Bismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīmi (بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم)
It is an innate human need to be happy. Every person on earth is trying to find happiness whether it is through the body’s desires or through attaining wealth and fame. However if true happiness is to be found one needs to ask the One who created us. For it is only our true Owner that can tell us what it is we need to be happy. I thought it would be a good reminder to list the real things that truly do make us happy, things that our Creator has ordained and things that are very different from what we have subconsciously learned will give us happiness.
1. Salah (prayer)– The chores, homework, errands, work demands, school demands, family demands, not to mention the various injustices happening in the world can all take a toll on the person. How does one relax? How does one take a break from it all? Bow down to your Creator 5 times a day and stand in gratitude and great humility and say “I don’t know Ya Allah . You know. And only You can helps us.” Prayer will leave you with a feeling of happiness and a feeling of confidence enabling you to accomplish even more during your day.
2. Quran: If you’ve ever wanted to change something about your self for the better, start by reading the Quran everyday in Arabic and in translation/tafseer. You are probably wondering what does Quran have to do with me losing 30 pounds or with me bettering my iklhaq (character). The Quran adds barakah to whatever it is you are going to do, including your time. Make the Quran your true companion and Allah (swt) will make it easy for you to achieve any goal.
3. Do something nice for someone and don’t tell anyone about it. The dunya (this life) tells us to boast about all the good that we do thereby causing us to be arrogant or at least to have pride in ourselves. It is what the shatayan (the accursed devil) wants and what Allah subhanhu wa ta ‘ala (exalted is He) forbids. In fact the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) told us, that “Whoever humbles himself to Allah, Allah will raise him” (Muslim). So give your shaytan a black eye and take out the trash, buy someone a gift, help your neighbor, visit the sick, wash the dishes when its not your turn, etc etc and don’t tell anyone. Happiness is in your sincere intentions and in the smile you will see on the other person whom you’ve helped.
4. Obey your parents. Happiness is in being kind, generous and not getting frustrated with your parents. Happiness is in surrendering to the fact that they do in fact know more than you and that their life experiences are something you can learn from. Just listen and help them out with whatever they need. Happiness is in that!
5. Overlook and forgive others. Did you spouse forget to do the dishes because he/she was engrossed in something at work/school? Did your sister take your favorite hijab and drop chai all over it? Did someone say something mean and condescending to you? Forgive them.
For if you are to be truly happy you cannot have a heart that holds grudges. Allah (swt) says in Surah Maidah verse 13, “But pardon them and overlook [their misdeeds]. Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.”
6. Give, Give, Give. In school and in other walks of life, it is taught to us that getting is better than giving. This is subtly taught, like in Halloween (getting candy), or Christmas (getting presents), or a promotion (getting a raise), or getting a bigger house and the list goes on. The society focuses on getting and wants people to believe that when they have hoarded all the wealth they can then they will be happy.
To be happy, do the opposite. Give. Give gifts on eid and just because. When you go to the masjid or anywhere where someone asks you to donate, always give. Focus on giving and not on getting. You will see that neither is your wealth decreased and nor are you miserable, rather you are happy. The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said “Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).” (Muslim)
Charity if of different types. For example, my cousin recently told me of an uncle who takes all the boys out to play cricket and then feeds them afterwards. What does he get out of it? Nothing that you can see. Yet he has given kids a positive thing to look forward to, a way to make bonds with their fellow Muslims and that smile he sees on their faces has added happiness to his heart. He gets nothing except what we all truly want, happiness.
In the comments sections please add to this list and share with us what truly makes us happy.