In understanding the subject of happiness in Islam, and God’s divine will for humanity, it may be helpful to ask, what more than anything else do parents ultimately want for their children?
Is it not happiness?
What then might the Creator of heavens and earth, Allah Almighty, Who has created and given life purely as a gift, want for His creation, for conscious and sentient beings?
Can it be other than our happiness and joy?
“Verily, God has seventy times more love for His creation than does a mother for her child.”
— Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم)
In an attempt to convey something of God’s love for his creation, the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) is recorded as having said, “Verily, God has seventy times more love for His creation than does a mother for her child.”
Umar bin al-Khattab (RA) relates that a woman was nursing her child, and upon this, the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) asked his Companions, “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?”
We replied, “No!”
The Prophet then said, “Allah Almighty is more merciful to his slaves than this lady to her child.”[Bukhari]
What then can Allah Almighty want for his creatures more than anything else?
The purpose of Islam being to reach “Paradise”, can God’s will for humanity be anything other than their eternal and real happiness and joy?
Happiness in Islam: Paradigm Shift
Health and happiness in Islam, Heaven, are indeed God’s divine will for His creation.
And the proper approach to Islam is within a paradigm in which the proper perspective with regards to the nature of the Divine and the concept of happiness in Islam is embraced.
In understanding happiness in Islam, it is important to remember that human beings were created ultimately for happiness and joy, for peace and prosperity.
The goal of Islam is ultimately the attainment of, or awakening to, “Paradise.” The entirety of God’s divine mercy, light and guidance, as well as the prophethood and mission of the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم), is but for this purpose.
Islam is for the attainment of happiness, joy, satisfaction and eternal bliss and serenity.
And so, the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم), who from birth cried, “My nation, my nation!”, seeking to guide and direct to that which leads to happiness in Islam, is referred to as Rahmatan lil-‘Alameen, “A mercy to the worlds.”
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to have an erroneous understanding of happiness in Islam, mistakenly thinking that Paradise in the Afterlife is attained, or earned, through suffering, misery and unhappiness in this life.
The proper paradigm with regards to happiness in Islam is to simply realize that unhappiness is but a result of non-alignment with divine will and divine purpose, that suffering is the result of unconsciousness, and that misery in this life is but an indication of error which must be corrected.
Thus, we shift from victimhood and disempowerment to responsibility and empowerment, and move in the direction of awakening, enlightenment and the realization of happiness in Islam, as well as towards the preservation of innocence and the manifestation of the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, our ultimate Divine Destiny, as prophecized by both Jesus (AS) and the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم).
Happiness in Islam: Personal Responsibility
Happiness is directly related to one’s perception of control, the ability to be in conscious control of one’s life. And depression has been described as the “inability to construct a positive future.” It is only when an individual awakens to personal responsibility that happiness in Islam and in life are attainable, for regaining control of our life circumstances is only possible by regaining control over our selves through personal responsibility.
If we have learned anything with regards to happiness in Islam, it is that we cannot control external conditions and circumstances. In fact, we can control almost nothing, except one thing: Ourselves. Literally our selves. Yet more often than not, our selves are out of control and wreaking havoc on our lives mentally, emotionally, physically, socially and even financially.
Yet by embracing a new level of personal responsibility, happiness in Islam and in life becomes possible.
Our external life circumstances and conditions are but a reflection of our inner states of be-ing. The way to change is through the power of positive action and positive psychology.
Positive Psychology + Positive Action = Positive Results
It can even be said that happiness in Islam is the very purpose of religion. And the path to happiness in Islam, as taught by the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم), is through growth and personal evolution.
Happiness in Islam is simply not possible in a primitive psychological state governed by the ego-mind, by selfishness, the nafs, in which fear, drama and conflict are necessary. Such is in fact the very antithesis of Islam.
Happiness in Islam: Selflessness
“No self, no problem.”
— Spiritual Master
A wise spiritual master when once asked as to the essence of the spiritual path of personal development, simply replied, “No self, no problem.”
The key to happiness in Islam and in life is in selflessness. In fact, unhappiness and selfishness are proportionally related.
Degree of Happiness = Degree of Selflessness
It is is important to note here that self-centeredness is not a personal problem, but rather a universal one. It, quite simply, is the human condition. And so by necessity.
In fact, the journey from selfishness to selflessness is at the essence of the path of happiness in Islam and the very purpose of creation towards the conscious awakening to the Divine Grace, Presence and Mercy of God.
5 Steps to Happiness in Islam
By consciously embracing and applying the following five steps, you will quickly move towards the realization of happiness in Islam, and to greater levels of peace, prosperity and purpose in your life.
Again, it is important to remember that God’s divine will and goal for humanity is happiness, “Paradise,” and it is only when we are out of alignment with Divine Will that we succumb to the consequences of unhappiness, and suffering results.
