Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Art of Happiness

The truth of the matter is that you cannot remove from yourself all remnants of grief. And the reason for this is that life is created as a test:

"Verily, We have created man in toil."
[Surah Al-Balad; 4].

"That He might try you, which of you is the best in deeds."
[Surah Hud; 7].

But the message that I wish to convey to you is that you should, as much as possible, reduce the amount and intensity of your grief. As for being completely free from grief; this is for the inhabitants of Paradise in the Hereafter. This is why the dwellers of Paradise shall say:

"All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has removed from us [all] grief."
[Surah Fatir; 34].

This is considered to be a proof that grief was not removed from them except in Paradise.

So when a person knows the nature of this world and its qualities, he will find it to be dry, deceitful, and unworthy; he will come to understand that this is its nature and its description. One of Arab poets said:

'You have taken an oath not to betray us in our pacts, and it is as if you have vowed that in the end, you shall deceive us.'

If the description of this world is as I have described it, then it is worthy of the intelligent person not to help it in its onslaught, not to surrender to depression and anxiety. What we should do is fight and defend ourselves from all feelings that may spoil our lives, a war that we must wage with all the strength that we have been endowed with.

"And make ready against them all you can of power; including steeds of war to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy..."
[Surah Al-Anfal; 60].

"But they never lost heart for that which did befall them in Allah’s Way, nor did they weaken nor degrade themselves."
[Surah Al-Imran; 146].

A pause to reflect: Do not be sad. If you are poor, then someone else is immersed in debt. If you do not own your own means of transportation, then someone else has been deprived of his legs. If you have reason to complain concerning the pains of sickness, then someone else has been bedridden for years. And if you have lost a child, then someone else has lost many children, for instance, in a single car accident.

Do not be sad. You are a Muslim who believes in Allah, His Messengers, His angels, the Hereafter, and in Preordainment - the good and the bad of it. While you are blessed with this faith, which is the greatest of blessings, others disbelieve in Allah, discredit the Messengers, differ among themselves concerning the Book, deny the Hereafter, and deviate in their understanding of Preordainment and Predestination. Do not be sad, because if you are, you disturb your soul and heart, and you prevent yourself from sleeping.

One of the Arab poets said:
'How often is the young man overcome with despair when afflicted, and with Allah is the way out. The situation becomes unbearable, and when its rope tightens, it snaps, and throughout, he never thought that he would be saved'

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