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How to Find Happiness?

Faith is one of the most powerful causes for Earthly happiness as well as for salvation in the Hereafter. We can attain happiness through our worship of Allah and through our faith itself.

Seeking closeness to Allah through obedience and through fulfilling our religious duties instills happiness in the heart that must be experienced to be understood.

1. We can find happiness in carrying out our religious duties and in our voluntary worship.

Allah says: {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.} (Quran 16: 97)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) informs us that Allah says:

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“My servant does not seek nearness to Me with anything more beloved to Me than with what I made incumbent upon him. Then my servant continues to seek nearness to me through voluntary worship until I love him.” (Al-Bukhari)

We can, through worship, attain Allah’s increased love for us. If Allah loves you, then you have nothing to fear.

2. We can find happiness in the remembrance of Allah.

Allah says: {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.} (13: 28)

Ibn al-Qayyim writes:

I approached Ibn Taymiyah after the Fajr prayer. He sat engaged in Allah’s remembrance until late into morning when the sun had risen high overhead. Then he turned towards me and said: “This is my morning sustenance. If I fail to take it, then my strength will not sustain me.”

These were hours in which he would devote himself exclusively to his Lord. He would beseech Him sincerely, supplicate to Him, seek His forgiveness, and entreat Him in humility, while tears of regret flowed from his eyes. Afterwards, his heart would be fully cleansed by this worship and his life his soul, and every fiber of his being would be invigorated. His mind and heart would be refreshed.

3. We can find happiness in the Quran.

Allah says: {We send down in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe.} (17: 82)

The Quran is indeed a source of healing for the afflictions of the soul and the distresses of the heart. It is even a cure for the sicknesses of the body.

4. We can find happiness in the performance of all kinds of righteous deeds.

Allah says: {Truly, the righteous will be in delight. And truly the wicked will be in Hell.} (82: 13-14)

Some commentators on this verse have said that the delight which Allah has promised the righteous is both in this world and the next and well as the Hell promised to the wicked. Some of the effects of the Paradise that is promised the righteous reach their hearts in this world in the form of goodness, spiritual contentment, illumination, and happiness. This feeling can be so profound that it has led some to say: “If the people of Paradise are in a state of blessings such as we are in, then they are indeed abiding well!”

Likewise, some of the poisonous effects of the Hell that is promised to the iniquitous reach their hearts in this world, blackening their lives until they can find no pleasure or solace in their wealth, their families, their rest, their youth, or their health.

5. We can find happiness in prayer.

Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked Bilal to call the prayer, saying:

“Give us comfort in it, O Bilal!” (Sunan Abi Dawud and Musnad Ahmad)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:

“Prayer has been made the comfort of my eyes.” (Sunan al-Nasa’i and Musnad Ahmad)

We often find that speaking to someone who is dear to us – even about the most mundane of matters – can make us very happy. How much greater can the experience of happiness be when we are speaking to our Lord and worshipping him in humility.

We can find happiness in knowing Allah:

When a worshipper knows his Lord, he feels at peace. He sees Allah’s workings in Creation and appreciates the greatness and innovativeness of Allah’s handiwork that is all around him and how it is full of mercy and wisdom. We cannot see our Lord but we can see the effects of His handiwork that proclaim His most excellent names and attributes.

This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) describes excellence in worship as:

“…to worship Allah as though you see Him, and though you do not see Him, truly He sees you.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

When the worshipper sees the results of Allah’s creative power and knowledge in the world around him, he feels a very intimate closeness to Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“He tastes the sweet flavor of faith who is pleased with Allah as his Lord, with Islam as his religion, and with Muhammad as the Messenger.” (Sahih Muslim)

There was a CEO of a major American corporation who had attained wealth, power, prestige, and position but felt bitterly unhappy. He would toss and turn in bed at night, unable to sleep. He was impressed to find among the company’s employees a young Muslim man of modest position and salary who was always happy and cheerful. He would eat in peace, sleep in peace, and would come to work and go home smiling. Not once did he see this man with a dark expression on his face.

He brought the man into his office and asked him: “What is it with you that you are so happy all the time?”

The man replied: “By God, I know my Lord and I know my job. I believe in God and therefore I have peace.”

The CEO then asked: “Do you have anything that might guide me or show me the way?”

The man took the CEO by the hand and took him to an Islamic center where he learned about Islam and had the religion explained to him. Ultimately, the CEO declared: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

As soon as he said this, he broke into tears and said: “I have just felt happiness that I had never before felt before in my whole life.”

Happiness is born in faith:

Allah makes it clear in the Quran that happiness is faith’s constant companion. He says:

{Those who believe and do not mix their belief with wrong, they are the ones who have security and they are the ones who are guided aright.} (6: 82)

The security that is felt in the heart and in one’s life as well as in the Hereafter is born of faith. The more correct and pure a believer’s faith becomes, the stronger his heart will be. When a person is weak in this regard, it is on account of  {…the things your hands have wrought, and for many He grants forgiveness.} (42: 30)

There was a western author who went to live among the Arab desert dwellers. He adopted their dress, ate their food, and bought a small herd of sheep to take care of. He wrote a book about the Prophet Muhammad entitled The Messenger. This man had lived the western experience and then experienced life among the simplest of Muslims. He was not among scholars or intellectuals. They were desert herdsmen.

What did he have to say? He said: “I learned from the desert Arabs how to overcome anxiety.”

Those Muslims believe in Allah’s decree and determination of all things. They live their lives with a sense of security. However, they do not stand around doing nothing when tragedy strikes.

The man writes:

A great desert sandstorm struck one day and killed many of their sheep. Some were buried alive in the sands. When the storm subsided, I was as distressed as could be; however, the Arabs were running towards one another, calling out to each other, laughing, and singing their traditional songs. They glorified God and said: “Praise be to Allah, 40% of our sheep were spared.”

When they saw how I had been affected by what happened, they said to me: “Anger and worry produce nothing. This is something written by Allah, decreed and determined by Him.” In spite of this, I found them doing everything in their power to minimize the damage.

Though they believe in Allah’s decree, they do not understand it to imply passivity and inaction. He writes:

Once while traveling with them by car, our car stopped suddenly in the middle of the empty desert. One of the tires had burst. I became angry. They said to me: “Anger produces nothing.” The car continued for a while on three tires and then the car stalled again. This time it was because the car had run out of gas.

I saw them all get out of the car, leaving it to one side. They continued on by foot in the highest of spirits, moving as sprightly as gazelles. They were happy and content, reciting poetry to one another and conversing with me.

The seven years that I spent with them in the desert convinced me that the people stricken with alienation, mental illness, alcoholism, and psychoses found in Europe and America are victims of the western city that has taken haste as a basic principle of life.


About Salman al-Ouda
Muslim scholar. Al-Ouda is a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and on its Board of Trustees. He is a director of the Arabic edition of the website Islam Today and appears on a number of TV shows and authors newspaper articles.