Happiness in Islam, #1: Mental Health
Mental health is absolutely essential to the realization of happiness in Islam, and as human beings raised in a generally unconscious world, we by default are afflicted with a myriad of disempowering and negative psychological programs. And so, in addition to spiritual practice (see below), it is necessary to actively and consciously consume positive and empowering information.
Just as the body and spirit require nourishing sustenance, so too does the mind. The importance of seeking empowering and beneficial knowledge is so critical to happiness in Islam that the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) continually advised Muslims to consistently seek knowledge, “from the cradle to the grave.”
“Seeking knowledge is essential for every Muslim, male and female.”
— Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم)
Nourish Your Mind with Positive and Illuminating Information Daily
- To attain happiness in Islam, read (or listen to or watch) positive and empowering information for at least 15-20 minutes daily. Take notes, review and reflect upon the material, for the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) said that “an hour of contemplation is more valuable than seventy years of worship.”
The Qur’an Injunction to Seek Knowledge
“Men of knowledge” are praised throughout the Qur’an, and the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) stated that they are the “inheritors of the Prophets.”
In fact, the very first verse of the Qur’an ever revealed began with the command to “Read!”, and to do so in the name of the Divine, i.e. for the purpose of personal development, enlightenment and illumination.
“In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. Read! In the Name of thy Lord, Who created — Who created humanity from but a clot. Read! And thy Lord is Most Gracious. Who taught by the Pen. Taught mankind that which they knew not.”
— Surah al-‘Alaq (Quran, 96:1-5)
Happiness in Islam, #2: Physical Health
The mind, body and spirit are intricately connected, and are in fact one. The health of each affects the other, and to attain happiness in Islam, it is important to also provide the body its due and rights to health and vitality.
Despite the fact that the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) stated, “Your body has a right over you”, and continually admonished his Companions to treat their bodies with love and respect, as a community we still seem to struggle with accepting that our bodies and our minds are deserving of love and respect, and so, we often tend to neglect our physical health.
To attain happiness in Islam, it is necessary to maintain a sound and strong body to the best of one’s ability. Failure to do so but results in energetic and chemical imbalances in the body that then adversely affect both mental and spiritual health, not to mention professional performance, further compromising other areas of life and diminishing happiness.
Seek happiness in Islam by incorporating a lifestyle based in a healthy diet and proper and sufficient exercise.
Increase Happiness in Islam by Honoring, Loving and Supporting Your Body Temple
- To the best of your ability, eat natural, unprocessed and nutrient dense foods, as close as possible to their raw and pure states. Such foods literally possess more pure consciousness, which we then consume. Remember, “you are what you eat.” And so, Allah Almighty commands throughout the Qur’an to “eat of the pure things God has provided.” Seek out halal, organic and consciously raised alternatives.
- Increase happiness in Islam by exercising daily, or at least 3-5 times per week. Consistent exercise keeps the body healthy, strong and vital, and leads to the production of “happiness hormones” including endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. This then leads to a clearer mind, which consequently leads to greater spiritual health.
Happiness in Islam, #3: Social Health
Happiness in Islam is best attained in the company of like-minded, positive and purpose-driven souls. When it comes to human health and happiness, few things are as valuable as are positive and empowering relationships.
To practice happiness in Islam, seek out or create communities and social circles dedicated to positive energy, personal responsibility and intelligent progress.
With regards to health and happiness, negative association will harm rather than help, and unfortunately, this may mean minimizing time with some who are closest to us if their predominant psychological slant, and thus the topics of conversation, are negative.
“Do not associate with any to whose state you do not aspire.”
— Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم)
Empower Yourself to Happiness in Islam with Empowering Relationships
- Seek out and enjoy positive and empowering social circles. Choose friends that are spiritual, positive, proactive, intelligent, empowering and empathetic.
- Avoid negative and disempowering social circles, and the company of they who are predominantly materialistic, negative, sympathetic and disempowering, and who do not believe in possibilities, but rather in limitations.
Know the difference between sympathy and empathy. If you are going through a personal difficulty, do not seek sympathy! It will cripple you. Complaint and victimhood are fundamentally disempowering, and even well-meaning friends and relatives that sympathize with your plight, story or drama, only weaken you by reinforcing the role and psychology of a victim.
Empathy on the other hand holds a space for your experience, yet liberates in that it does not reinforce the drama, story and role of a victim. There can be great therapy and healing in present, attentive and active listening, however this requires and individual either trained in positive and empowering therapy, or one who is spiritually rooted and connected to Divine Presence.
If anything, when undergoing a challenge beyond your capacity, take positive action and seek solutions, not sympathy.
