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Happiness and Success in Islamic Concept

Purification of heart and soul

The human being is created of water and clay as we know but after that we have body and soul in it. People just care about body, what about soul? People do not care about soul, how to purify it, how to be closer to satisfaction, how to reach closer to happiness and success?

Many people around the world suffering from stress, emotional diseases looking for the cure, but they are still hollow inside and don’t know how to find the cure. Try to recognize the sickness inside your own self.

ALLAH almighty in Quran focused on the importance of purifying the soul and heart. Try to recognize the sickness inside your own self.

  • Quran Verses:

ALLAH says in Quran:

  1. He has succeeded who purifies the soul, and he has failed who corrupts the soul.
    Surah Ash-Shams[91:910]
    So you have two choices either purify your soul, try to reach closer to the level of satisfaction or corrupt it.
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    Purification comes from Zakat, Tazkiyah and Tazkiyah of naf’s.
    He also said:

  2. Go to Pharaoh, for verily, he is a transgressor. Say to him: Will you purify yourself?
    Surah An-Naz’iat [79:17-18]
  3. He has succeeded who purifies himself, who remembers the name of his Lord and prays.
    Surah Al-A’la[87:14-15]

This is how purification is related to the success and happiness.

We learn from these verses that our success and happiness in life here and hereafter depends on our spiritual purification. We must purify our hearts from environmental and spiritual diseases like greed, hatred, lie, pride, ignorance and other harmful worldliness diseases and try to adopt the spiritual virtues to help the environment and serve humanity by adopting justice, generosity, compassion and many more.

Types of heart

Sound and healthy heart

ALLAH says in Quran:

A day when there will be no benefit in wealth or children, but only in he who comes to Allah with a pure heart.
Surah Ash-Shu’ara [26:88-89]

The type of heart which is healthy and sound and only sake refuge from ALLAH and will rescue him on the Day of Judgment. The truth and secure heart is which is secure from shirk and work will all the love and desire that his actions are only for ALLAH’s sake by obeying his all orders and sayings.

Their some question can come in someone’s mind that:

  1. Does all these activities done by man are just temporary, for to attain worldly things and desire for the sake of praise from the people?
  2. Was all these activities done without any fear of people? Was all the activities done just with the pure believe to serve the Master ALLAH almighty?
  3. Was all the actions done also to please the last Prophet (PBUH) of ALLAH.

The 1st two questions requires sincerity (IKHLAS) that all the things are just for the Master and 3rd question requires to follow the foot step of last Prophet of ALLAH (MUTABAAH).

None of our actions will be considered accepted if “Ikhlas” and “Mutabaah” both conditions do not met.
Having sound heart it joins the ranks of truthfulness, secure, healthy and happy heart.

We clean our house, when we invite someone to our house similarly clean your heart as if you want to invite ALLAH and have faith and patience. He will make all the doors of happiness and success open for you. Nobody knows your pain more than who creates us, nobody in this world cares for us as much as the ALLAH and HE is all knowing and most wise Indeed.

Sick heart

The diseased heart which is either closer to secure his dreams of world, secure his worldly life or very close to devastation. This heart only contains love of ALLAH, show trust and reliance upon him only for the sake of his worldly essentials. This heart only shows eagerness to attain his desires, the desires which only does exists in this temporary world.

This heart also contains jealousy, arrogance, pride, self-amazement and corruption only for the worldly matters which does only make us much closer to destruction and devastation.
Man just had forgotten his purpose of creation in this mortal world, ho forgot that each body part has a job, similarly a heart also had a job, and if it is sick it will not do his job properly .

“Indeed ALLAH is the Guide of those who believe, to the straight path.”

Dead heart

This type of heart is dead, having no life. This heart does not follow any path else than then path which pleased him. This heart does not know about its Lord or Master, in short it is a slave of his own desires, action and activities. If he fulfills his dreams, he does not care about pleasing or displeasing of his Master (The one who creates him).

If it loves, it loves just for the sake of his desires and if he hates it does only just for the sake of his own mean. In short his dreams are his master. He is a person of his own desires.
The man with this heart is putting himself to the way to destruction and devastation.

Soul:

Soul is the essence of human body, the main importance as compared to other creations of ALLAH. Science does not reached about the soul, that what is the essence of the soul. When any living creator dies like an animal as compared to human there is no difference in its wait, but the moment when human dies, immediately there is a loss of wait that means something he is losing the moment he dies.

