Friday, December 18, 2009

Bringing About Happiness

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

Happiness cannot be purchased with gold and silver. It is far more precious than that.

Happiness is like a pearl in the depths of the sea. Only the most expert diver who knows how to seek it out will find it.

Happiness is a good meeting, a nice word, a dream, a realistic yet positive attitude towards life.

Look into yourself. Somewhere in the depths of your own soul lies your happiness.

Let us ask what is meant by happiness. A poll was conducted where 16,000 people had to answer what happiness meant to them.

Thirty-eight percent of the respondents said that happiness is brought about by love.

Twenty-eight percent said that happiness is contentment.

Seventeen percent said that happiness is health.

Seven percent claimed that happiness is to be found in marriage.

Five percent responded that happiness is wealth.

Three percent said that happiness is brought about through children.

Two percent replied that travel brings them happiness.

The Arab writer, `Abbâs Mahmûd al-`Uqqâd once mentioned that he had an artist friend who liked to imagine things and depict them in drawings. One day, he imagined happiness and drew it as a twenty-year-old girl skipping about in a lively and energetic manner, her hair flying to the right and left, in extreme joy and playfulness. When the artist showed it to `Abbâs, the writer said:

This is not how I imagine happiness to be. Firstly, what you have depicted might have been described as play, amusement, or enjoyment. Happiness is something else entirely. Happiness is closer in meaning to experience and knowledge than it is to thoughtlessness, adolescence, and ignorance. It is closer to a more advanced age than it is to that age which is full of the delights of youth, vigor, and strength.

Secondly, happiness is closely connected to meanings like contentment, tranquility, and sobriety. It is not expressed as riotous and noisy behavior. Happiness is a matter of taste, emotion, and perception within a person – within his heart and his inner self.

Happiness cannot be formally defined like a scientific term. It can not be delineated and quantified

It may be that happiness comes knocking on our door but since we do not recognize it, we do not open the door for it. It is possible for a person to live in full mental, spiritual, and physical happiness, and not even realize it. We can look at the happiness of small children. They are happy in their lives of innocence, play, and simplicity. However, they very likely do not realize it. When they grow up and start reading and hearing about this notion called happiness, they begin searching for it like it is something lost.

If happiness could be attained through wealth – through the acquisition of gold, silver, dollars, and a big bank account – then the mountains and the mines would be the rightful possessors of happiness, because of all the wealth that they contain within them.

If happiness were achievable through beauty, display, and adornment, then the peacock and the flowers would have more right than us to be happy.

If happiness were in strength and power, then wild beasts would have been the most entitled to happiness.

If, however, happiness were attainable through noble conduct, wisdom, virtue, integrity, and probity, then the human being would have the greatest right to it.

Happiness can be experienced in many things. It can be found in the smile of an innocent baby. It can be found on the tongue of an honest person speaking a good word or remembering Allah. It resides in the heart of a person who shows tolerance to his brethren. It is in giving a gift without ulterior motives. It is when your Lord removes some hardship from yourself or from others. It is experienced in the rest that comes after an hour of hard work.

How many playboys, tyrants, wrongdoers, and people of wealth and power leave this world never experiencing the best and most beautiful thing that the world has to offer: closeness to Allah and the happiness that comes from communion with Him?

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