Although total personal responsibility may initially be challenging to embrace, it leads to happiness in Islam and in life through personal empowerment, and is in fact the Islamic way.
Happiness in Islam, #4: Financial Health
With regards to overall health, wellbeing and happiness, the financial dimension of life cannot be ignored. Quite simply, we live in a world that runs on currency, and doing what is necessary to strengthen ourselves in this sphere is important to attaining happiness in Islam.
Money is but energy, a form of currency, which in the modern world makes possible nearly everything else. It provides options and choices, and enables us to not only meet our obligations and responsibilities towards our families, freeing us all to engage in the pursuit and practice of happiness in Islam, but also provides the possibility to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and the multitude of experiences held in reserve for humanity.
As the financial dimension of our lives are strengthened and healthy, we have the opportunity to increasingly devote our lives to greater purpose rather than mere survival.
As Muslims, we do not chase money, the material world, but rather seek to provide value and service, and thereby attract income by serving a greater purpose. In the Islamic model, income is a byproduct of service.
Again, in correcting our paradigm and remembering that Allah Almighty wants the best for us, our health, wealth and strength, we must consciously acknowledge that we are worthy and deserving.
There is no virtue in poverty, which is essentially a position of weakness and disempowerment. Virtue is in humility, which by definition, requires power and strength to be exercised.
And so said the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم), “The strong believer is better than the weak,” for only with strength is humility possible.
“O Allah, I take refuge with You from disbelief and poverty, and I take refuge with You from the punishment of the grave. None has the right to be worshipped except You.”
— Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم)
Note that in this particular prayer, the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) nearly equates poverty with disbelief. This makes perfect and total sense, for poverty can be equated to a result of a fundamental lack of true faith and belief in Divine Goodness, Beneficence and Providence.
Within the context of happiness in Islam, the following tradition validates this principle.
“Poverty leads to kufr.”
— Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم)
And again, the great Ali (KW):
“If poverty were a man, I would have slain him.”
— Ali ibn Abu-Talib (KW)
Remembering that our beliefs shape our expectations and thus our experiences, it becomes imperative for the Muslim seeking happiness in Islam to correct his or her beliefs with regards to wealth, worthiness and deservingness, to acknowledge that it is not wealth or money that are inherently evil, but rather what we do with them that determines their purpose, and thus their harm or benefit, and to seek to positively and purposefully heal, strengthen and not neglect this area of our lives.
“Do for dunya, the material world, as if you are going to live forever. And do for akhirah, the spiritual world, as if you are going to die tomorrow.”
— Ali (KW), Son-in-Law of the Prophet (SAWS) and Fourth Caliph of Islam
Happiness in Islam teaches that it is not wealth nor money that are inherently problematic, but rather, attachment to the material plane the root of error, and hence the divine wisdom of Ali (KW) to enjoy the good of what Allah has created, yet to be utterly free of attachment, completely prepared to let go of all that is transient in preference for the eternity of the Divine Presence in each moment.
With regards to divine purpose, and thus happiness in Islam, it is important to remember that we are created for a divine and noble purpose.
“And I have created jinn and men but for divine worship. Sustenance I do not require of them, nor that they should feed Me, for it is Allah that provides all sustenance, the Lord of Power, the Steadfast.”
— Surah adh-Dhariyat (Qur’an, 51:56-58)
Although humanity is predominantly caught up in the struggle for survival, Allah Almighty here states that our primary purpose is spirituality and divine worship, and that this then attracts to us divine support and favor, our rizq, our sustenance.
Yet by losing ourselves in the pursuit of wealth at the expense of spirituality, we engage upon the path of force and repel happiness in Islam, as well as ease and natural abundance, for in such a case we operate from a paradigm predominantly based in limited faith and belief in Providence.
It is improper to think that the One who created us will not provide for us, and so, by prioritizing our spiritual life first and foremost, we align ourselves with Divine Will and thus with Divine Favor, Goodness and Grace. For the key to happiness in Islam is in attracting natural and positive success through spirituality via barakah, spiritual blessings and grace.
The reality and truth is that God is continually sending and providing divine mercy, favor and grace, that He Almighty has created a world of abundance, beauty, plenty and prosperity, yet that it is only primitive human psychology, devoid of faith and trust, based in fear and thus greed, that results in scarcity, poverty and suffering.
Practice Happiness in Islam Through a Balanced Life Approach
- To attain happiness in Islam, we need simply open ourselves, our souls, to receiving, to worth and deservingness, and to pursue our material needs with passion, purpose and intelligence, yet free of attachment and dependence, always remembering Islamic excellence, sincerity and humility.
Again, this then leads us to the final and most important dimension of happiness in Islam. Spirituality.
