Faith Friday: The Pursuit of Happiness

Friday, September 23, 2011

Would I be wrong if I said that in one way or another we are all in pursuit of happiness?

But... what is happiness? How do we define it? 

Because sometimes I feel like we're always waiting for one more thing to happen before we allow ourselves to be happy. We say these things all the time. I would be happier if I was skinnier. I would be happier if I had more money. Just one more thing in my life and I would feel so complete.  

So you see, sometimes we just don't allow ourselves to be happy. 

But what about the times when we're faced with a problem? How can we possibly allow ourselves to be happy when we feel we don't have a reason to feel that way? 

Then what we should do is to seek the feeling of ridha رضاء . In the Arabic language, it means to be contented or pleased with something. That's why after we say the name of a pious and revered Muslim such as a companion Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) we usually say "radhiAllahu anha/hu" or "May Allah be pleased with him/her". In the Malay language, when someone says he or she feels redha it means they have accepted the situation as it is because it is what Allah subhana wa taala has ordained. In other words, it is to acknowledge that not only does He know best but He also knows everything.





If only they had been content with what Allah and His Apostle gave them, and had said, "Sufficient unto us is Allah! Allah and His Apostle will soon give us of His bounty: to Allah do we turn our hopes!" (that would have been the right course). {Surah At-Tawbah: 59}


However, it isn't easy to feel ridha. Not because it's a concept that doesn't work but because we as human beings are insatiable... until we choose to feel ridha and be grateful towards Allah for what He has given us thus far. Go back to the most fundamental thing you have. Life. God gave you life. Why did God give you life? So you can obtain Paradise, inshaAllah. It's like having to sit an exam before we can pass and do amazingly well in a class. You have to sit the exam to get the A+. Allah didn't give you this life to see you fail but He is giving you a chance to do well in this life and then obtain an eternal life of satisfaction.





"(To the righteous soul will be said:) "O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction![the nafs ul mutmainnah is the soul that is pleased with Allah's promise]
"Come back thou to thy Lord,- well pleased (thyself), and well-pleasing unto Him!" {Surah Fajr: 27-28}

Therefore, if we can't define happiness because it's too subjective perhaps we should try and understand what it means to feel ridha.

When one feels ridha one is at complete ease due to the realisation that Allah's Plan will result in something good for him or her despite feeling that things could be better if things were to happen differently. However, what is planned by us can't possibly be as good as what the Creator of the Universe has lined up for us. We  may think that option we chose is the best for ourselves but what we know is limited to what has been made visible to us. We can't choose to see more or know more unless Allah allows it to happen. Evidently, our finite knowledge can never compete with Allah's Infinite Knowledge.

Feeling ridha also means we have placed our trust in Allah azza wa jal  to be our Protector and Guide. It is not easy to depend on something we can't literally see with our eyes but tell me, do you not feel God's presence in your life despite not being able to see Him now?






"I am as my Servant thinks of Me."

Ibn Hajar (may Allah have Mercy upon him) said: “meaning, I am able to do whatever he expects I will do.” [Fath al-Bari]  (Read the full commentary of this hadeeth qudsi at HadithADay.org)

These are God's own words. SubhanAllah. And whose words can be more truer than God's? Therefore we should believe that He does want what's best for us and trust that He has prepared good things for us.  Yes, we will be tested and feel pain, unhappiness and frustration in this life and we may not always see the rewards of our good deeds in this life but surely true happiness and contentment will be waiting for us in the Hereafter where everything lasts eternally, inshaAllah. All we have to do is have faith in Him and true faith is always accompanied by action or acts of worship - performing prayers, saying dhikr, giving charity or any good that is done for the purpose of pleasing Allah.

When you feel happiness is too far away take comfort in knowing that the feeling of ridha is closer than you think. At times of sadness and hopelessness try reading and reflecting upon Allah's  Names and Attributes. You will see that Allah swt is the All Merciful (Ar-Rahman), Creator of Order (Al-Bari'),  Most Loving (Al-Wadud), Most Just (Al-Adil) and Most Generous (Al-Karim), just to name a few. So don't worry. We are in good Hands.

Simply said, to feel ridha is to feel peace and it is a kind of tranquility that can only be achieved by remembering Allah, being grateful towards Him and having faith in Him.







"Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction." 
For those who believe and work righteousness, is (every) blessedness, and a beautiful place of (final) return." {Surah Ar-R'ad: 28-29}

6 comments:

kistinaa. said...

assalamualaikum
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN0_WD-fpEQ&list=FLm-z8vTfsktgyDnhpJcKeKw&index=9

contentment by abdal sheikh hakim murad

this is lovely, please do watch :)

eye*da said...

Assalamualaikum Shahirah Elaiza!~

After reading this post, I just felt like I wanted to drop by a few lines as I wanna thank you for sharing this with your lovely readers. This is so thoughtful. Somehow somewhat it touched my heart in a way that I couldn't describe it.

May Allah bless you with your good deeds. InsyaAllah...

aishadam said...

sometimes, we tend to forget the real meaning behind redha. thank you for this reminder sis :)

Shahirah Elaiza said...

Thank you Kistina =)

Eye*da, jazakAllah khair for your kind words. I wanted to share what I realised recently. Alhamdulillah, we are nothing without His guidance =)

Aishadam, sometimes we don't even think about what it means. Well, I didn't until recently. That's why I wrote this post but I don't think I did justice to what it means to feel redha. It's a very beautiful thing.

Wawa Tasliman said...

I remember Prof Dr. Muhaya said for pursuit of happiness is easy:

1-redha
2-bersyukur
3-loyal to Allah

InsyaAllah.

Anyway, thank you for sharing. redha itu indah.

;) said...

salam,

thanks for the great entry!!! :)