Quran Says:

  1. Every soul shall have taste of death. (Surah Al Imran)
    In this world there is a life for the test of here after and every person shall have taste of death.
  2. ALLAH has created death and life to test which of you in good deeds
    (Suran Al Mulk)

For there is no pleasure, sweetness, ibtihaaj or perfection except by knowing and loving to the Master,there is only peace in remembering him, happiness and success is only by being closer to him and desiring to meet him in the life hereafter

Discovering self for happiness

In Islamic tradition, the “who am I?” question in the broadest sense of the word is more important and comes prior to the strongly related subject of happiness. Happiness is not a goal to be pursued on its own, rather to be attained as part of realization of discovering and nurturing the self.

As the subject of happiness is enclosed within the study of the “self”, it cannot be explained outside the term self or soul, (nafs) that includes a broad range of topics including the heart (qalb), spirit (ruh), intellect (aql), and will (irada) as well as human nature (fitrah) (Nasr, 2014).

The nafs when mentioned in the Quran without any addition, refers to “self” and exists of three levels that are interconnected to each other (Schimmel, 1994, 184):

  • nafs ammara (12:53) – The lower (animal) self, the carnal soul that incites to evil.
  • nafs lawwama (75:2) – The struggling self.
  • nafs mutma’inna (89:27) – The higher self at peace, the satisfied, peaceful God realized rational soul.

Naquib Al-Attas (Philosopher) explains the two dimensions to happiness in Islamic understanding with two different terms – pleasure and true happiness. The self (nafs) attains “true happiness” from knowledge and good character (virtue) experienced by the rational soul (higher self) and “happiness of transient quality” from worldly (bodily) pleasures experienced by the animal soul (Attas, 1995, 91-92).

However, comprehending and knowing the truth about the ‘self’ and God is not sufficient, one also needs to act according to this truth and therefore moral virtues are important (Khadduri, 1984, 82). The connection between happiness, success and moral virtues, Al-Kindi explains that in overcoming material and psychological causes of sorrow, material possessions and other worldly deeds are nothing compared to the cultivation of virtues. Virtues play an important role in the attainment of happiness related to this world and the hereafter (Nasr, 2014).

Tawakkul on Allah and Ibadat for happiness & success

The person who possesses tawakkul attains the state of contentment. This person still faces the ordinary challenges of earthly life but does so in a state of inner contentment. As the Quran states explicitly, this is why the friends of God (the awliya?’), who have fully attained the stations of tawakkul and rida, are neither fearful nor sorrowful. For such people, even the fear of God is transformed into joy, for this fear is the beginning of wisdom, as stated by St. Paul and also in the famous saying (hadith) of the Prophet, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”. 13

Performing obligatory ibadat requires self-discipline and sacrifice but result in happiness and success. As call of prayer (Adhan) states:
Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah

Hurry to success (Rise up for Salvation)

Success of Muslim is to hurry for its obligatory duties which make him/her successful in this life and also in hereafter. Similarly, Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah has narrated that the Holy Prophet stated, ‘There are two glad tidings for the man who fasts; one at the time of sunset and the other when he meets his Rab.’ (Sahih Bukhari 255/1 # 1805)

It is not however only the ‘ibadat themselves that bring about happiness; it is also our knowing
that in performing them we are doing God’s Will and thereby experiencing the grace (barakah) that issues from the performance of sacred rites. In carrying out ordinary human transactions, or muy’a?-mala?t, in accordance with the Shar??y’ah, one is also doing God’s Will.14

The success of the self

The success of the self, as explained in the Quran, lies in allowing the self to grow and one who disallows the self (soul) to grow, who destroys this growth, is describes as one who is in failure (91:7-10). The development of the self, that is given the capacity to distinguish right from wrong (91:7), includes falling and standing and making choices. This process of growth is not focused on making faultless, sinless, pure good creatures (angels) at the end (4:31).

The highest stage in that sense that is aimed at, is the level where there is mutual satisfaction reached between the self and God but also within the self as a whole (89:27).

Also for the success of a person soul and self the ihsan is necessary element. As mention in Quran

“Verily Allah likes from a doer of an action that when an action is performed, it is made beautiful (yuhsinahu)”
“Allah is good and only accepts that which is good.” Related by Muslim (no. 1686)

Ihsan entails acquiring good character trait. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I was sent to perfect good character.”

Also, come in hadith

“The best of you in Islam are those who are most excellent in character as long as you deeply understand the religion.” [Ahmad, Sahih]
The person who possess the character traits of ihsan and does his/her work with perfection are true successful people. These traits are:

  • No harming and reciprocating harm
  • Do not envy what people have
  • Trust in Allah (Twakkul)

If a person have these traits that is close to Allah and most satisfied.