Happiness in Islam, #5: Spiritual Health
All of the foregoing having been said, it is now necessary to state that happiness in Islam and in life will be impossible without spiritual purification and personal development, for only through spiritual development can an individual transcend the selfish ego-mind and its attachments.
Thus, to realize happiness in Islam, we must embrace the inner spiritual path of Islam, which enables us to move beyond selfishness and attachment, the impediments to happiness. Spirituality is the path that leads to transcendence of the finite self, the limited ego-personality.
Spirituality concerns the energetic dimension of life, and spirituality may simply be equated with nur, or Divine Light. Through humble and sincere Islamic spiritual practice, one’s entire being and system, and thus their life, becomes infused with Divine Light and Grace, as well as the presence, support and company of the Angels.
Spirituality Leads to Life Beyond Fear
The source of all fear is essentially the fear of death, which manifests in countless other fears and attachments, yet through the Islamic Spiritual Path, one faces, embraces and so transcends death.
To truly realize happiness in Islam, it is important to remember that spirituality leads beyond death to true life, and it is for this reason that the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) advised his Companions to remember death often.
In this tradition, some men of knowledge and wisdom have recommend reflecting upon death as much as four times daily, to walk with the Angel of Death as one’s constant companion, ready in every moment should the divine call come to return, yet thus fully engaged in the present moment.
“The most intelligent individual is the one who remembers death often.”
— Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم)
Paradoxically, through embracing death, we awaken to life, for death brings us into the pure and present moment. Surrendering all fear of the future and all pain of the past in the imminence of this moment, a human being awakens to true life and consciousness, free finally from the fog of the ego-mind and its utter preoccupation with self-preservation.
And hence, in seeking to guide his Nation to happiness in Islam, said the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم), “Die before you die.”
Nothing can free and liberate as does the acceptance of death. It frees all your energy to live. For living in fear is living in the future and in constant stress and anxiety, and so we are robbed of the very thing we wish to save.
“The greatest sin is fear.”
— Ali (KW)
Such an attainment of true happiness in Islam, a state of be-ing that cannot be shaken by any worldly storm, firmly rooted in the Divine Presence of God, is only attainable through absolute and total internal spiritual surrender.
A mind and heart that are thus tranquil are known in Islam as al-nafs al-mutma’ina, and describe a state of consciousness beyond ego-mind, rooted rather in heart, or soul, consciousness.
Truly Realize Happiness in Islam Through Spiritual Health
- Actively and consciously engage the Islamic Spiritual Path, the internal dimension of Islam, and seek to progressively transcend the limitations of the world, and so abandon fear and leave pain behind.
Happiness in Islam is the Obligation of a Believer
As Muslims, as Believers, it is our duty to be happy.
And happiness is not something that is attained at some point in the future, but rather, happiness in Islam is something that is practiced here and now.
Happiness in Islam and in life is the result of a healthy, complete and balanced approach to life based in positive psychology. Islam, more than anything else, seeks to provide the framework for healthy human life and psychology.
Give Your Children the Gift of Happiness
Living and practicing happiness in Islam is absolutely important, for how can we give our children something which we do not have?
If we want our children to be happy, we must be happy.
And hence, the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) said, “Paradise lies at the feet of the mother,” implying that more than anything, our children inherit who and what we are, our states of be-ing.
If we are happy, joyous, positive and buoyant, and so actively and consciously practicing happiness in Islam, our children will learn to do so as well. Yet if we are chronically stressed, anxiety-ridden, unhappy, ungrateful and fearful, then we inadvertently provide our children the tools for their demise, and rather than lead them to health and happiness, to “Paradise”, we lead them to its opposite, to pain and suffering, to confusion, separation, isolation and disillusionment, to hell.
Again, as believers, as Muslims, it is our duty to be happy.
Happiness, contentment and gratitude are a sign of faith and belief, iman, and naturally attract more positive circumstances to our lives.
“And remember! Your Lord caused to be declared: If ye are grateful, I will add more unto you.”— Surah Ibrahim (Qur’an 14:5-7)
Seek joy. Be grateful. Smile always, for “a smile is charity,” and charity purifies wealth and attracts more. Thus, things improve. And thus, we begin to realize Divine Will for humanity, a life experience beyond fear, pain and suffering. Thus, we begin to learn to make choices that lead us to Paradise.
Rediscover Happiness, Joy and Wonder
As children, we are innocent and naturally in harmony with Divine Will. Happiness and joy naturally arise.
The Islamic Spiritual Path of self-purification is designed to cleanse and purify our souls from the negativity of dunya, the world, and return us to innocence, fitrah, and thus to authentic peace, happiness, joy, awe and wonder.
Use the link below for FREE access to a revolutionary video mini-course, “Rediscovering Islamic Spirituality”, and rediscover the beauty and joy of a life in alignment with Divine Will and Purpose.
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