Yesterday, “happiness” followed me everywhere. First I came across Harith Iskandar happy faces promoting “Happiness is roaming with Celcom…” in going places, the Malaysian Airline in-flight magazine.
Second when I read New Strait Times, “happiness” appeared in Rueben Dudley’s letter to the editor, “Money and happiness – they do not necessarily go together”. He commented about a survey by a leading wealth magazine on more than 500 Chinese millionaires had found that “the richer you are, the less happy you are”. Many Chinese millionaires, in particular, the super-rich, find difficulty getting adequate sleep, balancing work and life, and spending quality time with family and experience considerable health problems. These rich people face a host of perpetual problems arising from pressure and commitments associated with their businesses and wealth.
Third, while reading Readers Digest January 2013 issue, I found 5 steps to find happiness:
- Value your relationships
- Express yourself
- Spend money on others
- Focus on the positive
- Hydrate yourself
Fourth, when I browsed through books at the MPH bookstore in Midvalley Megamall, I found more “happiness” in Dr. ‘Aid al-Qarni’s book, “You can be the happiest woman in the world”. Realistically enough, he makes it quite clear that life in this world will never be perfect, but it is within our ability, with the help of Allah, to make the most of what we have in this world and attain a level of contentment and happiness no matter what our lot in life is.
Later, despite my endless tears while watching “The Impossible”, there was happy ending for the Bennett family. In this movie, one minute the mother is peacefully reading in paradise, the next moment she is clinging onto a tree for life. One minute her young sons are snorkelling to view brightly coloured fish, frolicking with dad in the pool, and being called to see pristine aqua waters; the next moment they are submerged and tossed by violent waters into darkness of tsunami. Take from the movie lessons you can apply to your own life: Paradise can quickly turn to hell. Circumstances can change in an instant. Lives, and those you hold dear, are precious.
Lastly, I encountered more happiness when a handsome young taxi driver managed to take my daughter and I, safely, on time, to the Subang Airport in the heavy rain, for our flight back to Kota Bharu. Alhamdulillah, yesterday I was the happiest person on earth!
So, what does Islam says about happiness? According to Sheikh `Abd Allah b. Abd al-Aziz al-Zayidi, the concept of happiness in Islam is expressed in the Qur’ân in a number of different ways.
First, we find the Qur’ân discussing the “good life”. Allah says: “Whosoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, we shall make them live a good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 97].
This “good life” is happiness itself. It is realized through faith and good deeds. This does not mean that we will not face difficulties in our good life. Our worldly lives, even when they are bolstered by faith and good works, are never free from distress and displeasures. This world is the abode of toil, as Allah says: “Certainly We have created man to be in toil.” [Sûrah al-Balad: 90].
The Qur’ân also uses the concept of “the openness of the heart” to express happiness. Allah says: “Those whom Allah wills to guide, He opens their breast to Islam; those whom He wills to leave straying, He makes their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus does Allah (heap) the penalty on those who refuse to believe.” [Sûrah al-An`âm: 125].
Another expression is the “contentment of the heart”. Allah says: “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.” [Sûrah al-Ra`d: 28].
The contentment and openness of the heart are aspects of happiness that are achieved through keeping up the remembrance of Allah and through following the guidance of Islam.
I ask Allah to make us all among those who attain happiness.
“Allah! I seek refuge in You from sorrow and sadness, and I seek refuge in You from weakness and laziness, and I seek refuge in You from cowardliness and miserliness, and I seek refuge in You from the harshness of debt and the overpower of men.”