International day of happiness
The age-old question, ‘What is happiness?’ doesn’t have a definite answer. It’s difficult to define in a couple of sentences, but we can endeavour to explain it to get a better understanding of it. Happiness is a positive feeling which someone derives, ranging from pleasant to extreme joy. Elaborating further as to what can be the cause of someone’s happiness is trickier. The answer is subjective to the individual answering it. For one individual sitting alone reading a good novel can be happiness, whilst for others being surrounded by love and laughter means happiness.
All humans are made unique. We all have different stories and experiences can make us differ in what we deem to be happiness and sadness. However, there is common consensus that acquiring certain worldly assets or being a certain way makes you happier than others. For example, having a beautiful home or the latest car. However, the true reality is, even if one attains that which they thought would make them happy, it may be but for a little while; there will be a point in the future where you will once again revert to feeling unhappy.
Happiness relates closely to the feeling of contentment. If you are truly content, your happiness will not rely on a worldly thing or person. Material goods can be broken or misplaced, humans are fallible and can let you down. Relying on these for happiness, will ultimately lead you to disappointment. That is not to say, that you cannot aspire or attain things which make happy, or build relationships and surround yourself with people you love. It merely is a reminder that there is deeper level of contentment that is worthy of your attention, devotion and commitment.
Capturing eternal happiness
That is happiness through obedience to Him. Happiness that comes organically through contentment of your heart. A peace and stillness that enters and remains long after things and people disappear. A sense of happiness that does not depend on how you look, talk or walk; but one that is guaranteed, and everlasting.
Islam is a perfect way of life, and we have been blessed to be a part of the Ummah of the Prophet (saw). The Quran, a miracle in of itself, has been revealed to us and has shown us the way to pure happiness. Following the guidelines of Islam, and adhering to your faith will surely deliver you with a sweetness that cannot be replicated.
“He has tasted the sweetness of faith who is content with Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion, and Muhammad (saw) as his Prophet.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 34)
You may face hurdles along the way, and revert to old habits which are difficult to leave behind. You may believe that those habits make you happy temporarily, when in fact if they are in opposition to the pleasure of your Lord, then they will ultimately bring you misery and discontentment. If you leave something for the sake of Allah, you will be bestowed with greater things.
‘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.’
(Ibn Al Qayyim, Al Fawaid)
A happiness beyond this world
When we think of happiness, we often think of the feeling of joy we may have experienced and reminisce in our present state. Our mind cannot fathom a happiness beyond our own sensory experiences. Although it is permissible to desire worldly happiness, we should more importantly strive for eternal, superior happiness in the hereafter. After all, we are reminded that this world is temporary.
“O my people, this worldly life is only (temporary) enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter – that is the home of (permanent) settlement.” (Quran 40:39) .
The joy that is otherworldly cannot be compared to worldly happiness. It is beyond a sensory experience we have in this world, and it is described as ‘fleeting.’ We as humans cannot fathom the joy and happiness that is felt in the hereafter. However, we can merely imagine within the limitations of our imagination.
The Prophet (saw) said, that Allah said “I have prepared for My righteous slaves (such excellent things) as no eye has ever seen, nor an ear has ever heard nor a human heart can ever think of.’” (Bukhari)
We have been promised this otherworldly joy, if we are obedient to our Lord in this life; an eternal happiness that cannot be replicated, or achieved in this world, no matter how hard we try.
“On the day when it shall come, no soul shall speak except with His permission, then (some) of them shall be unhappy and (others) happy. Those who are wretched shall be in the Fire: There will be for them therein (nothing but) the heaving of sighs and sobs. Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord please; surely your Lord is the mighty doer of what He intends. And as to those who are made happy, they shall be in the garden, abiding in it as long as the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord please; a gift which shall never be cut off.” (Quran 11: 105-108)
A happy believer
Although we have been promised eternal happiness and contentment in the hereafter, the journey to attain that may seem difficult. Many of us may feel disheartened, worrying whether our actions will be weighty enough on the scale, and worthy of this joy that is mentioned.