Sufism

The Islamic philosophers have also dealt extensively with the question of happiness, which they, like the Sufis, associate in its essence with the abiding and the enduring and, following the Quran, with paradisal realities and the Hereafter. Ibn S??na? [in Latin, Avicenna], the prince of the Islamic philosopher-scientists whose influence pervades all later Islamic philosophy, associates happiness with purification of the soul and knowledge of the intelligible world, the world of light, from which it descended into this world. In his famous “Poem of the Soul,” he writes,15

Why then was she [the soul] cast down from her high peak
To this degrading depth? God brought her low;
But for a purpose wise, that is concealed
E’en from the keenest mind and loveliest wit.

And if the tangled mesh impeded her,
The narrow cage denied her wings to soar
Freely in heaven’s high ranges; after all
She was a lightning-flash that brightly glowed
Momentarily over the tents, and then was hid
As though its gleam was never glimpsed below.

Ibn S?n?a? considers the happiness of the soul to be the result of the process of the soul to reach, through self-purification, the state of tajarrud, which can be attained not only in the Hereafter, but also in this life. Purification prepares the soul for the attainment of that knowledge that results in true happiness.16

The Attainment of happiness and success (Conclusion)

To understand and attain happiness is different thing. All religion and cultures know how to achieve transient happiness and success. But real challenge is achieving permanent happiness and success in this world and hereafter. In Islam, as in other authentic religions, that permanent state of happiness is attained by gaining not the freedom of the passionate self to receive whatever it desires, but freedom from desire and from the passionate self. 17

To attain permanent happiness, we must, therefore, remember who we really are, where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. We must detach ourselves from fleeting pleasures and joys and seek permanent joy by attaching ourselves to the spiritual world, which is our original home and the only place where we shall attain permanent happiness. We must die before we die; die to the world here and now in order to gain eternal felicity in the life of the spirit and the intellect understood in its traditional sense.

We must experience the happiness that issues from faith (??ma?n), which provides for us security (aman) from all that would deprive us of happiness. Through faith, correct actions, prayer, and realized knowledge, we must break all the walls of ego, we must do so through compassion, charity, and through karam, which are bound to love and independent of selfishness and self-centeredness that are impediments of the attainment of happiness.

Bibliography

  1. Nasr, S. (2014). HAPPINESS AND THE ATTAINMENT OF HAPPINESS: AN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE. Journal of Law and Religion, 29(01), pp.76-91.
  2. (Alfarabi, “The Attainment of Happiness” 75)
  3. There is a partial translation of this work by Claude Field, The Alchemy of Happiness of al-Ghazzali (Chicago: Kazi Publications, 2007). The critical edition of this text is edited by H?usayn Khad?w? jam (Tehran: Shirkat-I Saha?m??-yi Kita?bha?-yi J??b??, 1354 SH). There is also a later edition of this text edited by Manu?chihr Da?nishpazhu?h (Tehran: Ahl-i Qalam, 1381 SH).
  4. Altiner, s. (2015). Happiness. Theology and Religious Studies.
  5.  Ibn Altiner, s. (2015).
  6.  Ibn Altiner, s. (2015).
  7. Lino, C. (2018). Positive Psychology Theory in a Nutshell. [online] Positivepsychologyprogram.com. Available at: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/positive-psychology-theory/ [Accessed 11 May 2018].
  8. Riaz, D. (2018). [online] Szic.pk. Available at: https://www.szic.pk/journal/dec2015/4.pdf [Accessed 11 May 2018].
  9.  See Gul B?a?ba? Sa’?d? ?,? Farhang-i isti?la?ha? ?t-i ‘irfan??-yi Ibn ‘Arab?? (Tehran: Intisha?ra?t-i Shaf????,? 1383 SH), 356
  10.  Q. 2:201.
  11.  Al-Suhrawardy, Allama Sir Abdullah al-Mamun, comp., The Sayings of Muhammad (New York: Citadel Press, 1990), 63.
  12. Muhammad ibn ?Abd Alla?h Khat??b? al-Tabr?z? ?,? Mishka?t al-Masa?b??h,? trans. James Robson (1970; repr., Lahore: Sh.Muhammad Ashraf, 1981), 2:993
  13. Nasr, S. (2014). HAPPINESS AND THE ATTAINMENT OF HAPPINESS: AN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE. Journal of Law and Religion, 29(01), pp.76-91
  14. Ibn ‘Arab??, The Tarjuma?n al-ashwa?q, trans. Reynold A. Nicholson (London: Theosophical, 1978), 19, 67.
  15. ibid 80
  16.  The House of Yoga. (2018). THE RELIGION OF LOVE BY IBN ARABI. [online] Available at: https://www.thehouseofyoga.com/magazine/religion-love-ibn-arabi [Accessed 11 May 2018].
  17. Arthur J. Arberry, “Avicenna: His Life and Times,” in G. M. Wickens, ed., Avicenna: Scientist ; Philosopher (London: Luzac, 1952), 28; See also S. H. Nasr, An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993), 259–60.

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