“…Possessing the paradise of this life within their breasts, they see imprisonment as a chance to be alone with Allah, execution as instant martyrdom and exile as a spiritual journey to ponder over the creation of their Lord. Every bitterness becomes sweet and every pain becomes pleasure such that even hot coal becomes bearable to the flesh and bone….”
In the Name of Allah, the Extremely Merciful, the Everlastingly Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah and may salutations and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, his companions and those who follow them in excellence until the Day of Judgement. To proceed:
(I must start with a caveat which is as important as it is obvious. By no means is this a comprehensive explanation of happiness, its causes and/or its measurements. Nor is this intended to ignore real mental health issues which are not simply reducible to being caused by sins, and instead may require specific psychological treatments from trained professions. Instead, with the help of Allah, this brief article is intended to remind Muslim youth, myself first and foremost, to remain confident in these times of trial and tribulation.)
Know, may Allah have mercy on you, the degree to which one feels joy and contentment is based upon how well one achieves their perceived purpose in life. Hence, this may come as a shock to some, but even those without Islam can experience (temporary) happiness. Unguided by Revelation, humans will naturally assign purpose to themselves and others. These purposes may differ considerably between societies and even between individuals within the same society. Nevertheless, a firing of pleasure neurons in the brain will be sensed in the similar manner by a monk worshipping his false idols in solitude, a white male promoted into a CEO position at his firm, or even a sadistic tyrant dropping barrel bombs on his own people. Thus, temporary happiness is in the eye of the beholder.
The believers are different. The believers have already been assigned their purpose: to worship Allah alone such that His Words are made the highest. Hence anything that brings them closer to Him results in delight, while anything that distances them from Him makes them sorrowful. This means that joy can be found in the prolonged standing during the last third of the night, in the pangs of hunger and thirst when fasting, in the spending on people you have never met, in the kissing of a Black Stone, in the beneficial teaching of others, in the servitude to parents, in the tenderness towards children, in the accounting of oppressive rulers, and even in death.
The believers are different. Their vision extends beyond the shortsightedness, beyond the temptations of this life, and beyond the delusion of #YOLO. They know with certainty that Allah has already purchased their very souls for Paradise, and so nothing in this world can be exchanged for guidance. They understand that adherence to the Book and the Sunnah results in the Love of Allah, and so this adherence is not up for negotiation, compromise, addition or omission. Hence they will never obey the creation in the disobedience of their Creator, and attempt to better themselves in spite of their shortcomings.
The believers are different. They hold an optimistic attitude towards the inevitable trials that they will endure. They see trials as a sign of their Lord wanting good for them, they see bodily pain (even the pricking of a thorn) as expiation for their sins, they see strangeness as glad tidings, and they see death as life. They find solace in knowing that after each difficulty comes two eases, and in realising how small their trials are compared to those who preceded them. Possessing the paradise of this life within their breasts, they see imprisonment as a chance to be alone with Allah, execution as instant martyrdom and exile as a spiritual journey to ponder over the creation of their Lord. Every bitterness becomes sweet and every pain becomes pleasure such that even hot coal becomes bearable to the flesh and bone.
The believers are different. The believers have Allah! Knowing they won’t be overburdened or abandoned, they know nothing can stand in their way when Allah is on their side. Nevertheless they try their best, taking all the means possible to ensure their camel is tied securely, and then they leave the rest to Lord of the Universe – besides whom there is no power or might. They never forget that nothing gives life or causes death, nothing guides or misguides, nothing honours or humiliates, nothing cures or harms, nothing elevates or debases, nothing unites or breaks, nothing blesses or impoverishes, nothing defeats or causes victory, nothing causes misery or happiness, nothing rewards or punishes – except, ultimately, Allah.
There every step of the way, there to Help us when we stumble, there to Forgive when we fall, there to Respond when we ask, there to Accompany us when we are abandoned – we need Him while He needs none. So flee to Allah! For whoever relies on Allah will be sufficed through ways that he or she may have never perceived. If Allah is all we have, that is all we will need.
The believers are successful. They believe and stay steadfast regardless of the results. Just as they have no doubt in their standing before Allah, they know it is a matter of when and not if Islam will prevail – no matter who dislikes this fact. If they aren’t blessed to see victory in this life, they eagerly await it in the next. With the help of Allah, their happiness extends forever. Forever in gardens underneath which rivers flow. Forever in the company of the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous. Forever with Allah. Forever happy.
Amazing indeed is the affair of the believer.
And Allah Knows Best.
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