However, we are reminded time and time again of His mercy, and how Allah loves to forgive His creation.
“O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah al-Zumar: 53]
The reminder of the mercy of Allah gives hope to us, that this level of happiness and joy can be achieved through obedience to Him. This can be done by first and foremost completing your compulsory worship, fulfilling your duties and responsibilities, and then with optional and additional good deeds to help attain His pleasure.
By doing this, we can taste a sweetness in every situation, no matter how seemingly bitter; and enter a Paradise in this world, in the contentment of our hearts.As Ibn Taymiyyah famously said, after being tortured, banished and imprisoned,“What can my enemies do to me? My paradise and orchard are in my heart and they never part with me. If my captors imprison me it is most certainly a religious retreat, if they kill me it is martyrdom, and if they banish me from my land it is like tourism.”
The effort and time we spend in searching and seeking for worldly happiness, should be used in building our hereafter. An eternal abode, where we will taste the ultimate banquet of sweetness, and contentment, surrounded by our loved ones.
We can seek that happiness by making other Muslims happy. To put a smile on the face of someone else, to help ease their burden, and bring a dose of happiness into their heart is truly a blessing, and you will be rewarded.
“The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy” (at-Tabarani)
Knowing a deed is beloved to Allah, is the ultimate call for us to partake in. We are often self-absorbed when it comes to finding happiness; however helping others, and thinking of their happiness, can help bring you a sense of joy and achievement, improving your own well-being.
If the option were available to rid yourself of happiness in this world, for happiness in the next, we would do it in a heartbeat, as happiness in the next world is eternal, and beyond our comprehension. However, we are given glad tidings of how we can achieve that happiness for all time, without having to forsake our happiness in this world.
“The one who meets his brother with something his brother loves in order to make him happy then Allah ‘azza wa jalla will make him happy on the Day of Judgment.” (at-Tabarani)
We may wonder as to how to make an individual happy; worried that it may be elaborate and expensive. However, it doesn’t need to be extravagant; as happiness is subjective, and for those who have little, every act of kindness means a lot.
A gift of joy
For those within HHUGS households, an act of kindness towards them means the world. During Ramadhan, when the Muslim around the world are busy surrounded with good food, and good company breaking their fasts, these families are alone, feeling broken. In what should be a time of joy and community, they go to bed, with an ache in their heart, which doesn’t fade by the morning. This continues day by day, as nothing changes.
However, this doesn’t need to be their reality. We can bring a smile to their faces, and a warmth into their hearts. They can be surprised, and excited at gifts that were unexpected, from a stranger who wants to deliver them a bundle happiness.
“They sent us a box of gifts which had little presents and Surayah was so happy, I cannot express what her happiness did for me. She was asking, ‘Who is HHUGS?’ and I said, ‘they are our helpers in Islam.’”
Because of your generosity, children like Surayah, whose father is in prison, are happy; a rare occurrence in her household. A feeling we are trying to capture, and spread to other HHUGS households, who need a dosage of happiness.
Help us ensure these families receive our gift packs in time for the first of Ramadhan. You have the unique opportunity to help them start this month with their heart filled with happiness, and hopeful for the month ahead. Many are missing the absence of their father, or spouse; their households feel empty, and they are unable to look forward to Ramadhan as they once did. However, you can help bring a smile to their face, keep their minds occupied in beneficial activities, and remind them that there are people out there who care.
In a time, where we are searching for something to make us happy, look no further. Pursue happiness of both this world, and the hereafter by making someone else happy.When you help someone you improve your own well-being, and you are rewarded in the hereafter.
To you, gifting this Ramadhan pack may not be considered a huge deal. However, for our families, it is an act of kindness from a stanger; something that will put a beaming smile on their face.
“Do not belittle even the smallest act of kindness, even if it were no more than meeting your brother with a smiling and cheerful face” (Muslim).
You can help deliver this dosage of happiness by donating £35 towards gift packs for Ramadhan to make HHUGS families who are alone happy.