Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Art of Being Happy

The Art of Being Happy

I was recently asked by my non-Muslim friend, what makes you feel happy in this life. That’s easy! Of course I have lots of reasons to be happy. The list are long, to put them in words, it’s pretty hard though. And I do feel that this topic is of paramount importance especially in this era where many people are suffering from melancholy at some point in their life.

credit to google image

What is Happiness?

 “Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy”-Wikipedia definition. And most of us would think that we would be “happy” if we were able to obtain some life achievement (being a doctor, own a mansion, married to a perfect person) or that our happiness would disappear if we failed in exam, chased by Ah Long.. err etc etc)
But psychologists have found that happiness is a state that we can cultivate, that does not have to be permanently affected by the things that happen to us externally. The more we work on our happiness, the easier it is to come back to it after times of hardship.
Thus, happiness is not simply a giddy feeling that we get now and then. It is something more of what we can be described as a general state of contentment, or redha.
Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas, radi Allahu `anhu  (may God be pleased with him), who is one of the ten Companions promised paradise, said to his son: “If you ask for wealth, then ask for contentment to accompany it. If contentment does not accompany it, then no money will satisfy you.”
We all want that contentment, and lets work for it by following the guides given by Alllah from the Quran.

How to be happy

1.      Gratefulness: We are told in the Qur’an: “And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (Qu’ran, 18:18). MasyaAllah, indeed we are blessed by ni’mat given by Him but we keep on complaining to get this and that. Thus, instead of focusing on what we do not have, or the negative things that happened to us in a day, we should focus on what we have been given.

2.      Optimism: He teaches us to be optimistic even in times of distress, when He says, “So verily, with the hardship, there is relief. Verily, with the hardship, there is relief,” (Qur’an, 94:5-6). Every hardship comes with at least two reliefs, so focus on the good that Allah (swt) gave you to help overcome the bad. Moreover, we are also reminded “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not,” (Qur’an, 2:216). Being optimistic means not seeing simply the hardship, but what could be behind the hardship in terms of lessons, and seeing that it could be a good thing.

3.      Purpose: A recent UCLA study showed that the happiness that comes from having a deep sense of meaning and purpose in life can contribute to favorable gene-expression profiles. When you know what you are pursuing, it makes everything worth it? We all know we were sent worship God, (Qur’an:51:56) and to become the caliphs in this world (qur’an:2:30), thus these purpose of life will make our life worth to live in.

4.      Love: We all have people that love us and we have people that we love. Fostering a  good relationships with our family and friends will definitely bring happiness to our life. Because it is not only a duty, but also something that enriches our life.

Practical Tips

This is a list that might help:-
  1. Realize that happiness is truly from within.
  2. Build hope and faith in Allah, and develop your relationship with Him: Study His Names, focus on connecting to Him through your prayers, reflect over the Qur’an and have secret good deeds that no one knows about but Him.
  3. Develop yourself: Prophet said that wisdom is the lost property of the believer, so we should be seeking wisdom in all its forms.
  4. Smile: It’s a sunnah (tradition of the Prophet )
  5. Do good: There are countless ahadeeth (sayings of the Prophet) that encourage us to do good for others, without expecting anything for ourselves.
  1. Express gratitude: “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor],” (Qur’an, 14:7). You will be given more—materially—but also spiritually. There will be barakah, which means increase.
  2. Good friends: The Prophet taught us that “A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace,” (Bukhari).
  3. Develop a relationship with your family: The Prophet tells us, “The best of you are those who are best to their families,” (Tirmidhi).
  4. Take a break: Do you like knitting? Maybe take time out and watch a documentary. Play martial arts. Do some yoga. Go out for coffee. Chill in the park. This is not haraam and is not considered a waste of time if we are being balanced (and as long as the thing itself is not haraam).
  5. Sleep well:. When a man came to the Prophet saying that he prayed all night long, the Prophet  reminded him that his body and his family had rights over him. In the Qur’an, we are taught that Allah (swt) “…made your sleep [a means for] rest, And made the night as clothing, And made the day for livelihood” (78:9-11).
  1. Eat well: Allah (swt) says: “O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess” (Qur’an, 7:31).
  2. Be fit
  3. Have discipline: Jaber bin Abdullah (ra), one of the companions, was carrying a piece of meat. “Umar saw him and said, ‘What is this Jaber?’ To which Jaber replied ‘I desired some meat so I bought it.’ Umar looked at him and said ‘And do you buy whatever you desire?’”
May Allah grant us happiness in this dunya and hereafter. Aminnn.
Tips taken from Suhaibbwebb.com

-Written by Fitrahana Sururi (3rd Sem Medical Student).
-28th October 2013.


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