a major role in the attainment of happiness. Many wealthy people could not find the way to happiness despite the luxury they enjoy. That is due to their lack of the aforesaid factor. At the same time, many people who lack the luxury of life enjoy such inner security and through this they experience a great deal of happiness.
Peace of mind and the feeling of security could be achieved by getting rid of fear and anxiety, and observance by people of their duties to their Almighty Rabb (Sustainer), moved simultaneously by fear of Allah and love for Him. This would make them keep away from all forms of aggression and harm, thus causing peace and security to prevail in society. The feeling of security is boosted by the awareness that Allah continuously watches over every human act and behavior:
?Allah ever watches over you.?(Qur?an, 4:1)
Security may also be established and strengthened by mutual mercy and sympathy and caring for sectors of society badly in need of protection and patronage such as orphans. Organization of family affairs helps also to remove the causes of anxiety. Read the following verse from the holy Qur?an on the wife-husband relationship:
?...And among His (Allah?s) signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.? (Qur?an, 30:21)
It is this mutual relationship of love, mercy and affection that gives the sense of security to the whole family, including children who enjoy this sense under the protection of their parents. This relationship is well organized in Islamic society, including the prescription of rights and obligations for every member of the family so that stability may prevail in their lives.
On a larger scope, Islam laid down the foundations of security and peace in society by establishing comprehensive and fair rules and regulations for all human affairs: moral, social, political, military, economic and other fields of human endeavor.
Repentance purifies the soul and relieves the human mind of the burden of sin and guilt. The aim of penitence is twofold: Peace of mind and carefree life in this world and everlasting bliss in the Hereafter. Repentance, in its Islamic import, does not involve, as in Christianity, any kind of confession of sins to a priest or to any man. Islam teaches that there are no mediators or intercessors in the relationship between Allah and His servants. In fact, anyone could always turn directly to Allah for help and forgiveness, for He is too Generous and Kind to turn you down. The Holy Qur?an explains to us how Merciful is Allah to us:
?When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: Let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way.? (Qur?an, 2:186)
?0 you Believers! Turn all together toward Allah, that you may attain Bliss.? (Qur?an, 24:31)
14. Learning and Pursuit of Knowledge <O:P</O:P Learning and pursuit of knowledge open for man the gateway to success and happiness. Have a look at human civilization throughout history and see how knowledge improved man?s life and introduced many innovations and facilities for the service of man. But knowledge and science are two-edged weapon: they could raise lofty towers but could also destroy. So knowledge must be channeled into the right way that leads to the happiness and welfare of mankind. Despite of the tremendous advancement in human knowledge, particularly in science and technology, it is sad that their lull utilization is generally geared towards oppression trespassing on human resources violation and suppression of basic human rights international terrorism and blackmail, and the like.
Constructive knowledge in general, and the knowledge of Divine Guidance and Law in particular, pave the way for human betterment and happiness. Guided by such kind of knowledge, Muslims over many centuries, were able to build a civilization that covered every aspect of human advancement (both material and Spiritual) rarely attained by any other civilizations in history. Nowadays, the Muslim nation is badly in need of a revival in order to lead humanity again to a civilization of justice, peace, prosperity and happiness based on constructive knowledge and Divine Guidance On the Pursuit of knowledge and learning we read in the Holy Qur?an:
??But say, O my Rabb (Sustainer)! Advance me in knowledge!? (Qur?an, 20:114)
Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stressed the importance of the pursuit of knowledge as a way to eternal happiness. ?If a person follows a path for acquiring knowledge Allah will make easy the passage to paradise for hint? (Muslim) Pursuit of knowledge provides man with a feeling of enjoyment and pleasure if man enjoys having delicious meals for his body, he would also enjoy more delicious meals (of knowledge) for his mind and soul.
15. Selection of Friends
?Tell me who your friends and companions are, then I can tell you who you are.?
To draw the above saying Closer to our subject matter, we may say: ?Keep a happy man company and you will become happy.?
It seems like contagious happiness that infects the environment of man and influences other This is true because a happy man is an optimistic and confident person who enjoys peace and assurance and tries to transmit his optimism and cheerfulness wherever he goes, thereby spreading an impression of delight and happiness. Moreover, when you have righteous friends you will acquire good qualities from them and become equally righteous Righteousness, you know, is an Entry Visa for the abode of happiness and Allah?s bounty.
16. Strong will and self-confidence <O:P</O:P Strong will and self-confidence are decisive factors for the attainment of happiness. These factors could develop and direct the life of the individual toward success and happiness. They are also essential to overcome the hardships of life and withstand all odds that obstruct man?s way towards the achievement of his goals in life.
17. Being in good terms with your family, friends and colleagues<O:P</O:P To form a happy social life, you should be on good and intimate terms with your family, friends and colleagues. The building of a happy house depends on the right choice of your spouse, maintenance of intimate and good relationship and familiarity with the best ways of bringing up the children. Friends should be selected carefully as mentioned earlier. As for your colleagues, you should treat them with tolerance, affection and mutual respect:
?Whoever works any act of righteousness and has faith his endeavor will not be rejected and We shall record it in his favor.? (Qur?an, 21:94)
A timely reminder to every one appeared in a recent issue of the Reader?s Digest sorrowful words as those of a certain top member of the U.S. Republican National Committee. Lie is now dead, and in his prime, he was blessed with material wealth, power and prestige but not with spiritual wealth. Unfortunately, our message is late for him but for the many still alive who may be undergoing similar conditions, the words of the honorable gentleman of the U.S. would undoubtedly be an eye opener (warning) for those who are still in a quandary. Those last and sorrowful words reveal his true inner feelings, that despite his material success i.e., power, wealth and prestige, there seems to be absolute EMPTINESS in his whole being which could only be experienced through the knowledge of spiritual reality. In his quest for material things, he forgot to develop his spiritual nourishment. He forgot that all worldly things are but ephemeral and transitory in nature and what matters is our inner wealth, which is more meaningful, abiding and lasting. His last words are here below full of frustration and uncertainty.
I know I acquired more than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn?t I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn?t I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth the country can learn on my dime.... I was never a religious man. All you have is your time on this earth, I used to say. Confronted with the prospect of my own end, I reevaluated. I did not even know what I believed. I welcome anyone who could tell me about his faith...?
His last words were very revealing but it was completely a dismal failure full of emptiness without a trace of hope of spiritual fulfillment. It was tragic indeed, without a trace of hope all his times were spent solely for material wealth and leaving not an iota of spiritual nourishment. Try ISLAM the only recourse of humanity for a real happiness.
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