Define happiness. It seems like an easy feeling to feel but we become lost on our journey to find it. Is it because we don’t know what happiness is? Or is it because we define happiness in someone else’s words? Don’t ask yourself ‘what do I need to do to find happiness?’ ask yourself, ‘what do I need to do to make Allah happy?’
Happiness for some of us may be a new car, a promotion at work or a new job. It could be graduating from university or getting married. Indeed, these are things that will put a smile to our faces and end the struggle that we have been through to gain these items. But what will you do after you have acquired all these materialistic or ‘dunya items’ (as I like to call it)? Will you set off on another journey to find something else? How much time will you spend to obtain another item? Sometimes our lives become so material focused that we slowly bury our own peace of mind. We start to tell ourselves that without these things, we won’t feel happy or we won’t feel at peace.
Let’s take the most common item that many of us desire – a mobile phone. We ask our parents to buy us a new phone or we save up money ourselves. You now have the phone and you feel ‘happy’. You can now tick this desire of the list because it is no longer a means of happiness. It is no longer something you desire. Now we will find another item that we desire and make this our goal. The cycle continues and we become addicted to finding happiness through things that can be easily destroyed. Throughout this process we forget the most important ingredient to happiness – our heart. If our heart is not happy, can you truly feel happiness? That content, peaceful and nourishing sensation that lightens every corner of our body – have you ever experienced it?
Chasing ‘worldly items’ will only make us go in circles and it won’t lead us anywhere, we will still be in that same position in life where we chase one thing after another. We need to truly understand where our happiness lies. As Muslims we believe that everything we are given in life is from Allah, whether it is good or bad it is from Allah and everything that happens, happens because He wants it to happen. However, Allah has also created a good path and a bad path and he has given us the freedom to distinguish between right and wrong. Our happiness should be pleasing Allah and focusing our life, our goals and our actions to please Him. Why is this? Why should our every goal, motive and intention be to please Allah? It is because you are not going round in circles. You are not making the same journey again and again, instead you are moving forward to achieve things that will benefit you in this world and in the next. Making Allah happy is our way to success and Jannah. He has given us so much to be grateful for yet we focus on things that we will leave behind in this world.
Most of our sources of happiness derive from things that benefit us only and do not include the benefit of others. I am sure you have heard the phrase ‘if you want happiness for a lifetime, then help someone else’s Allah asked us to be good to our parents, orphans, the needy and He has ordered us to give zakah (Quran – 2:83). These are ways to help and support other people than ourselves only. Not only do these people benefit from your acts of goodness but also help you achieve happiness. Why? Because on the Day of Judgement when you stand in front of Allah you can be proud and account for helping these people. You can account for being a source of happiness for someone else.